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Human Interest - Bensalem Township

Watch for “Storm Chasers” Scammers warns County Consumer Protection Office

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Each season brings with it a different set of challenges and different types of scammers. With summer in full gear and storm season seemingly at the peak of its often destructive powers Bucks County Consumer Protection director Mike Bannon is warning the public “storm chasers” are not to far behind.

Bannon said these scammers target communities ravaged by the throttling winds, torrential rains and flooding.

“With all the storms that we have been experiencing so far this spring, Bucks County Consumer Protection wants you to be aware that severe weather like heavy rain, hail or hurricanes can create opportunities for fraud.  These scammers will try every avenue to try and take advantage of an area where residents were hit hard. They will reach out to the residents in these affected areas by calling on the phone, texting, emailing, and even going door to door” in communities throughput Lower Bucks County.

Here are a few important things, Bannon said, to keep in mind if you live in an area that has experienced storm damage;

  1. ·        Government agencies offering any type of storm-related assistance will NEVER call, text or email you asking for financial account information. There is no fee required to apply for or get disaster assistance from agencies like FEMA or any type of government official.  If someone reaches out to you claiming to be a government official just hang up. 
  2. ·        If your property was damaged due to a severe storm, and someone does contact you, look up the telephone number they are calling from or the government’s official website to make sure it is legitimate. 
  3. ·         If someone does happen to show up at your door, they must provide official identification. Ask for this and take the time to call the phone number associated with his/her agency to make certain that the badge is official. 
  4. ·        Never give your personal information without checking to make sure that you are talking with a legitimate source.  Scam artists can sound very convincing.

· You should also be aware of problems with alleged home improvement contractors that may also go door to door. They may try to tell you that you have damage and that you can have your insurance to cover the cost. In most cases these contractors are not even based in your area; they follow the storms and, by the time you realize the job was not done properly, they are gone with no address or just a PO box which doesn’t help when you want to reach them. Then, to add insult to injury, they may charge more than what your insurance will cover. Even worse is, if you want to have their bad work repaired or redone, you may face resistance in hiring a different contractor who may not want to fix another’s subpar job and you will have to pay out of pocket. 

·        “In Pennsylvania, Home Improvement Contractors must be registered and have what is called an HIC#, which stands for Home Improvement Contractor number.  They must register with the PA Attorney General and for a contractor to register, they must have proof of insurance and follow certain regulations to keep consumers safe.  For more information on hiring a Home Improvement Contractor, please visit our website www.buckscounty.gov/consumerprotection  and click on ‘Consumer Tips,’ Bannon said.

Credit: Lower Makefield Police

 

 

 

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Human Interest - Bensalem Township

New LBTQ+ Advocacy Group Fairness Pennsylvania Launches

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Fairness Pennsylvania (FPA), the first full-time statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights program in several years kicked off on Monday, June 3 with Pennsylvania organizers, advocates, and legislators  at the state Capitol.

“We are ready to hit the ground running,” said Sarah Hammond, Fairness PA’s State Director, in a press release. “There are so many engaged activists and strong voices working right now in communities across the state. Our first priority is to identify ways that a new, statewide organization can assist these dedicated activists to move the needle here in Harrisburg and around the state.”

Hammond said. “…FPA is dedicated to promoting equality and fostering nondiscrimination principles in PA so that our LGBTQ+ community can be open, honest, and safe at home, at work, and in our communities across the state.”

In a statement, Governor Josh Shapiro said, “The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was founded on the ideals of tolerance and understanding and I’m proud to stand alongside Fairness PA as they work to promote those values and build a better, stronger Commonwealth for all.”

Credit: Submitted

“No matter what you look like, where you come from, who you love, or who you pray to, you deserve equal protection under the law in Pennsylvania….” said Shapiro. “It’s long past time we put partisanship aside and pass a nondiscrimination law that protects LGBTQ Pennsylvanians,” continued the press release.

Hammond said that an immediate priority for Fairness PA would be passage of the Fairness Act, which would ban discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations in the state, according to the press release. The Fairness Act passed in the state House in April 2023 but has yet to be considered in the state Senate. Shapiro earlier this year called on on the General Assembly to finally come together and pass the Fairness Act.

Fairness Pennsylvania can be found online at fairnesspenn.org or @FairnessPA on social media.

For more information, please visit Fairness PA or contact Pete Shelly at pshelly@clearpointpa.com.

 

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bensalem Township

Bensalem Man Charged for Possessing Kiddie Porn

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A Bensalem man stands accused of uploading and saving pornographic images involving children to his Google account.

Michael Dunbar, 55, was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Michael W. Gallagher Thursday morning on one felony count of child pornography and one count of criminal use of communication facility with his bail set at 10 percent of $300,000.00.

According to Bensalem Police,  on Thursday, April 25, 2024, a cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) was received.  The tip referenced a particular Google account that had uploaded and saved numerous videos depicting child pornography, including prepubescent boys and girls engaging in sexual acts with each other. Detectives began an investigation and were able to determine that the owner/user of the Google account was Dunbar.

On Thursday, June 20, 2024, Bensalem Detectives served a search warrant on Dunbar’s residence.  The suspect was interviewed, and he allegedly admitted to intentionally uploading child pornography into his Google account after finding the videos on the Dark Web.

Bensalem authorities did not comment about the results of the  executed search warrant.

Dunbar was unable to post bail as of early Friday morning and was remanded to Bucks County Correctional Facility. He is currently scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on July 2 and has no attorney of record presently, according to court records.

 

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Health - Bensalem Township

THE Giant Co. & Customers Raise More Than $400,000 For Healing Our Planet Initiatives

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Through its Healing Our Planet initiative, The GIANT Company today announced it raised $403,360 in partnership with its customers to support Planet Bee Foundation™ and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful™. During the month of May, customers at GIANT, MARTIN’S and GIANT Heirloom Market stores were invited to round up their grocery purchases to the nearest dollar to support each organization.

“Action inspires action and small changes such as tree plantings and pollinator awareness can make a big difference when it comes to helping our planet, so thank you to our customers who rounded up at the register to support these green initiatives,” said Courtney Hopcraft, manager of charitable giving and community relations, The GIANT Company. “Over the four years of our Healing the Planet campaign, more than $6 million has been raised to grow health and sustainability initiatives centric to creating healthier communities and a more sustainable future.”

Announced earlier this month, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful in partnership with The GIANT Company announced it will award Healing the Planet grants later this summer to local community organizations for tree plantings across Pennsylvania. Additional funding from The GIANT Company will support Pick Up Pennsylvania and local clean up, recycling and greening events.

“Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is grateful to The GIANT Company for their support of native tree planting in their operating areas in Pennsylvania. Funding will also support our Pick Up Pennsylvania program, so we can continue to meet the needs of families, friends, neighbors, civic groups, nonprofits and municipalities working towards a clean and beautiful Pennsylvania,” said Shannon Reiter, president, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. “Cleaning and beautifying communities tends to reduce littering and other illegal behaviors, making it a better place for all residents and providing a foundation for community and economic development.”

Credit: Submitted

Planet Bee Foundation drives awareness for pollinators and the importance of bees as a pathway to STEM, conservation, and innovations in agriculture. Funding raised by The GIANT Company will support local beekeepers, research programs, and school and community programs.

“On behalf of Planet Bee Foundation, I wish to extend our deepest gratitude to The GIANT Company for their donation, which has educated and impacted over 109,000 youth. Their generosity has sponsored STEM and Agriculture Education programs in schools, provided supplies to teachers, offered grants to local beekeepers, provided education at public events, and maintained beehives in community gardens, exemplifying their commitment to local communities,” said Debra Tomaszewski, founder and executive director, Planet Bee Foundation. “We are humbled and inspired by The GIANT Company’s commitment to sustainability, the health of our planet, and the well-being of the families they serve.”

For more information on The GIANT Company’s Healing Our Planet initiative, click here please.

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Philadelphia, Northeast Philadelphia Airport, PA

Last Updated on Jun 5 2024, 7:54 am EDT

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