News For Constituents

Simple Ways to Save Energy

According to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, taking a few simple steps now will spare your energy budget this winter. Application of adequate weather stripping can prevent an annual loss of $50 or more in heating and cooling costs. Maintaining your home’s thermostat at a comfortable and consistent 68 degrees will save an additional three percent annually on energy costs.

Never block or restrict air flow from your heating and cooling vents which will cause your system to work harder and decrease the life of costly energy equipment. Consult the PUC’s 13-point list to conserve energy and save dollars year around. For more tips, see Ways to Save Energy at PAPowerSwitch.

Autumn Across Northwestern PA

VisitPA is encouraging Leaf Peepers to capture the beauty of an autumn trip as northern and western PA mountainsides begin to turn from lush green to crimson, orange and gold.

Areas in and around northwestern PA, the PA Grand Canyon, Pine Creek Rail Trail, and thousands of acres of lakes and waterways will be bursting with color in the coming weeks.

Western Pennsylvania is home to 24 State Parks, each offering a wealth of unique sights, sounds and activities. To the North is another 36 exceptional PA State Parks. Download the app for the Official Guide for PA State Parks and Forests to access maps, trail data, facility details, news, weather, and advisories for your next outdoor adventure.

Fall for PA’s Gardening Gurus

Did you know you can meet master gardeners and get their advice on a host of gardening situations? Contact the Penn State Cooperative Extension online for a list of conveniently located late summer and autumn gardening workshops.

From bugs and slugs to canning and preserving your bounty, whatever the issue, let the Masters help you with workshops and fact sheets to guide you through environmentally-friendly techniques for these and other gardening problems.

You can take a look at what not to grow through a weed identification workshop. Attend a workshop on fall planting for spring flowers. Turn trash to compost using vegetable scraps, grass clippings, leaves, and other organic products for the health of your gardens and lawn. Search by zip code for upcoming lawn and garden events within a driving range of 10 to 100 miles from your hometown.

28th Annual Wildfowl Show Set for September

You won’t want to miss the 28th Annual Middle Creek Wildfowl Show if you are an aficionado of hand-carved waterfowl decoys and wildfowl art, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Free Wildfowl Show activities kick off at 9 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, September 20 and 21, 2014. Retriever demonstrations will be held that Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon and 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Sunday. Sunday, the Show will also feature a duck and goose calling contest at 1 p.m.

The Wildlands Preservation Fund for the preservation of open space is the beneficiary of general proceeds from the show. The Visitors Center for the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area is located off of Hopeland Road in Kleinfeltersville, PA.

Preparing for Heating Oil Delivery

With one quarter of all Pennsylvanians heating their homes with oil, the PA Department of Environmental Protection is issuing safety reminders to address before that first oil delivery of the heating season.

In an effort to prevent contamination of indoor air, groundwater, and private drinking water wells, DEP recommends observing the following storage tank safety tips:

  • Always assume the tank contains at least some oil.
  • Regularly inspect the tank’s exterior and all attached equipment.
  • Inspect for rust on the tank and its structural supports.
  • Examine the tank’s fill line and feed line to the furnace for leaks.
  • Never tip over or empty a tank onto the ground.
  • Identify the source of all wet spots or odors near the oil tank.
  • Hire a professional to perform maintenance or alterations to a heating oil tank system.

Find a series of safety tips and recommendations by visiting DEP’s Storage Tanks Fact Sheets and selecting Tips for Residential Heating Oil Tank Owners (PDF) . Whether your oil tank is in your basement, backyard or underground, the DEP fact sheet for residential heating oil tank owners provides a self-inspection checklist and related safety tips. For additional assistance, call DEP’s Division of Storage Tanks at 717-772-5599.

PA Trips by Train

Families, couples, and individuals looking for a weekend escape without worrying about transportation should check out the new excursion packages, compliments of PA Trips by Train and plan your next trip today.

Choose from among an array of special events and attractions. Visit Amish Country, experience the Franklin Institute, zoom into the Philadelphia Zoo, or explore Philly’s historic district. Add some autumn spice to your fun with a trip to Philly’s October-Fest or the Schuylkill Regatta.

Be sure to sign up for notification of new trips from program partners, the PA Department of Transportation and AMTRAK. Have alerts sent directly to your email for more fun in PA.