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Issue Home April 28, 2010 Site Home

Rep. Major Supports PA Pay Equity
Let's Help Youth Make A "U-Turn"
New Area Physician Dr. Robert S. Mathews joined the active medical staff of Barnes-Kasson Hospital on April 26.
B/R Raises Money For Rett Syndrome
State Tax Amnesty Program Begins

Commissioner Warren Addresses Women’s Club
Library Auction Night Record-Breaking



Rep. Major Supports PA Pay Equity

HARRISBURG - State Rep. Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming) demonstrated her support of pay equity for women by speaking at a rally in Harrisburg on April 20 to support legislation that would study the effectiveness of Pennsylvania's laws that protect women against discrimination in terms of wages and salaries.

April 20 was designated Pay Equity Day in Pennsylvania because it marks the day in which women's salaries have finally caught up to those of men during 2009.

"We all know that women face many obstacles in the workforce today, but one obstacle no woman should have to face is pay inequity. Equal pay for equal work should be a reality, not just an ideal," said Major. "This is also an issue that affects women and their families through the entirety of their lives, since their Social Security earnings and pensions will be affected based on what their lifetime earnings were. It is past time we stop talking about this issue and start making the necessary changes to correct this inequity in the workforce."

Illustrating her support, Major has co-sponsored House Resolution 718, officially designating April 20 as the 2010 Pay Equity Day in Pennsylvania and calling for a study to determine the effectiveness of state laws regarding salary discrimination based on gender.

According to statistics released in 2009 by the U.S. Census Bureau, year-round, full-time working women in 2008 earned only 77 percent of the earnings of year-round, full-time working men. In Pennsylvania, women fare worse as they earn only 75 percent of their male colleagues.

Based on the median earnings of full-time, year-round workers, women's earnings were $35,745 and men's earnings were $46,367.

Major stressed that pay equity does not mandate across-the-board salaries for any occupation; it merely means that wages must be based on job requirements like skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions without consideration of race, sex, or ethnicity.

House Resolution 718 is currently before the House Labor Relations Committee.

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Let's Help Youth Make A "U-Turn"

Let's face it, young adults 16-20 consider themselves to be invincible, feeling as if the "bad stuff" will never happen to them and death is a lifetime away. This age group is one of the most difficult to penetrate and hardest to sway. They live in their own unique world. A world that has evolved at breakneck speed and is full of online social networks, innovation, connectivity, immediacy, superhighways, music, 24-7 information availability, independence, social change and more.

Unfortunately, the "stronger than Superman" attitude towards life is getting our underage targets killed at a faster rate than ever before and the number one reason is something that is completely preventable - underage drinking and driving.

As we enter into prom and graduation season, it's so important that we as adults talk to teens about the dangers of underage drinking, and drinking and driving. In Pennsylvania, twenty-five percent of all alcohol related motor vehicle crashes involve young people between the ages of 16-20. Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer for teenagers across Pennsylvania as well as the nation.

It has been proven again and again that scare tactics simply do not work. Like generations past, young people believe that "it will never happen to me" and showing them photos of the destruction and devastation that stems from DUI doesn't have a lasting impact. What has been shown to work with this particularly unique generation is Social Norm Marketing. This type of marketing challenges misperceptions people have about certain behaviors. Young people tend to overestimate both the frequency and amount of drinking among their peers. What teenager hasn't told their parents, "but, everyone is doing it!"? In reality, parents know: not everyone is doing it, but the teens hold a misconception about the Social Norm for these behaviors.

The Pennsylvania DUI Association’s website,, is a social norm campaign aimed at teens that's not about preaching what is right and what is wrong. The site provides real statistics to replace false perceptions. It's not about saying that something "shouldn't be done." This is about empowering teens to take action. The U-Turn campaign initiates a dialogue with teens and makes them think again about underage drinking, and drinking and driving.

Help save the lives of teens across the state this prom and graduation season by getting them to think again.

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New Area Physician Dr. Robert S. Mathews joined the active medical staff of Barnes-Kasson Hospital on April 26.

Dr. Mathews was born and raised in North Carolina. He graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He served in the U.S. Navy.

Dr. Mathews obtained his medical degree from Duke University Medical School in 1964 followed by an Orthopedic Surgical Residency. Upon completion of this residency program Dr. Mathews was awarded a full ride scholarship and continued his Orthopedic training in Orthopedic Medicine Surgery at Oxford University, Oxford England, completing his fellowship in 1971.

Dr. Mathews, in 1990, was admitted to the American Board of Disability Analysis and a fellow of the American Board of Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery in 2000. In 2003 he became a fellow of the American Board of Intervention Pain Management.

Dr. Mathews has authored chapter upon chapter to various books, written numerous articles and lectured and taught at a variety of colleges, universities and medical schools.

Dr. Mathews has lived and practiced Orthopedic Medicine and Surgery in Lancaster, PA since 1972, while being an active participant of his community, the father of four children and a proud grandfather of seven.

Dr. Mathews is looking forward to working with the medical staff at Barnes-Kasson Hospital and the patients it serves; he is hopeful that his services will improve the community’s health and well being through the reduction of pain and a preventive wellness program.

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B/R Raises Money For Rett Syndrome

April is Autism Awareness Month. The Blue Ridge Leo Club (Hallstead-Great Bend Lions Club) is raising money this month for Rett Syndrome, the most severe form of autism. Rett Syndrome is a neurological disorder that predominantly affects girls. It impairs girls’ ability to speak, walk, and use their hands.

Rett Syndrome affects one Blue Ridge family - The Stepniak Family. Lauren Stepniak (pictured above) has Rett Syndrome and is a brilliant, beautiful student in Miss Miller’s third grade class. Lauren’s mother, Lisa Stepniak, is the 7th grade Reading teacher.

The Blue Ridge Leo Club is raising money to help with Rett Syndrome research. Although Rett Syndrome is the most severe form of autism, it is also the most curable. Rett research can also have a direct impact on Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders.

From April 19-30 the club will be creating a “Garden of Hope.” Flowers to post in the garden will be available for a donation of $1. Students may also have the opportunity to decorate flowers in class for the garden. The club is also having a “Dress Up 2 Cure” day on Friday, April 30. For a donation of $1 students can dress silly, wear hats and have fun.

If you would like to make donations, please make checks out to BRMS and mail them to Jackie Lynch, c/o Blue Ridge Middle School, 5058 School Road, New Milford, PA 18834.

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State Tax Amnesty Program Begins

HARRISBURG - Rep. Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming) would like to inform delinquent taxpayers in Pennsylvania that they will be able to pay their back taxes without heavy penalties through the Pennsylvania Tax Amnesty Program.

Created by Act 48 of 2009, the Tax Amnesty Program will waive 100 percent penalties and half of the interest for anyone who pays his or her delinquent state taxes between April 26 and June 18.

The 54-day Tax Amnesty Program is intended to generate $190 million to balance the current fiscal year budget. It is generally available to all individuals, businesses and other entities with Pennsylvania tax delinquencies as of June 30, 2009. Non-filed tax returns or reports, as well as unpaid, under-reported or un-established taxes, whether known or unknown to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, constitute eligible delinquencies.

All delinquent taxpayers known to the Department of Revenue will receive mail notification in late April informing them of both their tax delinquencies and the PA Tax Amnesty Program.

Taxpayers will only be able to apply for the PA Tax Amnesty online; no paper applications will be available. The online application along with detailed instructions will be available for the duration of the Tax Amnesty period, from April 26 through June 18.

For more information about the Pennsylvania Tax Amnesty Program, visit Major's Web site at

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Commissioner Warren Addresses Women’s Club

The March 25, meeting of the Nellie Jane DeWitt Business and Professional Women's Club, under chairmanship of Darlene Slocum, assisted by Tina Roe, was "Women in Government." Held at Lakey's on Front Street, Susquehanna, the committee invited County Commissioner MaryAnn Warren to speak.

The commissioner led the members on her path to the courthouse that included coordinator for the Susquehanna County Chamber of Commerce, two terms as a New Milford councilwoman and her volunteer work with Susquehanna County Literacy, Boy Scouts, Pratt Library and her work with the Democrat party. This included many hours during Harford Fair Week. This is commissioner Warren's seventh year as a commissioner; first term minority and the second term as majority commissioner and chairman of the board. "I love it when we disagree and when we agree," Warren said.

Pictured above: Darlene Slocum, Commissioner MaryAnn Warren, Tina Roe and Mary Mushala.

It was at the 2002 Harford Fair that someone asked Warren to run for the office of commissioner. She too, several months before, had approached her family for their opinion. They gave her their support, which has never wavered during her tenure in office.

Former Secretary of Agriculture, Dennis Wolff presented Warren's name for a seat on the State Conservation Commission. "What an honor to be asked," the speaker said.

On April 1, 2008 State Senator Roger Madigan called to tell her she had been confirmed by the State Senate for the seat on the commission. In 2010 she took her seat as president of the commission and held her first statewide meeting. The post requires Warren to be in State College six times a year for meetings plus visiting the numerous conservation districts throughout the state.

She spoke of the $19,250,553.00 county budget and that only one third of this amount is from taxpayers dollars, with the rest coming from grants and other sources. We are very frugal in this county, she said, as she told of the county’s surpluses. “This year the courthouse steps will be a project costing $65,000.00,” she added.

Commissioner Warren was thanked by the program committee and presented with a gift from the club.

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Library Auction Night Record-Breaking

The Library and Historical Society's 12th annual fundraising Auction Night was held on Saturday, April 17, at the Montrose VFW. A capacity crowd enjoyed a delicious dinner, bid on a wide variety of items, and raised over $11,000 for the Susquehanna County Historical Society & Free Library Association.

From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., attendees bid on an assortment of Silent Auction items and enjoyed the huge variety of delicious Italian-themed food made by volunteers and donated by local businesses. From lasagna to red velvet cake and tiramisu, there was something for everyone. Katie Ruegner once again organized the food for the hungry crowds - quite a feat since an attendance figure isn't known in advance!

Organizer Anna Ruegner had been preparing for many months requesting items from local businesses, artists and craftspeople, and the selection was larger than ever. Guest auctioneers George Conner and Bob Smith kept the audience in stitches and coaxed them to dig deep for a good cause. The enthusiastic audience bid generously on the items, which included beautiful and interesting antiques, amazing baskets, lovely art, furniture, crafts, and delicious baked goods. The many door prizes ensured that even people who didn't win a bid had a good chance of going home with something nice.

Many local businesses made the event possible by advertising in the program and sponsoring publicity. All proceeds for the evening went directly to the Susquehanna County Historical Society & Free Library Association to support programs and service. "This was the best year yet for this event, which has become our second-largest fundraiser after the Blueberry Festival," said Administrator/Librarian Susan Stone. "We are delighted by the wonderful support from the community that is reflected in Auction Night. We want to express our thanks to everyone who made it possible."

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