Merski, Harkins: $20,000 secured to keep hunger off Mercyhurst campus

(Jan 11, 2023)

ERIE, Jan. 11 – Mercyhurst University has been awarded $20,000 to help fight student hunger and food insecurity, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding from the Hunger-Free Campus grant program will help address a problem that still plagues campus life for some students. “Hunger is a huge obstacle to learning, whether the student is age 8 or 18,” Merski said. “Securing this funding for Mercyhurst University will ensure that hunger and food security do not stand in the way of Erie’s young adults as they pursue higher education and careers.” Harkins said, “Food insecurity doesn’t just affect families in households. It can follow students to the classroom and be a barrier as they work to obtain a degree. This funding is going to allow Mercyhurst University to knock down those barriers by ensuring students have the nutrition they need.” More on the funding is available here: http://governor.pa.gov/newsroom/governor-and-first-lady-announce-1-million-in-pa-hunger-free-campus-grant-funding-for-28-colleges-and-universities/ . Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: $250,000 secured to strengthen Erie apprenticeship opportunities

(Jan 11, 2023)

ERIE, Jan. 11 – New funding of $250,000 awarded to Early Connections will help smooth the path from the classroom to the workplace for Erie students, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding comes from the Schools-to-Work Program administered by the state Department of Labor and Industry. “Venturing out of the classroom and into a work environment is one of the best ways for students to discover how their skills and interests intersect with real-world workforce needs,” Merski said. “The new funding to Early Connections will help ensure Erie students continue receiving those opportunities.” Harkins said, “Pre-apprenticeship programs can make the path from high school to the workplace smoother and more successful for students. With this funding, Early Connections can help students get the workplace visits, mentorships, job shadowing and other tools that are such an important part of the process.” Early Connections serves Erie, Clarion, Crawford, Forest, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties. More on Labor and Industry grant programs is available here: https://www.dli.pa.gov/Businesses/Workforce-Development/grants/Pages/Grant-Programs-at-LI.aspx . Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Mercyhurst University receives $40,000 ‘It’s on Us’ grant to bolster student safety

(Jan 10, 2023)

ERIE, Jan. 10 – New funding of $40,000 will help Mercyhurst University bolster security and keep the campus safe from the threat of sexual violence, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding comes from the It’s On Us PA Grant Program administered by the state Department of Education. “The college campus should be a supportive, nurturing place where students have the peace of mind they need to learn and mature into confident adults,” Merski said. “Today’s funding will help ensure Mercyhurst students have that sense of security and all the resources needed to ensure their safety.” Harkins said, “No student should ever have to fear for their safety on a college campus, and no parent or caregiver should ever have to worry when they send a child off to pursue a degree. The grant funding to Mercyhurst will help the school maintain a safe environment that encourages young adults to pursue their dreams.” It’s On Us PA is a statewide campaign that was launched in 2016. The program is designed to raise awareness about sexual assault; teach students that assault includes non-consensual sex, advise them on how to identify dangerous situations, and empower them to intervene; and foster an environment of support for sexual assault survivors. More on the campaign is available at Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $60k secured to promote Erie agriculture, boost preschooler nutrition, teach food science and safety

(Jan 09, 2023)

ERIE, Jan. 9 – Nearly $60,000 in funding to several Erie organizations awarded under the state Department of Agriculture’s PA Farm Bill will support urban agriculture, provide farm-fresh food for preschoolers, and teach them about gardening and boost educational programs in food science and safety, state Reps. Rob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced. “The new funding is going to help boost preschooler nutrition and inspire young students to learn about urban gardening and the key role it can play in addressing food insecurity,” Merski said. “In addition to funding projects for younger students, the new grants will help strengthen urban agriculture projects and enrich programs that teach older students about food science and safety,” Harkins said. The lawmakers said the funding includes: $22,614 Agriculture and Youth matching grant to Northwestern Community Youth Center for equipment for raised beds and kitchen expansion. $14,883 Agriculture and Youth matching grant to Sisters of Saint Joseph Neighborhood Network for urban agriculture project sites. $8,589 Farm to School grant to Early Connections Inc. for a project to incorporate gardening in the pre-K curriculum, add taste-testing of nutritious foods, and aid in procurement from local farms. $7,500 Agriculture and Youth direct grant Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $400K secured for pedestrian safety

(Jan 04, 2023)

ERIE, Jan. 4 – A new grant of $395,769 will fund intersection improvements to better protect Erie pedestrians with visual or hearing impairments and those in wheelchairs, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding from PennDOT’s Automated Red-Light Enforcement program will allow the city to install 30 accessible pedestrian signal buttons. The devices, which are placed at a height that allows them to be used by pedestrians in wheelchairs, also include features for vision- and hearing-impaired pedestrians. “Simple modifications like adding accessible pedestrian signal buttons can make a huge difference for pedestrians in wheelchairs and those who are blind or have low vision or other disabilities,” Harkins said. “Mobility is a key component of independent living,” Merski said. “In addition to enhancing safety, the new equipment will make it possible for more Erie residents to find that independence.” Funding for ARLA grants comes from judgements for red light violations at 36 intersections in Philadelphia. The funding can be used for projects that improve safety, enhance mobility or reduce congestion. Read more

 

Merski: Nearly $220,000 secured for two Erie fire companies

(Jan 04, 2023)

ERIE, Jan. 4 – Two Erie fire companies will share $216,300 in state grant funding for new resources, state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, announced today. Merski said the funding includes $146,300 to Brookside Fire Company for self-contained breathing apparatus units, including 19 packs and 18 cylinders and batteries, and $70,000 to Perry Hi-Way Hose Company for training support. “Firefighters rely on properly functioning equipment and regular training to protect them during life-threatening situations, but keeping resources up to date can severely strain tight department budgets,” Merski said. “Securing this new funding should relieve some of that strain and help protect those who answer the call – regardless of the danger – to keep the rest of us safe.” Merski said the funding was administered through the Department of Community and Economic Development. Read more

 

Merski takes oath to begin third term representing 2nd Legislative District

(Jan 03, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 3 – State Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, was sworn in today at the state Capitol to begin his third term representing the residents of the 2 nd Legislative District. Merski outlined some legislative priorities and his vision as he leads the Northwest Democratic Delegation. “I’m excited about representing our district in the year ahead and optimistic about what we can accomplish in the new term,” Merski said. “I’m also looking forward to another year leading the Northwest Democratic Delegation as we work to build on our region’s unique strengths, including our expanding industrial base in the tech and advanced manufacturing fields. “Beyond expanding access to funding, we’ll be working to ensure these industries have the long-term supports – including infrastructure and a well-trained workforce – they need to keep growing. “I will also be working to help local small businesses; to improve benefits for retirees by making it easier for counties to issue cost-of-living increases; and to make sure our schools have the resources they need for our students and their families. “Here at home, I’m looking forward to engaging in outreach across the new 2nd District, and helping residents with state-related issues. I encourage anyone needing assistance to contact my office at Read more

 

Harkins sworn in to ninth term representing state’s 1st Legislative District

(Jan 03, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 3 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, took the oath of office today in the state Capitol to begin his ninth term representing Pennsylvania’s 1st Legislative District. Harkins said stronger protections for workers will be among his top priorities in the year ahead. “The new session brings a new chance to accomplish legislative priorities, and for me, protecting workers’ rights and safety is high on that list,” Harkins said. “In the year ahead, I will be reintroducing legislation that would require the state to provide public workers with the same safety protections already available to workers in private companies. Public employees in many other states already have those protections, and Pennsylvania workers are no less deserving. “I will also be introducing legislation to punish dishonest employers who misclassify workers as independent contractors to avoid paying them benefits and to protect employees victimized by workplace bullying. “Fixing our broken mental health system is another top priority, and I will be introducing a bill to start reforming the system, whose failings leave our prisons to take up the slack, force police officers to act as case workers and put lives at risk.” Harkins said that in addition to pursuing these and other legislative priorities, he is looking forward to resuming a leadership role in the Read more

 

Merski urges Erie residents to review FCC broadband map by Jan. 13 deadline

(Dec 21, 2022)

ERIE, Dec. 21 – State Rep. Bob Merski is encouraging residents and small business owners to review the map that the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority will be using to deliver funding for high-speed internet services to unserved or underserved areas of the state. Merski, D-Erie, said it is important for residents to review the map, which was created by the Federal Communications Commission, to ensure that funding gets to areas where those high-speed connections are lacking. “The state Broadband Development Authority will be using the FCC map to determine where funding for high-speed internet is needed,” Merski said. “But the map is only as accurate as the information the FCC receives. I’m urging Erie residents and business owners to review the map to ensure that it accurately reflects whether high-speed service is available in their location. If the map says high-speed internet is available but it isn’t, they should file a challenge. “It's an important step we can all take to make sure funding is distributed where it is needed. The deadline for making a challenge is January 13, so folks need to review the map soon. Visit www.RepMerski.com and click on the link titled “FCC Broadband Map review & challenge” for instructions. Merski said residents with questions should call his office at 814-455-6319. A video of Merski urging residents to review the map is available Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $25,000 secured for neighborhood improvement plan

(Dec 20, 2022)

ERIE, Dec. 20 – A new grant of $24,250 will fund development of a neighborhood improvement plan for Erie’s East Avenue Commercial Corridor, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said that the funding to Erie Center for Arts and Technology – awarded through the Keystone Communities Program – will lay the groundwork for major improvements. “Improvements to the commercial corridor are greatly needed, but having a comprehensive plan in place is a critical first step,” Merski said. “With this funding, Erie Center for Arts and Technology can develop a blueprint to ensure that the improvements made will best suit the community and that future money invested will be used in the most cost-effective and productive way possible.” Harkins said, “Getting this planning underway is exciting. It’s the first step in a project that will transform the corridor in ways that will invite new residential and commercial traffic to the area.” Keystone community grants are administered through the Department of Community and Economic Development for projects such as business facades, accessible housing, public infrastructure and other community-strengthening projects. The grants are part of a package of nearly $8 million in funding for 51 projects statewide. More information is available at: Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: Erie nonprofits awarded more than $80K to bolster security

(Dec 15, 2022)

ERIE, Dec. 15 – Three Erie organizations were awarded combined grant funding of $81,750 to strengthen security, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers said the funding includes $42,500 to the Multicultural Community Resource Center, $24,250 to Our Mother of Sorrows Roman Catholic Parish and $15,000 to the Islamic Cultural Center of Erie. “No resident should ever have to feel afraid where they live, work, worship or gather for any other reason,” Harkins said. “The resources funded by these grants will keep members and visitors of these organizations safer while also giving them greater peace of mind.” Merski said, “Although we would prefer to believe every organization naturally enjoys a safe and secure place in our community, the reality is that some have felt the need for enhanced security. The new funding will meet that need by funding security equipment, upgrades and any related resources the organizations feel they need.” The lawmakers said the funding may be used for a variety of security measures, including: safety and security planning and training, and threat-awareness and response training. equipment and technology such as metal detectors, protective lighting, surveillance equipment, emergency communications equipment, electronic locksets, deadbolts, trauma kits and theft-control devices. Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $800K secured for rail improvements

(Dec 14, 2022)

ERIE, Dec. 14 – Erie railroads today received two grants totaling $779,000 for upgrades, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding approved by the Pennsylvania State Transportation Commission includes $509,000 to IRG Erie to construct a rail siding to a new plastic recycling plant and $270,000 to West Erie Short Line to rehabilitate approximately 1 mile of track. “Rail upgrades are essential to keep goods moving smoothly through the supply chain,” Merski said. “The funding awarded today will allow West Erie Short Line to make needed upgrades to a portion of its track by performing tie replacement and drainage improvements.” Harkins said, “The grants awarded today will allow Erie’s rail infrastructure to keep pace with industry expansion in our district, including rail components to service the new plastic recycling plant. It’s an investment in progress.” The funding was awarded through the Rail Transportation Assistance Program and the Rail Freight Assistance Program. More information on the funding is available here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/wolf-administration-invests-26-million-in-rail-infrastructure-supporting-business-development-and-more-than-340-jobs-statewide/ Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: More than $7 million awarded to strengthen Erie County law enforcement, enhance services for crime victims

(Dec 14, 2022)

ERIE, Dec. 14 – More than $7 million in new funding will enhance Erie County law enforcement resources, bolster investigation and prosecution of gun crimes and strengthen services and supports for crime victims, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding comes from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. “The new funding will advance crime detection, investigation and prosecution by putting new tools into the hands of law enforcement,” Merski said. “Our officers will benefit from technology such as 3-D scene mapping software, mobile forensic tools, advance surveillance equipment and other resources to keep our communities safer.” Harkins said, “I’m encouraged that the new funding includes more than $1.5 million for investigating and prosecuting gun crimes. The new grants will fund advanced equipment such as gunshot detection technology, new evidence processing equipment and special software to aid in gun crime investigations. At the same time, the new funding will enable us to provide additional supports for crime victims and more comprehensive services and advocacy for child abuse victims.” The lawmakers said the funding includes: $1.6 million to the City of Erie for City Police LLE Support. $1.37 to the City of Erie for enhanced gun violence investigation. $1.2 million Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: $12,000 awarded to bolster Erie veterans’ programs

(Dec 13, 2022)

ERIE, Dec. 13 – Newly awarded funding of $12,000 will strengthen key programs for Erie veterans, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the grants from the state Veterans’ Trust Fund includes $10,000 to the Warriors to Washington Program and another $2,000 to the Erie County Office of Veterans Affairs to support the county’s veterans’ courts. “The Warriors to Washington program offers a terrific way to back to those who served by allowing veterans to travel to the U.S. Capitol and tour Arlington Cemetery and monuments like the Vietnam and WWII memorials,” Harkins said. “The trips are therapeutic, provide opportunities for veterans to bond and remind them of all that came from their service. Securing additional funding will help ensure the program can continue locally.” Merski said the funding to the veterans’ courts strengthen an important justice resource. “Service comes with costs, and frequently, those include post-traumatic stress and other conditions that can lead to substance abuse and other problems,” Merski said. “By providing mentoring, support and supervision, veterans courts provide those who served with an alternative to incarceration that can lead them back to productive lives. Today’s funding is going to boost those vital services.” Read more

 

Merski: More than $440K awarded for Summit traffic signal upgrades

(Dec 13, 2022)

ERIE, Dec. 13 – State Rep. Bob Merski today announced $441,200 in new grant funding to support traffic signal upgrades in Summit and Millcreek townships. Merski, D-Erie, said the funding will support signal improvements along Peach Street. “Motorist and pedestrian safety depends on properly functioning, correctly timed traffic signals,” Merski said. “This new funding, which will support signal system upgrades and connection to PennDOT’s unified command and control software along Peach Street, is going to ensure those improvements are made to keep traffic flowing smoothly and safely.” The funding was awarded through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Traffic Signal Technologies Grant program. Funding from the program is provided as reimbursement to municipalities for updates to improve the efficiency and operation of existing traffic signals. The funding may be used for a range of operational improvements including new traffic signal systems, adaptive signal control technology, automated traffic signal performance measures, and connection to PennDOT’s unified command and control software. Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $20,000 awarded to fund historical society, children’s museum

(Dec 07, 2022)

ERIE, Dec. 7 – The Erie County Historical Society and expERIEnce Children’s Museum were awarded nearly $20,000 in state funding to help support their operations, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said that funding from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission includes $24,500 to the Erie County Historical Society and $5,029 to the expERIEnce Children’s Museum. “Historic preservation can be painstaking work, but it ensures that the story of our past is not lost to future generations,” Merski said. “Securing this funding will help ensure that staff at the Erie County Historical Society have the resources to continue collecting, preserving and showcasing the documents and artifacts that tell that story.” Harkins said, “Kids need a place where they can build on classroom learning through hands-on exhibits that engage their senses, and the expERIEnce Children’s Museum provides that opportunity with interactive displays and exhibits. The funding will help ensure that the museum can continue providing those real-life lessons.” The grants were awarded under the Cultural and Historical Support program, which is designed to strengthen Pennsylvania’s museum community by supporting the general operations of eligible museums and official county historical societies that are not supported by other state agency Read more

 

Merski, Harkins unanimously re-elected to Northwest Delegation leadership roles

(Nov 15, 2022)

ERIE, Nov. 15 – State Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, were unanimously elected today to continue in leadership roles in the state House’s Northwest Democratic Delegation, with Merski re-elected to serve as chairman and Harkins elected to serve as secretary for the 2023-24 legislative session. Both lawmakers said they plan to continue steering the delegation in ways that will help the region’s working families. “It is an honor to be unanimously chosen to lead the Northwest Delegation as chairman,” Merski said. “We are ready to work for the region and the commonwealth to deliver for workers, families, seniors and businesses. The northwest region is the farthest from Harrisburg, but we are a strong voice collectively for the people of northwest Pennsylvania.” Harkins said, “We are anxious to get to work with Governor Josh Shapiro and to go to bat for the people of the commonwealth, and particularly the Erie region. Issues affecting our region’s working men and women, including job safety and working conditions, will be among our top priorities.” In addition to Merski and Harkins, the Northwest Delegation includes state Reps. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, who was unanimously elected to serve as treasurer, and state Rep.-Elect Paul Takac, D-Centre, who was unanimously elected to serve as vice chair. The delegation is a coalition of House lawmakers representing Erie and northwest Pennsylvania. Read more

 

Merski announces $30,000 grant to Wesleyville Borough

(Nov 07, 2022)

ERIE, Nov. 7 – A $30,000 grant to Wesleyville will fund needed upgrades to the Borough Hall kitchen, state Rep. Bob Merski announced today. Merski, D-Erie, said the funding from the Department of Community and Economic Development will allow the borough to have a kitchen that is safer, more useful and more energy-efficient. “The current kitchen in Wesleyville’s Borough Hall is 70 years old and desperately in need of renovations,” Merski said. “I was thrilled to be able to secure the new funding, which will allow the borough to upgrade the kitchen into a commercial-grade kitchen that meets current Health Department codes. “The new, energy-efficient kitchen will allow groups like the Wesleyville VFD to host a wider range of events and community fundraisers, and the kitchen will double as a shelter in the event of an emergency. It’s a great investment that will keep folks safer and ultimately save taxpayer dollars.” Read more

 

Merski delivers $264,000 for Greene Township projects

(Nov 06, 2022)

ERIE, Nov. 3 – State Rep. Bob Merski today announced $264,000 in new grant funding to support projects in Greene Township. Merski, D-Erie, said the funding from the Department of Community and Economic Development will support projects that include infrastructure upgrades and township improvements and upgrades to the St. Boniface Food Pantry. “I was proud to deliver this funding, which will help Greene Township move forward on projects to improve quality of life for residents,” Merski said. “In addition to infrastructure upgrades and township improvements, the funding will support needed upgrades to the St. Boniface Food Pantry, including replacing the aging cooler and freezer and installing an insulated roll-up garage entry door for food deliveries.” Merski said the funding includes $17,000 to replace the food pantry’s aging cooler and freezer, $15,000 to install an insulated, roll-up garage entry door to assist in food pantry deliveries and the remainder for other township infrastructure improvements and upgrades. Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: $100,000 secured for new Erie PD motorcycles

(Nov 04, 2022)

ERIE, Nov. 4 – The Erie Police Department will add five new motorcycles to their fleet thanks to $100,000 in new funding, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding will support needed upgrades to the current fleet. “The new motorcycles will be a much-needed, much-appreciated addition for the Erie Police Department,” Harkins said. “I last secured funding for motorcycles for the department more than 10 years ago, and the current fleet is aging. The new motorcycles – which will offer advanced safety technology like upgraded ABS braking systems and better emergency lighting – will go a long way toward helping Erie’s finest stay safe on the job.” Merski said, “The Erie PD protects and serves the community with vigilance 24/7, and they deserve the best, safest equipment we can provide. We’re proud to support them by securing funding that will allow the department to upgrade the fleet with five new motorcycles.” Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: $20,000 secured to keep hunger off Mercyhurst campus
Jan 11, 2023

Merski, Harkins: $250,000 secured to strengthen Erie apprenticeship opportunities
Jan 11, 2023

Merski, Harkins: Mercyhurst University receives $40,000 ‘It’s on Us’ grant to bolster student safety
Jan 10, 2023

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $60k secured to promote Erie agriculture, boost preschooler nutrition, teach food science and safety
Jan 09, 2023

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $400K secured for pedestrian safety
Jan 04, 2023

Merski: Nearly $220,000 secured for two Erie fire companies
Jan 04, 2023

Merski takes oath to begin third term representing 2nd Legislative District
Jan 03, 2023

Harkins sworn in to ninth term representing state’s 1st Legislative District
Jan 03, 2023

Merski urges Erie residents to review FCC broadband map by Jan. 13 deadline
Dec 21, 2022

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $25,000 secured for neighborhood improvement plan
Dec 20, 2022

Harkins, Merski: Erie nonprofits awarded more than $80K to bolster security
Dec 15, 2022

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $800K secured for rail improvements
Dec 14, 2022

Merski, Harkins: More than $7 million awarded to strengthen Erie County law enforcement, enhance services for crime victims
Dec 14, 2022

Harkins, Merski: $12,000 awarded to bolster Erie veterans’ programs
Dec 13, 2022

Merski: More than $440K awarded for Summit traffic signal upgrades
Dec 13, 2022

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $20,000 awarded to fund historical society, children’s museum
Dec 07, 2022

Merski, Harkins unanimously re-elected to Northwest Delegation leadership roles
Nov 15, 2022

Merski announces $30,000 grant to Wesleyville Borough
Nov 07, 2022

Merski delivers $264,000 for Greene Township projects
Nov 06, 2022

Merski, Harkins: $100,000 secured for new Erie PD motorcycles
Nov 04, 2022