|Are You Prepared?
With remnants of Tropical Depression Florence hitting much of Pennsylvania this past week, state and national officials remind residents that September is National Preparedness month, an opportunity to prepare ourselves and our families now and throughout the year.
As part of the awareness month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is urging residents to make and practice a preparedness plan, learn life-saving skills, check your insurance coverage and save for an emergency.
Residents should adapt their plans for all types of emergencies and disasters – residential fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, snowstorms, earthquakes, natural gas leaks and other events involving evacuations.
Tips and checklists are available online here.
Raising Awareness about Hunger
In recognition of September being Hunger Action Month nationwide, Rep. Garth Everett and I attended a breakfast this week at the Williamsport Healthy Food Hub. Thank you to Karen Woodings, advocacy manager for Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, her staff and all volunteers for their efforts to end hunger.
Grants Available to PA Dairy Farmers
A $5 million grant program to aid Pennsylvania dairy farmers, approved as part of the 2018-19 state budget, is now accepting applications through the state Department of Community and Economic Development.
The Pennsylvania Dairy Investment Program was established under Act 42 of 2018 to help dairy farmers overcome falling milk prices and other market challenges. The grants may be used for researching new technologies, products and best practices; marketing to new domestic and international markets; exploring new business opportunities to diversify their operation and revenue streams; transitioning to organic production methods; and incorporating or expanding value-added dairy production, such as cheese and yogurt products.
For more information about how to apply, click here.
Farm Conservation Tax Credits Available
To help farmers implement best management practices (BMPs) to prevent water pollution or purchase conservation equipment, $10 million in tax credits is available through the 2018-19 Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program.
REAP is designed for agricultural producers who install BMPs or make equipment purchases that reduce nutrient and sediment runoff, which improves Pennsylvania’s streams and watersheds. The program is administered by Pennsylvania’s State Conservation Commission.
Farmers may receive tax credits of up to $150,000 per agricultural operation for 50 percent to 75 percent of a project’s cost. The most common projects approved are for no-till planting and precision ag equipment, waste storage facilities, conservation plans, Nutrient Management Plans, and protecting animal heavy-use areas like barnyards. Cover crops and riparian stream buffers are also common REAP-eligible practices. REAP can be used in conjunction with other funding sources such as the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) or the Chesapeake Bay Program to help install BMPs.
For projects that include the proposed purchase of equipment, the equipment must be delivered by June 30, 2019. For projects involving the implementation of structural BMPs, all BMPs and BMP components must be completed by June 30, 2020, to be eligible.
REAP applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, click here.
PA Treasury Holding Military Decorations
The Pennsylvania Treasury announced the launch of a new state website dedicated to reuniting military decorations that have been reported as unclaimed property with their rightful owners.
The new search function allows users to search their names, or the name of a loved one, to see if Treasury is holding a military decoration as unclaimed property. In addition, users can look through a photo gallery featuring some of the decorations that are in the unclaimed property vault, as well as medals that have been returned to their rightful owners. Military decorations are often reported to Treasury as contents held in a safe deposit box that has gone unclaimed or abandoned.
Since 2017, Treasury has returned 58 service decorations, some of which have been in Treasury’s custody for decades, including Purple Hearts, to their rightful owners. Treasury continues to search for the owners of over 500 unclaimed military awards.
To search for unclaimed military decorations, click here.
New Website Offers Latest on Spotted Lanternfly
The spotted lanternfly (SLF), a pest native to China and Vietnam, was first discovered in Berks County in 2014 and presents a significant threat to Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry. Products specifically at risk include grapes, tree-fruit, hardwoods and nursery items.
The pest has since spread to 13 counties – Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Schuylkill – which are now considered to be part of a quarantine area.
While little is known about the insect's behavior and biology, researchers at the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working to gather scientific data on how to contain and manage this pest. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) and USDA are working to implement containment and control efforts.
Penn State Extension has compiled a comprehensive website with a lot of resources, including a checklist for homeowners in the quarantine area, tips for handling yard waste, ways to report and dispose of the insect, notices of public meetings, along with signs and symptoms, what’s at risk, where it’s found, and how the state is managing response to the insect. You can also sign up to receive the latest news, updates and alerts.
Click here to access the website.
Reminder: Join Me for a Free Gun Law Seminar
Rep. Garth Everett and I will be hosting a series of Gun Law Seminars in October. Presenters will include Lycoming County Judge Marc Lovecchio, who will discuss Pennsylvania’s Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws; Lycoming County Sheriff Mark Lusk, who will explain rules and regulations surrounding licenses to carry firearms; a police officer, who will discuss how to safely interact with the police when carrying a firearm; and an officer from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, who will discuss firearm carry laws as they relate to hunting seasons.
The events are scheduled as follows:
- Thursday, Oct. 18, 6-8 p.m. at Mountain View Alliance Church, 1515 Cemetery St., Jersey Shore.
- Tuesday, Oct. 23, 6-8 p.m. at Old Lycoming Township Volunteer Fire Co., 1600 Dewey Ave., Williamsport.
- Wednesday, Oct. 24, 6-8 p.m. at Hughesville Volunteer Fire Co., 2 S. Railroad St., Hughesville.
Seating is limited and advance registration is required. To RSVP, click here, or contact the district office by calling (570) 321-1270 or emailing Kristi Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org.