News for Constituents

Flu Season is Here Again

Seasonal influenza, according to the PA Department of Health, strikes between October and May, typically infects five percent to twenty percent of Pennsylvanians, and includes 120 to 2,000 annual deaths from complications related to the flu.

Symptoms, which can linger for one to two weeks, can include fever, coughing, a sore throat, a headache, nasal congestion and fatigue. An otherwise healthy adult can unknowingly spread the flu one day prior to the appearance of symptoms and five to seven days after their onset.

Economic costs include $10.4 billion in direct medical expenses and $16.3 billion in lost earnings for sick employees. Families and caregivers of flu victims may bear increased costs averaging $300 to $4,000.

Understand your flu vaccine options, keeping in mind, approximately two weeks are required after vaccination for the necessary antibodies to develop and offer you protection. The Centers for Disease Control offers a series of Frequently Asked Questions to help you and your family navigate the 2015-16 flu season.

 

Time to Replace Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Batteries

Pennsylvania residents are being reminded by the PA Office of the State Fire Commissioner to replace the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, when resetting their clocks.

Families are also encouraged to develop and review their fire emergency plan. Plans should include multiple escape routes, identification of a meeting place and regular fire drills.

The losses from the more than 370,000 residential fires annually are often preventable, according to the OSFC. These losses include over 2,500 fire-related deaths, 13,000 associated injuries and direct damages in excess of $6.9 billion. The Office provides links to valuable home fire safety tips ranging from reacting to a kitchen fire to managing a fire extinguisher.

 

Warm Up to PA’s Wine Trails

Come in out of Pennsylvania’s autumn chill and warm up with a wine-tasting experience. Pennsylvania’s 12 Wine Trails are peppered with more than 200 wineries, across 14,000 acres of grapes, ranking the Commonwealth fifth nationally in grape production.

Small or large, family-owned and award-winning wineries offer unique tasting rooms, including restored barns and elegant gift shops. Pennsylvania’s wineries produce dry, semi-dry, sweet, and sparkling wines, along with distinctive choices like jalapeno wine. Consult the VisitPA list of individual wineries and their websites for winery specifics and directions.

 

PA State Museum Marking Golden Anniversary

You are invited to mark the golden anniversary of the PA State Museum and Archives Complex with a juried photographic exhibition of Midcentury Modern Architecture spanning 1930-1980.

Nearly 100 images from more than 26 Pennsylvania cities and towns representing 52 residences, schools, commercial structures, and other buildings are the focal point of the show.

Through Sunday, February 28, 2016, visitors can enjoy the architecture and each photographer’s interpretation of popular designs. Click on the Museum’s VISIT page for directions, parking, hours and admission information. See the dropdown menu at the top of the page for additional exhibits , events and activities offered by the Museum.

 

Electronic Message Boards Ease Travel Arrangements

As fall and winter weather driving challenges approach, an increasing number of strategically-placed electronic message boards over and along interstate highways and major expressways can facilitate planning for an on-time arrival for work, a doctor’s appointment, or holiday dinner with Grandma, according to the Traffic Safety Information Center for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Leave behind aggressive driving in favor of the signs projections of real-time traffic conditions, updated every three minutes, to ease the uncertainty and anxiety for motorists travelling on a deadline. Traffic cameras, roadway sensors and other data generators project accurate travel times to specific points.

Given a warning, motorists can choose a detour route and notify those waiting for them of a more accurate prediction on an estimated time of arrival, if necessary. PennDOT recommends downloading 511PA to a mobile device for alerts and advisories where electronic message boards are not available.

 

Check for Unclaimed Property at the PA Treasury

More than $2.3 billion in unclaimed property is waiting for 1 in 10 residents who are the legal owners, according to the Pennsylvania Treasury.

Financial institutions, businesses, organizations and government agencies in possession of unclaimed property are required, by April 15, to submit an annual report to the PA Treasury and remit any unclaimed items.

Financial assets sitting with a business or other entity may include bank accounts, uncashed payroll checks, accounts payable or receivable checks, credit balances, expired gift cards, escrow accounts, money orders, utility refunds, insurance proceeds, stocks and bonds and tangible items including those from police departments, hospitals, nursing homes, universities and safe deposit boxes. Consult Frequently Asked Questions, send an email, or call 1-800-222-2046 for additional information related to claiming your assets.

  • $2.3 billion in unclaimed property: http://www.patreasury.gov/claim/
  • PA Treasury: http://www.patreasury.gov/
  • Submit an annual report: http://www.patreasury.gov/media/archive/2015/3-26-HolderRemind.html
  • PA Treasury: http://www.patreasury.gov/bup/holder/
  • Expired gift cards: http://www.patreasury.gov/assets/pdf/UnclaimedProperty-Gift-Card-FAQs.pdf
  • Tangible items: http://www.patreasury.gov/bup/tangible
  • Frequently Asked Questions: http://www.patreasury.gov/bup/faqs/
  • Additional information: http://www.patreasury.gov/unclaimed/ContactUs.htm