In this Update:
Groundhog Day at Gobbler’s Knob
In honor of Groundhog Day, I joined Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman at Gobbler’s Knob for Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction.
Catholic Schools Week Visit at Bishop McCort Catholic High School
This week, I was at the Bishop McCort Catholic High School in observance of Catholic Schools Week. I would like to thank Tom Smith and Jill Berkebile for the tour and conversation.
While at Bishop McCort Catholic High School, I had the privilege of presenting Pennsylvania Senate Citations to Mason Gibson and Lincoln Sledzianowski. Both Mason and Lincoln wrestled their way to National Championships over the summer.
Knocking Down Blighted Properties
Demolition on the 4th of 5 scheduled blighted properties in Cambria County started this morning along Ferndale Avenue, Ferndale Borough. Once completed this property will be used as a green space for many of the local recreation activities such as the bike lanes, trails and even the river. Since July 2018, the Redevelopment Authority of Cambria County has razed 37 blighted properties.
Police Academy Open House
Penn Highlands Community College is holding two Police Academy Open Houses to highlight the opportunities this program offers. The open houses are scheduled on February 15th and March 8th from 6 – 7pm. For more information visit here.
Upcoming Food Bank
Save the date! The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank will be holding a drive-up food distribution on Wednesday, February 8th from 12-2 p.m. at the Galleria Johnstown. You do not have to pre-register for this event.
PA CareerLink Pre-Apprenticeship Program
Want to build skills that employers are looking for while getting paid? The pre-apprenticeship program might be the perfect place to start. Your local CareerLink office can connect you with pre-apprenticeship opportunities in your community. Find your closest CareerLink here.
CamTran Route Change
Starting February 13, 2023, Route 21 will be adding a stop at the Child Advocacy Center on Work Drive in Richland Township. This service is upon request. If you have any questions about this stop please contact CamTran at 814-535-5526.
Report Tracks College Savings Accounts in Rural and Urban Counties
A new report from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Treasury Department evaluated trends in post-secondary education savings accounts, also known as PA 529 accounts.
PA Treasury offers two PA 529 plans: the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP), which allows families to save at today’s tuition rates to meet tomorrow’s tuition costs, and the PA 529 Investment Plan (IP), which offers a variety of investment options.
The report examined differences between rural and urban Pennsylvania beneficiaries in the amount of savings, consistency of contributions and types of accounts opened. Key findings:
The Treasury Department is increasing rural outreach to promote college savings. You can watch a discussion of the findings here.
How to File PA Income Tax Returns Online
Tax-filing season has opened, and the state Department of Revenue reminds taxpayers of the free online option to file their Pennsylvania personal income tax returns: mypath.pa.gov.
Taxpayers do not need to create a username or password to perform many functions in myPATH. That includes filing the Pennsylvania Personal Income Tax Return (PA-40), making a payment, responding to department requests for information and checking the status of a refund.
The deadline to submit 2022 personal income tax returns is April 18. Personal income tax assistance is also available through the department’s Online Customer Service Center and by calling 717-787-8201 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Taxpayers may also visit a Department of Revenue district office for state personal income tax filing assistance.
Federal Fire, EMS Grant Program Closes Feb. 10
Fire departments and non-affiliated EMS organizations have until Feb. 10 to apply for federal grants for equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources.
Administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program helps firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed resources necessary for protecting the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.
Fire and EMS organizations can find an application checklist, a rundown of recent program changes, Frequently Asked Questions, videos and more here.
Educational Gratuity Program Helps Children of Fallen Military Members
We owe a debt of gratitude to Pennsylvanians who served in the military, especially those disabled or killed during conflict. Part of paying that debt is helping to care for the impacted families.
The Educational Gratuity Program provides education financial assistance for children of honorably discharged veterans with service-connected disabilities who served during war or armed conflict, or children of veterans who died during war or armed conflict.
Children of eligible veterans must be between the ages of 16 and 23, living in Pennsylvania five years prior to application and attend a school within the commonwealth. You can read more about eligibility and applying here.
Entries Accepted for Statewide “Art of the State” Exhibition
Artists and craftspeople are invited to submit applications to show their work in the 56th annual “Art of the State” exhibition.
“Art of the State” is a juried exhibition open to Pennsylvania residents at least 18 years of age. Artists will compete in five categories: painting, work on paper, sculpture, craft, and photography and digital media. Entries must be submitted online. Additional information and the link to enter are available at statemuseumpa.org/artofthestate. The application deadline is May 5.
More than $4,000 in cash awards will be presented. “Art of the State” is scheduled to open to the public at The State Museum on Sept. 10.
Watch PA Wildlife Anytime from Home
You can watch black bears, eagles and snow geese this winter through the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s round-the-clock livestreams.
A new 24-7 livestream from a black bear den in Pike County brings to four the number of livestreams the Game Commission plans to run into the spring of 2023. Also showing are the Farm Country Eagle Livestream, which provides a bird’s-eye view into a long-established nest in a giant sycamore overlooking scenic farmland, the popular Hanover, Pa. Eagle Livestream and the agency’s Snow Goose Livestream capturing the migratory action at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area.
Pennsylvania’s black bears usually are born in January and begin walking in about eight weeks. They leave the den when three months old. Bald eagles typically lay eggs in mid-February and the eggs hatch in mid- to late March. Snow goose migration typically peaks at Middle Creek from mid-February to March.