Senator Mario Scavello E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Senate Republicans Begin Series of Hearings on Combatting Rising Crime
  • Update on Route 611 Road Closure
  • National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is SATURDAY
  • Avian Flu in Pennsylvania: What to Know
  • Small Business Grants Available for Monroe County Small Businesses
  • Monday is the Deadline to Register to Vote 
  • Help is Available to Start a Small Business
  • Tips on Door-to-Door and In-Person Energy Sales
  • Around the 40th District

Senate Republicans Begin Series of Hearings on Combatting Rising Crime

The Senate Majority Policy Committee, which I Chair, kicked off a series of hearings on crime and public safety during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, gathering at the Cambria County Courthouse to get input from police, prosecutors, judges and key community groups. 

Pennsylvania has the highest violent crime rate of any state in the Northeast, according to FBI data. Between 2019 and 2020, no other state reported a greater year-over-year increase in violence. Driven by spikes in aggravated assault and homicide, Pennsylvania’s violent crime rate climbed 27.1% from 2019 to 2020.

Testifiers pointed to a growing difficulty in recruiting and retaining police officers, due in part to heated anti-police rhetoric in recent years. Others noted that drugs, mental health issues and the influx of residents from high-crime areas were driving up the number of offenses.

A top priority for Senate Republicans is to ensure Pennsylvanians feel safe in the towns, cities and communities they call home. These hearings will help legislators better understand the trends in crime from law enforcement and key stakeholders, and better match the Commonwealth’s economic goals with community objectives throughout Pennsylvania.

The next hearing on crime and public safety will be held Monday, May 2 in Lancaster County.

Update on Route 611 Road Closure

This week, PennDOT’s Monroe County Maintenance office will begin repair work on Rt. 611. This portion of the roadway, connecting Portland and Delaware Water Gap was closed on April 7th, due to a slope and retaining wall washout caused by heavy rain.

Repairs will include the removal and resetting of 517 sections of concrete barriers. They are removing the sections, shoring up the base material for support, and then resetting the section. Once this is complete, four areas of the roadway must be repaired. Two areas will be shored up with fill material, and the other two will have concrete slabs constructed to provide support for the roadway.

Pending availability of materials and weather, PennDOT is ESTIMATING this section of Rt. 611 will be open by the end of spring.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, remember, ALL of our amazing small businesses along Main Street in Delaware Water Gap and in Portland Borough are still accessible and open for business!!! PennDOT will be placing wayfinding signs for local businesses asap. Please support our small businesses during this difficult time! 

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is SATURDAY

Too often, unused prescription drugs find their way into the wrong hands. That’s dangerous and can often tragically lead individuals to heroin and fentanyl addiction.

That’s why it was great to see thousands of folks from across the country clean out their medicine cabinets and turn in – safely and anonymously – a record amount of prescription drugs each year during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day reflects DEA’s commitment to Americans’ safety and health, encouraging the public to remove unneeded medications from their homes as a measure of preventing medication misuse and opioid addiction from ever starting.

Click here to find a location near you!

Avian Flu in Pennsylvania: What to Know 

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture confirmed the state’s first positive cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in domestic poultry in several Lancaster County farms.

As of April 26, there have been five affected commercial flocks, zero affected backyard flocks, and a total of 3.8 million birds affected in Lancaster County. The most up-to-date status of confirmed Pennsylvania cases can be viewed on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these avian influenza detections do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States. Poultry products and eggs are safe to consume if stored and cooked at proper temperatures.

Both commercial poultry farms and Pennsylvanians with backyard chickens should be on high alert to protect their flocks from this highly contagious and fatal disease. Domestic poultry, including chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, quail, pheasants, emus and ostriches, are most susceptible to avian influenza.

If you have domestic birds, report sick domestic birds or unusual deaths in your flock to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture at 717-772-2852 option 1. The line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Information about the current state of HPAI in Pennsylvania can be found at the HPAI Address Search Application .

More information:

USDA Defend the Flock Program

PA Department of Agriculture Info on Avian Influenza

PA Game Commission Avian Influenza FAQs

Avian Influenza Resources and Response – Penn State Extension

Protect Your Flock Against Avian Flu — Center for Poultry and Livestock Excellence

Small Business Grants Available for Monroe County Small Businesses

NEPA Alliance through the Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance (PREP) serving Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill, and Wayne counties, will be providing grants of up to $50,000 for small businesses and up to $15,000 for micro-enterprises (small businesses that employ few people) located in one of those 7 counties that have been severely impacted due to COVID-19.

Click here, for an overview of Program Eligibility, a Preparation Checklist, Frequently Asked Questions, and information on how to apply.

Monday is the Deadline to Register to Vote

The deadline to register to vote in the primary election is May 2. You can register to vote and check your registration status online or download and print a registration form and mail it to your county election board.

Applicants using the online voter registration system must complete and submit their application by 11:59 p.m. May 2 to vote in the primary. Paper voter registration forms must be received in county voter registration offices by close of business on May 2.

People wishing to register to vote in the May 17 primary must be:

  • A U.S. citizen for at least one month before the primary
  • A resident of Pennsylvania and of the election district in which the person plans to register and vote for at least 30 days before the primary
  • At least 18 years of age on or before the date of the primary

The deadline to apply for mail-in and absentee ballots is May 10.

Help is Available to Start a Small Business

Next week is Small Business Week in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. It’s a good time to note the entrepreneurial opportunities and local economic benefits that small businesses provide.

Pennsylvania is home to 1.1 million small businesses that employ 2.5 million workers.

The Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop has resources for planning, registering, operating and growing a business. It includes CommonGoods, a new website helping consumers find and support local PA businesses while shopping online, and an eCommerce section to help small businesses establish and grow their online presence and sales.

Shoppers can support local employers and the local economy by patronizing small businesses. For every $100 spent at a small business, $48 goes back into the local economy in which the business is located. If that same $100 is spent at a big box store or national retailer, only $14 makes it back to the local economy.

Tips on Door-to-Door and In-Person Energy Sales

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is providing consumer tips on door-to-door sales and marketing activities by agents of competitive electric and natural gas suppliers, reminding consumers of their rights as well as their options when it comes to shopping for and selecting a competitive supplier for natural gas or electric service.

With the change of seasons and more daylight, there’s an uptick in door-to-door sales and marketing activity by competitive suppliers. In Pennsylvania, from April 1 through Sept. 30, hours for door-to-door sales and marketing expand one hour, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. When a local ordinance has stricter limitations, a supplier must comply with the local ordinance.

You are not required to choose a competitive supplier for electricity or natural gas supply. Agents who conduct door-to-door activities, or appear at public events, are required to wear an identification badge. They must immediately leave a residence when requested and must honor a customer’s request to be exempted from future door-to-door sales and marketing activities. You can find tips on avoiding deceptive or high-pressure sales here.

Around the 40th District

I recently had the honor and privilege of visiting with the great men and women of the Pocono Summit Volunteer Fire Company to swear in eight new Special Fire Police Officers.

Congratulations and best wishes to the new officers Amyleigh Johnson, Frankie Garofalo, Christopher Michiels, Samantha Castro, Kelly Michiels, Irma Rose Medina-Malat, Paul Malat, and Bill Drum. Thank you all for stepping up to the plate and serving your community!

Saturday, I stopped in to congratulate the Executive Director of the West End Park and Open Space Commission (WEPOSC), Bernie Kozen, on his retirement. Bernie has done a wonderful job in this position and will always be remembered as a man who did great work with an extremely large heart for others. Congratulations on your retirement Bernie!

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