Senator Yudichak Announces PennDOT ARLE Grant for Jenkins Township

Nanticoke, February 26, 2018 — State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) announced today that Jenkins Township has received an Automated Red Light Enforcement (ARLE) grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) for 2018.

Jenkins Township will receive $51,206 to upgrade the traffic signals at two intersections – Route 315 and Walmart Drive, and River Road and Eighth Street. The project includes upgrades to pedestrian signal modules and push buttons which will modernize and improve traffic controls.

“I am pleased that Jenkins Township received this funding which will greatly improve public safety around these two busy intersections. As they continue to develop the area, it is vital that these public safety upgrades are made for residents and visitors of the township,” said State Senator John Yudichak.

“By receiving this grant, we will be able to eliminate the safety hazards which currently exist because of the congestion on these roads. We appreciate the assistance Senator Yudichak and Representative Carroll have provided to us as we continue our work to develop the area,” said Stanley Rovinski, Chairman of the Jenkins Township Board of Supervisors.

Representative Mike Carroll (D-Luzerne) worked with Senator Yudichak to secure funding for this project.

 

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Senator Yudichak and Representative Kaufer Announce PennDOT ARLE Grant for Edwardsville Borough

Nanticoke, February 26, 2018 — State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) and State Representative Aaron Kaufer (R-Luzerne) announced today that Edwardsville Borough has received an Automated Red Light Enforcement (ARLE) grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) for 2018.

Edwardsville Borough will receive $86,107 to upgrade the traffic signal at the intersection of Route 1107 (Main Street) and Zerby Avenue by installing new traffic signal supports, upgrading pedestrian features, and upgrading controller and vehicle detection system equipment. The intersection is an assigned crosswalk for Wyoming Valley West School District, West Side Career and Technical Center, and Good Shepard Academy students and a designated stop for the Luzerne County Transportation Authority.

“The residents of Edwardsville will benefit greatly from these upgrades which will improve public safety while also managing traffic flow in an area that sees high levels of vehicle and pedestrian traffic,” said Senator John Yudichak.

Fines from red light violations at 30 intersections in Philadelphia supply the grant funding for the ARLE program. This program aims to improve safety at signalized intersections by providing automated enforcement at locations where data shows that red-light running has been an issue.

“I am pleased that Edwardsville’s application has been chosen for this important funding,” Representative Kaufer said. “This project will truly improve the accessibility and public safety on Edwardsville’s Main Street. When it comes to ensuring public safety, it’s not acceptable to rely on failing and antiquated traffic controls, and that is what this grant aims to resolve.”

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Senator Yudichak, Representative Heffley Meet with Carbon County Commissioners for Update on Proposed Carbon Emergency Operation Center

Nesquehoning, February 23, 2018 – State Senator John Yudichak (D – Luzerne/Carbon), State Representative Doyle Heffley (R – Carbon), Carbon County Commissioners Wayne Nothstein (R – Chairman), Tom Gerhard (R- Vice Chairman), William O’Gurek (D), and Carbon County Emergency Management Director Mark Nalesnik gathered today at the site of the proposed Carbon County Emergency Operations Center in Nesquehoning to discuss funding and project updates.

The estimated $14 million project includes the construction of a two-building facility that will provide Carbon County first responders with a drill tower, live fire training sites, a police training facility and classrooms where first responders can receive instruction and training.

Since 2015, the project has received $1,260,619 in state grant funding from the Multimodal Transportation Fund, Monroe County Local Share Account Program (LSA), and the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP).

“I have to commend Carbon County for taking a regional approach to give our first responders a facility where they can receive quality training locally,” said Senator Yudichak. “I’m going to continue to fight for funding for this important project that once completed will be a valued asset to the people and first responders of Carbon County.”

“This is an important project for all the communities in Carbon County. Just this year, we’ve had many serious fires throughout the county and we want to make sure that all our volunteers have the best possible resources at their disposal,” said Representative Heffley. “I believe that’s what this project will do.”

The facility will house the Carbon County Emergency Management Agency and will also provide vehicle and emergency apparatus parking garages. A stormwater management system will also be constructed on site. The water collected from the system will then be used for live fire training exercises.

“The goal right now is to have the access road project, which is the widening of the road to the Emergency Operations Center completed by the end of this year and then the burn building and police training facility completed by the end of 2019,” said Commissioner Nothstein.

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Senator Yudichak Announces 2018 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Outreach Schedule

Nanticoke, February 21, 2018 — State Senator John T. Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) hosted residents at the Rose Tucker Senior Center today in Nanticoke for an outreach event to help local seniors apply for the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.

PTRR1“Property taxes are especially burdensome for our seniors, and we want to ensure that every senior eligible for the program is able to secure the property tax relief they deserve. To make the application process easier, my offices will be holding these events to assist seniors in completing their applications in an efficient manner,” said State Senator John Yudichak.

In 2017, Senator Yudichak’s outreach efforts helped Luzerne and Carbon County senior citizens apply for over $550,000 in property tax and rent rebates. In the same year, Luzerne County had a total of 19,032 applicants that received over $9.2 million in rebates through the program. In Carbon County, there were 3,811 applicants that received over $1.8 million in rebates through the program.

The Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and over; widows and widowers age 50 and over; and people with disabilities ages 18 and older. Homeowners with a maximum yearly income of $35,000 and renters with a maximum yearly income of $15,000 are eligible for a rebate. The maximum standard rebate is $650 and the program is funded through state lottery and gaming revenues.

2018 Rebate Outreach Schedule:

PTRR3Please note: the events at the apartment buildings are for residents only and NOT open to public.

Anyone who needs assistance with filing their application for the program can visit Senator Yudichak’ s Nanticoke and Jim Thorpe district offices any Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and our West Pittston Office Monday, Tuesday & Friday 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

February 21st Rose Tucker Senior Center, Nanticoke 10:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

February 22ndPlains Manor, Plains 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

February 27th – Garden Village Apartments, West Pittston 9 a.m.- 11:30 a.m.

February 28th – Temple Apartments, Edwardsville 9 a.m.- 11:30 a.m.

March 1stLuzerne Towers, Luzerne 10 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

March 6th – Ken Pollock Apartments, Glen Lyon 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

March 7th – Lee Park Senior Center, Hanover Township 9.a.m.- 11:30 a.m.

March 8thInfantino Towers, Pittston 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

March 8thExeter Apartments, Exeter 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

March 13th – Swoyersville Apartments, Swoyersville 10 a.m.- 11:30 p.m.

March 14thLincoln Heights Apartments, Pittston 10 a.m. – noon

March 14th– St. John Apartments, Wilkes-Barre 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

March 15thCharles T. Adams Senior Center, Wilkes-Barre 9 a.m. – noon                                                                                                                                                       

Any updates or changes to the outreach schedule due to weather or any other unforeseen circumstances will be posted on www.senatoryudichak.com

The deadline to apply for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is June 30.

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Media Advisory: Senator Yudichak Announces 2018 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Outreach Event

Nanticoke — February 20, 2018 — Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) will host an outreach event to help local seniors apply for the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. 

The Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and over; widows and widowers age 50 and over; and people with disabilities ages 18 and older. Homeowners with a maximum yearly income of $35,000 and renters with a maximum yearly income of $15,000 are eligible for a rebate.

WHO:  Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) will host an outreach event to help local seniors apply for the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.

WHAT:  The Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and over; widows and widowers age 50 and over; and people with disabilities ages 18 and older. Homeowners with a maximum yearly income of $35,000 and renters with a maximum yearly income of $15,000 are eligible for a rebate.

WHEN: Wednesday, February 21, 2018, at 10:00 a.m.

WHERE:  Rose Tucker Senior Center* | Community Room – 1st floor | 145 E. Green Street | Nanticoke, PA 18634

* Please note: The events at the apartment buildings are for residents only and NOT open to public. Anyone who needs assistance with filing their application for the program can visit Senator Yudichak’ s Nanticoke and Jim Thorpe district offices any Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and our West Pittston Office Monday, Tuesday & Friday 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

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Senator Yudichak and Senator Baker Host Roundtable on Lead Exposure and Lead Testing

Wilkes-Barre, February 13, 2018 — Senator John Yudichak (D-14) and Senator Lisa Baker (R-20), joined by members of the Senate Lead Task Force, hosted a roundtable on lead exposure, lead testing, and lead abatement policies in Pennsylvania.

The roundtable featured Luzerne County Head Start, Maternal and Family Health Services, Early Intervention Services for Luzerne and Wyoming Counties, and St. Luke’s Hospital – Miners Campus.

Last October, the Pennsylvania State Senate unanimously approved Senate Resolution 33 — a measure authored by Senator Yudichak that created a statewide Senate Lead Task Force and Advisory Committee under the direction of the Joint State Government Commission.

 

Representing organizations that provide direct health and educational services to thousands of children in northeastern Pennsylvania, the roundtable participants added valuable input on newly proposed legislation by Senator Yudichak and Senator Baker that would require universal lead testing for children and expectant mothers.

“Universal lead testing is an effective and essential tool in preventing lead exposure in Pennsylvania children,” said Senator John Yudichak. “With over seventy percent of homes in Luzerne County being built prior to the 1978 federal ban on lead paint, it is imperative that universal lead testing become a primary prevention strategy for lead exposure in Pennsylvania.”

Currently, federal law requires children covered by Medical Assistance and the Affordable Care Act to be tested.

“Head Start screens all children who go through our program for lead exposure. It’s a national regulation that we follow and we know that even very low levels of lead exposure can have lasting negative effects on children,” said Lynn Biga, Executive Director of Luzerne County Head Start.

Lead exposure can cause long-term neurological and physical impairments, and children in at least 20 Pennsylvania cities, including Wilkes-Barre have tested positive for elevated lead levels.

“Although a lot of work has been done to determine and document the serious health effects of lead exposure, it too often remains a hidden threat. The effects are especially devastating in the development of children. There is much to be done in terms of alerting people to the dangers, identifying sources of lead contamination, and paying for removing and eliminating the risks,” said Senator Lisa Baker.

The roundtable was also attended by staff of the Joint State Government Commission, who are conducting research for a comprehensive report required from the Senate Lead Task Force and Advisory Committee.

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Senator Yudichak Announces Over $800,000 in Multimodal Funding for Luzerne County Projects

Nanticoke, February 8, 2018 — State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) announced today that two projects in Luzerne County will receive over $800,000 in grant funding through the state’s Multimodal Transportation Fund.

Hazle Township will receive $558,435 in funding for improvements to Old Airport Road. The project will include full width milling and overlay of the road, as well as constructing a new bike lane and drainage improvements near the Hazleton Regional Airport. The new bike lane is a continuation of the existing bike lane, which begins at nearby Hazle Township Community Park.

The Greater Wilkes-Barre Industrial Fund will receive $301,774 for the Plains Township East Carey Street Streetscape Project. The project seeks to improve safety and provide access to the businesses in this area through sidewalk and curb replacement.

“Public infrastructure projects, like the ones funded today, make an immediate impact on enhancing the quality of life in our communities, and they set the stage for further economic growth in Luzerne County,” said State Senator John Yudichak.

The Multimodal Transportation Fund is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

“The improvements made to Old Airport Road and the expansion of the bike lane will have a positive impact to our community. I thank Senator Yudichak, Representative Mullery, and Representative Toohil for helping to secure these funds for Hazle Township,” said Jim Montone, Chairman of the Hazle Township Board of Supervisors.

“As we continue to revitalize Plains Township, these funds are essential for making safety enhancements to East Carey Street so that we may continue to attract businesses and provide our residents and visitors with a beautiful walkable downtown area,” said Plains Township Board of Commissioners Chairman Gerald Yozwiak.

In addition to working with local municipal leaders, State Senator Yudichak worked with leaders of Luzerne County’s legislative delegation including — Rep. Mike Carroll, Rep. Gerald Mullery, and Rep. Tarah Toohil to secure funding for these regional projects.

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Senator Yudichak Legislation on Performance Review of Environmental Permitting Programs Approved by Senate

Harrisburg, February 6, 2018 — Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) announced that Senate Resolution 226 was adopted by the Senate today.  

The resolution requires the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) to conduct a comprehensive performance evaluation of two of the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) largest, most widely used permitting programs. Specifically, LBFC must study the Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control and Water Obstruction and Encroachment programs and submit a report containing an analysis and recommendations to the Senate within one year.

Each year, DEP receives and reviews more than 30,000 environmental permit applications, and many stakeholders and regulated communities have expressed concerns about resources, inconsistencies, and delays in permit processes.

“Independently evaluated baseline data is the critical element that is currently missing and we must add it to the conversation about environmental permitting reform.  The report required by SR 226 will provide an analysis of statewide permitting programs to help us identify needed improvements that balance and safeguard environmental protection with economic development and job creation activities,” said Senator Yudichak.  

Senate Resolution 226 is supported by DEP, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce, UGI, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, the Earth Conservancy, and PennFuture.

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Senator Yudichak Issues Statement on Governor Wolf Budget Proposal

Harrisburg, February 6, 2018 — Senator John Yudichak (D- Luzerne/Carbon) issued the following statement on the Governor’s proposed 2018-19 state budget:

“As budget discussions commence, I plan to work to ensure that investments in education and economic development programs are at the forefront. 

“Established northeastern Pennsylvania programs to improve educational opportunities, like the SHINE afterschool programs are a perfect match to the Governors’ PA Smart proposal. Both the Carbon/Schuylkill and Luzerne County SHINE programs have garnered national attention and have a documented record of improving academic performance and family participation.

 

“A responsible budget must adequately fund the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and other agencies that support economic activity and growth. Environmental permits are required for nearly every energy, construction, environmental remediation, or economic development project in Pennsylvania. In the past 15 years, DEP has suffered from substantial funding reductions, and I commend the Governor’s effort to add $2.5 million to help the department increase its staff complement.

“We must also continue to support infrastructure and development investments which create jobs. In northeastern Pennsylvania, the construction of the South Valley Parkway has attracted national developers, like Northpoint Development, and nationally acclaimed businesses like Chewy.com, Patagonia, and Adidas, creating thousands of jobs for the residents of northeastern Pennsylvania.

“I look forward to working with my Democratic and Republican colleagues to pass a responsible budget that supports our citizens and revitalizes our economy.”

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Penn State Hazleton Receives Three-Year $150,000 Funding Grant from Invent Penn State Program

Harrisburg, February 5, 2018 – Penn State University President Eric J. Barron announced today that the Invent Penn State program has awarded Penn State Hazleton a three-year $150,000 grant through its Commonwealth Campus Seed Funding Program.

The funding will inject $50,000 per year for three years into the THInc program (The Hazleton Innovation Collaborative), which is a network of sites and services in southern Luzerne County. Penn State Hazleton plays the crucial role of education provider within the THInc network.

The funding will also be used for the operations of the THInc program’s downtown Hazleton incubator, which will be a new center for entrepreneurship and innovation education within the community. The incubator will be located at 13-15 West Broad Street in the heart of the newly rebranded Arts and Innovation District in downtown Hazleton.

Greater Hazleton’s CAN DO and CAN BE, which is the region’s primary economic development organization, and the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress (DHAP), will collaborate with Penn State University to create a program that offers premier entrepreneurial support services, which will fuel longstanding economic development throughout the region.

“Combining quality education from Penn State University with innovation and entrepreneurship creates a formula that will drive economic growth in the Greater Hazleton region,” said Senator Yudichak (D-Luzerne). “Penn State University’s investment will provide the necessary resources for our important collaborators to provide a workspace for the residents of the Greater Hazleton to start, grow, and expand a business.”

“The investment of Penn State in our downtown urban community is highly laudable and greatly appreciated,” said Representative Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne). “Our economy in northeastern Pennsylvania needs every bit of stimulation and growth available to it. As we know, small business start-ups become job creators. We are hopeful that by supporting entrepreneurs with training, expertise and a location in which to grow, we will be fostering small ideas into the ‘next big thing.'”

Invent Penn State was launched in 2015 by Penn State President Eric Barron and is a Commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation and student career success.

“We are very pleased to have our seed grant application for THInc awarded by the University and we are excited about the potential for downtown Hazleton, the community, and our students,” said Dr. Gary M. Lawler, Chancellor for Penn State University Hazleton Campus. “This is a true collaboration with multiple partners beyond Penn State Hazleton including; the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, CAN DO, CAN BE, and the Society of Hispanic Business Professionals.”

“The Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress has been working closely with Penn State Hazleton for the past three years to help expand their educational programs and establish an innovation hub in downtown Hazleton’s new Arts & Innovation District,” said Krista Schneider, Executive Director for DHAP. “This includes acquiring a building to house a small business incubator, and since then we have raised $450,000 in state grants, tax credits, and private donations from six local banks, to renovate the property for Penn State’s entrepreneurial programs.”

“The THInc program is going to have a tremendous impact on the development of entrepreneurship in Greater Hazleton.” said Jocelyn Sterenchock, CAN DO coordinator of entrepreneurial services. “We look forward to partnering with Penn State Hazleton, the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress and the numerous other community partners involved to use our combined resources to foster a spirit of innovation throughout the area.”

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