Senator Yudichak Announces Funding for Abandoned Mine Land projects in Carbon County

Jim Thorpe, April 6, 2018 — State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) announced today that one project in Carbon County will receive $3 million in funding for environmental cleanup and revitalization of abandoned mine lands from the Department of Environmental Protection. Senator Yudichak worked with State Representative Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) to secure this funding.

“The environmental leadership exhibited by the communities and organizations throughout northeastern Pennsylvania should be commended for their steadfast approach to revitalizing the region by reclaiming mine scarred lands for community and economic growth,” said Senator John Yudichak.

The Borough of Weatherly received $3 million in funding for acid mine drainage treatment and trout stream restoration as well as construction of the Black Creek Trail. The funding will help with the installation of an active treatment system that will restore eight miles of wild trout stream and help with the construction of a trail between the Borough of Weatherly and the Lehigh Gorge State Park.

“This is great news for Weatherly, because this funding makes both an environmental and economic impact on our community,” said Harold Pudliner, Weatherly Borough Manager. “With the restoration of this stream and the construction of the Black Creek Trail it will make Weatherly a destination for both tourists and new businesses.”

Project funding comes from the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) 2017 AML Pilot Program, which specifically targets abandoned mine cleanup projects that are linked to local community and economic development goals.

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Senator Yudichak and Representatives Mullery and Toohil Announce Over $11 Million Dollars in Funding from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority

Jim Thorpe, January 31, 2018 — State Senator John Yudichak (D – Luzerne/Carbon), State Representative Gerald Mullery (D – Luzerne), and State Representative Tarah Toohil (R – Luzerne) announced today that the Greater Hazleton Joint Sewer Authority (GHJSA) will receive $11.4 million dollars in funding from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST). A PENNVEST grant of $8.986 million was secured for the project, while $2.425 million will come from a low interest loan. The project is expected to create 20 new construction jobs in the region.

The $11.4 million dollars in funding will help the GHJSA complete its Sewage Sludge Incinerator Project. The purpose of the project is to provide a long-term disposal method for the authority’s sewage sludge, which is a by-product of wastewater treatment. The incinerator will provide a greater than 90 percent reduction of waste material currently being sent to landfills for disposal.

“With the state’s investment, the Greater Hazleton Joint Sewer Authority will now be able to make the necessary infrastructure improvements to its plant,” said Senator Yudichak. “The continued support of infrastructure projects like this one is important to advancing economic development in our region and delivering quality services to our residents.”

It is expected that several businesses will be able to expand their operations and hire additional employees. A total of over 300 jobs will be created and retained through this project with over $28 million invested locally.

“This vital state funding will help to create a more efficient disposal method for the Greater Hazleton Joint Sewer Authority’s sewage sludge, which is key to the wastewater treatment process” said Representative Mullery. “The funding will also aid the GHJSA in completing this project, while minimizing the financial impact on its customers.”

“We are extremely pleased that the Sewer Authority has been awarded these monies which will allow them to continue much needed improvements and forward-thinking changes,” said Representative Toohil. “The Sewer Authority is making advancements that are environmentally friendly and help reduce the high amount of waste material that currently needs to be disposed of in a more costly manner to landfills.”

“This funding from PENNVEST will help us to complete this crucial project and allows us to re-work the projections on a pending rate increase resulting in a lower increase for our 19,500 customers,” said Christopher Carsia, GHJSA Director of Operations. “On behalf of our Board of Directors, I personally want to thank our local legislators for helping us to secure this funding.”

PENNVEST was founded on March 1, 1988 and services the communities and citizens of Pennsylvania by funding sewer, storm water and drinking water projects.

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Senator Yudichak Announces Grant for Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation

NANTICOKE, September 13, 2017 − Senator John T. Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) announced today that the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR) has received a $390,000 federal grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

With the funding, EPCAMR will continue to be able to provide support to watershed groups and municipalities in their pursuit of protecting watersheds impacted by abandoned mine drainage (AMD) in Northeastern Pennsylvania. This includes being able to do a monthly water quality assessment of discharges in the Northern Anthracite Coal Field to plan for AMD remediation and quarterly borehole monitoring with a plan for abatement of AMD including high and low precipitation events.

“For over twenty years, EPCAMR has led reclamation efforts of abandoned mine lands as well as restored and remediated watersheds impacted by abandoned mine drainage in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The grant allows EPCAMR to continue to revitalize Northeastern Pennsylvania by removing the environmental scars left behind by the coal industry,” said Senator Yudichak. “

“Through education and engagement, EPCAMR can advance environmental justice and set the stage for commercial and residential development to take root in communities across the region,” said Robert Hughes, Executive Director of EPCAMR. “We appreciate the support of DEP, along with Senator Yudichak and our congressional delegation in helping EPCAMR to carry on with our vital initiatives and support our coalfield partners throughout Pennsylvania.”

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Yudichak Announces Pre-K Counts Grant for Lehighton Area School District

HARRISBURG, August 3, 2017 – Senator John T. Yudichak (Luzerne/Carbon) announced today that the Lehighton Area School District was awarded a $170,000 Pre-Kindergarten (“Pre-K”) Counts grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to support Pre-K education.

“The implementation of a Pre-K program in the Lehighton Area School District will give children a head start on their education. Research has shown that having access to quality Pre-K programs can save schools money in the long term, yet many children still lack access to these programs. I’m pleased the Lehighton Area School District will be able to provide a quality Pre-K program that will give these children a strong foundation for the future,” said Senator John Yudichak.

“With this funding we’re going to be able to educate 40 three and four-year-old students in our district. Forty more young students will now have the opportunity to learn and grow, which is beyond great,” said Lehighton Area School District Superintendent Jonathan Cleaver. “We’ll have 20 kids in the morning and 20 kids in the afternoon, with each session going for two and a half hours. It’s just a great opportunity for them and us. The program will help the students better transition to kindergarten and it will also help us get a better understanding of the students themselves and how to best serve them.”

Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, is bringing quality Pre-K education to nearly 19,000 three and four-year-old children across the Commonwealth. For more information on Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, visit www.education.pa.gov.

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Sen. Yudichak Credits Penn State for Wilkes-Barre Investment

Harrisburg, June 20, 2016 – State Sen. John Yudichak released the following statement after Penn State University announced that they will double the number of the entrepreneurship centers across the state under the University’s “Invent Penn State” grant program:

“The $50,000 ‘Invent Penn State’ grant awarded to our Wilkes-Barre T.H.I.N.K. Center has helped fuel Wilkes-Barre’s ongoing economic resurgence. I appreciate the University’s interest and willingness to invest its grant funds and other resources into unique regional collaborations that link classrooms to boardrooms.

By leveraging cutting edge academic planning with our region’s business and workforce strengths, I am confident Wilkes-Barre will emerge stronger, more diversified and poised for a brighter economic future.

I am excited by Penn State University’s strategic investment in our 21st century economy as it comes at a critical time in our economic future and it will pay dividends for years to come.”

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SHINE of Luzerne County Secures Major Federal Grant

Wilkes-Barre, January 6, 2016 − Congressman Lou Barletta (R-11th), state Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon), and Wilkes University President Patrick Leahy have announced a major federal grant for the SHINE (Schools and Homes in Education) of Luzerne County after-school program. The grant totals nearly $400,000 for each of the next three years.

“This is tremendous news for SHINE of Luzerne County,” said Congressman Barletta. “As a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, I was proud to be able to step in to save and restore this federal funding at the end of last year, because it touches so many young lives and gives kids a better chance at bright futures. Sen. Yudichak and I look forward to many more years of SHINE, working through our great partner Wilkes University, and many more success stories among the children of Luzerne County.”

“From the beginning of our efforts to bring SHINE to Luzerne County we have worked to provide the necessary resources for our children and our communities to succeed, “ said Senator Yudichak. “This funding represents a major step forward for SHINE and recognition that this program will make a difference in our future by improving the lives of our children.”

“Time and again, Congressman Barletta and Sen. Yudichak have shown their dedication to education in Luzerne County. Their efforts to fund the SHINE program will allow Wilkes University to continue to provide educational enrichment opportunities to the children of our region,” said Dr. Patrick Leahy, president of Wilkes University

“This funding will help us to increase the opportunities for success for our children as we work through our first three years of SHINE of Luzerne County,” said Mary Kolessar, Director of the program. “We thank Congressman Barletta and Senator Yudichak for their tireless efforts on behalf of SHINE.”

The federal funding is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) via the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Grant program. The SHINE grant is one of fifty new 21st CCLC grant awards totaling $16.1 million for 2015-18 in Pennsylvania.

The 21st CCLC program is designed to provide federal funding for the establishment of community learning centers that provide academic, artistic and cultural enrichment opportunities for children. Funds are intended to provide students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools with additional services to meet state and local standards in core academic subjects; to offer students a broad array of activities that can complement their regular academic programs, and to offer literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.

SHINE of Luzerne County began last fall in the Wilkes-Barre Area, Greater Nanticoke Area and Wyoming Valley West school districts and will expand to Hazleton later this year. 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.