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Longietti: $4,000 grant to support Mercer County Historical Society

(1 day ago)

HERMITAGE, Dec. 2 – A $4,000 state grant will help the Mercer County Historical Society continue in its mission of educating residents about the county’s unique past, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced today. Longietti said the grant – awarded by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission under the Cultural and Historical Support Grant Program , will provide critical operational support at a time when COVID-19 restrictions have drained those resources. “Artifacts and documents tell the story of our rich past,” Longietti said. “They help us understand the obstacles our ancestors faced and the challenges they overcame. They also help connect us to our roots and teach us more about our identity. We have the historical society to thank for safeguarding and displaying these pieces of our past. “Unfortunately, the historical society, like so many other organizations statewide, have suffered financially because of COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings and events. This funding should go a long way toward helping them continue in their mission of keeping us connected to our history.” Longietti said the funding is part of a package of nearly $2 million in grants awarded to 155 museums and county historical societies statewide. The Cultural and Historical Support Grant Program is designed to strengthen Pennsylvania’s museum community by supporting the Read more

Harkins, Merski: More than $17,500 in grants awarded to fund historical society, children’s museum

(1 day ago)

ERIE, Dec. 2 – Grant funding of $17,563 will support the operations of the Erie County Historical Society and the expERIEnce Children’s Museum, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said that funding from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission includes $10,436 to the historical society and $7,127 to the museum. “We all appreciate the unique place Erie is, but it’s the artifacts and documents – the physical pieces of our history – that give us the perspective and understanding that explains how we got here and how far we have come,” Harkins said. “By archiving and chronicling our past, the historical society keeps us in touch with our roots and with the things that make us proud to be Erie residents. This funding is going to help it continue operating so it can preserve that history for generations to come.” Merski said, “In addition to supporting the Erie County Historical Society, the funding today is helping fund operations of the expERIEnce Children’s Museum, which provides incredible hands-on opportunities for learning. Kids are incredibly receptive to information they can process with all their senses, and the museum’s vivid events and displays offer experiences they will remember far longer than simple textbook lessons. “Today’s funding comes at an important time for both Read more

Sainato: $4,000 grant to fund Lawrence County Historical Society

(1 day ago)

NEW CASTLE, Dec. 2 – State funding of $4,000 will help the Lawrence County Historical Society continue preserving the county’s rich past, state Rep. Chris Sainato announced today. Sainato said the grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission will provide critical support for the society’s operations as it works to archive and preserve items and records of historical importance. “By providing details and anecdotes that make our history come alive, documents and artifacts explain and illuminate our past in a way that textbooks alone can’t,” Sainato said. “The Lawrence County Historical Society plays a critical role in restoring, archiving and displaying these unique pieces of our past so that our region’s unique story is relatable and understandable for future generations. The funding awarded today will help ensure that this important keeper of our past is able to continue in that mission.” Sainato said the funding is part of a package of nearly $2 million in grants awarded to 155 museums and county historical societies statewide under the Cultural and Historical Support Grant Program. Administered by PHMC, the program’s goal is to strengthen the commonwealth’s museum community by supporting the operations of eligible museums and county historical societies that are not supported by other state agency funding programs. Read more

Merski, Harkins: More than $200,000 for pandemic-related shelter needs

(Nov 30, 2020)

ERIE, Nov. 30 – Erie residents facing homelessness will have greater protection thanks to $200,365 in CARES Act funding to area shelters and relief organizations, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced today . The lawmakers said the grant funding from the CARES Act will protect residents from combined threats during a particularly dangerous season. “Homelessness is brutal under any circumstances, but for Pennsylvanians without shelter during the pandemic, it can be a nightmare,” Merski said. “Securing this funding means that folks in our area who need it will have a warm bed and a place to keep themselves and their loved ones safe while they work to rebuild their lives.” Harkins said, “Home is a safe harbor from the harsh realities of winter and other dangers. This year, residents are facing additional, deadly risks – they need protection from freezing temperatures and unprecedented health risks. Thanks to this funding, there will be a safe harbor for them – and peace of mind.” The lawmakers said the funding will be shared by the following emergency shelter providers: Erie United Methodist Alliance (also provides street outreach). Community of Caring. Safe Journey. Community Shelter Services. The City Mission. Pennsylvania received a second allocation of Read more

House unanimously adopts Merski resolution celebrating Polish American heritage

(Nov 18, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 18 – The House today unanimously adopted state Rep. Bob Merski’s resolution designating October 2020 as Polish American Heritage Month in Pennsylvania. Merski, D-Erie, said he introduced H.R. 1074 to bring attention to the rich Polish American heritage shared by so many Pennsylvanians and the countless contributions Polish Americans have made to U.S. history, culture and innovation. “Pennsylvania has the fourth-largest population of Polish Americans in the nation, with more than 800,000 of us calling the commonwealth home,” Merski said. “Our roots are deeply entwined with American history and date back more than 400 years. “Poles worked and fought side-by-side with early settlers and founders, contributing to the survival of our earliest colonies and leading troops during the Revolutionary War. Over the years, they have made major contributions to the arts, sciences, technology and medicine. “As Polish Americans, we are deeply proud of this history, but also of the customs and traditions we share, which are alive and well here in Pennsylvania. They enrich our festivals and social clubs, where members form bonds, share stories and plan events that enrich the entire community. “We relish introducing those traditions to the others – something that has been difficult since the pandemic has prevented large gatherings. We are looking forward to the days when we can again share our rich culture – Read more

Bizzarro, Merski, Harkins: Millcreek public library receives $25,000 grant

(Nov 12, 2020)

ERIE, Nov. 12 – A $25,000 state Keystone grant will fund a needs assessment and relocation feasibility study for the Erie County Public Library’s Millcreek branch, state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Bob Merski, and Pat Harkins, all D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the funding from the state Department of Education supports a beloved community resource. “Millcreek Library has worked so hard to foster a love of books in our community,” Bizzarro said. “Even amidst the pandemic, they’ve served as a wonderful resource and continue to provide learning opportunities. This grant will help the library assess its needs so it can continue to enrich our community.” Merski agreed, saying, “With the pandemic having such an isolating effect, it’s especially helpful for people to have a safe gathering place where they can go to search information, attend programs with their kids, or simply relax and interact with neighbors. Securing this funding is going to help the Millcreek branch determine how it can best expand and improve access to those resources.” Harkins said, “Having an accessible community library with open doors is critical because it reminds people that despite how life has changed, there is a still safe, familiar harbor out there. The funding awarded today is an investment in a resource that provides help, hope and a place for people to share common ground.” Read more

Merski, Harkins: $75,000 grant will fund home repairs for Erie residents

(Oct 29, 2020)

ERIE, Oct. 29 – Low- to moderate-income Erie homeowners will get some assistance with needed housing repairs, thanks to a $75,000 grant to the City of Erie from the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the grant will fund individual projects to enhance housing safety. “Above all else, home should be a safe haven during the pandemic,” Merski said. “Residents struggling to meet basic household expenses should not have to worry about malfunctioning heating equipment or structural defects that threaten their families’ safety.” Harkins agreed, saying, “Thanks to this funding, eligible homeowners will be able to apply for assistance with projects like fixing faulty hot water tanks or furnaces, renovating dangerous structural elements like broken porch railings, and completing other small projects that are key to keeping their loved ones safe.” The legislators said the application process is expected to begin sometime in the next month – with additional details to come – and will be available for households with incomes below 50% of the area median income. Individual projects cannot exceed $3,000. Read more

Longietti says liquor license waiver will help area bars and restaurants, but comprehensive relief package needed

(Oct 22, 2020)

HERMITAGE, Oct. 22 – A plan being finalized to waive liquor license fees for the state’s bars, clubs and restaurants should give these key local businesses more capital to navigate the tremendous financial challenges they face, but a comprehensive relief package is also needed as soon as possible, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced today. “A plan to waive liquor license fees for the year ahead is a good start,” Longietti said. “A reprieve from fees means business owners will have extra capital to put to other pressing expenses, and any help right now is critically important. “While a fee waiver will help, though, it isn’t going to be enough to save businesses that are teetering on the verge of collapse,” Longietti said. “Shutdowns and restrictions from the pandemic have already destroyed some of our beloved area bars and restaurants and pushed others so far into the red, they may not survive. They need major assistance now in the form a comprehensive relief package. “The state still has more than $1 billion in CARES Act funding left, and a major priority should be to get part of that money into the hands of our local businesses. Their efforts have built our economy and enriched our community in a hundred different ways. Now, when time is of the essence, we have to get them a lifeline.” Longietti was among 133 lawmakers who voted earlier this week to override the Read more

Sainato: License fee waiver will help struggling area bars, restaurants

(Oct 22, 2020)

NEW CASTLE, Oct. 22 – Area restaurants, bars and clubs hit hard by pandemic shutdowns and restrictions will see some important relief under a plan by the administration to waive standard liquor license fees for the coming year, state Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, announced today. “The restrictions and shutdowns imposed on our area restaurants, bars and clubs have placed many in a stranglehold,” Sainato said. “Those that have managed to survive are running on fumes. The plan announced today to waive liquor license fees for 2021 will help by giving these businesses additional capital for operating expenses, but a lot more is needed, and it’s needed now, because the clock is ticking for these businesses. “With about $1.3 billion in CARES Act dollars remaining, I will be working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to bring about a comprehensive restaurant relief package. We need to do everything in our power to save these small, family businesses that are the lifeblood of our economy.” Earlier this week, Sainato voted to override the governor’s veto of H.B. 2513 , which would have expanded capacity for restaurants and bars to a minimum of 50% and removed certain alcohol service restrictions, but the override failed. The fee waiver plan is still awaiting final approval from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Once approved, it would waive standard license fees for restaurants, Read more

Harkins bill would create hazard pay program for charitable nonprofit workers

(Oct 22, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 22 – Legislation introduced by state Rep. Pat Harkins would create a new grant program providing hazard pay for nonprofit employees performing charitable services on the front lines of the pandemic. Harkins, D-Erie, said he introduced H.B. 2931 to ensure that these nonprofit workers, who face the same dangers as other employees, are not passed over for compensation. “There are scores of nonprofit workers on the front lines of this pandemic,” said Harkins, who is Democratic chairman of the House Labor and Industry Committee. “They are distributing food at food banks, operating shelters for those needing a warm bed, and carrying out other charitable services providing comfort and support to Pennsylvanians in need. “Much like other frontline employees, these workers are knowingly placing themselves in harm’s way to help others, and we need to stand with them and support them. We can do that by making sure they have the same chance at compensation for those risks.” Harkins said that like the state’s original hazard pay program, his proposed grant program for nonprofits providing a vital charitable purpose during the pandemic would be funded with CARES Act dollars. Employees whose employers were approved would be eligible for an additional $3 per hour for a 10-week period. The state’s original hazard pay program launched over the summer provided $50 million to 639 employers, resulting in Read more