Yudichak Announces Luzerne County Multimodal Transportation Funds

NANTICOKE, July 1, 2016 – State Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) today announced that six Luzerne County projects in the 14th

Senatorial District will receive more than $3.9 million in state funding through the state’s Multimodal Transportation Fund Program.

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.

“As a longtime advocate for responsible infrastructure investments and a backer of Act 89 of 2013, which created the Multimodal Transportation Fund, I am pleased to announce this approval of state funding. These projects will improve our local transportation network, business districts, and neighborhoods,” said Senator Yudichak.

Area state representatives Mike Carroll, Gerald Mullery, Ed Pashinski, Aaron Kaufer and Tarah Toohil worked closely with Senator Yudichak to secure the funds.

The Luzerne County projects approved for funding are:

Hazle Township will receive $1,000,000 for the extension of Hazle Township Boulevard.

The project will extend the boulevard and complete the construction of a link from State Route 309 to State Route 93.

City of Pittston Streetscape project will receive $560,000 for the continuation of a project on South Main Street. Proposed improvements include ADA compliant sidewalks, improved crosswalks and lighting to improve pedestrian and traffic safety.

Plains Township Main Streetscape project will receive $323,600 to improve the area along Main Street.The project will include installation of new sidewalks, curbing, handicap ramps, and period style lighting from West Carey Street to Henry Street.

Hanover Township will receive $550,000 for a road resurfacing project for several streets in the township. The work will also rehabilitate storm water drainage and ADA accessible curb ramps.

City of Nanticoke will receive $673,000 for a streetscape project that will improve traffic flow and traffic safety in the downtown corridor along East Main Street.

West Pittston Borough will receive $150,658 to help fund a cooperative road improvement project with Exeter and Wyoming Boroughs.

Wilkes University will receive $650,000 to help fund pedestrian safety improvements near the Henry Student Center at the corner of River and South Streets.

Senator Yudichak, Rep. Pashinski, & Rep. Carrroll Announce Growing Greener Grant for Earth Conservancy Project

Nanticoke, June 21, 2016 – State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon), Representative Eddie Day Pashinski (D-121st) and Representative Mike Carroll (D-118th) today announced a $50,000 Growing Greener grant for the Earth Conservancy to reclaim the Laurel Run Corporation surface mine in Plains and Wilkes-Barre Townships.

An important part of the project includes the elimination of unsafe highwalls that were left from previous mining activity. Approximately six acres of mine-scarred land that had been strip mined in the past will also be reclaimed with new vegetation and mitigate a potential source of acid mine drainage. Work is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“This grant not only adds another parcel to the long list of sites that the Earth Conservancy has successfully reclaimed, it also improves public safety,” said Senator Yudichak.

“Highwalls are particularly dangerous. This project addresses a lengthy highwall, which at some points rise to about 30 feet, as the severe slope of the material makes them prone to collapse,” said Michael Dziak, President/CEO of the Earth Conservancy. “This is why they are a priority in the abandoned mine land reclamation program, and why we are pleased to partner with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on this project.”

“The cooperative effort among the state lawmakers was vital in the effort to secure this grant. My thanks to Senator Yudichak for his leadership and Representative Carroll for his assistance,” said Representative Pashinski.

“The safety and environmental benefits of the cleanup are clear and very important to the residents of the area near the abandoned mine,” said Representative Carroll.

The Growing Greener Grant Program is an investment of state funds that address Pennsylvania’s environmental concerns. The program encourages partnerships between counties, municipalities, county conservation districts, watershed organizations and other organizations to restore and protect the environment.

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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Sen. Yudichak Congratulates Cosgrove on Commonwealth Court Nomination

Harrisburg, June 13, 2016 – State Sen. John Yudichak today provided the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s nomination of Luzerne County attorney Joseph Cosgrove to the state Commonwealth Court:

“I applaud Governor Wolf, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman and Democrat Leader Jay Costa for forging a bipartisan compromise that will bring a talented jurist, like Joe Cosgrove, to the Commonwealth Court.

“Attorney Joe Cosgrove is at his core a man of social justice imbued with a judicial temperament and a scholarly knowledge of the law.

“Joe Cosgrove’s experience on the Court of Common Pleas in Luzerne County and his work as legal counsel for the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts makes him uniquely qualified to be an exceptional judge on the Commonwealth Court.”

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Yudichak to Host Telephone Town Hall on June 7

Harrisburg – June 3, 2016 – State Sen. John T. Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) will be hosting a live telephone town hall on Tuesday June 7 at 6:05 p.m.

“The telephone town hall is an excellent way for taxpayers to express their opinions and share thoughts,” Yudichak said. “The format is interactive and conducive to the discussion of a wide range of state and local issues.”

Yudichak said that citizens will be called and asked if they want to join in the discussion. If residents want to participate they simply need to stay on the line to listen or ask questions, Yudichak said.

“The telephone town halls are an excellent outreach tool that opens lines of communication,” Yudichak said. “Citizens are able to ask specific questions, call attention to local problems or issues and request constituent services.”

Yudichak said that residents also have the option to sign up for the call on his website www.senatoryudichak.com in addition to submitting questions prior to Tuesday’s call.

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State Sen. John T. Yudichak: I Want to Clear the Air on My Environmental Record

Op-ed by State Senator John Yudichak

Recently, a few groups have challenged my record on the environment.  They have raised concerns about two issues – the Clean Power Plan and the new Chapter 78 oil and gas well site regulations.

First, to be clear, I support the goals of the Clean Power Plan.  And, as the public record reflects, I have never voted to diminish the plan.  Currently, I am working with the Wolf administration to ensure this federal climate change initiative is responsibly carried out with little impact on Pennsylvania jobs.

The Clean Power Plan, advanced by the Environmental Protection Agency, was halted by the United States Supreme Court, and as a result, state action on the plan has stalled until the case is resolved.

Second, check the record, as a member of the Environmental Quality Board I supported Governor Wolf’s newly proposed Chapter 78 regulations that will provide the most comprehensive oversight of the oil and gas industry ever implemented in Pennsylvania history.

Some groups, however, believe you cannot be pro-environment and pro-job creation.  On that point, we will have to agree to disagree.

I have the great honor of representing Luzerne and Carbon Counties in the state Senate.  It is a region with a rich heritage of both energy production and a passion for the conservation of our pristine natural resources.  The citizens of northeastern Pennsylvania have proven you can do both.

It is my responsibility, as a public servant, to reflect my constituents who want legislators to work with one another to achieve that important balance between economic development and environmental protection.

My environmental record over the years has been one of consistent support for policies that promote environmental reclamation and conservation without losing sight of the number one priority for most Pennsylvanians – jobs.

Working with groups, like the Earth Conservancy, we have secured more than $40 million to reclaim thousands of acres of mine scarred lands and miles of polluted streams.  On many of those reclaimed sites new industries have grown and created jobs.  Companies, like CVS Caremark located in Hanover Township, have helped us transform our environmentally challenged sites by investing in our economic landscape with the creation of six hundred new jobs in the growing pharmaceutical industry.

Moreover, in the past two decades, I have supported new laws to promote a proper balance between environmental protection and economic development: Growing Greener, H2O PA, the Alternative Fuels Incentive Act, the Alternatives Energy Portfolio Standards Act, the Pennsylvania Climate Change Act, and the Alternative Energy Investment Act.

Collectively, my support of these landmark legislative achievements have made Pennsylvania a leader in renewable energy development, new energy jobs and the advancement of environmental protection.

In Carbon County, we have worked with Con Edison to develop PA Solar Park – Pennsylvania’s largest solar park.  PA Solar Park will ultimately produce enough electricity to fuel three thousand homes and effectively reduce the CO2 emissions of 22,971 barrels of oil.

In Greater Hazleton, we are working with an energy company, the Atlantic Carbon Group, that has invested over $16 million in our region and created nearly one hundred new jobs.  Atlantic Carbon Group is employing 21st century mining techniques to harvest our plentiful anthracite coal resources to support steel manufacturing, water purification and the manufacturing of silicon.

Investing in environmental protection and supporting the development of our energy infrastructure should not be mutually exclusive enterprises.  Building new natural gas plants, modernizing our natural gas infrastructure, while we continue to press for the development of alternative energy sources demonstrates that we can create jobs and protect the environment.

Building consensus, forging common sense solutions and working with Republicans and Democrats may not be popular in some political circles, but it is exactly how I try to best represent the good people of northeastern Pennsylvania.

We can fight climate change.  We can improve our air and water.  We can be responsible stewards of PENN’s woods, and still develop Pennsylvania’s diverse energy resources to create jobs and opportunities all across this great Commonwealth.

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Sen. Yudichak Comments on Resignation of State’s DEP Secretary

Harrisburg, May 20, 2016– State Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) provided the following statement in response to today’s resignation of John Quigley, who served as secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP):

“Governor Wolf made a quick and appropriate decision in accepting the resignation of DEP Secretary John Quigley.

Secretary Quigley demonstrated poor judgment and a clear inability to work with legislators to advance the Governor’s environmental agenda.

I’m looking forward to working with interim Secretary Patrick McDonnell and the Republican and Democratic members of the General Assembly to put this matter behind us and move forward on the important matters before the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee like the Clean Power Plan and Chapter 78 regulations governing the oil and gas industry.”

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Carbon/Schuylkill & Luzerne Counties SHINE Programs Selected to Join National STEM Learning Initiative

Announcement made at US News STEM Solutions National Leadership Conference

Baltimore, MD, May 19, 2016 – The STEM Funders Network (SFN) announced today that the Carbon/Schuylkill and Luzerne County SHINE programs have been selected as one of the 10 STEM Learning Ecosystems to join the STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative, a national initiative, initially developed in 2015-16 beginning with 27 STEM Learning Ecosystems communities across the United States.

Led by the STEM Funders Network, the STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative is built on over a decade of National Academy and related research focused on how to cultivate successful STEM collaborations. The selected sites from across the United States have committed to collaborate and share their work towards this common vision.

“These communities have the potential of reaching millions of young people both in and out-of-school with innovative STEM learning opportunities,” said SFN co-chairs Gerald Solomon, executive Director, Samueli Foundation, and Ron Ottinger, Director of STEM Next. “It is an initiative to design the kind of infrastructure that ensures STEM learning is truly ‘everywhere’ and is a top priority for communities supporting youth to develop the skills and knowledge they need for success in a global workforce.”

“We have already seen the success stories that SHINE has helped produce here in our region of Pennsylvania, and it is very exciting to be able to share our own experiences with others. Working with other leaders in STEM education can only strengthen SHINE and provide even better opportunities and brighter futures for our kids,” said Congressman Lou Barletta (R-11th).

“SHINE is quickly earning a national reputation for its STEM based after-school curriculum,” said State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon). “Joining the STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative will add value to the quality of education of every SHINE student, and contribute to the growing body of data that demonstrates the importance of investing in STEM based after-school programs.”

“The SHINE program at Lehigh Carbon Community College serves students who may not have access to this kind of STEM curriculum otherwise,” said Lehigh Carbon County Community College President Dr. Ann D. Bieber. “Developing knowledge in STEM is one of our key goals, as we work to give children the skills to succeed in the workplace, which for them may seem so far into the future. We understand the importance of instilling capabilities in students early, and are honored that the LCCC SHINE program was recognized nationally for this work. SHINE is a great example of the kind of impact we can have when we work together.”

“Lehigh Carbon Community College SHINE program is extremely proud to be part of this grassroots STEM community movement, and we look forward to working with all of our partners to expand opportunities in STEM education to area youth,” Rachel Strucko, Director of the Lehigh Carbon Community College Carbon and Schuylkill SHINE program.

“SHINE’s involvement in the STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative will allow Wilkes University to share its expertise in STEM education in support of this new opportunity for children in our community,” said Dr. Patrick F. Leahy, president of Wilkes University.

“We are thrilled that the Carbon/Schuylkill/Luzerne County Ecosystem and our network of community partners will be the vehicle for exposing thousands of children to STEM education,” said Jeanne Miller, Interim Director, SHINE of Luzerne County at Wilkes University.

The initiative is focused on bringing all in and out of school learning platforms together, from PreK through higher education including the voice of workforce, to ensure that ALL people have equal access and opportunity to succeed in the STEM fields.

The 10 communities will join the initial cohort of the national STEM Community of Practice, having demonstrated cross-sector collaborations that deliver rigorous, effective preK-16 instruction in STEM learning in schools and beyond the classroom – in afterschool and summer programs, science centers, libraries, at home and other places both virtual and physical— that spark young people’s engagement, develops their knowledge, strengthens their persistence and nurtures their sense of identity and belonging in the STEM disciplines, leading to building a vibrant and competitive STEM workforce. As these STEM Ecosystems evolve, a student will be able to connect what they learn in and out of school with real-world learning opportunities, leading to STEM-related careers and opportunities.

Learn more about the initiative at stemecosystems.org.

About the STEM Funders Network: The STEM Funders Network brings together grant makers working in STEM to learn from one another, leverage their collective resources and collaborate on high-impact projects they could not undertake alone. The vision of the STEM Funders Network is that all U.S. students should have equal opportunity to engage in high-quality STEM learning experiences that will enhance their ability to succeed in a STEM career or other chosen path.

About SHINE:

SHINE in Carbon and Schuylkill counties is administered by Lehigh Carbon Community College and provides academic support for students from seven school districts. The comprehensive 42-week after school/summer program includes kindergarten home visits, 1st – 4th grade STEM Centers, 5th – 8th grade STEM Career Academies, and high school career awareness/mentoring opportunities.

SHINE of Luzerne County is a three-year pilot program based on the Carbon/Schuylkill model. The program is operating in five area school districts. Wilkes University is the educational host. It is an innovative and data driven after-school program that improves academic performance, increases school attendance, reduces juvenile crime and breaks the cycle of poverty in NEPA – all by empowering families through education.

The two SHINE programs currently provide services to more than 1,000 students.

Senator Yudichak and Rep. Toohil Announce $500,000 Grant for Downtown Hazleton Arts Center

Hazleton, May 16, 2016– State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) and Representative Tarah Toohil (R-116th) have announced The Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress has been awarded a $500,000 Keystone Communities Grant from the Department of Community and Economic Development. The City of Hazleton sponsored the application on behalf of the Alliance, which administers the city’s Keystone Main Street program.

ArtistRenderingHazletonArtsCenter

“The Keystone Communities grant is the latest in a series of strategic investments in the Broad Street Corridor in Downtown Hazleton,” said Senator Yudichak. “The state funding will help transform the former Security Bank building

into the new City Arts Center and create additional development opportunities downtown.”

The Keystone Communities program assists communities in achieving revitalization. The program designates and funds communities that are implementing Main Street programs by supporting physical improvements.

The grant matches a Luzerne County LSA grant awarded last year for the project which is in the design phase. It is expected to be put out for bid this fall.

‘These funds are critical to the Arts Center project, which will serve as an anchor and catalyst for revitalization of the whole block,” said Krista Schneider, Executive Director of The Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress.

“The award could not have come at a better time, as we can expand the scope of the renovations and open the building up to the new park property. Our organization and the Art League–who will relocate to the building

once complete–are very much looking forward to getting this project underway.”

“It is exciting to see the Alliance’s plans become reality with the help of this state funding,” said Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne). “These projects are important to the success of the revitalization now underway in downtown Hazleton,

which is so critical to the entire region’s economic future. The new arts center and other facade improvements will help attract more people and businesses, and increase interest and participation in the business district’s continued rebirth.”

”This is a further step in the Revitalization of our city. The progress that has been made over the past several years downtown will serve as the springboard for dramatic improvements throughout our great city,” said Hazleton Mayor Jeff Cusat.

Carbon County Safety Day 2016 Honors Junior Firefighters and Youth Volunteers

Jim Thorpe, May 7, 2016 – For the fourth consecutive year Carbon County Safety Day has kicked off the summer season promoting safety and offering area families a free day of fun at Mauch Chunk Lake Park.

The event is hosted by state Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon), the Carbon County commissioners, Kid Zone Blue Mountain Health System, Carbon Masonic Lodge No. 242 and the Nolan Ritchie Staying Afloat Foundation.

This year the day included special recognition for Carbon County’s junior firefighters and youth volunteers of area fire departments who were given certificates for their service.

“At a time when the number of volunteers is dropping, it is a pleasure to honor these young men and women who see the need and are giving their time to help local fire companies in a variety of ways,” said Senator Yudichak.

A number of agencies set up displays in the park to educate area families about water safety, animal safety, fire safety, bicycle safety, poison control and more.

Participating agencies included state Rep. Doyle Heffley’s office, SHINE(Students and Home In Education) , Pathstone Head Start, Blue Mountain Health System, Right From The Start, Carbon County Emergency Management Agency, the County Animal Response Team, CERT, Carbon-Monroe-Pike Drug and Alcohol Commission, Family Promise, Carbon County Children’s Team, Pennsylvania State Police, American Red Cross, Penn State Master Gardeners, New York Life, the Nolan Ritchie Staying Afloat Foundation, St. Luke’s, Radio Station WMGH, the PA Fish and Boat Commission, Pre-K Counts, Carbon County Amateur Radio Club, the Pyramid, Carbon County Action Committee, Friends of Beltzville State Park, CareNet of Carbon County and Turn To Us.

Approximately a dozen area volunteer fire companies and medical helicopters from St. Luke’s University Health Network and Lehigh Valley Health Network allowed attendees to see their equipment up close.

Prizes included bicycles and a wagon that were raffled off in a free giveaway. The bicycle team, The Jim Thorpers, through the Masons, donated one-thousand dollars worth of bicycles and an additional dozen bikes were purchased and given away.

Refreshment donations came from Aetna, Redner’s Warehouse Markets, Stroehmann’s Bakery, Hatfield Quality Meats, McDonald’s, Hazle Park, Herr’s, Zimmerman’s Iced Tea and Dale Ott.

Major sponsors for the event included: State Senator John Yudichak, Carbon County, Carbon Lodge No. 242 Free & Accepted Masons, Jim Thorpe National Bank, Mauch Chunk Trust Company, St. Luke’s University Health Network, Blue Mountain Health System, Nolan Ritchie Staying Afloat Foundation, SHINE, Carbon County Lions/Lioness Fair Association, WMGH/WLSH Radio, and Walmart.

Senator Yudichak and Rep. Mullery Announce Growing Greener Grant for Earth Conservancy Project

Nanticoke, May 6, 2016 – State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) and Representative Gerald Mullery (D-119th) today announced a $734,600 Growing Greener grant for the Earth Conservancy Bliss Bank Project in Nanticoke.

The money will be used for Bliss Bank Phase II a 54 acre reclamation project that is part of a larger 200 acre tract known as Bliss Bank Phase I. The land is located on Prospect Street in Nanticoke across the street from Luzerne County Community College.  The goal of the project is to make the land available for development.

“Creating economic opportunities while cleaning up the environment is a great use of state resources,” said Senator John Yudichak. “The Earth Conservancy has proven it has the ability to effectively manage grant dollars to reclaim mine scarred land and make it available for development.”

“The Earth Conservancy thanks the State of Pennsylvania for having the Growing Greener Program,” said Michael Dziak, President/ CEO of the Earth Conservancy.

“And with this grant Earth Conservancy will continue a second phase of restoring mine scarred land in the Bliss area across from Luzerne County Community College.  This will provide land for future development and save our green area for conservation and open space.”

“The environmental benefits of the cleanup are important, but it will also have an economic benefit. The project will allow the property to be used for mixed use development that could someday support economic initiatives,” said Rep. Gerald Mullery who worked with Senator Yudichak to secure the grant.

Growing Greener grants are used for a variety of projects that include helping communities address land use; and provide new and upgraded water and sewer systems.

 

Statement From Senator Yudichak on the Acquisition of Kovatch Mobile Equipment Corporation by REV Group

Harrisburg, April 11, 2016 − Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) issued the following the statement after learning of the pending acquisition of Kovatch Mobile Equipment Corporation by REV Group, Inc.

“I want to extend a warm Carbon County welcome to REV Group, Inc. an industry leading specialty manufacturer, who is acquiring the Kovatch Mobile Equipment Corporation,” said Senator John Yudichak.

“Sonny Kovatch and the Kovatch family built a remarkable company from the ground up, and with REV Group’s decision to retain its primary operations in Nesquehoning, the legacy of highly-skilled manufacturing in Carbon County will continue for years to come.”

“REV Group, a $2 billion privately-owned company, is a proven job creator and their expansion into Carbon County will certainly add great value to the manufacturing landscape in Pennsylvania,” said Senator John Yudichak.

SHINE of Luzerne County Opens in Hazleton

Hazleton, April 7, 2016  Congressman Lou Barletta (R-11th), state Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon), and Wilkes University President Patrick Leahy have formally opened the SHINE of Luzerne County after-school program in the Hazleton Area School District. Students participating in the program, district officials and community leaders helped cut the ribbon this morning at the Maple Manor Elementary School.

SHINE (Schools and Homes in Education) of Luzerne County began last fall in the Wilkes-Barre Area, Greater Nanticoke Area and Wyoming Valley West school districts and has now expanded to Hazleton.  The program, geared to grades K-8, focuses on a project-based STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) curriculum.  SHINE links schools to homes to help children build a stronger academic and social foundation.

“We are thrilled to have the Shine program in thSHINEe Hazleton Area School District,” said Superintendent Dr. Craig Butler. “This is a terrific outreach program for our students who desire an experience in STEAM related activities and it’s also a tremendous opportunity to extend their school day in learning activities that will enrich their education and their lives. We are thankful for the supporters and the partnership with Wilkes University in this endeavor.”

“We have seen SHINE in action in Carbon and Schuylkill Counties, and we are thrilled to see it expand into Luzerne County, and now Hazleton,” said Congressman Barletta.  “SHINE fills a vital role in children’s lives, because while it does occupy their time after school, it also occupies their minds, encourages them to learn in creative ways, and keeps them surrounded by good influences. SHINE opens up a world of possibilities, and the chance of a brighter future. By reaching even more children, we are building on what has already been a rousing success.”

Congressman Barletta fought hard to protect funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC), which supports programs like SHINE, that had been targeted for elimination. He negotiated 14 changes to a bill in support of afterschool programs, and specifically the SHINE model in the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

Barletta sent a letter to lead House and Senate negotiators imploring them to preserve the 21st CCLC program. As a result, the conference report passed and was approved by the president authorizing $1 billion in funding for the 21st CCLC program.

“The expansion of the program to Hazleton is another major milestone for SHINE in its first year of operation,” said Senator Yudichak.  “If we leave to our young people an inheritance rooted in a quality education then they will leave our schools empowered and become an unstoppable force for good in our communities and our great commonwealth.”

“Wilkes University proudly joins Congressman Barletta and Senator Yudichak in celebrating the expansion of SHINE into the Hazleton Area School District,” said Dr. Patrick F. Leahy, President of Wilkes University.  “With the opening of two new centers, SHINE continues to fulfill its promise of bringing a brighter future to children in our community.”

Wilkes University, the educational host for SHINE of Luzerne County, provides administrative and educational support services for the program.

“Today was made possible by the hard work of many individuals in the Hazleton Area School District, the SHINE teachers, staff and the parents who are excited that children in the Hazleton Area will be provided an afterschool program with a focus on academic enrichment in a safe and engaging environment,” said Jeanne Miller, Interim Director of SHINE of Luzerne County.

Currently, SHINE of Luzerne County has 66 teachers and staff serving 281 students from five area school districts: Wilkes-Barre Area, Wyoming Valley West, Nanticoke Area, Hanover Area and Hazleton Area.

The program centers include: State Street Elementary in Larksville, Heights Murray Elementary in Wilkes-Barre Elementary, Kennedy Elementary in Nanticoke, Maple Manor Elementary in Hazle Township, Wilkes-Barre Career and Technical Center in Plains Township, West Side Career and Technical Center in Pringle and the Hazleton Career and Technical Center in Hazle Township.

Current funding partners include: The William G. McGowan Charitable Fund; United Way of Wyoming Valley; United Way of Greater Hazleton; the PA Department of Economic and Community Development and the Commonwealth Financing Authority, the US Dept. of Education, Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Development Board and Verizon.

Yudichak Pleased with the Release of Funding for Schools

Harrisburg, March 23, 2016 – Following Governor Wolf’s announcement today regarding the 2015-2016 supplemental budget bill, Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) released the following statement:

“I am pleased that much-needed funding will finally be delivered to schools and other important state services. However, I remain deeply frustrated with the budget process.”

“Now, it is time to move forward, in a bipartisan manner, to enact a responsible and timely budget for this upcoming fiscal year.”

Statement from Senator John Yudichak on the Passing of James Barrett McNulty

Nanticoke, March 2, 2016– The following statement was issued this afternoon by Senator John Yudichak after learning of the death of former Scranton Mayor James Barrett McNulty.

“Jim McNulty was a consummate political leader whose service as Mayor of Scranton was defined by legacy projects like the Lackawanna Station Hotel and his indefatigable love for the city of Scranton,” said Senator John Yudichak.

Jim McNulty served as the political and media consultant for Senator Yudichak’s successful 2010 campaign for the state senate.

“I will forever cherish our campaigns together where I learned the art of politics at the hands of one of the great masters of the trade,” said Yudichak.

“Jim McNulty’s keen wit and political instincts made him a valuable asset to any campaign, but most of all Jim’s heart and unyielding loyalty made him a treasured friend.”

“My love and my deepest sympathies go out to Jim’s wife Evie and to the entire McNulty family.”

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Sen. Yudichak Discusses Environmental Issues with DEP Secretary

Harrisburg, February 25, 2016 – During today’s state Senate budget hearing, Sen. John Yudichak questioned Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary John Quigley on issues ranging from extinguishing the Jeansville Mine fire in Carbon County to what the agency is doing to protect Pennsylvanians from lead in drinking water.

“I applaud DEP for keeping the public informed about the Jeansville fire, obtaining $9 million in federal reclamation funds and working closely with the region’s government officials at all levels on a plan to extinguish the fire,” Yudichak said. “I’m also pleased that the department continues to utilize state dollars and press the federal government to reauthorize mine reclamation monies.”

 

Referring to layoffs at Panther Creek in Nesquehoning, Yudichak questioned Quigley about the Wolf Administration’s efforts to help the state’s coal waste industry. The DEP secretary told Yudichak that the coal waste plants are an “incredibly important asset in Pennsylvania” and that they should receive retrofitting upgrades and be given relief from certain regulations.

“It is imperative that the state do what it can to help the coal waste industry rebound and thrive,” Yudichak said. “Coal Waste facilities are good for our economy and good for jobs — but also good for reclaiming abandoned mine lands.”

Yudichak, who sponsored the law (Act 55 of 2014) that mandated the reduction of lead content in pipes and plumbing fixtures, asked Quigley what DEP is doing to prevent a Flint, Michigan, type of health crisis from happening in Pennsylvania. Quigley said the department will remain vigilant, but reassured that none of Pennsylvania’s 159 water systems have exceeded federal lead levels.

Yudichak, who serves as Democratic chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, also asked Quigley what DEP is doing to support natural gas pipeline development that “protects local property rights, ensures environmental protections and promotes economic development throughout Pennsylvania.” Quigley said DEP is currently vetting 94 of the Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force’s 184 recommendations.

“We need to strike a balance by respecting local property rights and protecting our environment; but these pipelines are an incredible resource that can transform our economy,” Yudichak said. “So we need to be responsible while we pursue a good commonsense development plan.”

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Yudichak Announces 2016 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Outreach Schedule

Edwardsville, February 17, 2016 – State Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) today hosted residents at the Temple Apartments in Edwardsville for an outreach event to help local seniors apply for the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.

“The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program delivers significant property tax relief for older Pennsylvanians,” Yudichak said. “Each year our office holds outreach events throughout the district to ensure every eligible senior has access to a $650.00 rebate check that is funded through state lottery and gaming revenues.”

Last year, Senator Yudichak’s outreach efforts helped Luzerne and Carbon County senior citizens apply for over $500,000 in property tax and rent rebates. In Luzerne County, there were 19,000 applicants in 2014 that received over $8.33 million in 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.

2016 Rebate Outreach Schedule:

Please note: the events at the apartment buildings are for residents only and not open to the public.

Anyone who needs assistance with filing their application for the program can visit Senator Yudichak’s district offices in Nanticoke or West Pittston any Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Nanticoke

164 South Market Street

Phone: 570-740-2434

West Pittston

801 Wyoming Avenue (Gerrity’s Shopping Center)

Suite 180

Phone: 570-883-4690

February 18th-Nanticoke Towers, Market Street Nanticoke 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

February 23rd-Park Towers, East Green Street, Nanticoke 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

February 24th-Eagle Ridge Apts, 9 Beverly Drive Edwardsville 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

March 1st-Exeter Apartments, 222 Schooley Avenue Exeter 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.

March 9th-Oplinger Towers, Main Street, Nanticoke 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

March 10th-Garden Village Apartments, 221 Fremont Street, West Pittston 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

March 15th– Infantino Towers, 500 Kennedy Boulevard, Pittston 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

March 16th Charles T Adams Senior Center, 5 East Market Street, Wilkes-Barre

Please call (570)825-3484 for an appointment

March 17th– Swoyersville Apartments,184 Hemlock Street, Swoyersville – 9a.m. until 12 p.m.

March 22nd– Hazleton Senior Center,24 East Broad Street, Hazleton – 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

Please call for an appointment (570)459-1441

March 23rd– Sullivan Place,100 Claymont Avenue, Hanover Township- 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

March 24th– Luzerne Towers,600 Bennett Street, Luzerne- 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

March 29th – Rose Tucker Senior Center,145 E. Green Street, Nanticoke, 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

March 30th– Lee Park Senior Center, 140 Lee Park Avenue, Wilkes-Barre, (residents only)- 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

March 31st– Plains Manor, 500 Main Street, Plains- 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

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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Sen. Yudichak Comments on Gov. Wolf’s Budget Proposal

Harrisburg, February 9, 2016 – State Sen. John Yudichak today provided the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s $32.7 billion fiscal 2016-17 budget proposal:

“It is unacceptable that we begin discussions on a new fiscal year without having a complete state budget in the current fiscal year,” said State Senator John Yudichak.

“Partisan politics in Harrisburg has created a state of paralysis while Pennsylvania faces a growing $1.8 billion structural deficit that threatens to erode all of our investments in education, job creation, health care and environmental protection.”

“The Cinderella clock has struck midnight on short-term fiscal gimmicks and the fantasy budgets of the past four years have come crashing back to the hard reality of five consecutive credit downgrades.”

“The Governor and the General Assembly should have a single focus a single mission over the next few months – restore fiscal stability to the state budget process by addressing Pennsylvania’s structural deficit with a responsible budget that recognizes state spending is far out pacing current revenues.”

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Statement from Senator John Yudichak on the Passing of Tom Tigue

Nanticoke, February 1, 2016- The following statement was issued this afternoon by Senator Yudichak after learning of the death of his long time friend and colleague Tom Tigue. Senator Yudichak served along side former Representative Tigue for nearly a decade in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

“Tom Tigue was a walking profile in courage, and the living embodiment of service above self,” said State Senator John Yudichak. “My deepest sympathies go out to the Tigue family that has lost a loving mother and caring father all in a matter of a few short months.”

“Tom Tigue was a distinguished Marine, a widely respected state legislator, a trusted mentor and a cherished friend.”

Senator Yudichak worked with Tom Tigue on many community projects over the years. Most recently, they worked together, with Representative Mike Carroll, to secure funding for the expansion of the Pittston Memorial Library that included the construction of a new children’s wing and community room.

“Tom Tigue never missed an opportunity for a teachable moment. When his wonderful wife, Diane, passed away he was asked if a section of the church should be reserved for distinguished guests. Tom said, yes it should and the distinguished guests are my family.”

“Family, faith, country and community were not idle commitments for Tom Tigue. His life is a template for all of us who aspire to serve and all of us who dream of leaving the only legacy that truly matters – a loving family.”

Yudichak Announces Carbon County Recreation Grants

Jim Thorpe, January 26, 2016 –State Senator John Yudichak (D – Luzerne/Carbon) today announced that two Carbon County municipalities will receive $90,000 in state grants through the Community Conservation Partnerships Program (CCPP).

“Investments in recreation and conservation are important to the continued economic development of Carbon County,” said Senator Yudichak. “Tourism and recreation are a major part of the quality of life for our residents and visitors.”

The CCPP program is administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Bureau of Recreation and Conservation in order to provide financial and technical assistance to local governments, river and trail organizations, and other nonprofits for planning, acquisition and development of park, recreation, conservation and greenway projects.

The Borough of Summit Hill will receive $40,000 to help with the rehabilitation of Ginder Field. The work will include installation of playground safety surfacing, ADA access landscaping, and other related site improvements.

“We envision the Ginder Field as a premier recreational facility; not only for residents of Summit Hill, but also for community members in Carbon and Schuylkill counties, as well as visitors and outdoor enthusiasts enjoying the historic Switchback Trail,” said Borough Secretary/Treasurer Kira Steber. “The borough, as well as the Recreation Commission, is very grateful that we’ve been given this opportunity to start giving back to our community.”

The Borough of Weatherly will receive $30,000 in funding to complete a trail feasibility study for the five-mile Weatherly trail from Lehigh Gorge State Park in Lehigh Township to Hudsondale Street in Weatherly.

“The Weatherly five-mile trail would create economic opportunity not only for the borough and its residents, but also for the surrounding communities,” said Weatherly Borough Manager Harold Pudliner. “The borough is extremely excited and thankful to receive this grant.”

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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.

Carbon Schuylkill County SHINE Awarded Major Federal Grant

Wilkes-Barre, January 8, 2016 – Congressman Lou Barletta (R-11th), state Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon), and Lehigh Carbon Community College President Dr. Ann Bieber have announced a major federal grant for the Carbon and Schuylkill County SHINE (Schools and Homes in Education) after-school program. The grant totals nearly $400,000 for each of the next three years.

“The SHINE program has been proven to help kids by giving them better alternatives to joining gangs and getting into trouble and it gets parents, families, and the community involved in education,” Barletta said. “When I saw the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program was on the chopping block in Congress, I was proud to step in and preserve it so that our children will have better chances for brighter futures.”

“For more than a decade the SHINE program has been providing improved educational opportunities for the families of Carbon and Schuylkill counties, said Senator Yudichak. “SHINE has earned a national reputation as a quality program with outstanding outcomes. This grant will help SHINE continue to build that legacy of success.”

“It is my distinct honor to accept this generous federal grant for Lehigh Carbon Community College’s SHINE program. This $400,000 grant demonstrates the commitment of our legislative delegation to the communities they serve, said Dr. Anne Bieber, president of Lehigh Carbon County Community College. “Through a variety of programs, with our partner school districts, SHINE helps to keep our kids safe, inspires them to learn and helps working families.

“Lehigh Carbon Community College is honored to have been awarded the 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant for Cohort 8 for the SHINE After school Program. SHINE is a true collaboration between the school districts, the families, the communities and the policy-makers who are driven to enhance the lives and educational opportunities for the children and families in Carbon and Schuylkill Counties,” added Rachel Miller Strucko, Director, SHINE After-school Program

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 is administered by Lehigh Carbon Community College and provides academic support for nearly 500 students from seven school districts. The comprehensive 42-week after school/summer program includes kindergarten home visits, 1st – 4th grade STEM Centers, 5th – 8th grade STEM Career Academies, and high school career awareness/mentoring opportunities.

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.

Yudichak Comments on Partial Budget Veto

Nanticoke, December 29, 2015 – State Sen. John Yudichak today provided the following comment in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to veto part of the state’s fiscal 2015-16 budget legislation:

“The Administration is calling Republican budget action the height of ‘stupidity’ and Republicans are responding to the administration’s budget assertions as ‘lies.’ Taxpayers deserve better than the same old partisan, almost juvenile, name-calling going on in Harrisburg these days.

Clearly, every taxpayer is tired of the political posturing from all parties in this budget mess. Taxpayers deserve a bipartisan, fiscally sound budget that tackles property tax relief, pension reform and sustainable investments in job creation.

Just a few days ago, Senate Democrats joined Senate Republicans to deliver a bipartisan budget and pension bill. Government can work. Let’s end the political bickering and get our job done by passing a responsible state budget.”

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