Prepare Yourself for Emergencies
As the nation comes together to help those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, Pennsylvania officials are reminding residents that National Preparedness Month begins Sept. 1. Throughout the month, households, businesses and communities are encouraged to prepare and plan for emergencies.
Well before emergencies strike, simple steps can be taken to prepare a family, school, workplace or community for any type of incident that would disrupt the day-to-day routine. Citizens are encouraged to visit www.ReadyPA.org to find sample checklists, contact lists and other preparedness tools to take advantage of before an emergency occurs. In particular, people should think about loved ones who may have special needs that could inhibit their ability to help themselves.
Follow @ReadyPA on Twitter and like facebook.com/BeReadyPA for additional helpful tips and information.
New Law Gets Tough on Animal Abusers
Animals now have greater protection thanks to a tough, new law targeting those who abuse animals which took effect Monday, Aug. 28.
Act 10 of 2017, also known as Libre’s Law, strengthens existing animal cruelty laws and makes it easier to prosecute a person who knowingly mistreats, abuses or neglects an animal.
Specifically, the new law outlines three tiers of cruelty and neglect, with charges ranging from a summary offense for denying an animal food or shelter to a third-degree felony for intentionally torturing an animal or causing serious bodily injury or death.
The new law also requires convicted animal abusers to forfeit their animals, sets limits on how long an animal can be tethered outdoors, and clarifies penalties for abusing a horse.
Hunter-Trapper Education Boosts Safety
Interested in hunting or trapping in Penn’s Woods? By law, all first-time hunters and trappers, regardless of age, must successfully complete Hunter-Trapper Education (HTE) training before they can buy a Pennsylvania hunting or trapping license.
A training certificate, which is recognized throughout North America, is awarded when the individual passes the test at the end of the course. Individuals must be at least 11 years old to enroll in a class. The training is designed to produce safe, responsible, knowledgeable and involved participants. Due to hunter education, hunting is safe and getting safer.
Two options are available to complete the course -- in a classroom or entirely online (for those who are 16 years of age or older). Click here to learn more about HTE and view other training programs available.
PHEAA Encourages Caution with Solicitations
The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) reminds students and families to be extremely cautious if solicited by any company offering financial aid application assistance, scholarship searches or student loan debt relief, such as through loan consolidation, loan cancellation, loan forgiveness or defaulted loan assistance. These companies typically charge significant upfront fees for services – sometimes through non-existent programs – that are readily available for free from the federal government.
To find financial aid opportunities, parents and students should research FREE sites such as EducationPlanner.org, MySmartBorrowing.org, StudentAid.ed.gov and StudentLoans.gov. In addition, NerdWallet’s Watch List names companies that charge for fraudulent or questionable debt relief services.
Students and families who believe they have been targeted or victimized by a scam should complain to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Traveling Over Labor Day? Check Traffic Conditions on 511PA.com
Travelers can log onto www.511PA.com to check current traffic impacts from construction, traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 770 traffic cameras. The service is free and available 24 hours a day.
511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.
Travelers are always reminded to buckle up, put their phones away and stay sober when behind the wheel.
In other PennDOT news, driver license and photo centers will be closed Saturday, Sept. 2, through Monday, Sept. 4, for Labor Day. Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov.
• Offices will be closed on Monday, Sept. 4, for Labor Day.
• A representative from the VA will be in the Bloomsburg district office from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 5. By appointment only. Call 570-387-0246 to make an appointment.
• A Drug Forum will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 6, at Berwick High School from 6-8 p.m.
• A Drug Forum will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at Bloomsburg High School from 6-8 p.m.
• A representative from Congressman Lou Barletta’s office will be in the Bloomsburg district office on Thursday, Sept. 14, from 1-3 p.m.
• The 162nd Annual Bloomsburg Fair will be held from Friday, Sept. 22, through Saturday, Sept. 30.