News For Constituents

From Senate Republican Policy Development & Research Office

Fall Driving Cautions Issued

Fall driving recommendations were recently issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to remind motorists of the potential hazards associated with the upcoming season. The recommendations from PennDOT’s Just Drive PA traffic safety initiative, hone in on a few key tips:

  • Increase following distance, especially in severe weather and at dusk and dawn.
  • Allow tailgaters to pass you.
  • Check your headlights, taillights, and turn signals, keeping in mind, morning and evening commutes will likely occur in at least partial or full darkness.
  • Maintain heating and wiper systems in proper working condition.
  • Equip your vehicle with tires bearing sufficient tread depth to safely navigate an early season snow.

Increased deer activity presents special challenges as the nocturnal feeders appear along and in the middle of roadways. Add in breeding season activity, and PA motorists will need to exercise renewed caution. PennDOT encourages motorists to call 1-800-FIX-ROAD to report obvious safety hazards presented by dead deer on state roadways.

PA Landscape Seeded With Apple Fests

Thanks to Johnny “Appleseed” Chapman and those who followed in his historic footsteps, Pennsylvania will celebrate “October is National Apple Month”.

Numerous conveniently located festivals throughout the Commonwealth will be teeming with fresh apples, apple pie, dumplings, crisp, butter, caramel, and candied apples during the fall months. PA apple growers annually produce approximately 440 million pounds of apples, ranking the Commonwealth as the fourth largest apple producer in the country.

A PA historical marker and festivals pay homage to those who planted and cultivated Pennsylvania’s earliest apple orchards. From those early efforts has grown an industry annually contributing $79.7 million in PA apple production with an $800 million overall impact to the state’s economy.

Conveniently located festivals:

“Get Smart” Poster Contest

With cold and flu season just around the corner, the Pennsylvania Department of Health is cosponsoring the drawing competition, “Get Smart” focused on the importance of hand washing and avoiding unnecessary antibiotics.

Pennsylvania children, 8 years of age and under, should submit drawings reflecting how easily germs are spread and yet can be avoided through the simple act of washing one’s hands. Each winner will receive a prize and the child’s drawing will appear on the campaign’s website.

Two entries per child are accepted and must include the name, age, address, and phone number on the back of the entry form. Submit entries to: Get Smart Kids Competition, PA Department of Health, Room 993 Health & Welfare Building, 625 Forster Street, Harrisburg, PA 17120-0701 or by email to: before November 15, 2013.

Prevent Home Candle Fires

Expect this fall to see fire safety messages motivated by reports reflecting a nearly 50 percent decline in accidental candle fires between 2001 and 2010. There were approximately 9,600 accidental candle fires in the U.S. during 2010 compared with a peak of 18,900 at the beginning of that decade, prompting a renewal of fire safety reminders from businesses, government agencies , and safety advocates.

Three keys to safely burning candles, according to the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) are:

  • Burn within sight.
  • Keep away from things that catch fire.
  • Keep away from children.

Safety measures dictate extinguishing a candle’s flame when 2 inches of wax remains — or a half inch if in a container. Share printable copies of Candle Safety Rules with friends, family, and coworkers.

Your PA Leaf Peepers Adventure Awaits

Now you can take a PA Leaf Peepers tour your way, according to VisitPA.

From cars to covered wagons to vintage trolleys, VisitPA is spotlighting the multitude of transportation options available for a PA Leaf Peepers Adventure. Shuttle offers by outdoor outfitters will pick up hikers and bikers and return them to their starting point. Try an aerial tour or a canoe trip along one of PA’s water trails.

Across the Northern Tier counties, fall colors are beginning to spread over the mountain tops and will peak in early October. The trend will continue across PA’s Central Region from October 8 through the 14th and drop down over Southern PA from October 22 through the 28th.

Until you can launch your own excursion, take a few minutes to check in on the beautiful foliage photos already being captured by fellow “Leaf Peepers” scouting Penn’s Woods fall foliage.

Bat Population Down & Bugs Up Prompts Caving Recommendations

Anyone going batty over bugs and wondering why? One needs to look no further than Pennsylvania’s bat population and White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC).

WNS is a cold-loving fungus appearing on the muzzles and wing membranes of affected bats during hibernation. The fungus contributes to frequent rousing and a depletion of the bat’s fat stores contributing to high mortality rates.

The mere act of abstaining from recreational caving from October 1 through April 30, while bats hibernate, will avoid disturbing the little mammal that during the summer months can consume more than 1,000 mosquitoes and other insects in one night of feeding. Instead,

VisitPA recommends visiting one or more of the state’s 17 public caves and caverns during the bats’ months of hibernation.