News For Constituents

From Senate Republican Policy Development & Research Office

Snowplows and Winter Driving Tips

While winter is waging war on travel in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is working diligently to maintain safe, snow-free roadways.

Even if you have readied your vehicle for winter and prepared an emergency travel kit, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation recommends staying off the roads if you do not have to travel.

Motorists who must brave the elements are being reminded to maintain at least six car lengths behind an operating plow truck, move as far away from the center of the road as is safely possible when a plow is travelling in the opposite direction, and never pass or travel next to a plow truck.

17th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count Spans the Globe

Fall in love with birding this Valentine’s Day as the number of countries participating in the 17th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count exceeds that of the 2014 Winter Olympics, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

From Afghanistan to Pennsylvania to Zimbabwe, bird watchers of all ages and skill levels will be counting birds from February 14-17, 2014.  Reports will be filed from all 7 continents and are expected to include those from 111 countries and independent territories.

Last year’s first global venture yielded, in just four days, the recording of more than 34.5 million birds and 4,004 species, representing nearly forty percent of the world’s bird species and seventy-eight percent of the world’s total bird families.  Register now to include yourself among the tens of thousands of volunteers whose efforts assist in tracking the health of bird populations worldwide.

Prescription Drug Drop-Off Program

Just in time to clean out the drawers, cabinets, and closets, the PA Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) is joining with other state agencies and local communities to help you dispose of unused and unneeded prescription medications.

Hundreds of secure and permanent drop-off boxes are being installed across the state to accept prescription and over-the-counter medications, tablets, and capsules.  Liquid medications, inhalers, creams, ointments, nasal spray, and pet medicines are also on the list of accepted items for disposal.

The Prescription Drug Take-Back Program is working with local communities to stem the tide on prescription drug abuse which has quadrupled in the past 10 years and results in more deaths than all illicit street drugs combined.  The Program is also intended to prevent environmental hazards, including harm to groundwater, rivers, and wildlife.

Snow Days Are For Wintertime Fun In PA

There’s “snow place” like Pennsylvania for wintertime fun, according to VisitPA.

Hit the Laurel Highlands, fall into Philadelphia and the Countryside, or slide into Pittsburgh and its Countryside to make the most of a PA winter.

If you prefer, go off the beaten path this winter to discover unique outdoor recreational opportunities.  Check out PA’s myriad of events and festivals where you can try out a winter zipline experience or warm up to a handmade quilt competition and display.

VisitPA can direct you to a quiet little cabin in the woods, a quaint bed & breakfast, or an upscale resort to return to after your outdoor adventure.

When Is It Influenza?

Seasonal influenza routinely delivers a one-two punch to the chest and head, along with achiness, fatigue, and a fever or above average temperature, according to the PA Department of Health.

Often mistaken for seasonal influenza, a viral infection frequently manifests with vomiting and diarrhea.  This gastroenteritis stems from noroviruses.  Recovery generally occurs following 1 to 2 days of illness during which hydration is important, especially for the very young, the elderly, and individuals with underlying conditions.

The Department offers a series of flu prevention tips emphasizing the use of regular hand washing with soap and warm water, especially with regard to food handling.  Exercise care in touching potentially contaminated doorknobs, handrails and similar items.  Proper rest, nutrition and winter attire are encouraged.  Prevent the spread of the seasonal virus and norovirus while ill by staying home from school, work, and other public venues.

Above all else, review recommendations for receiving the flu vaccine, consult your physician, and schedule your vaccination before the further spread of seasonal influenza.

PA State Museum Takes You Behind-the-Scenes

Manet, Munch, and Vermeer are the subjects of a fascinating behind-the-scenes look from Harrisburg at three major European exhibitions featuring these artists, according to the State Museum of Pennsylvania and the Susquehanna Art Museum.

Straight from London and Oslo, by way of cutting-edge digital cinema technology, watch and listen as the curators and exhibition designers prepare for each opening.  Experts in art history and the humanities will introduce each show in a three-part series entitled “Exhibitions on Screen”.

This fascinating Sunday series will begin in the State Museum’s Doshi Gallery in Harrisburg at 2 p.m. on February 16 featuring “Manet:  Portraying Life from the Royal Academy of Arts”, London.  “Munch 150:  From the Munch Museum and National Museum”, Oslo, will be the subject of the February 23 presentation.  Return to the State Museum of PA on March 2 for a trip back to London and its National Gallery for “Vermeer and Music”.