Senator Elder Vogel, Jr. E-Newsletter

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Dear Friend,

I am pleased to present my electronic newsletter. These e-newsletters enable me to provide information about issues, events and activities in Harrisburg and around the 47th Senatorial District to you in a timely manner while saving postage costs.

If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website www.senatoreldervogel.com for more information about your state government. If you do not wish to receive these e-newsletters, please click the “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the page.

Sincerely,

Elder Vogel Jr.

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December 10, 2018

I had a wonderful time with the Saxon Club Ellwood City American Legion Post. We enjoyed an awesome Christmas dinner and a great show by Vaughn. Look closely Ellwood folks, you may just know this Elvis! He played a killer Neil Diamond too! Thank you everyone for the Christmas wishes and well cheer.

Preventing Illegal Skimmers

While holiday shopping, the PA Department of Banking encourages vigilance when using automatic teller machines and gas pump card readers.

Illegal card readers attached to payment terminals capture the data from the card’s magnetic stripe or computer chip, leaving no trace of the theft until the victim’s information is used to make purchases. Immediately contact the PA State Police at 717-783-5599 or your local PSP Troop to report the theft of your personal financial and account information through card skimming.

A first time conviction for possession, sale, and use of a skimming device is a felony of the third degree, including a fine of up to $15,000 and 7 years in prison. Second and subsequent offenses result in a second degree felony, a fine up to $25,000 and ten years in prison.

Rent/Property Tax Rebate Deadline

The deadline for older adults and Pennsylvania residents with disabilities to apply for rebates on rent and property taxes paid in 2017 is Dec. 31, 2018. The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program benefits eligible residents age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.

For more information on the Rebate program please call my office at 724-774-0444. To check on the status of an already sent in rebate claim, please click here.

DCNR Grant for Marti Park

Wilmington Township has been selected to receive a Community Conservation Partnerships Program (CCPP) grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). The amount of $75,000 will be granted to Wilmington Township for the rehabilitation and further development of Marti Park on Phillips School Road. Work will include construction of pedestrian walkways, storm water management measures, installation of play equipment with required safety surfacing, landscaping, project signage, ADA access and other site improvements.

The CCPP program is administered by DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation to provide financial and technical assistance to local governments, river and trail organizations, land trusts, and other nonprofits for the planning, acquisition and development of park, recreation, and conservation or greenway projects.

I am excited to have these funds coming to Wilmington Township. The residents of Wilmington have worked hard in recent years to transform Marti Park into a true asset in our community, this grant is a testament to their dedication.

The DCNR Recreation and Conservation grant program is funded with a variety of state and federal funding sources, including the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund (Key 93), which includes Key-Community and Key-Land Trust, the Environmental Stewardship Fund (ESF), the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the federal Pennsylvania Trails Fund (PRT), and the Pennsylvania Heritage Area Program (HA).

Get Your Vehicles Ready for Winter

Motorists are being encouraged by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to travel prepared. Ensure you and your vehicle are winter-ready for a brief inconvenience or an extended emergency, potentially delaying your travel plans for several hours.

Pennsylvania winter conditions require that motorists ensure tires, antifreeze, wiper blades, heaters, defrosters, and lights-high and low beams, are fully operational. It is a good time to replace weathered belts, capable of snapping in frigid temperatures.

After your vehicle is winter-ready, don’t forget items to increase your comfort in case of a travel delay. PennDOT recommends packing an emergency travel kit, including any special needs such as medication, baby products, or pet food.

Pennsylvania Announces $5 Million in Homeless Family Aid

The commonwealth of Pennsylvania has announced more than $5 million in funding to help homeless families and promote homelessness prevention across the commonwealth. The funding is provided from the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program.

The ESG funding falls into four categories: rapid rehousing, homelessness prevention, street outreach, and emergency shelter. Rapid rehousing helps individuals and families who are homeless, fleeing violence, or living in a home not suitable for human habitation. Homelessness prevention helps families who are currently housed but may be in jeopardy of losing their housing. Street outreach connects unsheltered homeless individuals with emergency shelter and/or health services. Emergency shelter funding supports costs associated with operating an emergency shelter and renovations.

The grant offers $45,000 to Beaver County, $64,194 to Butler County and $1,276,142 to Lawrence County Social Services. These funds will be very beneficial to those in need this holiday season. For more information on the funds that other counties received or what the grant offers, please click here.

PACE/PACENET Eligibility Increase

The Pennsylvania Department of Aging has increased the PACE and PACENET income qualifications for seniors. PACE and PACENET eligibility is determined by your previous calendar year’s income. Since 2014, Social Security Medicare Part B premiums are excluded from income. This change has the same effect as raising the income limits by that amount. For most Medicare beneficiaries, this amount is $1,258.80 per person for a year. For married couples, the excluded amount would be $2,517.60 for a year:

PACE

  • You must be 65 years of age or older
  • A Pennsylvania resident for at least 90 days prior to the date of application
  • You cannot be enrolled in the Department of Human Service’s Medicaid prescription benefit
  • For a single person, total income must be $14,500 or less
  • For a married couple, combined total income must be $17,700 or less

PACENET

  • You must be 65 years of age or older.
  • A Pennsylvania resident for at least 90 days prior to the date of application.
  • You cannot be enrolled in the Department of Human Service’s Medicaid prescription benefit.
  • PACENET income limits are slightly higher than those for PACE
  • For a single person, total income can be between $14,500 and $27,500
  • For a married couple, combined total income can be between $17,700 and $35,500

For more information on PACE and PACENET, please click here.

Thank you to Ron McDermott and Bob Ekiert of Hometown Pharmacy for having me out to see your wonderful facility!

2019 Scholars in Residence Program

The PA State Archives and the Pennsylvania Historical Association are accepting applications for the 2019 Scholars in Residence Program. The program supports up to four weeks of full-time research in the manuscript and state record collections maintained by the State Archives. Open to anyone researching Pennsylvania history, including academic scholars, public sector professionals, independent scholars, graduate students, educators, writers, filmmakers and others. Deadline to apply is Feb. 15.

The Scholars in Residence Program has a four-fold purpose:

  • to promote the interpretation of Pennsylvania history
  • to encourage research that draws upon the Pennsylvania State Archives’ collections
  • to promote the dissemination of research findings to both the professional community of scholars and the public
  • To develop collegial relationships between scholars and Archives’ staff.

Stipends are awarded for a period of up to four consecutive weeks at the rate of $800 per week. Residencies may begin June 1 of the year in which application is made and must be completed by August 31.

For more information on the Scholars Program, please click here to visit the PA Historical Museum Commission webpage.

Hunters Sharing the Harvest

Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) is a Pennsylvania nonprofit venison donation program for hunters who share their extra venison via a statewide network of participating butchers to Food Banks across Pennsylvania.

HSH participating butchers are paid for their services through sponsor-supported donations. They help to coordinate the meat deliveries to the local food banks. In turn, the food banks redistribute the venison to more than 5,000 local food assistance provider organizations such as food pantries, missions, homeless shelters, hunger-relief organizations and churches that play a vital role in helping to fill the gaps for families and individuals at risk of hunger; HSH has distributed 1.2 million pounds of donated venison since 1991.

For more information on HSH, please click here to visit their webpage.

National Association of Insurance Commissioners National Locator

Since the National Association of Insurance Commissioners launched a free national locator service to make it easier to connect consumers with lost life insurance policies or annuities in November 2016, it has matched 1,546 Pennsylvania beneficiaries with $12,859,379 in life insurance benefits. The General Assembly strengthened the service by passing Act 48 in June. The law requires all companies selling life insurance policies in Pennsylvania to participate in this service. Prior to the law, insurer participation was voluntary.

The NAIC can assist consumers in locating life insurance policies and annuity contracts of a deceased family member or close relationship. For more information on this helpful service, please click here.

PA Industrial Hemp Research Permits

Applications and guidelines for 2019 PA industrial hemp research permits are now available. Sixty projects will be selected to help determine opportunities for the growth, cultivation and marketing of industrial hemp. Application deadline is Dec. 17.

Industrial hemp is a versatile agricultural plant which could one day be a valuable crop option for Pennsylvania farmers. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has taken some important steps toward making that a reality. Following the states passage of the Industrial Hemp Research Act, Number 92 in 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program started issuing permits for research & growth of industrial hemp in 2017.

As part of Pennsylvania’s Research Pilot Program, industrial hemp was legally grown in the Commonwealth after an 80 years hiatus. The Department of Agriculture has issued 35 research permits in the last two years to institutions of higher education and to farmers, business or individuals in contract with the Department to participate in the research of industrial hemp cultivation and marketing in Pennsylvania. In 2018, 35 research permits were issued to researchers, who cultivated industrial hemp in 25 Pennsylvania counties.

To find more information on permits or the program itself, please click here to visit the PA Agriculture website on Industrial Hemp.

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Please contact me to provide input on any state-related matter, or to receive help in dealing with a state agency.

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