1. Senator Yaw Visits the 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show

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    HARRISBURG – This month's 'Conversation with Senator Gene Yaw' focuses on the 2013 PA Farm Show. The program will air on: • Blue Ridge Communications/Mansfield - Channel 13 • CATV - Channel 8 • Time Warner, Sayre • Adams Cable Service, Channel 7 • Comcast/Williamsport - Click On Demand/Get Local/Local Government/State Senate/A Conversation with Senator Gene Yaw Please check local listings for air times. A 'Conversation with Senator Gene Yaw' is intended to keep residents of the 23rd Senatorial District, which consists of Lycoming, Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union counties, informed about state and local issues and to showcase the people, places and communities that make this area so unique. Senator Yaw's report is also available online at www.senatorgeneyaw.com.

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    • Sen. Yaw's TV Report: Highlighting the New Energy Technology Education Center, Montgomery, PA

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      This month's 'Conversation with Senator Gene Yaw' focuses on the new Energy Technology Education Center, located in Montgomery, Pennsylvania. The Energy Technology Education Center is a joint venture between Lycoming County, Penn College and natural gas industry partners to provide training opportunities for emergency and first responders in the event of a natural gas-related incident. “The Energy Technology Education Center is the first of its kind in Pennsylvania,” said Yaw. “Equipping our emergency responders with the essential skills needed in a crisis situation is paramount. The Center will provide a unique and state of the art facility for providing this important training.” Response crews assembled for a simulated lightning strike, potential methane leak and multiple injuries at a natural gas well field. Guided by real-time radio transmissions – with authenticity heightened by raging flames, active hoses and frighteningly realistic mock injuries – volunteer firefighters and other emergency personnel prioritized and conquered each of the challenges that greeted their deployment. The program will air on: • Blue Ridge Communications/Mansfield - Channel 13 • CATV - Channel 8 • Time Warner, Sayre • Adams Cable Service, Channel 7 • Comcast/Williamsport - Click On Demand/Get Local/Local Government/State Senate/A Conversation with Senator Gene Yaw Please check local listings for air times. A 'Conversation with Senator Gene Yaw' is intended to keep residents of the 23rd Senatorial District, which consists of Lycoming, Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union counties, informed about state and local issues and to showcase the people, places and communities that make this area so unique.

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      • Demand for Natural Gas Distribution Lines Focus of Rural PA Hearing (Part 3)

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        Delivering local natural gas to rural consumers was the focus of a public hearing held Wednesday by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a bipartisan, bicameral legislative agency that serves as a resource for rural policy within the Pennsylvania General Assembly, according to State Senator Gene Yaw (R-23). Yaw, who serves as Chairman of the Center's Board of Directors, hosted the discussion along with State Representative Garth Everett (R-84), State Representative Tina Pickett (R-110) and Barry Denk, Executive Director for the Center, at the Wysox Volunteer Fire Hall in Bradford County. "There is widespread interest in seeing locally produced natural gas used locally to benefit our area businesses and homeowners," Yaw said. "We have an abundant natural resource in our region, which can be used to help consumers lower their energy heating costs. Being able to fully utilize this commodity would mean a great deal for rural residents." The focus of the hearing was to discuss the advantages and challenges of providing natural gas service to those who are currently unable to obtain and use this fuel type in rural areas. "Utility companies are reporting that in areas of the state where there are natural gas distribution lines already in place, conversions of residential heating systems to natural gas have been robust," said Tom Murphy, Co-Director of the Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research. "Demand for distribution line extensions have been growing." Pennsylvania's largest gas utility, UGI Utilities, Inc., spoke of significant growth in 2011 with 10,495 new residential heating customers, 7,362 of which having converted to natural gas. Allen Westbrook, UGI Utilities, Inc. Vice President of Marketing also noted that 80 percent of those customers had switched from oil to natural gas. In addition, those customers have seen a $1,500 on average savings per year by converting. Westbrook also discussed the costs associated with expansion, which can be between $250,000 and $1 million for placing a main line in/along highways or tapping into gathering lines. "There is a reason why many rural areas do not have natural gas service. That is because even if the price of natural gas is cheap, the price of building pipelines to sparsely populated areas is very costly," said Pennsylvania's Consumer Advocate, Sonny Popowsky. "Clearly, it is more economical to serve 100 or 1000 customers off of a particular length of pipeline than it would be to serve 10 or 20." Providing incentives to develop infrastructure allowing for future growth was also discussed during the hearing. Options included a Growth Extension Tariff for Gas (GET Gas), Municipal Cost Participation, as well as directing county and/or municipal Act 13 revenues to natural gas infrastructure development.

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        • DEMAND FOR NATURAL GAS DISTRIBUTION LINES FOCUS OF RURAL PA HEARING (PART 1)

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          Delivering local natural gas to rural consumers was the focus of a public hearing held Wednesday by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a bipartisan, bicameral legislative agency that serves as a resource for rural policy within the Pennsylvania General Assembly, according to State Senator Gene Yaw (R-23). Yaw, who serves as Chairman of the Center’s Board of Directors, hosted the discussion along with State Representative Garth Everett (R-84), State Representative Tina Pickett (R-110) and Barry Denk, Executive Director for the Center, at the Wysox Volunteer Fire Hall in Bradford County. “There is widespread interest in seeing locally produced natural gas used locally to benefit our area businesses and homeowners,” Yaw said. “We have an abundant natural resource in our region, which can be used to help consumers lower their energy heating costs. Being able to fully utilize this commodity would mean a great deal for rural residents.” The focus of the hearing was to discuss the advantages and challenges of providing natural gas service to those who are currently unable to obtain and use this fuel type in rural areas. “Utility companies are reporting that in areas of the state where there are natural gas distribution lines already in place, conversions of residential heating systems to natural gas have been robust,” said Tom Murphy, Co-Director of the Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research. “Demand for distribution line extensions have been growing.” Pennsylvania’s largest gas utility, UGI Utilities, Inc., spoke of significant growth in 2011 with 10,495 new residential heating customers, 7,362 of which having converted to natural gas. Allen Westbrook, UGI Utilities, Inc. Vice President of Marketing also noted that 80 percent of those customers had switched from oil to natural gas. In addition, those customers have seen a $1,500 on average savings per year by converting. Westbrook also discussed the costs associated with expansion, which can be between $250,000 and $1 million for placing a main line in/along highways or tapping into gathering lines. “There is a reason why many rural areas do not have natural gas service. That is because even if the price of natural gas is cheap, the price of building pipelines to sparsely populated areas is very costly,” said Pennsylvania’s Consumer Advocate, Sonny Popowsky. “Clearly, it is more economical to serve 100 or 1000 customers off of a particular length of pipeline than it would be to serve 10 or 20.” Providing incentives to develop infrastructure allowing for future growth was also discussed during the hearing. Options included a Growth Extension Tariff for Gas (GET Gas), Municipal Cost Participation, as well as directing county and/or municipal Act 13 revenues to natural gas infrastructure development.

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          • Committees Hold Joint Meeting on Land Banks

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            A joint informational meeting of the Senate Urban Affairs / House Urban Affairs Committees was held in Harrisburg to discuss land reform measures and land banking, according to Senate Committee Chairman Gene Yaw (R-23). A land bank focuses on the conversion of vacant, abandoned and tax-delinquent properties into productive use. Testimony was given by Dan Kildee, co-founder and president of the Center for Community Progress. Mr. Kildee initiated the use of Michigan's new tax foreclosure law as a tool for community development and neighborhood stabilization. He founded the Genesee Land Bank, and a model for others in the nation – and serves as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. In 2007, Kildee's land bank program was named winner of the Harvard University/Fannie Mae Foundation Innovations in American Government Award for Affordable Housing. "Like Michigan, communities across the state of Pennsylvania are struggling to cope with vacant, abandoned and tax delinquent properties," said Mr. Kildee. "Land banks are a unique tool that can be used by communities and municipalities to facilitate the return of problem properties to productive use." Since its founding, the Genesee land bank has sold 1,600 properties and has raised $6.4 million through the sales, Kildee said. That fund has enabled the land bank to reconstruct dozens of single-family houses, sell hundreds of vacant lots to adjoining homeowners and create incentives for downtown redevelopment projects. "Mr. Kildee's testimony provided a great deal of insight into the land banking process," said Sen. Yaw. "If Pennsylvania does not aggressively and comprehensively address the problems of blighted and abandoned properties plaguing many of our communities we will continue to see a decline in our housing infrastructure and face the negative impacts of lower property values and tax bases."

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            • Yaw Discusses 'Act 13' on Comcast Newsmakers

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              HARRISBURG – State Senator Gene Yaw (R-23) recently sat down with Comcast Newsmakers to discuss Act 13, the new law establishing an 'Impact Fee' on natural gas drillers. Comcast Newsmakers is a five-minute interview program airing on Headline News that connects viewers to the important issues, events and organizations that are shaping their communities.

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              • Sen. Yaw's November TV Report: Inspecting Flood Devastation

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                This month's 'Conversation with Senator Gene Yaw' focuses on the devastation caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. My Senate District has suffered major devastation as a result of the flooding caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. I continue to tour many of the communities impacted. I am still in awe at the destruction, and I am amazed at the resilience of our local people. Together, we will get through this. The program will air on: Blue Ridge Communications/Mansfield - Channel 13 CATV - Channel 8 Time Warner, Sayre Adams Cable Service, Channel 7 Comcast/Williamsport - Click On Demand/Get Local/Local Government/State Senate/A Conversation with Senator Gene Yaw Please check local listings for air times. A 'Conversation with Senator Gene Yaw' is intended to keep residents of the 23rd Senatorial District, which consists of Lycoming, Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union counties, informed about state and local issues and to showcase the people, places and communities that make this area so unique.

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                • Senator Yaw Discusses Natural Gas Related Legislative Proposals

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                  During an appearance on Comcast Newsmakers, Senator Yaw discusses the local impact of drilling for Marcellus Shale natural gas.

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                  • 2011 Flood Relief Press Conference - State Capitol

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                    During an afternoon press conference today at the State Capitol, senators from northeastern and central Pennsylvania unveiled details of a legislative package aimed at restoring areas severely impacted by flooding caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, according to State Senator Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming). Yaw joined Senator Lisa Baker (R-Wayne), Senator John Blake (D-Lackawanna), Senator John Gordner (R-Montour) and Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) to announce the legislative components of the flood relief package, many of which are modeled after the 1996 Special Session addressing the severe flooding caused by the blizzard in January of that year. “Our goal is to provide financial assistance to communities affected by flooding and provide the resources to ensure that the recovery effort will take place as quickly as possible,” said Gordner, who spearheaded the development of the flood relief package. “We've all toured our flooded communities and we have seen how hard-hit they have been by these storms.” Yaw, who chairs the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee said, “People in my district have lost their homes, their livelihoods and sadly their lives, as a result of this catastrophic flood.” “This legislative package is a lifeline for those individuals, families, business owners and municipal governments who are in dire need of assistance. As previously scheduled, my committee will be looking at the impacts, especially on the lack of affordable housing, at our upcoming public hearing in Williamsport on October 4th.” Among the bills announced today are measures to: • Establish a restricted account in the State Treasury to provide additional state grant monies to individuals and families based on income eligibility and damage losses. • Authorize $250 million for the state share of flood-related highway and bridge rehabilitation projects. • Allow local taxing bodies to abate real estate taxes for properties substantially affected by the flood. • Authorize a county-by-county list of highway, bridge, flood control and hazard mitigation projects that need rehabilitation. • Give the Secretary of Education the authority to waive certain requirements for public and non-public schools that were substantially affected by the flood. “We have a bipartisan commitment to helping our residents and local officials get back on their feet,” Senator Lisa Baker said. “There is widespread damage so we need to have a good plan in place to jumpstart our recovery effort.” Senators John Blake and John Yudichak applauded the bipartisan effort and also pledged their assistance to the families and businesses that have been impacted by the flooding throughout their districts in northeastern Pennsylvania.

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