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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Blake Speaks on Aging Issues and Funding to Support Seniors and Their Families

SCRANTON, April 28, 2011 – – State Sen. John P. Blake today spoke about funding opportunities and the challenges facing the Pennsylvania legislature as the state’s population continues to age.

Participating as a panelist at the University of Scranton’s Conference on Aging Research, Blake said that with more than 500,000 Pennsylvanians set to turn 65 over the next 15 years, the legislature needs to work toward innovative solutions that will allow the state to continue to adequately fund programs that are essential to our elder residents.

“The University of Scranton is beginning to set the bar for research on aging issues and their research efforts can inform the decisions we must make as policy makers in this state,” Blake said. “It is my hope that as we move forward out of the current recession, Pennsylvania will be able to provide the essential services and care not only to our seniors but to the members of their families who are often the key providers of that care — and data from good research is the key to ensure we spend money wisely.”

Blake said that he was encouraged by the funding levels proposed for senior programs in Gov. Corbett’s budget proposal, specifically the $26.5 million increase in programs funded under the state’s Lottery Funds. These funds are used to support initiatives such as property tax and rent rebates, transportation subsidies, prescription drug assistance, long‐term care, and home and community services.

Senator Blake also extended thanks to Acting Secretary Brian Duke for his visit to Northeast PA and for lending his professional experience to the important work being done at the University of Scranton. Also graduate of the University of Scranton, Duke was the keynote speaker at the conference.

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Blake Brings Policy Committee to Marywood for Energy & Job Creation Hearing

HARRISBURG, April 13, 2011 – – State Sen. John P. Blake today announced that the Senate Democratic Policy Committee will host a public hearing in Scranton on energy, economic development and job creation initiatives.

The hearing will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20 in the Nazareth Student Center at Marywood University.

Blake will be joined at the hearing by Policy Committee Chair Lisa Boscola (D- Northampton/ Lehigh/Monroe), Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) and other Senate Democrats.
“I am excited to bring my Senate colleagues and our legislative proposals to Lackawanna County,”

Blake said. “This public hearing will be a great opportunity for legislators to not only discuss with our residents the pressing budget issues we are facing in Harrisburg, but also a great opportunity for our community and business leaders to share their experience and to discuss important, energy-related business opportunities in Northeastern Pennsylvania.”

The Blue-Green Jobs and Energy hearing will feature testimony from community leaders from the economic development, labor, job training and academic community.

“As chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, I am constantly looking for opportunities to take our committee around the state to hear local concerns on pressing issues,” Boscola added. “This hearing is another opportunity for the public to influence our policy decisions and goals as we move forward with state budget negotiations.”

Blake said that the Policy Hearing participants include:

  • R. Chadwick Paul, president and CEO of Ben Franklin Technologies;
  • Eric Esoda, executive director of Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center, Inc.;
  • Kurt Bauman, Government Services Manager, NEPA Alliance;
  • Gregory K. Hunt, founding dean, Marywood University School of Architecture
  • Dr. Ann Pipinski, president of Johnson College;
  • Paul Casparrow, electrical training educator for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers;
  • Jim Teeple, vice president of Global Operations, Weiler Corporation
  • James Palumbo, president of Quad 3
  • Lew Grant, general manager of Valmont Industries

The hearing will start with a presentation by Sen. Blake highlighting the Senate Democrats’ budget priorities and the PA Works job creation initiative. The six-point plan is projected to create tens of thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania while reducing state spending and encouraging private investment throughout the state.

“As the legislature continues to look for innovative and fiscally responsible ways to close the $4 billion budget gap, it is imperative that job creation remain our number one priority,” Senate Democratic leader Jay Costa said. “Our PA Works program will not only create much-needed jobs throughout the state, but it will also promote a business-friendly environment and expand business opportunities. As we continue to work our way out of this recession, we know that jobs and smart, well-focused investment will put Pennsylvania back on track.”

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Blake Reflects on 43rd Anniversary of MLK Assassination

HARRISBURG, April 4, 2011 – – On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed on a balcony outside of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN, a day after speaking in support of labor rights.

Today, on the 43rd anniversary of this tragic event in our nation’s history, state Sen. John P. Blake asks everyone to take a moment to pause and reflect on the life of Dr. King and how his fight for justice, equal rights and equal opportunity led to the betterment of our society.

“To this day, the message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. rings true,” Blake said. “Through his words and his actions he shed light on the darkness of injustice and oppression and he inspired a wider understanding of the inalienable rights we enjoy, and which we must always advance and defend, as Americans. Dr. King exemplified his own words when he stated that “all labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.’”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an African-American civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, five years earlier led the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.

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