|Guard Against Fraud This Holiday Season
While the holiday season is often the most charitable, consumers are encouraged to be vigilant and watch out for scams aimed at taking advantage of their good will.
For your protection, the Pennsylvania Department of State’s Bureau of Charitable Organizations maintains a publicly accessible online database which contains all legally established charities in Pennsylvania. Consumers are encouraged to verify the legitimacy of any charity using this database prior to donating.
To learn more about an organization prior to donating or to report suspected fraud, you may also call the bureau’s toll-free telephone hotline at 1-800-732-0999.
For additional information about protecting yourself while giving, click here.
Remembering President George H.W. Bush
Pennsylvania and the nation said our final farewells to former President George H.W. Bush on Wednesday.
Prior to serving as our nation’s 41st president, Bush was a decorated fighter pilot in World War II, a head of the CIA and vice president to President Ronald Reagan.
The 41st president laid in state at the United States Capitol Building prior to his state funeral, held Wednesday at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
In honor of the former president, flags in the state of Pennsylvania will fly at half-staff for the remainder of the year.
PA Fire, Emergency Services Need Our Help
With fire and ambulance services continuing to struggle across the Commonwealth, a 39-member commission created by lawmakers to study the situation issued dozens of recommendations last week.
Statistics show the number of volunteer firefighters has shrunk from about 300,000 in the 1980s to 38,000 today, according to the Pennsylvania Fire and Emergency Services Institute. Ambulance services are facing similar challenges for both volunteers and paid staff, leaving communities potentially vulnerable in emergency situations.
To reverse this trend, the commission suggests several strategies to boost recruitment and retention, including providing Length of Service Award Payments (LOSAP) and other benefit programs, funding basic fire and EMS training at the state level, and offering incentives to employers to permit trainees to attend fire and EMS training.
To further enhance training accessibility, the commission recommends including public safety as a trade/career preparatory program at career and technical education centers across the state and restoring funding for public safety training courses at community colleges.
Action on recommendations in the report would build on two important initiatives enacted earlier this year to boost funding for the state’s ambulance services: increasing Medicaid reimbursements for Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support services and requiring both private insurers and Medicaid to reimburse for treatment provided regardless of whether transport takes place.
Keeping Infants Safe During Sleep
While adults like to bundle up with blankets and layers to keep warm during the winter months, this is unsafe for infants and could lead to suffocation. The House recently passed a resolution designating November as Infant Safe Sleep Month to help raise awareness about safe sleeping methods for infants.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and accidental suffocation are the leading causes of death in babies 1 to 12 months of age. To help prevent these tragedies, parents and caregivers are urged to follow the ABCs:
Keep the baby alone in his or her crib and separate from where others sleep for at least the first six months.
Have the infant sleep on his or her back. Tummy time is safe only when the baby is awake and supervised.
The baby’s crib should be uncluttered with no loose bedding, comforters, quilts, toys, bumpers, pillows or other items.
Instead of layers, regulate the room temperature and consider a “Sleep Sack,” or footed sleepers.
Learn more here.
Get Your 2019 Fishing License!
Fishing licenses for 2019 are now available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) and its more than 700 issuing agents and county treasurers’ offices.
The price of a resident fishing license this year is $22.90. The most popular add-ons, a trout-salmon stamp and a Lake Erie permit, cost $9.90 each, or $15.90 for a combination permit.
Customers will also have the option of purchasing several new voluntary permits, with funds generated by their purchase being reinvested into their respective programs. The voluntary permits include: bass ($11.90); musky ($11.90); habitat/waterways conservation permit ($11.90); and wild trout and enhanced waters permit ($26.90).
Licenses are valid for up to 13 months, from December 2018 through Dec. 31, 2019.
For more information about fishing in PA, and how to give the gift of fishing by purchasing a gift voucher, visit fishandboat.com.