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Senator Elder Vogel

Dear Friend,

I am pleased to present my electronic newsletter. These e-newsletters enable me to provide information about issues, events and activities in Harrisburg and around the 47th Senatorial District to you in a timely manner while saving postage costs.

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Elder Vogel

Congratulations to Brynn Burnsworth on her achievement. Brynn’s poster was chosen as the cover for the Attorney General’s 21st Annual Drug-Free Calendar. It was great to meet her and her family in Harrisburg to celebrate.

Beaver County Humane Society’s Holiday Ventures

This holiday season the Beaver County Humane Society (BCHS) has embarked on two separate ventures to help animals in their care. With the help of PetSmart Charities, BCHS has a chance to receive the “Big Thanks Bonus” when 500 of their shelter animals are adopted from PetSmart locations that house BCHS adoptable pets. These locations are:

  • 115 Wagner Road Monaca, PA 15066
  • 1717 Route 228 Cranberry, PA 16066
  • 2573 West State St New Castle, PA 16101

BCHS needs help reaching their adoption goal to receive the “Big Thanks Bonus” from PetSmart Charities, which will go directly toward the animals and programs that provide care.

The Humane Society has also began a holiday donation drive. BCHS has teamed up with local business to create “trees with presents for pets” ornaments. Customers can pick an ornament which has an item listed on it for the animals. The customer then gets the item listed on the ornament and donates it to BCHS. If you own a business that would like to host a tree please contact For more information on these programs please see the flyers we have up on our Facebook page.

Congratulations to Olivia Larson was a member of the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf’s Division II Volleyball Championship in the Spike Out XIX tournament. It was wonderful to meet her and her team in Harrisburg.

Pennsylvania Expands Industrial Hemp Research Opportunities

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture recently announced that they will be expanding the industrial hemp research program for 2018. From fewer than 50 total acres in 2017, next season’s crop could cover 5,000 acres or more.

For 2018, the commonwealth will permit up to 50 individual growers or institutions of higher education to grow up to 100 acres apiece. Institutions of higher education also may partner with individual growers to produce larger quantities of hemp. Last year, the department limited the number of growers to 30, each of whom could grow no more than five acres.

For thousands of years, industrial hemp was grown to produce fiber, food and seed; more recent uses include biofuel and materials to replace fossil-fuel-based plastics. Aspiring hemp growers should review the new parameter document to understand the permitting process, then complete and return the 2018 Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program permit application and application fee before the January 19, 2018 deadline.

Permit applications and additional information is available on the Department of Agriculture website. You can reach their website by clicking here and for more information please call my office at 724-774-0444.

Veteran Trust Fund Grant Opportunities

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veteran Affairs (DMVA) is accepting 2017-18 Veteran’s Trust Fund (VTF) grant applications. The DMVA will award up to $800,000 in VTF grants to non-profit organizations, veteran service organizations and county directors of veteran affairs across the state.

Up to a total of $150,000 in grant funding is available for new, innovative or expanded programs or services provided by county directors of veteran’s affairs or the Pennsylvania Association of County Directors of Veterans Affairs. The areas of emphasis for applicants in this category are veterans’ outreach and veterans’ court programs.

Up to $650,000 in VTF funding is available to veteran service organizations and 501(c)(3) charitable organizations with a mission of serving Pennsylvania veterans. Funding priorities for applicants in this category are transitional housing or community living initiatives and unique veteran health services that address issues like homelessness, post-traumatic stress and behavioral health needs.

Since the grant program began in 2013, 98 grants totaling $2,159,860 have been awarded to organizations providing services to veterans in Pennsylvania. To learn more about the VTF and the grant application process, visit or follow DMVA on Facebook at

REAP Tax Credit

Pennsylvania farmers who want to implement best management practices (BMPs) or purchase on-farm conservation equipment should apply for 2017-18 Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program tax credits.

REAP is a Pennsylvania tax credit program for agricultural producers who install BMPs or make equipment purchases that reduce nutrient and sediment runoff, which improves Pennsylvania’s streams and watersheds. The program is administered by Pennsylvania’s State Conservation Commission, which provides support and oversight to the state's 66 county conservation districts.

Farmers may receive tax credits of up to $150,000 per agricultural operation for 50 to 75 percent of the project’s cost. The most commonly approved projects are for no-till planting and precision ag equipment, waste storage facilities, Conservation Plans, Nutrient Management Plans, and protecting barnyards and other areas with animals. Cover crops and riparian stream buffers are also popular REAP-eligible practices. REAP can be used in conjunction with other funding sources, such as the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) or the Chesapeake Bay Program to help install BMPs.

The 2017-18 REAP application packet, as well as other information about REAP, is available on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s website or by contacting Joel Semke at 717-705-4032 or


Representative Jim Marshall and I got the pleasure of meeting members of Communicycle, which is a ministry and bike program that collects used bikes and parts to provide a way for children and adults to earn a bike through volunteering. Repairs are performed at no cost and you can learn how to repair your own bike, or earn a bike through volunteering in your community.

Communicycle's mantra is to show both our love for God and our love for our neighbors – you! Anyone can select a bike and volunteer to earn it. If you already have a bike that needs repaired, you can bring it in and we’ll help you fix it. If you are selecting a bike from the shop inventory, we’ll ask that you commit to a certain number of volunteer hours – at your church or another church, at the bike shop and/or in your community. Talk to one of our volunteers for details.

United Way Annual “Gutchies” for Kidz

Lawrence County United Way is hosting a “Gutchies” for Kidz program. The program takes donations of underwear, socks, thermal tops and bottoms (sizes 4-2X). We are collecting for United Way at our New Castle office till December 29th. The donations will be distributed to all Lawrence County school districts. Our New Castle Office was located at 1905 West State Street and for more information you can call us at 724-654-1444. More information is available on United Way website at

Bridges and Pathways Announcement

The Community College of Beaver County (CCBC), Geneva College, Penn State Beaver, and Robert Morris University were proud to announce a new program for residents in the Beaver Valley known as the Bridges and Pathways College Partnership. These four institutions of higher education have teamed up to improve the lives of Beaver Valley residents through access to education, cultural events and economic opportunities.

This partnership is in response to the rapidly changing economic identity and the institutions collective vision to serve the educational, workforce development and quality of life needs of residents and business in the area. With new economic opportunity coming to the Beaver Valley these four institutions are set up to fulfill the secondary educational needs of the region.

Part of addressing those needs involves helping students, particularly those in underserved communities, gain access to higher education opportunities and secure the financial resources needed to attend a college or university. Due to this need the partnership has teamed up with the Beaver County Council of Governments and the Beaver County Foundation to develop two scholarships for local students who attend one of the four Bridges and Pathways institutions.

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Contact Me


Senate Box 203047
362 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3047
Phone: (717) 787-3076
FAX: (717) 772-2756

8:30 - 4:30

488 Adams Street
Rochester, PA 15074-1940
Phone: (724) 774-0444
FAX: (724) 773-7384

New Castle
1905 W. State Street
New Castle, PA 16101
Phone: (724) 654-1444
FAX: (724) 656-3182



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