Offices have consumed a lot of my time this first year

Article posted on November 30, 2007

I have been fighting a cold since Tuesday. I still have been running and did four miles this morning. I met with a friend at the office who is going to cater the food for the Hollidaysburg District Office open house to be held on Tuesday, December 18th from 2:00 to 6:00 with a ribbon cutting at 3:00. We are working on things now. This will be the fourth and last ribbon cutting in the district. These offices have consumed a lot of my time this first year in office and continue to do so until this last one is totally done. I still have signage to complete at three of the offices and we are waiting for two pieces of furniture, a missing piece from one table and repairs to a used desk. It hasn’t been fun or easy but the offices all look nice and are very comfortable for the staff and the public who use them. I went to the REI grand opening in Bedford at noon and to the dedication of a “mail path” historic marker in Centerville, Bedford County at 2:00. The REI distribution center is huge, about 575,000 square feet and should employ about 350 people by the end of next year. This company is debt free and is not publicly traded. They seem to be doing extremely well nationally and look to do over 2 billion dollars in sales soon. I ended the day at the Tyrone Christmas Tree lighting ceremony and parade. I have gone to this for years and enjoy the people there very much.

– John

Caught a cold

Article posted on November 29, 2007

I just got back from our fall Bedford County LEAD (Local Economic Activity Discussion) meeting.  We had another good session with topics like communications and telecommunications, land use planning and Chesapeake Bay requirements.  We met at the Everett Area High School.  I purchased four of the official Senate photographs earlier this year and had them framed locally.  They were ready today so I picked them up and delivered them to two of the offices.  These will bring a little more of the capital to each local office in the district.  I had better get something to eat and some sleep.  I caught a cold over the past week and I can’t afford to slow down. 

– John

Altoona Middle School Student Recognized at State Capitol

Article posted on November 29, 2007

senator-eichelberger-congratulates-courtney-langensiepen-fi.jpgSenator John H. Eichelberger, Jr. introduced Courtney Langensiepen of Great Commission Schools, Altoona, Pa. during a Senate session in October, after she won first place in the 2007 Renewable Energy Poster Contest, sponsored by Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association.

Pennsylvania students K through 12 were challenged to create posters highlighting the benefits of having green energy in their community and to incorporate the contest theme, “Green Energy…It’s Energizing PA!”

The judges were energized by Courtney’s interpretation of that theme and felt her poster explained a complex process in a simple, engaging way.

Courtney’s entry was one of more than 1,100 entries submitted by elementary, middle and high school students throughout the Commonwealth.

We shall see how things progress

Article posted on November 28, 2007

We are in an interesting time in Harrisburg.  Usually, most of the bills we roll out to the floor or through committee have a pretty good plurality of votes in the bag.  Although things can and probably will change, many of the bills we are working on now, do not have that strong consensus.  We had a Finance Committee meeting cancelled this morning because the divestment bill got bogged down in questions and potential amendments.  Senate Bill 1000, the deregulation bill we were supposed to vote on today was put over without a vote, I guess that there were more questions on it.  Even bills that we pass are being done with comments from members that we will vote on this today at committee but need to continue to work on it before final passage.  We shall see how things progress. 

– John

VOIP Deregulation

Article posted on November 27, 2007

I’m back in Harrisburg today.  We had session and a very long caucus meeting.  We covered a lot of ground with the energy bill coming to a vote tomorrow and the Senate’s version of the open record act.  I had some questions on the open record act and received a reasonable response.  I don’t think that this bill is the best solution for Pennsylvania but it is better than what we have currently.   We have a long way to go but this is a start.  Who knows how things will work out after going back to the House and potentially a conference committee before getting to the Governor.  We are also voting on a telecommunications bill tomorrow that is a tough vote for many;.  It involves deregulation and pits small carriers against large ones.  I am a dereg guy.  It is an interesting set of circumstances and it will be something to watch over the next several months to see if the companies affected suffer as much as they say and if the PUC grants exceptions to smaller carriers to raise rates.  Stay tuned to this issue. 

– John

I hope that we don’t do anything crazy

Article posted on November 26, 2007

I got some things done today but never enough.  A Monday in the district is a chance to get caught up on some odds and ends.  I would typically be in Harrisburg so it’s a bonus to be around home.  I am still working on decorating the Hollidaysburg office and fixing things that still need done, I made some head way today.  I started to prepare for votes this week, since I have an idea of what is coming.  The Open Records bill should be voted on in the next couple of days and some other bills that I have been involved with are coming up by next week.  We are down to just a few session days left this year.  I hope that we don’t do anything crazy.  

– John

How do you cut a line 78%

Article posted on November 25, 2007

After church today I hit the office.  I went to a funeral home to see the father of a friend and returned to the office.  Not much of a Sunday.  I am going to head out to a couple of stores and see about some framing supplies for the office and pick up a paper towel dispenser that needs installed in the one bathroom in Hollidaysburg.  Life is pretty exciting on the inside of the Senate as you can see.  Haven’t heard much new news today, just rehashing the same stuff from the beginning of the week.  I did read a letter today from the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the PHEAA board telling everyone that they are cutting waste and tightening up their code of conduct.  They say that PHEAA’s travel and promotional-related expenses were cut by 78% over the same period last year.  How do you cut a line 78%?  This must have been incredibly out-of-whack to substantiate a cut of that magnitude and have the organization still get the job done.  We still have not had any hearings in the Senate on this mess and we still have not passed any legislation to change anything at PHEAA, other than the bonus ban legislation, which effects all of state government. 

– John

A new term

Article posted on November 24, 2007

I was up early this morning, and most mornings lately with Lilly, our new puppy.  She gets up between 5:30 and 6:30, this morning it was 6:10.  I had a race at 8:30 in Hollidaysburg so it wasn’t too bad.  I came in 2nd in my age group with a 5 mile time of 34:19.  A good time for me but not good enough against a guy who did a time of a little over 28 minutes, he’s a machine.  I had a Christmas parade in Huntingdon at 1:00.  I rode with Charlotte on the back of the truck with Johnny driving.  We decorated the truck with a wreath on the grill and red garland along the sides and tailgate.  We threw a lot of candy and had a good time with everyone along the way.  I got some shooting in with Johnny today, sporting clays.  We enjoy getting out together and quickly went through 6 boxes of shells.  I hit the office for a while and did some cleaning and arranging of supplies and hung a picture.  One of the staff was in since last night working on some of the same things.  Extra points are in order for that effort.  I forgot to mention last night that the host of the radio show I did yesterday in Altoona called the people who tax and spend unnecessarily in Harrisburg, “Harris-burglars”.  I like it.

– John

Office closed for the day

Article posted on November 23, 2007

The office was closed today so I got a lot of errands done that I normally don’t have time for.  Time for a haircut is a luxury these days and I got one today.  I also got a little shopping done and had lunch with my son.  I did a radio show with Dave Barger on WRTA this afternoon.  We covered a lot of ground, I enjoy the live shows and explaining issues that don’t seem to get enough time on quick news bites.  I caught up on some emails today and plan to “carb up” tonight for a 5 mile race in the morning, it will be a cold one.

– John

Happy Thanksgiving

Article posted on November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  I had an unusual holiday in that I went to a funeral this morning.  A lady who I knew since my birth, died Monday at the age of 89.   I grew up with her and her family in the same church.  The funeral was at a church outside of Martinsburg and was full of family and friends.  This lady will be missed by many in our community.  I finished installing a coat rack for the staff in the Hollidaysburg office before lunch, but spent most of the day with family.  We had another big meal at my mother’s.  I hope that everyone had some time with loved ones today,  took a break from their everyday lives and took time to thank God for the blessings they have received.

– John