Blake, Sec. Avila Tour Commonwealth Medical College, Discuss Public Health Initiatives

Sen. Blake and Sec. Avila

SCRANTON, May 20, 2011 – – State Senator John P. Blake and Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Eli Avila today toured The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) and discussed the importance of public health initiatives and public health research with medical students and faculty.

“The Commonwealth Medical College is one of the most important assets in the city of Scranton and in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” Blake said. “This first-class medical college is graduating brilliant young doctors that will only continue to improve the quality of health care provided at our hospitals, clinics and medical centers throughout the state.”

Blake and Sec. Avila joined TCMC senior officials for a walking tour of the campus and discussed the needs and goals of the state’s newest medical college with staff and students.

“This Commonwealth has a strong tradition of developing medicine and public health. We are the home of the country’s first medical school and the first medical school for women,” Secretary Avila said. “I am honored to stand at Lackawanna College and at TCMC’s new Medical Sciences Building, meeting first year students as they prepare to aid us in providing quality care for all Pennsylvanians. Together, we can continue to meet the public health needs of our residents and ensure that access to care is available to all.”

TCMC offers both a Medical Degree (MD) program and a Master of Biomedical Sciences (MBS) degree. Over the next 20 years, the medical school expects to add 425 qualified, diverse practicing physicians to Northeastern Pennsylvania. In addition, the medical school is expected to add $70 million to the local economy and create 1,000 new jobs that directly and indirectly support the school’s operations.

“While everyone understands the fiscal strains on Pennsylvania’s state budget, I believe this tour and this discussion with Secretary Avila will prove beneficial for the TCMC,” Blake said. “After witnessing the quality of the facility and the extraordinary value of the research, education and training taking place at TCMC and, of course, after talking with students who are excited about their chosen profession to provide quality medical care, I believe Secretary Avila will understand the importance of the state’s investment in this facility and in its future operations.”

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Blake Announces Formation of Bipartisan Military Installations Caucus

HARRISBURG, May 11, 2011 – – State Sen. John P. Blake today announced the formation of a new bipartisan, bicameral Military Installations and Base Development Caucus to protect Pennsylvania’s 164,000 defense-related jobs and its world-class military bases and facilities around the state.

Blake will serve as co-chairman of the caucus along with state Sen. Richard Alloway (R-Adams/Franklin/York) and state Reps. Scott Perry (R-York/Cumberland) and Harry Readshaw (D-Allegheny).

“With the recent mention that the Department of Defense may be convening another Base Realignment and Closure Commission in 2015, it is imperative that we start working now to make sure these jobs and the economic activity that comes with them are not lost to other facilities in other states,” Blake said. “In my district, Tobyhanna Army Depot is estimated to produce a total regional annual economic impact of $2.8 billion and its presence alone sustains 18,000 regional jobs. If the legislature is serious about saving and creating jobs, we need to focus attention on the future of our military facilities.”

The Tobyhanna Army Depot is the largest, full-service electronics maintenance facility in the Department of Defense and employs about 5,800 people.

Blake said the Military Installations and Base Development Caucus will work to find ways to improve base operations, expand business development opportunities and ensure the long term viability of our military installations. The caucus will also engage with Pennsylvania’s private defense industry; consult with the military and civilian leadership at our facilities throughout the state; and work to ensure more frequent and routine dialogue between state lawmakers and Pennsylvania’s federal Congressional delegation in Washington DC.

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Blake Announces Over $350K in State Funding for Three Monroe Co. Projects

HARRISBURG, May 5, 2011 – – State Sen. John P. Blake today announced state funding totaling $354,998 for three projects in Monroe County. The state grant money for the projects in Barrett and Coolbaugh Townships is derived from the “local share assessment” (LSA) account generated by the gaming industry.

“I am very pleased that our residents continue to see some of the positive impacts of the gaming industry in Pennsylvania,” Blake said. “In yet another difficult year for the economy, state funding is becoming incredibly scarce and without this money from gaming funds, the costs of important community development projects would fall solely onto our local communities and local taxpayers.”

Blake said that the three Monroe County projects receiving LSA funding in his district include:

  • $200,000 to renovate, modernize and convert a historic building into a senior center in Barrett Township
  • $89,998 for site preparation costs associated with a proposed event center and boutique-style hotel at the historic Buck Hill Inn located in Barrett Township
  • $65,000 to make traffic and drainage improvements and repave a portion of the Hemlock Drive and State Route 611 intersection in Coolbaugh Township.

The “local share assessment” (LSA) account was established by the Pennsylvania Horse Race and Gaming Development Act. The funds are generated by the commonwealth’s gaming facilities.

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Blake Announces Nearly $1 Million in State Funding for Two Luzerne Co. Projects

HARRISBURG, May 5, 2011 – – State Sen. John P. Blake today announced state funding totaling nearly $1 million for two projects in Luzerne County. The state grant money for the projects in Duryea and Dupont is derived from the “local share assessment” (LSA) account generated by the gaming industry.

“I am very pleased that our residents continue to see some of the positive impacts of the gaming industry in Pennsylvania,” Blake said. “In yet another difficult year for the economy, state funding is becoming incredibly scarce and without this money from gaming funds, the costs of important community development projects would fall solely onto our local communities and local taxpayers.”

Blake said that the two Luzerne County projects receiving LSA funding in his district include:

  • $500,000 for the resurfacing of 24 borough streets in Duryea Borough
  • $461,350 for the purchase of machinery and equipment for use in establishing the Pittston Area Regional Compost Facility in Dupont Borough.

The “local share assessment” (LSA) account was established by the Pennsylvania Horse Race and Gaming Development Act. The funds are generated by the commonwealth’s gaming facilities.
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Blake Announces $5.3 Million in State Funding for Lackawanna Co. Projects

HARRISBURG, May 5, 2011 – – State Sen. John P. Blake today announced state funding totaling nearly $5.3 million for projects throughout Lackawanna County.

Lackawanna County received $3.35 million in grants under the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s H2O PA program and an additional $1.9 million from the local share assessment account.

“Both the H2O PA grants and the local share assessment funding will provide much-needed state support for many worthwhile projects throughout Lackawanna County,” Blake said. “In this economy, every penny counts and it is great to be able to bring state money back to our communities for projects that improve the quality of life and create jobs. I want to commend the community officials who worked so hard to prepare quality applications to compete for and secure this funding.”

The following is a list of projects that received grants through the H2O PA program:

  • Abington Township received $1 million to replace the existing wastewater treatment facility and make other sewer improvements
  • Scott Township Water & Sewer Authority received $1 million to continue the ongoing sewer project in the township
  • Abington Regional Wastewater Authority received $1 million to upgrade and expand the Abington wastewater treatment plant and make additional sewer improvements.
  • Elmhurst Township Sewer Authority received $350,000 to improve treatment and conveyance portions of the Wastewater Treatment Plant

The H2O PA program allocates single-year or multi-year grants to municipalities or municipal authorities to assist with the construction of drinking water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer projects.

The following projects received funding from Lackawanna County’s local share of gaming monies:

  • The Carbondale Center for Small Business Technology Transfer received $536,759 to renovate and make green energy improvements at the former Clifford of Vermont building and its current incubator facility.
  • Jessup Borough received $518,000 to assist with the construction of a 43,000 square foot technology incubator facility anticipated to house 112 employees in the Jessup Small Business Center.
  • Taylor Borough received $350,000 for the construction of a storm sewer
  • Scranton City received $225, 000 for construction costs related to the Cedar Avenue Neighborhood Housing Revitalization Initiative.
  • Scranton City received $165,791 to design and construct a parking lot and pocket park in the vacant lot between Wright Court and Eight Avenue
  • Moscow Borough received $139,000 to pave two off street parking lots and make storm water improvements in the lots to assist in the Main Street revitalization efforts

The “local share assessment” (LSA) account was established by the Pennsylvania Horse Race and Gaming Development Act. The funds are generated by the commonwealth’s gaming facilities.

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