Drug Abuse Awareness Forum Set for Tuesday
To educate parents and children about the opioid epidemic devastating communities across Columbia County, I will be hosting a drug forum on Tuesday, April 24, at Benton High School from 6-8 p.m. The event is intended for both children and adults and being led by medical professionals and local experts.
The forum will provide information about drug abuse, the opioid crisis and ways to avoid drug addiction. Speakers will include Jeremy Reese, Columbia County coroner; representatives from Columbia-Montour-Snyder-Union Mental Health Service System; and a representative from a local rehabilitation facility.
Informational flyers, pamphlets and other resources will be available.
The forum is free and open to the public. Registration is not required. For more information, call Millard’s district offices at (570) 759-8734 or (570) 387-0246.
Promoting Self-Sufficiency with Welfare Work Requirements
To ensure that public assistance programs can benefit those in legitimate need, the House is advancing three measures designed to encourage self-reliance through work experiences. In other states with work requirements, families have seen their incomes double and have been able to follow their dreams of self-sustainability.
Passing the House this week was House Bill 2138, which would require the Department of Human Services (DHS) to institute work or community engagement requirements for able-bodied Medical Assistance recipients. The work requirements include being employed or attending a job training program for 20 or more hours a week or completing 12 job training program-related activities in a month. Exceptions do apply for those unable to work.
Also before the House is House Bill 1659, which would require healthy (able-bodied) adults without children to work, perform community service, participate in a work program or be enrolled as a full-time student in order to receive SNAP (food stamp) benefits.
Another bill advancing to help ensure maximum efficiency of welfare programs is House Bill 1618, which would require the forfeiture of any assistance allotments that are unused after a six-month period.
Filling In-Demand Jobs Now and in the Future
To help job creators fill in-demand jobs now and in the future, the House is considering a nine-bill bipartisan package this week seeking to improve career and technical education opportunities and enhance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum.
The package includes measures to promote public-private partnerships; remove barriers for qualified career and technical educators; expand awareness of training opportunities and future earning potential; increase flexibility for innovative secondary career and technical programs; enhance and promote articulation agreements; develop and maintain a comprehensive online career resource center; coordinate state-level career exploration and workforce development opportunities; improve local and occupational advisory committees; and add K-12 teachers to the membership of the Workforce Development Board.
The package was developed following recommendations made by the House Select Subcommittee on Technical Education and Career Readiness, which was created to study and review the Commonwealth’s career and technical education policy.
The bills are expected to receive a final vote in the House the week of April 30.
More information is available at http://www.pahousegop.com/ctefocus.aspx.
Keeping Students Aware of College Debt
To help college students track their student loan debt and make more informed decisions about borrowing, legislation passed the state House unanimously this week to require colleges and universities to annually notify students about their debt obligations.
House Bill 2124 would require colleges and universities, which receive federal student loan information for their students, to send letters to students with loans each year, updating them on their current student loan debt level and obligation. The letters would be mailed or emailed in advance of a student’s acceptance of additional funding and would include estimates of the student’s total debt at graduation and projected monthly payments.
Similar legislation in other states has substantially reduced student borrowing and helped students and their families to make more enlightened financial choices.
Outstanding student loan debt in this country has reached an unprecedented $1.3 trillion.
The measure is now with the state Senate for review.
‘The Wall That Heals’ to be Displayed at State Capitol May 9-13
“The Wall That Heals,” a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and an accompanying mobile Education Center, will be displayed on the State Capitol Grounds Wednesday, May 9, through Sunday, May 13.
The display will begin with an opening ceremony at 7 p.m. on May 9, and closing at 2 p.m. on May 13. The display will be open 24 hours each day, and admission is free.
Constructed of powder-coated aluminum, the wall features 24 individual panels bearing the names of more than 58,000 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam. Since many Americans have not been able to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF), creators of both the original wall and the replica, want to give all citizens, veterans and their family members an opportunity to see the memorial.
Additional information about the mobile replica can be found at www.thewallthatheals.org. For more information about the Capitol event, or to volunteer to watch over the wall while it’s on the Capitol grounds, please visit www.legis.state.pa.us/TWTH.
April is ‘Donate Life Month’
To encourage people to give the gift of life, House Resolution 821 was adopted by the House this week to declare April 2018 as Donate Life Month in Pennsylvania.
In Pennsylvania, about 8,000 people are on the organ donation waiting list and, on average, every 18 hours one of them will die waiting for the call that never comes.
The encouraging news is that more people are making the decision to “donate life.” About 4.7 million Pennsylvanians have said yes to organ and tissue donation by adding the donor designation on their driver’s license. More than 138 million Americans are registered donors.
In addition, Pennsylvania driver’s license and ID card holders can support organ donation programs with a $1 donation at the time of application or renewal. To date, nearly $14 million has been generously donated to the fund.
More information is available at www.donatelifepa.org.
Congratulations Are in Order
Congratulations to Drue Gerasimoff, a member of Boy Scout Troop 61, for becoming an Eagle Scout. Drue built a rock-climbing wall in the Main Township Park.
Around Our Community
It was my pleasure to attend last weekend’s street party celebrating 40 years of the Bloomsburg Theater Ensemble.
Pictured with me are Savannah Doss and Brenda Bennett from the American Cancer Society Action Network. Savannah and Brenda visited the Capitol this week.
Pictured with me are Ben May and Nick Igdalsky from Pocono Raceway.
Join Us for a Senior Caregiver Forum
In order to share resources with area caregivers, I am offering an Elder Caregiver Support Forum on Tuesday, April 24, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Northern Columbia Community Center, 42 Community Drive, Benton.
Attendees will have the opportunity to learn from brief, informative sessions and then have the chance to get their own questions answered.
The following organizations are slated to participate in the forum:
• Columbia Montour Hospice and Geisinger Home Care.
• Law office of Lutz and Petty.
• LIFE (Living Independently for Elders) Geisinger.
• Columbia-Montour Aging Office.
• Elder Care Coordinator (Life Care Program) from the Law Office of Kreisher and Gregorowicz.
• Columbia County Veterans Affairs Office.
Registration is required for this event. To register, call my office at 570-759-8734.
PennDOT Announces Traffic Deaths at New Low in 2017
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) recently announced that traffic deaths in Pennsylvania reached a new low in 2017, dropping to 1,137, the lowest since record keeping began in 1928, and 51 fewer than 2016.
While the number of highway deaths dropped in many types of crashes, there were significant decreases were noted in impaired driver, pedestrian and unrestrained fatalities. Fatalities in impaired driver crashes dropped from 341 in 2016 to 246 in 2017. Unrestrained fatalities also decreased from 408 in 2016 to 378 last year. There were 150 pedestrian deaths in crashes in 2017 compared to 172 in 2016.
Aside from the year-to-year decline, longer-term trends also continue to decrease. For example, compared to 2013, there were 71 fewer total traffic deaths, 203 fewer deaths in crashes involving impaired drivers, and 47 fewer unrestrained deaths.
Some types of crashes saw fatality increases in 2017. There were 153 fatalities that occurred in crashes involving drivers aged 75 years or older, up from 132 in 2016. Also, fatalities in red-light running crashes increased to 35 from 28 in 2016. Finally, fatalities in work zone crashes increased from 16 to 19.
The department also recently unveiled additional enhancements to its Pennsylvania Crash Information Tool (PCIT) website, www.dotcrashinfo.pa.gov, which uses reportable crash data from law enforcement to assist in reviewing this information. Users can now select a geographic location using a map by using a drawing feature that helps select a specific geographic area, like a public neighborhood, school or other geographic area, so that the map displays the reportable crashes for the selected location.
Motorcycle Safety in PA
In 2015, 27 percent of fatally injured motorcycle drivers were operating without a valid driver’s license. Additionally, three out of four motorcycle owners state that they have had at least one crash involving their bike, and 20 percent of owners who have been in a crash have had three or more during their lifetime.
Forty-nine percent of motorcyclist deaths in 2015 occurred on weekends, and those deaths were more likely to occur after 6 p.m., compared with weekdays.
The Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program offers free training to all Pennsylvania residents and active duty military with a class motorcycle learner’s permit or motorcycle license.
Training is offered for motorcycle drivers of all levels and includes: aspiring new riders, semi-experienced, three-wheeled and advanced riders.
The Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program offers classes throughout the entire year at multiple training sites throughout Pennsylvania. Class schedules are posted approximately four to six weeks in advance.
For additional information on obtaining your motorcycle learners permit, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation website: http://www.penndot.gov/Pages/default.aspx
Concealed Carry Seminar Set for April 25
Join me for a Concealed Carry Seminar on Wednesday, April 25, at Reliance Fire Hall from 6-8 p.m. Columbia County District Attorney Thomas Leipold and Columbia County Sheriff Timothy Chamberlain will share information about Pennsylvania’s concealed carry laws, as well as how to safely interact with the police while carrying a firearm. Seating is limited and registration is required. Please RSVP by calling my office at 570-759-8734 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Orangeville Fire Department will hold a Spring Craft Show on Saturday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Our Senior Caregivers Forum will be held at the Northern Columbia Community Center in Benton on Tuesday, April 24, from 10 a.m. to noon. Registration is required. Call (570) 387-0246 to register.
• Our third Spring Drug Forum will be held at Benton High School on Tuesday, April 24, from 6-8 p.m.
• Monthly Radio Address: Thursday, April 26, at 8:30 a.m. on WHLM 94.7 FM.
• The Renaissance Jamboree will be held in Bloomsburg on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• The Berwick ALS Walk will be held at Crispin Field on Saturday, April 28, at 9 a.m.
• Our fourth Spring Drug Forum will be held at Catawissa Fire Hall on Wednesday, May 9, at 6 p.m.