In this Update:
$1.2 Million Awarded High-Speed Broadband in Senate District 35
Funds for providing high-speed broadband in unserved areas were awarded this week through the Unserved High-Speed Broadband Funding Program.
The program was created as a result of my legislation, Senate Bill 835 which was signed into law as Act 132 of 2020.
Several years ago, we heard the concerns of those in this Commonwealth that were denied access to reliable broadband. The pandemic highlighted the need for this essential service for education, work and economic development. I am pleased that our efforts have come to fruition to provide funding for these vital projects for my constituents. We will continue to work towards our goal of ensuring all Pennsylvanians have access to broadband.
One grant of $449,103 will provide for the construction of wired infrastructure in Allegheny Township, Cambria County. This will include the installation of 25 miles of fiberoptic cable to serve 400 residential and 50 business properties with higher broadband speeds.
The second grant of $818,962 will expand high-speed broadband networks in East Providence Township, Bedford County and Brush Creek Township, Fulton County by installing 74 miles of fiberoptic cable to serve 225 residential and 17 business properties.
Over $10 million in grants were awarded this week by the Commonwealth Financing Authority under the Unserved High-Speed Broadband Funding Program.
Virtual Read Across America Day
I had the honor to read “The Sneetches,” by Dr. Seuss to Ms. Chelsea Shirk’s third-grade virtual classroom as part of the Virtual Read Across America Day.
Visit to Bishop Carroll
This week I was invited to speak with Mr. Nagy’s AP Politics class at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School about my role in government. Thank you for the great questions.
Ribbon Cutting in Cambria County
My staff attended the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting at McKelvey Law Offices, LLC hosted by the Cambria Regional Chamber. Congratulations and best wishes.
Ribbon Cutting in Bedford County
I was pleased to have my staff join the Bedford County Chamber of Commerce for a Ribbon Cutting celebrating the opening of Performance Pipelining Inc.’s satellite location in Bedford. You can learn more about PPI and their sewer and pipeline rehabilitation business by visiting their website. Thank you to Chad Wilson and Garrett Washington for bringing another business to Bedford County!
Upcoming Event in Clearfield County
RSVP today here or call 814-266-2277.
Revenue Department Extends Call Center Hours for Tax Season
With the April 18 tax filing deadline approaching, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue is extending its customer service hours for taxpayers to get help by phone.
Personal income tax assistance will be available between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, by calling 717-787-8201.
Personal income tax assistance is also available through the department’s Online Customer Service Center. It contains answers to hundreds of common income tax questions and allows taxpayers to securely submit a question to the department through a process that is similar to sending an email. Department of Revenue district offices are also open to provide customer service. Taxpayers are encouraged to call ahead to schedule an appointment.
Winter Utility Disconnection Moratorium Ends March 31
Reminder to residential electricity customers: the winter utility disconnection moratorium will end March 31, meaning on April 1 shut-offs for nonpayment of bills will resume.
Between Dec. 1 and March 31, Pennsylvania has special rules for winter utility terminations for income-qualified households served by utilities regulated by the Public Utility Commission (PUC). During this seasonal termination moratorium, eligible households cannot have electric, natural gas or heat-related water service turned off for non-payment unless the utility receives permission from the PUC.
According to the PUC, the best action any at-risk consumer can take right now is to call their utility’s customer service hotline and ask for information about their customer assistance programs designed to make energy bills more affordable.
Adult Education Grants Available
State funding is now available to support lifelong learning through competitive Adult Basic Education Direct Service grants.
The grants are awarded to local adult education programs to provide free adult education and literacy activities to help adults improve their reading, writing, speaking, comprehension and mathematics skills, earn a high school equivalency credential, and develop the knowledge and skills for employment and economic self-sufficiency.
Applications must be submitted by April 7. For more information, you can view the Adult Basic Education Direct Service Grant Competition Information Webinar and access Frequently Asked Questions.
Saturday is Mentored Youth Fishing Day
Saturday, March 26, is Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day across Pennsylvania, an opportunity for young anglers and their adult mentors to fish for trout prior to opening day of the season.
Youth anglers must obtain a Mentored Youth Permit or a Voluntary Youth Fishing License and be accompanied by a licensed adult angler to participate. Adult anglers (age 16 or older) must possess a valid Pennsylvania Fishing License and a current Trout/Salmon Permit.
Unlike previous years with regional and statewide days, there is now only one, statewide Mentored Youth Fishing Day and one, statewide Trout Opening Day (April 2).
Vietnam War Veterans Day March 29
On March 29, 1973, U.S. combat and combat support units began to withdraw from South Vietnam.
It marked the beginning of the end of a conflict that cost the lives of more than 58,000 Americans. Returning veterans did not receive the welcome they deserved, and many dealt with the effects of war alone. National Vietnam War Veterans Day was established in 2017 for us to express our heartfelt admiration and to pay these veterans the respect they earned.
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