Senator Yudichak Announces Over $1.3 million in Multimodal Transportation Funds for the 14th Senatorial District in Luzerne County

Harrisburg, November 12, 2019 – Senator John Yudichak (D – Luzerne/Carbon) announced today that six projects in the 14th Senatorial District in Luzerne County received over $1.3 million in state funding from the Multimodal Transportation Fund.

“As new corporations and homegrown companies continue to create jobs in Luzerne County, it is vitally important that we continue to support our communities as they make infrastructure investments that will keep our residents safe,” said Senator John Yudichak. “All of the projects funded today are critical to facilitating and sustaining economic development and job growth in the region.”

Valley Crest Real Estate, LP will receive $300,000 for the Kidder Street/PA 309/Mundy Street Area Improvement project.

“We continue to make necessary infrastructure upgrades to State Route 309 near Mundy and Kidder Street that will allow safer and more efficient access through the corridor.  The project will also create better access to the Wilkes-Barre VA Hospital and unlock the economic development opportunities at the former Valley Crest Nursing home,” said Robert Tamburro of Valley Crest Real Estate, LP. “We appreciate the assistance from Senator Yudichak and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for helping us secure additional funding for this important project.”

The City of Nanticoke will receive $250,000 for the Kosciuszko and Main Street Reconstruction and Sidewalk project. The project will create improved access to the new Hanover 9 Industrial Park.

“The city of Nanticoke is experiencing unprecedented economic growth and job growth, including Hanover 9 which has brought Spreetail and True Value to our region,” said Donna Wall, city manager. “The funding received today will help us manage that growth and keep residents and visitors safe as they traverse through the city.”

Other projects receiving funding in the 14th Senatorial District in Luzerne County are:

  • The Greater Wilkes-Barre Industrial Fund Inc – $500,000 for the Multimodal Transportation Improvement project.
  • Plymouth Borough – $150,000 for the Plymouth Borough Main Street Improvement project.
  • Luzerne County, on behalf of NorthPoint Development, LLC – $100,000 for the New Hanover Street and New Commerce Boulevard Intersection Improvement project.
  • Hanover Township – $50,000 for the Safe Route for School and Travel project.

Representatives Mullery, Pashinski and Carroll assisted Senator Yudichak with securing funding for the 14th Senatorial District projects.

Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Multimodal Transportation Funds may be used for the development, rehabilitation and enhancement of transportation assets to existing communities, streetscape, lighting, sidewalk enhancement, pedestrian safety, connectivity of transportation assets and transit-oriented development.

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Senator John Yudichak Announces $325,000 for 14th Senatorial District Projects in Luzerne County

Harrisburg, September 17, 2019 – Senator John Yudichak (D – Luzerne/Carbon) announced today that three projects in the 14th Senatorial District in Luzerne County will receive $325,000 from the Commonwealth Financing Authority under the Act 13 program.

“Pennsylvania’s Act 13 investment in important infrastructure projects like the Railroad Street Flood Mitigation Project in Newport Township and closing the gaps on the Delaware and Lehigh Trail will help to sustain and promote continued economic growth in Luzerne County,” said Senator John Yudichak.

Newport Township will receive $160,000 for their Railroad Street Flood Mitigation Project. The project will eliminate dangers and flooding associated with a potential future sidewalk and culvert collapse on Railroad Street. Representative Mullery assisted with securing funding for the Railroad Street Flood Mitigation Project.

“On behalf of the commissioners and residents of Newport Township, I would like to express our sincere gratitude for the work done by Senator Yudichak to procure funding of this critical piece of infrastructure improvement,” said Peter Wanchisen, Newport Township Manager. “Railroad Street will be made safer and more eye appealing when the work is completed. The project will have a very positive impact on the quality of life for the residents of Newport Township.”

The North Branch Land Trust will receive $115,000 to construct six miles of the Delaware & Lehigh Trail beginning in Oliver Mills, Laurel Run Borough to Giants Despair in Wilkes-Barre Township. The Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor is a 165-mile trail that begins in Bristol Borough in Bucks County and ends in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County.

“Building the D&L Trail is a group effort,” said Elissa Garofalo, Executive Director, Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor. “The Act 13 grant funding awarded to North Branch Land Trust demonstrates the key role the Commonwealth plays in connecting this universally accessible pathway for residents and visitors alike.”

The Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority will receive $50,000 for the Spring Run Stream Restoration Project. Funding will be utilized for both the design and construction of the streambank restoration and riparian buffer plantings. The project is being implemented to reduce erosion, sedimentation and nutrients in Spring Run and Solomon Creek. This project will also provide a pollution reduction credit toward WVSA’s regional stormwater management program that targets the overall reduction of sediment and nutrients from the Susquehanna River that leads into the Chesapeake Bay.

Senator Yudichak has worked with the entire Northeast Legislative delegation to help reduce the costs of WVSA’s regional stormwater management program.

The Marcellus Legacy Fund was created by Act 13 of 2012 to provide for the distribution of unconventional gas well impact fees to counties, municipalities, and commonwealth agencies.

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Senator Yudichak Announces PCCD Grants in Luzerne County

Harrisburg, September 13, 2019:  State Senator John Yudichak (D – Luzerne/Carbon) announced today that the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) has awarded state grant funding for three projects in Luzerne County.

Luzerne County will receive $249,338 for their Gun Violence Reduction Initiative. The funding will support the implementation of the Gun Violence Reduction Task Force and regular Trigger Lock Operations, which will use hot spot policing strategies focused on small geographic areas where crime is concentrated.  

“As communities across northeastern Pennsylvania continue to be impacted by gun violence, we must invest in tools that will help them keep residents safe,” said Senator John Yudichak. “Through the implementation of a Gun Violence Reduction Task Force, Luzerne County will have more resources available to help communities address the threat of gun violence.”

“Our number one priority in Luzerne County is keeping our communities safe. We are extremely grateful to Governor Wolf and the PCCD for this funding and to Senator Yudichak and the entire northeast legislative delegation for supporting these important initiatives,” said Dave Pedri, Luzerne County Manager.

Luzerne County also received $111,878 for the expansion of child abuse services. Additionally, the Domestic Violence Service Center in Luzerne County received $97,050 for domestic violence program services. 

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Senator Yudichak Testimony on White Haven Center Closure

Nanticoke,PA September 12, 2019 − State Senator John Yudichak provided the following written testimony at the Department of Human Services public hearing tonight on the planned proposed closure of White Haven Center:

Good evening.  I stand with the families of White Haven tonight to offer my vigorous opposition to the proposed closure of White Haven Center.  

The proposal to close White Haven Center is wrong from a budgetary standpoint, a policy perspective, and, most of all, it is the wrong way to treat people with intellectual disabilities, the families who love them, and the dedicated professionals who care for them. 

I can offer few words more passionate than those offered tonight by the families of White Haven Center.  I am proud of these families, and I’m honored to lend my voice to their cause.  

I hope our voices here tonight ring out across Pennsylvania and spark a movement — a movement to save White Haven Center and a movement to protect some of the most vulnerable members of our society from the misguided political trends that are driving the Department of Human Services’ decision to close White Haven Center.  

I have a long history with White Haven Center. My mother, Sally Yudichak, worked at the Center for many years. She came to White Haven Center after losing her job when Nanticoke State Hospital was closed.  I have great empathy for the workers who now will have to go through the similar painful experience of being uprooted from the job they love. 

Understand and absorb that statement, these workers love their job.  It is among the toughest jobs you can find in the care industry, but they love it —because they love the people who call White Haven Center their home. 

For the White Haven Center families, there is great comfort in knowing their loved ones are being treated with the utmost respect and care from a loving, dedicated staff. 

Instead of fostering that kind of respect, care, and compassion, DHS is dramatically and dangerously disrupting the lives of those who live at White Haven Center. 

In addition to the personal impact, closing White Haven Center will also have dramatic negative impact on the community of White Haven. 

If the Center were to close, the Greater White Haven Chamber of Commerce estimates that business losses will range from 20 to 65 percent — meaning more Luzerne County families will be out of a job. 

Adding insult to injury, it was recently announced that the Department of Corrections is proposing to close SCI Retreat in Luzerne County. 

A closure of both White Haven Center and SCI Retreat will result in the loss of 840 quality jobs and deliver an annual economic loss of $105.3 million to our regional economy. 

Luzerne County has come so far in the last 20 years – we have the lowest unemployment rate in 43 years, and we have created thousands of private sector jobs in the I-81 corridor from Hazleton to Pittston. Even with that success; however, the WB/Scranton Metropolitan Area still has the highest rate of unemployment anywhere in Pennsylvania. 

The closure of White Haven Center and the closure of SCI Retreat could halt all of our economic progress, drive up unemployment, and slip our region into a recession. 

The Department of Human Services should reconsider its decision to close White Haven Center and reflect on the staggering negative impact this decision will have on individuals with intellectual disabilities, their caring families, the professional employees who care for them, and the economy of Luzerne County. 

I implore you to ignore the capricious political trends of Harrisburg and keep White Haven Center open for the families that call it home.

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Yudichak Announces Funding for Recycling Programs in the 14th District

Nanticoke, October 11, 2018 – State Senator John Yudichak (D – Luzerne/Carbon) announced today, just over $1 million in Recycling Program Development and Implementation Grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for four municipalities in the 14th District in Luzerne County.

The grants reimburse counties and municipalities 90 percent of eligible recycling program development and implementation expenses.

“As Minority Chairman of the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, I applaud both the Administration’s and Secretary McDonnell’s investments in our local and county recycling programs. Investing in recycling programs incentivize our municipalities that are struggling financially to pursue these vital programs, which protect our environment,” said Senator Yudichak.

The following municipalities received Recycling Program Development and Implementation Grants:

  • Wilkes Barre City – $350,000
  • Plains Township – $287,093
  • Pittston City – $223,340
  • Hanover Township – $159,791

Examples of eligible projects include operating leaf compost facilities; developing web-based programs on recycling for consumers; expanding recycling processing facilities; installing data collection systems on recycling vehicles; continuing and creating curbside recycling programs; and developing educational materials to encourage residents to properly recycle.

Senator Yudichak worked with State Representatives Gerald Mullery (D – Luzerne), Eddie Day Pashinski (D – Luzerne) and Mike Carroll (D – Luzerne/Lackawanna) to secure this important funding.

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Over $3.5 Million in Multimodal Transportation Funds Grants Awarded for Two Luzerne County Projects

Nanticoke, October 2, 2018 – It was announced today that two Luzerne County projects received over $3.5 million in funding from the Multimodal Transportation Fund (MTF).

Valley Crest Real Estate, LP received $3 million in funding to alleviate traffic congestion in the area of the former Valley Crest Nursing and Rehabilitation facility, located off business Route 309 in Plains Township. Valley Crest Real Estate, LP is working to complete the Valley Crest Commons Project, which is the redevelopment of the Valley Crest Nursing and Rehabilitation facility. The property would be repurposed to serve as a mixed-use facility for significant retail and entertainment use, in addition to hotel accommodations. The project will create approximately 900 jobs.

In order to successfully complete the project, funding was needed for traffic improvements in the immediate areas surrounding the Wyoming Valley Mall, Wilkes-Barre VA Hospital and Mohegan Sun Convention Center, which will alleviate congestion and provide better access to the proposed Valley Commons Project.

“The Valley Crest Commons Project will transform idle land, create hundreds of new jobs, and invest in critical infrastructure upgrades to the Route 315 corridor that will greatly benefit economic development in Plains Township, Wilkes-Barre, Wilkes-Barre Township, and the greater Wyoming Valley,” said State Senator John Yudichak (D – Luzerne/Carbon)

“A critical part of completing this important project is easing the traffic congestion surrounding the Valley Crest property. The funding announced today not only improves the infrastructure in the area, but also creates opportunities for potential economic growth and development,” said State Senator Lisa Baker (R – Luzerne/Pike/Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming).

“We are very pleased that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recognizes that State Route 309 near Mundy and Kidder Streets is in serious need of modernization and expansion,” said Robert Tamburro, Trustee, General Partner for TFP Limited Real Estate and Development Management. “The proposed highway upgrades will provide adequate and safer ingress/egress to and from the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center and Timber Ridge Health Care Center, better traffic flow through Mundy and Kidder Streets and significant economic expansion opportunities at the Former Valley Crest Nursing Home property.”

Along with the funding for Valley Crest Real Estate, LP, Luzerne County was awarded $533,312 for necessary road improvements on North and South Beisels Road, which will include the addition of a bike lane.

The Multimodal Transportation Fund provides grants to encourage economic development and ensure that a safe and reliable system of transportation is available to the residents of the commonwealth.

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Senator Yudichak Highlights Importance of DCNR Grants for Luzerne County

 Nanticoke, December 6, 2017 — Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) announced today that over $1.3 million in grant funding from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has been awarded in Luzerne County: 

  • Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Inc. has received $84,000 for the design for the development of approximately 4.7 miles of the D&L Trail in Laurel Run Borough, Fairview Township, and Hanover Township in Luzerne County from the Mountain Top Trailhead in Fairview Township to East Northampton Street in Laurel Run Borough.
  • Greater Hazleton Area Civic Partnership has received $500,000 for the development of the Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails in Foster Township. Work will include the construction of approximately 3.5 miles of trail from the Foster and Hazle townships line to Eckley Back Road and a bridge; ADA access, landscaping, project sign and other related site improvements.
  • Hazleton City has received a grant in the amount of $200,000 for further development of Center City Park, Hazleton City. Work will include construction of a pedestrian plaza, parking area and pedestrian walkway; installation of lighting and signage; ADA access; landscaping, project sign and other related site improvements.

Hazleton City will also receive a grant in the amount of $47,500 which will go toward preparing a comprehensive Recreation, Park and Open Space Plan for Hazleton City.

  • North Branch Land Trust will receive a $500,416 payment toward the acquisition of approximately 389 acres in Bear Creek Township, Luzerne County for an addition to the Pinchot State Forest and open space protection.

“Luzerne County is blessed with unique opportunities for residents and tourists to enjoy the great outdoors — from a growing trail system to the tranquility of the Pinchot State Forest. The Community Conservation Partnerships Program is a vital resource for our communities as they work tirelessly to improve and expand recreational amenities for residents and visitors to Luzerne County,” added State Senator John Yudichak.

 

 

 

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Senator Yudichak Announces Education Grants in Luzerne County

NANTICOKE, August 4, 2017 – Senator John T. Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) announced today that the Pennsylvania Department of Education (“DOE”) awarded a series of education grants in Luzerne County including a $306,000 Pre-K Counts grant to the Luzerne Intermediate Unit (“LIU”) as well as a $119,000 Pre-K Counts grant to Luzerne County Head Start.

“It is never too early for a child to begin learning and these Pre-K Counts grants will start many children on a successful path towards lifelong learning,” said Senator Yudichak. “Research shows that early education programs save school districts money in the long run and yield tremendous dividends for the children.” Senator Yudichak noted that although pre-K programs have been unparralled successes, many children still lack access to these programs because of insufficient funding.

“Without the grant funds, we would not be able to provide 36 children with an opportunity to learn and prepare for the transition into kindergarten,” said LIU Director Dr. Tony Grieco. “Studies continually show that children who attend quality Pre-K programs—before age five— are more likely to read on grade level by the 3rd grade and have increased success in completing high school and entering into post-secondary education and training.”

“In today’s challenging world, we cannot presume to drop children off on the first day of kindergarten and expect them to succeed,” said Lynn Biga, Director of Luzerne County Head Start. “Early childhood education programs properly prepare children for kindergarten and elementary school by equipping them with the skills they will need to thrive.” With the additional grant funds, Luzerne County Head Start will be able to educate 14 additional children. The organization already serves 126 children.

Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts was established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to reduce financial barriers to starting early education programs to make quality pre-kindergarten opportunities available to children and families across the Commonwealth. As of today, 19,000 three and four-year-old children have benefitted from Pre-K Counts grants.

Senator Yudichak also announced that Luzerne County Community College received a $340,000 Family Literacy grant from DOE. These programs help parents learn the necessary skills to engage in their child’s education, obtain secondary school credentials on their own, and find gainful employment to support themselves and their children.

For more information on Pre-K Counts and family literacy grant programs, visit www.education.pa.gov.
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Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority Launches Regional Stormwater Management Project

WILKES-BARRE, July 18, 2017 — On the banks of the Susquehanna River, the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority (“WVSA”) launched an innovative regional stormwater management project that could be a springboard for other cooperative efforts between the region’s municipalities. Senator John T. Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon), Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) Secretary Patrick McDonnell, and representatives from more than 30 municipalities from Luzerne County announced the joint venture on the River Commons in Wilkes-Barre.

Under the plan, the WVSA will coordinate and implement a regional and comprehensive stormwater management program that will reduce pollution of the Susquehanna River and help Pennsylvania meet its obligations under the Chesapeake Bay Agreement. Under existing federal law, municipalities in Northeastern Pennsylvania must curb pollution of the Susquehanna River by as much as 10% in the next five years or each community could be penalized for failure to comply with federal law. The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) regulations are intended to keep harmful contaminants out of the river and minimize each community’s environmental impact upon the river and downstream communities. As the EPA targeted reductions are met, the Susquehanna River will become cleaner thereby making it safer for wildlife as well as for fisherman, kayakers, and other sportsmen to enjoy.

 

The WVSA will assume the lead–on behalf of member municipalities–to finance capital projects, submit all stormwater management plans and permit applications, and implement pollution control measures throughout its service area that will reduce stormwater pollution to meet the EPA’s benchmarks. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, will be assisting with stormwater mapping as part of the program.

“The WVSA is well-prepared to meet this challenge and we are eager to advance this project after months of planning,” said Jim Tomaine, Executive Director of the WVSA. “Over the next five years, we will reduce pollutants contaminating the Susquehanna River, which will improve water-quality.”

By working together, the WVSA estimates that the region will save $57 million over five years and $274 million over the next two decades, in present-value dollars. Individual households will pay a nominal fee—anywhere between $3 and $4.50 monthly—to the WVSA to finance the regional effort. The WVSA estimates that households will pay between 70% and 90% less than if their municipality pursued EPA compliance on its own.

“We all have a responsibility to clean up the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay because no single municipality could meet this obligation alone,” said Senator Yudichak. “The regional stormwater project—designed to improve water quality and wildlife habitats throughout the watershed—represents the most comprehensive environmental project in northeast Pennsylvania in the last forty years.”

Senator Yudichak praised the WVSA for its leadership on this project and noted that regional cooperation is often aspired to but seldom achieved. “Today, all citizens of Luzerne County can be proud that we stand united as a region to protect the Susquehanna River and to preserve the Chesapeake Bay,” he said.

 

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Yudichak Announces Luzerne County Multimodal Transportation Funds

NANTICOKE, December 6, 2016 – State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) announced today that six projects in Luzerne County will receive close to $2 million in state funding through the state’s Multimodal Transportation Fund Program.

“As a supporter of the legislation that created the Multimodal Transportation Fund, I am pleased to announce funding has been secured for projects that will enhance local infrastructure and create new jobs in Wilkes-Barre, Nanticoke, Ashley, Bear Creek and Jenkins Township,” said Senator John Yudichak. “Local communities often have limited resources to invest in major transportation projects, so securing these state dollars is essential to improving the quality of life and setting the stage for economic growth in Luzerne County,” added Senator Yudichak.

The local projects include:

  • Market Square Redevelopment: $430,000 for Market Square Properties Development, LLC for roadway and sidewalk work in the city of Wilkes-Barre as part of the Market Street Redevelopment project.
  • George Avenue Streetscape: $600,000 to complete a pedestrian safety streetscape on George Avenue in the city of Wilkes-Barre. The project will help the city transform the smaller business districts that are not located in the immediate downtown business district.

State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Luzerne) worked closely with Senator Yudichak to secure funds for the Market Square Redevelopment and George Avenue Streetscape.

“As part of the revitalization of the downtown area, these projects will continue the beautification and transformation of the city of Wilkes-Barre. The changes to Market Street Square will leverage private investment and enhance the whole appearance of the block, and the George Avenue Streetscape project will improve the small business district by connecting the city to our neighborhoods,” said Representative Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Luzerne).

“As Mayor of Wilkes-Barre, I am extremely grateful to Senator Yudichak and Representative Pashinski for the funding that they secured for investment in Wilkes-Barre. The projects will improve both downtown Wilkes-Barre and George Avenue, which is the main thoroughfare of the Parsons neighborhood. It is vital that we invest in both our downtown commercial district as well as our neighborhood business districts to create prosperity in the entire city,” said Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tony George.

The City of Nanticoke also received $463,742 for intersection improvements at Broadway and East Main Street. The project will create a safer intersection for both motorists and pedestrians and will provide multimodal access to the city through multiple parking facilities and spacious lighted sidewalks. State Representative Gerald Mullery (D-Luzerne) worked with Senator Yudichak to secure these funds.

“I am pleased that these funds have been secured to further enhance the ongoing streetscape project in the city of Nanticoke.  These intersection improvements are essential for the safety of our community as we continue to revitalize the downtown area,” said Representative Gerald Mullery.

Upon hearing today’s announcement, Nanticoke Mayor Richard Wiatrowski issued the following statement: “On behalf of the City of Nanticoke, I would like to thank Senator Yudichak and Rep. Mullery for supporting the revitalization of our downtown and driving critical state funding to these efforts.”

Other local projects that received funding include:

  • Ashely Borough Infrastructure Improvements: $100,000 to assist with infrastructure repairs throughout Ashley Borough.
  • Old East End Boulevard Road Reconstruction: $100,000 for the reconstruction of Old East End and Pittston Boulevards located in Bear Creek Township.
  • River Road and Market Street Intersection Improvements: $82,000 to widen the roadway at the intersection of River Road and Market Street in Jenkins Township.

 

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Yudichak Announces Recreation Grants for Luzerne County

Harrisburg, January 26, 2016 – State Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) today announced over $700,000 in state grant funds for conservation/recreational projects in Luzerne County.

“These state grant dollars will support worthy local initiatives that will enhance our region’s recreational offerings for families and individuals,” Yudichak said.

The projects include:

  • $480,000 to the North Branch Land Trust to expand the D&L Trail by 2.2 miles from Laurel Run Road in Laurel Run Township to the Seven Tubs Nature Area in Plains Township. The work will include a 0.3-mile connector trail, trail head, ADA access, landscaping and other site improvements.
  • $221,000 to Natural Lands Trust, Inc., to acquire 161 acres along White Haven Road in Bear Creek Township to create more open space and recreational opportunities.

“We are very pleased to receive this grant,” said Paul Lumia, Executive Director of the North Branch Land Trust. “It allows us to realize our plan to have a trail from Laurel Run to the Tubs creating exciting new recreational opportunities for the entire region.”

“The Poconos region is home to some of Pennsylvania’s most treasured landscapes,” noted Molly Morrison, President of Natural Lands Trust. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to preserve another important piece of that landscape and to expand our 3,400-acre Bear Creek Preserve. Once again, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has demonstrated its commitment to providing its citizens with thriving wildlife habitats, clean water, and inspiring places to play.”

The Community Conservation Partnership grants are administered by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The program is aimed at helping local governments and organizations acquire and develop parks, recreation, conservation and greenway projects.

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Verizon Presents EITC Contribution to SHINE of Luzerne County

Wilkes-Barre, January 12, 2016– SHINE of Luzerne County has received $10,000 from Verizon as part of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC). The presentation was made during a ceremony at Wilkes-Barre Area’s Heights Murray Elementary School by Frank Buzydlowski, Director of Government Affairs for Verizon in Pennsylvania, State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon), Mary Kolessar, Director of SHINE of Luzerne County, and a dozen students who participate in the SHINE of Luzerne County after school program.

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.

“Verizon is proud to participate in Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program in partnership with Wilkes University to help promote the value of education for families and children in Luzerne County and throughout Northeast Pennsylvania”, said Frank Buzydlowski, Director of State Government Affairs for Verizon in Pennsylvania. “The EITC program offers Verizon a great opportunity to give back to our communities and invest in educational initiatives that prepare children to meet the unique challenges of living and working in the 21st century’s technology-driven global economy.”

The PA (EITC) program provides companies with a 75% tax credit for donations to a non-profit scholarship or educational improvement organizations.

“SHINE is a successful program helping our school kids because it involves the entire community – schools, parents, public officials, and private companies,” Congressman Barletta said. “Verizon’s generous contribution will go a long way toward helping children achieve success, and have more opportunities at better futures.”

“Verizon is the latest in a growing list of private partners who are stepping forward to support SHINE of Luzerne County. SHINE’s unique private/public partnership model is central to our mission of building better schools, better communities and better families through the power of education,” said Senator Yudichak.

“SHINE’s success depends on the support of our partners in the community,” said Wilkes University President Patrick Leahy. “Verizon’s support helps to guarantee a bright future Luzerne County’s children and their families.”

“These funds will be put to good use as we continue to grow SHINE of Luzerne County. The positive response from the community has been very helpful as we implement the program,” said Mary Kolessar.

The Verizon donation follows the announcement last week of a major federal grant for SHINE of Luzerne County from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Grant Program totaling nearly $400,000 for each of the next three years. The federal funding is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and is one of fifty new 21st CCLC grant awards totaling $16.1 million for 2015-18 in Pennsylvania.

The SHINE program of Luzerne County is modeled after the successful Lehigh Carbon Community College SHINE program in Carbon and Schuylkill Counties.