Merski, Harkins: Nearly $250,000 awarded to boost security for two Erie organizations

(Sep 02, 2022)

ERIE, Sept. 2 – Several Erie facilities will benefit from enhanced security thanks to $245,000 in federal grant funding, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding – awarded through the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program – includes $150,000 to Chabad Lubavitch of Erie County, Inc. and two separate grants totaling $95,000 to the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. “I’m glad this funding is available to shore up protections against those who would seek to spread hatred and violence,” Merski said. “I also encourage everyone in our community to stand together and send a strong message that hate will find no safe harbor here in Erie.” Harkins said, “People should never have to feel threatened where they live, work, or pray. It’s my hope that this funding and the stronger security it provides will bring the peace of mind everyone deserves in our community.” The grants are part of a package of $4.2 million awarded statewide to protect diverse communities targeted by hate crimes. The program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, provides funding for target hardening and physical security enhancements, with a focus on organizations that are at high risk of a potential terrorist attack. More information about the funding is Read more

 

Merski’s office can help residents applying under Pa. Marijuana Pardon Project

(Sep 01, 2022)

ERIE, Sept. 1 – The state Board of Pardons will be accepting applications for the new PA Marijuana Pardon Project through Sept. 30, and state Rep. Bob Merski wants residents to know that his office is available to help. Merski, D-Erie, said the project can offer a fresh start for residents with minor, non-violent marijuana offenses on their record. “The new marijuana pardon project can be life-changing for people who want only to resume productive lives in our community,” Merski said. “Convictions for minor offenses like these can end up derailing school and career plans, cutting off access to housing and other critical assistance and preventing folks from getting back into the fold of our community to raise families, be trusted neighbors, and give back. “People convicted of possession or use of a small amount of marijuana are eligible to apply, and there is no limit regarding the age of the conviction. I encourage anyone who believes they may qualify to apply, and to contact us for help along the way. Our community is stronger when we work together to lift each other up.” Merski said residents eligible are those with one or both of the following convictions: Possession of Marijuana (Title 35 Section 780-113 Subsection A31) Marijuana, Small Amount Personal Use (Title 35 Section 780-113 Subsection A31I) The link to apply for the pardon is pa.gov/mjpardon Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $375,000 in grant funding will bring fresh produce to Erie elementary schools

(Sep 01, 2022)

ERIE, Aug. 31 – More fresh fruits and vegetables are headed to Erie elementary schools, thanks to $372,400 in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said funding under the USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program includes $331,450 to elementary schools in the Erie City School District and $40,950 to the Iroquois School District. “Snacks like raw fruits and vegetables are quite literally brain food for kids – proven to help them focus better, retain more information, and perform better on tests,” Merski said. “They also help boost young immune systems to keep illness at bay. I am thrilled that we were able to help secure this funding so our students can reap the benefits of more nutritious snacks.” Harkins said, “ Getting more fresh produce into our local schools can do so much for students – in addition to increased school performance, getting kids snacking on fruits and vegetables instead of junk food helps them form healthy habits from a young age – hopefully, lessons that will last a lifetime. Funding priority was given to the schools with the highest rates of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals. More information about the grants is available here , and a full list of the schools receiving funding Read more

 

Merski kicking off back-to-school supply drive

(Aug 18, 2022)

ERIE, Aug. 18 – State Rep. Bob Merski is kicking off his annual back-to-school supply drive Friday, Aug. 19, and the list this year includes some new items. Merski, D-Erie, said donations are especially important now, as more families are struggling with rising prices, and that personal care products and socks have been added to the list of requested items. “School-supply shopping can take a big bite out of a family’s budget, and that’s especially true this year, with prices on the rise,” Merski said. “We partnered with schools in the Erie City, Harbor Creek, Fort LeBoeuf, Iroquois and Wattsburg Area school districts to find out what items are most needed. In addition to traditional supplies, schools are requesting personal care items, such as deodorant, toothbrushes and tooth paste, as well as socks. “Folks in our community have always responded generously to these drives, and I’m encouraging residents who can afford it to considering donating again this year. It can make a big difference to a family in need.” Merski said the following new items are especially helpful: Markers, including highlighters, color markers, dry-erase markers and permanent markers. Pencils, erasers (pencil top and large pink erasers), colored pencils, pencil boxes and pens. Crayons, student scissors and sticky notes. Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: City of Erie FD receiving $250,000 for fire safety apparatus

(Aug 11, 2022)

ERIE, Aug. 11 – A $250,000 grant to the City of Erie Fire Department will help fund apparatus for the city’s public safety operations, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the grant will help the department meet critical needs. “Erie’s firefighters are some of the most dedicated out there, but they can’t do the job without a full complement of working equipment,” Merski said. “Apparatus requires constant maintenance, and outdated equipment is costly to replace. This funding is going to help replenish resources the department badly needs.” Harkins said, “Our community’s firefighters risk their lives for us when they go out into the front lines. Securing this funding is going to help ensure they have equipment they can count on as they work to protect the rest of us.” The funding is being administered through the state Department of Community and Economic Development. Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: More than $3 million awarded to bolster early education

(Aug 01, 2022)

ERIE, Aug. 1 – Erie County students will benefit from new early education resources thanks to more than $3 million in funding, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding will open up new PA Pre-K Counts slots and help grantees in the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program defray increased operating costs. “The resources we invest in early childhood education bring some of the greatest, longest-lasting returns because they fund programs that shape developing minds,” Merski said. “As a teacher for more than two decades, I have seen firsthand the difference that having the right start in life can make for a child. I’m delighted that this funding is coming to the county to open up new PA Pre-K Counts slots and bolster Head Start programs.” Harkins said, “Study after study shows that kids who have access to programs like Pre-K Counts and Head Start thrive more fully, learn essential skills earlier and have a better overall chance of succeeding in the world. Today’s funding to enrich those programs is terrific news for students, parents, educators and our entire community.” The following grants were awarded to benefit students in the First and Second Legislative Districts: Pre-K Counts grants Child Development Centers, Inc. $400,000. Dr. Gertrude A. Barber Center, Inc. $80,000. Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $1.5 million awarded for Erie traffic signal upgrades

(Jul 13, 2022)

ERIE, July 13 – Erie County motorists and pedestrians will benefit from smoother traffic flow and greater safety thanks to nearly $1.5 million in grant funding to upgrade traffic signals in the city and in Summit and Millcreek townships, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding includes nearly $983,000 for signal improvements in the city, nearly $245,000 for upgrades in Summit township, and another $268,000 for work in Millcreek. “Erie is receiving nearly $1 million to modernize three major traffic signals located along French Street where it intersects with 9th, 10th, and 11th streets,” Harkins said. “The project will include full reconstruction of the signals and ADA ramps. It’s an investment that has been needed for some time to maximize traffic flow and keep motorists, bikers and pedestrians safe.” Merski said nearly $245,000 will fund improvements to multiple intersection signals in Summit. “The new funding to Summit will allow the township to upgrade traffic detection and controller assembly units at nine different intersections along the Peach Street corridor. The work will keep traffic flowing smoother and allow workers to determine when it isn’t flowing efficiently and adjustments are needed. Motorists will benefit from fewer delays and reduced fuel consumption, and everyone will benefit from greater safety.” The lawmakers said that in addition Read more

 

Merski votes for 2022-23 budget, citing historic education funding

(Jul 08, 2022)

HARRISBURG, July 8 – Citing a historic investment in public education, state Rep. Bob Merski cast a “yes” vote Thursday for the Pennsylvania’s 2022-23 budget plan. The plan has passed the Senate and now heads for the governor’s desk. Merski, D-Erie, said the funding can be game-changing for districts like Erie, where decades of underfunding have left students struggling to compete and taxpayers footing the bill for a system that fails both. “Today, we took a huge step forward with a funding commitment that can begin to change the dynamic for our students – and the future of the state,” Merski said. “Quality education doesn’t just ease the burden on taxpayers and help students succeed, it brings lower unemployment, more stable families, better health outcomes and lower crime rates – and taxpayer savings. This is an investment the state has needed to make for some time, and one it can no longer afford to ignore. “The new plan increases funding for basic education by $525 million and funding for special education by $100 million. It also provides for $225 million in level-up funding, which will bring an additional $6.6 million in funding to the Erie City School District. I worked to ensure that there is also funding for continuation of student mental health services.” Merski said districts across the board will see the Read more

 

Merski only Pa. legislator chosen for national legislative leaders program

(Jul 05, 2022)

HARRISBURG, July 5 – State Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, announced that he has been selected to participate in the 2022 Emerging Legislative Leaders Program at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. Read more

 

Merski hosting Pride Month virtual town hall on June 27

(Jun 20, 2022)

ERIE, June 20 – In honor of Pride Month, state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, is hosting a virtual town hall at 7 p.m. Monday, June 27 to discuss topics of importance to LGBTQIA+ people in Erie. “June is Pride Month, and while it is important to celebrate the achievements and contributions of LGBTQIA+ people, it’s equally important to continue talking about the concerns, biases and issues many people still face,” Merski said. “Our virtual town hall will be a forum for folks to discuss issues that can impact opportunity and quality of life for LGBTQIA+ residents. Those are issues for our entire Erie community to address, but an open dialog is the first step. I encourage everyone to sign on and be part of that dialog.” Those interested in attending the live online Teams event should send their name and email address to Merski’s office by emailing RepMerski@pahouse.net or calling (814) 455-6319. The event will also be livestreamed on Merski’s Facebook page – @RepMerski . For more information, contact Merski’s office at (814) 455-6319. Read more

 

Merski kicks off 2022 flag takeback program

(Jun 14, 2022)

ERIE, June 14 – With Flag Day here, state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, is kicking off his annual flag takeback program, which allows residents to drop off their worn, torn or tattered American flags to be properly retired. Merski, who sponsors the program in partnership with Summit Township, said residents enjoy the convenience of being able to drop off flags ready to be retired. “Our flag takeback program is entering its fourth year, and we’re proud to provide this popular seasonal service to help folks prepare for the Fourth,” Merski said. “Residents can leave their faded, tattered flags with us and have the peace of mind of knowing they will be properly retired, with all the respect Old Glory deserves.” Merski said residents can drop off flags at the following office locations: District office - 3901 Liberty St., 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Summit office - 1230 Townhall Road W., 12:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. every Tuesday. The program will run through July 4. ATTN EDITORS/ASSIGNMENT DESKS: Rep. Merski’s comments about the program are available here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/6lb9gws1wy4r76s/060822%20Merski%20Flag%20Collection.mp4?dl=0 Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $1 million awarded to expand housing assistance

(Jun 10, 2022)

ERIE, June 10 – Erie County organizations are receiving $970,000 in funding to expand housing-related services for families in need, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding from the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund will address a range of different needs that open doors for residents. “This funding will strengthen programs across the board for residents facing housing challenges,” Merski said. “Some of those dollars will support our most vulnerable residents, including folks in crisis, by strengthening resources for area shelters, while other funding will support home repair programs and programs to help families working toward first-time homeownership. All of the funding comes at an important time, when folks are still building back from the impacts of the pandemic.” Harkins said, “The stability that comes with having a home gives parents and caregivers the peace of mind to know their kids are safe, gives families the support of a caring community and provides people with the freedom and confidence to find work. Securing this funding today is going to help get those keys to self-sufficiency into the hands of more Erie residents in need.” The funding includes: $200,000 to Greater Erie Community Action Committee for the Corridor of Opportunity program. Read more

 

Erie awarded $37,500 for historical site survey, Old Customs House renovation

(Jun 09, 2022)

ERIE, June 9 – Erie is receiving two grants from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission: $25,000 to fund a historical site survey and $12,500 for the first phase of a project to preserve the Erie Art Museum’s Old Customs House, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the survey will help bring more of Erie’s past to light. “While much of Erie’s rich history is memorialized in treasures like the Brig Niagara, Presque Isle Light and Dickson Tavern, other markers of our past have yet to be discovered and preserved,” Merski said. “The survey funded by this grant is going to help us identify all historic resources within the city – including sites and landmarks that may be eligible for National Register of Historic Places designation – so they can add chapters to our unique story.” Harkins said the Old Customs House renovation is an important preservation project. “The Old Customs House contains more than 400 of the Erie Art Museum’s pieces and hosts several exhibitions yearly, but the structure is nearly two centuries old, and in significant need of preservation. This funding will help get that important project underway.” The funding is part of a package of Keystone Historic Preservation Grants awarded statewide and funded through the Keystone Recreation, Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: More than $1 million awarded to strengthen victim supports, address student mental health, reduce recidivism

(Jun 08, 2022)

ERIE, June 8 – Erie County is receiving $1.02 million in funding to improve probation services, strengthen services for sexual assault victims, and respond to student mental health needs, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency will ensure county services and supports have access to the staff, training and other resources needed for good outcomes. “Today’s funding is going to help us do more for victims of sexual assault by funding a Sexual Assault Response Team,” Merski said. “A swift team response means better professional support for those who have been traumatized by vicious crimes and heartier enforcement through training that improves investigation and prosecution of offenders. “Some of the funding will also help us better address student mental health needs by funding a mental health liaison to connect students needing support to counseling. Those services are critical for students who are in troubled or in crisis and may not know where to turn.” Harkins said, “In addition to strengthening resources for assault victims and student mental health needs, today’s funding will help improve county probation services and reduce recidivism. Some of those dollars will support key step-down, supervisory services that fill a gap between incarceration and probation. Read more

 

Merski hosting ‘one-stop-shop’ senior bus pass workshops June 10

(Jun 02, 2022)

ERIE, June 2 – Seniors in the Harborcreek and Wesleyville areas can apply for and obtain a senior bus pass that allows them to ride any EMTA bus for free by visiting one of state Rep. Bob Merski’s one-stop-shop bus pass workshops on June 10. Merski, whose office currently provides same-day senior bus pass service, said he is offering the June workshops to expand outreach at a time when rising gas prices are making public transit a sensible option for seniors on a fixed income. “With inflation and gas prices on the rise, ‘riding the e for free’ is a great option for seniors,” Merski said. “Residents 65 or older can visit one of our workshops, get help completing the application, and receive their pass, all in one simple process. Those attending should remember to bring acceptable proof of age.” Both workshops will be held on Friday, June 10, at the following times and locations: Wesleyville: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Wesleyville Borough Hall, 3421 Buffalo Road. Harborcreek: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Harborcreek Municipal Building, 5601 Buffalo Road. Merski said seniors interested in obtaining the bus pass must bring an acceptable proof-of-age document, which may include a valid driver’s license, birth certificate, armed forces discharge or separation papers, passport or naturalization papers, PACE card, Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: More than $530,000 in tax credits approved to boost young tech companies in Erie

(May 12, 2022)

ERIE, May 12 – Early-stage technology companies in Erie will benefit from $530,714 in tax credits approved today, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the Keystone Innovation Zone tax credits will be key to helping a growing Erie industry flourish. “Erie’s growing tech industry is diversifying our manufacturing and business sectors and bringing more family-sustaining jobs to the region,” Harkins said. “But for young companies, solvency and cash flow can pose huge challenges. The tax credits awarded today will make it easier for these companies to grow so they can stay in Erie, strengthen their bases in the community and expand.” Merski said, “It’s exciting to see more and more tech companies putting down roots here in Erie, but we need to make sure we can offer the favorable business climate and incentives they need to survive and thrive here. One way is by lowering the state corporate income tax, and another is by providing tax credits like the ones awarded today, which help reduce the burden on young companies starting out.” The lawmakers say the tax credits include: Evident Holding Company, LLC – $26,087 Institute on Healthcare Directives – $11,370 Makerplace Inc. – $100,000 VelocityNet Video, Inc. – $40,735 Steel Toe Consulting, Read more

 

Harkins, Merski encouraged by turnout at town hall addressing cell issues

(May 06, 2022)

ERIE, May 6 – State Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins said they were heartened that yesterday’s live town hall to address cell service problems on Presque Isle, the lake, and the surrounding shore drew a strong crowd and participation by area cell service providers. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the event was an opportunity to bring those companies together with community members so providers could understand the urgency of the problem. “This is an issue that has been coming up year after year with service along the lakeshore,” Merski said. “Calls are constantly being dropped, and for folks who live close to water and below the bluff, sometimes there is no service at all. It’s posing a safety issue, especially as more and more people have cut the cord on their land lines. “We heard from a Harborcreek Township woman who tried to call 911 when her husband needed emergency medical help, and the call kept dropping. Thankfully, she was able to get help, but the incident showed us how critical it is to get stronger service and why we need to address this now. People’s lives can be quite literally on the line. “It’s also a cost issue. The Harborcreek resident ended up having to sign up for a land line. We shouldn’t force people to undergo extra expenses. Companies should be providing this cell service as part of their obligation under the Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: $2.25M loan funding 90,000-SF warehouse, distribution center

(May 04, 2022)

ERIE, May 4 – A low-interest loan of $2.25 million to the Enterprise Development Center of Erie County will fund construction of a 90,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center for lease to an expanding manufacturer, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said EDCEC will enter into a 15-year lease with Berry Plastics as the global manufacturer and marketer of plastic packaging products looks to expand its Erie presence. “The new funding is terrific news for our local workforce,” Harkins said. “When companies like Berry expand their footprint, it means new job opportunities for the district. With the plans for the new warehouse underway, Berry has already committed to creating 15 full-time jobs and retaining 145 current positions within three years. We are proud to have Berry here and even more excited to see this project get a boost with this new loan funding.” Merski said, “Berry has been a valued local employer for years now, and we are thrilled to see them expanding again. Our thanks to Tina Mengine and the Erie County Redevelopment Authority for their efforts to secure this funding, which helps ensure that this global leader continues growing its operations right here in Erie.” Harkins said the 15-year loan has a $1.5% reset interest rate. The total project cost for the facility – to be located at 1501 Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $1.5 million awarded for Erie-area recycling projects

(Apr 27, 2022)

HARRISBURG, April 27 – Erie-area recycling and leaf-collection programs will get a boost from $1.48 million in grant funding, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the funding is part of a package of Recycling Development and Implementation grants that will help communities launch or continue successful programs. “Erie business owners and residents understand the economic and ecological benefits of recycling, and our communities have embraced these efforts,” Harkins said. “The investments made today are going to ensure those programs keep running strong.” Merski said, “This funding is extremely practical -- communities can use it to expand recycling facilities, start or continue curbside programs, operate leaf compost facilities, and other programs that make a very real impact when it comes to saving money, saving energy, creating jobs and all the other benefits those programs bring.” The following communities will receive grant funding: Erie City – $350,000. Millcreek Township – $350,000. Erie County – $334,622. Edinboro Borough – $291,103. Fairview Township – $153,000. Through the grant program, municipalities and counties in Pennsylvania are eligible for up to 90% funding of approved Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $250,000 awarded to boost security for two Erie organizations
Sep 02, 2022

Merski’s office can help residents applying under Pa. Marijuana Pardon Project
Sep 01, 2022

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $375,000 in grant funding will bring fresh produce to Erie elementary schools
Sep 01, 2022

Merski kicking off back-to-school supply drive
Aug 18, 2022

Merski, Harkins: City of Erie FD receiving $250,000 for fire safety apparatus
Aug 11, 2022

Merski, Harkins: More than $3 million awarded to bolster early education
Aug 01, 2022

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $1.5 million awarded for Erie traffic signal upgrades
Jul 13, 2022

Merski votes for 2022-23 budget, citing historic education funding
Jul 08, 2022

Merski only Pa. legislator chosen for national legislative leaders program
Jul 05, 2022

Merski hosting Pride Month virtual town hall on June 27
Jun 20, 2022

Merski kicks off 2022 flag takeback program
Jun 14, 2022

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $1 million awarded to expand housing assistance
Jun 10, 2022

Erie awarded $37,500 for historical site survey, Old Customs House renovation
Jun 09, 2022

Merski, Harkins: More than $1 million awarded to strengthen victim supports, address student mental health, reduce recidivism
Jun 08, 2022

Merski hosting ‘one-stop-shop’ senior bus pass workshops June 10
Jun 02, 2022

State Rep. Bob Merski shares tips during National Safe Boating Week
May 23, 2022

Harkins, Merski: More than $530,000 in tax credits approved to boost young tech companies in Erie
May 12, 2022

Harkins, Merski encouraged by turnout at town hall addressing cell issues
May 06, 2022

Harkins, Merski: $2.25M loan funding 90,000-SF warehouse, distribution center
May 04, 2022

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $1.5 million awarded for Erie-area recycling projects
Apr 27, 2022