East Stroudsburg University Awarded $500,000 for New Tick Research Lab
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The latest news from PA State Representative Rosemary Brown

District of Character
The “District of Character” is an initiative I created to enhance character development and promote daily reminders for residents of the 189th District about how we can create a stronger community without policy changes. No one is perfect, but we can always work to improve our character daily.
October word of the month is “service.”

“Giving to others, making a difference; considering the needs of others as important as your own; doing without being asked, a helpful act.”
East Stroudsburg University Awarded $500,000 for New Tick Research Lab

On Tuesday, Oct. 23, I presented Dr. Marcia Welsh, president of East Stroudsburg University, and Nicole Chinnichi, manager of the Northeast Wildlife DNA Lab, with a state grant for $500,000 for the development of ESU’s Tick Research Lab for tick research and surveillance.

It was an honor to secure and present this funding to East Stroudsburg University for this important and necessary research. Since 2011, Pennsylvania has ranked No. 1 in reported cases of Lyme disease nationwide. Too many people in our district, and people whom I run into, have been suffering from debilitating Lyme disease. Our goal is to get ahead of illness, test the tick, and identify possibilities of exposure to Lyme or other tick-borne illness.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted primarily by ticks and caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases such as Babesiosis, Bartonellosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and others pose a serious threat to the quality of life of many Pennsylvanians, with the frequency of diagnosed and reported Lyme disease cases increasing dramatically over the past several years.

In the last six years, Pennsylvania ranked highest in the country in the number of confirmed cases of Lyme disease. In 2016, Pennsylvania reported 12,200 cases of Lyme disease and about 40 percent of the nation’s cases in Pennsylvania alone. This reflects another increase from the 10,817 new cases reported in 2015. Further, a 2015 Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection study confirmed a high risk of Lyme disease in every county of the Commonwealth verifying that every Pennsylvanian, from Philadelphia to Erie, must take precautions to prevent the spread of Lyme disease.

I continue to advocate for those who have been affected by Lyme disease and have been working with state departments to develop further solutions to help combat this disease as it has been a major health concern here in Pennsylvania.
 Veterans Celebration

On Saturday, Nov. 17, I will be hosting our annual veteran celebration at the Middle Smithfield Elementary School, 5180 Milford Road, East Stroudsburg, from noon to 3 p.m.

I want to invite all area veterans and their families to attend this celebration as we honor, recognize and appreciate not only them, but all who answered the call to serve this great nation.

Lunch will be provided, and complimentary services will be offered to those who attend.

Advanced reservations are required for this event. When registering with my district office, 570-420-8301, please provide your name, rank, branch of service and time served so we may properly honor you.
New Eagle Scout Tyler Loren Lee

Last Sunday, Sen. Mario Scavello and I recognized Tyler Loren Lee on achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. Congratulations Tyler on your great work – always wishing you continued success!
Monroe County Veterans Parade Set for Nov. 4

On Nov. 4, at 1 p.m., the Monroe County Veterans Association will host a Veterans Parade that will begin at Stroudsburg High School and end at Dansbury Park in East Stroudsburg. At 2:30 p.m. at the park, the Monroe County Joint Honor Guard will hold closing ceremonies including a picnic and tricky tray fundraiser.
Grand Opening of Bushkill Center for Active Adults

Earlier this month, I was pleased to speak at the grand opening of the Bushkill Center for Active Adults. This new center is located inside Saw Creek Estates, 148 Cambridge Court, Bushkill. The center is open every Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature speakers, exercise opportunities and a light lunch for $2.50. You can register to attend by calling the Pike County Area Agency on Aging at 570-775-5500. Thank you to, Saw Creek and Pike County Area Agency on Aging, for your collaboration efforts to create this center for seniors in our district.
Watershed Specialist Needed at the Pike County Conservation District

Pike County Conservation District is accepting applications for a full-time watershed specialist. The district is seeking a motivated, organized individual who is able to manage multiple projects and has a keen interest, experience and educational background in water or natural resource management to coordinate and manage the district’s water resource program including in-field monitoring and community outreach.

Send cover letter and resume to Executive Director, 556 Route 402, Hawley, PA, 18428 or email mlong@pikepa.org by Nov. 7, 2018. Pike County is an EOE.

Other jobs are open and available here in the Commonwealth. If you are searching for employment here in Pennsylvania, you can visit this website employment.pa.gov/pages/jobopportunities.aspx.

New Law to Protect Highway Workers

As a way to help enhance safety within highway construction zones, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 172 – now Act 86 of 2018 – which will better protect construction workers along roadways.

Under the new law, automated speed enforcement cameras will be deployed as part of a five-year pilot program in active work zones along certain federal highways under PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s jurisdiction. A separate program is being implemented in Philadelphia for U.S. Route 1 (Roosevelt Boulevard) to reduce pedestrian-related crashes.

Motorists who exceed the speed limit by at least 11 mph when construction workers and these cameras are present will receive a written warning for the first offense, a $75 fine for the second offense and a $150 fine for third and subsequent offenses. Penalties imposed will not be a criminal conviction if paid, will not reflect on an owner’s driving record, and cannot be used for insurance purposes or to authorize imposition of surcharges on motor vehicle insurance coverage. Cameras could start appearing as early as the spring 2019 construction season.

This legislation was modeled after a similar law in Maryland, which saw a substantial reduction in work zone-related crashes.

In 2015, 1,900 crashes were reported within work zones, leading to 23 deaths across Pennsylvania. According to PennDOT, work zone crashes have been increasing at a rate of 5 percent annually since 2012.

For more information about highway safety, click here
Fighting Back Against Food Stamp Fraud

Legislation was recently signed into law that will help prevent food stamp fraud by imposing tougher penalties for the illegal trafficking of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Senate Bill 1127, now Act 160 of 2018, creates a new penalty for the fraudulent trafficking of SNAP benefits in an amount greater than $2,500. Violators will be required to pay restitution of up to three times the amount of fraud they committed. Under previous law, the recipient who sells the benefits and the merchant who creates the illegal market for and traffics in those benefits were treated the same.

The legislation stems from a case uncovered last year by the Office of State Inspector General in which a Harrisburg restaurant traded drugs for electronic benefit transaction (EBT) cards and bought thousands of dollars of supplies from a food wholesale club to be resold for profit. This serious problem across Pennsylvania takes food from our most vulnerable citizens.
Heating Assistance Program to Open Next Week

Residents who are struggling with their home heating bills can apply for assistance from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) beginning Thursday, Nov. 1.

LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps individuals and families pay their heating bills through home heating energy assistance grants. It also provides crisis grants to help in the event of an emergency or if a resident is in danger of losing his or her heat due to broken equipment, lack of fuel or termination of utility service.

The income eligibility guidelines for LIHEAP are set at 150 percent of the federal poverty income level. For example, the income limit for an individual is $18,210; for a couple, the limit is $24,690; and for a family of four, it is $37,650.

Residents may apply for LIHEAP online or by contacting the County Assistance Office in their county of residence.
Got Expired Drugs? Dispose of Them Safely on Oct. 27

To help keep prescription medications out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, the U.S. Department of Justice, working with local law enforcement, will hold a prescription drug take-back event in our area on Saturday, Oct. 27. This event allows residents to drop off unwanted or expired prescription medications free of charge for safe and convenient disposal.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., residents can drop their medications off at the following local sites  or dea.gov More sites are being added daily.

Since the twice-a-year disposal events began in the fall of 2010, the total amount of prescription drugs collected by DEA has reached 9,964,714 pounds, or 4,982 tons.
Several communities in our area also have permanent collection sites. Click here for those

Veterans Organizations Can Apply for Trust Fund Grants

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is accepting applications for the 2018-19 Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF) grant cycle. Up to $800,000 in VTF grant funding will be competitively awarded for programs and services benefiting Pennsylvania veterans.

The VTF is funded by Pennsylvanians who voluntarily donate when applying for or renewing driver’s licenses, photo IDs or motor vehicle registrations; purchasing Honoring Our Veterans license plates; or making private donations.

To learn more about the VTF and the grant application process, visit vtf.pa.gov or follow DMVA on Facebook at facebook.com/padmva.

Pennsylvania has the fourth-largest veteran population in the nation, with nearly 800,000 veterans.
Just a reminder: If you are encountering an issue with state government, please feel free to contact my district office. We are here to help you with the following services:      
 - Driver’s license and vehicle registration applications and renewals. 
 - Assistance with PennDOT paperwork (lost cards, changes, corrections, special registration plates, vanity plates, and temporary placards for disabled persons).                         
 - PACE and PACENET applications for seniors.                         
 - State Motor Vehicle and Driver Licensing Work.
 - Voter registration forms and absentee ballot applications.                         
 - State tax forms.                         
 - Student aid applications.                         
 - Free state maps, state park information, and PA Vacation Guides.                         
 - Copies of legislation and tours of the State Capitol.                         
 - Referrals to agencies to resolve state-related matters. 
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Office Locations
143 Seven Bridge Road, East Stroudsburg, PA 18301 | Phone: (570) 420-8301
164A East Wing, PO Box 202189, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2189 | Phone: (717) 260-6171
Email: rbrown@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614
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