Senator Bob Mensch E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • The Mensch Report: PA Capitol Preservation
  • Plan a Visit to the PA Capitol
  • Around the 24th District
  • DEP Offering Grants to Small Businesses and Farmers
  • Loans Available for June Flood Damage
  • After Flooding – Safety and Recovery
  • Boating Under the Influence
  • PA Hunting Season Updates
  • Farm Stays Popping Up in PA
  • New Law Uses Stolen Valor Fines to Help Veterans
  • How to get a REAL ID

The Mensch Report: PA Capitol Preservation

August 2019 - Capitol Preservation Committee

Take a behind-the-scenes look at the Pennsylvania Capitol, and learn about the work of the Capitol Preservation Committee on this edition of the Mensch Report.

Plan a Visit to the PA Capitol

Come in out of the summer heat and enjoy a Pennsylvania State Capitol Scavenger Hunt.  Take your first glimpse of the historic Moravian mosaic tiled floor and the Coat of Arms greeting all who step through the revolving door and onto the floor of the Rotunda.

Some 400 Moravian mosaic picture tiles dot the floors of the stately Capitol and represent more than 250 artifacts, animals, birds, fish, insects, scenes, industries, and workers from Pennsylvania history.  Circle the marble staircase and begin to widen your path to encompass the entire PA Capitol Rotunda and first floor hallways, being sure to checkoff each creation as you continue your search.

See the art, architecture, and history contained in the “the handsomest building” President Theodore Roosevelt ever saw.  Drop by the Senate Library for the current exhibition honoring Senators and Senate Librarians who served the country during war.  While planning your trip, allow for a visit to the Interactive Welcome Center and the Capitol Gift Shop.

Around the 24th District

It was a pleasure meeting Mr. Cody Youse who received my Good Citizenship Award at Boyertown Middle School East. Congratulations Cody!

DEP Offering Grants to Small Businesses and Farmers

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced the availability of in grant funding to Pennsylvania small businesses and farmers for energy efficiency, pollution prevention, and natural resource protection projects.

Eligible projects include adopting or acquiring equipment or processes that reduce energy use or pollution. New to the program this year is the opportunity for small business owners to install solar hot water systems for their business operations.

Pennsylvania-based small business owners with 100 or fewer full-time equivalent employees are eligible. Projects must save the business a minimum of $500 and 25 percent annually in energy consumption, or pollution-related expenses.

Businesses can apply for 50 percent matching funds of up to $7,000 to adopt or acquire energy-efficient or pollution prevention equipment or processes. Only costs incurred between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020, are eligible.

Applications will be considered on a first come, first served basis, and will be accepted until fiscal year 2019-20 funds are exhausted or April 12, 2020, whichever occurs first. The complete grant application package, which includes step-by-step instructions and instructional videos for completing the online application, is available by visiting the DEP Small Business Ombudsman’s Office website.

The Small Business Ombudsman’s Office will conduct an instructional webinar on Tuesday, July 30, at 11:00 AM. The webinar will review the guidelines for the 2019-20 grant year. Applicants and contractors are encouraged to participate. To join the webinar, click here. To participate via audio only, call 267-332-8737, and use conference ID number 4410 1371#.

Loans Available for June Flood Damage

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved the Governor’s request to declare a disaster in Berks County due to significant flood damage to homes and businesses sustained from severe storms June 20 – 21, 2019

Homeowners, renters and businesses affected by the storms in Berks County, as well as neighboring counties Chester, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery and Schuylkill may be eligible for low-interest disaster loans through the SBA Disaster Loan Programs. 

Low-interest loans of up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. SBA regulations permit loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. Businesses and nonprofits can borrow up to $2 million to restore damaged or destroyed buildings, inventory, equipment and assets. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial qualifications.

Individuals and businesses may obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired), or by e-mailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Loan applications can also be downloaded at www.sba.gov/disaster. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Completed applications should be returned to the local DLOC or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Sept. 20, 2019. The deadline to return economic injury disaster loan applications is April 22, 2020.

Heat Waves and You

Each year, heat waves kill more people than hurricanes, lightning, tornados, earthquakes, and floods combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Remember to stay cool, hydrated, and informed during a heat wave.

Heat stroke can lead to brain damage and death if the victim is not quickly cooled.  Chronic conditions and prescription drugs may impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature, creating critical conditions for the elderly.  Those with disabilities and special medical needs may struggle with mobility making it imperative to alert a trusted neighbor to your situation.

Also at increased risk are overweight individuals, those with physical illnesses, and infants and children.

Individuals who work or exercise outdoors during extreme heat are susceptible to dehydration and heat-related illness during a heat wave.  Familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of the five heat-related illnesses.

After Flooding – Safety and Recovery

Disruption of your family’s routines following flooding can be eased through preparation and knowingly anticipating possible problems when you re-enter your property, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The first step in flood recovery begins with making the necessary calls to power down all possible sources of fire, electrocution, or explosions to re-enter your home. Four additional issues to address include:

  • Cleanup – Twenty-four to forty-eight hours of home flooding causes mold growth. One cup of household laundry bleach per one gallon of water kills surface mold. 
  • Immunizations – Increases in communicable diseases and open wounds may occur post-flooding.
  • Swiftly Flowing and Standing Flood Water – Risks range from drowning to diarrheal diseases to encounters with displaced animals, insects and reptiles.
  • Chemical Hazards – Household, medical, and industrial chemicals can contaminate the environment.

Follow debris removal guidelines to safely expedite cleanup.  Consult the Federal Emergency Management checklists for post-disaster cleanup recommendations.

Boating Under the Influence

Sunshine, wind, and waves usher in a beautiful day of boating unless the operator is under the influence of alcohol (BUI) p. 43, according to the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.

Waterways Conservation Officers report 14 individuals lost their lives in 2018 boating accidents.  In at least three of those cases alcohol or drugs were a contributing factor.  During the first six months of 2019, Pennsylvania witnessed the arrest of 12 individuals for BUI.

Pennsylvania’s BUI laws apply during the operation of non-powered watercraft, including canoes, kayaks, inflatable boats, and rowboats.  An individual 21 years of age or older is considered over the legal limit with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%.  For those under 21 years of age, the legal limit is a 0.02% BAC.

PA Hunting Season Updates

Deer hunters gain an extra Saturday during the 2019-20 firearms season rather than delaying opening day until the Monday after Thanksgiving, according to the recent Pennsylvania Game Commission decision.  With a third Saturday, firearms deer season expands to 13 days.  Opening day for antlered and antlerless deer during 2019 will be Saturday, November 30 instead of Monday, December 2.

Look for a few other changes on the horizon this hunting season.  Licensees will receive a complimentary, print copy of the updated Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping Digest rather than the $6 charge levied in 2018-19 and 2017-18.  Anyone preferring an online version of the Digest may still go digital.

Costs for general adult hunting licenses and furtakers licenses will remain the same at $20.90 for Pennsylvania residents.  Enter one or all three lottery drawings by July 31 for archery or rifle season.  The application fee for each season is $11.90 or $35.70 to apply for all three.  One elk license per hunter will be issued for the 2019-20 season.  Review the PGC special and add-on licenses for additional fees.

Farm Stays Popping Up in PA

Growing interest in getting back to the farm for both food and fun is evident in the growing number of Farm Stays popping up in Pennsylvania, according to VisitPA.

Visitors are welcome to enjoy more than 60 PA Farm Stay options.  An Amish Farm Stay is a rare opportunity to observe a different and historical lifestyle.  Seize the opportunity to “Be a Farmer for a Day” or just take in the sights and sounds of farm life.

Lodging options range from lovely 1800’s log farm houses to cozy cabins to a rustic hilltop yurt.  Bed and Breakfast establishments also offer comfortable, modern cottages surrounded by nature and a 100 cow dairy farm.  Those partial to alpacas enjoy their farm stay with a bedroom deck overlooking a packed pasture.  From the farm to the city, VisitPA offers unique opportunities for food and fun across eleven regions of Pennsylvania.

New Law Uses Stolen Valor Fines to Help Veterans

Among the PA Senate bills enacted this session was Act 62, which ensures that “Stolen Valor” fines collected from individuals impersonating a military veteran go into the PA Veterans’ Trust Fund to support organizations helping veterans. This allows us to defend the integrity of military service while aiding veterans in need.

How to get a REAL ID

Want to learn more about REAL ID? Visit my interactive webpage to learn more about who needs REAL ID and how to obtain it.

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Twitter and Facebook I post regular updates on legislative action, committee developments, useful state-related information, happenings in the 24th Senatorial District and more on Twitter @SenatorMensch and on my Facebook page.

If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website www.senatormensch.com for more information about your state government.

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