Jun. 25, 2024

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Perspective: The Way You See What You Are Seeing

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to see the district from a different perspective. Gliding through the air on a motorized paraglider over Bradford County and then later cruising the air via private plane over Tioga County, I had seen the entirety of the district from a new perspective. I could see in one view the many opportunities our district has to increase our economic development and prosperity from forestry, agriculture, oil and gas exploration, trails, hunting, fishing, boating, camping, and tourism. To see the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon from a bird’s-eye view, the surrounding trails throughout Tioga and Bradford counties, I ask myself, “What are we going to do and how are we going to do it? How do we go about stewarding these beautiful rural counties that many people wish to preserve, produce off of, establish their families, explore and enjoy the great outdoors?” Having this amazing view from the skies, my perspective of rural community has expanded to the many possibilities of how we can best support our communities, families, nature and tourism.

We should be proud of where we live. It is a destination for many, and generations of families have resided here for hundreds of years enjoying all it has to offer. Our communities thrive with an outstanding workforce in our small businesses, farming, forestry, and oil and gas industries, as well as through fantastic tourism opportunities. From hotels, Airbnbs and campgrounds, to restaurants, shops, and, of course, the many outdoor adventures and activities available every season of the year, the region truly has something for everyone!

As much as many of us lament change to our small towns and want to keep things as they were when we were children, upgrades and improvements are often necessary. When is the last time you visited the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon at Leonard Harrison State Park? If it’s been a while, I hope you will take time to visit once again with your family and friends and enjoy the significant upgrades to the Visitor Center there. It houses an environmental education installation, a PA Wilds Conservation Shop, a patio and a restroom facility. The walks are family-friendly, offering smooth, flat paths for those who need assistance, and ample parking for local and out-of-town guests alike.

Of course, we are fortunate to have the best of both worlds with Colton Point State Park maintaining the more rustic feel that many of us have become accustomed to as longtime residents of the region. What a blessing it is to call the PA Wilds home and to share it with others. As Tioga County Commissioner Marc Rice said, “This (The PA Grand Canyon) is in our backyard.” No time like the present to take your family and friends on an exploration and enjoy the sights at these beautiful state parks.                                     
Hometown Help on Financial Scams

We can’t argue with the data. The Federal Trade Commission reported for 2023 about one in five people will fall victim to imposter scams losing billions of dollars at a national level. There has been $2.668 billion reported lost in 2023. It is shared among financial institutions that these reported statistics are possibly only 25% of the actual amount lost, for this is only what has been reported by victims. It is believed a significant percentage of the people who fall into the traps of these imposters have not admitted to being victimized out of embarrassment or the feeling of not wanting to take time in reporting and opening an investigation. Please help stop this crime and report it.

Here is a harder number to swallow. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is ranked eighth within the top 10 states losing the greatest amount of money to fraud through the impact of these financial scams. Our Commonwealth is also the eighth highest state in victimization of identity theft. We need to come together and protect our citizens and constituents within the district in creating awareness, providing training, and allowing our banks to do their jobs well in fraud, scam and identity protection.

We are all targets for financial exploitation. Whether you are a youth or an aging adult, they are coming at you and attacking your vulnerabilities. If you are a widow, they secretly find ways and understand your need for companionship and communication after relationships have been lost. They will play you as their prey. They find your weakness, they get to know you, and then they manipulate you into sending them money, or your credit cards, or your checks, or even your Social Security number and bank account information.

After meeting with First Citizens Community Bank (FCCB), I have discovered the significance of building a relationship with your local bank, from the friendly teller to the branch manager, operations and officers. Everyone in the bank is there to serve you well and to protect your financial earnings. Building relationships with those you trust will help provide a safe place for you to reach out if or when concern, confusion and victimization happen to you. Our local banks are here to help and protect our securities, bonds, personal funds and even our hearts. Employees of the banks are trained in spotting scams. They understand the tactics and psychological games these thieves play to steal your financial livelihood. Our local banks want to help protect you before it is too late. Instead of depositing those checks via electronic devices or withdrawing some spending cash quickly from a drive-through ATM, take some time to go in and get to know those in your bank who serve you and would like to help protect you from scams that cause financial disaster and emotional devastation.

The Federal Trade Commission offers plenty of knowledge and resources regarding scams. Please take a moment to review your information and read the latest scams to protect yourself and not fall victim.
A Moment of Recognition for a Lifetime of Love

I enjoyed a sweet moment with Mr. And Mrs. Peterson the other afternoon recognizing their 60 years together in marriage. Nils and Maureen have two children, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren! Sitting alongside of them the other day looking at the Lincoln Log set showing their great love for the little ones, I had to ask what their favorite memory is over the 60 years. They prioritized family throughout their marriage, enjoying the many traveling excursions with their family. They cherish those memories! They also shared that it’s very important to put effort and work into your marriage. They were a great encouragement to me! Join me in wishing them a very happy anniversary!
Frontier Announces Data Breach, Offers Credit Monitoring

It has come to my attention official reports of a personal data breach have been communicated to certain impacted Frontier customers.

According to communications sent to those affected customers, on April 14, Frontier detected unauthorized access to some of its internal IT systems. An investigation identified personal information is among the data affected by this incident.

Frontier says it has contacted those impacted customers by official letter and is offering free credit monitoring and identify theft resolution services for one year through Kroll to help you protect your customer information that was compromised.

Identity theft is real. Please protect yourself by taking proper measures. If you have received a letter from Frontier and have questions, please contact them at 866-898-2643.
More Than $18 Million in Natural Gas Impact Fees to Benefit Tioga, Bradford Counties

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) announced this week nearly $180 million in natural gas drilling impact fees were paid by drilling companies in the Commonwealth last year.

Of that, more than $18 million in funding will be distributed to Tioga and Bradford counties.

Specifically, Bradford County will receive more than $4.3 million, while its municipalities will collectively receive more than $7.6 million. Tioga County is set to receive $2.4 million, while its municipalities will receive more than $4.2 million.

Under Act 13 of 2012, impact fees are collected from natural gas drilling companies with 60% returned to counties and municipalities based on the level of drilling activity occurring there. The rest of the money goes into a Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund, a portion of which is provided to all counties. The remaining funds are used by the state for emergency response planning, training and other activities; water, storm water, and sewer system construction and repair; infrastructure maintenance and repair; as well as statewide environmental initiatives.

The impact fee plays a vital role in helping our communities address the impacts of drilling while also benefiting from the jobs the industry creates. Since the impact fee was established in 2012, more than $204 million has been provided to Bradford County and its communities, while nearly $117 million has been provided to Tioga County and its communities.

For a full list of disbursements made under Act 13, visit www.puc.pa.gov and click on “Act 13 Impact Fee Distribution.”                                     
Funding to Boost Affordable Housing

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency recently announced more than $64 million in funding for affordable housing initiatives across the Commonwealth, including $1.3 million in Tioga and Bradford counties.

The funding was awarded as follows:

• Bradford County: $185,000 for the Bradford County Housing Program, which provides homeless prevention and emergency shelter services for individuals and households that fall within low- or very low-income limits.

• Trehab: $515,000 for Bradford County Homeownership Assistance to help mitigate the effects of the region’s housing shortage by offering downpayment and closing cost assistance, as well as repair funding.

• United Christian Ministries: $600,000 for Sister Jenny’s Charities to modernize and renovate existing units at Kenner Court, Garnet House and UCM Mission, as well as homelessness prevention efforts.

The funding was awarded through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) program, which is supported by natural gas impact fees and a portion of the state’s realty transfer tax.
Celebrating PA Dairy

June is Dairy Month in Pennsylvania, the perfect time to enjoy an extra dish of ice cream or yogurt, another piece of cheese or a tall glass of milk!

Dairy is our Commonwealth’s largest agricultural industry, helping to generate $14.7 billion of economic activity each year. We rank second in the nation in terms of the number of dairy farms, and seventh nationally in milk production.

Nearly all the Commonwealth’s dairy farms – an estimated 99% of them – are family-owned, and the industry supports more than 52,000 jobs statewide.

If you’d like to support Pennsylvania dairy, be sure to check the milk you purchase at the grocery store and look for the PA Preferred logo or milk with a plant code beginning with “42.” Plant codes are usually printed near the top of the container or on the lid, or sometimes they’re printed right on the label. The first, and most important, part of the code will always be two numbers (between 01 and 56). This identifies the state where the milk was processed. Pennsylvania’s magic number is 42!

Learn more about the state’s dairy industry here.
Antlerless License Sales Underway

With the 2024-25 hunting license year set to begin July 1, new licenses are now available for purchase. Please note, hunters no longer need to purchase a general license before getting an antlerless deer license; they can be purchased at the same time, anywhere licenses are sold.

For hunters looking to purchase antlerless deer licenses, they are currently available for only three Wildlife Management Units (WMU) where demand is highest: WMUs 1B, 2G and 3A. Licenses in these WMUs will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis until the allotted number of licenses sells out, and only Pennsylvania residents may purchase antlerless licenses initially.

This Thursday, June 27, at 8 a.m., antlerless licenses for the remaining 19 WMUs will go on sale to residents. Those seeking licenses in any of these WMUs won’t need to wait in line for them; they’re guaranteed to get one, as long as they buy before 7 a.m. on Monday, July 8, when the resident-only portion of the first round of antlerless license sales ends.

Once the nonresident portion of the first round begins at 8 a.m. on Monday, July 8, all remaining antlerless licenses will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis until the allocated number of licenses is exhausted.

A hunter, whether resident or nonresident, can obtain only one antlerless license in the first round, whether it’s before, during or after the guaranteed period.

Hunters can buy 2024-25 antlerless licenses online at www.huntfish.pa.gov, or at any in-store hunting license issuing agent. View a map of those locations here.  

The prices of the antlerless deer licenses remain the same at $6.97 for a resident antlerless license and $26.97 for a nonresident antlerless license.
Additional details are available here.
New Law Supports Disabled Veterans

Recognizing the service and sacrifice of disabled veterans across the state, a new law will exempt 100% of their benefit payments from income calculations for any Commonwealth programs or benefits.

Act 27 of 2024 ensures veterans who receive disability compensation will not have those payments counted against them when applying to programs such as the Real Estate Property Tax Exemption, Education Gratuity Program, Veterans Temporary Assistance Program and Military Relief Assistance Program. It also extends the exclusion of the veterans’ compensation benefits to their unmarried surviving spouses.

The law will take effect in mid-August.