These guys deserve a lot of credit

Article posted on May 31, 2014

This is a picturesque weekend.  I was doing office work about half the day, but mowed the lawn this afternoon and enjoyed the sun.  I attended an Eagle Scout ceremony in Schellsburg this evening.  As I was pulling into the fire hall parking lot for the ceremony, the fire trucks were pulling out.  They were back fairly quickly and one of the firemen told me that they were called to an electrical fire at a home and got the fire extinguished before it got into the walls.  As I’ve said before, these guys deserve a lot of credit.

 

-John

Thanks, mom, for the wheels

Article posted on May 30, 2014

I had to take the truck to the transmission shop this morning and then borrow my mom’s van.  I was in Williamsburg last night for the awards program at the high school, and it was pretty rough coming home.  I had hoped to nurse it through the weekend, but decided against it.  Thanks, mom, for the wheels.  I spent most of the day tying up as many loose ends as possible before going into the month of June.  As it stands now, I will be in the district only four business days, and I have a weekend day or two outside of the district, as well.  So, working my way through scheduling and constituent cases will be more difficult than usual.  I saw a report today that May’s revenue figures are expected to be about $100 million short.  This news on top of what we’re already facing makes a balanced budget even tougher to reach.

-John

That’s an understatement

Article posted on May 29, 2014

I learned a lot about the library system in Cumberland County this morning. Among the wide variety of programs they offer is one called “Reading to Dogs.” They bring service dogs into the library and have younger children read to them. They explained that the kids are more relaxed when reading to a dog and tend to read better and read more under those conditions. One boy who was tested at school before and after participating in the program improved his reading by 22%. Impressive. I got a few things done at the Capitol in the brief time I was there before heading to Greencastle for the Greencastle-Antrim Area Development Corporation’s Annual Luncheon. I enjoyed seeing everyone, including some people that I met for the first time. I had some trouble with the truck on the way home and have it scheduled for service next week. It looks like there is a defective part in the rebuilt tranny that was put in last year. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but any problem with your vehicle is inconvenient, and that’s an understatement.

-John

Maybe this year will be different

Article posted on May 28, 2014

I have another early morning tomorrow with a breakfast meeting in Carlisle at 7:30. I’m stopping by the Capitol after that then heading to Greencastle for a luncheon, then a radio show by phone, then back to take care of a little business and a trip to Tyrone and finish the night in Williamsburg. I should hit 342,000 miles on the truck tomorrow. Once session starts in June, there will be little time for other events. The budget process seems to get more difficult each year. As the Obama economy sputters, tax revenues are weak compared to prosperous times. And since the expenditure side of a state budget must balance, cuts will most assuredly occur. Setting the right priorities for spending sounds simple, but too many special interest groups sway too many legislators for rational decisions to be made. Maybe this year will be different, but I doubt it.

-John

Hopefully, these bills are signed into law

Article posted on May 27, 2014

After an extremely busy weekend, I played catch up today. I did a couple of media interviews and reviewed issues with staff as well as worked on the usual scheduling requests and signatures on various documents. I’ve gotten behind on emails, so if you’re waiting for a response from me, I apologize and hope to get back to you soon. I saw a story today criticizing the legislature for not enacting a gift ban. I can tell you that a new Senate bill is about ready for introduction in June and I had introduced a bill to change the reporting of gifts last year. Also, a bill that prohibits cash gifts was passed by the Senate weeks ago and awaits action in the House. The recent situation in Philadelphia where 4 House members were caught on tape taking cash has created pressure on the General Assembly to clean up some very loose rules on accepting gifts. Hopefully, these bills are signed into law.

-John

What an accomplishment

Article posted on May 26, 2014

I hope that everyone got to a Memorial Day Parade or Service today, more importantly, remembered the purpose of the day and passed it on to someone else. I was in the Juniata parade this morning riding in a 1953 Army Jeep from the Korean Conflict. I’ve been in the old Jeeps a couple of times and it’s a thrill to experience a little of what the soldiers experienced 61 years ago. I learned that the Jeep was waterproof. The exhaust pipe goes up the passenger side next to the windshield and has a cap on it. If the water doesn’t get under the cap, the vehicle can be totally immersed and still drive. The owner told me that when he was in the Army they drove these Jeeps through swift water deep enough that the passengers had to hold on or risk being swept out of the vehicle. He said that the Jeep drove right through everything like they were on dry land. Impressive! I drove to Tyrone after the parade where I spoke at their community service at Soldiers Park. They had a great turnout for the service that included a visit by Miss Teen Pennsylvania and the presentation of the national award for best Eagle Scout project to Cody Eckels from Tyrone. What an accomplishment.

-John

An inaccuracy that needs to be corrected

Article posted on May 25, 2014

I had 4 events today, plus getting to church. Things went well everywhere. The weather was great for the wreath laying at the Wall That Heals and the service at Alto Reste. The Voice For America choir and soloists did an inspiring job, as usual. Since I was booked solid for the entire day, I didn’t have time to look through news stories. I did read one in the Altoona Mirror that had a couple of inaccuracies, with one that needs to be corrected. It repeated the fable from the radical left that I said on a radio debate years ago that they, meaning homosexuals, were allowed to exist. What was actually said was in the context of a discussion about legal definitions of marriage and what relationships such as polygamy, etc. were illegal. In that discussion, I referred to they, meaning same sex relationships, (certainly not the individuals themselves), were allowed to exist, without any interference from the law. Reporters should check the facts before repeating a statement from any group that pushes their own agenda.

-John

They need to understand the sacrifices

Article posted on May 24, 2014

For the first time in a long time, I didn’t have anything scheduled today, other than the Lighthouse at 7:00 AM, so I got a little office work done, hit Lowe’s briefly, and did mulch work at home with Charlotte all day. I’m pretty beat after about 7 or 8 hours in the sun, but it was worth it. Memorial Day tributes start tomorrow for me. I’m meeting a group at the Wall That Heals in Altoona at 11:45, then speaking at the service held at Alto Reste cemetery at 2:00, then headed to the first of the two Voices For America presentations held at 1st Church of Christ in Altoona. We do both shows tomorrow, so I’ll be there most of the day. If you can make any of the ceremonies, parades or special programs to commemorate the men and women who lost their lives for this country, please do so and take your kids. They need to understand the sacrifices made in protecting this great nation.

-John

Recognition for an outstanding nursing home

Article posted on May 23, 2014

I was in Mt. Union this morning for the Huntingdon Bedford Fulton Area Agency on Aging’s Elder Justice seminar. I attend these every year and was disappointed to only be able to stay a little while this morning, because of my schedule. This is a great program to educate seniors on ways to protect themselves against people who are trying to take their money and sometimes do bodily harm. One speaker said that sometimes it’s a trusted friend or relative that takes advantage of access to bank accounts or other assets. He said that often they help the senior, who sees that gesture, then they go back and help themselves. I’m glad the AAA continues to host this program. I left there for Garvey Manor Nursing Home in Hollidaysburg. Health Secretary Michael Wolf was there to recognize them for going 3 years in a row without a single inspection deficiency. If you think that isn’t difficult, there are 706 nursing homes in the state, only 6 received this honor and they were the only home west of Harrisburg to do it. Great job!

-John

Kudos to the Elks

Article posted on May 22, 2014

I travelled to the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport early this morning to participate in Senator Gene Yaw’s student program. The kids were bright and courteous. I sat with good presenters and the rain held off, for the first time in about 4 years. Tonight was the Three Springs Firemen’s parade. They couple their carnival with it and always have a big turnout. I didn’t mention last night that I spoke to the Tyrone Elks Lodge’s Youth Appreciation Program. They recognize various students throughout the area for their scholastic achievements. I met many of the students and their parents at the close of the evening. There were some pretty amazing honorees last night. Kudos to the Elks Lodge for their support of the next generation of community leaders.

-John