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Senator Judy SchwankHello friends! Although we are already well into the winter months, it is never too late to enact good energy habits to keep your home warm and your bills in check. Get in the habit of turning down the thermostat when you leave the house for longer periods of the day, and lower the water heater thermostat to 115 degrees. Also, open the drapes or blinds on sunny days to allow the natural light to heat the home, and keep them closed on cloudy days to keep out the draft. Of course, turn off all electrical appliances and lights when a room is not in use. For many more helpful tips, check it out this guide from the U.S. Department of Energy.

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



Farm Show Highlights State’s Rich Agricultural Industry

Farm Show

Department of Agriculture Secretary George Greig and I were teammates in the celebrity cow milking contest.

Pennsylvania’s agricultural industry was on full display at the 96th annual Pennsylvania Farm Show, which took place earlier this month in Harrisburg. It is the largest indoor agricultural exposition in the country, with nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibits.

I had several opportunities to visit the expo and even participate in two competitive events.

I met local high school students who were recognized on Monday at a reception at the Pennsylvania Farm Show. 

The students, who are involved in the Pennsylvania FFA Foundation, were recognized for excelling at the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Convention last October in Indianapolis.

At the convention, Twin Valley High School excelled in the Dairy Foods Division; Oley Valley High School excelled in the Environmental/Natural Resources Division; and Conrad Weiser High School excelled in the Food Science and Technology Division.

I also participated in the celebrity draft horse wagon pulling contest. I pulled a wagon owned by Dave and Susie Rohrbach of Bee Tree Trail, Shartlesville. Susie was kind enough to help me with the reins. We finished in last place, but had a great time.

I did much better in the celebrity cow-milking contest. My team, led by Department of Agriculture Secretary (and former dairy farmer) George Greig, placed second in the contest. Although I had some experience milking a cow, I still wanted to prepare for this event, so I practiced at Way-Har Farms in Bernville.

I had a great time meeting Berks County farmers and agricultural enthusiasts, and I am proud that this industry helps define our great state.

Additional photos of the Pennsylvania Farm Show are available on my website.


Tune in to New ‘State Capitol Connection’ TV Program

BC TV websiteI am launching a live interactive television program, “State Capitol Connection.” The show will air at 6 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of every month, starting on Jan. 26, on Comcast (Reading) channel 13, Comcast (Oley) channel 4, Service Electric Cable Vision channel 19 or online at

The program will feature co-host Eric Jenkins, who is the secretary/treasurer of C. H. Briggs Co. and long-time community volunteer with area non-profits and city government.

The Jan. 26 program will focus on Berks County transportation projects for 2012 and beyond and will feature Michael Rebert, District 5 executive for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Be sure to tune in!


Reading School District Awarded Significant Federal Grant

Reading School District websiteI’m pleased to report that the Reading School District has been awarded a $500,000 federal grant to help foster after-school educational programs.

Reading was one of 17 school districts across the state to receive the 21st Century Community Learning Center Challenge grant, which will be used to establish community learning centers that would provide educational services to students in high-poverty, low-performing school districts.

This is an innovative plan that will reinforce the lessons our students are learning in the classroom in a safe environment.

We have so many bright and eager students in the Reading School District who want to learn, and thanks to this grant, they will be able to continue their studies after school dismissal.

Reading was selected among 119 applicants from across the state. The Pennsylvania Department of Education distributed a total of $20.9 million in federal grant funding.


Attention College Students: PennDOT Seeks Summer Interns
PennDOT website

PennDOT is sponsoring an extensive summer employment program that runs from May to August and it is looking for government service interns.

PennDOT’s government services interns handle summer maintenance and sign upgrade services. They perform laboring duties in maintenance organizations and at worksites along the highway. The hourly rate is $11.43.

Candidates must be full-time college students who are enrolled for fall 2012 college courses. 

Interested candidates may contact my Reading office at 610-929-2151 for application assistance. Applications are due March 2.






Video on child protection bills PennDOT website BC TV website Reading School District website