Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. E-Newsletter

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In This Update:

  • 814 Area Code Mandatory 10-digit Dialing
  • Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank Hosting Food Distribution in Johnstown on March 10th
  • Hearing Highlights Importance of Getting Students Back in the Classroom
  • Funding Released to Support Struggling Restaurants, Hospitality Industry
  • PUC Urges Consumers to Explore Assistance Options
  • Wildlife Conservation Officer Training Program Applications Due March 14
  • New Resources Available for National Guard Members, Veterans and Job-Seekers

814 Area Code Mandatory 10-digit Dialing

Reminder from PA Public Utility Commission: callers in the 814 area code will have to use the area code plus the 7-digit phone number for local calls beginning April 3. It’s the next step toward arrival of a new 582 overlay area code needed to free up phone numbers. More from the PUC on how to prepare: 

https://www.puc.pa.gov/press-release/2021/mandatory-10-digit-dialing-in-814-area-code-begins-soon

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank Hosting Food Distribution in Johnstown on March 10

Drive-up food distribution Wednesday, March 10 at the Johnstown Galleria from 12-2 pm. Please read the pick up guidelines and policies in effect for safe and efficient drive-up food distribution. Make your reservation here.

  • The start time (12 p.m.) is the soonest you will be allowed to enter the distribution line. The distribution will end promptly at 2 p.m. Drive-up service will be discontinued at that time. You must arrive in the vehicle used to make your reservation. As long as you arrive in your vehicle with a reservation between the start and end time of the event, you will receive food.
  • Each reservation will receive one share (50 pounds of food)There are no exceptions. For one car to get multiple shares of food, the car must have more than one family or household and each household must complete a separate reservation. The same car and license plate can be used up to three times for the same event.
  • A single share of food may come in one or more pre-packed boxes and/or bags. When you arrive, stay in your vehicle at all times. After entering “distribution row”, put your vehicle in park and unlock your trunk or backseat for food to be loaded.  A volunteer will load the food into your vehicle. This helps us keep you safe during the pandemic and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
  • The Food Bank will be able to serve up to 1,200 vehicles at this distribution. For additional food, please contact your local food pantry or contact us for information about how to find a pantry near you. You can find a pantry by using our locator tool. 

Hearing Highlights Importance of Getting Students Back in the Classroom

A joint hearing of the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday explored the many ways the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted students, families and educators. The message from teachers, parents, students, representatives of state agencies and other key stakeholders was clear – Pennsylvania students need to be back in the classroom as soon as possible to safeguard their educational development and mental health.

Testifiers explained the numerous ways that school shutdowns and current policies are hurting young people and families. The hearing also included discussion about meeting the needs of students with special needs, challenges associated with virtual learning and hybrid models, the need for consistency in state and federal guidance to school districts, concerns about standardized testing during COVID-19, and much more.

Funding Released to Support Struggling Restaurants, Hospitality Industry

The Senate approved legislation that was signed into law last month to provide $145 million to Pennsylvania restaurants and other employers in the hospitality industry that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and Governor Wolf’s mitigation orders. Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity announced last week that the funding has been distributed to counties, clearing the way for employers to begin applying for grants soon.

The grant program will be administered by local economic development organizations and/or community development financial institutions. More details on how to apply in each county will be available within the next two weeks. 

PUC Urges Consumers to Explore Assistance Options

Consumers and businesses who are struggling with higher heating bills this winter are encouraged to explore assistance options before existing programs are changed or eliminated. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is urging individuals and employers to contact their utility company to learn about assistance programs that are available, including payment plans, late-payment fee waivers and other options to resolve overdue balances.

Consumers can also call PUC’s Bureau of Consumer Services toll free at 1-800-692-7380 for more information.

Wildlife Conservation Officer Training Program Applications Due March 14

Pennsylvanians who are interested in a career as a Wildlife Conservation Officer can apply now through March 14 to be a part of the next training program, which begins this summer.

The training includes a 26-week basic training course for municipal police officers in Hershey, followed by an additional 26 weeks of training at the H.R. Stackhouse School of Fishery Conservation and Watercraft Safety in Bellefonte, Centre County.

New Resources Available for National Guard Members, Veterans and Job-Seekers

The Pennsylvania National Guard Associations will host three virtual job fairs in the coming months to help connect veterans and other job-seekers with employment opportunities in their area. The first event will be held on March 24 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., with additional events scheduled on May 26 and July 28. Interested individuals can register to participate here.

The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) also recently announced a new online portal to help National Guard members and their families access education benefits, allowing applications for the Military Family Education Program and the Education Assistance Program to be completed online. More details on benefits are available on PHEAA’s website.

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