ERIE, July 15 – Erie County elementary school students will see more fresh fruits and vegetables on the school menu thanks to $251,047 in grants awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, state Reps. Pat Harkins, Bob Merski and Ryan Bizzarro, all D-Erie, announced today. “The nutrients in fresh fruits and vegetables are essential for ensuring kids’ healthy growth and bolstering their immune systems, which is so important in a school setting, where kids are in constant close contact,” Harkins said. “I’m so glad we were successful in our efforts to secure this funding.” Merski agreed, noting, “As an educator for many years, I have seen how proper nutrition improves memory skills and boosts academic performance. I’m delighted that our students will be seeing this incredibly important addition to the school menu.” Bizzarro added that the grants help start healthy patterns, saying, “By introducing kids to fresh fruits and vegetables at an early age, we’re helping them understand that healthy eating is a choice that’s available to them and that it feels better than junk food, hopefully a lesson they’ll carry with them for life.” The grants to the First, Second and Third Legislative Districts, by school district, are as follows: Erie City School District Diehl Elementary School – $29,440 Edison Elementary School Read more
HARRISBURG, July 15 – State Rep. Marty Flynn announced today that more than $262,000 in federal funding for fresh fruits and vegetables has been awarded to elementary schools in the Scranton School District . “These funds will go to great use, feeding the appetites and minds of the elementary students in the Scranton School District,” said Flynn, D-Lackawanna. “We know that children learn best when they can concentrate on their lessons. Ensuring they have the nutrients they need and they’re not trying to learn while they’re hungry will help them to do their best work.” The funding was awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through its Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program , which aims to create healthier environments by providing healthier food choices, and to expand the variety of fruits and vegetables students consume to improve their present and future health. Funding priority is given to schools with the highest rates of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals. Funding for the district is broken down as follows: Charles Sumner Elementary School: $15,870. Frances Willard Elementary School: $24,840. George Bancroft Elementary School: $12,362.50. Isaac Tripp Elementary School: $40,537.50. John Adams Elementary School: $17,997.50. John F. Kennedy Elementary School: $23,862.50. John G. Whittier Elementary School: $24,437.50. McNichols Educational Plaza: $22,712.50. Neil Armstrong Elementary Read more
HARRISBURG, July 15 – State Rep. Peter G. Schweyer, D-Lehigh, announced today five Allentown elementary schools have been awarded a total of $140,760 in fresh food grant money. The funding is part of statewide grants announced by Gov. Tom Wolf totaling nearly $5.5 million for elementary schools across Pennsylvania to provide students with fresh fruits and vegetables during the school day. “Healthy eating benefits students in many ways. Their overall health improves, and they will be more prepared to learn in the classroom and succeed in school. This is a great way to increase healthier food options for our young students,” Schweyer said. The five elementary schools receiving funds are: Cleveland Elementary: $24,782.50 Hiram W. Dodd Elementary: $46,230 Lehigh Parkway Elementary: $23,172.50 Executive Education Academy Charter School: $41,687.50 Cai Learning Academy Inc.: $4,887.50 The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program began in Pennsylvania in 2004 and is now in every state. Schools must have a free and reduced meal eligibility of 50 percent or more in order to qualify for the grants. Read more
HARRISBURG, July 15 – A school district and a charter school in the 32 nd Legislative District on Monday were awarded a combined $87,342 in fresh food grants, announced state Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny. The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. The program’s goals are to create healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices, expand the variety of fruits and vegetables, increase fruit and vegetable consumption, and positively impact students’ present and future health. “Providing healthy food options for our students is crucial when it comes to their success in the classroom and overall health, especially during the early stages of life,” DeLuca said. “This funding will ensure students have healthy food options and also push the importance of incorporating fruits and vegetables into their daily diets at a young age.” The Penn Hills School District’s Penn Hills Elementary School was awarded $69,402 in funding. Penn Hills Charter School of Entrepreneurship was allotted $17,940 in grant money. The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program first started in the commonwealth in 2004 and is now in every state. Schools must have a free and reduced meal eligibility of 50% or more in order to qualify for the grants. Nearly 200 elementary schools across Pennsylvania were selected to receive the grants that total almost $5 million. Read more
HARRISBURG, July 15 – A combined total of $204,642 in fresh food grants was awarded on Monday to five school districts in the 35 th Legislative District, announced state Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny. The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. The program’s goals are to help create healthy school environments by providing healthier food choices, expand the variety of fruits and vegetables, increase fruit and vegetable consumption, and positively impact students’ present and future health. “The health of our youth is paramount,” Davis said. “This funding is going to make a huge difference in the respective school districts that were awarded funding today, and I’m encouraged to see school districts across the Mon Valley taking the initiative to provide students with healthier food options so that they can succeed inside and outside of the classroom.” The following school districts were awarded funding: Clairton City School District: Clairton Elementary School, $24,092 Duquesne City School District: Duquesne Elementary School, $22,252 McKeesport Area School District: Francis McClure Elementary School, $38,525; Twin Rivers Elementary School, $45,022 South Allegheny School District: South Allegheny Elementary School, $32,142 West Mifflin School District: Clara Barton Elementary School, $13,282; Homeville Elementary School, $19,377; New Emerson Read more
HARRISBURG, July 15 – Kiski Area East Primary School in the Kiski Area School District has been awarded a $26,737 grant to provide students with fresh fruits and vegetables during the school day, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, announced today. The funding is awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. The program’s goal is to expand the variety of fruits and vegetables in schools by increasing consumption among students with the hope of positively impacting their present and future health. “When our children eat healthy, it benefits their overall well-being,” Petrarca said. “Studies continue to show that students are better prepared to learn when they have access to healthy food choices during the day, and this program serves as an additional way to help address food insecurity within our schools and also provide an opportunity for youngsters to make healthier food choices.” The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program began in Pennsylvania in 2004 and is now in every state. Schools must have a free and reduced meal eligibility of 50 percent or more in order to qualify for the grants. Read more
YORK, July 15 – State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, will announce details of a new partnership on Wednesday to help students and families get prepared for the next school year. Hill-Evans and the Parks Department of the City of York will make the announcement at 1 p.m. July 17 at Penn Park, 100 W. College Ave. Instead of holding its own back-to-school giveaway, Hill-Evans’ office is partnering with the City of York’s 2 nd Annual Resource Fair to assist and expand on the items to be distributed. “This partnership is a great way for students and families get the school year off to a good start, by providing the supplies and necessities students need to succeed,” Hill-Evans said. All school supplies collected will go to Resource Fair organizers to fill book bags for students. All personal care items, uniforms, shoes, and other essentials will be distributed by Hill-Evans’ office at the event. Last year’s Resource Fair assisted 1,500 students. Donations can be dropped-off at Hill-Evans’ office at 53 E. North St., York; the York County Economic Alliance; Bell Socialization; York City Pretzel Co.; York City Hall Mayor’s Office; and the First Church of God on Vander Avenue. Residents also can donate items in exchange for a ticket voucher at York Revolution Stadium on July 26 after 5 p.m. Read more
LANSDALE, July 15 – State. Reps. Steve Malagari and Liz Hanbidge and state Sen. Maria Collett invite community members to an informational event on the spotted lanternfly on July 22. “Spotted Lanternfly: Can We Stop The Spread?” will be held from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. July 22 at Dock Mennonite Academy EC – Grade 8 Campus, 420 Godshall Road, Souderton PA 18964. The event is open to the public. Anyone with businesses that could potentially be affected by the spotted lanternfly is especially encouraged to attend. Experts, including Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and representatives of Penn State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences will offer an update on the state’s response to the spotted lanternfly and discuss how to prevent the spread of the invasive pest. The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect that can threaten Pennsylvania’s agricultural crops such as grapes, hops and hardwoods, and is affecting quality of life for residents in heavily infested areas, according to the Department of Agriculture. Montgomery County is part of a quarantine area designed to stop the movement of the spotted lanternfly to new areas and slow its spread within the quarantine. Read more
SCRANTON, July 15 – State Rep. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, will hold a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on fair education funding. The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. July 18 at West Scranton Intermediate School, 1401 Fellows St. The media and public are invited to attend. Flynn requested the hearing to discuss ways to improve the allocation of education funds for Pennsylvania school districts. He will be joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. Testifiers will include Kelly Lewis, president & CEO of Lewis Strategic, PLLC; Dr. Alexis Kirijan, superintendent of the Scranton Area School District; Paul Duffy, chair of the board of Intergovernmental Committee for the Scranton Area School Board; and Rosemary Boland, president of the Scranton Federation of Teachers Union. This hearing is among a series being held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, focused on putting people first by growing good jobs, providing health care access, creating quality schools and providing training for jobs in a fair economy. More information about the plan is available at www.plan4pa.com and hearing materials are at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . Read more
ERIE, July 15 – State Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony today celebrating the opening of a new splash pad water feature at Bayview Park. The new water feature, which was funded in part by a $60,000 Keystone Communities grant to Our West Bayfront, includes a large, colorful hose sculpture that will spray cool water in all directions. “I’m delighted that we were able to assist in securing funding toward the construction of this new splash pad, which is going to provide hours of refreshing fun in the sun for our kids,” Merski said. “Beyond providing a safe recreational outlet, the new water feature will bring together members of the community. Parents and other family members coming to watch the kids will be connecting with other parents and forging new friendships. Improvements like this don’t just improve the physical landscape – they broaden our community horizons and help neighbors develop stronger ties to one another.” The Keystone Communities program is administered by the state Department of Community and Economic Development. The program is designed to support local initiatives that grow and stabilize neighborhoods and communities, encourage the creation of partnerships between the public and private sectors in the community and enhance overall quality of life for residents. Read more
HARRISBURG, July 15 – Armstrong, Indiana and Westmoreland counties will be able to assist low-to-moderate income residents with needed home repairs, rent or utility payment assistance, and emergency housing thanks to $423,000 in funds through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement fund, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca announced today. “For many residents in the 55 th District, these funds will allow them to have a safe place they can truly call home,” Petrarca said. “PHARE funds can help residents in need with roof or heating system repairs in their home, emergency housing, or help with rent or utility payments,” Petrarca said. PHARE funding was awarded to the following organizations (including the project and amount): County of Armstrong (Emergency Housing Program to assist homeless persons) – $148,000 Indiana County Office of Planning and Development (55 Roof and Heating Systems Replacement Program) – $100,000 Westmoreland County (Union Mission, providing transitional housing and emergency shelter space for men) – $75,000 Redevelopment Authority of Westmoreland County (Accessible Housing Program) – $100,000 PHARE program funding comes from a portion of the impact fees collected from natural gas companies operating in Pennsylvania and addresses the housing shortages caused by the impact of drilling. Those funds are supplemented with two additional funding sources, including Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 15 – Last week, state Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, D-Phila., met with state Sen. Vincent Hughes, District Attorney Larry Krasner, Mayor Jim Kenney, the Philadelphia Police Department and the Office of Violence Prevention to commit to a comprehensive gun violence prevention strategy for the city. “This is a groundbreaking display of solidarity against the rampant gun violence that’s affecting Philadelphia,” said Johnson-Harrell, who convened the meeting. “Together, we can provide the resources and support needed to help this strategy succeed.” The plan will be focused on implementing strategic interventions to reduce violence, minimize arrests and incarceration, enhance police legitimacy, and strengthen relationships between law enforcement and the community. The gun violence prevention strategy will be spearheaded by David Kennedy, an esteemed criminologist from John Jay College in New York. “This is my way of fulfilling my promise to my son who was killed in 2011,” Johnson-Harrell added. “I want to stop the blood from running through the streets of Philadelphia.” Read more
ROYERSFORD, July 15 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi invites residents of the 146 th Legislative District to participate in a telephone town hall meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17. Residents of the district will receive a call to their home phones at 7 p.m. To “attend” the meeting, they will be asked to simply remain on the line. Anyone wishing to make sure they receive the phone call or to register a cell phone, can do so at this link , or call Ciresi’s office at 484-200-8265. “I look forward to discussing the important issues impacting our community, such as transportation and education,” said Ciresi, D-Montgomery. “This meeting format makes it easy and convenient for residents to participate and share their thoughts with me without even leaving their homes.” People can listen in and ask questions or leave feedback when the meeting has ended. Questions can be submitted in advance by emailing email@example.com . Anyone with questions should call Ciresi’s office at 484-200-8265. Read more
HARRISBURG, July 15 – Nursing home and other adult care facilities would be held accountable for all resident deaths under legislation introduced this week by state Reps. Frank Burns and Jeanne McNeill. House Bills 1713 and 1714 would increase oversight of nursing homes, assisting living residences and personal care homes by requiring them to report all deaths – regardless of cause – to the county coroner. The coroner would then determine, based on interviews with the facility and a review of the deceased resident’s medical history, if a formal investigation is warranted. If it is, the legislation would ensure coroners have access to the information they need to do their jobs. “Far too many times, we see the disturbing headlines of an older adult who died at a nursing home or other senior care residence, due to neglect or abuse,” Burns said. “Currently, these facilities only have to report a death if staff deem it suspicious, such as a homicide or accident. Allowing administrators to police themselves opens the door for unscrupulous owners or staff to hide signs of inadequate care that could have led to that senior’s death.” "This oversight is truly needed in these facilities to ensure our vulnerable older aduluts are protected and being provided the best care possible," McNeill said. "Our seniors deserve dignity and respect, and our legislation will provide a crucial layer of protection and Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 15 — State. Rep. Morgan Cephas announced today $700,000 in state funding has been awarded to two community projects that will impact the residents of the 192 nd Legislative District. “I’m thrilled that this much-needed funding will come to projects helping low-income residents in West Philadelphia,” said Cephas, D-Phila., who supported the projects seeking the funds. “My hope is that the funding will allow these projects to alleviate some of the need for affordable housing and allow low-income residents the opportunity to stay in their communities.” The Overbrook West Neighbors Community Development Corp. was awarded $200,000, and the Mission First Housing Group was awarded $500,000 from the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement fund, or PHARE fund. The Overbrook West Neighbors Community Development Corp. will use the funding for its West Philadelphia Handyman Program, which is open to older adults and seniors who meet financial eligibility requirements. Through the program, residents can make necessary improvements to their homes to ensure they can age in place and in dignity. The Mission First Housing Group will use the funds for Phase 2 of its plan to develop the Apartments at New Market West, a development currently under construction near the Haddington/Cobbs Creek neighborhood. The project will create 41 new affordable apartments, including units that will receive referrals from Read more
HARRISBURG, July 15 – Centre County will be able to expand the availability of affordable housing options thanks to $1.37 million in funds provided through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement fund, state Rep. Scott Conklin announced today. “These funds will positively impact thousands of residents in Centre County, with the end result being a place they can call home,” said Conklin, D-Centre. “These funds can be used to provide assistance with rent or utility payments, a down payment or closing costs on a new house, or refurbishing abandoned buildings or lots into affordable housing.” PHARE funding was awarded to the following organizations (including the project and amount): Housing Transitions (THF Energy Affordable Rental Rehab) – $50,000 State College Borough (State College Borough – Energy Housing Rehabilitation Project) - $75,000 Mulligan & Longeran Associates, Inc. (Cherry Lane Apartments/LIHTC) – $1,174,000 State College Community Land Trust (SCCLT Energy Housing Rehabilitation Project) – $50,000 Centre County Government (PHARE Rental Assistance Program) – $22,000 PHARE program funding comes from a portion of the impact fees collected from natural gas companies operating in Pennsylvania and addresses the housing shortages caused by the impact of drilling. Those funds are supplemented with two additional funding sources, including a portion of Read more
HERMITAGE, July 12 – Funding of $18,000 through the through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement fund will help the Community Counseling Center of Mercer County provide housing assistance to residents in need, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D- Mercer, announced. “Affordable housing is fundamental to restoring dignity and normal lives to those who may be struggling with mental health issues and other problems,” Longietti said. “I’m so pleased that we were successful in our efforts to help secure this funding, because it will help so many deserving residents and families undergoing counseling and struggling to resume productive lives. By helping them rebuild their lives, we’re also helping them give back to the community and contribute to the economy, so these programs benefit everyone.” The PHARE fund is managed by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. Funding comes from three main sources: a portion of the impact fees collected from natural gas companies operating in Pennsylvania to address the housing shortage caused by the impact of drilling, a portion of the realty transfer tax, and money from the National Housing Trust Fund. More information is available by visiting https://www.phfa.org/legislation/act105.aspx Read more
HARRISBURG, July 12 – Beaver County will receive $275,000 in funding to support affordable housing, home modification, and rental and utility assistance projects, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced. The funding comes from the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement fund, which is managed by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. “I’m so glad that we were successful in our efforts to help secure this funding,” said Matzie, who voted to support the creation of PHARE back in 2010. “Safe, affordable housing – and the ability of residents to meet basic household expenses – are at the heart of any thriving community. “The funding approved by PHFA will expand safe, affordable housing options for Beaver County residents; help residents obtain needed home modifications; and provide rent and utility assistance. At the same time, these projects will generate jobs and stimulate local economic activity. I’m excited to see the benefits they’ll bring for our community’s working families.” Matzie said the projects and funds are as follows: $200,000 to Verland for the Verland Center Township Residences, funded by the realty transfer tax; $50,000 to Community Development Program of Beaver County for a home modification program, funded by realty transfer tax; and $25,000 to Community Development Program of Beaver County for rental and utility assistance, funded Read more
HARRISBURG, July 12 – Lawrence County affordable housing and blight removal projects will receive $225,000 in funding through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement fund, state Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, announced today. “I’m pleased that we were successful in our efforts to help obtain funding for these projects,” Sainato said. “Affordable family housing, jobs and thriving local businesses are the hallmarks of a successful community, and the projects made possible by this funding will help our community continue to grow in all of these areas. “Affordable housing projects generate jobs and attract new businesses, while blight removal revitalizes the landscape – both physically and economically – by boosting property values, attracting new businesses and restoring a pulse to formerly vacant areas. I’m looking forward to seeing these projects breathe new life into parts of our community.” Sainato said the funding includes: $175,000 to Lawrence County Department of Planning and Community Development for the Lawrence County Blight Removal Program, funded by Marcellus Shale impact fee revenue. $50,000 to Housing Opportunities of Beaver County for the Lawrence County Expansion, funded by realty transfer tax revenue. The PHARE fund is managed by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. Funding comes from three main sources: a portion of the impact fees collected from Read more
ERIE, July 12 – Erie County projects to expand affordable housing and reduce blight will receive $450,000 through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement fund, state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, all D-Erie, announced today. “This funding is critically important for members of our community in need of housing – particularly those who may be homeless or struggling to make ends meet,” Harkins said. “It’s especially good to know that our efforts to help secure funding were successful because the organizations benefiting, such as Mercy Center for Women, do such vital work in helping residents regain productive lives.” Bizzarro agreed, noting that projects to expand affordable housing are good for the community on multiple levels. “These projects will not only expand affordable housing options for the working families of Erie, they will create jobs and spur increased economic activity,” Bizzarro said. “The projects will open doors for residents in so many ways.” Merski pointed out that the funding will also bolster efforts to revitalize vacant, blighted areas. “It’s great to see part of this funding go toward breathing life back into blighted, vacant areas of our community,” Merski said. “During my years on city council, I drafted the ordinance creating the city land bank for this very purpose. With this funding, the land bank can Read more
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