Blake Resolution Designates “Spinal CSF Leak Awareness Week”

HARRISBURG, January 24, 2017 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today announced that his Senate Resolution designating the week of February 26 through March 4, 2017 as “Spinal CSF Leak Awareness Week” in Pennsylvania was unanimously adopted by the Senate.

Spinal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak, also known as intracranial hypotension, is a significant, disabling and underdiagnosed but treatable cause of new-onset headache.

“It is imperative that we continue to raise awareness and understanding of spinal CSF leak to ensure the proper diagnosis, treatment and best possible outcomes for all patients,” Blake said. “Raising awareness and finding more successful treatment options for this particular disease is especially important to me as I have two members of my Senate staff whose family members suffer from spinal CSF leaks.”


Blake noted that the most common symptom of the disease is a disabling positional headache that is worse when upright and only improved when lying down – which makes the disease very disabling due to limited ability to be functional while upright. Spinal CSF leaks may also cause a wide range of other symptoms and rarely, more serious complications, such as stroke, dementia, Parkinsonism, coma and even death.

Blake’s resolution would mark the first ever #LeakWeek in Pennsylvania, which coincides with the international Rare Disease Day. Rare Disease Day takes place on the last day of February each year. The main objective of Rare Disease Day is to raise awareness about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives.

One of the founders of the Spinal CSF Leak Foundation, a health advocacy nonprofit organization, is a Pennsylvania physician who is also affected by the condition. For more information about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of spinal CSF leaks, visit

To read a copy of Blake’s Senate Resolution 13 designating the week of February 26 through March 4, 2017 as “Spinal CSF Leak Awareness Week” in Pennsylvania, click here.

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Blake, NEPA Senators Designate July 16 as Anthracite Heritage Day

HARRISBURG, July 7, 2016 − The Senate has adopted a resolution sponsored by five senators from Northeastern Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal country officially designating July 16 as Anthracite Heritage Day in the state.

Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20th) introduced the resolution at the suggestion of constituent Robert Alper, a Korean War veteran from Kingston. Seeking to honor the men and women who worked in the hard coal mines throughout Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Northumberland and Schuylkill counties over the past 225 years, the senators that represent those counties joined together to ensure King Coal’s importance in the region’s history is recognized and remembered.

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“In Northeastern Pennsylvania, anthracite is a bedrock part of our heritage story. It is a prominent part of our past, a distinct part of the present, and an intended part of the future,” Baker said.

Pennsylvania still ranks as the fourth largest anthracite producing state in the country and the industry contributes more than $200 million annually to the state’s economy.

“In the early years of the 20th century, our proud region forged ahead as the center of Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal industry, fueling the Industrial Revolution and warming homes around the globe,” said Sen. John Blake (D-22nd). “With the recognition of Anthracite Heritage Day in Pennsylvania, we are paying tribute to the tens of thousands of coal miners from across NEPA that sacrificed so much in order for our region and our country to flourish both economically and industrially.”

The coal mines of Northeast Pennsylvania were a dangerous place and some of the nation’s labor laws were crafted in response to the conditions miners worked in. The grueling work resulted in high levels of employment for the region. At one point, coal miners accounted for half of the nation’s male industrial workforce.

“The anthracite industry fueled the Industrial Revolution and helped meet the energy demands of two World Wars,” said Sen. Gordner (R-27th). “Today it fuels more than 1,000 Pennsylvania jobs.”

Anthracite coal accounts for more than two million tons annually.

“Coal is more than just an important local natural resource. The coal region is defined by a work ethic and way of life. I’m proud to represent so many hard working men and women who work in this industry,” said Sen. David Argall (R-29th).

“The designating of Anthracite Heritage Day is formal recognition of the many sacrifices and major contributions made by the miners and their families in the anthracite region,” said Sen. John Yudichak (D-14th). “As the proud son of a coal miner, I know firsthand the importance of coal mining in the development of Northeast Pennsylvania and the nation.”

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Blake, State Senate Adopt Resolution to Protect Operations of 55th Brigade in Scranton

Scranton55thVideoHARRISBURG, June 22, 2015 – A concurrent state Senate Resolution urging the United States Army to reverse its decision to deactivate the 55th Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) in Scranton was unanimously adopted by the state Senate earlier today.

Senate Resolution 149, co-sponsored by state Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe), also urges the United States Congress to take all necessary action to prohibit any force structure changes; to prohibit any transfer of AH-64 Apache helicopters from the National Guard to active duty; and to maintain the PA Army National Guard at 350,200 soldiers until the National Commission on the Future of the Army (NCFA) has reported its findings to the U.S. Army.

Blake released the following statement regarding Senate Resolution 149:

“The continued operation of the 55th Armored Brigade is critically important not only to our state and national security, but to the economic strength of Scranton and Northeastern Pennsylvania. There are more than 3,500 Pennsylvanians who capably and selflessly serve our country as members of the 55th Brigade. These fine men and women deserve unwavering support and we cannot stand by while the Army moves to deactivate this proud and decorated unit.

The geographic presence of the 55th ABCT is important not only in response to the Army’s requests for mobilization, but it is absolutely vital in order to remain agile in response to state and federal emergencies in PA and in our surrounding states.  Further, the National Guard is a tremendous economic value to the Army.  A drilling Guardsman or Woman costs approximately 15% of the cost of Active Duty Soldiers and – even when mobilized by the Army under Title 10 terms and conditions – the National Guard imposes costs at 80 to 95 percent of the cost of Active Duty Soldiers with no loss in quality, reliability or capability.

Several Regiments within the 55th ABCT trace their origin to the Revolutionary War and are among the oldest in Pennsylvania.  These Regiments, including the 109th Infantry, the 109th Field Artillery; the 103rd Armored; and the 104th Cavalry have been decorated for meritorious service in every theater of engagement since, including for recent service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I commend the efforts of U.S. Senator Bob Casey as well as Congressman Matt Cartwright on this matter and thank all of my colleagues in the Pennsylvania state Senate, particularly, Senator Lisa Baker, Senator John Wozniak, and Senator John Yudichak, for their support of this resolution and the 55th ABCT.”

Sen. Blake is a founding member of the Pennsylvania Military Community Enhancement Commission (PMCEC) which was recently established under the PA Department of Community and Economic Development.  The PHCEC will work with the Department and with local stakeholders as well as with Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation to advance the military value of Pennsylvania’s military installations and to insulate PA from adverse impacts of future Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) activities at the Department of Defense.

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