Latest News

Burns' military tuition bill passes key Senate committee, heads to full chamber for vote

(Sep 21, 2021)

Legislation would guarantee in-state tuition for military families Read more

Sainato co-hosts news conference highlighting free services for veterans

(Sep 15, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 15 – Highlighting the multiple ways Veterans Service Officers can assist Pennsylvanians who served our nation was the focus of a news conference today at the state Capitol co-hosted by state Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence. Sainato, who is Democratic chairman of the PA House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, said he wants to be sure Pennsylvania veterans and their families are aware of the broad range of free services these trained, accredited professionals can provide. “For their valor and service to our nation, Pennsylvania’s veterans deserve the best programs and services our state can offer,” Sainato said. “Part of that means ensuring veterans and their families have the help they need navigating the system and accessing those services. That’s where Veterans Service Officers come in. “Pennsylvania has a broad network of trained, accredited VSOs who can assist with nearly every veteran-related service, from recovering lost paperwork and filing claims to advocating at VA hearings and helping families secure benefits. They can also help veterans review their eligibility for programs and services to determine whether they may be newly eligible based on changed circumstances or policies. “It’s invaluable assistance, and it’s all free.” The news conference was held in conjunction with “Veterans Service Officers Day at the Capitol,” which Read more

Burns holds ceremony honoring local military hero

(Sep 10, 2021)

Local bridge named for man who gave his life in service of his nation Read more

Merski, Harkins: LECOM K-9 unit benefits entire community

(Sep 10, 2021)

ERIE, Sept. 10 – With classes back in session at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, LECOM students and staff are benefiting from a new K-9 unit supported in part by a $50,000 state grant, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the grant will enhance security for the campus and the entire region. “Like other campuses that host year-round speaking events and community activities, LECOM will benefit greatly from the added security of a K-9 unit,” Merski said. “Police dogs do an incredible job of rooting out suspicious packages containing weapons or explosives, which is important as larger gatherings resume on campus and in the community. “The campus and the entire surrounding community are going to be safer thanks to the new addition to the force.” Harkins said: “The K-9 unit is a great addition to LECOM’s security because it adds an important layer of protection for students and staff and enhances peace of mind for everyone – including the officers responsible for campus safety. It’s great to know that the campus is joining so many others across the country that have added police dogs to their security arsenal.” The lawmakers said LECOM is assisting with startup costs for the program, which total about $80,000. Read more

Merski bill would help municipalities fight blight

(Sep 09, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 9 – A bill recently introduced by state Rep. Bob Merski would make it easier for municipalities to battle blight by creating a grant program to fund code enforcement efforts. Merski, D-Erie, said that under H.B. 1827 , municipalities would be able to apply for grants to help them launch new property maintenance code enforcement programs, hire inspectors for those programs or add more staff to fortify existing programs. “We need to make it easier for municipalities to break the vicious cycle that occurs when vacant, blighted properties reduce tax revenues available for public services like code enforcement, leading to further vacancies, declining property values and more people leaving the area,” Merski said. “Even before the pandemic, municipalities were struggling to keep code enforcement programs funded. COVID-19 only aggravated those problems by stretching budgets to the max. “The grant program created by my bill would give critical code enforcement efforts a shot in the arm by providing local governments the resources needed to respond to complaints, proactively root out trouble spots and carry out enforcement efforts.” Merski said the competitive grant program would be administered by the state Department of Community and Economic Development, and municipalities would be required to provide matching funds. The bill has been referred to the House Urban Affairs Committee. Read more

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $300,000 awarded to continue Erie opioid education, prevention programs

(Sep 08, 2021)

ERIE, Sept. 8 – Grant funding of $299,733 from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency will continue an Erie pilot program to educate students about opioid dangers and help families keep kids safe, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding to Family Services of NW PA will support the Erie Opioid Misuse Prevention Project – one of five pilot programs statewide that are providing evidence-based strategies to reduce risk factors that lead kids to substance abuse and other problems. “The statewide Opioid Disaster Declaration recently expired after the Republican-controlled legislature failed to extend it,” Harkins said. “At the same time, the numbers are showing that opioid overdoses spiked during the pandemic. It’s a bad combination and highlights why it is so critical to keep youth education and prevention programs going.” Merski said, “The pilot programs are evidence-based and have been working to make sure kids understand the risks of opioid use and help families develop strategies to keep kids safe and steer them away from drug use and other risky behaviors. Thanks to this funding, those programs are going to continue for another year.” The lawmakers said Erie’s program, like the other pilots, is part of the Opioid Misuse Prevention Project and operates through partnerships among counties, school Read more

Matzie: Nearly $400,000 awarded to educate, protect Beaver County kids from opioid risks

(Sep 08, 2021)

AMBRIDGE, Sept. 8 – More than $390,000 from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency will keep Beaver County students learning about the risks of opioids and help families develop the skills to keep kids safe, state Rep. Rob Matzie announced today. Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, said the funding includes $370,805 to Community Health Challenge of Southwestern Pennsylvania to continue the Beaver County Opioid Prevention Project – one of five pilot programs statewide that team counties with school districts, local nonprofits and the community. “The Beaver County programs are teaching students in the Aliquippa, New Brighton and Rochester Area school districts how to recognize and avoid the dangers of opioid abuse,” Matzie said. “The programs are also helping families develop skills to protect kids from the risks of substance abuse and other factors that can lead them into trouble. “The programs have already helped many students and families in our district over the past two years. Securing this funding will allow them to continue for another year.” Matzie said that a second grant of $22,313 to The Prevention Network will fund the Project Towards No Drug Abuse, which supports at-risk youth. Both grants were recommended by the PCCD’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee and come from federal State Opioid Response funds. Read more

Burns, Saint Francis to launch Dolly Parton Imagination Library later this month

(Sep 07, 2021)

Children’s book program made possible thanks to state grant Read more

Longietti to host Senior & Health Education Fair Sept. 16

(Sep 02, 2021)

HERMITAGE, Sept. 2 – Area seniors will want to mark their calendars for state Rep. Mark Longietti’s 14th annual Senior & Health Education Fair, which is returning to Sharon later this month after a one-year hiatus. Longietti, D-Mercer, said the free event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16 at the Sharon American Legion, 1395 E. State St. “The senior fair is returning this month after a one-year hiatus, and I am pleased to be back hosting this popular event for our large, vibrant senior community,” Longietti said. “As in previous years, the fair will feature dozens of exhibits showcasing the latest products and services for seniors, from fitness and health to housing and finance. “Seniors will also find free health screenings, door prizes and valuable information on state programs and services. There’s something for everyone – I encourage everyone to come see what’s new.” Longietti said there is no need to pre-register for the event and that walk-ins are welcome. Face masks are recommended. Those interested in learning more should contact Longietti’s Hermitage office at 724-981-4655. Read more

Burns: Grants available to support law enforcement

(Aug 31, 2021)

Says his office stands ready to support local police Read more