Senator Stefano E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Fayette Chamber Hosts Annual Dinner
  • PennDOT Provides Project Updates
  • Updates to Bedford County Airport Unveiled
  • Cutting the Ribbon on New Businesses in the District
  • Smart Saving Upgrades Pennsylvania’s Financial Standing
  • Senate Approves Bill Enabling Better Service in Long-Term Care Facilities
  • Tuition and Loan Assistance for First Responders
  • Comment Period Open on Plan to Expand PA Internet Access
  • Deadline for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is Dec. 31
  • Happy Hanukkah!

Fayette Chamber Hosts Annual Dinner

The Fayette Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual dinner for over 300 members of the Fayette County, PA business community last week. Congratulations to all the award winners!

  • Herman Buck Award: Brittany Cooley, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Laurel Region
  • Small Business(s) of the Year: The Grayson House and JoltBike – Electric Bike Company
  • Non-Profit of the Year: One Voice One Community
  • Business Achievement, Individual: Dan Aller, Silvis Group
  • Chamber Impact Award: Tammy Nedrow, Commissioner Scott Dunn and Mary Over, Commissioner Vince Vicites
  • Community Service: Mary Ann Means, Hilton Garden Inn Uniontown and Paul Vis, Marcon Building Supply
  • Community Champion Award: Kelly Trott, Adventures with Kelly
  • Workforce Champion: Josh Krysak, Uniontown Hospital

PennDOT Provides Project Updates

  • Crawford Avenue Bridge: PennDOT District 12 invites the community to participate in a Virtual Plans Display of the Crawford Avenue Bridge Rehabilitation Project in the City of Connellsville, Fayette County. Information on the bridge project, including short overviews, is available online. The virtual plans can be accessed on the PennDOT website for two weeks beginning the evening of Wednesday, December 6 to Wednesday, December 20.
  • Traffic Signal Upgrades: PennDOT District 9 began a multi-location project to improve roadway safety with traffic signal upgrades on Route 56 in Windber, Somerset County, at both the intersection of Route 160 and the intersection of 24th Street. Read more about it here.

Updates to Bedford County Airport Unveiled

The Bedford County Airport celebrated recent improvements to its facilities with a ribbon cutting. Several projects over the past two years, including the paving of the runway, have come to a close. About $750,000 of both state and federal grants have gone toward renovating and expanding the airport to further economic development in Bedford County and the surrounding areas.

Cutting the Ribbon on New Businesses in the District

The Jeffery W Hughes Photography studio has a new home in the Uniontown Mall! On Tuesday, the Fayette Chamber of Commerce welcomed Jeff into his new space with a ribbon cutting. Congratulations!

Congratulations to Charis Realty Group who celebrated the opening of their new Bedford office by cutting a ribbon with the Bedford Chamber of Commerce!

Smart Saving Upgrades Pennsylvania’s Financial Standing

Because of sound financial management and strong budgetary reserves, one of the nation’s leading credit rating agencies – Fitch Ratings – upgraded the state’s bond rating from AA- to AA. The state hasn’t held the improved rating since 2014.

The upgrade is expected to lead to lower debt service costs, saving taxpayers millions of dollars. This is one of the reasons Senate Republicans have led the efforts to build the state’s Rainy Day Fund to historic highs and resist new recurring spending the state cannot afford.

Earlier this fall, Moody’s Investor Services and S&P Global Ratings both upgraded Pennsylvania’s long-term financial outlook from “stable” to “positive.”

Senate Approves Bill Enabling Better Service in Long-Term Care Facilities

The Senate approved a bill to enhance the availability and quality of service at long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 668 would address the workforce shortage in nursing homes that existed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and has grown in recent years as health care professionals left the field due to burnout. It would enable certified nurse aids (CNAs) to train to become certified medication aides (CMAs) and deliver common, minimally invasive prescribed medications to residents of nursing facilities. Currently, only registered nurses and licensed practical nurses can administer medications to nursing home residents.

CNAs would be able to complete a certified medication administration program established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. CNAs who complete the program would be registered as CMAs and would be authorized to administer certain prescribed medications in health care facilities.

Tuition and Loan Assistance for First Responders

Because of legislation passed by Senate Republicans, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency established a Tuition and Loan Assistance Program for active volunteer fire and emergency medical service providers.

After a year of service, volunteers are eligible for up to $1,000 of financial assistance per academic year. Volunteers must commit to five years of service following college graduation.

The legislation is designed to combat Pennsylvania’s crisis in attracting volunteer first responders, which has led to many fire and emergency medical service companies reducing services.

Comment Period Open on Plan to Expand PA Internet Access

A strong internet connection powers our economy and supports education, health care and more. Many Pennsylvania communities lack access to high-speed internet.

Development of Pennsylvania’s Digital Equity Plan was funded by federal dollars and aims to make high-speed internet available to more Pennsylvanians. You can review the plan and, until Jan. 8, 2024, take advantage of the public comment period to offer feedback.

The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) offers three ways to comment:

The PBDA will also host in-person and virtual Public Comment Sessions on the following dates:

Clearfield County: Dec. 7

Washington County: Dec. 14

Philadelphia: Dec. 16

Deadline for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is Dec. 31

The deadline to apply for the state’s 2022 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is Dec. 31. Applications and no-cost assistance are available from my district office.

Eligible participants can receive a maximum standard rebate of $650, but supplemental rebates can boost rebates to $975. The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 years or older, widows and widowers 50 years or older, and those 18 years or older with disabilities.

Claimants who already applied for their rebates may check the status of claims online or by calling 1-888-222-9190.

Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah, the Jewish festival that celebrates the ancient miracle of the oil burning a candle for eight nights, runs from Dec. 7-15. In honor of the holiday, people of the Jewish faith light a candle on their menorahs each evening for eight nights.

As our friends celebrate the rededication of the Holy Temple, we wish them Chag sameach!


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