In this Update:
Pennycuick Appointed to Southeastern Veterans’ Center Advisory Council
I was just appointed to Southeastern Veterans’ Center Advisory Council. As a U.S. Army combat veteran and former county veterans affairs director, the welfare of our senior veterans is a heartfelt concern of mine, and I am grateful to have this opportunity to serve my fellow veterans. I am excited to work with my council colleagues to ensure that residents receive the dignified care that they deserve.
Ted Poatsy Recognized for 30 Years of Service
I would like to recognize Vice Chairman, Ted Poatsy on his 30 years of service to Upper Salford Township. Ted was given both a Senate and House certificate to commemorate this great milestone! Congratulations, Ted! You prove to be a major asset to the Township, and I wish you the best for continued success!
Pictured left to right: Upper Salford Township Supervisors Rick Sacks, Kevin O’Donnell (Chairman), myself, Ted Poatsy (Vice Chairman), PA State Rep. Donna Scheuren.
Upper Gwynedd Fire Department Annual Banquet
On Saturday, February 18, my office attended the Annual Upper Gwynedd Township Fire Department Banquet. On my behalf, Outreach Director Beth Ann Bittner Mazza presented certificates to the following firefighters to celebrate their milestone years of service to the community.
The firefighters recognized are: Mark Methlie, 45 years; Peg Poirie, 35 years; John Poirier, 35 years; Matthew Poirier, 25 years; Eric Geiger, 20 years; Matthew Kolar, 20 years; Tabitha Geiger, 15 years; Brittany Tomczak, 15 years; Steven Hudson, 15 years; Gabrielle Rosato, 5 years; Matthew O’Brien, 5 years.
Other awards presented included the President’s Award in memory of Matthew C. Huff to Krista Hoblitzell and the Chief’s Award in memory of John R. Bryant to Sarah Mendoza.
The Upper Gwynedd Fire Department (UGFD) is an entirely volunteer supported and consists of 90 members, including firefighters, rescue technicians, EMTs, and fire police that serves Upper Gwynedd Township and its surrounding communities. The UGFD responded to over 480 calls in 2022!
Thank you to UGFD Photograger, Bob Kelly, for capturing these great photos!
Berks/Montco Food Bank Locations
Food Banks are here for you. Find a food bank near you here.
Daily Bread Community Food Pantry
Manna on Main Street
Open Door Ministry
Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities/Cluster
The Lamb Foundation
The Open Link Inc.
Coventry Food Pantry
Salvation Army of Boyertown
Boyertown Area Multi-Service
Department of Banking and Securities to Begin Accepting Claims Against Diamond Money Order Company, LLC
*Claimants must have a copy of the money order to make a claim*
The Department of Banking and Securities is informing consumers who have purchased or are holding a money order from Diamond Money Order Company, LLC, or a “DMC Money Order,” that is not being honored, that the Department is now accepting claims against the company. The Department will work to recover funds for eligible consumers – more information on how to file a claim can be found below.
On February 1, the Department announced that it issued a cease-and-desist order against Diamond, a Pennsylvania-licensed money transmitter located in Levittown, and its owners Han-Young Huang and Michael Blicharski. The Department found that Diamond violated several provisions of the Money Transmitter Act and has been unable to fund any money orders since late January. Diamond and its owners were ordered to immediately cease all money transmitter activities and their transmitter license was revoked.
Read the full Cease and Desist Order.
Claim information: The Department will work to recover funds for those who hold a money order issued by Diamond under Diamond’s money transmitter surety bond. (NOTE: In order to make a claim for the recovery of funds, claimants must have a copy of the money order that was returned by the bank/business or a copy of the uncashed money order.) The holder of the claim may be the person who originally purchased it or may be the recipient of the money order that was used by the consumer as a payment. Claims can be filed by individuals, or by the companies that received money orders as payments from multiple individuals.
How to Make a Claim: The Department is urging those who hold a money order issued by Diamond to file a complaint with the department online. A complaint can also be filed by calling the Consumer Services Office at 1-800-PA-BANKS (1-800-722-2657). It is critical that claimants have a copy of the money order available and in hand prior to attempting to make a claim. Individuals who have already contacted the department and filed a complaint online do not need to submit another complaint. If additional information or documentation is needed, a representative from the Consumer Services Office will contact claimants through the contact information provided.
Improvement Project to Close Route 29 (Main Street) in Pennsburg, Red Hill Boroughs
PennDOT announces construction will continue on a project to improve mobility and safety on Route 29 (Main Street) between 10th Street and 11th Street in Pennsburg and Red Hill boroughs, Montgomery County.
Motorists are advised of the following travel restriction:
Local access will be maintained up to the work zone. Motorists are advised to allow extra time when traveling near the work area because backups and delays will occur. All scheduled activities are weather dependent.
To address speeding and traffic congestion through the work area, the project will also include variable message signs, speed humps, temporary traffic signals, and other safety measures.
Under this contract, PennDOT’s contractor will remove the superstructure and its upper portion of the existing Route 29 (Main Street) bridge over the former abandoned Perkiomen Railroad to allow for corridor improvements. This will eliminate the thru girder beams at the edge of the travel lanes to help elevate crashes and improve safety along the corridor.
Other safety features include:
H & K Group, Inc. in Skippack, PA is the general contractor on this $3.2 million project, which is financed with 100 percent state funds.
Motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras.
For a complete list of construction projects impacting state-owned highways in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties, visit the District 6 Traffic Bulletin.
Information about infrastructure in District 6, including completed work and significant projects, is available at www.penndot.pa.gov/D6Results. Find PennDOT’s planned and active construction projects at www.projects.penndot.gov.
Subscribe to PennDOT District 6 news and traffic alerts at www.penndot.pa.gov/District6.
Follow PennDOT on Twitter and like the department on Facebook and Instagram.
Resources Available to Help Pennsylvanians with Rising Energy Costs
As energy costs continue to rise, please be aware that resources are available to minimize the financial burden and to assist with payments already owed.
Ratepayers can immediately lower their energy bills by switching to a competing electric and natural gas supplier using PAPowerSwitch.com and PAGasSwitch.com. Read all terms thoroughly to understand if the contract includes a fixed or variable rate before making a decision.
Those who are having difficulty paying bills currently should call the utility company to work out a payment plan to avoid additional fees associated with the reconnection of service. Financial assistance is also available for many ratepayers through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). New applicants can apply for the program at www.compass.state.pa.us.
Of course, the most effective way for Pennsylvania to combat rising energy costs is for lawmakers to unleash our state’s energy potential, which is why Senate Republicans are prioritizing the advancement of policies that create greater energy independence.
In addition, the Senate advanced Senate Bill 1, which included a proposed constitutional amendment to prevent the executive branch from imposing onerous regulations like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – a regulation that will not only cost 22,000 jobs, but also could nearly quadruple new electricity costs for consumers. While the General Assembly can’t undo this already imposed, costly executive action, it can prevent Pennsylvania from being saddled with similar regulations in the future.
Important Message for Unemployment Compensation Recipients
Several important changes are being made to the way Unemployment Compensation benefits are paid onto prepaid debit cards.
Beginning on or about March 6, Money Network prepaid debit cards will be mailed to UC recipients who receive benefit payments via prepaid debit card. The Money Network prepaid debit card will replace the U.S. Bank card currently in use.
Recipients will need to learn how to activate the new money network prepaid debit card and ensure their address is correct, among other steps. PA Treasury explains the process here and provides an extensive Frequently Asked Questions page here.
Medical Assistance and CHIP Recipients Must Submit for Renewal
Starting April 1, Pennsylvania is required by federal law to review the eligibility of Medical Assistance (Medicaid) and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) recipients every year, which means recipients must submit a renewal. Important information is posted here.
While the Department of Human Services (DHS) still sent renewal notices during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, most people were not disenrolled from Medicaid or CHIP because of a change in eligibility. DHS is returning to the normal eligibility processes.
No one will lose their health coverage without having an opportunity to complete a renewal, and renewals will be completed over 12 months. Renewals due in March 2023 will be the first affected by the end of continuous coverage. If a person is found ineligible for their current coverage or does not complete their renewal on time, their coverage will end.
Information about when a person’s annual renewal is scheduled can be found on COMPASS or on the myCOMPASS PA mobile app. Anyone can set up a COMPASS account at www.dhs.pa.gov/compass and, if they have a mobile device, can download the myCOMPASS PA mobile app for free.
Scam Warning: “Final Demand for Payment” Letters
The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has issued a warning about scams designed to trick people into turning over sensitive data and personal information.
One recurring scam involves phony letters sent to taxpayers through the mail. The “Final Demand for Payment” letters threaten wage garnishment and the seizure of property or assets unless the recipient calls a phone number to satisfy a lien.
If you are concerned about a potentially fraudulent notice, visit the department’s webpage for verified contact information. This will help you ensure that you are speaking with a legitimate representative of the department.
And if you believe you are a victim of tax fraud or tax-related identity theft, contact the department’s Bureau of Fraud Detection and Analysis by emailing Raemail@example.com or calling 717-772-9297.
Monthly Appropriations Update Details Lagging PIT Payments, Improving Rainy Day Fund
Each month, the Senate Appropriations Committee prepares a monthly update on the financial health of the Commonwealth. The most recent report includes information on:
The full update, including the full monthly revenue report, is available here.
National Cancer Prevention Month: Information on Risk and Research
Every family will be touched by cancer at some point. National Cancer Prevention Month is a good time to consider information that could help prevent heartache.
The National Cancer Institute has comprehensive information on cancer prevention, risk factors, the role of genetics, and the latest research into causes and prevention.
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