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Need Healthcare Coverage? It’s Not Too Late

“Healthcare premiums are expected to rise again in 2018, but folks who need to renew their insurance or enroll in a plan for the first time may visit Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione’s district office in the Northeast on Tuesday, Nov. 21, for expert advice on getting the best health coverage for their money.

The Pennsylvania Senate Democrats’ Affordable Care Act enrollment tour will stop at Tartaglione’s office at 1061 Bridge St. (Bridge Street and Oxford Avenue) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Members of the public can sign up for ACA coverage or for Medicare with the help of certified enrollment specialists.

Visitors to the office should bring income documentation such as a pay stub or W-2 tax form, as well as their driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID.

Enrollment for ACA has become a lot more difficult for 2018 because of several cuts in the program enacted by the federal government. The enrollment period has been cut in half and runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15. In past years, the enrollment window stayed open until Jan. 31. Also, the government’s enrollment website will be shut down for maintenance from midnight to noon on most Sundays. The site will not shut down on Dec. 10.

Further, the federal government has cut funding for its public awareness campaign and for consumer help. That’s why PA Senate Democrats created the website to promote and share information about enrollment.

For more information, visit or Or call the senator’s office at 215-533-0440.”

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Old Heads Flashback

August 22nd was a perfect day for a cookout and the crowds came out in full force to Gambrel Recreation center for the 11th Annual Old Heads softball game, now called by many Frankford Day.

Kat and Ike Hardy were honored by Representative Jason Dawkins for their tireless work in organizing this event year after year.  State Senator Christine Tartaglione was a sponsor and came out to enjoy the fun.  Many former residents returned to reunite with old friends and family.  The video below is a walk through.



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Angel of McIlvain Playground

Mrs. Angel Brandan has been a mainstay at McIlvain Playground since 1980. Angel came to McIlvain as a volunteer helper with the Tot Recreation Program. In 1981 she became an assistant teacher in the program that boasted two classes in the morning and the afternoon. In 1983, the director retired and Ms. Angel, as she is known to over 800 children that have passed through the Tot Rec program, took over and had not relinquished the title since.

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Angel with her kids

Now, beginning her 35th year, Ms. Angel still comes to McIlvain every day, after her job as a crossing guard for the city of Philadelphia, and teaches children ages 2 ½ to 5. Along with her assistant, Ms. Linda Fagan (who has been here for 17 years), the children enter kindergarten well prepared for what lies ahead of them. Ms. Angel has taught 27 children of children that she taught when they attended McIlvain’s Tot Rec Program.

Besides the Tot Recreation Program, Ms. Angel has been the director of the Summer Day Camp for the past 20 years, taught a children’s Arts & Crafts class once a week for 5 years, taught an adult crafts class for 11 years and has been a member of the McIlvain Advisory Council for the past 7 years.

Angel Brandan is the true essence of what a community member is about. Even though she lives outside of Frankford and the closest playground to her home is Simpson Recreation Center, thirty four years ago she made a decision to make a difference in the lives of so many children, as well as adults, in the Frankford area and in particular McIlvain Playground.

She truly loves McIlvain and the children. Recently she stated that if we didn’t have enough money, she would continue to do it for free. Many people say this about a job but she actually meant it. This is who she is and she deserves to be recognized for all she has given without asking for anything in return.

by Steve Schmidt,
Facility Supervisor,
McIlvain Playground

Angel was honored on December 5th at McIlvain with a reception honoring her 35 years at the playground where she was honored by Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez,  State Rep. Jason Dawkins State Senator Tina Tartaglione.

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The Savaging of Tina Tartaglione

Political Commentary by John Buffington is the first in a series.  His opinions are entirely his own.

My friend Joe Menkevich and I were planted on adjacent bar stools when Danny Savage strolled up looking for the possible vote.

Joe is always ready with conversation for a politician. This time my ears started to vibrate when Danny said that his opponent, Sen. Tartaglione, voted twice against taxing Marcellus Shale gas production. I got Danny to repeat that one directly to me, and he promised to send me the details.

No follow-up from Danny has ever arrived. Danny’s campaign literature doesn’t include a phone number. The number at Danny’s website is disconnected; it forwards to another number that is also disconnected. Danny is unreachable by telephone.

So I researched Sen. Tartaglione’s record on shale gas taxation without further help from Danny.

What Sen. T voted against was Act 13, which includes a modest “extraction fee”. Republicans who have sworn to avoid new taxes need euphemisms, so the Act 13 tax became an “extraction fee”.

Tina Tartaglione wasn’t alone in voting against Act 13. Every Democrat in the state Senate voted No on final passage.

Act 13 is the Corbett administration’s vehicle for turning Pennsylvania into the Saudi Arabia of Shale gas production. It isn’t especially controversial hereabouts, yet, because there’s a moratorium on fracking in the Delaware River basin and the pipelines haven’t been built through here yet. So you can’t smell or taste fracking in Philadelphia. Yet.

Danny Savage’s campaign flyers claim that he will “fight to pass a real tax will on natural gas drilling…”. Maybe so, but it’s not good to start the effort by lying about your opponent’s record.

On March 31, Sen. T. and four other senators started circulating a request for additional sponsors for SB 1333, which would impose a 5% tax on shale gas extraction.

I have been observing politics with horrible fascination for more than 50 years. I have seen plenty of politicians blowing smoke like Danny. It is a pleasure; believe me, when I occasionally stumble on a politician who is doing the right thing for purely virtuous reasons, and doing it quietly.

It isn’t politically correct around here, yet, to do the right thing about shale gas extraction because you can’t smell or taste the poison here, yet. Tina Tartaglione looks to me like a politician who is doing the right thing quietly.

I asked the Brendan Boyle campaign about his position on taxing fracking proceeds and learned that he voted against Act 13.

I asked the Daylin Leach campaign and they referred me to a staff member in Senator Leach’s office. It turns out that Sen. Leach is devoting a lot of resources to this also, despite the lack of promotional potential.

Imagine that. I stumbled on not one but two politicians in the same campaign season who actively care about the public interest.

Senator Leach voted against Act 13 and has signed on as a sponsor of SB 1333. His staff member gave me enough material to write a book on fracking.

I also heard from a third school of thought. The Delaware Riverkeeper takes the position that fracking to produce natural gas is inherently disastrous for both air and water, and taxing it is just a distraction. Their website is a good place to start finding out about the issue.

I plan to do an occasional piece on local politics for the Gazette. If you spot a politician blowing smoke, please let me know.

John Buffington
May 2014