Senator Yudichak Announces American Paper Bag, LLC Headquarters in Sugar Notch Borough

NANTICOKE, January 10, 2017 – State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) announced today that American Paper Bag LLC will base its corporate headquarters and a manufacturing facility in Sugar Notch Borough located in Luzerne County.

“The Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber along with local and state officials have helped bring a quality, job producing business in American Paper Bag to northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Yudichak. “Adding an advanced manufacturing facility to the region continues our efforts to revitalize our local economy and create new jobs.”

“Today’s announcement represents a huge win for northeastern Pennsylvania and demonstrates how effective we can be when local and state entities work together for the greater good,” said Joseph Boylan, Vice President of Economic Development for the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber. “This team approach allowed us the opportunity to develop and deliver a competitive and winning workforce and funding strategy to attract American Paper Bag to the region – competing against several locations in North America.  Congratulations to Ian Robson and American Paper Bag – a welcome addition to northeastern Pennsylvania.”

American Paper Bag will be located in a 42,000 square-foot building in the Hanover Industrial Estates. The company has promised to devote $5,425,000 million to the project and has also committed to creating 38 new full-time jobs within a three-year window. The hiring process for the new jobs will begin in April 2017.


Senator Yudichak Announces $1 Million Transportation Alternative Program Grant for Wilkes University

NANTICOKE, January 10, 2016 — Senator John T. Yudichak (D-Carbon/Luzerne) announced today that Wilkes University will receive $1 million from the Transportation Alternative Program (“TAP”) administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (“PennDOT”). The grant funds will be used to upgrade sidewalks, street lighting, and other infrastructure improvements along South Main Street–between South and Northampton Streets– in the city of Wilkes-Barre.

“This is a prime example of how we can harness colleges and universities to invest in our communities,” said Senator Yudichak, “With these grant funds, Wilkes University will begin the next phase of a streetscape project that has revitalized downtown Wilkes-Barre into an economic hub and a thriving residential community for the city and Luzerne County.” Senator Yudichak commended Wilkes’ president, Dr. Pat Leahy, and his staff for their efforts to secure this funding. He also noted that the Commonwealth has invested approximately $13 million for streetscape enhancements in Wilkes-Barre in the last decade.

Wilkes University will contribute $300,000 to the project in addition to the TAP grant. In addition to new sidewalks and lighting, the new TAP project includes curb ramps, the planting of trees and other improvements that will not only enhance the University’s campus, but encourage future business development on South Main Street. The project extends work promoting pedestrian safety already undertaken by Wilkes on West South and South Franklin streets. By the time the project is completed, the University will have invested more than $1 million in infrastructure improvements around its campus. Wilkes President Patrick F. Leahy said the investment reflects the University’s commitment to the community.

“This project makes visible Wilkes ongoing commitment to the community surrounding our campus,” Leahy said.  “We are pleased to be in a position to pay the match required for a TAP grant, allowing Wilkes to make investments in our city and county where we can make the most impact.”

“This is an exciting time to be a student, resident, worker, or business owner in downtown Wilkes-Barre,” said State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski (D-121st District). “At a time when local governments are fighting to maintain basic services, Wilkes University is an example of an institution that has stepped-up its financial commitment to the city and its residents.”

In addition to the streetscape improvements, Wilkes University continues making enhancements to its urban campus. The improvements include the campus Gateway opened on South Main Street in fall 2015 and in 2017 the University will complete renovations to 141 South Main Street to house the Karambelas Media Center and a new home for the Sordoni Art Gallery. In addition, work on the South Campus Gateway project providing improvements to the campus on West South Street near the Henry Student Center also will begin this year.

City officials welcomed the new investment in the heart of the city. “With this funding secured in the downtown, the city can continue to expand opportunities into other neighborhoods of the city so that the resurgence of the downtown will spread to every part of Wilkes-Barre,” said Mayor Tony George. 

“Pennsylvania has some difficult financial choices in the coming months, but we cannot simply cut our way to a balanced budget.” said Senator Yudichak. “Instead, we have a responsibility to financially support projects that will improve the local economy and help us attract and retain a new generation of students to Luzerne County.”


Yudichak and Mullery Call for Public Hearings on State Prison Closure Plan

NANTICOKE, January 10, 2017 − State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) and State Representative Gerald Mullery met with SCI-Retreat corrections officers at an informational meeting hosted by the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officer Association (PSCOA).  The meeting followed a conference call the legislators held earlier Monday morning with the Department of Corrections on the potential closure of SCI-Retreat in Newport Township.

“The only responsible course of action for the Department of Corrections is to remove the self-imposed closure decision deadline of January 26, and hold public hearings to allow legislators, union leaders, local officials and taxpayers to voice their concerns on the devastating impact the loss of nearly four hundred jobs will have on Luzerne County,” said State Senator John Yudichak.

Senator Yudichak and Representative Mullery were informed by Department of Corrections officials that the department will meet with the Department of Community and Economic Development tomorrow, January 10th, to begin the economic impact study of closing state facilities.

“How can you do a fair analysis in just eleven days on what the direct loss of $57.3 million will have on the community of Newport Township and the families of northeastern Pennsylvania,” asked Representative Mullery.   

The Wolf Administration and the Department of Corrections have scheduled January 26, 2017 as the date when the closure of two state prisons will be announced.  The two prisons selected for closure will then be decommissioned by June 30, 2017.

“We appreciate Senator Yudichak and Representative Mullery standing with the PSCOA and the workers at SCI-Retreat to challenge this misguided budget driven decision that will jeopardize public safety in our prisons and negatively impact the economy of Luzerne County,” said Mark Truszkowski, PSCOA Business Agent for SCI-Retreat.


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