On May 14, Senator Fontana participated in a groundbreaking ceremony in Crafton for the borough’s sewer separation project. Senator Fontana was able to help secure a $250,000 state grant to assist the project. The project will help reduce flooding risks and keep waterways clean.

Due to a technical issue with iConstituent that affected accounts nationwide, the May 11 and May 18 editions of my News & Views were not able to be distributed. I apologize for the inconvenience. As soon as the issue is resolved, my News & Views will again be distributed each Tuesday.

New Monument in Beechview Unveiled Next Week

This Saturday at 10 a.m. is the annual Memorial Service at the Monument Parklet in Beechview hosted by Beechview Area Concerned Citizens. The annual Memorial Service recognizes the women and men who lost their lives defending our country.

This year’s memorial service will feature the ribbon cutting and dedication of a new monument that honors those who have served our country since the end of the Vietnam War and promotes a message of peace for future generations.

I was proud to secure the funding for the new monument and have enjoyed how the Beechview community has come together over many months to turn an idea into a completed project.

All are welcome to attend the Memorial Service on Saturday. If you’re not able to attend, I encourage you to take some time and visit the parklet this summer to see the new monument which joins existing monuments that honor those who served in World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War.

Hearing on the Prevention of Legionnaires’ Disease in Pennsylvania

Earlier this month, at my request, the Pennsylvania Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing on Legionella bacteria and the effects it can have on the commonwealth post pandemic.  Specifically, the committee explored what causes Legionnaires’ disease and discussed my Senate Bill 1285 (SB 1285) from the 2019-20 session.  Testifiers included Dr. Hung Cheung from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, various stakeholders in the Legionella testing laboratories including Dr. Janet Stout from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and a spokesperson for the Water Works Operators’ Association of Pennsylvania.  The United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters also weighed in.  Each stakeholder brought a unique prospective to the hearing and I am appreciative of their efforts to make sure Pennsylvania is better prepared to prevent a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak as the commonwealth begins to open.   

Legionella is a potentially fatal infectious lung disease. In 1977, Legionella bacteria were named following an outbreak that occurred during the prior year at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia. The bacteria were responsible for an unidentified illness with pneumonia-like symptoms, now known as Legionnaires’ disease, that hospitalized numerous convention attendees. At least twenty-five people died as a result of this incident.   

Legionella bacteria cannot be spread directly from one person to another.  Instead, it is commonly spread to the lungs through aerosolized water, in the form of a mist or vapor. Most people exposed to the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease do not develop it.  However, if an individual does become infected, the disease can be treated with antibiotics.  People older than 50, smokers, or those with weakened immune systems, cancer, diabetes, chronic lung disease or other chronic health conditions are at increased risk of developing Legionnaires’ disease. The disease is responsible for fatalities among 1 out of 10 infected individuals.   

Legionella is naturally occurring and found in soil and sources of water like rivers, lakes and streams that supply our public water system and provide our homes, buildings, and facilities with water every day. While Legionella lives in the biofilm of pipes throughout our water distribution systems, common events like heavy rainfall, water main breaks, construction, servicing of water lines, fire hydrant release and others can dislodge the bacteria and push it downstream.  Additionally, poor building maintenance practices allow for their growth inside the plumbing systems and HVAC units of a building. As Legionella are resistant to chlorine and other disinfectants, it can be found in all community water supplies, especially in the absence of active monitoring of these bacteria.  

Presently, there is concern that another Legionella outbreak may occur as Pennsylvania’s economy is reopening.  Many businesses, workplaces and schools have been shuttered temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving their water systems idle for more than a year.  Such inactivity has created optimal conditions for the growth of Legionella bacteria.   

According to the CDC, a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak has occurred when two or more cases of legionellosis have been confirmed in one location within a six-week period.  Outbreaks are commonly associated with buildings or structures that have complex water systems, including hotels and resorts, long-term care facilities, hospitals, and cruise ships.  The most likely source of infection include water used for showering, hot tubs, decorative fountains, and cooling towers (air conditioning units for larger buildings).   

While Legionnaire’s disease outbreaks make the papers, the overwhelming majority of cases (96%) are single, sporadic cases isolated from outbreaks according to the CDC.  Additionally, underreporting of cases is also a problem due to the delayed onset and overlapping of symptoms with those of other illnesses, including COVID-19.  

Testing for legionella is the only direct way to know whether it is present.  During the last legislative session, it was brought to my attention that the CDC has reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease increases have occurred of over 200%, and Pennsylvania has had some of the highest rates of illness year after year.  For that reason, I introduced Senate Bill 1285 that would make Legionella testing a required part of water management and bridge the regulatory gap that now exists.   

In the past, organizations have opted to leave testing “at the discretion of the facility.”  When given a choice, these businesses and building owners have opted to not test for Legionella and the risk to patients in especially facilities that house high-risk patients often goes undetected until someone contracts the disease.   

My bill aims to make Pennsylvania’s drinking water and buildings a safer environment especially for our more vulnerable population by requiring action to prevent and control Legionnaires’ disease.  In the coming weeks I will be going through the testimony and make any necessary changes as suggested by the panel to my previous SB 1285 in order to guarantee there is no stone unturned when it comes to this potentially fatal but preventable disease.   

How to Schedule a Vaccine

All Pennsylvania adults are eligible to schedule an appointment for the COVID -19 vaccine! As of May 22, more than 10.1 million doses of COVID vaccine have been administered in Pennsylvania and more than 4.4 million Pennsylvanians are fully vaccinated.

Find a COVID-19 Vaccine near youThe federal government recently launched www.vaccines.gov. On this site, visitors can simply enter their zip code and a listing of locations in order of proximity will generate showing locations with vaccines in stock. The Pennsylvania Department of Health has also announced they transitioned to www.vaccines.gov.

This transition to Vaccine Finder for Pennsylvania also ensures that all vaccine providers in Pennsylvania display on Apple Maps. Users can find nearby COVID-19 vaccination locations from the search bar in Apple Maps by selecting COVID-19 Vaccines in the Find Nearby menu or by asking Siri, “Where can I get a COVID vaccination?”

Google Maps and Facebook are also using Vaccines.gov as the source of the information being displayed as people search for a location where they can get the COVID-19 vaccine.

In addition, individuals can text their zip code to GETVAX (438829) for English, or VACUNA (822862) for Spanish and receive three possible vaccination sites in their area, with phone numbers to call for an appointment.

There are many other ways to locate a vaccine as well.

I want to remind everyone that my website features a vaccination page which can be viewed at https://www.senatorfontana.com/vaccine. Anyone without internet access can also call the Department of Health at 1-877-724-3258 for help finding a vaccine provider.

The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) has a Vaccine Registration site and any individuals seeking vaccine appointments may register online at http://vax4.alleghenycounty.us  or by calling 2-1-1. ACHD also has a vaccine provider map, which can be viewed by clicking here. The vaccine provider map contains information about pharmacies and ongoing vaccination sites, as well as temporary vaccination events for the public. Each location includes information about the type of vaccine available and how to register. More locations will be added on an ongoing basis.

ACHD announced is administering the Pfizer vaccine to children 12 and older following federal approval of the vaccine by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Pfizer vaccine is currently being administered at ACHD vaccination sites in Castle Shannon at the Volunteer Fire Department Banquet Hall, 3600 Library Road, and Robert Morris University (RMU) at the UPMC Events Center, 6001 University Boulevard. Walk-ins are accepted at both locations. Parents or guardians will need to provide consent before the vaccination of any youth between the ages of 12-17. Appointments can made at https://vax4.alleghenycounty.us/patient/s/ or by calling 2-1-1 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily.

UPMC has a website, https://vaccine.upmc.com/, that allows individuals to complete a registration form. Once the registration form is completed, you will receive additional communications from UPMC to schedule an appointment. Those without access to technology or the internet can call 844-UPMCVAC (844-876-2822). 

Allegheny Health Network is allowing anyone to sign up for “MyChart” and you will be alerted when they have COVID-19 vaccine appointments available. You will also be able to schedule your vaccine appointment online by clicking here or by calling 412-362-8677.

St. Clair Hospital has created a registration page for individuals in their 34-zip code service area. Anyone in their service area can sign up to be contacted to schedule an appointment once supply allows. Anyone without internet access can call 412-942-2960 to request to register. Callers should leave a message including your full name, address, date of birth, and phone number. To learn more about St. Clair Hospital’s vaccination efforts please click here and to sign up to be contacted to schedule when supply allows, please click here.

Mobile vaccination clinics are popping up in the region, at Farmers’ Markets and other outdoor spaces. In Beechview, Casa San Jose and the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation have joined to host mobile vaccination dates. To register for an appointment, please click here.

In addition to the information provided above, the following are providers in Allegheny County that have received vaccines from the Pennsylvania Department of Health in the last few weeks. This is in addition to large pharmacies who are receiving vaccines directly from the federal government.

Accredo Health Group 3000 Ericsson Drive Warrendale 724-772-6000
Advanced Rheumatology & Arthritis Wellness Center 10431 Perry Highway Wexford 724-935-9355
Adzema Pharmacy 8105 Perry Highway Wexford 412-364-7000
AHN Forbes Hospital 2570 Haymaker Road Monroeville 412-516-9061
AHN Allegheny General Hospital 320 East North Avenue Northside 412-359-3131
AHN Allegheny Valley Hospital 1301 Carlisle Street Natrona Heights 724-224-5100
AHN Jefferson Regional Hospital 565 Coal Valley Road Jefferson Hills 412-948-7705
AHN West Penn Hospital 4800 Friendship Avenue Bloomfield 412-530-1028
Allergy & Clinical Immunology Assoc. 180 Ft. Couch Road Upper St. Clair 412-833-8811
American Healthcare Group 733 Washington Road Mt. Lebanon 412-563-8800
Associates in Ophthalmology 9970 Mountain View Drive West Mifflin 412-653-3080
CCN Pharmacy 300 Penn Center Boulevard Monroeville 412-349-6300
CMU Student Health Services 1060 Morewood Avenue Oakland 412-268-2157
DiToppa Medical Center 1978 Lincoln Way White Oak 412-664-0720
East Liberty Family Health Center 6023 Harvard Street East Liberty 412-661-2802
Family Matters Direct Primary Care 4824 William Flynn Highway, Suite 102 Allison Park 412-685-3373
Healthquest Medical Associates 5318 Ranalli Drive Gibsonia 724-449-9355
Hiebers Pharmacy 3500 Fifth Avenue Oakland 412-681-6400
Hilltop Pharmacy 818 E. Warrington Avenue Allentown 412-431-5766
Integrated Health 21 2403 Sidney Street, Suite 220 South Side 800-451-6889
Kids Plus Pediatrics 810 Clairton Boulevard Pleasant Hills 412-466-5004
Kids Plus Pediatrics 4070 Beechwood Boulevard Squirrel Hill 412-521-6511
Lebanon Shops Pharmacy 300 Mt. Lebanon Boulevard Castle Shannon 412-344-6700
Metro Community Health Center 1789 South Braddock Avenue Swissvale 412-247-2310
North Side Christian Health Center 816 Middle Street Northside 412-321-4001
Pittsburgh Family Practice 1517 Forbes Avenue Uptown 412-232-3555
Pittsburgh Family Practice 362 Lincoln Avenue Bellevue 412-734-1100
Pittsburgh Mercy Family Health Center 249 South 9th Street South Side 412-697-3260
Pleasant Hills Apothecary 25 Gill Hall Road Clairton 412-653-7566
Primary Care Pharmacy 27 Heckel Road Kennedy 412-771-2149
Spartan Pharmacy 3520 Saw Mill Run Brentwood 412-884-4400
Spartan Pharmacy 3400 South Park Road Bethel Park 412-831-1333
Squirrel Hill Health Center 4516 Browns Hill Road Glen Hazel Visit online
Squirrel Hill Health Center 103 Towne Square Way Brentwood Visit online
St. Clair Hospital 1000 Bower Hill Road Mt. Lebanon 412-942-2960
Steel City South Pediatrics 3911 Saw Mill Run Boulevard Brentwood 412-885-2000
Sto-Rox Family Health Center 710 Thompson Avenue McKees Rocks 412-771-6462
Towne Drugs 227 Commercial Avenue Aspinwall 412-782-2244
Trilogy Mission Rx 307 23rd Street Sharpsburg 877-240-9581
UPMC McKeesport 1500 Fifth Avenue McKeesport 412-664-2000
UPMC Mercy 1400 Locust Street Uptown 412-232-8111
UPMC Presbyterian 200 Lothrop Street Oakland 412-647-2345
UPMC Shadyside 5320 Centre Avenue Shadyside 412-623-2121
UPMC St. Margaret 815 Freeport Road Aspinwall 412-784-4000
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh 4401 Penn Avenue Lawrenceville 412-692-5325
VDI Kevin’s Shop n’Save Pharmacy 799 Castle Shannon Boulevard Castle Shannon 412-561-2417
VDI Pleasant Hills Apothecary 25 Gill Hall Road Clairton 412-653-7566
Waltmire Pharmacy 1435 Spring Garden Avenue Spring Hill 412-323-1801
Wilson’s Pharmacy 4101 Penn Avenue Lawrenceville 412-621-6471

Vaccine Scheduling for People with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism

Governor Wolf recently announced a partnership with Rite Aid Pharmacy to ease access to COVID-19 vaccinations for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

People with an intellectual or developmental disability and their caregivers can call the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) Vaccination Call Center at 1-800-424-4345 to request a COVID-19 vaccine appointment for themselves and/or their caregivers. This hotline is staffed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

From there, ODP will give Rite Aid names and locations of individuals who need to be vaccinated. Rite Aid staff will assign local pharmacies to reach out to callers to schedule vaccinations at a Rite Aid location near to the caller. This effort will also be able to help coordinate special accommodations for individuals who need assistance with transportation or on-site aid, among other needs. 

Anyone age 16 or older with an intellectual or developmental disability and their caregivers can request a vaccine appointment through this effort, regardless of whether they are currently enrolled in a service and support program through ODP. ODP oversees services and supports for approximately 57,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across Pennsylvania but estimates that this only covers about 25 percent of Pennsylvanians who may qualify as having an intellectual or developmental disability. ODP is working with Pennsylvania’s Developmental Disabilities Council, Temple University’s Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania, the Arc of Pennsylvania, and Aging and Disability Resource Centers to help people with disabilities and their caregivers know about this option and assist with accommodations.

Rent, Utility Relief Program Accepting Applications 

I want to remind everyone that eligible residents of Allegheny County, who are renting are able to apply for rent and utility assistance from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program online at https://covidrentrelief.alleghenycounty.us/.

Applicants are eligible if they have been financially impacted by the pandemic, including provable loss of income or employment, COVID-related increases in expenses such as medical bills or care of a household member, or the inability to get back to work for those laid off prior to March 2020.

Residents can apply online at https://covidrentrelief.alleghenycounty.us, but will need a valid email account to apply. Applicants will create a username and password so that additional information may be provided, and so the status of the application can be checked on at any time. Additionally, applicants can call ACTION-Housing at 412-248-0021 to make an appointment to complete an application over the phone with a case manager.

For those who do not have access to the internet, there are eight drop-in centers which are available around Allegheny County, where internet access and computers are available for applicants to use. Centers may also have staff available to answer general questions and help scan in and upload documents. Visitors are asked to follow all COVID protocols and are encouraged to contact the organizations about dates and times that the center is open and available to them.  Individuals who applied for CARES rent relief assistance last year are eligible for this round of funding but must apply again for this new program.

Applicants will have to show proof of residence and income like a valid state ID, paystubs or W2s. Individuals are encouraged to gather other required documents that show your risk of being evicted, such as a lease or a notice that your rent is in arrears. Once all documentation is submitted, the applications will be reviewed for eligibility. Applicants should expect to have a response to their submissions within three weeks. Representatives from ACTION-Housing, the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, and YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh will be contacting applicants to help them through the process. Applicants who are denied will have the chance to appeal.

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is being administered by the county Department of Human Services (DHS). The collaborative effort will distribute the combined $79,979,650 in federal funding awarded to the county, the City of Pittsburgh, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for county residents. ACTION-Housing is the program manager and has partnered with organizations across the county for outreach as well as assistance and services to residents who may be eligible for the program.

Additional information including complete eligibility guidelines, a list of necessary documents, recent webinars on the program, and a map of drop-in center locations are currently posted on the site at https://covidrentrelief.alleghenycounty.us. A listing of drop-in centers follows:

Focus on Renewal                                                      Gwen’s Girls
420 Chartiers Avenue                                                 711 West Commons, 3rd Floor
McKees Rocks, PA 15136                                          Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Kingsley Association                                                  Wilkinsburg Family Support
6435 Frankstown Avenue                                          807 Wallace Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15206                                                 Pittsburgh, PA 15221

Greater Valley Community Services                        South Hills Interfaith Movement
300 Holland Avenue                                                   5301 Park Avenue
Braddock, PA 15014                                                  Bethel Park, PA 15102

The Wander Building                                                 Brashear Association NEC
337 Fifth Avenue                                                        730 E. Warrington Avenue
McKeesport, PA 15132                                              Pittsburgh, PA 15210

Transition to New Unemployment System

Transition to New Unemployment System

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) has announced the preparations for the transition to a new, faster, and easier-to-use unemployment benefits system are going well, with minimal or no disruption in benefits anticipated for most unemployment payment recipients. The Unemployment Compensation (UC) system will be offline for several days during next month’s transition from an outdated, 40-year-old system to a modern software solution, but the planned timeline has been positioned to allow most individuals to file their biweekly claims as scheduled.

The transition from the old system to the new system will take place May 30 through June 7, 2021, with the new system anticipated to be “live” on June 8, 2021.

  • From Thursday, June 3, to Monday, June 7, individuals with ongoing claims will be unable to file biweekly certifications.
  • Individuals scheduled to file their biweekly certification during the week of May 30 to June 5 will be able to file their biweekly claims between Sunday, May 30, and Wednesday, June 2. L&I will process all claims and issue payments through the Pennsylvania Treasury after the old system is taken offline but before the transition begins.
  • When the new system comes online, everyone will change to a weekly filing pattern.
  • During the week of June 6 to 12, individuals will be able to file on time after the new system comes online on June 8.
  • Individuals filing for unemployment for the first time will be unable to file a new claim from May 31 to June 7. These individuals will still receive on-time payments if they file when the new system comes online on June 8.
  • The ability to file a claim by phone will be offline from June 3 to 9. These individuals can either file using the new online system when it comes online, or they can file on Thursday, June 10, or Friday, June 11. 

The transfer of an enormous magnitude of information between the systems can happen only when the UC database is taken offline to ensure that every claimant’s information is up-to-date and correct during the transition. Allowing changes to claims and other information while data migration is taking place would increase the risk of issues as this updated information is vital to the new UC system functioning correctly. By positioning the transfer to occur over the weekend, L&I is minimizing the impact on claimants and allowing both claim weeks to have days to file on time.

During the transition, staff will be on-hand to address any issues that arise. Staff will immediately tackle any issue with the goal of preventing and minimizing any delays to the filing calendar. Should an issue occur that delays filing, affected individuals will be notified.

No claims processing will take place during the offline period. The system will be offline for everyone, including L&I staff. However, the UC Service Center will keep the phones and email open. They will still take new inquiries from claimants and place them in the queue for when the system comes online. They will also be able to assist individuals who are experiencing issues and will be able to answer questions about the offline period and the new UC system generally. 

Last week, 230 newly hired customer service representatives began answering phones to help Pennsylvanians with their unemployment questions and claims. An additional 200 customer service representatives are completing onboarding and training and will begin answering calls on May 24. The existing, highly trained claims staff were shifted to positions that exclusively process claims. This is part of a larger initiative announced on March 10, 2021, to transform UC customer service to provide faster assistance by phone and to more quickly resolve claims.

The new UC system will be much easier to use, provide faster access to relevant information and streamline the unemployment claim filing process for workers, employers, unemployment program staff, as well as the third-party administrators who will be able to easily access and update more of their information. It will offer a more modern interface for users with formatting similar to user-friendly websites most people use every day. The system will be mobile and tablet-friendly and will enable faster communications between users and L&I staff.

For more information and updates on unemployment benefits programs, visit www.uc.pa.gov or follow L&I on Facebook or Twitter.

Keystone ID Part of Transfer to News Unemployment Compensation System

UC Workshops

As part of the new Unemployment Compensation (UC) system launching in June, Pennsylvanians will begin using Keystone ID, the state’s secure and convenient login for many services from the Commonwealth.

Keystone ID is an online account management system used by the departments of Human Services and Labor & Industry, as well as the State Employees’ Retirement System. It allows a user to log into multiple online services with the same username and password.

Keystone ID will replace the current UC Personal Identification Number (PIN) used by individuals to file for biweekly benefits online or by phone. Instead of using a PIN to file weekly benefits online, they will log in with the Keystone ID. Individuals who choose to file weekly claims by phone will continue using the PIN.

People without a Keystone ID will be required to create one the first time they log in to the new UC system, which is expected to come fully online June 8, 2021. Individuals who currently have a Keystone ID account can use the same username and password to access online services that use Keystone ID.

Training on how to create and use the Keystone ID is part of a series of resources L&I is making available to UC system users in preparation for next month’s transition to the new, modern software. Those resources, including 24 virtual workshops, user guides, instructional videos, staff dedicated to answering individual questions, as well as announcements, updates and news releases, are all available by clicking here.

Community Gun Violence Reduction Grants Now Available 

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) aThe Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) is administering $5 million of grant funding to support local efforts to reduce community gun violence.

Community-based organizations and local units of government will be eligible to apply for up-to $225,000 in grant funding to implement a range of programs and interventions endorsed by the Governor’s Special Council on Gun Violence designed to immediately address public safety needs in communities with high rates of firearm violence.

Examples of such strategies include Safe Corridors/Safe Passages programs, which prevent incidents to/from school and other community centers; street outreach and violence interruption programs utilizing credible messengers; providing referrals to partner agencies focused on meeting basic needs of participants, including education, employment, health and other services; comprehensive re-entry programs for returning citizens; trauma-informed approaches to support victims and survivors of gun violence; and community-driven crime prevention through environmental design.

Interested applicants can apply through PCCD’s Gun Violence webpage by clicking here. To improve accessibility in the grant-making process, PCCD is utilizing a single online survey form through SurveyMonkey for the initial funding request application. That survey form is available by clicking here.

The window to apply is open through Wednesday, June 30, 2021.  Awards will be announced at the September 9, 2021Commission meeting, with projects slated to begin October 1, 2021. Questions regarding the application window can be emailed to RA-CD-ExecutiveOffices@pa.gov.

PUC to Investigate Rate Changes Proposed by Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority

PUCThe Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) voted last week to suspend and investigate rate changes proposed by the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) for water, wastewater and storm water services.

The Commission voted 4-0 to suspend the rate change requests filed by PWSA, which provides service to approximately 100,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in the City of Pittsburgh and surrounding communities.

On April 13, 2021, PWSA filed a proposed multi-year rate increase for water service that would increase PWSA’s total annual operating revenues for water service by approximately $12.6 million (10%) through rates effective Jan. 12, 2022, and by approximately $12.9 million (9.3%) through rates effective Jan. 12, 2023.

On that same date PWSA filed a proposed multi-year rate decrease for wastewater service that that would reduce total annual operating revenues for wastewater service by approximately $7.8 million (10.6%) through rates effective Jan. 12, 2022, and by approximately $7.5 million (11.4%) through rates effective Jan. 12, 2023.

Additionally, PWSA filed a proposal to establish a multi-year rate plan for storm water services that would increase total annual operating revenues for storm water service by approximately $17.8 million through rates effective Jan. 12, 2022, and by approximately $5.9 million (32.3%) through rates effective Jan. 12, 2023.

The action by the Commission suspends the rate change request for up to seven months and the case will now be assigned to the PUC’s Office of Administrative Law Judge for an investigation and recommended decision. More information on the ratemaking process is available on the PUC’s website at www.puc.pa.gov.

A final PUC decision on the PWSA rate cases is due by Jan. 12, 2022.

Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program Accepting Applications 

farmers market

The Allegheny County Department of Human Services Area Agency on Aging (DHS AAA) will administer the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program again this year by mail due to coronavirus concerns. This program helps eligible older adults to supplement their diets with locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables by providing a set of checks for a total of $24.

All eligible seniors who wish to participate in this program need to fill out an application. Earlier in May, Farmers Market applications were mailed to everyone who received checks last year. Anyone not having received the application who had previously received vouchers should contact SeniorLine at 412-350-5460.

To be eligible, you must: be an Allegheny County resident; be age 60 or older before December 31, 2021; not live in a residential facility providing meals; and meet income requirements ($23,828 annual gross income for a one-person household and $32,227 for a two-person household).

Applications will be accepted by mail through September 15, 2021. The form is available on the DHS website by clicking here, by calling the SeniorLine at 412-350-5460, or by calling participating senior centers.

Beginning Tuesday, June 15, the checks will be mailed to eligible Allegheny County residents until supply runs out. The checks may be used through November 30 to purchase produce that is grown in Pennsylvania or purchased directly from a Pennsylvania farmer.

For more information and to download the application, visit: click here.

Affording Higher Education Webinars

As the Vice-Chair of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), I want to alert students and families of upcoming webinars that focus on affording higher education.

For most families, borrowing for education is part of the equation and can be confusing as families look for the best options to fit their needs. Join Dan Wray and Linda Pacewicz of PHEAA for a one-hour webinar to increase your financial literacy and knowledge on the process of credit and how to maintain or improve ratings and comparison points to help make informed and affordable education borrowing decisions.

 This webinar, Deep Dive Into Credit Related to Education Funding is available at the following dates and times:

            Tuesday, May 25, 6:30 p.m.

            Thursday, May 27, noon

Anyone interesting in registering for any of these sessions can click here.

Fontana Fact

May is National Preservation Month in the United States. The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources. Today, more than 90,000 properties are recognized by the National Register for their significance in American history, architecture, art, archeology, engineering, and culture.