State Rep. Tina Pickett (R-110) made herself available to Pennsylvania residents during a telephone town hall meeting on Wednesday that allowed residents to ask her questions.

A variety of questions were brought up by Bradford, Sullivan and Susquehanna County residents about everything from school violence, EMT times, to even lyme disease.

John, from Susquehanna County, called in and asked Pickett about what is being done at a state government level for protecting our schools from acts of violence.

“Last year, Pennsylvania got very aggressive about making funding available to all our schools and to give them some plans and some things they needed to do,” said Pickett. “However, at the same time, leaving an open door for them to make some plans about it. Each school is different, whether they are in a city or out in the more rural areas, we are offering funds to all those schools.”

Pickett went on to say that she has visited the schools often and has seen changes toward making them safer.

“I know there are several meetings in the schools. Administration and some of the school board members and some parents are involved at working out what is the best way to protect those kids in those schools. I have seen changes, I think they are good changes. I know that they are going to continue to tighten things up even more to make sure that when the children go to school, they feel safe.”

Frederick posed the question of what is being done to improve our emergency medical technicians’ ability to make it to accidents at a fast rate.

“I can tell you that it is a concern throughout Pennsylvania and certainly in our rural areas,” said Pickett. “They are struggling with volunteers, there is no question about it. I think we are going to have to look at the whole big system and say, what are we going to do?”

Frederick stated that a possible resolution to the issue would be full-time, paid EMTs.

“I am afraid that it is leaning towards that and certainly people cannot wait for that response (time),” responded Pickett. “When something serious is happening, they have to know someone is going to be able to get there immediately. It is something that is being talked about at all levels in Pennsylvania about what we can do too — number one improve volunteers and get people involved in their fire companies and ambulance services, but at the same time I think we are probably going to have to look at putting more paid staff.”

Diane asked Pickett what was being done in the House and Senate in reference to lyme disease at this time.

“I am pretty concerned about lyme myself, especially when I see the maps and realize how strong it is in Pennsylvania,” stated Pickett. “I have so many people contact me about it, there is no question. The House did pass a bill that would open the door for the insurance companies to pay for what the doctors feel is the right treatment, whatever that case might be. The bill is in the Senate, I am not really certain what the reaction has been in the Senate on that.”

Picket offered that anyone with questions that didn’t get a chance to ask can call her office in Sayre to talk about it.

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