Yudichak Announces Carbon County Recreation Grants

Jim Thorpe, January 26, 2016 –State Senator John Yudichak (D – Luzerne/Carbon) today announced that two Carbon County municipalities will receive $90,000 in state grants through the Community Conservation Partnerships Program (CCPP).

“Investments in recreation and conservation are important to the continued economic development of Carbon County,” said Senator Yudichak. “Tourism and recreation are a major part of the quality of life for our residents and visitors.”

The CCPP program is administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Bureau of Recreation and Conservation in order to provide financial and technical assistance to local governments, river and trail organizations, and other nonprofits for planning, acquisition and development of park, recreation, conservation and greenway projects.

The Borough of Summit Hill will receive $40,000 to help with the rehabilitation of Ginder Field. The work will include installation of playground safety surfacing, ADA access landscaping, and other related site improvements.

“We envision the Ginder Field as a premier recreational facility; not only for residents of Summit Hill, but also for community members in Carbon and Schuylkill counties, as well as visitors and outdoor enthusiasts enjoying the historic Switchback Trail,” said Borough Secretary/Treasurer Kira Steber. “The borough, as well as the Recreation Commission, is very grateful that we’ve been given this opportunity to start giving back to our community.”

The Borough of Weatherly will receive $30,000 in funding to complete a trail feasibility study for the five-mile Weatherly trail from Lehigh Gorge State Park in Lehigh Township to Hudsondale Street in Weatherly.

“The Weatherly five-mile trail would create economic opportunity not only for the borough and its residents, but also for the surrounding communities,” said Weatherly Borough Manager Harold Pudliner. “The borough is extremely excited and thankful to receive this grant.”

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Yudichak Announces Recreation Grants for Luzerne County

Harrisburg, January 26, 2016 – State Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) today announced over $700,000 in state grant funds for conservation/recreational projects in Luzerne County.

“These state grant dollars will support worthy local initiatives that will enhance our region’s recreational offerings for families and individuals,” Yudichak said.

The projects include:

  • $480,000 to the North Branch Land Trust to expand the D&L Trail by 2.2 miles from Laurel Run Road in Laurel Run Township to the Seven Tubs Nature Area in Plains Township. The work will include a 0.3-mile connector trail, trail head, ADA access, landscaping and other site improvements.
  • $221,000 to Natural Lands Trust, Inc., to acquire 161 acres along White Haven Road in Bear Creek Township to create more open space and recreational opportunities.

“We are very pleased to receive this grant,” said Paul Lumia, Executive Director of the North Branch Land Trust. “It allows us to realize our plan to have a trail from Laurel Run to the Tubs creating exciting new recreational opportunities for the entire region.”

“The Poconos region is home to some of Pennsylvania’s most treasured landscapes,” noted Molly Morrison, President of Natural Lands Trust. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to preserve another important piece of that landscape and to expand our 3,400-acre Bear Creek Preserve. Once again, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has demonstrated its commitment to providing its citizens with thriving wildlife habitats, clean water, and inspiring places to play.”

The Community Conservation Partnership grants are administered by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The program is aimed at helping local governments and organizations acquire and develop parks, recreation, conservation and greenway projects.

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Verizon Presents EITC Contribution to SHINE of Luzerne County

Wilkes-Barre, January 12, 2016– SHINE of Luzerne County has received $10,000 from Verizon as part of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC). The presentation was made during a ceremony at Wilkes-Barre Area’s Heights Murray Elementary School by Frank Buzydlowski, Director of Government Affairs for Verizon in Pennsylvania, State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon), Mary Kolessar, Director of SHINE of Luzerne County, and a dozen students who participate in the SHINE of Luzerne County after school program.

SHINE of Luzerne County began last fall in the Wilkes-Barre Area, Greater Nanticoke Area and Wyoming Valley West school districts and will expand to Hazleton later this year. The program, geared to grades K-8, focuses on a project-based STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) curriculum. Relying heavily on a STEAM core, SHINE links schools to homes to help children build a stronger academic and social foundation.

“Verizon is proud to participate in Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program in partnership with Wilkes University to help promote the value of education for families and children in Luzerne County and throughout Northeast Pennsylvania”, said Frank Buzydlowski, Director of State Government Affairs for Verizon in Pennsylvania. “The EITC program offers Verizon a great opportunity to give back to our communities and invest in educational initiatives that prepare children to meet the unique challenges of living and working in the 21st century’s technology-driven global economy.”

The PA (EITC) program provides companies with a 75% tax credit for donations to a non-profit scholarship or educational improvement organizations.

“SHINE is a successful program helping our school kids because it involves the entire community – schools, parents, public officials, and private companies,” Congressman Barletta said. “Verizon’s generous contribution will go a long way toward helping children achieve success, and have more opportunities at better futures.”

“Verizon is the latest in a growing list of private partners who are stepping forward to support SHINE of Luzerne County. SHINE’s unique private/public partnership model is central to our mission of building better schools, better communities and better families through the power of education,” said Senator Yudichak.

“SHINE’s success depends on the support of our partners in the community,” said Wilkes University President Patrick Leahy. “Verizon’s support helps to guarantee a bright future Luzerne County’s children and their families.”

“These funds will be put to good use as we continue to grow SHINE of Luzerne County. The positive response from the community has been very helpful as we implement the program,” said Mary Kolessar.

The Verizon donation follows the announcement last week of a major federal grant for SHINE of Luzerne County from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Grant Program totaling nearly $400,000 for each of the next three years. The federal funding is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and is one of fifty new 21st CCLC grant awards totaling $16.1 million for 2015-18 in Pennsylvania.

The SHINE program of Luzerne County is modeled after the successful Lehigh Carbon Community College SHINE program in Carbon and Schuylkill Counties.

Carbon Schuylkill County SHINE Awarded Major Federal Grant

Wilkes-Barre, January 8, 2016 – Congressman Lou Barletta (R-11th), state Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon), and Lehigh Carbon Community College President Dr. Ann Bieber have announced a major federal grant for the Carbon and Schuylkill County SHINE (Schools and Homes in Education) after-school program. The grant totals nearly $400,000 for each of the next three years.

“The SHINE program has been proven to help kids by giving them better alternatives to joining gangs and getting into trouble and it gets parents, families, and the community involved in education,” Barletta said. “When I saw the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program was on the chopping block in Congress, I was proud to step in and preserve it so that our children will have better chances for brighter futures.”

“For more than a decade the SHINE program has been providing improved educational opportunities for the families of Carbon and Schuylkill counties, said Senator Yudichak. “SHINE has earned a national reputation as a quality program with outstanding outcomes. This grant will help SHINE continue to build that legacy of success.”

“It is my distinct honor to accept this generous federal grant for Lehigh Carbon Community College’s SHINE program. This $400,000 grant demonstrates the commitment of our legislative delegation to the communities they serve, said Dr. Anne Bieber, president of Lehigh Carbon County Community College. “Through a variety of programs, with our partner school districts, SHINE helps to keep our kids safe, inspires them to learn and helps working families.

“Lehigh Carbon Community College is honored to have been awarded the 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant for Cohort 8 for the SHINE After school Program. SHINE is a true collaboration between the school districts, the families, the communities and the policy-makers who are driven to enhance the lives and educational opportunities for the children and families in Carbon and Schuylkill Counties,” added Rachel Miller Strucko, Director, SHINE After-school Program

The federal funding is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) via the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Grant program. The SHINE grant is one of fifty new 21st CCLC grant awards totaling $16.1 million for 2015-18 in Pennsylvania.

The 21st CCLC program is designed to provide federal funding for the establishment of community learning centers that provide academic, artistic and cultural enrichment opportunities for children. Funds are intended to provide students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools with additional services to meet state and local standards in core academic subjects; to offer students a broad array of activities that can complement their regular academic programs, and to offer literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.

SHINE is administered by Lehigh Carbon Community College and provides academic support for nearly 500 students from seven school districts. The comprehensive 42-week after school/summer program includes kindergarten home visits, 1st – 4th grade STEM Centers, 5th – 8th grade STEM Career Academies, and high school career awareness/mentoring opportunities.

SHINE of Luzerne County Secures Major Federal Grant

Wilkes-Barre, January 6, 2016 − Congressman Lou Barletta (R-11th), state Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon), and Wilkes University President Patrick Leahy have announced a major federal grant for the SHINE (Schools and Homes in Education) of Luzerne County after-school program. The grant totals nearly $400,000 for each of the next three years.

“This is tremendous news for SHINE of Luzerne County,” said Congressman Barletta. “As a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, I was proud to be able to step in to save and restore this federal funding at the end of last year, because it touches so many young lives and gives kids a better chance at bright futures. Sen. Yudichak and I look forward to many more years of SHINE, working through our great partner Wilkes University, and many more success stories among the children of Luzerne County.”

“From the beginning of our efforts to bring SHINE to Luzerne County we have worked to provide the necessary resources for our children and our communities to succeed, “ said Senator Yudichak. “This funding represents a major step forward for SHINE and recognition that this program will make a difference in our future by improving the lives of our children.”

“Time and again, Congressman Barletta and Sen. Yudichak have shown their dedication to education in Luzerne County. Their efforts to fund the SHINE program will allow Wilkes University to continue to provide educational enrichment opportunities to the children of our region,” said Dr. Patrick Leahy, president of Wilkes University

“This funding will help us to increase the opportunities for success for our children as we work through our first three years of SHINE of Luzerne County,” said Mary Kolessar, Director of the program. “We thank Congressman Barletta and Senator Yudichak for their tireless efforts on behalf of SHINE.”

The federal funding is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) via the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Grant program. The SHINE grant is one of fifty new 21st CCLC grant awards totaling $16.1 million for 2015-18 in Pennsylvania.

The 21st CCLC program is designed to provide federal funding for the establishment of community learning centers that provide academic, artistic and cultural enrichment opportunities for children. Funds are intended to provide students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools with additional services to meet state and local standards in core academic subjects; to offer students a broad array of activities that can complement their regular academic programs, and to offer literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.

SHINE of Luzerne County began last fall in the Wilkes-Barre Area, Greater Nanticoke Area and Wyoming Valley West school districts and will expand to Hazleton later this year. The program, geared to grades K-8, focuses on a project-based STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) curriculum. Relying heavily on a STEAM core, SHINE links schools to homes to help children build a stronger academic and social foundation.