The Pennsylvania Senate Labor and Industry Committee has approved a bill that would set commonsense safety standards for barns and other agricultural buildings that are repurposed for weddings and other social events. Senate Bill 191 would allow farmers to file an annual affidavit stating their venue meets certain safety standards alleviating costly requirements included in the state’s Uniform Construction Code for buildings that host weddings, and similar events. The bill is sponsored by Senator Judy Ward (R-30). Family farms face significant challenges keeping their operations profitable, and farmers are looking to supplement their income by offering activities on their land. Senate Bill 191 is supported by the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the Pennsylvania State Grange.

A loan program that helps small businesses is providing further relief by waiving fees and the first several months of payments on certain loans. SEDA-COG offers the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 loan program throughout Pennsylvania which features fixed rates, long terms, and low down payments. Now, certain fees associated with the loan are being waived because of the CARES Act passed late last year. Businesses can finance up to 40% of a project at a long-term fixed rate. For more information, contact SEDA-COG at 570-850-0195.

Harsh winter weather can make it tough to get outdoors, unless you are shoveling snow. But even in the worst conditions, the Game Commission’s round-the-clock livestreams offer viewers a chance to connect with wildlife, all from the comfort of home. A new 24-7 livestream from a black bear den in Monroe County launched earlier this month. That brings the total to four Game Commission livestreams planned to run into the spring of 2021. All Game Commission livestreams can be accessed through the agency’s website,