Dec. 13, 2019 / Weekly Roundup

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#Listrak\DateStamplong# The latest news from the State Capitol
Remembering Pearl Harbor

This past Saturday marked the 78th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor that claimed the lives of roughly 2,400 military personnel and 68 civilians in Hawaii.

Memorializing the event, members of the Dallas American Legion Daddow-Isaacs Post 672 paid homage to the fallen and extended honors to several of their long-time members at the annual Pearl Harbor Day Breakfast on Saturday.

Pictured from left are Senator Lisa Baker, Legion members Richard Williams and James West, who both received House Citations; Dallas American Legion Commander Darlene Kupstas and my Tunkhannock District Officer manager Carol Sweeney. Other citation recipients include Richard Kitchen, Charles Puckey, Theodore Radzinski, Allen Rebennack and Charles Young.
House to Take Up ‘Smart Justice’ Initiative

The House returns to session next week with a number of items on the agenda, including a package of bills aimed at reforming our criminal justice system.

The “Smart Justice” initiative, which advanced through the House Judiciary Committee earlier this week, seeks to reform Pennsylvania’s probation and parole system, reduce recidivism, and help formerly incarcerated individuals find jobs that will help them avoid some of the pitfalls that keep many in the state’s penal system.

Pennsylvania has the second-highest percentage of citizens on probation or parole in the country, and our prison population has increased by approximately 850% over the past 40 years at a cost of $2.4 billion per year to taxpayers. A recent study of information from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections showed that nearly one-third of prison beds were occupied by people who violated terms of their probation or parole.

Our goal is to strike a balance between ensuring people are held responsible for their actions while also removing barriers for people looking to rebuild their lives once they have served their time. We are working to keep our communities safe while also looking to protect taxpayers by supporting people who want to be productive members of our society.
Protect Against the Flu

With more than 2,600 laboratory-confirmed cases of flu statewide, the Department of Health is urging residents who have not already gotten a flu vaccine to do so.

Guidelines recommend everyone 6 months of age and older should get the vaccine each season. It takes about two weeks for the antibodies from the vaccine to develop protection against infection.

Influenza is a contagious disease, caused by the influenza virus. It attacks the nose, throat and lungs and may include the following symptoms: fever, headache, tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches.

To further prevent the spread of flu, Pennsylvanians are also encouraged to practice healthy habits such as covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, frequently washing your hands during flu season, and remembering to disinfect commonly touched objects such as door knobs, light switches, countertops, cell phones and computers.

If you do become sick with the flu, it is important to stay home and rest. If you are at risk for developing serious complications from the flu, or feel extremely ill, you should see a medical professional immediately.
Catch Me on Veterans’ Views!

I recently had the privilege to again join my good friend, Judge Thomas Munley, on his program, Veterans’ Views. Tune into WYOU on Tuesday, Dec. 24 at 5:30 to listen to Judge Munley and I discuss how veterans can get an official insignia on their driver’s license, and don’t miss our show Friday, Dec. 27 where I will touch on some of the many benefits available to veterans through my legislative offices.
Grand Opening of BKV Operating, LLC

This week, Leslie Cadden from my Tunkhannock district office attended the grand opening of BKV Operating, LLC in Tunkhannock. Pictured from left to right are Chris Kalnin, CEO of BKV Operating, LLC; Commissioner-elect Rick Wilbur and Leslie.
Environmental Education Grant Application Deadline Approaching

Schools, county conservation districts, nonprofits, businesses and other eligible organizations have until Tuesday, Dec. 31, to apply for the 2020 Environmental Education Grants program.

Projects with a local focus may receive up to $3,000, and regional or statewide initiatives may receive up to $20,000.

Formal and nonformal education projects are eligible. Project examples include tours, hands-on workshops and demonstrations focused on watershed stewardship and community action, renewable energy, energy conservation, vehicle idling, alternative transportation and healthy air quality.

Since its inception, the Environmental Education Grants program has provided more than $12 million in grants to more than 1,890 organizations statewide.

Application instructions and program guidelines are available here.  

Applications must be electronically submitted through the eGrants web portal.
Metz Culinary Management Celebrates 25 Years

Metz Culinary Management, Inc., recently celebrated 25 years of service in the food industry. I visited John Metz at his office in Dallas to present him with a citation from the PA House of Representatives.
Building Our Workforce, Training Opportunities

The Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) is now accepting applications for $6.6 million in PAsmart Apprenticeship grants to help more workers “earn while they learn” and gain the hands-on skills for good jobs in high-growth industries.

Building on the House GoodJobs4PA initiative launched earlier this year, the grant program is designed to build a diverse talent pipeline into the building and construction trades; expand registered apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships in non-traditional industries with an emphasis on health care, manufacturing and information technology; and support registered apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships through ambassador networks across the Commonwealth.

Eligible applicants include organizations that serve as sponsors or intermediaries of registered apprenticeships including businesses, community-based organizations, economic development organizations, industry associations, labor organizations, local education agencies, local workforce development boards, nonprofit organizations, post-secondary institutions, public libraries and STEM ecosystems.

The deadline to apply is Jan. 10, 2020. Grant materials, requirements and information about the bidder’s webinars are available on the department’s website here.
Next Week’s Outreach Hours

On Tuesday, December 17, a representative from the VFW will be at my Dallas district office, located at 105 Lt. Michael Cleary Drive, Dallas, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to assist veterans. There is no appointment necessary for the VFW outreach hours.

On Wednesday, Dec. 18, a representative from the Center for Independent Living will be available by appointment at my Tunkhannock district office. Please call the Tunkhannock office at 570-836-4777 to make an appointment.

Also on Wednesday, Dec. 18, small business outreach hours are available at my district offices in both Dallas and Tunkhannock.

Kristin Sassi from Wilkes University will be at my Dallas district office from 9-11 a.m. In Tunkhannock, Keith Yurgosky from the University of Scranton will be available from 10 a.m. to noon.
PennDOT is Hiring for Winter Road Maintenance

I received  the following information from PennDOT:

Are you looking for a great way to make extra money during the winter months? Or are you looking for a job that can lead to a career? PennDOT has the right opportunity for you!

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is seeking hardworking individuals to work through March 2020 in the Winter Maintenance Program!

Apply now if you enjoy working in a fast-paced and dedicated environment on a seasonal basis with the potential for promotion into a permanent position.
Our District

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105 Lieutenant Michael Cleary Drive, Dallas, PA 18612 | (570) 675-6000, (800) 278-3930
133 West Tioga Street, Suite 4, Tunkhannock, PA 18657 | Phone: (570) 836-4777
41-B East Wing, Main Capitol, PO Box 202117, Harrisburg PA 17120-2117 | Phone: (717) 787-1117