Senator Yudichak, Representative Pashinski and Mayor Tony George Announce Disaster Recovery Funding for Solomon Creek

Wilkes-Barre, PA — November 28, 2017 — Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon), Representative Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Luzerne County) and City of Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tony George announced today that the City of Wilkes-Barre will receive over $2.3 million in funding from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED)’s CDBG-Disaster Recovery Fund. The announcement will boost total state funding for the complete reconstruction of the Solomon Creek flood control system to $4.6 million. An additional $4 million in city funds have been made available through debt refinancing, bringing the total overall state and local financial commitment to the project to more than $8.6 million. 

“The residents of the Solomon Creek section of Wilkes-Barre have long been promised comprehensive restoration of the flood protection system, and today’s announcement of $2.3 million in DCED Disaster Recover Funds brings us one giant step closer to its delivery and implementation,” said State Senator John Yudichak. “Homeowners and business owners have endured three floods in the last decade, and they watched helplessly last year as a forty-foot section of the flood wall collapsed at their feet,” noted Senator Yudichak. “In the past year, state and city officials have aggressively collaborated to develop a Solomon Creek flood control restoration plan that has secured more than $8.6 million to invest in flood protection. We greatly appreciate the work of DCED Secretary Dennis Davin and the Wolf Administration for recognizing the critical public safety importance of the Solomon Creek project and for their continued efforts to work with us to obtain additional funding to fully execute our plan,” added Senator Yudichak.

“The Solomon Creek retaining walls provide flood protection for over 700 homes and businesses in the South Wilkes-Barre area,” Representative Pashinski said. “These walls were built in the 1930s and have sustained considerable wear and tear over time. The recent high waters damaged portions of this system and now need immediate attention. Working cooperatively with Governor Tom Wolf, Mayor Tony George, State Senator John Yudichak, Senator Bob Casey and Congressman Matt Cartwright we have all devoted great efforts to acquire sufficient dollars to complete the renovation of the areas in distress. I’m pleased to announce that we have been granted $2.3 million toward this multi-million-dollar project,” said Representative Pashinski.

“I am grateful to Governor Wolf, Senator Yudichak, and Representative Pashinski and their respective staffs for their commitment and diligence to the residents of Wilkes-Barre. The lives and livelihood of many citizens depend on the fortitude of the Solomon Creek wall. The city would not have been able to repair the retaining walls without the leadership of our legislators, as we were in dire need of financial assistance. The wall has been in disrepair since 1998. Twenty years later, it is finally beginning to be restored thanks to our partners in Harrisburg,” said Mayor Tony George.

In 2011, the Solomon Creek retaining wall was severely damaged by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee and in November 2016, a 40-foot section of the retaining wall collapsed into the creek. With today’s announcement, the City of Wilkes-Barre has received $4.6 million in state funds for Solomon Creek. 

The $4.6 million in improvements to the Solomon Creek flood protection system will include reconstruction of retaining walls and improvements of pumping stations from Waller Street to Regent Street in Wilkes-Barre.

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Senator Yudichak Announces Safe Schools Grants for Carbon County

Harrisburg, November 17, 2017 — Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) announced today that two school districts in Carbon County have received Safe Schools Grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).

Weatherly Area School District has been awarded a Safe Schools Equipment Grant in the amount of $20,000. The goals of these grants are to assist school districts in reducing unnecessary student disciplinary actions and to assist school districts in obtaining resources and training necessary to create a physical environment that fosters the safety and well-being of students and staff.

Lehighton Area School District has been awarded a Safe Schools School Police/Resource Officer Grant in the amount of $59,994. The grants are for two years and are intended to be used for the training and compensation of school resource officers and school police officers.

Also, the Carbon-Lehigh Intermediate Unit has been awarded the Year 2 allocation of their 2016-17 Safe Schools School Police/Resource Officer Grant in the amount of $20,000.

“Our students and staff deserve to come to school every day and have a positive and safe learning environment. These grants will equip our school districts and intermediate unit with the essential resources they need to help keep students and staff safe,” said Senator John Yudichak.

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Senator Yudichak Announces Safe Schools Grants for Luzerne County

 Harrisburg, November 17, 2017— Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) announced today that the following school districts in Luzerne County have received Safe Schools Grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE):

  • Wilkes-Barre Area School District has received a Safe Schools Equipment Grant in the amount of $18,609. Additionally, they have received a Safe Schools Police/Resource Officer Grant in the amount of $40,000.
  • Greater Nanticoke Area School District has received a Safe Schools Equipment Grant in the amount of $19,300.
  • Pittston Area School District has received a Safe Schools Equipment Grant in the amount of $19,990.

“Not a day goes by where we don’t hear about a horrific act of violence happening in schools across the nation. PDE’s Office for Safe Schools has become a leader in fostering a safe learning environment for our students. These grants will give our school districts more resources to help keep violence out of our schools,” said Senator John Yudichak.

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Senator Yudichak and Representative Heffley announce $350,000 in CFA Funding for Lehighton Borough

Harrisburg, November 14, 2017— State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) and State Representative Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) announced today that Lehighton Borough will receive $350,000 in funding from the Commonwealth Financing Authority for improvements to Upper Park.

Under the Act 13 Grant Program, the Lehighton Borough will receive $150,000 for improvements to the Upper Park Amphitheater. The Lehighton Borough will also receive $200,000 from the Multimodal Transportation Funds for streetscape and pedestrian improvements to the streets around Upper Park.

“The funds secured will provide much needed improvements to Upper Park, including adding ADA-accessible seating and correcting stormwater drainage issues at the amphitheater. By investing in the enhancement of this community asset, we are preserving and expanding opportunities for families to enjoy countless hours of entertainment in a beautiful setting,” said Senator John Yudichak.

“These projects have been in the works for years, and I am so pleased to see the improvements to Lehighton’s Upper Park and amphitheater come to fruition. This facility in downtown Lehighton has provided a fantastic venue for community entertainment and events. The funding for these park enhancements comes from the impact fee on natural gas development as well as the multimodal fund,” said Representative Doyle Heffley.

 

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Senator Yudichak Announces Multimodal Transportation Grants and Act 13 Grants for Luzerne County

Harrisburg, November 14, 2017— State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) announced today that eight projects in Luzerne County will receive more than $3.3 million in state funding through the Multimodal Transportation Fund and the Act 13 Grant program.

Under the state’s Multimodal Transportation Fund program, the Earth Conservancy will receive $2 million in state funding.

The grant will be used to fund the construction of access roads from the South Valley Parkway (SVP) to two key properties of reclaimed Earth Conservancy land. The access roads will open up close to 400 acres of land for additional economic development and will further leverage the $83 million infrastructure investment made in the communities of Hanover Township, Nanticoke City, Newport Township, Ashley, Sugar Notch, and Warrior Run.

“The Earth Conservancy has done a tremendous job reclaiming mine-scarred lands and returning those lands back to constructive use as community-building economic development and conservation projects,” said State Senator John Yudichak.  “Strategic public investments in infrastructure like the South Valley Parkway and its access points has already leveraged over $100 million in private investment, from companies like Northpoint, that will lead to the creation of thousands of jobs in the South Valley and along the I-81 corridor,” added Senator Yudichak. 

Mike Dziak, President and CEO of Earth Conservancy, extended his thanks to Senator Yudichak, Representative Mullery and the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) after the announcement of the award.  “Senator Yudichak, Representative Mullery, the CFA, and DCED have been strong supporters of Earth Conservancy since its beginnings. We appreciate how they see the importance of our work, and back our efforts to bring environmental and economic revitalization to the communities we serve,” Dziak said.

State Representative Gerald Mullery (D-Luzerne) worked closely with Senator Yudichak to secure the funds for the Earth Conservancy. “The Earth Conservancy has been the leader in improving mine scarred lands and turning them into economic development opportunities across the region. I was pleased to work with Senator Yudichak to secure this funding for these access roads which will bring new investments for the region,” said Representative Gerald Mullery.  

Also under the Multimodal Transportation Fund program, Wilkes University will receive $503,288 for pedestrian safety and streetscape improvements along Northampton Street located in Edwardsville Borough. Area State Representatives Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Luzerne) and Aaron Kaufer (R-Luzerne) worked closely with Senator Yudichak to secure funds for Wilkes University.

Additionally, Wyoming Borough will receive $167,995 for intersection improvements at Eighth Street and Susquehanna Avenue. Area State Representative Aaron Kaufer (R-Luzerne) worked with Senator Yudichak to secure funds for Wyoming Borough.

Under the Act 13 Grant program, funding for the following projects were announced: 

The City of Wilkes-Barre will receive $299,999 to replace a section of the retaining wall along Solomon Creek. They will also receive $75,000 for Weissman Park Improvements. Area State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Luzerne) worked with Senator Yudichak to secure these funds.

West Pittston Borough will receive $25,000 for Phase II improvements at Baltimore Avenue Park. Area State Representative Aaron Kaufer (R-Luzerne) worked with Senator Yudichak to secure these funds.

Larksville Borough will receive $155,355 for improvements at Romanoskey Park improvements. Area State Representative Gerald Mullery (D-Luzerne) worked with Senator Yudichak to secure these funds. 

Hazle Township will receive $165,000 for improvements at Hazle Township Community Park. Area State Representative Gerald Mullery (D-Luzerne) worked with Senator Yudichak to secure these funds.

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Senator Yudichak Statement on Proposed Changes Being Considered by the Penn State Board of Trustees

Harrisburg, November 9, 2017 — Senator John T. Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) issued the following statement today on proposed changes to the Pennsylvania State University charter and bylaws that could prevent Penn State Board of Trustees members from recovering legal fees when they initiate legal action against the University:

“I echo the concerns of Auditor General Eugene DePasquale regarding the potential changes being made the Penn State Board of Trustees this week. At a time where the Board of Trustees should be discussing ways to implement the recommendations made by the Auditor General to improve transparency, they are instead considering changes that would further erode transparency,” said Senator John Yudichak. “I continue to advocate for improvements to the structure of the Board of Trustees, including a reduction in the size of membership which I believe would enhance the accountability and transparency of the Board,” Senator Yudichak added.

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Senator Yudichak, Representative Pashinski, and Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tony George’s Statements on Berkshire Hathaway Guard Acquiring Wilkes-Barre Center Building

Wilkes-Barre, November 1, 2017 — Senator John T. Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon), Representative Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Luzerne County), and City of Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tony George released the following statements in response to the news that Berkshire Hathaway Guard Insurance Company will be acquiring the Wilkes-Barre Center property to solidify their national headquarters in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

“The investment of $11.3 million by Berkshire Hathaway Guard and its creation and retention of more than seven hundred jobs represents the biggest economic victory for downtown Wilkes-Barre in decades,” said Senator John Yudichak. “Under the leadership of Sy Foguel, CEO, and Carl Witkowski, COO, Berkshire Hathaway Guard has grown its business by over $1 billion dollars and doubled its workforce in the past five years,” Senator Yudichak added.  “Securing a national headquarters of a growing community-minded company, like GUARD, signifies that Wilkes-Barre and all of northeastern Pennsylvania is quickly becoming the best place to do business and create family sustaining jobs.”

“Guard Insurance has been a stellar corporate citizen since it was founded, which has continued under Berkshire Hathaway’s ownership,” said Representative Pashinski. “Keeping a national and growing enterprise—such as GUARD—in downtown Wilkes-Barre speaks volumes about the private sector’s faith in Wilkes-Barre City and northeastern Pennsylvania. A special thank you goes out to Governor Wolf for his strong support and also to the good work of Mayor Anthony George,” Representative Pashinski added.

“We are thrilled that Berkshire Hathaway Guard has chosen to continue to invest in the city of Wilkes-Barre and expand its national headquarters here. We were pleased to work with Sy Foguel and Carl Witkowski of Berkshire Hathaway Guard, Governor Wolf and the Governor’s Action Team, the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce, Diamond City Partnership, Senator Yudichak, and Representative Pashinski on one of the largest economic development projects in the city’s history,” said City of Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tony George.

The Governor’s Action Team (GAT), working under the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) identified $855,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits and the City of Wilkes-Barre applied and was awarded a $1 million Local Share Assessment (LSA) grant on behalf of GUARD’s downtown headquarters project.

After renovations, the project will eclipse $10 million. The project is expected to create 285 new jobs over the next three years while retaining the 441 positions already based in Wilkes-Barre.

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