|Fire, EMS Grant Program to Open First Week of September
Fire companies and ambulance services throughout Pennsylvania are encouraged to apply for the 2018-19 Fire Company, Emergency Medical Services Companies Grant Program from the Office of State Fire Commissioner.
The application period will open the first week of September and remain open for 45 days. Exact dates will be listed at osfc.pa.gov closer to the grant application period opening.
Grants may be used for construction or renovation of a unit’s station, the purchase or repair of equipment, training or debt reduction. The maximum grant amount is $15,000 for fire companies and $10,000 for volunteer ambulance services.
A total of $30 million will be awarded through the program, which is funded by state gaming proceeds.
For more information about the program, click here.
Be Smart About Financial Aid
The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is encouraging college-bound students and their families to visit MySmartBorrowing.org to help make informed choices about student loans.
This free, easy-to-use tool helps users understand how different career, school and financial decisions can influence the cost of an education and their ability to repay student loans, while maintaining a comfortable lifestyle long after graduation.
The site was recently updated with enhanced college and career projection data through 2026. This includes expected college costs for various majors at different schools and future employment opportunities and salary levels for different careers and geographic locations.
This data helps provide a personalized look at a student’s potential cost of attendance at different schools, while highlighting salary expectations for a particular degree and future employment prospects. Students are encouraged to use the site more than once so they can compare different scenarios, using different schools and careers, to see how the choices they make can affect their futures.
For more information about financial aid opportunities, visit PHEAA.org.
Parents Reminded to Ensure Children are Vaccinated for School This Fall
The Pennsylvania Department of Health is reminding parents to ensure their children are up-to-date on vaccines as they head back to school.
Under new rules adopted last year, parents must get their children fully immunized prior to the fifth day of school or the students will be excluded from school. Previously, parents had eight months to meet school immunization requirements.
If a student is in the middle of an immunization series and it is too soon for the next dose, the parents must provide the school nurse with a written plan, signed by their health care provider, within the first five days of school.
For more information, contact your health care provider, visit health.pa.gov or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.
Invasive Asian ‘Longhorn’ Tick Confirmed in Pennsylvania
A new variety of tick was confirmed on a wild deer in Centre County recently, and the Department of Agriculture is encouraging people to take precautions to protect themselves, as well as livestock and pets.
The Asian, or longhorn tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis, is an invasive species that congregates in large numbers and can cause anemia in livestock. It is known to carry several diseases that infect hogs and cattle in Asia. So far, ticks examined in the United States (they have already been found in Arkansas, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia and Virginia) do not carry any infectious pathogens.
The Asian tick infests host animals in dense clusters of numerous ticks. Female Asian ticks reproduce asexually, so a single tick can lay 2,000 eggs after feeding on a host. Cattle, pets, small mammals, birds and humans are all potential hosts.
To protect against ticks, people are reminded to wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors and use insect repellant containing DEET to help keep you safe from ticks and the diseases they carry. It is also important to check yourself and your pets for ticks when you return indoors.
Native to East and Central Asia, the tick was originally identified in the U.S. in New Jersey, where it was found in large numbers in sheep in Mercer County in 2017. It has also been found in Arkansas, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia and Virginia.
To reduce tick habitat, maintain a nine-foot distance between lawn or pasture and wooded areas, keep grass height low, and remove weeds and brush bordering wooded areas.