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

 

Harkins: Rule permitting clubs to use of 100% of small games of chance revenue for operating expenses ends this week

(Jun 06, 2022)

HARRISBURG, June 6 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, is reminding clubs in Erie and throughout Pennsylvania that beginning June 10, they must resume allocating 60% of their small games of chance revenue to public interest purposes. Harkins, who is Democratic chairman of House Gaming Committee, said the provisions of Act 118 of 2020 – which temporarily suspended the 60% rule and allowed organizations to keep 100% of their small games revenue for operating expenses – are set to expire. “I want to remind community clubs – including civic, fraternal and veterans’ organizations – that the temporary rule allowing them to use 100% of their small games of chance revenue for operating expenses is ending this Friday, June 10,” Harkins said. “The rule was essential for helping clubs meet operating expenses at time when pandemic-related closures and restrictions on gatherings severely limited revenue. “The legislation that established the new rule also created a time period for its application, permitting clubs to tap 100% of their small games proceeds during the governor’s disaster declaration and for up to one year following termination of the declaration. That period is ending this week, which means clubs will return to the standard rule, with 40% of the revenue used for costs and 60% for public interest programs and projects.” Organizations eligible for Small Games of Chance licenses in Read more

 

Longietti receives ‘Friend of Education’ award from Pa. Association of Intermediate Units

(Jun 03, 2022)

SEVEN SPRINGS, June 3 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, was awarded the “Friend of Education” award – which recognizes a person or organization making a “significant impact” on childhood education – by the Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units yesterday. Longietti – who co-chairs the bipartisan, bicameral Pennsylvania Legislative Early Childhood Education Caucus and is Democratic chairman of the state House Education Committee – said he was honored to be recognized by the group, whose efforts improve student lives and open doors. “Education is the great equalizer, and it represents the gateway to opportunity,” Longietti said. “When we invest in our children and provide them with the educational resources they need to succeed, we reap a harvest that is many times greater than our investment. “The Intermediate Unit professionals help maximize that investment through work that helps schools overcome obstacles, expand resources and strengthen special, individualized attention to students needing it.” Longietti accepted the award at the association’s annual conference held at Seven Springs. The Intermediate Units are regionally based and provide a range of services to schools in their area, including in the fields of special education, technology, finance, human resources and transportation. Schools in Mercer County and the region are served by Midwestern 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

 

State Rep. Mark Longietti offers boating safety tips

(May 23, 2022)

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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

 

Sainato: $150,000 awarded to Villa Maria farm center for hands-on learning

(May 11, 2022)

NEW CASTLE, May 11 – The Villa Maria Farm Center for Regenerative Agriculture is receiving a $151,106 grant from the state Department of Agriculture to help train new and beginning farmers about growing organic specialty crops, state Rep. Chris Sainato announced today. Sainato, D-Lawrence, said the funding will support in-person learning in demonstration gardens, as well as virtual learning, for an organization especially devoted to the community. “The Villa Maria Farm Center is a special place that embodies the self-reliance and community-minded spirit of the sisters who run it,” Sainato said. “A good portion of the farm’s produce is donated to food banks, shelters and parishes, and one of the center’s expressed goals is ensuring a fresh local food supply to those who need it. “Thanks to the new funding, the center will be able to provide hands-on learning and virtual lessons in organic agriculture to 10 new farmers each year. It’s a great investment that will bolster local agriculture while reinforcing the center’s messages of self-sufficiency, sustainability and community giving.” The farm, which operates on 759 acres, is part of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary’s Villa Maria Community Center. The grant is part of a package of $2.45 million in federal grants awarded statewide to 23 projects that will grow markets and increase the quality, safety Read more

 

Longietti receives ‘Legislative Excellence in Caring’ award from early education commission

(May 10, 2022)

HARRISBURG, May 10 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, was honored today by the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission for his legislative support and advocacy on behalf of improving early childhood education and child care in the commonwealth. Longietti – who co-chairs the bipartisan, bicameral Pennsylvania Legislative Early Childhood Education Caucus and is Democratic chairman of the state House Education Committee – said he was honored to be recognized by the commission because he is a strong supporter of the group’s work. “I will treasure this award because I am a such big fan of the work this commission does to ensure Pennsylvania’s kids receive the best possible start in life through quality child care and early learning programs,” Longietti said. “These are some of the best investments we can make in state government, and the commission’s voices are essential to making them happen.” In presenting the award on behalf of the commission, former Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker called Longietti an “outstanding champion for children and families,” saying he was instrumental in securing funding for the state’s Pre-K Counts Program, bringing the Nurse-Family Partnership to Mercer County and working with United Way to launch the county’s chapter of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Praising Longietti as a “reliable and stout advocate with stakeholders across 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

 

Longietti honored by University of Pittsburgh Occupational Therapy Department

(Apr 26, 2022)

HARRISBURG, April 26 – The University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Occupational Therapy today presented State Rep. Mark Longietti with the school’s Award of Appreciation, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated meaningful engagement with the University’s OT students. Longietti – who was nominated based on his service as a guest lecturer for the university’s Master in OT Program – said he was deeply honored by the award. “Receiving this recognition from the University of Pittsburgh’s Occupational Therapy Department is a special honor because the folks presenting it are models of dedication to their field,” Longietti said. “The passion and devotion to the work these educators show every day inspires students to take that with them into the field, and it makes a world of difference to their patients. “I have felt humbled to play a role in helping teach these students about the legislative process and the importance of becoming engaged in policies affecting their profession.” In presenting the award, professor and Department Chair Elizabeth Skidmore noted that Longietti has been consistently engaged with students in creditable and valuable ways during the past five years, has regularly made time for in-person lectures on the complexity of government, and has taken information from hearings and meetings with those in the profession to the House chamber to Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $350,000 awarded for projects to improve Erie fishing opportunities

(Apr 26, 2022)

ERIE, April 26 – Erie anglers will benefit from $348,600 in funding awarded by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the following two grants were awarded through the Erie Access Improvement Grant Program, which was expanded based on legislation co-authored by Harkins and Erie colleague state Rep. Parke Wentling: $248,700 to Western PA Port Authority for Parade Street Dock Access Rehabilitation. The dock’s public access wall has failed, creating sidewalk cracking requiring the dock’s closure. The funding will allow the Port Authority and S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie Fishing Club to reconstruct the handicapped accessible fishing area by building a new sheet-pile retaining wall and concrete walkway and installing safety ladders. The facility and adjacent parking lot will be ADA-accessible. $99,900 to Penn State/Pennsylvania Sea Grant for Manchester Falls fish passage study. The Pennsylvania Sea Grant will lead a feasibility and design study to provide a framework for increasing fish passage and improved fishing opportunities upstream of Manchester Falls of Walnut Creek. The study will also address prevention of invasive species migration upstream. “The Parade Street dock along Presque Isle Bay has offered years of enjoyment as a special place for all anglers, including Read more

 

Sainato: $1 million awarded for state-of-the-art training equipment

(Apr 22, 2022)

NEW CASTLE, April 22 – A $1 million grant from the state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program will fund state-of-the-art training equipment for solar and other alternative energy technologies at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 712 Solar Training Facility in Neshannock, state Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, announced today. Sainato said the funding to Western Central PA Electrician Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee for the IBEW facility equipment will ensure local workers have cutting-edge training on alternative energy technologies that are becoming more and more a part of modern production. “Our district has deep roots in manufacturing and industry and an extremely talented workforce, but it’s critical to keep pace with changing technologies and alternative energy sources,” Sainato said. “Today’s funding is going to support construction of cutting-edge alternative energy training equipment for the electrical apprenticeship training center in Neshannock Township. “The building’s HVAC system will get a geothermal heat pump, and electricity will be generated by an on-site solar array. Additional alternative energy equipment will include vehicle charging stations, wind turbines, a welding and charging building and an energy dashboard. “With more and more automakers turning to electric and an increasing demand for alternative energy Read more

 

Longietti: PHEAA board votes to raise maximum student aid grant amount

(Apr 22, 2022)

HERMITAGE, April 22 – Eligible Pennsylvania college students may see an increase in financial aid grant funding after the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency board voted to raise the maximum amount available under the PA State Grant Program from $5,000 to $5,750, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced today. Longietti, who is a member of the PHEAA board, said he voted for the increase because it is a sound financial investment that will pay off for the state economy. “These are challenging times for everyone, but for young adults just starting out in life, the weight of student debt can be crushing,” Longietti said. “The grant program makes it possible for low- and middle-income students to pursue their career goals and allows them to graduate with less debt and more disposable income to invest back into the economy. “Supplementing the program at a time when household budgets are strained only makes sense. It’s a move that will encourage more students to stay in state, study here and raise families here.” Longietti said the proposed funding formula for 2022-23 also would allow an additional 9,000 students to benefit from the grant system. The increase depends on the state legislature’s approval of a proposed $350 million appropriation for the PA State Grant Program, which represents a 12.8% increase over the current year. Read more

 

Longietti: $9 million loan secured to improve Greenville water service

(Apr 20, 2022)

HERMITAGE, April 20 – Better water service is on tap for Greenville residents, thanks to a $9 million low-interest loan from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced today. Longietti said the loan to Greenville Water Authority will fund a project to replace and relocate the Hadley Road Booster Pump Station and replace approximately 25,600 linear feet of leaded-joint, cast-iron pipe with polyvinyl chloride mains and 272 service connections, including 32 known/suspected lead service lines. “The new pump station and service lines will improve the delivery and safety of drinking water for Greenville," Longietti said. “The Hadley Road Booster Pump Station was built during the early 1900s and is long overdue for replacement. The new station, which will be installed near UPMC Horizon Hospital, will be more efficient and better at reducing unwanted disinfection byproducts in the water. The installation of a new, permanent generator at the site will ensure a continuous, reliable water supply to customers. “The new service lines will replace the existing cast-iron pipes and lead joints that had a history of leaks and water main breaks and will give residents better peace of mind in knowing that their drinking water is free of contaminants.” Longietti said the project will also include replacing fire hydrants, service lines, interconnections to side streets and Read more

 

Sainato: $270,000 awarded for Union Township sidewalk construction

(Apr 20, 2022)

NEW CASTLE, April 20 – New sidewalks and related safety improvements are coming to multiple streets in Union Township with help from $270,000 in federal infrastructure dollars, state Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, announced today. Sainato said the project, partially funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will offer important safety protections for pedestrians. “Constructing sidewalks along these routes will keep pedestrians out of the road, where they are much more vulnerable to being struck, particularly during the evenings and other times of poor visibility,” Sainato said. “It’s an important step we can take to better protect folks traveling on foot and also give them greater peace of mind.” Sainato said project includes the following streets: Bluff Street from Boroline Street to West Division Street. Spring Street from Smithfield Street to Bluff Street. Smithfield Street from Boroline Street to West Division Street. Walter Street. Magee Street. West Division Street from Smithfield Street to Bluff Street. Boroline Street from Smithfield Street to Bluff Street. The funding is part of a package awarded to 64 Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside projects in 34 counties. The Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside of the Federal Highway Administration’s Read more

 

Harkins, Merski to host May 5 live town hall addressing Presque Isle, Lake Erie cell service problems

(Apr 19, 2022)

ERIE, April 19 – State Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, will host a live town hall May 5 to address cell phone signal problems on and around Presque Isle and Lake Erie. The lawmakers said the event – from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Room 112 of the Tom Ridge Environmental Center – will bring together residents, business owners, local groups, county and state officials, and other stakeholders to identify the scope of the problem and lay the groundwork for developing solutions. “Our phones are lifelines to the rest of the world – connections for getting help in dangerous situations or contacting loved ones to let them know we’re OK,” Harkins said. “But for residents living near Lake Erie, tourists visiting Presque Isle and the surrounding shoreline, and businesses that rely on the lake, service has been unreliable and sometimes non-existent. Those connections are essential, and we need to get them working as soon as possible.” Merski said, “This is more than a convenience issue – it’s a public safety issue. It’s also an issue that affects the local businesses and the recreation and tourism that are so important to our area. Our live town hall will be an opportunity for residents and other stakeholders to discuss concerns and start collaborating on ways to solve the problem.” Speakers will include representatives Read more

 

Sainato: $600,000 grant awarded to DON Enterprises for Wright Building Project

(Apr 15, 2022)

NEW CASTLE, April 15 – New funding of $600,000 will boost a developer’s efforts to revitalize part of downtown New Castle, state Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, announced today. Sainato said the grant to DON Enterprises Inc. under the Community Revitalization Fund Program will fund the developer’s ongoing project to rehabilitate the Wright Building into a mix-used property. “This is a great boost for DON’s efforts to revitalize this area of New Castle’s Lower East Side,” Sainato said. “Historic old buildings like the Wright Building hold so much promise for residential and commercial development, but often require extensive rehabilitation. This grant will help bolster those efforts that promise to turn the space into real-world opportunities for affordable housing and new business activity.” Funding for the project was raised through the sale of tax credits under the Mixed-Use Development Tax Credit Program. The Community Revitalization Fund Program is administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, which works to provide affordable homeownership and rental housing options for older adults, low- and moderate-income families, and people with special housing needs. The grant is one of six awarded statewide under the program. More information about the grants is available here: Read more

 

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

Harkins: Rule permitting clubs to use of 100% of small games of chance revenue for operating expenses ends this week
Jun 06, 2022

Longietti receives ‘Friend of Education’ award from Pa. Association of Intermediate Units
Jun 03, 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

State Rep. Mark Longietti offers boating safety tips
May 23, 2022

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

Sainato: $150,000 awarded to Villa Maria farm center for hands-on learning
May 11, 2022

Longietti receives ‘Legislative Excellence in Caring’ award from early education commission
May 10, 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

Longietti honored by University of Pittsburgh Occupational Therapy Department
Apr 26, 2022

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $350,000 awarded for projects to improve Erie fishing opportunities
Apr 26, 2022

Sainato: $1 million awarded for state-of-the-art training equipment
Apr 22, 2022

Longietti: PHEAA board votes to raise maximum student aid grant amount
Apr 22, 2022

Longietti: $9 million loan secured to improve Greenville water service
Apr 20, 2022

Sainato: $270,000 awarded for Union Township sidewalk construction
Apr 20, 2022

Harkins, Merski to host May 5 live town hall addressing Presque Isle, Lake Erie cell service problems
Apr 19, 2022

Sainato: $600,000 grant awarded to DON Enterprises for Wright Building Project
Apr 15, 2022