Nov. 15, 2019 / Weekly Roundup

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#Listrak\DateStamplong# The latest news from the State Capitol
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Celebrating Veterans Day at Northwest High School

 
It was a pleasure to celebrate Veterans Day this year at Northwest High School, where I spoke with students from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade. Senator Lisa Baker and I joined keynote speaker Gerald Kobylski, who is a West Point graduate.

We discussed the importance of our veterans and why we should always remember their incredible sacrifices. I would like to thank Northwest High School for having me, and I also thank the wonderful children who gathered to honor our veterans.
 
 
PennDOT Reminds Students to Enter “Innovations Challenge”



With the Dec. 20 entry deadline rapidly approaching, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is reminding students in grades 9-12 to participate in the third PennDOT Innovations Challenge. The Innovations Challenge encourages students to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to solve real-world transportation challenges in a competition among their peers.

This year’s Innovations Challenge asks students to look at cost-effective technologies and innovative solutions - aside from laws, programs and educational campaigns - that can be developed in the next five to 10 years to help PennDOT more efficiently, effectively and safely control litter along roadways.

Last year, PennDOT spent nearly $13 million cleaning up roadside litter across Pennsylvania. In addition, nearly 5,000 volunteers spend countless hours participating in the Adopt-A-Highway program each year. These dollars and volunteer hours could have otherwise been spent on delivering a better transportation network and making Pennsylvania a better state in which to live.

The Innovations Challenge aims to not only help students explore real transportation challenges that PennDOT is facing, but also open their minds to the very real possibility of working for PennDOT after graduation.

Regional Innovations Challenge winners will be selected and invited to compete in Harrisburg for the state championship and the $3,000 that will be divided among the first, second and third place statewide winning teams.

For complete Innovations Challenge details, click here. The deadline for submissions is Dec. 20, 2019.
 
 
Security Grant Program for Nonprofits Now Law


Faith-based institutions and nonprofit organizations will be eligible for grants to boost security at their facilities under a new law approved by the General Assembly and signed by the governor.

Act 83 of 2019 will make funding available to faith-based institutions and nonprofits that serve individuals, groups or institutions listed by the FBI as at risk for hate crime incidents.

Grant awards will range from $5,000 to $150,000. Faith-based institutions and nonprofits could use the money for a variety of security planning, equipment and technology needs, including surveillance cameras, emergency communications equipment, electronic locksets, threat assessments and building upgrades.

The program is similar to the School Safety Security Grant Program, which helps schools meet a variety of security needs. It will be administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. Applications are expected to become available early next year.
 
 
Ribbon Cutting at Trehab Community Resource Center

There is a new place for people in recovery and their family members to get help in Wyoming County. After three years of planning, the ribbon was finally cut on a new community resource center in Tunkhannock.
 
 
Veterans Breakfast at Triton Hose Company

It was wonderful to attend this year’s veterans breakfast at Triton Hose Company sponsored by Sheldon-Kukuchka Funeral Home & Sheldon Funeral Homes. I would like to thank the event sponsors and, of course, all of the great veterans and their families who came out to the event. 
 
 
It’s Coming

 
The Wall That Heals, a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., is scheduled to be displayed in Tunkhannock from April 30 to May 3, 2020, along with a mobile education center, thanks to efforts led by Sheldon-Kukuchka Funeral Homes. The exhibit will be on display at Tunkhannock Area football field and will be open 24 hours a day and free to the public.

Pictured here From left to right: Representative Karen Boback, Benjamin “Burnie” Sheldon, Eric Kukuchka, Tom Kukuchka, Griffen Sheldon, Gabe Sheldon, Louis Marcho of Sheldon-Kukuchka Funeral Home and Senator Lisa Baker.
   
 
Government in Action at Tunkhannock Area Intermediate School

I joined Wyoming County Commissioner Judy Mead and Tunkhannock Area School Board Member Holly Arnold for a "Government in Action" forum recently. Tunkhannock Area fourth grade students were able to ask questions and learn how the government assists constituents and solves problems.
 
 
New Education Benefit for PA National Guard Families Available


Members of the Pennsylvania National Guard are encouraged to take advantage of the new Military Family Education Program, or PA GI Bill, which is now open for enrollment.

Under Act 32 of 2019, Guard members who commit to an additional six years of service can receive five years of higher education benefits for their spouses and children. The program will provide 10 semesters of tuition-free education for family member(s).

The benefit must be used at a Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency-approved educational institution, and at the tuition rate set by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

Previously, Guard members only were eligible for the Education Assistance Program with their initial service obligation of six years that provides a non-transferable educational benefit. The expansion of this program to spouses and children will help more military families succeed.

Interested Guard members can apply through their unit to the PA National Guard Education Office. Tuition benefits will begin for the 2020-21 academic year.

More information about the program is available here.
 
 
Catch Me on Veterans’ Views

I recently had another opportunity to sit down with my good friend, Judge Thomas Munley for another edition of Veterans’ Views on WYOU. Be sure to tune into WYOU at 5:30 on Monday, Dec. 2 to watch my segment.
 
 
Veterans Trust Fund Grant Program Open for Applications


The state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is now accepting applications for 2019-20 Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF) grants. Up to $800,000 in VTF grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations, veteran service organizations and county directors of veteran affairs across the state.

Up to $150,000 in funding is available for new, innovative or expanded programs or services operated by the county directors of veterans affairs or the Pennsylvania Association of County Directors of Veterans Affairs. The areas of emphasis for applicants in this category are veterans’ outreach and veterans’ court programs.

Up to $650,000 in funding is available to veteran service organizations with 501(c)(19) status and nonprofit organizations with a mission of serving Pennsylvania veterans granted 501(c)(3) status under the Internal Revenue Code. Funding priorities for applicants in this category are homelessness, behavioral health initiatives and veterans’ courts.

Eligible applicants from either category may also submit applications for programs addressing newly identified, unmet or emerging needs of veterans and their families.

Since the grant program began in 2013, 155 grants totaling $3,732,860 have been awarded to organizations providing services to veterans in Pennsylvania.

The deadline to apply is 3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18. For more information about the program, click here.
 
 
Prepare Now for Winter Weather


Winter weather arrived in some parts of the Commonwealth earlier this week, reminding us of the importance of preparing for colder weather and winter travel.

Preparation is one key to successfully navigating winter roads. Prior to the winter driving season, you should have a mechanic check the brakes, battery, hoses and belts. Also, be sure to check your fluid levels, make sure your wipers don’t streak, ensure your heater and defroster are working properly, check to make sure all your lights are working, and ensure your tires are properly inflated and have sufficient tread depth. Pack an emergency travel kit as well. Click here for more information.

When it’s cold outside, try to stay indoors as much as possible. If you must go outside, cover yours ears, head, mouth and face; dress in layers; don’t ignore your body shivering; and check on infants and senior citizens to ensure they are warm enough. Click here for more information.

Finally, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) reminds residents to write down, print or save toll-free outage hotlines for your electric utility and/or your natural gas utility, which are listed on your monthly bills and posted on the PUC website. The PUC also encourages you to call your utility company if an outage occurs and not to assume someone else has already done so. Click here for more information.
 
 
This Year’s Veterans Event Was a Success!

Earlier this month, we once again celebrated our hometown heroes at my 13th annual Veterans Breakfast, Expo and Recognition Ceremony at Misericordia University. We had a full slate of talented guests, including keynote speaker Judge Thomas Munley, performers Pamela Zaremba, James Antall, members of the Misericordia University Community Choir and more.

Recognizing our veterans is so important to me, and I am always touched at the outpouring of community support for this event. I would like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, everyone who continues to make it so special year after year.
 
 
Outreach Hours for Next Week


Please note that VFW Outreach and Disabled Veterans Outreach for next week have been cancelled.
 
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105 Lieutenant Michael Cleary Drive, Dallas, PA 18612 | (570) 675-6000, (800) 278-3930
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Email: kboback@pahousegop.com
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