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Imagine your 17-year-old son has hit his head during football practice, your elderly mother has slurred speech or a tornado has swept through your community. The first people likely on the scene are emergency medical service (EMS) providers. Their mere presence can help assure the most worried family members that a dedicated, trained team of professionals and volunteers are providing the very best in medical care to your loved one.
To recognize the valuable role EMS providers play in our communities and within our health care delivery network, I have co-sponsored legislation to designate May 16-22 this year as Emergency Medical Services Week. House Resolution 777, which passed the House on May 4, also designates May 19 as EMS Services Day for Children and May 21 as Emergency Medical Services Day in Pennsylvania.
Statewide, the week's celebration will involve activities honoring emergency medical technicians, paramedics, first responders, firefighters and police along with providing vital educational material and training to adults and children on a variety of topics, including injury prevention, safety awareness and medical emergencies.
This year's theme is "EMS: Anytime. Anywhere. We'll Be There." I can't think of a more appropriate way to describe the role these valued members play in our community. They are available to us 24 hours a day, even to residents in the most rural locations. Whether EMS personnel are part of a hospital's ambulance unit, a volunteer fire department's Quick Response Service team or a paramedic with a local police force, we rely on them to provide prompt medical care, even in the most challenging of circumstances.
Our rural location makes EMS providers even more valuable to us. With our nearest hospitals dozens of miles away in Sayre, Towanda, Montrose or Williamsport, EMS providers are often the only resource of medical care when minutes count.
Within the past year, legislation has been signed into law that updates the Commonwealth's laws regarding the delivery of emergency medical services. Under Act 37 of 2009, the state's EMS law has been modernized and standardized in an effort to better respond to the evolving nature of emergency medical services. It also promotes cooperation among EMS companies and regional EMS councils and ensures we have in place a comprehensive EMS delivery system that appropriately responds to the varying levels of patient care while ensuring a greater level of public safety.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which has oversight of EMS providers in the state, more than 53,000 EMS personnel are involved with more than 1,000 licensed ambulance services. In 2008, more than 1.8 million patients received EMS services.
For all that EMS personnel do - from providing a large spectrum of care, from basic first aid to CPR and advanced life support to offering training to our local communities - we owe a great debt to these dedicated emergency medical service professionals for all they do to protect and save lives.
If you are an EMS provider, thank you. If you know someone who is involved in emergency medical services, whether as an emergency medical technician or a paramedic, thank them. Our lives can often depend on them.
HARRISBURG - State Rep. Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming), in her capacity as House Republican Caucus chairman, had the pleasure of introducing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush when he spoke before a special joint meeting of the House and Senate regarding education improvement strategies.
"Florida has an exceptional track record when it comes to improving its educational system over the past decade," said Major. "Although Pennsylvania has a fine public education system, we are always looking for ways to improve student and teacher performance and enhance educational opportunities. Former Governor Bush outlined several great ideas during his presentation - ideas we in Pennsylvania could use to improve our own education system."
Bush highlighted the fact that 10 years ago Florida's education system ranked at the bottom nationally with nearly half of all fourth-graders functionally illiterate. After instituting several progressive reforms, today, Florida fourth-graders are above the national average in both reading and math.
He stressed that the turnaround was difficult and did not happen overnight. Many tough decisions were made before Florida started to experience real change in its school system.
Bush said Florida's education recovery happened through the steady and steadfast implementation of the following core principles: high expectations; standardized measurement; date-driven accountability; teacher excellence; outcome-based funding and governance; school choice; innovation.
"Pennsylvania allocates a great deal of money each year for education, yet I think we need to stand back and assess whether this money is being used as effectively as possible and if our students are being provided with the environment and tools needed for them to succeed in the classroom," said Major. "I look forward to reviewing the tenants of Bush's education reform proposal and seeing what we can adapt for the betterment of Pennsylvania schools."
Library patrons can once again borrow up to 3 adult and 3 juvenile DVDs for two weeks at no charge. Due to state budget cuts, the Board of Directors of the Susquehanna County Historical Society & Free Library Association had instituted policy changes in January that included a $1 fee per DVD. The Board agreed to periodically review the new policies, and after evaluating usage and revenues, the Board voted to remove the fee as of the first of May. Please spread the word that everything is free to borrow once more! Fines on DVDs are still $1 per day overdue, but the loan period is 2 weeks and they can be renewed - online, by phone, or in person - unless another patron is waiting. You can even sign up for a courtesy notification 3 days before your items are due, at www.susqcolibrary.org/email.
HARRISBURG - Francis X. O'Connor, a sole practitioner in Great Bend, will begin his third one-year term as treasurer of the 29,000-member Pennsylvania Bar Association at the conclusion of the organization's annual meeting May 14 in Hershey.
O'Connor is a former member of the PBA Board of Governors, having served as the Zone Five Governor representing lawyers from Bradford, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties from 2003-2007.
O'Connor, a member and past chair of the PBA Membership Committee, is also a past president of the PBA Conference of County Bar Leaders. He served as vice chair of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania of which he was a member for six years. He has spoken to numerous groups on lawyer discipline and legal ethics and has authored a number of articles on these topics. He also serves as a lecturer for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. He is the secretary/treasurer of the Susquehanna County Bar Association.
O'Connor is active in his community and serves as solicitor for and is a life member of the Great Bend Fire Company. He is an Eagle Scout who presently is an assistant scoutmaster for Troop 89 of the Boy Scouts of America. He has received numerous awards for his scouting activities, including the Silver Beaver and the District Award of Merit. He is a Eucharistic minister at St. Lawrence Roman Catholic Church and a fourth-degree member of the Knights of Columbus. He also serves as a member/attendant for the Great-Bend/Hallstead Volunteer Ambulance Company.
O'Connor is a graduate of the University of Scranton and the St. Louis University Law School.
Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 29,000 lawyers who are members of the association.
The Susquehanna Community School Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) held its monthly meeting on Tuesday May 4. Discussion included the current fund raiser for the elementary school yearbook, which will be put together as a senior class project by Basia Polak. Donations from local businesses have greatly helped but are still needed. PIC sincerely thanks all who have donated - their business will be listed in the yearbook.
The last "Jammie Dance" was held last Friday with great success. Children received a glow necklace and bracelet; enjoyed games, refreshments, and snacks; and each had a chance at raffle prizes.
PIC once again purchased for each elementary student a "Field Day" t-shirt.
The next meeting will be June 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the elementary school - hope to see you there! Volunteers will be needed.
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