News for Constituents

2019 Trout Stocking and Fish-for-Free Days Announced

The trout waters are stocked and the statewide fishing season is right around the corner, according to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

Engage your family in Fish-for-Free Days when anyone can legally fish without a license on Pennsylvania waterways.  For 2019, Fish-for-Free Days are set for Sunday, May 26 and Thursday July 4. 

Don’t have enough rods, reels, and tackle for the whole family?  See the Commission’s Borrow a Rod and Reel webpage enabling you to borrow the necessary gear as you would a book from the library. 

Unclaimed Property Waiting for PA Residents

Three billion dollars in unclaimed property secured by the vault of the Pennsylvania Treasury means 1 in 10 state residents have unclaimed property waiting for them. 

Dormant accounts from financial institutions and other entities must be reported to the PA Treasury by April 15 each year.  The vault includes tangibles such as jewelry, coins, collector cards, and war medals previously abandoned in safe deposit boxes. 

Whether your search yields a steak dinner or a stake in unclaimed property, take a few minutes to enter into the Treasury’s database your name and the name of family members.  For additional assistance, you may contact the Bureau of Unclaimed Property at 800-222-2046. 

Preventing Elder Financial Abuse

The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities (PA DOBS) witnessed a 17 percent increase in elder financial abuse, constituting 40,000 allegations of elder abuse during the previous fiscal year. 

Whether it’s older family members or elderly clients with whom you engage socially or in business, the PA DOBS encourages you to look for red flags or signs of elder abuse, including: 

  • Difficulties with decision making, such as trouble paying bills.
  • A noticeable decline in appearance, or fear and anxiety.
  • Suspicious account activity, abrupt changes to financial and legal documents, or large cash withdrawals may signal a problem

Consider appropriate questions and guidance if decision making appears impaired, there are signs of suspicious behaviors, or evidence of unexplained account activity.  Anyone witnessing similar problems is encouraged to call the Elder Abuse Hotline 1-800-490-8505 to report any type of elder abuse. 

Lyme Disease Predictions and Preparation for 2019

The PA Department of Environmental Protection is surveying all counties to track tick habitats, life stages, peak activity levels, and disease detection.  Between July 2018 and mid-March 2019, DEP collected 3,663 adult black-legged ticks. 

At the same time, the PA Department of Health is conducting a public awareness campaign to decrease the transmission of tick-borne diseases.  Take steps to avoid contact with ticks in your backyard, hiking, or on a camping trip.  Recommendations include: 

  • Beware of grassy, brushy, and wooded areas.
  • Handle with care any potentially exposed animals.
  • Use an Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellant.
  • Upon return home or to your campsite, check clothing, gear, and pets.
  • Shower within 2 hours of being outdoors.
  • Conduct a body check.

Individuals are encouraged to see a doctor within 3 to 30 days of a tick bite if symptoms appear, including fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, with or without a skin rash or bull’s eye.  Current Lyme Disease treatment includes oral or intravenous antibiotics. 

Spotted Lantern Fly Invading PA Businesses

Pennsylvania’s least favorite hitchhiker – the Spotted Lantern Fly is attracting renewed attention from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Penn State Extension, as well as expanding the eradication goals of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture as it spreads into Dauphin County. 

Businesses moving equipment and goods out of a quarantined county must obtain permits to continue that transport.  Permit training, an employee toolkit, and local related meetings are available.

The threat propelling agency action includes reduced crop yields for grapes, apples, hops, walnuts, and other hardwoods.  The damage to the state’s economy is anticipated to be nearly $18 billion. 

Conduct Home Radon Testing Before Windows and Doors Swing Wide

Radon, the second leading cause of lung cancer, exceeds safe levels in approximately 40 percent of Pennsylvania’s home, according to the PA Department of Environmental Protection

Begin your home assessment by entering your zip code into the radon data base.  Even if your area appears to have no radon issues, your home may be compromised.  The Department recommends you conduct a home radon test before windows and doors swing wide to welcome springtime.

Radon readings exceeding recommended levels require remediation.  Consult DEP’s Radon Services Directory for PA-certified testers, mitigators, and laboratories.  Call DEP at 1-800-23RADON for additional assistance.