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Wolf Administration Announces $8.4 Million in Safe Schools Targeted Grants

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Harrisburg, PA – Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera today announced that $8.4 million in competitive Safe Schools Targeted grants have been awarded to prevent and reduce violent incidents in schools, to purchase safety and security-related equipment, and to provide for the training and compensation of school resource and police officers.

“Parents and students deserve to have confidence that our classrooms are safe places for children and teachers,” said Governor Wolf. “This funding, along with the new $60 million we will invest through the School Safety and Security Committee, supports the joint efforts of schools, communities and the state to prevent violence and keep children safe.”

Today’s announcement follows the release in late August of the f​ull report from the Pennsylvania School Safety Task Force created by Governor Tom Wolf and the Auditor General Eugene DePasquale after the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The report includes detailed recommendations on how the state, community and school officials should work collaboratively with each other and with students and families to use all the tools at their disposal to prevent school-based violence from occurring.

The Safe Schools Targeted Grant program assists schools in:

  • Reducing unnecessary student disciplinary actions and promoting an environment of greater productivity, safety and learning; and
  • Enhancing anti-violence efforts between schools and parents, local governments, law enforcement and community organizations.

“Parents must feel safe sending their kids to school, and students deserve a safe and healthy environment where they can grow, learn and succeed,” said Secretary Rivera. “This targeted funding helps schools secure the resources they need to provide a safe environment and builds on the Wolf Administration’s commitment to students and teachers across the commonwealth.”

Secretary Rivera noted that $1.04 million has been awarded to 60 public school entities to establish and implement programs to prevent and reduce violent incidents. Applicants were eligible to receive up to $20,000 to fund programs.

Another $1.04 million was awarded to 46 public school entities to procure security/safety-related equipment. Applicants were eligible to receive up to $25,000. Security-related equipment includes student, staff and visitor identification systems; metal detectors; protective lighting; surveillance equipment; special emergency communications equipment; electronic locksets; deadbolts and theft control devices; and training in the use of the security-related technology.

To provide funding for the training and compensation of school resource officers (SRO), $3.3 million was awarded to 75 school entities, municipalities and police departments. SROs are law enforcement officers from local, county or state law enforcement agencies assigned to schools in cooperative agreements with education officials. Applicants were eligible for a maximum individual grant of $60,000.

An additional 88 school entities received $3 million for the training and compensation of school police officers (SPO), who are employed directly by the school districts. Applicants were eligible for a maximum individual grant of $40,000.

For a list of awardees and their award amounts, visit the Office of Safe Schools webpage on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s website​.

PDE’s program is separate from the new $60 million School Safety and Security Grant program created this year and administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). The deadline for schools to apply for these PCCD grants is Oct. 12. For more information about the program, please visit the PCCD website or contact RA-CD-SSSC@pa.gov

 

Farmers and Small Businesses Encouraged to Seek Grants to Reduce Pollution and Save Money

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Harrisburg, PA – Grant funding for energy efficiency and pollution prevention projects for small business owners and farmers is still available from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) through the Small Business Advantage Grant program.

“This grant was created with small businesses and farmers in mind. There are tremendous monetary savings available to Pennsylvania’s small business entrepreneurs by installing energy efficient equipment, such as LED lighting, and Energy Star rated HVAC and boilers,” said Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Pennsylvania farmers can also benefit from this grant by receiving support for undertaking projects to help them divert sediment and nutrient runoff from our waterways.”
“The Small Business Advantage grants are a tremendous opportunity for farmers to continue their stewardship of the land,” said Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Better soil retention, cleaner water, and a healthier environment benefit all Pennsylvanians, and I encourage farmers to take a look at their own operations to see where one of these grants could help out.”
Pennsylvania-based small business owners with 100 or fewer full-time employees are eligible for the grants. Projects must save the business a minimum of $500 and 25 percent annually in energy consumption, or pollution related expenses. Natural resource protection projects are exempt from the minimums, however the projects must be able to quantify sediment and nutrient reductions into nearby waterways.
Businesses can apply for 50 percent matching funds for equipment or materials, up to $9,500, when adopting energy-efficient or pollution prevention equipment or processes. Applications are considered on a first come, first served basis, and will be accepted until fiscal year 2018-19 funds are exhausted, or April 12, 2019, whichever occurs first.
The complete grant application package, which includes step-by-step instructions for completing the online application as well as all related forms, is available by visiting the DEP Small Business Ombudsman’s Office website.

Wolf Administration Tours Wyoming County Farms that are Helping to Protect Clean Water in Pennsylvania

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Wilkes-Barre, PA – Two Wyoming County farms are showing how agriculture and conservation can work hand-in-hand to prevent pollution from flowing into the Susquehanna River. On a tour of the farms today, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell saw the benefits of one farm switching to an all-organic operation and the other utilizing stream-bank fencing to protect wetlands.

The Henningstead Holstein Farm in Mehoopany switched to an organic operation in 2011, beginning with organically growing the grain used by the farm to feed the animals. The farm, which houses 50 cows and 30 younger stock, relies mainly on compost for fertilizer. The farm is also a “no-till” operation that preserves the soil and limits its chances of becoming part of runoff pollution. Last year, the Henningstead Holstein Farm built a roofed manure storage facility using a grant from DEP and private donations.
“DEP partners with local farmers to promote best-management practices that will ultimately benefit the farm”, said Secretary McDonnell. “This type of operation not only protects and preserves the soil on the farm, it also protects local waterways that feed into the Susquehanna River.”
Over the years the farmers have reduced runoff from the farm in several different ways:
• In the 1960s, the owners began installing drain tile and diversion ditches in crop fields to control runoff.
• In the 1980s, they began installing contour strips and practicing no-till planting.
• In 2000, with the help of the DEP Chesapeake Bay program, they installed a concrete barnyard, manure storage, and milk house waste system.
Secretary McDonnell also toured a stream bank fencing project on the nearby Faux Family farm. The fencing protects a large wetland on the property that has a stream running through it. The fencing helps prevent polluted runoff which would contain nitrogen and phosphates from animal manure from entering the water.
“Stream bank fencing is an important tool that farmers can use to protect water resources on their properties,” said Secretary McDonnell. “When local waterways are preserved, the river and ultimately the Bay are protected from runoff.”
Since 1995, the DEP Stream Bank Fencing program has protected 613.75 acres from the impacts of 6,047 animals. There have been more than 59 miles of fence built along with numerous crossings, ramps, and water troughs in the DEP Northeast Region.

Wolf Administration Celebrates Groundbreaking of State-Funded Affordable Housing for Seniors and Veterans in Northumberland County

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Mount Carmel, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin was joined by local officials and community leaders in breaking ground on a block of affordable senior housing with a preference for veterans in Mount Carmel Borough, Northumberland County.

“This project is the result of the coordination of several partners committed to making Northumberland County a better place to live,” said Secretary Davin. “We’re proud to be a part of this partnership as we work together to improve the quality of life for members of the Mount Carmel community and promote housing for those who need it most – seniors and veterans with low incomes.”

The housing project at 310 W. Seventh St., Mount Carmel, makes use of a long-vacant lot on a street that has been targeted as a community gateway corridor. When complete, the project will consist of five one-bedroom, one-story garden apartments designed specifically to meet the mobility needs of seniors. The project is being supported by DCED through the HOME and Community Block Development Grant programs.

“I want to extend our sincerest thanks to the entire team of our community partners and elected officials that have helped bring this project to fruition,” said Edward P. Christiano, executive director of the Housing Authority of Northumberland County. “We are so very thankful to the entire team at DCED, PHFA, and the Northumberland County Commissioners for providing the necessary funding. The funds are critical to helping us serve the community, especially our senior citizens and veterans. We are very appreciative for the grant award and to be working with these agencies on this important project.”

The Mount Carmel Borough housing project will be similar in design to Phoenix Court, a project completed last year in Atlas. As with the Mount Carmel Borough project, Phoenix Court brought the Housing Authority of Northumberland County together with local officials to build up the local supply of quality, affordable housing for seniors. This new project will place a strong emphasis on housing for senior military veterans with low incomes.

Servicemembers Leaving the Military Should Register with DMVA, Apply for Federal Benefits and Safeguard Their Paperwork

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Annville, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) appreciates the sacrifices made by all veterans and wants to see that everyone leaving the military receives every benefit they earned with their service to America.

“To best prepare yourself and your family for the future, it is important to register with the DMVA, apply for federal health care benefits and safeguard important military paperwork,” said Maj. Gen. (ret.) Eric Weller, DMVA’s deputy adjutant general for Veterans Affairs. “These are essential steps to take when transitioning back to civilian life that will help to make accessing military benefits much easier going forward.”

Veterans can sign up for the DMVA Veterans Registry by computer or mobile device at www.register.dmva.pa.gov. In addition to veterans, family members and people who work with veterans can sign up for the registry to receive helpful information about programs, benefits and services.

Information about how to apply for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care benefits can be found by going to www.va.gov/HEALTHBENEFITS/apply/.

Also important is for veterans to safeguard their DD-214/215 and other military documents by filing them at their county courthouse of record. The DD-214 is an official document that contains the information needed to verify military service and help to avoid verification issues later in life. The DD-215 is used to correct errors or make additions to a DD-214.

Additionally, any National Guard member who has not been ordered on active duty will not receive a DD-214. The discharge documents for National Guard members are the NGB-22 and NGB-23.

Weller said that the easiest way to manage military documents is to make sure they are filed in a safe place immediately upon leaving the military.

“Veterans who need help should never hesitate to contact the DMVA for assistance with searching for any military documents,” Weller said.

Anyone needing assistance from the DMVA to locate their DD-214\215, or other military documentation, can call 717-861-8910 or e-mail: RA-REQ@pa.gov.

Aqua Pennsylvania to Close King Road for Utility Improvements in East Goshen Township, Chester County

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​King of Prussia, PA – Aqua Pennsylvania is planning to close King Road between Madeline Drive and Kings Circle in East Goshen Township, Chester County, beginning Friday, October 19, for water main installation, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today. Weather permitting, the closure will be in place weekdays from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM through the end of November.

During the closure, King Road motorists will be detoured over Route 352 (Chester Road), Paoli Pike, and Sugartown Road. Local access will be maintained up to the work zone.
Aqua Pennsylvania will complete this project under a PennDOT Highway Occupancy Permit.
King Road Closure, chester county, 10-9-18.JPG

PennDOT Reopens Hollow Road (Sheeder Hall) Covered Bridge in East Vincent and West Vincent Townships, Chester County

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King of Prussia, PA – The Hollow Road (Sheeder Hall) Covered Bridge over French Creek in East Vincent and West Vincent townships, Chester County reopened today following a four-month closure due to damage sustained from impact by a vehicle, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today.

The single lane steel I-beam covered bridge was originally built in 1850 and reconstructed in 1996. Following its closure in November 2016 due to damage sustained from another crash, the bridge was reopened in July 2017 following the completion of a $450,000 rehabilitation project.

The single-span bridge is 102 feet long and 15 feet wide and carries an average of 1,007 vehicles a day.

Sheedar Hall Bridge Reopens.PNG

Aqua Pennsylvania to Close Route 340 (Bondsville Road) for Utility Improvements in East Brandywine Township, Chester County

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​King of Prussia, PA – Aqua Pennsylvania is planning a weekday closure on Route 340 (Bondsdville Road) between U.S. 322 (Horseshoe Pike) and Reeceville Road in East Brandywine Township, Chester County, on Wednesday, October 10, through Monday, October 15, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, for water main installation, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today.

During the weekday closure, Route 340 (Bondsville Road) motorists will be detoured over U.S. 322 (Horseshoe Pike) and westbound U.S. 30 and be directed to exit at the Thorndale (Route 340) Interchange. Local access will be maintained up to the work zone. The schedule is weather dependent and subject to change.
Aqua Pennsylvania will complete this project under a PennDOT Highway Occupancy Permit.
Route 340 (Bondville Road) 10-5-18.JPG

Route 113 (Uwchlan Avenue) Lane Restrictions Scheduled Next Week for Resurfacing Operations in Chester County

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​King of Prussia, PA – Daytime and nighttime lane restrictions are scheduled in both directions on Route 113 (Uwchlan Avenue) between Business U.S. 30 (Lancaster Avenue) and Peck Road/Whitford Hills Road in Downingtown Borough and Uwchlan Township, Chester County, on Sunday, October 7, through Saturday, October 13, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, and 7:00 PM to 5:00 AM, for milling, paving, and utility installation, as part of a project to repair and resurface seven miles of Route 113 (Uwchlan Avenue) in Chester County, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today.

Motorists are advised to allow extra time when traveling through the work area because slowdowns will occur. The contractor’s schedule is dependent on the weather.

Under this improvement project, PennDOT will mill the existing roadway surface and repave with new asphalt, a seven-mile section of Route 113 (Uwchlan Avenue) from Business U.S 30 (Lancaster Avenue) to Gordon Drive in Downingtown Borough, Uwchaln and East Caln townships, Chester County. The new pavement will seal the roadway and provide motorists with a smoother riding surface.

Highway Materials, Inc. of Flourtown, Montgomery County is the general contractor on the $2,522,579 project, which is financed with 100 percent state funds from Act 89, Pennsylvania’s Transportation Plan.

Work on the project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Route 113 up to Peck Ave Lane Restrictions.PNG

Route 113 Resurfacing Project.PNG

U. S. 322, Hibernia Road Lane Restrictions Next Week for Maintenance Operations in Chester County

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​King of Prussia, PA – Daytime lane restrictions with flagging are scheduled on U.S. 322 (Horseshoe Pike) and Hibernia Road in Chester County, on Tuesday, October 9, through Friday, October 12, for maintenance operations, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today.

The work schedules are:

  • U.S. 322 (Horseshoe Pike) between Business U.S. 30 (Lancaster Avenue) and Route 82 (Manor Road) in West Brandywine, East Brandywine, Caln townships and Downingtown Borough from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM; and
  • Hibernia Road between U.S. 322 (Horseshoe Pike) and Wagontown Road in West Brandywine Township from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
Motorists are advised to allow extra time when traveling through the work areas. All activities are weather dependent.
U.S. 322 Lane Restriction chester county 9-28-18.JPG

Hibernia Road Chester County 9-28-18.JPG