Way to go!

Article posted on March 31, 2018

Fulton County Historical Society Officers

We had a great Easter message this morning at the Lighthouse, thanks Pastor Dave.  I got a lot of office work done today, before Charlotte and I headed to Clearville for a dinner at the Pleasant Union Church.  This small church serves a great meal to hundreds in the community every quarter and asks merely for a donation.  We enjoyed seeing everyone and meeting many of the workers.  We left there to attend the Fulton County Historical Society’s Annual Meeting in Hustontown.  Their program was on slavery and the Underground Railroad in south central PA.  Very interesting meeting including updates on several ongoing projects.  Did you know that their Frontier Barn Quilt Tour is the largest in PA with 195 barn quilts?  Way to go!

-John

Winding down for the Easter weekend

Article posted on March 30, 2018

It’s Good Friday, a solemn day of remembrance for Christians around the world, as Christ died for our sins and was laid in a tomb.  The Senate offices were closed today in observance.  I got some office work done and a few errands.  Lots of people must have been off today judging by the traffic.  Everywhere I went was crowded including St. Patrick’s School in Newry for fish.  They announced that over Lent they served more than 5,000 meals, wow!  Not much in the news today, things are winding down for the Easter weekend.

-John

Happy to see this project

Article posted on March 29, 2018

I was able to attend a ribbon cutting this morning in Hollidaysburg for the newly renovated Highland Hall.  I was a County Commissioner when we auctioned off this building.  It sat for years until S & A Homes bought it and converted it into senior housing.  They did a great job and it was interesting to see the old restored facility woven into new construction.  It was well done.  I then attended a ground breaking for the Blair County Conservation District’s NatureWorks Park, a wetlands demonstration project at the edge of Hollidaysburg.  This park will be an educational experience for people of all ages and a future home for the Conservation District offices.  I was on that board for 11 years and am happy to see this project finally get started.  I left the groundbreaking to get to a speaking engagement at Robert Morris University past Pittsburgh.  My former intern, Samantha Medasie, is a student at RMU and arranged for my visit.  I spoke about my constitutional convention legislation, education policy, and politics.  I enjoyed the interaction with the students and was glad to see Samantha again; she’s a good kid from Claysburg.

-John

The remainder of the weekend

Article posted on March 28, 2018

Since session was cancelled for today, I was able to quickly reschedule things and get around the district.  I attended the Fulton County Chamber luncheon.  Their program was on Community Action and there was a lot of interest in what was offered.  I got to the Huntingdon County Planning Commission’s Annual Meeting and Dinner this evening.  Their program was on their comprehensive plan process, but they also always present four awards to Huntingdon County residents for their work in the community.  The recipients were all very deserving.  I got organized a little for the rest of the week. Most things, including the Senate offices, are closed on Friday, so we have to get everything done tomorrow including any scheduling issues for the remainder of the weekend.

-John

It was a fun night

Article posted on March 27, 2018

We had a list of committee meetings and hearings in addition to session today.  We squeezed more in because of a short Easter week.  There was a State Government Committee Hearing this morning on the redistricting process.  I’m not on that committee, but heard that it went well with a lot of information garnered.  I got back to the district in time to attend the Huntingdon County Farm Bureau Dinner where I gave a legislative update.  This is my fourth Farm Bureau event since Thursday, and they are all different.  Tonight they ended with a live auction with quite a few items.  The auctioneer kept the crowd laughing and everyone bidding.  It was a fun night.

-John

Save plenty of money for the authority

Article posted on March 26, 2018

I had a bill passed by the Senate today, SB 114.  I worked on this legislation since I represented Bedford County several years ago.  I was informed back then that some of our rural sewer authorities were being taken advantage of by bad commercial operators.  In particular, a couple of small motels were not paying their sewer bills.  The authority could only file a lien against the property and wait for payment.  If the property owner is going under and not paying other bills, including their taxes, they eventually walk away from the property with tens of thousands of dollars owed to the authority and no assets for the authority to seize.  My legislation would allow the authority to shut off service to the commercial building after the customer doesn’t pay their bill for at least 6 months, they follow a prescribed notification to the customer, and get a court order.  This is a lot of work, but can save plenty of money for the authority, which ultimately has to spread the collection loss off on their paying customers.

-John

Their usual stellar performance

Article posted on March 25, 2018

There wasn’t much in the papers today; a lot of stories about the Congressional races with the new map, but little on state government.  There was a story in the Altoona paper about the House bill to impeach four Supreme Court Justices after the Congressional map redrawing.  There is support for this measure, but I can’t gauge how much.  The way the process works is that the House has to bring the charges against an official, then the Senate sits as the jury.  We are always cautioned by legal counsel to not discuss the matter as it may be a case we’re charged to hear.  So, you won’t be seeing comments from me on this subject.  I hope everyone made it to church this Palm Sunday and celebrated the triumphant arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem.  Special thanks to Director Tom Kunkle and the Cove Community Chorus for including me in their Spring Concert.  The auditorium was packed and they did their usual stellar performance.

-John

Watch what elected officials are doing

Article posted on March 24, 2018

I was gone all day after my men’s fellowship this morning. I ended the evening at the Cove Community Chorus Concert; they did a great job tonight. I didn’t mention yesterday that the dress rehearsal, scheduled for Tuesday, was cancelled because of the snow storm, so we “winged it” last night. Somehow it all came together. As I spoke with people today, the subject they repeatedly brought up was their disapproval of the federal budget. They aren’t happy with the what was in it, what wasn’t in it, and the total spend number that adds to our deficit. The expectation was that conservatives would follow through on commitments to defund Planned Parenthood, fund the wall, repeal ObamaCare, and keep the expenditure number in check. Although the military budget was increased, everyone I spoke with said the budget was not good enough and should not have been passed. As I tell my colleagues in the State Senate, people do watch what elected officials are doing.

-John

Impressed with this ensemble

Article posted on March 23, 2018

I left the Blair County Farm Bureau Meeting a little early this morning to get to the long-awaited ribbon cutting for the new pregnancy center for Every Life Matters (ELM), in Tyrone.  This building provides great office, counseling and medical testing space for this nonprofit organization.  The community has given them tremendous support and the final product is beautiful.  I got more scheduling and some other office work done before an early fish fry with friends at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Altoona then to the first of three concerts this weekend at the Spring Cove Middle School where the Cove Community Chorus is presenting their Spring Concert.  I am narrating and was very impressed, as I have always been, with this ensemble.  Hope you can make it out either tomorrow night at 7:00 or Sunday afternoon at 2:00.

-John

Work hard in this great industry

Article posted on March 22, 2018

Seems like when I’m back from Harrisburg, the first thing I do is scheduling.  My schedule is getting worse these days and I apologize to everyone who invited me to something that I can’t get to or get to late or leave early because I’m on my way to the next event.  I was able to do a Harrisburg meeting by phone today, so that saved me 4 hours on the road and gave me the opportunity to get more done in the office.  It’s the time of year many of the county Farm Bureaus have their annual or legislative meetings.  I was at one tonight, have one tomorrow morning, and have one next week.  Where would our area be without the strong agricultural base that provides food for all of us and jobs for many?  Thanks to those who work hard in this great industry.

-John