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Senator Wayne D. Fontana

Senator Fontana spoke at the Edible Gardens in the city?s Manchester neighborhood on July 16th. 

Senator Fontana spoke at the Edible Gardens in the city’s Manchester neighborhood on July 16th.  The Edible Gardens is a program created by the Mayor that promotes the availability of healthy foods in Pittsburgh neighborhoods.  The PA Beverage Association presented a check for $5,000 to be used for the program.

FontanaFest 2013 FontanaFest!

46 Days Until FontanaFest! – The 9th Annual FontanaFest will be held on Saturday, September 7th from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at South Side’s Riverfront Park (bottom of 18th Street at the river).  The community event highlights many of the family-oriented activities that can be done on or near Pittsburgh’s three rivers.  Join us for a FREE day of family fun with activities on the rivers, free food and drink, inflatables, crafts and pony rides.  Several organizations will also be present to provide children and families with important educational information and activities.  It’s rain or shine – but I have every confidence we will have another beautiful day, so please come out and enjoy!  

Grants for Students

PHEAA PHEAA As Vice Chairman of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), I am pleased to announce that PHEAA has approved funding for the Pennsylvania Targeted Industry Program (PA-TIP) for the 2013-14 award year.  This marks the second year that the Board of Directors has allocated $5 million from PHEAA’s business earnings without using taxpayer resources to support this need-based grant for Pennsylvania students.

PA-TIP provides grants to students enrolled in the following programs of study: energy; advanced materials and diversified manufacturing; and agriculture and food production.  The maximum award amount is $4,348, which is the equivalent to the highest State Grant award, or 75 percent of the student’s total direct educational costs after gift aid and employers’ aid, whichever is less.

Applicants must be a Pennsylvania resident, a high school graduate and be enrolled in a qualified course of study on either a full-time basis or, new for 2013-14, on at least a half-time basis if attending an approved public or private, non-profit institution.  Grants may be used to cover such costs like tuition, books, fees, supplies, and specific living expenses for full-time students.

TIPThe PA-TIP program is designed to help and support employers in the targeted industries, mentioned above, to develop more skilled employees within the Commonwealth.  During the 2012-13 award year, over 1,200 Pennsylvania students received a total of more than $4.2 million in these types of grants with the average award being $3,389.  Recipients of the awards attended a variety of schools including business, trade and technical, career and technology centers, community colleges, and two-year private schools. 

Interested students must submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and a PA-TIP application, which can both be found on PHEAA’s website. You can also review Frequently Asked Questions on the site and review all the eligibility requirements.

The Targeted Industry Program focuses on preparing students with specialized skills in industry sectors that help drive Pennsylvania’s economy.  This program is a big win with long-term benefits for both the participating students and Commonwealth industries looking for skilled workers and that is why I supported funding for this program once again for this upcoming year. 

For more information on the PA-TIP Program please call PHEAA at 1-800-692-7392 or email

Did You Know…

Did you know that 82% of Pennsylvania manufacturers report a serious or moderate skills gap in their employees and 74% report that the skills gap has negatively impacted their ability to expand?

Another Record Year for PA Lottery

LotteryFor the second consecutive year, the Pennsylvania Lottery set a new record for annual sales, totaling $3.69 billion for fiscal year 2012-13.  Fiscal year sales were over $218 million, or 6.3 percent, above the previous year and prior all-time sales record of $3.48 billion.  The Lottery’s administrative costs also decreased as a percentage of sales in each of the last two fiscal years.

Since its inception in 1971, the PA Lottery has generated nearly $23.7 billion for senior programs including:  property tax and rent rebates; free transit and reduced-fare shared rides; low-cost prescription drug programs PACE and PACENET; long-term living services; and the 52 Area Agencies on Aging, including full- and part-time senior centers throughout the Commonwealth.  Pennsylvania is home to nearly 2 million people over the age of 65, more than 300,000 of whom are 85 or older.  Furthermore, Pennsylvania’s Lottery system has remained the only lottery in the nation to dedicate the proceeds exclusively to the needs of older residents.

Based on these facts, it remains puzzling why Governor Corbett continues to pursue turning over the day-to-day management of the Lottery to a British company. In November 2012, the Governor announced he had struck a deal with Camelot Global Services, PA, LLC to run the Lottery.  In February, the Attorney General rejected the contract on Constitutional grounds and since that time, the Governor and Camelot officials have agreed on a series of extensions as they attempt to re-write the contract with the latest extension set to expire on July 31st.

The fact that this foreign company is still attempting to strike a deal with the Governor after many months of extensions, shows just how valuable an asset we have in Pennsylvania.  Among my chief concerns with this effort is the lack of legislative oversight and transparency from the Administration and how this foreign company can guarantee its promise of $34.6 billion in profits over the next two decades.  When it comes to privatizing the PA Lottery, the theory of “if it’s not broken, why fix it?” comes to mind.  Our state’s lottery has a long history of providing for our senior citizens and turning its management over to a private company leaves no guarantees that it would become more profitable in the long run.

Traveler Information Survey

PennDOT, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC), is seeking the public’s input on traveler information through a brief online survey.  The anonymous survey is accessible at and  It includes questions on the types of traffic information travelers find valuable, how they access and utilize the information, and how traffic information affects their driving habits.  Through the survey, feedback is also requested on PennDOT’s 511PA traveler information service and the PTC’s Turnpike Roadway Information Program (TRIP). 

511PennDOT’s 511PA service provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, average traffic speeds on urban interstates, and access to more than 679 traffic cameras.  TRIP provides real-time traffic conditions, weather alerts and travel information online, on the road, and on phone or mobile devices for the 552 miles of turnpike roadway.

The results of the survey will be used by PennDOT and the PTC to enhance statewide traveler systems that provides accurate and timely information on conditions that may impact travel.  To access the survey please visit or and click on the box titled “We Want to Hear from You.”

constructionPennDOT Public Meeting Alert

PennDOT is expected to begin major road work on West Carson Street, beginning July 29th which will affect travelers on West Carson between the West End Bridge and Stanhope Street.  PennDOT will be hosting a public meeting tomorrow, July 24th, at the Hays Manor Community Center at 5 p.m. where project officials will provide detailed information on the construction project and traffic impacts.  The Hays Manor Community Center is located at 205 Locust Street in McKees Rocks.

Back to SchoolBack 2 School Bash in Coraopolis

Coraopolis Youth Creations and Vance Avenue Community Church are hosting “hope 4 the ‘Burgh” on Saturday, August 10th at Bliwas Field in Coraopolis.  This event, formerly the “Back 2 School Bash,” distributes backpacks and school supplies, provides health screenings, and distributes groceries.  Food and refreshments are provided and games and activities are available for children.  No pre-registration is required but children must be present to receive backpacks.  For more information on the event, please call 412-329-8855 or email

Supporting Focus on Renewal

Mylan Classic Mylan Classic The PGA Nationwide Tour returns to western Pennsylvania next week with the 4th Annual Mylan Classic, July 29th – August 4th at Southpointe Golf Club in Canonsburg.  Through the ANSYS TICKETS Fore CHARITY program, the Mylan Classic will donate 100% of all ticket sales to local charities, including Focus on Renewal (FOR).  Additionally, FOR will earn a percentage of the $35,000 Bonus Pool that will be distributed among the participating non-profits based on the program’s total ticket sales.

Every person who purchases a ticket for this event can select a non-profit organization, including FOR, and the Mylan Classic will donate 100% of the proceeds from the ticket price to the selected organization.  Tickets are $25 for the weekly ground pass, which permits access to the tournament grounds all week as well as clinics and concerts.  To purchase tickets online please visit or call 724-746-3535.  Ticket order forms are also available by contacting Chris Crytzer at 412-771-6460, ext. 305 or

Brookline Business Feature

Violet Flower ShopThis week’s featured Brookline business is the Violet Bouquet Flower Shop, located at 931 Brookline Boulevard.  The Violet Bouquet Flower Shop has been located in Brookline for 30 years, providing customers with floral creations for all occasions.  The Shop is open Monday – Saturday, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and offers a delivery service.  For more information on their products and services please call 412-341-5755 or visit them online at  Please continue to support local merchants during the Brookline Boulevard Steetscape Project and remember:

Brookline is open for business!

Fontana Fact

Navy T-ShirtT-shirts made their debuts in the United States 100 years ago, in 1913, when the Navy began issuing them as part of the standard uniform.  There are several theories that explain how the name “t-shirt” came to pass.  One of the most popular theories is men working on the docks in Annapolis, Maryland in the late 1600’s unloaded a great deal of tea.  The simple shirts they wore while unloading the product became known as “tea shirts,” before later being shortened to “t-shirts.”  The other popular theory comes from the Royal Navy.  Navy men in Great Britain wearing the equivalent of tank tops offended the British Royal Family, who insisted they cover their underarms.  The replacement shirts looked like a “T” in comparison to the tank tops and were dubbed “T-shirts.”

Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana

  Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Phone: 412-344-2551
Fax: 412-344-3400
543 Main Capitol
Box 203042
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717-787-5300
Fax: 717-772-5484
Kennedy Township
Kenmawr Plz.
524 Pine Hollow Rd
Kennedy Twp, PA 15136
Phone: 412-331-1208
Fax: 412-331-2079
Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Phone: 412-343-2080
Fax: 412-343-2418
TIP PA 511