Thank you for subscribing to my E-newsletter. I am honored to serve the 36th Senatorial District and look forward to working with you toward building a stronger Pennsylvania. This E-newsletter serves to keep you updated on what is happening throughout Lancaster County and what I am doing as your State Senator in Harrisburg – I hope that you find it helpful! Should you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please DO NOT reply to this email; instead, please feel free to contact me here.
In this Update:
Higher Education Should Focus on Outcome, Not Experience
Decades ago, the expectation wasn’t that everyone went to college. Instead, it was understood that the right decision for some children was to enlist in the military, pursue technical training or even jump directly into the workforce after high school. Students weren’t pigeonholed into an experience they may not enjoy or even find beneficial.
Now, the widely accepted message seems to be that without attending college, people should not expect to achieve sufficient financial stability to facilitate the life they desire. The problem with that belief is that it’s simply not true.
What’s more, it only fuels the misdirected fixation that has been more commonly emerging in higher education.
Lost are the days when higher education focused on in-demand skills and careers without the glitz of expansive campuses and high-end housing. College seems to have jumped from a purposeful educational pursuit to a social experience where young adults pay top dollar with no assured career or financial stability afterward.
Simply forgiving student loan debt won’t solve these deeply rooted issues within our system of higher education.
It’s time to reshape our education system into one that meets the economic and workforce needs of the Commonwealth. To move the state forward, I sponsored a bill that was passed earlier this year to create the Pennsylvania Commission on Education and Economic Competitiveness.
The commission will be tasked with creating a statewide vision for delivering a 21st century education to Pennsylvania’s students. Read more here.
Violence Intervention & Prevention Grants Available
Local municipalities, district attorneys, counties, community-based organizations and institutions of higher education can apply now for Violence Intervention and Prevention funding under two grant programs.
Under the VIP Competitive Grants Program, eligible applicants can request funding for a wide range of programs that address community violence and prevention efforts. The deadline to apply is Oct. 12.
The Coordinated Community Violence Intervention Strategies Pilot Grants Program supports collaborative community violence prevention and response strategies within contiguous geographic areas. The deadline to apply is Oct. 31.
PCCD will host informational webinars for prospective applicants to provide an overview of these funding opportunities and offer a chance to ask questions and receive instructions on the application process. Registration for the webinars can be found under “FY 2022-23 VIP Application Resources” here.
Generous Gift Supports Vulnerable Lancaster County Ratepayers
It was humbling to see our community come together to support those who are struggling with record inflation and soaring electric rates. Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County, Dynegy, and Vistra stepped up to provide immediate aid to electric ratepayers with a $30,000 donation. Because of the donation, families and individuals in Lancaster County – and for the first time, Ephrata, too – will be able to access financial aid to help them pay their electric bills.
Observing Vehicle Rescue Training in Martindale
I appreciated the opportunity to join members of the Martindale Volunteer Fire Department Station 3 during their vehicle rescue training. It was interesting to observe the drill and learn more about how our local firefighters work so hard to keep us safe.
I am grateful for your sacrificial service and professionalism. Best wishes to all of our first responders!
Learning about the Mission of Grace House in Ephrata
I recently visited Grace House, which provides a sober and safe living environment in Lancaster and Berks counties for women who are recovering from the disease of addiction. Grace House offers two locations in Pennsylvania: one in Ephrata and another in Wernersville.
Learn more here about the transformational work they are doing.
Comments Accepted on PA Freight Movement Plan
The public comment period for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s 2045 Freight Movement Plan ends Oct. 5.
The plan provides information on steps to improve the safety and efficiency of moving freight statewide. Having an approved and up-to-date freight plan helps ensure Pennsylvania remains eligible for federal funding under the National Highway Freight Program. This federal program will add an average of $58.5 million annually to the state’s program.
Bird Hunters Reminded to Take Avian Influenza Precautions
As the outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) continues, the Pennsylvania Game Commission urges the public to continue reporting wild bird mortality events, and hunters who handle wild birds are advised to continue to take precautions.
Several hunting seasons for wild birds are either underway or will begin soon. If hunters properly handle the wild birds they harvest, they protect themselves and help reduce the risk that this extremely contagious disease spreads to other birds. Bird hunters should:
Any sick or dead domestic birds should be reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture at 717-772-2852. Sick or dead wild birds should be reported to the Game Commission at 1-833-PGC-WILD or online using the Wildlife Health Survey tool at www.pgcapps.pa.gov/WHS.
Tours of State Game Lands Slated for October
The Pennsylvania Game Commission is holding public tours of state game lands in October.
Nine tours are scheduled throughout the state, the first of which will be held Sunday, Oct. 2. More tours are planned each Sunday through Oct. 16.
The tours provide a good example of the opportunities available on game lands statewide, while showcasing how habitat work being done on these tracts benefits wildlife. All tours are free, held rain or shine and open only to vehicles licensed for travel on public roads. You can find the complete tour schedule here.
New Hayride Standards Subject of Oct. 5 Webinar
Many farmers, other business owners and individuals offer hayrides in the fall to supplement income or for community events. In 2023, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) will be enforcing newly adopted national standards for hayrides.
The department and the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau will offer a webinar Wednesday, Oct. 5, at noon to discuss the new standards, which cover hayrides and amusement rides.
The standards were developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials, an international standards organization. The PDA has been informing operators that it will begin enforcing those requirements under the state Amusement Ride Inspection Act beginning next year.
Recognizing that the standards are burdensome and there are nuances and variations that exist with hayrides on farm and agritourism operations, PDA officials will participate in the webinar to receive input from businesses and individuals whose operations these regulations might affect.
To register for the Hayride Attractions & Amusement Rides Webinar, please email Kyle Kotzmoyer of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoying PA’s World Class Fall Foliage
Pennsylvania has a longer and more varied fall foliage season than anywhere in the world, and experts are available to serve as regional advisers, offering tips and resources to help residents and visitors experience a colorful autumn in a variety of ways.
Weekly fall foliage reports can be found online on the DCNR website. The report will be updated every Thursday. Fall foliage typically peaks for several weeks throughout October across Pennsylvania. Visitors can get suggestions about the best spots to view fall foliage on the Penn’s Woods Fall Foliage story map and on the Pennsylvania Tourism Office website.
Foliage viewers can also check out one of Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks and more than 2.2 million acres of state forestland for some of the best views, recreation trails and park experiences. State foresters and park personnel are also available to recommend the best times and locations to experience the beautiful vistas of the season.