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Sen. Yudichak Reports

Wilkes, Kings Receive $6 Million in State Grants to Upgrade Facilities, Programs

Wilkes, Kings Grant AnnouncementKings College and Wilkes University both enjoy exceptional national reputations but their collective impact is felt greatest right here in Luzerne County – their immeasurable impact is felt in the lives of individual students who prosper at these fine institutions and in the vitality King’s and Wilkes inject into our regional economy.

I was proud to stand with the Governor last week to announce that King’s College and Wilkes University will each receive $3 million in state Economic Growth Initiative grants to enhance their facilities and improve the educational experience at their respective institutions.

King’s College will use the funding to continue their renovation of the Ramada Hotel on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre which houses their physicians’ assistant, athletic training and exercise science programs. This facility is already filled with students aspiring to become the professionals of NEPA’s number one industry – the health care industry.

At Wilkes University, a world-class engineering program will be dramatically expanded to improve laboratories in nanotechnology and bio-medical engineering giving Wilkes students the best classroom and practical experience in the field. Wilkes will use the funds to meet the increasing industry demands and improve their capabilities in nanotechnology and bio-medical engineering by creating three new labs for research and development. This research will attract corporate partners looking for Wilkes engineers to drive greater business development and job growth throughout NEPA.

LSA Grants Fund Job Creation, Economic Development, Public Safety Projects

Capitol complexI recently announced that 27 Luzerne County projects in the 14th Senatorial District received over $8 million in state grants through the Luzerne County Local Share Account (LSA). The millions of dollars directed through the Luzerne County LSA annually help set the stage for critical investments in our regional economy and in the core infrastructure of our local communities.

Investing in job creation, infrastructure projects, public safety and the commercial revitalization of our region’s core communities has a tremendous return on investment in terms of fostering regional cooperation and leveraging regional assets to enhance the quality of life in northeastern Pennsylvania.

The West Side Council of Governments (COG) received the largest of the 27 grants -- $800,000 for the purchase of specialized public safety and public works equipment that will be shared by the twelve member municipalities. When I helped organize the West Side COG, I knew we would see a substantial impact in terms of improved services – but the continued successes and grant funding achieved through the COG has been a real game-changer for these 12 municipalities. This grant is more proof for surrounding municipalities that working cooperatively is the best and most cost effective way to deliver services to our residents.

The Luzerne County Local Share Account, created by the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act of 2004, generates $12 million for Luzerne County municipalities annually to fund projects that foster economic development, promote community revitalization and enhance public safety.

For a complete list of the projects in the 14th Senatorial District that received LSA grants, click here.

Save the Date: Luzerne County Senior Expo is October 16 in KingstonSenior Fair Poster

Mark your calendars -- the 2014 Luzerne County Senior Expo is scheduled for Thursday, October 16 at the Kingston Armory!

Many times seniors are unaware of the many great programs and services available to them locally and the yearly Luzerne County Senior Citizens Expo that I host with Senator Lisa Baker certainly helps point many local senior citizens in the right direction.

This great event continues to grow and this year we have over 75 different organizations participating to help local senior citizens to get information on the services and programs that are available to them. Carbon County Senior Expo

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will also feature free health screenings, free refreshments and great door prizes!

I recently hosted a similar Carbon County Senior Citizens Expo in Jim Thorpe with state Sen. David Argall and state Rep. Doyle Heffley. Our Carbon County was a huge success and hundreds of seniors turned out to meet with more than forty vendors representing local, county and state agencies that could help our senior citizens.

To view a gallery of pictures from my Carbon County Senior Citizens Expo, click here.

Sen. Yudichak's Community Corner

Broad Street Corridor Ribbon Cutting
Proud to take part in the ribbon cutting ceremony
for the Broad St. Corridor project in downtown Hazleton!
Click here for more pictures from the event.
Carbon County September 11 Memorial
I was honored to serve as a guest speaker at two
seperate September 11 memorial events.
Click here for pictures from both events.
Penn State
Had a great time with my family at the Penn State homecomimg game on Saturday!
Hazleton Chamber Breakfast
It is always a great time discussing state and local issues at the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce Red Carpet Breakfast!
Wilkes Environmental Committee Hearing
Recently hosted the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy at Wilkes University to discuss the EPA Clean Power Plan. Read more
Ice Bucket Challenge
I accepted the #ALSIceBucketChallenge from Congressman Lou Barletta and Sen. Lisa Baker and challenged my friends in labor!
ALS Bucket Challenge


Luzerne County Projects Receive $2.3 Million in Multimodal Program Grants

ConstructionI also recently announced that three Luzerne County projects in the 14th Senatorial District received over $2.3 million in state grants through the state’s Multimodal Transportation Fund Program.

The multimodal funding program was designed to fund job creation and economic development projects in our communities and the state investment in these three particular projects will certainly pay dividends for years to come.

The largest of the three local grants was a $1 million award for the Greater Hazleton Community Area New Development Organization to fund a traffic impact mitigation project in Hazle Township. The project will extend White Birch Road to the new State Route 424 extension project currently being completed by PennDOT. The project will also provide a second access point to Interstate 81.

This major investment in job creation will help alleviate a traffic issue that has impeded the development of about 1,000 acres in Humboldt Industrial Park. By creating better access to the park, there is real potential to create up to 7,000 new direct jobs and generate nearly $60 million in additional state and local tax revenues.

The city of Pittston will receive a $704,000 grant to complete the third phase of their streetscape project on Main Street in the downtown business district. The improvements include ADA compliant sidewalks, crosswalks and lighting improvements to make pedestrian and vehicle travel safer.

Lastly, Wilkes University will receive a $600,000 in state funding to update their infrastructure and make numerous pedestrian and streetscape safety improvements between South Main Street and Franklin Street and from South Franklin Street to the Henry Student Center. The streetscape improvements are another significant investment into the Wilkes South Main Street Gateway Project. Earlier this year, Wilkes announced a $3 million renovation project that relocated the Jay S. Sidhu School of Business and Leadership into the former Bartikowsky Jewelers building.

Wilkes University has made unbelievable strides to update and improve the South Main area of campus. This project is about public safety and student safety first — but it will also open the door to private investment and economic development in the area.

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Deadline Extended to December 31

Property Tax/Rent RebateThe Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has extended the deadline for the 2013 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program until December 31. If you have not yet applied and believe you are eligible, stop into any one of my district offices today and my staff would be happy to assist you in preparing your application.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and over; widows and widowers age 50 and over; and people with disabilities age 18 and over. 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.

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