We had very different views on how to resolve this problem

Article posted on April 30, 2010

I was in prison again today, this time it was SCI Huntingdon.  Having two prisons in the senate district is somewhat unique.  There are always issues surrounding prisons and the one gaining the most attention now days is a new policy from the Department of Corrections.  It will eliminate stationing guards in the towers of the five older institutions.  This is not a popular decision with the correction officers, but is expected to save 5 million dollars in overtime.  Mike Fleck and I went up into two of the four towers this morning to see for ourselves what those stations are like.  It was worth the trip.  There was a PA Economy League/Blair County Chamber luncheon today that focused on the pension problems.  Rick Dreyfus was the main speaker and Rick Geist, Jerry Stern and I sat as a panel after his remarks and fielded questions from the audience.  Even though all three legislators are local, we had very different views on how to resolve this problem and who is responsible for it.

– John

What an environment in which to operate

Article posted on April 29, 2010

I stayed on pace with my crazier than usual schedule today.  I spent a large part of it in prison, SCI Smithfield to be exact.  I was on a legislative tour with Mike Fleck and Jerry Stern as well as the Huntingdon County DA, George Zanic and several township and borough officials.  I have been through parts of the prison several times before.  Today I saw the two new cell blocks that are in the process of being occupied and went through some areas that I haven’t seen.  Prisons are fascinating institutions.  They’re always under scrutiny from organized inmate advocate groups, members of the community where they’re located, legislators who receive complaints about just about everything they do and inmates who are watching for any mistake to escape or file a law suit.  What an environment in which to operate.  Despite it all, prisons across the country generally do a good job day in and day out.

– John

I appreciate the opportunity to meet with these folks

Article posted on April 28, 2010

I had another day with little time to get any paperwork out.  After reading to school kids, meeting with a constituent, a staff meeting and more planning for our William Penn Leadership Program next week, I had a town hall meeting tonight outside of Everett.  I don’t have much more time over the next three days.  Next week in Harrisburg my schedule has gotten down to meetings with people for 15 minute increments and even then, I don’t know if I can get them all in.  Tonight’s town hall was another good and true American experience.  We had 19 people with questions and concerns about their state government.  They are justifiably worried about the finances of the state, their municipality and their school district.  I appreciate the opportunity to meet with these folks and learn from them as well as provide some information where I can.

– John

Senator Eichelberger to Hold Fourth Annual William Penn Leadership Program

Article posted on April 28, 2010

Altoona, PA, April 28, 2010 – On Thursday, May 6, 2010, Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr. will host select high school juniors at Penn State Altoona for his 2010 William Penn Leadership Program.

Students representing 19 high schools from Bedford, Blair, Fulton, and Huntingdon counties will roll up their sleeves and experience government up close and personal.  Students will debate legislation they have researched, hear from experts in technology, and interact with their peers and Senator Eichelberger.

Students will debate two bills introduced in the 2009-2010 Legislative Session.  Senate Bill 832 would require screening for illegal drug use by applicants for public assistance.  Senate Bill 1304 would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to provide for term limits on members of the General Assembly.

“I look forward to this event each year.  The William Penn Leadership Program is a terrific way for students to experience the legislative process, going beyond the textbook.  This is designed as a non-partisan event that allows students to learn how to articulate a position and how to move a bill through the legislative process.  The goal is to help students develop an interest in good citizenship and to give them a better understanding of their government,” Senator Eichelberger says.

WHO: State Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr.

WHAT: 2010 William Penn Leadership Program

WHEN: Thursday, May 6, 2010, 7:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: Penn State Altoona

Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts – Hite Lobby

Media RSVP is appreciated.

*See attached list of participating schools.

###

William Penn Leadership Program

2010

Participating Schools

Bedford County

·       Northern Bedford

·       Bedford Area

·       Chestnut Ridge

·       Everett

·       Tussey Mountain

Blair County

·       Altoona

·       Bellwood

·       Bishop Guilfoyle

·       Central

·       Claysburg Kimmel

·       Hollidaysburg

·       Tyrone

·       Williamsburg

Fulton County

·       Forbes Road

·       Southern Fulton

Huntingdon County

·       Huntingdon

·       Juniata Valley

·       Mount Union

·       Southern Huntingdon

Please contact school directly for names of students.

I just wish I had a more uplifting message

Article posted on April 27, 2010

I had one of the earliest meetings I’ve had for a while today. I spoke to the Tyrone Kiwanians at 7:00. They are a nice group of people who do a lot of work in their community. I talked mostly about the budget, but answered questions about public corruption, the pension problems, transportation and other issues. I spoke tonight at the Institute of Management Accountants in Duncansville. Most of the same topics were covered. There were 15 students in attendance from an accounting class at Penn State Altoona. I talked to the students before and after the meeting. They were well dressed, polite and well spoken. They promised to pay more attention to state issues after hearing them discussed. Like most people, once they heard a more in depth explanation of the issues facing the Commonwealth, they gained interest in following these situations in the news. Many will affect their own finances and they need to understand that at an early age. I have quite a few speaking engagements this week. I just wish I had a more uplifting message.

– John

I think that description might be disputed by my staff

Article posted on April 26, 2010

I didn’t have much scheduled today. I had an eye doctor check-up this afternoon. She dilated my pupils so I wasn’t at full strength when I left her office. It’s a different experience to be somewhat incapacitated. I have been fortunate to have good health so far in my life: and this was a small example of what many people live with on a regular basis. It makes me appreciate what I have and helps me to have a better understanding of people who face difficulties with a medical issue. I had a friend email me an Op-Ed piece that appeared in the Wall Street Journal in the past couple of days. It referred to me, when I ran for the Senate, as a “mild mannered rural county commissioner”. I think that description might be disputed by my staff, but I’ll take it as a compliment.

– John

It makes you wonder what they missed this week

Article posted on April 25, 2010

The big star of the newspapers today is Senator Jane Orie. There were stories about other people, of course, but her corruption case was the most popular subject. She has hired an attorney from the Harrisburg area that also represents former Speaker of the House Bill DeWeese, a Bonusgate defendant. That attorney has filed a motion on both cases with two different judges in hopes that he gets one to give him the decision he wants and then ask that the charges be dismissed against his clients or appeal the charges to a higher court. Not a bad strategy, but one that the papers think is a long shot. The hearings are scheduled for early May so we’ll know more by then. There didn’t appear to be much interest in anything else in Harrisburg. It makes you wonder what they missed this week.

– John

Way to go Dennis

Article posted on April 24, 2010

After my men’s fellowship group this morning and a pancake breakfast at a church in Hollidaysburg, Johnny and I did yard work all day until I had to quit for dinner. We mowed, trimmed, pruned, planted, and weeded. This was the first day I had any time to work in the yard and the yard needed work. Tonight I attended the Bedford County Historical Society’s 25th Annual Banquet. They honored my friend, Dennis Tice, as Historian of the Year. Dennis is the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Director and produced a documentary film last year about Bedford County’s WW II veterans. The film has been very successful financially and has instilled a sense of pride and an awareness of history in the residents of Bedford County. As the son of a WW II Bedford County vet, I especially appreciate this effort. Way to go Dennis!

– John

I’m proud to be an American

Article posted on April 23, 2010

This afternoon I attended a volunteer recognition luncheon at the Hollidaysburg Veterans Home. We recognized 91 people for their service, some with hundreds of hours of service at the home last year. I am always reminded of how many folks step up, without fanfare, and take care of so many helpful things at facilities and organizations around the country. This separates us from other cultures. Americans help each other. I’m proud to be an American.

– John

This is another reason I love my wife

Article posted on April 22, 2010

I had a Veteran’s Home Advisory Board meeting this morning. The home was criticized in a Pittsburgh newspaper a few months ago about the time that they had a bad inspection report leading to a provisional license. The license is straightened out now, but the problems are still generating discussion. Although I have had complaints brought to me about the home from time to time and have had my doubts about the operations of both staff and management, the facility currently seems to be on a better path. I met with constituents today, did a radio program and attended two dinners. The funny thing about the dinners is that with my schedule of leaving one early and getting to the other late, I didn’t eat at either. Charlotte had a frozen pizza in the oven for me when I got home. This is another reason I love my wife.

– John