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Rayburn Water Expansion Project Completed
I was pleased to join with my colleague Representative Jeff Pyle for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on January 18 to complete the expansion of Manor Township’s water service to new customers in Rayburn Township.
Rayburn Township was awarded a grant of almost $5 million by PENNVEST in 2016 to install approximately 47,000 feet of water lines and build a 200,000 gallon water storage tank, pump station and related fire hydrants to provide water service to residents along portions of Iron Bridge Road, McMillen Road, Cownanshannock Road, Hayes Hollow Road, Anderson Creek Road, Sloan Hill Road, Mechling Road and the Route 28/66 areas in the township.
As a member of the PENNVEST Board, I was pleased to support Rayburn Township’s request for funding, just as I did for Manor Township when it applied for the funding that helped build the new water plant that made this expansion possible.
This infrastructure upgrade not only provides families with access to a safe and reliable water supply, but it also enhances the area’s attraction for economic development and job growth. This is an ideal area for development in Armstrong County. The 28/422/85 interchange has one of the highest traffic counts around and serves as a good mid-point to many communities.
Senate Begins 2019-20 Legislative Session
The Senate opened the 2019-20 Legislative Session with a swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday, January 1. Now that the festivities are done, it is time for the Legislature to get ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work for the people of Pennsylvania.
Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati recently reappointed me to serve as Chairman of the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee. I expect the committee will again be extremely active over the upcoming two years. We will certainly be following the recent federal court ruling on the federal Affordable Care Act and I anticipate that we also will be looking at other aspects of the healthcare marketplace.
I was also appointed to serve as a member of the Environmental Resources & Energy; Labor & Industry, Law & Justice; Rules & Executive Nominations; and State Government committees.
Armstrong County Company Continues to Grow
Bergad Specialty Foams and Composites in Armstrong County showed off its new 50,000 square-foot expansion during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on January 18. Paul Bergad is the definition of a home-grown, self-made entrepreneur. He started this business basically on his kitchen stove and this expansion brings this facility to nearly 140,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Since 2015, Bergad has grown from eight employees to almost 30 today and this expansion will allow for additional jobs in the coming years.
I commend Paul. His ability to make these types of foam products here in Armstrong County is remarkable. To think he has produced 55,000 miles of foam barrier for the oil and gas industry is pretty amazing – that’s more than enough to go twice around the world.
School Violence Prevention Program Now Up and Running
The Safe2SayPA school violence prevention program created by the General Assembly is up and running. It helps youth and adults recognize signals from individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others and anonymously report the threat to a crisis center, which reviews all submissions. More information and a downloadable app here: www.safe2saypa.org.
CEO promotes business efforts in Indiana County
Want to know what’s going on in the Indiana County business community? The Indiana County Center for Economic Operations (CEO) is a partnership organization dedicated to promoting the county as a great place to invest, work, live learn and play. To find out more about the CEO, click here
Armstrong County Steps Up its Blight Removal Efforts
I was in Kittanning on January 18 to offer my support for Armstrong County’s blight remediation efforts. Armstrong secured two separate $100,000 grants from the state Department of Community & Economic Development to develop a ‘land bank’ which can assist in the remediation of blighted properties in communities all over the county.
While tearing down buildings and the removal of blight is not always viewed as a positive, the reality is these buildings have no useful life, are delinquent on taxes and utility bills, and decrease the land value of neighboring properties. By removing these properties, it allows them to be returned to the tax rolls, often attractive for purchase by neighboring land owners and increases the overall property values of the community.
PENNDOT Snow Plows Can Be Tracked Online
After several years ramping up, online tracking of all PENNDOT snow plows is possible this winter on 511PA.com to plan your travel on interstates and expressways. PENNDOT winter operations use more than 2,248 trucks, plows, and salt spreaders across nearly 95,000 snow-lane miles. To use, click the “Plow Trucks” box above the state map at https://www.511pa.com/.
Game Commission to Recruit New Game Wardens
The Pennsylvania Game Commission will soon be recruiting a new class of State Game Warden Cadets.
The State Civil Service Commission will post a job announcement around January 28 under the title of “wildlife conservation officer” for prospective cadets at www.employment.pa.gov. The application period will remain open until February 23, or until 1,000 applications are received.
The class will report for training in March 2020 and graduate in 2021. The Game Commission is seeking up to 35 qualified candidates who have genuine interest in becoming State Game Wardens.
For more information about the position and how to apply visit www.pgc.pa.gov and click on Information & Resources, then Careers and Volunteers.
State Police Release New Year’s Holiday Weekend Results
The Pennsylvania State Police arrested 406 people for driving under the influence during the four-day New Year’s holiday enforcement period from Dec. 29, 2018 through Jan. 1, 2019. The total is an increase from the 284 DUI arrests made over the three-day holiday weekend last year.
Troopers investigated 642 crashes over the long weekend, compared to 1,169 crashes last year. Of the collisions investigated, 64 involved alcohol, 155 people were injured, and four people were killed in four fatal crashes. One of the fatal collisions involved alcohol.
In addition to DUI enforcement, troopers issued 6,370 speeding citations, 476 seat belt citations, and 115 child safety seat citations.
Crash and enforcement data by troop is available here. These statistics cover only those incidents investigated by state police and do not include statistics on incidents to which other law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania responded.
Mark Your Calendar
The Indiana County Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Business Expo will be held on Saturday, January 26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Indiana Mall. Come join us for this fun event featuring exhibitors from local businesses as well as entertainment and door prizes.
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