Thursday, October 31, 2019

Gifford Pinchot's Grey Towers Hosting Annual Dickens’ Christmas Carol Program Dec. 7-8 Kicking Off Holiday Tour Season

Tickets for the 39th annual dramatization of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at Grey Towers National Historic Site, Milford, Pike County, are now on sale. 
Performances are planned for December 7 and 8 at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 each and are available online or by calling 570-296-9625. No tickets can be reserved without payment and tickets are non-refundable.
The Dickens program is the kick-off for the annual holiday tour schedule at Grey Towers, when visitors can see all three floors of the decorated mansion from December 9 through December 22 at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.
Professional actors Joe and Therese Plummer of New York City recently stepped in to perform the traditional holiday classic at Grey Towers following more than three decades of performances by their father, Joe Plummer Sr. 
The performance uses no costumes or scenery and leaves much to one’s imagination, just as stories were told or read in the 19th century.
The 1886 mansion, formerly the home of Gov. Gifford Pinchot, founder and first chief of the US Forest Service, will once again be decorated by members of the Milford Garden Club
The special holiday tours bring visitors to all three floors of the mansion; the upper floors usually are not open to the public for tours.
In addition to the guided Holiday Tours, visitors can enjoy a Holiday Photography Exhibit featuring photographs taken by members of the Pike Imaging Council, all creatively depicting Grey Towers, the landscape, and forests or trees.
The Grey Towers Interpretive Gift Shop is open from December 9-22 offering unique holiday gift items provided by Eastern National Forests Interpretive Association.
Guided tour fees: $8 adults; $7 seniors; $5 youth; under 12 free. Reservations are required for groups of 10 or more and are offered before Noon each day that the mansion is open for public tours. We honor Interagency Passes at Grey Towers!
For more information about the Christmas Carol programs, please call 570-296-9625 or email to:
 For more information about the holiday tours, please call 570-296-9630 or send email to: SM.FS.GREYTOWERS@USDA.GOV
For more information on programs, initiatives and other upcoming events, visit the Grey Towers Heritage AssociationClick Here to sign up for updates from the Association, Like them on Facebook, Follow them on Twitter, visit their YouTube Channel, become part of their Google+ Circle and follow them on Instagram.
  Also visit the Grey Towers Historic Site website and the Pinchot Institute for Conservation website for information on its conservation research and policy programs.  Click Here to sign up for the Institute’s regular updates.
[Posted: October 31, 2019]

PUC Commissioner Andrew Place Elected Vice President Of Organization Of PJM States

On October 31, the Public Utility Commission announced Commissioner Andrew G. Place has been elected as vice president of the Organization of PJM States, the inter-governmental organization comprised of the utility regulatory agencies of 13 states and the District of Columbia that are wholly or partly in the service area of PJM, one of the world’s largest regional electric transmission operators.
OPSI's activities include, but are not limited to, coordinating analyses and policy formulation related to PJM’s wholesale electricity markets and operations, its relationship to the Independent Market Monitor, and related matters of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
For more information on the responsibilities of the PUC, visit the Public Utility Commission website.
[Posted: October 31, 2019]

CBF: U.S. Senate Passes Increase In Essential Funding For Chesapeake Bay Program

On October 31, the U.S. Senate passed a package of fiscal year 2020 appropriations bills that includes a more than $5 million increase for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program
Through the hard work of Sen. Van Hollen (MD), the Senate Appropriations Interior-Environment Subcommittee last month raised the program’s budget from the fiscal 2019 level of $73 million to $76 million.
Sen. Ben Cardin (MD) helped secure another $2.28 million for the program through an amendment offered by Sens. Gary Peters (MI) and Rob Portman (OH) to increase funds for conserving specific waterbodies, such as the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes. 
The amendment brought total Senate funding for the program, which coordinates the multi-state effort to restore the Bay watershed, to more than $78 million for fiscal 2020.
In June, the House increased fiscal 2020 Bay Program funding to $85 million. The House and Senate must next reconcile their differing spending levels.
Following final passage, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Federal Executive Director Jason Rano issued this statement--
“Increasing investment in the Bay Program is essential as we move toward the 2025 deadline to have programs and practices in place that will restore water quality in local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. 
“We thank the Senate for increasing funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program, particularly Senators Van Hollen and Cardin, as well as Interior-Environment Subcommittee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (AK) and ranking Democrat Tom Udall (NM). We’re also grateful to Senators Gary Peters and Rob Portman for their leadership. 
“As the House and Senate work to reconcile spending differences, CBF will work with the region’s Congressional delegation to enact the $85 million investment passed by the House.”
For more on Chesapeake Bay-related issues in Pennsylvania, visit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA webpage.  Click Here to sign up for Pennsylvania updates (bottom of left column).  Click Here to support their work.
For more information on how Pennsylvania is meeting its water pollution reduction obligations, visit DEP’s PA’s Chesapeake Bay Plan webpage.
(Photo: Susquehanna River, Chickies Rock overlook, Lancaster County.)
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[Posted: October 31, 2019]

DEP Hosts Nov. 18 Webinar On How To Apply For An Environmental Education Grant

The Department of Environmental Protection will host a November 18 webinar staring at 1:00 p.m. on how formal and informal environmental educators can apply for DEP Environmental Education Grants.
Funding for schools, colleges, nonprofits, county conservation districts, and businesses is available through the program. 
DEP Environmental Education Director Bert Myers will walk through the application process and answer questions in this free, 75-minute live webinar.
Projects with a local focus may receive up to $3,000, and regional or statewide initiatives may receive up to $20,000. Projects that engage students and teachers at the local, state, and national levels may be awarded up to $85,000.
While all topics are considered, water quality, climate change, and environmental justice are priority areas. Formal and nonformal education projects are eligible. 
Project examples include tours, hands-on workshops, and demonstrations focused on watershed stewardship and community action, renewable energy, energy conservation, vehicle idling, alternative transportation, and healthier air quality.
The Environmental Education Grants program was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1993, which mandates setting aside five percent of the pollution fines and penalties DEP collects annually for environmental education in Pennsylvania.
 Since inception, the program has provided more than $12 million in grants to more than 1,890 organizations statewide.
For all the details of the grant program, visit DEP’s Environmental Education Grants webpage.  Questions should be directed to Bert Myers, DEP's Director of Environmental Education and Information Center, by calling 717-772-1828 or sending email to:
DEP began accepting applications for grants October 31.  Applications are due December 31. 
Applications must be submitted through eGrants (first-time users will need to register). 
Visit DEP’s Environmental Education webpage for more information on educational resources available from DEP.  Click Here to sign up for DEP’s Teaching Green environmental education newsletter.
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[Posted: October 31, 2019]

Help Wanted: Berks Conservation District Urban Resource Conservationist

The Berks County Conservation District is seeking qualified candidates to fill the position of Urban Resource Conservationist.
The individual holding this position is a member of the Urban Team. This Team is responsible for implementing several state-delegated regulatory programs. Those programs include Chapter 92 (NPDES), Chapter 102 (Erosion Control), and Chapter 105 (Dam Safety and Waterway Management).
In addition, the Urban Resource Conservationist is responsible for ensuring that the required output measures are achieved in accordance with the delegation agreements. The Urban Resource Conservationist is supervised by the District Manager.
Visit the PA Association of Conservation Districts Jobs webpage for opportunities with other county conservation districts.
[Posted: October 31, 2019]

DCNR: Still Lots Of Good Opportunities To View Fall Foliage Over Next Week

On October 31, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources issued its sixth Fall Foliage Report with regional comments on factors influencing foliage changes.
Good fall foliage viewing opportunities persist throughout much of the state, especially in central and southern portions of the Commonwealth. 
Peak colors are expected for the southeast through much of the reporting timeframe, while prime foliage conditions will only last a few more days in the central forest districts of Rothrock, Tuscarora, and Weiser.
Although most leaves are down in northeastern and northwestern areas, an understated “secondary peak” exists in the oak-dominated Pennsylvania Wilds region in northcentral Pennsylvania.
Today’s stormy weather could strip many leaves in areas labeled “starting to fade” and those that will peak for just a few more days.
Don’t forget to look at the comments on foliage by region of the state.
Visitors can get suggestions about the best spots to view fall foliage on the Penn’s Woods Fall Foliage story map and on the Pennsylvania Tourism Office website.
Information on hiking trails in Pennsylvania is available at the Explore PA Trails website.
  For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.
[Posted: October 31, 2019]

Wolf Administration Seeking Information On Local Needs To Address Lead Hazards; Senate Fails To Take Action On Lead Task Force Recommendations

On October 31, the Wolf Administration issued a Request for Information to gather information to assist in the development of a program to reduce lead exposures in Pennsylvania by expanding efforts to have children tested for lead exposure and helping communities expand their lead exposure prevention and elimination strategies.
The Request was issued in collaboration with the departments of Human Services, Health, Environmental Protection, Education, Labor and Industry, and Community and Economic Development, and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.
“It’s imperative that we stay focused on work to end lead exposure and eliminate its effects in our Commonwealth,” Gov. Tom Wolf said. “I am hopeful that communities across the state respond with detailed information on specific needs and efforts so that we can develop a comprehensive plan toward a lead-free Pennsylvania.”
“By directly seeking the input of our communities and their partners, and pursuing all sources of funding, we are hopeful we can compile a complete list of needs so that funding, when allocated, goes directly to programs and initiatives that produce swift and measurable results toward protecting Pennsylvanians,” Gov. Wolf said.
Through the RFI, the state wants to learn about the needs of communities throughout the Commonwealth to address lead hazards, the capacity to address those needs, and where gaps exist to further address lead hazards and exposure. 
As part of the Commonwealth’s efforts to reduce the number of properties in the Commonwealth with lead hazards, the RFI seeks the knowledge and experience of communities working to remove lead hazards from their child care centers, schools, homes, playgrounds, and other places where children live, learn, and play. 
Agencies or businesses interested in working to remove lead hazards within their community or across the Commonwealth are also encouraged to respond.
RFI responses are due by 12 p.m., December 2. Responses must be submitted by email to: RA-PWRFICOMMENTS@PA.GOV  with “Lead Exposure Reduction Program RFI” in the email subject line.
Questions related to the RFI may be submitted by email to: RA-PWRFICOMMENTS@PA.GOV  using “Lead Exposure Reduction RFI question” in the email subject line. 
The Administration will post answers on the eMarketplace website.
Senate Lead Exposure Report
In May, members of the Senate Task Force on Lead Exposure released a report making a series of recommendations to reduce lead exposure throughout the state.
The Task Force was created in 2017 by Senate Resolution 33 sponsored by Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), Minority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
The Resolution directed the Joint State Government Commission and a special advisory committee to conduct a comprehensive review of Pennsylvania law and public policy related to lead exposure and abatement practices, assess the age of housing and infrastructure, lead exposure threats, and identify the prevalence of lead in structures where children spend significant time.
The report made a dozen recommendations and Task Force members announced a 5 bill package to address the recommended changes in law.  The bills include--
-- Senate Bill 39 (Schwank-D-Berks) was introduced on January 11 requiring lead testing at child daycare centers;
-- Senate Bill 312 (Baker-R-Luzerne, Yudichak-D-Luzerne) was introduced February 19 requiring universal blood testing for children;
-- Senate Bill 892 (Stefano-R-Fayette) was introduced October 15 establishing a consumer education program on the dangers of lead exposure to be distributed at retail outlets selling plumbing, paint and other supplies for the removal of paint.
-- Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, circulated a co-sponsor memo in April requiring lead testing of school drinking water, but so far has not introduced a bill.
-- Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) circulated a co-sponsor memo in May creating a registry of certified lead-free rental housing, but so far has not introduced a bill.
None of the bills have seen any legislative action.
For more information on lead poisoning and risks, visit the Department of Health’s Lead Poisoning webpage.  For more information on lead in water, visit DEP’s Lead In Drinking Water webpage.
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[Posted: October 31, 2019]

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