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Sen. Yudichak Reports

THONTHON Raises Over $13 Million To Fight Pediatric Cancer

This weekend was Penn State University’s annual 46-hour Penn State IFC/​Panhellenic Dance Marathon – where 708 dancers and thousands of supporters pack the Bryce Jordan Center to raise funds and awareness in the fight against pediatric cancer.

THON kicked off Friday at 6 p.m. and concluded Sunday at 4 p.m. when it was revealed that the largest student-run philanthropy raised $13,026,653 this year! Since 1977, Penn State has now raised more than $127 million benefiting the Four Diamonds Fund based out of Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

My staff and I wanted to do something this year to help support THON and do our part to raise money for treatment costs for pediatric cancer patients and research that will hopefully one day lead to a cure. We all pitched in from our own pockets and agreed to donate $1 for every new Facebook friend and Twitter follower we received throughout THON weekend.

Thanks to all of our current followers and friends sharing our posts about our fundraising effort to support THON over the weekend, we were able to reach our goal and donated $708 -- $1 for each of the 708 dancers that were on their feet for 46 straight hours this weekend raising funds for THON.

Thank you to all of our current followers and to our new followers for your support!

Discussing Marcellus Shale Severance Tax with Gov. Wolf at Coughlin High School
Gov. Wolf and Sen. Yudichak

I recently joined Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on a tour of James M. Coughlin High School in Wilkes-Barre to discuss what a severance tax on Marcellus shale drilling could potentially mean for our school districts, our economy and our environmental protection efforts.

Gov. Wolf recently revealed the details of his education reinvestment plan that features a reasonable severance tax on natural gas extraction. Since the day Marcellus shale drilling began in Pennsylvania, I have been an advocate for a responsible severance tax on natural gas production.

I have introduced legislation and have fought for a fair and responsible 5% severance tax.  I am very encouraged with Governor Wolf's announcement that he is proposing a severance tax plan that will invest in education, the environment and sustainable economic development for all of Pennsylvania.

This is an important start to the conversation around a comprehensive energy policy for Pennsylvania. Combining the benefits of our current impact fee with the revenue that will be generated through a five percent severance tax will be good for Pennsylvania and good for our schools.

For more coverage of our visit to Coughlin High School, click here.

Luzerne County SHINE Afterschool Program Coming to Local School Districts in Fall

Sen. Yudichak remarks at SHINE news conference
Sen. Yudichak discusses the Luzerne County SHINE afterschool program at State Street Elementary School in Larksville..

We all understand that afterschool programming is an essential tool to boost academic achievement, improve school attendance and engage parents in their child's education; but it is a tool Luzerne School Districts do not presently have at their disposal. Luzerne County SHINE is the resource that can make a difference in outcomes of our schools and in the lives of our children.

This week, we will hold the first ever Luzerne County SHINE Advisory Board meeting to decide what our next steps are to implementing SHINE for our Luzerne County children.

A few weeks ago, I joined Congressman Lou Barletta, Wilkes University president Patrick Leahy and dozens of educators, business leaders and students at State Street Elementary School in the Wyoming Valley West School District to announce the establishment of the SHINE afterschool program in Luzerne County. The Schools and Homes in Education (SHINE) program is a successful, award winning afterschool program that has worked in Carbon and Schuylkill County school districts for the past decade.

Luzerne County SHINE will be phased in over a three year period beginning in Fall 2015. The program will reach 500 students in the first year; 800 students in the second year; and over 1,000 students in the third year of operation. The program, geared to grades K-8, focuses on a project-based STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) curriculum.  Relying heavily on a STEAM core, SHINE links schools to homes to help children build a stronger academic and social foundation. 

Wilkes University will serve as the educational host for Luzerne County SHINE. The College of Education at Wilkes University will provide critical administrative as well as research support to position Luzerne County SHINE as an evidence based, education driven afterschool program.

In the first year, Luzerne County SHINE projects that start-up costs will be roughly $75,000; annual operating costs will range from $1 million to $1.7 million depending on the number of students involved in the program.  The majority of funding for afterschool programming comes from a combination of federal, state and private funding sources.

Sen. Yudichak's Community Corner

WBRE Newsmakers SHINE
I recently joined Wilkes University president Pat Leahy to discuss the Luzerne County SHINE program on WBRE Newsmakers
Sam Lesante Show
I sat down with the Sam Lesante show to discuss working with Gov. Wolf, a Marcellus shale severance tax and pensions.
Pittston AMVETS

The Honor Guard of the Greater Pittston AMVETS Post 189 presented the colors at the inauguration of Gov. Tom Wolf

Swearing In Day

I was proud to be sworn in for my second term in the Senate with the support of my Dad and my brother-in-law/Newport Twp commissioner Jack Zyla

Expo
Clyde Peters Citation
Presented a Senate citation to Vietnam veteran Clyde Peters of Plymouth for his great work to help our area veterans
Friends of Frank
Recently presented a Senate citation to Frank Pasquini for his 40 years of dedication to our community and charitable organizations.
   

Moon Lake Park
Video of Sen. Yudichak's remarks at a recent news conference discussing plan for Luzerne County to transfer ownership of Moon Lake Park in Plymouth Township to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Transfer of Moon Lake Park Ownership

I recently joined a host of local and state officials at the Luzerne County Courthouse to announce plans to transfer the ownership of Moon Lake Park to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

As a lifelong resident of Plymouth Township, I grew up at Moon Lake Park. The park was an incredible county asset that brought great joy to countless families as an affordable, accessible recreational destination. Working with Sen. Lisa Baker, DCNR Secretary Ellen Ferretti and our county partners, we have forged a solid game plan to transfer Moon Lake Park, adjacent lands and the Seven Tubs Nature Area from county ownership to state ownership to ensure the preservation of our park.

In order to complete the transfer, I will introduce legislation in the coming weeks to release the park from the restrictions of the state’s Project 70 Land Acquisition and Borrowing Act. The Plymouth Township park was purchased by Luzerne County in 1968, the same year federal and state funds had become available through Project 70.

Under DCNR management, Moon Lake Park will benefit from a state investment of more than one million dollars to build new trailheads, additional trails, and a new boat ramp. The funding will also be used to make other improvements that will complete the historic restoration of Moon Lake Park.

The families and the children of Luzerne County deserve their own special place to recreate and enjoy the great outdoors of NEPA; and with state ownership, Moon Lake Park will be that special place for generations to come.

New District Office Now Open in West Pittston

Earlier this month, I opened a new district office in the Insalaco’s Shopping Center at 801 Wyoming Avenue in West Pittston. The new West Pittston office replaced my district office previously located at 1701 Wyoming Avenue in Exeter. My West Pittston office is located right next door to Rite Aid in Suite 180.

Hours for the new location will remain 8:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. from Monday through Friday. The West Pittston office can be reached by phone at 570-883-4690.

My other Luzerne County district office is located at 164 South Market Street in Nanticoke and can be reached at 570-740-2434. I also have a district office located at 1201 North Street in Jim Thorpe that can be reached at 570-325-3274.

Rebate Outreach EventProperty Tax/Rent Rebate Outreach Schedule

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue is currently accepting applications for the 2014 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. If you received a rebate last year, you should receive an application in the mail. If you have not received an application, or did not apply last year and wish to apply this year, the applications can be obtained from any of my district offices and my staff would be happy to assist you in preparing your application

Last year, my staff helped Luzerne and Carbon County senior citizens apply over $500,000 in property tax and rent 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 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.

Again this year, my district office staff will be visiting many areas of the district in March to help seniors apply for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. My staff will assist seniors with their applications from 9 a.m. to noon on the following dates:

  • Monday, March 2 at Hazleton Senior Center, 24 E. Broad St., Hazleton Property Tax/Rent Rebate
  • Tuesday, March 3 at Lee Park Senior Center, 140 Lee Park Ave., Wilkes-Barre
  • Wednesday, March 4 at Wilkes-Barre City Heights, 51 N. Sherman St., Wilkes-Barre
  • Thursday, March 5 at Garden Village Apartments, 221 Fremont St., West Pittston
  • Monday, March 9 at Rose Tucker Senior Center, 128 W. Washington St., Nanticoke
  • Tuesday, March 10 at Charles T. Adams Senior Center, 5 E. Market St., Wilkes-Barre
  • Wednesday, March 11 at Plains Manor, 500 Main St., Plains
  • Thursday, March 12 at Park Avenue Towers, 300 Park Ave., Wilkes-Barre
  • Wednesday, March 18 at Dan Flood Apts/Plymouth Senior Center, 160 E. Main St., Plymouth
  • Thursday, March 19 at Temple Apartments, 5 Heisz St., Edwardsville
  • Tuesday, March 24 at Swoyersville Apartments, 184 Hemlock St., Swoyersville
  • Wednesday, March 25 at Luzerne Towers, 600 Bennett St., Luzerne
  • Thursday, March 26 at Infantino Towers, 500 Kennedy Blvd., Pittston

Yudichak said that 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 to the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is June 30.

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Offices to Serve You

DISTRICT OFFICE
164 South Market Street
Nanticoke, PA 18634
Phone: (570) 740-2434
Fax: (570) 740-2438
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

DISTRICT OFFICE
1201 North Street | Suite 3
Jim Thorpe, PA 18229
Phone: (570) 325-3274
Fax: (570) 325-3780
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

DISTRICT OFFICE
801 Wyoming Avenue, Suite 180
West Pittston, PA 18643
Phone: (570) 883-4690
Fax: (570) 883-4694
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

HARRISBURG OFFICE
Senate Box 203014
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3014
Phone: (717) 787-7105
Fax: (717) 783-4141
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.