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Senator Judy SchwankHello friend! As we prepare to celebrate the wonderful holiday of Thanksgiving, this is also the time of year that we salute our veterans and show our gratitude to the many men and women who dedicated their lives to serving this country in the military. There are more than 1 million veterans living in Pennsylvania. Although Veterans Day has passed, it’s always a good time to stop and thank our vets and active duty service men and women. I want to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and a huge thank you to our members of the military, both past and present.

For all the latest news and events in the 11th Senatorial District and in Harrisburg, visit my website, my Facebook page and Twitter page.


You Can Help Local Family Impacted by Barn Fire

barn fire

Folks pitch in to help clean up from the recent fire at the Good farm in Centre Township, which destroyed the family's barn. Photo courtesy of Lauren Little / Reading Eagle

Farming is the heart and soul of Berks County, and our farming families work incredibly hard to take care of the animals and crops that provide them with a decent living and contribute to Pennsylvania’s agricultural industry. So, when a farming family suffers, we all share their pain and grief.

Most recently, farmers from around the county are pitching in to help the Good family pick up the pieces after the Centre Township family lost their barn and their entire dairy herd due to an accidental barn fire.

The Office of Agricultural Coordinator and the Berks Agricultural Resource Network (BARN) has received numerous calls from local residents who want to help the family in the aftermath of this horrific fire. 

In order to assist the Good family, a disaster fund has been established at Fulton Bank. Anyone wishing to donate funds can stop in at any branch of Fulton Bank and make cash or check contributions payable to the “Barry Good Family Farm Disaster Fund.”

Contributions can also be made directly to the Central Berks Fire Company in behalf of the Barry Good Family.

In times like these, the power of good will that comes from neighbors, friends, loved ones and concerned citizens is awesome. Please consider helping the Good family as they recover from this terrible accident.

Seniors: Beware of Property Tax/Rent Rebate Scams

seniorsThis is the time of year to file for the state’s Property Tax and Rent Rebate program, and I caution seniors to be vigilant of organizations requesting payment for completing the Property Tax and Rent Rebate application.

It is important for seniors to be aware that this rebate can be completed and forwarded free of charge at my district office, as well as other state agencies.

For more information about the program and for an application, individuals can contact my district office at 1940 N. 13th St. in Reading at 610-929-2151 or the State Revenue Department at 625 Cherry St. in Reading at 610-378-4401.

If seniors feel they have been a victim of a potential scam please contact the Pennsylvania State Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection at 717-787-9707 or contact my district office.

To qualify for a rebate, individuals must be at least 65 years of age as of Dec. 31, 2011, a widow or widower 50 years or older or permanently disabled during all or part of the 2011 claim year.

The program’s income eligibility limit for qualifying homeowners remains at $35,000 with the maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates for qualifying homeowners can boost rebates to $975. Low-income, elderly renters may also receive rebates ranging from $500 to $650, but the income limit is $15,000 a year for renters.

The deadline to submit an application is Dec. 31.

Our Team Has Heart!

Senator Schwank and staff at Heart Walk

My staff and I participated in the Berks County Heart and Stroke Walk in Leesport on Oct. 21. The proceeds benefited the American Heart Association. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, so it’s important to take preventative measures, like exercising! (Left to right) Anne Marie Ferguson, TJ Huckleberry, Bill Evans, Audrey Ramroop, Bill Casey, me, Tara Kutzer, Monica Reyes,Sandy Stief, and Tom Gombar

LIHEAP Applications Now Accepted

LIHEAPThe Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program LIHEAP, which helps low-income families pay their heating bills, opened on Nov. 1.

LIHEAP offers assistance in the form of a cash grant, sent directly to the utility company, or a crisis grant for households in immediate danger of being without heat. 

There are three different ways you can apply for LIHEAP:

For more information, contact your local county assistance office or contact the LIHEAP hotline at 1-866-857-7095, Monday through Friday (individuals with hearing impairments may call the TDD number at 1-800-451-5886).

Additionally, households experiencing a heating crisis may be eligible for additional benefits through LIHEAP’s crisis exception program, which also opened on Nov. 1. Contact your local county assistance office for more information. Voter ID web page





Video on child protection bills PennDOT website Reading School District website Video of Senator Schwank's budget response Senator Schwank's floor remarks Voter ID web page