News for Constituents

PA Readies for 2017 Trout Season 

The Statewide kick off of the 2017 trout season is set for the third Saturday of April, following the April 1 Regional Opening Day, according to the PA Fish and Boat Commission

The Regional Opening Day on April 1 will include the following counties:  Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, and York counties. 

Consult the PF&BC Calendar of Opening Days/Significant Events for details on Mentored Youth Trout Day, Walleye Opening Day, and Bass Opening Day.  The Commission is reminding trout anglers 16 and older, they must obtain a fishing license and possess a Trout/Salmon Permit, except on Fish-for-Free Day

Call Before You Dig for Spring Projects

While compiling your list of spring projects, add a call to 811, Pennsylvania’s Call Before You Dig program, if you include outside design, excavation, or demolition plans. 

Place the call within 3 to 10 days prior to the planned beginning of your project and be prepared to answer a few questions about your plans. 

Representatives from the utility companies will identify the location of underground lines and leave temporary marks in the proposed dig location.  Utilities will be identified by designated colors no later than the day prior to the first lawful start date, allowing you to safely conduct your projects. 

The call center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, excluding state holidays.  The PA 811 office may also be contacted at 1-800-242-1776. 

Where’s My PA Personal Income Tax Refund? 

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue makes it simple to determine the status of your PA personal income tax refund. 

Click on Where’s My Refund and be prepared to enter your social security number and the amount of your refund.  Officials indicate processing may require 8-10 weeks. 

Contact the Online Customer Service Center for information about a prior tax year refund. 

Great American Cleanup of PA Springs Into Action

The Great American Cleanup of PA and the Pick It Up PA Days, sponsored by the PA Department of Environmental Protection, are seeking volunteers for cleanup events across the State. 

Volunteers for registered events can access free cleanup supplies, including bags, gloves, and vests donated by the PA Department of Transportation and the Keep America Beautiful partners.  The Pick It Up PA Days, set for April 18th to May 8th, encourages involvement from community and civic associations, schools and youth groups, families, business employees, hunting and fishing clubs, conservation organizations, sports teams, and others. 

Nearly 2 million volunteers have combed almost 171,000 miles of roads, waterways, shorelines, and trails and removed approximately 92,000,000 pounds of litter and waste, more than 258,000 tires, and 226,000 pounds of scrap metal, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP).  Nearly 165,000 trees, bulbs, and flowers have been planted as part of the beautification efforts. 

Avoid Overdraft Fees in 2017

Overdraft fees frequently cost consumers $20-$45 per transaction.  According to the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities, Americans are losing more than $11 billion in overdraft fees per year. 

The consequences of insufficient funds may go beyond overdraft fees to include the loss of checking privileges through your current bank, denial of checking privileges at other banking institutions, and a lowered FICO score. 

Five tips recommended to avoid overdraft fees include: 

  1. Instruct your bank to automatically transfer money from savings or another account to cover shortages, understanding you may need to pay a small fee for the service.
  2. Sign up with your bank for low-balance notices via text or email.
  3. Ensure deposits comply with your bank’s “fund availability” policy.
  4. Take advantage of technology to frequently check account balances.
  5. Carefully review monthly account statements for fraudulent transactions and accurate disbursements and deposits.

Paying bills on time, or your payment history, makes up 35 percent of your credit score.  A low credit score translates into higher interest and insurance rates.  Failing to pay bills on time can also effect employment and home or apartment rental opportunities. 

Main Street of America Runs Through the Heart of PA

Take Main Street through the heart of Pennsylvania and you will find a quirky mix of destinations and things to do, according to VisitPA.  North to south, east to west, Pennsylvania presents a Rockwellian image of small town America still capturing the hearts of young and old alike. 

Head to Columbia County where you will find a cozy gift shop and coffeehouse sharing space with the Cloak and Dagger Bookstore or slip into the Legendary Comics and Tea in Bloomsburg.  Continue on to the northwest, traveling to the historic gas-lit streets of Wellsboro, beckoning shoppers to its picturesque, quintessential small-town. 

Recently voted “America’s Coolest Small Town”, Lititz is home to the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, America’s first commercial pretzel bakery.  Galleries and shops feature the community’s talented artists and musicians. 

Make your way to the Main Streets of the towns within the Brandywine Valley and you will find specialty shops, galleries, and boutiques showcasing works of art, clothing, jewelry, pottery, rare books and the regional specialty – mushrooms.