Hector’s Run Falls is located in the Allegheny National Forest, between Route 6 in Ludlow and Route 948 in Barnes. The best access is via Route 6.
WARNING: There are steep cliffs at the falls, and cell phone service drops off about half-way into the hike. Wear footwear with good tread, and be careful when hiking near the edge.

From Sheffield, take Route 6 to Ludlow.
Turn right onto South Hillside Drive, just as you come into Ludlow.
Turn left onto Water Street.
Turn right onto Scenic Drive.
After about a mile, you will turn right onto Forestry Road 258.
In 2.1 miles, you will reach Forestry Road 258H, on your left, which is gated off. There is a small parking area beside the gate.

This is where your hike begins. Hector’s Run Falls are approximately 1 mile from the gate.
Follow 258H to the fork in the road and take the left fork (downhill.) You will come to a small meadow, with a light blue National Fuel well-head. The trail turns to the right, as you’re facing the well-head.
Continue to follow the trail for another 200 yards, or so, and you will arrive at the top of the falls.

Please note that this was our first trip to the falls, and we did not take the left fork of the road, and ended up coming through the forest, following the sound of the water. So, the video begins as we arrive at the side of the falls. The falls usually only have water running over them after a recent rain. Be sure to plan your hike accordingly.

liheap

(HARRISBURG) – State grant assistance for home heating costs is still available to qualifying Pennsylvania residents through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson).

Scarnati explained that LIHEAP is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and provides assistance with heating expenses in the form of a cash grant, sent directly to the utility company, or a crisis grant for households in immediate danger of being without heat.

“In the winter months the burden of an added expense for heating can be especially heavy on low-income families and those individuals on fixed incomes,” Scarnati said. “As cold temperatures and inclement weather begin to impact our region I want to remind residents that there is help for those who may need assistance with heating costs.”

Eligibility for grants begins, for a household of one, with a maximum income limit of $17,505 and increases by $6,090 per additional household resident. Grant amounts are based on income, family size, type of heating fuel and region.

Applications for the 2014-2015 LIHEAP program will be accepted through April 3, 2015. Applications are available by contacting Senator Scarnati’s offices in Brockway (814-265-2030), Kane (814-837-1026) or Wellsboro (570-724-5231).

Local residents can also apply for LIHEAP grants online at the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Access to Social Services (COMPASS) website, www.compass.state.pa.us. For more information please contact the LIHEAP hotline at 1-866-857-7095.

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CONTACT:
Kate Eckhart
keckhart@pasen.gov
717-787-7084

Conewango-Creek-ROY-2015-Photo

Warren County got out the vote during the final two weeks of the PA Organzation for Rivers and Watersheds’ (POWR) 2015 River of Year contest! Trailing by 10% of the total vote just over 2 weeks ago, a concerted effort by the Conewango Creek Watershed Association (CCWA), numerous local businesses, and individuals brought the Conewango Creek into the lead and home for the win, as voting closed this evening. Thank you to all who voted! Special thanks to Tom Osborne of Conewango Kayak Canoe Rentals and the Conewango Creek Watershed Association for their tireless work cleaning up and promoting the Conewango Creek.

As of this morning, 9,700 people had voted for their choice of River of the Year.Final tallies are:
Conewango Creek – 42%
Loyalhanna Creek – 30%
Lackawanna River – 15%
Neshaminy Creek – 9%
Ohio River – 5%

For the past twenty years, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has annually recognized one river as the River of the Year. This recognition is done to raise awareness of the important recreational, ecological, and historical resources associated with the state’s rivers and streams.

The River of the Year is celebrated throughout the year. Events have included paddling trips, a speaker series, clean up days, photography contests, and more. Partnerships of community groups organize the events including a Sojourn paddling trip. In addition, POWR coordinates the production and distribution of a free poster celebrating the river.

The Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, or POWR, administers the River of the Year program. Local organizations submit nominations. POWR also helps organize and support local watershed associations, as well as the groups who lead a dozen sojourns on rivers around the state each year.

Pennsylvania’s River of the Year honors have been presented annually since 1983. The past feature Rivers of the Year are:
2014 – Schuylkill River
2013 – Monongahela River
2012 – Stonycreek River
2011 – Delaware River
2010 – Lackawaxen River
2009 – Lower and Middle Susquehanna River
2008 – Youghiogheny River
2007 – Lehigh River
2006 – Three Rivers
2005 – West Branch Susquehanna River
2004 – North Branch Susquehanna River
2003 – French Creek
2002 – Delaware River
2001 – Juniata River
2000 – Kiskiminitas-Conemaugh River
1999 – Schuylkill River
1998 – Youghiogheny River
1997 – Lehigh River
1996 – Tulpehocken Creek
1996 – Clarion River
1995 – Upper Delaware
1995 – Juniata River
1994 – Allegheny River
1994 – Susquehanna River
1993 – Meshoppen Creek
1993 – North Branch and Main Stem Susquehanna River
1992 – Yellow Breeches Creek
1992 – West Branch Susquehanna River
1991 – North Branch Susquehanna River
1991 – Pine Creek
1990 – Catawissa Creek
1989 – Bear Run
1988 – West Branch Susquehanna River
1986 – North Branch Susquehanna River
1983 & 1984 – Clarion River

College_Textbooks-480x280

(HARRISBURG) – The Pennsylvania Department of Education has taken steps to establish Pennsylvania’s first Rural Regional Community College, announced Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25), Senator Bob Robbins (R-50) and Senator Scott Hutchinson (R-21).

According to the legislators, the newly created community college is being established with the goal of offering two-year associate degrees, as well as training and certificate programs to underserved areas of the Commonwealth. Curriculum of the college will be determined by the Board of Trustees, based upon the future workforce needs of the designated region of Cameron, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, McKean, Potter, Venango and Warren counties.

“I am very excited that groundwork for launching the Rural Regional Community College is now in place,” Senator Scarnati stated. “This will be the first community college to offer greatly needed higher educational opportunities to northwestern Pennsylvania. Thanks to input by education, business and community leaders, we have been able to establish a solid foundation for helping students have access to quality, affordable education near their hometowns.”

“This will certainly expand the educational options for students in our region,” Senator Robbins said. “Education is the key to success, and a two-year college program is an excellent option for young people who are looking at job opportunities in many career fields. The truth is it’s also a cost-effective way for students to complete their basic studies at a smaller college before finishing their degree at a larger university.”

“I’m thrilled with the rapid progress on the Rural Regional Community College and I’m grateful for Senator Scarnati’s leadership in making this concept a reality,” Senator Hutchinson said. “The positive effects this college will have on our region cannot be understated – there is an immediate need for quality career and technology education in many rural areas of the Commonwealth. The Rural Regional Community College will help residents of our area get the training and education they need to continue working and living right here in our community.”

Senator Scarnati explained that earlier this year, language from his Senate Bill 1000 to establish the rural regional community college initiative was included in the Fiscal Code (Act 126 of 2014). Senate Bill 1000 was a bi-partisan initiative, based largely on recommendations by a Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) study completed in December 2011.

On August 1st, the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) appointed the Educational Consortium of Upper Allegheny (ECUA) as the non-profit entity to assist with designating the community college region to be served, as well as advising PDE on the appointment of members of the Board of Trustees. Dr. Dick McDowell, Chairman of the ECUA Board of Trustees stressed the importance of the new community college.

“Providing people with access, affordability and articulation that a community college can offer will be a tremendous asset to rural Pennsylvania,” Dr. McDowell said. “We are pleased to work with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to provide advice to help develop a rural higher education system that offers greater accessibility for students at affordable rates.”

Earlier this month, the following 15 individuals were named to serve on the Board of Trustees by PDE Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq.

– Ms. Mary Bula, Collective Impact at United Way of Erie County

– Ms. Nancy Decker, Laurel Technical Institute

– Mrs. Amanda Hetrick, Forest Area School District

– Mr. Robert Kaemmerer, United Refining Company

– Mr. Hank LeMeur, Superior Tire and Rubber Company

– Mrs. Kate Lomax-Brock, Elk Cameron Community Education Council

– Mr. Greg Mahon, Office of the Senate President Pro Tempore

– Dr. Richard McDowell, President Emeritus University of Pittsburgh at Bradford

– Mr. Douglas Morley, Potter County Commissioner

– Mr. Ed Pitchford, Cole Memorial Hospital

– Mr. Louis Radkowski, City of Saint Marys

– Mrs. Susan Snelick, North Central Workforce Investment Board

– Dr. Karen Whitney, Clarion University

– Mr. Dennis Wilke, Precision Manufacturing Institute

– The Honorable Mary Jo White, Former State Senator

Term length of the Board members will be determined at the first Board of Trustees meeting scheduled for December 2, 2014. The meeting will be open to members of the public and the location of the meeting will be determined by PDE in the coming days.

The Senators also recognized the contributions of members of the House of Representatives who worked on the measure, especially Representative Martin Causer who introduced a companion bill to SB 1000, which also sought to establish a rural community college program.

“Thanks to the efforts and input of numerous educational, business, community and government leaders, we are now helping to provide students with more tools they can use to access good, family-sustaining jobs. We look forward to witnessing the positive impacts of the college in the years to come.”

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CONTACTS:

Greg Mahon (Senator Scarnati) gmahon@pasen.gov (717) 787-7084

Mike Hengst (Senator Robbins) mhengst@pasen.gov (717) 787-1322

Justin Leventry (Senator Hutchinson) jleventry@pasen.gov (717) 787-9684

PA-River-Map-2015

Conewango-Creek-ROY-2015-PhotoThe Conewango Creek, along with the Lackawanna River, Loyalhanna Creek, Neshaminy Creek, and the Ohio River are finalists for Pennsylvania’s River of the Year for 2015. Currently, Loyalhanna Creek is in the lead with 39% of the vote. Voting ends on December 15, 2014

Cast your vote here!

From pariveroftheyear.org:

For the past twenty years, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has annually recognized one river as the River of the Year. This recognition is done to raise awareness of the important recreational, ecological, and historical resources associated with the state’s rivers and streams.

The River of the Year is celebrated throughout the year. Events have included paddling trips, a speaker series, clean up days, photography contests, and more. Partnerships of community groups organize the events including a Sojourn paddling trip. In addition, POWR coordinates the production and distribution of a free poster celebrating the river.

The Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, or POWR, administers the River of the Year program. Local organizations submit nominations. POWR also helps organize and support local watershed associations, as well as the groups who lead a dozen sojourns on rivers around the state each year.

 

senate

(HARRISBURG) — Senate Republicans today elected their leadership team for the 2015-2016 legislative session.

Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25) has been nominated again to serve as President Pro Tempore. The full Senate will vote on Scarnati’s nomination when it reconvenes in January. Since his election to the position of President Pro Tempore, Scarnati has been a leader in reforming the way business is conducted in the Senate and remains committed to making the institution more open and accessible to the citizens of the Commonwealth. In this position he will continue to be responsible for appointing the chairpersons and members of the standing committees of the Senate. He will also play a significant role in legislative negotiations with the Administration and House of Representatives.

Senator Jake Corman (R-34) will serve as Senate Majority Leader. His duties include overseeing the legislative agenda, developing policies and strategies for the Senate Republican Caucus, chairing the Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee and playing a key role in floor debates. He will also have a major role in negotiating issues with the Administration and House of Representatives and in supervising action on the Senate floor. Corman previously served as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senator Pat Browne (R-16) will be the new chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, one of the most influential of the standing committees. The committee reviews all legislation for its fiscal impact and plays a crucial role in developing the state budget. Browne is an attorney, a CPA and a member of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Senator John Gordner (R-27) has been elected Majority Whip. His duties include acting as assistant floor leader, working to gain support for legislation and ensuring that Republican policies and strategies are maintained through the cooperative efforts of the majority caucus.

Senator Bob Mensch (R-24) will serve as Majority Caucus Chairman for the 2015-2016 legislative session. As chairman he will preside over Republican caucus meetings to discuss bills and amendments and to develop caucus strategy.

As the Senate Majority Caucus Secretary, Senator Richard Alloway (R-33) will oversee all executive nominations submitted to the Senate for confirmation. He will coordinate the review of the background and experience of nominees and ensure that proper documentation is submitted.

Voters across Pennsylvania strengthened the Republican majority in the state Senate on Election Day, returning all incumbent Republicans up for re-election and electing three additional Republicans to the chamber. Senate Republicans hold a 30-20 majority in the State Senate. The new members of the Republican caucus include:

– Tom McGarrigle, 26th Senatorial District (portions of Chester and Delaware counties) — Senator-elect McGarrigle is a small business owner who served as Chairman of Delaware County Council. He played an integral role in projects providing jobs for Delaware County residents, working with state and federal officials to save refinery jobs in the region, and helping make the Philadelphia Union soccer stadium a reality.

– Pat Stefano, 32nd Senatorial District (Fayette and Somerset counties, and parts of Westmoreland County) — Senator-elect Stefano is a third-generation owner and operator of a family printing company. Active in the business community, he served as Vice President of the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce and is a founding member of the county’s “Buy Local” Steering Committee.

– Ryan Aument, 36th Senatorial District (Lancaster County) – Senator-elect Aument has served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives since being elected in 2010, and previously served as a captain in the U.S. Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom. A fiscal conservative, he has also led school reform efforts, working to pass new, stricter teacher evaluations.

– Mario Scavello, 40th Senatorial District (portions of Monroe and Northampton counties) — Senator-elect Scavello was previously elected to six terms in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he most recently chaired the House Labor and Industry Committee. In addition to being a champion for school funding reform, the Senator-elect’s legislative accomplishments include the enactment of his legislation ensuring that patients with prosthetics and orthotic services are receiving care from properly trained practitioners.

– Camera Bartolotta, 46th Senatorial District (Washington and Greene counties, and parts of Beaver County) — Senator-elect Bartolotta is a small business operator, running the family’s Mon Valley oil-change business. She is actively involved with the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association of Washington County, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Gilda’s Club of Western PA.

– Michele Brooks, 50th Senatorial District (Crawford and Mercer counties, and portions of Erie and Warren counties) — Prior to being elected to the state House in 2006, Senator-elect Brooks served as vice chairman of the Mercer County Board of Commissioners. As a House member, her priorities have been reducing crushing taxes on job creators, improving state services for senior citizens, re-prioritizing state government spending and limiting borrowing by the Commonwealth.

Three Senate Republicans will retire at the end of the year. They are Senator Bob Robbins (R-50), Senator Ted Erickson (R-26), and Senator Mike Brubaker (R-36).

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CONTACTS:
Drew Crompton – Senator Scarnati (717) 787-7084
Mark Meyer – Senator Corman (717) 787-1377

firetruck

(HARRISBURG) – Fire and emergency companies can now apply for grants through the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25).

Scarnati said the AFG will award approximately $340 million in competitive grants nationwide to fire departments, non-affiliated EMS organizations, and state fire training academies during the 2014 fiscal year. The grant application period opens on Monday, November 3, 2014, and closes on Friday, December 5.

“This grant program is part of a large and coordinated effort to strengthen emergency preparedness efforts by providing first-responders with the resources they need,” Scarnati said. “I encourage our local fire & EMS companies to apply for these grants.”

Interested organizations are eligible to submit up to three applications for the AFG funding under the following categories:

Operations and Safety:
– Grant projects funded include professional training, wellness and fitness programs equipment, personal protective equipment, modifications to facilities and supplies that support firefighting and non-affiliated EMS operations.

Vehicle Acquisition:
– Eligible vehicles and parts included, but not limited to: pumpers, aerials, brush trucks, tankers/tenders, rescue vehicles, ambulances.

Regional Grants:
– These grants will benefit activities and projects within a region by supporting multiple organizations (Fire and/or non-affiliated EMS) that serve more than one local jurisdiction.

To apply or view additional information regarding the AFG program please visit http://www.fema.gov/assistance-firefighters-grant. Interested applicants may also contact the AFG Program Help Desk by calling 1-866-274-0960 or via email at firegrants@dhs.gov

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CONTACT:
Kate Eckhart
keckhart@pasen.gov
(717) 787-7084

pa-renters-rebate

(HARRISBURG) – Income eligibility guidelines for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program have changed under a new law that will enable more local residents to qualify for the program, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25).

Scarnati, who supported the legislation, explained that House Bill 1067 was signed into law and will ensure that income increases due solely to Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) will no longer disqualify claimants from receiving rebates.

“Over the last four decades the Property Tax Rent Rebate Program has helped Pennsylvanians on a limited income by making housing costs more affordable,” Scarnati said. “I am pleased that this recent change will ensure individuals who have a need are not disqualified simply because of a Social Security COLA.”

Scarnati explained that any homeowner with an annual income of up to $35,298 last year, who collects Social Security and received a property tax rebate in 2013 for claim year 2012 is encouraged to apply for a rebate for claim year 2013.

Renters with an annual income of up to $15,128 last year, who collect Social Security and received a rent rebate in 2013 for claim year 2012 are also encouraged to apply.

Scarnati said the Department of Revenue is automatically reviewing previously denied claim year 2013 applications where the rebate was denied for income in excess of $35,000 for homeowners and $15,000 for renters. In cases where the overage is due only to Social Security COLAs, the Department will reopen, process and pay these claims.

For those who have not yet submitted applications, the deadline to apply for 2013 rebates is December 31, 2014.

The program is open to state residents age 65 or older; widows and widowers age 50 or older; and 100 percent disabled people 18 or older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, with half of Social Security income excluded, and all of a Social Security COLA excluded. Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms and related information are available online at www.revenue.state.pa.us or by calling, toll-free, 1-888-222-9190.

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CONTACT:
Kate Eckhart
(717)787-7084
keckhart@pasen.gov

 

doh_l_

This week as a member of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, I participated in an informational hearing focusing on the Commonwealth’s preparedness for the treatment of persons infected with Ebola. Testimony was provided by state officials and health care experts.

The information outlined by public health officials during the hearing can also be reviewed through the department’s new Ebola information website.

It is important to note that Ebola can ONLY be spread by directly touching an infected person or animal’s skin, blood or body fluids. You cannot get the virus simply by being near someone who is infected.

Earlier this month, three residents from Pennsylvania were potentially exposed to the virus as they were on the same commercial airplane as one of the nurses who tested positive for the disease but is recovering. Those residents are not in the Commonwealth and are being monitored by the federal Centers for Disease Control.

Authorities are encouraging residents to remain calm as the direct threat to the public is minimal.

 

banner1

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is making it easier to donate to the Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) program by eliminating the requested $15 processing fee from donating hunters.

The HSH program allows Pennsylvania hunters to donate some of their acquired venison to those in need. Since its establishment in 1991, the program has distributed more than 4,000 pounds of ground venison to soup kitchens, pantries, missions and needy families. This equates to almost 200,000 meals donated to food banks, churches and other social services programs which feed those in need.

In order to participate, hunters must simply take their deer to a participating meat processor and identify how much of their deer meat to donate to HSH.

To learn more about the program, or to find a list of participating meat processors, visit the HSH website here.

vets

(HARRISBURG) – The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is now accepting applications for grants to help veterans’ organizations across Pennsylvania, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson).

Scarnati explained that DMVA is making $500,000 in Veterans’ Trust Fund grant funding available for programs and initiatives that will help veterans and their families. The Pennsylvania Veterans Trust Fund (PVTF) was established by the state legislature in 2012 to supplement state appropriations for veterans programs and support new partnerships with charities and veterans’ service organizations.

“Veterans and their families are constantly making sacrifices as they serve to protect our freedoms,” Scarnati said. “We must always remember how much they give for us and continue to strengthen our commitment to them. I encourage area organizations to apply for these grants to help meet the needs of our local veterans.”

PVTF Grants will be considered in the following areas:

  • Up to $350,000 will be awarded for competitive grants to veteran’s service organizations and non-profit organizations with a mission of serving Pennsylvania veterans, focusing on four areas of emphasis: homelessness, behavioral health initiatives, outreach services, and other programs or services which address newly identified, unmet or emerging needs of veterans and their families.
  • Up to $100,000 will be awarded for competitive grants to County Directors of Veterans Affairs or the Pennsylvania Association of County Directors of Veterans’ Affairs, focusing on four areas of emphasis: health care enrollment, veteran outreach initiatives, veterans court initiatives, and other programs or services which address newly identified, unmet or emerging needs of veterans and their families.
  • Up to $50,000 for a veterans service organization, non-profit organization with a mission of serving Pennsylvania veterans, County Director of Veterans Affairs or the Pennsylvania Association of County Directors of Veterans’ Affairs to co-sponsor a Veterans Symposium.

Applications for the grants can be found at www.vtf.state.pa.us or by contacting one of Senator Scarnati’s District Offices listed below. The application deadline for grant submissions is Monday, November 24 at 4:00 p.m.

Brockway Office
410 Main Street
Brockway, PA 15824
Ph: 814-265-2030

Kane Office
21A Field Street
Kane, PA 16735
Ph: 814-837-1026

Wellsboro Office
5 Main Street
Wellsboro, PA 16901
Ph: 570-724-5231

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CONTACT:
Kate Eckhart
(717)787-7084
keckhart@pasen.gov

 

cows

HARRISBURG – Three local alternative energy projects will receive state grant awards totaling more than $1,075,000, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson).

Scarnati explained that the grants were awarded by the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA), which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The following three projects in the 25th Senatorial District will be receiving funding:

Clearfield County
A grant of $500,000 will help the West Branch Area School District to install and implement an eco-friendly boiler system.

Clinton County
A grant of $500,000 will help finance an anaerobic digester system for hot water heating and steam production at Nicholas Meat.

Tioga County
A grant of $75,976 will help Dairy Farmers of America to increase the energy efficiency of their boiler.

“All three of these projects will provide significant benefits to our local communities in terms of reducing long-term energy costs and reducing pollution,” Scarnati said. “I am pleased that these grants will help keep our region on the cutting edge of alternative energy development and implementation.”

Scarnati noted that funded projects must be conducted entirely in Pennsylvania. PEDA is an independent public financing authority created in 1982 by the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority & Emergency Powers Act. The Authority is tasked with financing clean, advanced energy projects across the Commonwealth.

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CONTACT: Kate Eckhart (717)787-7084 keckhart@pasen.gov