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Janicelli Recertified As Magisterial District Judge
HARRISBURG - Magisterial District Judge Peter M. Janicelli was again certified for service as a member of Pennsylvania’s Unified Judicial System after successful completion recently of continuing legal education course work. Conducted by the Minor Judiciary Education Board (MJEB) and the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC), the educational program for Magisterial District Judges is held in Harrisburg, PA.
The week-long instructional program is designed to ensure that Magisterial District Judges remain current in a variety of legal topics and management techniques required to fairly adjudicate cases and effectively supervise a district court office. Included in this year’s curriculum are updates on Civil Law, Landlord/Tenant Law, Criminal Law; Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code; Pennsylvania Game Code; Pennsylvania Dog Law; Oversized Vehicles and Permitting; HUD and BOCA; Act 46 Sales Tax Collection and Compliance; Litigation Strategies; Ethics; Insurance Fraud; Truancy and Updates of Evidentiary Law and Search Warrants; as well as updates pertaining to the MDJS Rewrite; State and Procedure Audits and Reports, and a session on Procedural Fairness in the Courts.
Continuing education course work is required by statute of each of the more than 500 Pennsylvania Magisterial District Judges, with approximately 50 Magisterial District Judges attending one of 13 such classes at some time during each academic year.
Magisterial District Judges represent the “grass roots” level of Pennsylvania’s judicial system. In counties other than Philadelphia, District Judges have jurisdiction over summary, criminal and motor vehicle cases; landlord/tenant matter; and other civil actions where the amount claimed does not exceed $8,000. Magisterial District Judges may also accept guilty pleas in misdemeanor cases of the third degree under certain circumstances. Magisterial District Judges also have jurisdiction to issue arrest and search warrants and to hold arraignments and preliminary hearings in criminal cases.
Established by Constitution, the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts provides to the Supreme Court in exercising its supervisory duties over each of the other state courts. The Minor Judiciary Education Board was established by legislative act to administer the continuing legal education program for Magisterial District Judges, Philadelphia Traffic Court Judges and Philadelphia Arraignment Court Magistrates (formerly Bail Commissioners), as well as certifying courses for Magisterial District Judges, Philadelphia Traffic Court Judges and Arraignment Court Magistrates and other initial jurisdiction court judges.
Clean And Green Legislation Signed
(Harrisburg) - The Governor signed into law legislation sponsored by State Senator Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming, Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union) Wednesday, which clarifies how farmland is assessed for natural gas, by eliminating the inconsistent interpretation of the state's Clean and Green law. Senate Bill 298 amends Clean and Green to better define how the widely used program is administered and is set to go into effect 60 days following the Governor’s October 27 signing date.
"This legislation is a critical update to how our farmland is to be assessed now and in the future. The development of the Marcellus Shale has changed how everything is looked at as it is a total transition to what used to be ‘business as usual’ on all levels of government,” Yaw said. “All laws of this nature need to be scrutinized to see if they are applicable in today’s world in keeping with the original spirit of the law and then changed if necessary.”
The act allows for the development and use of Tier I alternative energy on any land use category of Clean and Green to be kept under preferential assessment as long as more than half of the energy annually generated is used for agriculture. Examples of Tier I include: solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, wind power, low-impact hydropower, geothermal energy, biologically derived methane gas, fuel cells, biomass energy and coal mine methane.
Yaw said the bill would restrict a roll-back tax to the portion of land filed under the well restoration report and land which is incapable of being immediately reclaimed for Agricultural Use, Agricultural Reserve or Forest Reserve as defined in the original statute. “Farmers and landowners needed this legislation enacted to avoid paying roll-back taxes because of disparities in how Clean and Green was being assessed while open spaces in Pennsylvania were remaining largely intact which was the original intent of the program,” Yaw added.
Preparing For Medicare D Open Enrollment
The time is almost upon us for the yearly Medicare Open Enrollment period. This is the time Medicare beneficiaries can re-evaluate their current health and prescription drug coverage. Each year there are drug formulary changes whether it is basic Medicare D Plan or the drug coverage in a Medicare Advantage Plan. It is important that individuals take the time to research to determine if your current plan will continue to cover your prescribed medications or to see if their drug formulary has changed. Often, prescription drugs are removed from the plan formularies. The Drug Plans and Medicare Advantage Plans are required by law to send enrolled individuals their upcoming formulary listing and any changes. It is imperative that individuals review this mailing to make sure your medications will continue to be covered.
Individuals need to be aware that Medicare is mailing out letters of coverage changes to many Medicare beneficiaries. The letters may contain information on Extra Help coverage, termination of Extra Help coverage, or actual Medicare D Program changes. The PACE Program is also mailing out letters to notify beneficiaries of impending program or plan changes. Please be aware of these letters and read them very carefully.
This is also the season for Medicare Advantage Plan enrollments for Medicare health care coverage. Individuals need to thoroughly review the various available Advantage Plans and be informed of what the plan covers and what it does not cover. Become informed of expected co-pays and premium costs. Although the premiums may have lower costs, the co-pays may be higher. Be aware of the marketing laws for Medicare Advantage Plans. Medicare Advantage salespersons must adhere to guidelines governing the marketing of Medicare Advantage Plans.
It is important that individuals make sound decisions relating to health care and prescription drug coverage. Take the time to thoroughly review the available health care insurance options and seek out local, reputable salespersons in your local area.
The Area Agency on Aging Apprise Program offers assistance to individuals in conducting Drug Plan comparisons, information on Medigap (Medicare Supplemental Insurance), Medicare Advantage Plans, PACE/PACE Net, or other entitlement programs. To schedule an appointment for assistance or for further information, please contact the Area Agency on Aging at (570) 278-3751 (locally) or 1-800-634-3746 (toll free).
Study Offers Hope To Type 2 Diabetes Patients
CHICAGO - More than 27 million adults and children in the United States have some form of diabetes. And, more than 57 million Americans have pre-diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. With the numbers of diabetes patients continuing to increase, the number of those at-risk for vision loss and blindness due to diabetic retinopathy and other related eye diseases will continue to soar.
Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults 20-74 years of age. Diabetic retinopathy weakens the small blood vessels in the retina. Retinal blood vessels can break down, leak, or become blocked - affecting and impairing vision over time. In some people with diabetic retinopathy, damage to the eye can occur when abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for diabetic retinopathy.
However, results of the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) Eye Study, supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), show promising results in slowing the advancement of diabetic retinopathy and its effect on vision. The study examined adults who had Type 2 diabetes for an average of 10 years and were evaluated after different types of treatments of control of blood sugar, lipids and blood pressure. Intensive blood sugar control, compared with standard blood sugar control, decreased the progression of diabetic retinopathy by about one-third, from 10.4 percent to 7.3 percent, over four years.
According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), the ACCORD Study also found that a combination lipid therapy with fenofibrate plus simvastatin also reduced disease progression by about one-third, from 10.2 percent to 6.5 percent, over four years.
“The results of this new study are promising. We hope that research and treatment options will continue to advance so that someday, we can put an end to vision loss and blindness due to diabetes,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America. “In the meantime, we strongly encourage anyone with diabetes to help protect their vision by getting a dilated eye exam every year by an experienced eye care professional.”
Many people may have diabetic retinopathy and not know it. Once a patient notices symptoms, vision loss has already occurred. Some symptoms may include: blurry or clouded vision; floaters or dark spots in vision; straight lines that do not appear straight (such as flag poles, street lights, etc.); difficulty seeing in dim light; tunnel vision.
Individuals age 65 or older with diabetes, may visit EyeCare America’s online referral center at eyecareamerica.org to see if they qualify for an eye exam and care through the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeCare America program. Those eligible may receive a comprehensive eye exam and up to one year of medical eye care for any disease diagnosed during the initial exam.
For additional information on financial assistance and vision care resources, or diabetic eye disease, please call Prevent Blindness America at (800) 331-2020 or visit preventblindness.org/diabetes.
Motorists Warned Of Increased Deer Movement
Harrisburg - With the earlier onset of nightfall, motorists should be prepared to encounter white-tailed deer darting onto roads across Pennsylvania, said PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E.
"There is typically a sharp rise in the number of deer-related crashes at this time of year," Biehler said. "Motorists can reduce their risk of being involved in a crash with a deer by driving defensively and staying alert, especially when driving between dusk and dawn."
Deer are most active during the fall, particularly between sunset and sunrise. Deer also are less cautious and move around more during their breeding season.
To reduce the risk of being involved in a crash with a deer, motorists should slow down, use caution and be especially watchful during morning and evening hours. Motorists should also allow extra following distance between vehicles, particularly where deer crossing signs are posted. Since deer often travel in small herds; motorists should exercise caution when one deer crosses a roadway as it will likely be followed by others.
According to PennDOT statistics, 46 percent of all reportable crashes in the past five years involving deer occurred in the months of October and November, with nearly 78 percent occurring between 5 p.m. and 6 a.m. Last year, there were nearly 3,000 crashes statewide involving deer, resulting in more than 600 injuries and five fatalities.
The risk of having a deer-related crash further increases as hunters take to the woods for the opening of archery and small game seasons.
To report a dead deer on state roads, motorists can call 1-800-FIX-ROAD. For more fall safety tips and other highway safety information, visit www.DriveSafePA.org.
Keep Your Fireplace Burning Safely
(StatePoint) There's a nip in the air and you're yearning to snuggle up in front of a crackling fire. But before you do, there are a few precautions you should take to make sure you and your loved ones are safe in front of those warming embers.
Recent statistics indicate that an average of 25,100 chimney fires occur every year, claiming as many as 30 lives and causing $126.1 million in property damage annually.
"A fireplace is a wonderful source of beauty and comfort, but homeowners must be vigilant," says Bill Wetzel, a Fireplace Systems Product Manager. "Proper fireplace and chimney maintenance is the best way to avoid tragic losses."
If your home has a wood-burning fireplace, make sure you follow these safety measures:
* Get your chimney and fireplace cleaned annually. You can do it yourself if you're willing to invest in the proper equipment and time, but the Chimney Safety Institute of America suggests using certified chimney sweeps. Annual cleanings reduce the risk of fires and carbon monoxide poisonings due to creosote buildup or obstructions in the chimneys. You can find out more at csia.org.
* Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Ideally, they should be placed throughout the house, but most definitely in the room where the fireplace is located. Check the batteries every spring and fall to make sure they're working properly.
* Install chimney tops or shrouds. These small additions prevent debris and small animals from obstructing the chimney. Styles vary depending on the type of fireplace you have.
* Keep the hearth area clear. All objects (including people) should be kept at least 36 inches away from the hearth to prevent combustible material from catching fire. Also, never leave a fire unattended, especially if you have children or pets.
* Fire screens are a must. It's best to use a mesh-style screen to prevent flying sparks and ash from burning or staining carpets or flooring.
* Use the right materials and fuel. Choose well-seasoned wood that was cut 6 to 12 months earlier and stored in a covered location. Never burn Christmas trees or treated wood in your fireplace, and never use an accelerant other than newspaper and dry kindling (lighter fluid is meant for your outdoor grill only).
For more information, visit the Burn Wisely section at epa.gov/burnwise.
"Good chimney and fireplace maintenance is relatively easy," says Wetzel. "And when practiced regularly, you can enjoy your fireplace and create warm memories for many years to come."
Big brother Jason Daniel welcomed home his new brother, Gavin Ryan, July 19, 2010. Gavin was born at Wilson Hospital weighing 8 lb., 4 oz. and was 20 3/4 inches long.
He was welcomed by proud parents Jason and Kristin Eromenok; maternal grandparents Dan and Sheila Briggs; great grandmothers Shirley Trumper and Letha Briggs; and Uncle Danny and Uncle Ryan of Deposit, NY. He was also welcomed by paternal grandparents Mr. and Mrs. Steve Eromenok of Clifton, NJ and Mr. and Mrs. Lance Shelp of Susquehanna, PA; great grandparents Mr. and Mrs. Luigi Aversa of North Bergen, NJ and Laura Eromenok of Clifton, NJ; and Uncle Steven of Monroe, NY and Uncle Matt of Susquehanna, PA.
The Clover Pups 4-H Club recently held a Canine Costume Contest at the Montrose Fire Hall. There were two contests: Best Dog and Handler Costume and Best Dog Costume. Prizes were given to the winners. Snacks were then enjoyed by dogs, handlers, friends and families. Winners were Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Dog, Cat in the Hat with Thing 1 & 2 and Sally, as well as Parrot Dog.
News Reporter: Lillian Taylor
Beta Rho Chapter Initiates New Member
Hillary Stubeda, speech and language therapist in the Montrose Area School District, was honored with membership into the Beta Rho Chapter of the Delta Kappa Society International at the October meeting. Dreyer Hall in Montrose was the setting for the meeting. Newly elected chapter president Dr. Ann Way, assistant superintendent in the Tunkhannock School District, conducted the business meeting. Informational items presented at the meeting included the changes to the International Constitution accepted at the convention in Spokane, Washington this summer; the new logo for the Society; and the newly updated brochures available from headquarters in Austin, Texas. The Beta Rho chapter’s project for this biennium will be to continue to restock baskets of books in doctor’s, dentist’s, and other offices which service children throughout the county.
Newly initiated member Hillary Stubeda of the Beta Rho Chapter of the DKG Society International receives her key pin from Nina Merrick.
Just prior to dinner, President Way was presented with her president’s bar pin. It was especially nostalgic since the pin belonged to Prudence Clark, the longest member of the chapter who passed away on February 18, 2010. Following dinner, a lovely candlelight initiation ceremony was conducted by immediate past president, Susan Lee. The backdrop for the ceremony was the newly designed banner of the symbols of the Society which was beautifully quilted and can be easily rolled for storage and transport. The beautifully crafted piece was designed by Holly Snitzer and completed with the help of Sheri Wolfe and Vicki Zurn. The new initiate, Hillary Stubeda, received her key pin from her sponsor and was presented with a lovely single red rose, which symbolizes friendship, loyalty and helpfulness to all in the Society.
The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International is a professional honor society for women educators with more than 115, 000 members. Established in 16 member countries around the world, the Society defines its mission as promoting professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education.
Presently the Beta Rho Chapter along with the sixty-three other chapters from across the state are planning and raising funds to host the NE Regional Conference in Hershey in July, 2011. The Society offers more leadership training opportunities for women educators than any other professional organization. These include scholarships for both active and retired members, stipends for educational projects, and online courses for professional growth. The next Beta Rho Chapter meeting will be at the First Presbyterian Church in Montrose on December 4, and will feature a musical holiday celebration.
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