In this Update:
Bloomsburg Elks 125th Anniversary
A member of my staff, Kristy Heintzelman, was proud to present a Senate Citation in recognition of the Bloomsburg Elks Lodge’s 125th Anniversary. Bloomsburg Elks Lodge #436 was chartered and granted dispensation in 1898. Originally consisting of 34 charter members, the Bloomsburg Elks Lodge now has 815 members and continues to grow! The Elks are a very giving organization providing charitable services to those in need and also remain deeply committed to our Veterans. Congratulations to the Bloomsburg Elks Lodge No. 436 on their Anniversary!!
Group picture left to right: James Michael, Jr. Lodge Secretary; Kristy Heintzelman: Samuel Haynes, Exalted Ruler; Denise Stone, 125th Anniversary Chair; Henry Augustine, President, Board of Directors
Lights of Hope Event
Every Lights of Hope Bag tells a story. I recently had the honor of being invited to the Lights of Hope Across America Susquehanna Valley’s event at the Meadow’s Community Center in Danville. Unfortunately, cancer has touched so many of us and every Light of Hope Bag told a story of individuals who have lost a loved one to cancer, individuals who are currently battling cancer or those individuals who have beaten this dreadful disease. It was both sad and inspiring to read the various stories from individuals who purchased a bag in honor of a loved one who is battling or has battled cancer.
Gym Starz Gymnastics Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
I recently celebrated another small business success story. I attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week with the Bucknell Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for Gym Starz Gymnastics and its newly renovated facility, which spans nearly 16,000 square feet and has cutting-edge training amenities. Gym Starz Gymnastics is located at 206 Armory Road in Sunbury. It is a family owned and operated gymnastics studio that has been operating since 1978. Thank you to the Bucknell SBDC and congratulations to owners Gary and Angie Heckman and all the coaches and staff on their tremendous success.
All Home Days Celebrates Veterans
I enjoyed attending the All Home Days celebration at Ralpho Township Community Park in Elysburg. I was happy to attend an event that honors our veterans and celebrates community pride. This event is more than 100 years old and originally started to honor the troops from World War I. The Field of Flags and the patriotic focus of this event are amazing. Thank you to all the veterans, organizers and vendors for keeping this wonderful event an important part of our community.
Remembering the Sept. 11, 2001 Attacks
Monday marks the 22nd anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on our country, including one that resulted in a plane crash in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. It is with a heavy heart that we remember the devastating attacks and wish peace for the families who lost a loved one.
We also recognize the incredible heroes, including those who made the ultimate sacrifice, as they cared for the innocent victims. Emergency responders and military personnel deserve our deep gratitude.
The following events in our local communities will commemorate this solemn occasion:
We gather on this day to remember those who perished in this national tragedy and to ensure future generations understand the meaning and magnitude of that day.
State Grants Available for Children’s Advocacy Centers
Help is available to children’s advocacy centers (CACs) for their crucial mission coordinating the investigation, treatment and prosecution of child abuse cases.
The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency says the funds can be used to help CACs expand, improve or continue the services provided to victims of child sexual abuse and child abuse. Applications and information are listed here under “2023 NCA Member Child Advocacy Centers.”
The Senate Aging and Youth Committee held a hearing last month to gather information about the needs of CACs and the critical roles they play across Pennsylvania.
Scam Threatens Suspension of Health License
Scammers pretending to be from the Pennsylvania Department of State’s health-related licensing boards are calling active and inactive licensees, claiming their licenses are suspended due to allegations of criminal activity. To trick people, the scammers spoof the state board’s phone number and name on caller ID.
Someone who actually represents the state board will not contact you by phone to request a credit card payment, wire transfer or money order. They will never request any payment be made using gift card or that it be wired to a foreign country.
If you receive one of these calls, please hang up and report it to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Shared Ride Services Available to the Public
People who do not drive can get where they need to go using shared ride services. Riders can travel to work, medical providers, grocery stores, shopping centers and more when fixed route services cannot meet their needs.
While shared ride services are open to the public, riders must register in advance to use them. Each shared ride provider has its own fare structure. Various programs allow seniors, persons with disabilities and low-income individuals to access shared ride service at a reduced out-of-pocket cost or even for free.
Find more information and the shared ride service provider near you here.
Tax-Free Savings Accounts for People with Disabilities
Tax-free savings accounts to help people with disabilities save money for disability-related expenses are available through the Pennsylvania Treasury. PA ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts are structured similar to tuition savings accounts.
Family members and friends can contribute up to $17,000 per year; PA ABLE account owners who earn income may contribute additional funds beyond the annual contribution limit. Once the maximum account limit of $511,758 is reached, accounts continue to earn interest.
Withdrawals from the account will be exempt from both state and federal income taxes as long as the funds are used for qualified disability expenses. These include education, housing, transportation, employment support, health prevention and assistive technology. Learn more here.
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