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Fitzpatrick announces grant to Bensalem Rescue Squad; Hogan holding Fraud Alert Service event Sept. 15

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick

Grant to Bensalem Rescue Squad

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick announced that the Bensalem Rescue Squad received a FY 2022 Assistance to Firefighters Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to enhance its response capabilities.

The Bensalem Rescue Squad received a total of $172,043.63 that will be used for Operation and Safety through the AFG program. The purpose of the program is to award grants directly to fire departments, nonaffiliated emergency medical services organizations and State Fire Training Academies. Using a competitive process that is informed by fire service subject matter experts, grants are awarded to eligible applicants whose applications best address the priorities of the program.

“As an EMS unit that has responded to over 9,000 emergency 911 calls last year alone, the Bensalem Rescue Squad is so essential to Bensalem and beyond,” Fitzpatrick said. “This unit not only responds to traditional EMT calls, but they also serve as a Mobile Stroke Unit for the surrounding communities and provide essential services, in partnership with Bucks County Drug & Alcohol, to help community members take this crucial step towards recovery. As a certified EMT, I am proud to have supported this grant for Bensalem Rescue Squad and I am proud to support all of the essential services they provide to our community.”

The Bensalem Rescue Squad/Bensalem Emergency Medical Services was founded by Carole Czerniak, Donald Kueny and Gene Fanini in 1980. What once was an entirely volunteer organization is now a private nonprofit that provides emergency medical services. Bensalem Emergency Medical services also provides mutual aid to neighboring squads in Bucks County. Services are provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The squad is overseen by Executive Director Thomas Topley, who started at BEMS as a volunteer in the early 1980s.

The mission of the Bensalem Rescue Squad is to provide competent and caring aid to the victims of emergencies in its community, through prevention, public education and emergency services. The mission of the squad includes cooperating with other services and aggressively seeking ways to better protect and treat the public they serve. ••

Learn about fraud alert service

State Rep. Joe Hogan (R-142nd dist.) will be holding a Fraud Alert Service event in conjunction with Bucks County Recorder of Deeds Dan McPhillips and Bucks County First Assistant District Attorney Jen Schorn. The event will discuss a fraud alert service provided by Bucks County that protects residents from title and identity theft.

“This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about a free service provided by the county that can keep you and your property safe,” Hogan said. “I encourage all citizens in the 142nd to come out Sept. 15 to hear about this free and worthwhile program.”

The event will be held at the Middletown Township Building, 3 Municipal Way, Langhorne, on Friday, Sept. 15. It will run from 10 a.m. to noon, and light refreshments will be served.

For more information about the event, you can call Hogan’s Penndel office at 215-752-6750 or visit his website at RepHogan.com/contact. ••

Presentations on estate planning

Bucks County Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans’ Court Linda Bobrin will be giving presentations at senior centers across Bucks County, addressing the importance of estate planning.

Half-hour-long presentations will be held on the following dates: Sept. 19 at 10 a.m., at Bensalem Senior Citizens Association; and Oct. 6 at 9:30 a.m., at Northampton Township James E. Kinney Center.

For more information, email Rachel Landsberg at ralandsberg@buckscounty.org. ••

Save for education expenses

PHEAA and the state Treasury Department are encouraging families to consider saving with the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan, a way to save early for future education expenses and receive tax advantages, including state income tax deductions for contributions. Your savings can be used toward postsecondary tuition, room and board and books at many colleges, universities, certain apprenticeship programs and career, vocational and technical schools.

For the second consecutive year, all PA 529 GSP asset-based fees will be waived until next June. Now might be the perfect time to make an extra contribution to a PA 529 GSP account because many PA 529 GSP credit rates will increase after Aug. 31.

“It is PHEAA’s mission to create affordable access to higher education. To that end, we want to share any available savings opportunities with families. The PA 529 GSP is a wonderful program to help you start saving for higher education early,” said state Sen. Wayne Fontana, PHEAA board chairman.

“No matter what path a child takes in the future, the PA 529 GSP is a great tool to help pay for the education and training they will need. Waiving these fees again for this fiscal year will save account owners $5.5 million, making our PA 529 GSP even more affordable for Pennsylvania’s hardworking families. Making a contribution before Aug. 31 will lock in the lowest possible tuition rates, helping families save even more,” said State Treasurer Stacy Garrity.

Assets held in a PA 529 plan are not counted by PHEAA when determining state financial aid for college (assets in any other state 529 plan are counted) and can help families reduce borrowing. If a child doesn’t pursue postsecondary education, the account beneficiary can be changed.

Families can also boost education savings for children through Keystone Scholars, a program that provides a $100 at-birth investment for a child’s future postsecondary education expenses.

Learn more about these programs at pa529.com. ••

Avoid student loan scams

State Attorney General Michelle Henry is offering tips for borrowers to protect themselves from scams when making student loan payments.

The U.S. Department of Education and federal student loan servicers will never charge a fee for enrolling in any repayment plan.

“Scammers are sophisticated and aware of consumer trends, so there is reason to believe the return to student loan payments will result in an influx of attempted fraud, theft and other criminal activity,” Henry said. “My office wants borrowers to know about reliable resources available to them at no charge or security risk.”

The Office of Attorney General encourages borrowers to never answer their phone if they don’t recognize the number. If a voicemail, text or email seems suspicious, ignore it.

The attorney general’s office encourages everyone working in public service occupations (more than 25% of employed Pennsylvanians work in public service) to enroll in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program by visiting studentaid.gov/PSLF.

The office also encourages student loan borrowers to enroll in the federal SAVE Plan, a new income driven repayment plan. Enroll in the SAVE plan by visiting studentaid.gov/SAVE.

Visit studentaid.gov/restart to view all the resources available for student loan borrowers. Call the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Help line at 800-722-1300 for questions about federal student loans and options to manage them. Visit studentaid.gov/resources/scams to understand more about debt relief companies.

Consumers who think they have been scammed by a student loan debt relief program may file a complaint with the Office of Attorney General by calling 800-441-2555 or emailing scams@attorneygeneral.gov. ••

Farry office hours in Bensalem

State ​​Sen. Frank Farry (R-6th dist.) is offering satellite office hours the first Wednesday of every month, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Bensalem Township Municipal Building, 2400 Byberry Road, Bensalem.

Farry’s staff will be on site to assist with state government services; Property Tax/Rent Rebate applications, birth and death certificate applications, SEPTA Senior Key card registrations and renewals; and unemployment issues. ••

Lower South supervisor meeting schedule

The Lower Southampton Township Board of Supervisors will meet on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 7:30 p.m., at the Township Building, 1500 Desire Ave., Feasterville.

Future meetings, all at the same times and location, are scheduled for Sept. 27, Oct. 11 and 25, Nov. 8 and 20 and Dec. 13 and 20. ••

Bensalem Council meeting schedule

Bensalem Township Council meetings are generally held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Building at 2400 Byberry Road, Bensalem.

Meetings can be viewed live on Comcast Xfinity Channel 22 in Bensalem and on Verizon Fios Channel 34 throughout Bucks County. They can also be streamed live on the Bensalem Township YouTube channel.

The schedule is Oct. 16, Nov. 13 and 27 and Dec. 4 (budget meeting) and 11. ••

Bensalem school board meeting schedule

The Bensalem Township Board of School Directors holds meetings on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Dorothy D. Call Administrative Center, 3000 Donallen Drive, Bensalem.

Upcoming meetings will take place on Sept. 26, Oct. 24, Nov. 28 and Dec. 19 (third Tuesday).

The public is invited to attend.

The School Board annual reorganization meeting will be held on Monday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. ••

Commissioners meeting Sept. 20

The Bucks County Commissioners will hold their next meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 10:30 a.m. at the Bucks County Administration Building, 55 E. Court St., in Doylestown.

The meeting will be broadcast on the county’s YouTube channel.

Future meetings will be on Oct. 4, Oct. 18, Nov. 1, Nov. 15, Dec. 6 and Dec. 20. ••

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