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Sen. Yudichak Reports

Northeastern Pennsylvania's Unemployment Numbers Continue to Improve

While our region’s unemployment rate remains the highest in the state – we are starting to see progress. According to state data released at the end of July, our regional unemployment dipped to 9.2 percent in June – marking the fifth consecutive monthly decrease in unemployment.

This welcome news is the result of a lot of hard work and cooperation of many area leaders to grow existing area businesses and also attract new business to NEPA.

Earlier this month, we broke ground in Humboldt Industrial Park in Hazleton for the construction of a new Tech Packaging facility that will create nearly 100 new jobs for in Greater Hazleton and retain nearly 250 jobs in its Berwick plant.

Tech Packaging is a leader in the packaging industry and they work with some of the biggest companies in the world – like Pepsico and Kellogg's-- and we are proud that NEPA will now be part of Tech Packaging's world class reputation.

It was also recently announced that Georgia PrintCo plans to purchase a previously vacant 32,000-square-foot facility in Pittston Township and create 25 new jobs in Luzerne County. The company will invest more than $2 million in renovations, site improvements, new equipment and employee training.

Job creation is my top priority in Harrisburg and we will keep working to grow local businesses and create good-paying, family-sustaining jobs here in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

For media coverage of the Tech Packaging announcement, click here.

Plan to End Property Taxes Gaining Momentum in Harrisburg

State CapitolDemocrats and republicans alike realize that property taxes are growing out of control and we must act now to fix our broken system of school funding. Property taxes are a huge expense for all Pennsylvania homeowners, but they disproportionately affect our senior citizen population.

Bipartisan legislation circulating in the Senate, Senate Bill 76, represents a compromise – a compromise between legislators and a compromise between taxpayers, who would pay taxes solely on their own ability to pay.
Our bill already has 22 co-sponsors and legislators at all ends of the Commonwealth are starting to feel pressure from their constituents about high property tax bills. It is our hope that this upcoming legislative session, we can move Senate Bill 76 to the House of Representatives for a vote.

This plan is not perfect – but it is a step in the right direction and would begin to release the stranglehold that property taxes currently have on family budgets.

Great Crowds at Community Safety Day, Walk of Honor Ceremony

Luzerne County Community Safety DayA few weeks ago, we held our first ever Luzerne County Community Safety Day and also a ceremony honoring fallen corrections officer Eric Williams with a plaque on the Walk of Honor at Luzerne County Community College.

Community Safety Day was a great opportunity for local families to come out and meet our dedicated emergency personnel from all communities in Luzerne County and learn about the work they do each and every day to keep our communities safe. There were also many great activities for kids including a bike derby, facepainting and many other safety demonstrations.

We also took the time on Community Safety Day to honor the life of one of our fallen heroes, Eric Williams. Surrounded by the friends and family of Officer Williams, Senator Lisa Baker and myself spoke about his life of service to the community and to the Commonwealth before unveiling his plaque on the Walk of Honor.

Williams Family at Walk of Honor Ceremony
Sen. Yudichak and Sen. Lisa Baker join the family of fallen corrections officer Eric Williams at the Walk of Honor ceremony.

The Walk of Honor at Luzerne County Community College is a special place for the men and women who serve and protect our communities.  It was inspired my Firefighter Michael Carlo who gave his life trying to save others when terrorist attacked the world trade centers on September 11, 2001.  Michael's plaque was the first on the Walk of Honor and now Eric Williams sacrifices are also recognized with a plaque that reads, “It is not how this Officer died that made him a hero. But how he lived!"

Eric's untimely death has served as a call to action for to all of us who serve in public life; a call to put more resources in the hands of those who give everything to protect our families. We will never forget that Eric Williams paid the ultimate price in the line of duty, and he will always be remembered as a living, breathing hero whose legacy is not his death but the remarkable life he led in service to his family, his community and his country.

For more pictures from Luzerne County Community Safety Day and the Walk of Honor ceremony, visit the gallery on my website. Video from the Walk of Honor Ceremony is also available online.

Sen. Yudichak's Community Corner

Carbon County Fair
Kicked off the 14th Carbon County Fair in Palmerton last week and honored volunteer Claire Heiny for all of her hard work.
Recycling Plant

The new Freeland Township, Foster Township and Jeddo recycling center is a great example of using regional cooperation to secure state funds.









Recently had the pleasure to visit with the wonderful staff and residents at White Haven State Center
Had an opportunity to meet kids from the SHINE program -- a critically-important afterschool program that received $400,000 in this year's state budget.









Local Programs Receive $3.3 Million in Pre-K Funding

Pre-K CountsIt was recently announced that more than $3.3 million in state grants have been awarded to programs in Luzerne and Carbon County. There is nothing more important than a quality education and this funding will ensure that young kids in Luzerne County and Carbon County have every chance to succeed inside and outside of the classroom

The ten state grants awarded to local program providers are part of an $84.5 million investment in pre-kindergarten programs announced earlier today by the administration.

The following state grants were awarded in Luzerne County:

 •Bloom Early Education Center, Inc.: $133,620
 •Child Development Council of Northeastern Pennsylvania: $156,140
 •Greater Nanticoke Area School District: $148,580
 •Hazleton Area School District: $1,084,480
 •Hildebrandt Learning Centers, LLC: $298,680
 •King’s College: $147,343
 •Luzerne County Head Start, Inc.: $990,360
 •Rainbow Hill School: $117,000
In Carbon County, Jim Thorpe Area School District will receive $145,200 and the Pathstone Corporation will receive $369,420.
Pre-K Counts provides half-day and full-day pre-kindergarten services to Pennsylvania children who are: between age three and the beginning age of kindergarten; at risk of facing challenges in school; living in families earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($67,050 for a family of four); and who may be English language learners or have disabilities or developmental delays.

WBREAround the 14th Senatorial District...

*** The Borough of Weatherly will celebrate its 150th anniversary and the celebration will run from Friday, Aug. 16 through Sunday, Aug. 18 at Eurana Park in Weatherly. The three-day celebration will include live music, fireworks, magic shows and great local food. For more information, click here.

*** The 30th Annual Pittston Tomato Festival will be held in downtown Pittston through Sunday, 18th. The four-day event that includes live entertainment, a parade, 5K run, games, rides and even a tomato fight. For more information, visit

*** The Hazleton Area Crime Watch meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 20 at 6:00 p.m. at the Hazleton Integration Project located at 4th and Mead Court in Hazleton. The meeting will be an opportunity to discuss the role of the Crime Watch and many other community safety topics including the new Attorney General’s Mobile Street Crime Unit.

*** The 2013 Plymouth Alive Kielbasa Festival will take place on Friday, August 23 and Saturday, August 24 on Main Street in Plymouth. For more information on the festival, kielbasa competition and the live entertainment schedule, click here.

*** The Boys & Girls Club of NEPA is accepting school supply donations now through September 4 at the Hanover Township Municipal Building. For more information and a list of supplies in need, click here.

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For updates on this and other legislative initiatives, stay in touch with me on the Internet through my website or on Facebook and Twitter.

June 22, 2011 - Senate Democrats to Discuss Marcellus Shale Fee Amendment June 26, 2011 - Senate and House Democrats joined today to urge Republican leaders to “do the right thing” and pass a responsible severance fee on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.