Harkins, Merski: Nearly $53,000 to fund Erie school safety resources

(1 day ago)

ERIE, Oct. 18 – Erie schools are receiving three grants totaling $52,850 to fund safety-related upgrades, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The legislators said the funding includes $24,240 to the Erie City School District for security-related equipment, $24,935 to Erie County Technical School for security-related equipment, and $3,675 to Bethel Christian School for safety-related programs. “After 20 years in the classroom, I know from a teacher’s perspective how important a secure, supportive learning environment is to allow kids to focus, thrive and learn,” Merski said. “The funding announced today is great news for our schools because it allows them to move forward with specific plans they’ve developed to promote this kind of environment.” Harkins agreed, adding, “School safety is about protecting our kids’ physical well-being, but it’s also about making sure they feel secure. The resources made possible by these grants will help keep fear out of the classroom.” The grants are part of a package of $7.2 million in competitive 2019-20 Safe Schools Targeted Grants from the state Department of Education. The funding – awarded to both public and non-public schools throughout the commonwealth – is designed to help schools prevent or curb violence, purchase safety and security-related equipment, Read more

 

Bizzarro: $9,000 grant to fund safety-related programs for Millcreek schools

(1 day ago)

ERIE, Oct. 18 – Millcreek Township School District will receive a grant of $9,000 to fund safety-related programs, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, announced today. “No parent should ever have to worry about sending their child off to school, and no student should feel at risk walking in school halls or sitting in class,” Bizzarro said. “Unfortunately, the realities of the modern world demand that we be proactive and take steps to ensure students and the staff who work with them stay safe. The grant announced today will fund programs that allow Millcreek students to continue learning in a secure, nurturing environment free of fear.” The grant is part of a package of $7.2 million in competitive 2019-20 Safe Schools Targeted Grants from the state Department of Education. The funding – awarded to both public and non-public schools throughout the commonwealth – is designed to help schools prevent or curb violence, purchase safety and security-related equipment, and provide for the training and compensation of school resource and police officers. A list of grant recipients and amounts is available by visiting the Office for Safe Schools webpage on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s website . Read more

 

Bizzarro, Harkins, Merski: $32 million loan to ensure safe water supply for Erie

(Oct 16, 2019)

ERIE, Oct. 16 – A $32 million low-interest loan from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority will ensure that Erie residents continue to enjoy reliable access to safe drinking water, state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, all D-Erie, announced today. The loan to Erie City Water Authority will fund projects that enhance service for more than 57,000 residents. “Ensuring a safe, reliable water supply depends on smooth, coordinated functioning of multiple systems, from pumps and chlorination equipment to treatment, testing and storage facilities,” Merski said. “This funding is essential to help us address long-standing issues such as pump stations that are at the end of their useable lives and an 80-year-old treatment plant building long overdue for upgrades.” Harkins agreed, noting, “The water authority has already invested more than $60 million in upgrading filtration equipment and standby power. The new financing builds on those improvements by addressing plant infrastructure issues, remedying code violations and expanding water storage to ensure Erie and surrounding towns have a plentiful, continuous supply.” Bizzarro added that the funding allows Erie to continue to fulfill its most important duties to residents. “Safeguarding public and community health is the No. 1 priority for government,” he said. “The funding Read more

 

Bizzarro, Harkins, Merski: $500,000 grant brings Erie closer to becoming ‘smart city’

(Oct 10, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 10 – Erie is one step closer to becoming a “smart city,” thanks to a $500,000 grant that will fund the city’s broadband deployment program and provide free public Wi-Fi access, state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, all D-Erie, announced today. The grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission will expand Erie’s “Secure Smart City Pilot” – a project launched last year to help the city use electronic data collection to better manage resources, fight crime, and improve efficiency. “I’m especially excited about how this program is going to make us a safer community,” Harkins said. “I have been working with law enforcement for some time on this project, and this infusion of funding is going to enhance security in areas that are prone to crime. We’ll be seeing urban security solutions that include traffic monitoring, analytics that can be tracked on a visualization dashboard, and better lighting, including the ability to remotely control streetlights.” Merski noted that the technology also will enable Erie to save money and operate more efficiently. “The theory behind smart cities is that they use information t echnology to capture data that can pinpoint exactly where resources are needed,” Merski said. “That allows us to target specific areas needing assistance while reducing wasteful spending. It Read more

 

Merski to host Medical Marijuana Forum Oct. 16

(Oct 09, 2019)

ERIE, Oct. 9 – Erie residents can learn more about the state’s Medical Marijuana program by attending a free forum hosted by state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie. The forum will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16 in the first-floor community room at 100 State St. Local experts will discuss how the program works, what conditions it covers and how to register and participate, among other topics. A question-and-answer session will follow. “Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program has brought relief to thousands of patients suffering from intractable pain and other problems related to serious medical conditions,” Merski said. “Because the program can meaningfully improve quality of life for those suffering, I want to be sure everyone in our community who might benefit is aware of this resource and understands how it works.” Merski noted that the program covers 23 serious medical conditions, including anxiety disorders, autism, cancer and remission therapy, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, and others. He added that there are at least 25 physicians in Erie who are approved to certify patients for participation. Residents wishing to learn more about the forum should call Merski’s office at (814) 455-6319. Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: Grant will bring urban agriculture to the classroom

(Oct 02, 2019)

ERIE, Oct. 2 – Erie students will soon get hands-on experience with urban agriculture thanks to a $825 microgrant that will fund supplies and equipment for 14 school gardens, according to state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie. The funding – part of the first round of Pennsylvania Farm Bill grants – will allow the Erie City School District to purchase soil, seed trays and hydro domes to create starter plants for the gardens. “Some of the best lessons are those that allow kids to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty,” Harkins said. “For city kids, planting seeds, watching them sprout and harvesting food they’ve grown themselves teaches about the life cycle in a way no book can. It also shows that you don’t need a lot of land to create a peaceful, productive green space.” Merski agreed, noting, “A well-rounded education isn’t just about teaching kids math and reading – it’s about allowing them to cultivate life-sustaining skills to help address food insecurity and empower whole communities. Those are skills they will carry with them their whole lives.” The grant is part of a package of funding to benefit 28 projects in various counties statewide and comes from the Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program, part of the state’s first-ever Pennsylvania Farm Bill. Read more

 

Bizzarro bill to improve charitable fundraising heads for House vote

(Sep 19, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 19 – Legislation that would help non-profit organizations host more successful fundraising events for charity is heading to the House chamber for a vote after being added to another bill approved by the House Liquor Committee today, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, announced. Bizzarro’s H.B. 1406 would address a major obstacle affecting nonprofit organizations hosting charitable fundraising events: A provision of the state Liquor Code governing special occasion permits prohibits the companies these non-profits hire to plan and organize the events from managing the funds. As a result, the fundraisers are not as efficient or successful as possible. Bizzarro said his legislation would change all that. “Non-profit organizations such as churches and community groups often turn to event planning and organizing companies because of their expertise when it comes to fundraising events,” Bizzarro said. “Unfortunately, the law prevents these organizers from managing the funds, which greatly affects the success and efficiency of these events. My legislation would remove that obstacle by permitting event organizers and planners to collect and manage the funds as long as the non-profit organization is the primary host of the event and the funds are being raised for a charitable purpose. “I’m delighted that this legislation is advancing to the House. Successful fundraising events are Read more

 

Harkins: $190,000 grant to fund improvements to McClelland Park

(Sep 17, 2019)

ERIE, Sept. 17 – New walkways and structures will allow Erie residents to more fully enjoy a popular community park, thanks to a $190,000 grant from the Commonwealth Financing Authority, state Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, announced today. Harkins said the grant to McClelland Park will fund multiple improvements, including the installation of an ADA-accessible land bridge to be constructed across a stream in the park’s eastern section, the construction of a 240-foot boardwalk to improve accessibility over wet ground, and the addition of two gazebos, two pavilions and signage. “I’m thrilled about this funding,” said Harkins. “McClelland Park is a very special place in our community – one that brings residents together to socialize, to exercise and to forge friendships. By funding new structures and creating easier access to park areas that were difficult to navigate, the grant will allow visitors to enjoy this special place from a new perspective.” Harkins noted that the funding was awarded by CFA under the state’s Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program. The total project cost is $201,358, and the city will use the $82,671 land value as match. More information about the CFA is available at the agency’s website . Read more

 

Bizzarro, Harkins, Merski: More than $376,000 for programs to address domestic violence and abuse, curb gun violence

(Sep 12, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 12 – State grants totaling $376,741 will bolster Erie programs aimed at reducing gun violence and supporting victims of domestic violence and abuse, state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, all D-Erie, announced today. The funding – administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency – includes three grants totaling nearly $127,000 under the Victims of Crime Act and one grant of nearly $250,000 under the 2019/20 Gun Violence Reduction Initiative. “In addition to helping victims of domestic violence and abuse rebuild their lives, this funding will benefit our entire community by reducing gun violence and the shadow of fear it casts,” Bizzarro said. “The Gun Violence Reduction Initiative being funded is based on a deterrence model that has proven successful by targeting high-risk individuals and groups through direct communication, enforcement and outreach. I’m hopeful that we’ll see meaningful results in Erie.” Harkins added that the funding will also make a difference for those victimized by domestic violence or abuse. “More than anything, innocent residents whose lives have been shattered by domestic violence or abuse need to feel safe and free from the ongoing threat of violence,” Harkins said. “The PCCD funding will go toward programs that help victims free themselves from the specter of ongoing violence or abuse by obtaining protective Read more

 

Harkins joins workers, advocates to rally on behalf of safety bill

(Sep 11, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 11 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, joined union leaders, legislators and workers’ rights advocates at Philadelphia’s City Hall today to rally on behalf of his legislation that would guarantee Pennsylvania’s public employees the same workplace safety protections afforded private sector workers. Harkins’ H.B. 1082 – the Jake Schwab Worker Safety Bill – would provide a state safety plan to protect Pennsylvania’s 570,000 public sector workers, who, unlike their counterparts in private industry, are not covered by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act. The bill is named for the 48-year-old Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority worker who died after equipment he was using malfunctioned. “It’s hard to fathom that our state’s public employees – including front-line rescue workers who willingly put themselves in harm’s way to protect the rest of us in an emergency – are denied the same basic safety protections afforded private sector employees because Pennsylvania has yet to pass a workplace safety law protecting them,” Harkins said. “Jake Schwab should have gone home to his wife that evening. Instead, he has become a symbol in the fight for equal protection for public workers.” Harkins has been fighting to bring equal safety protections to the state’s public workers for nearly five years. He first introduced the bill the year after Jake Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: More than $18,000 in funding to benefit homeless children in Erie City School District

(Aug 30, 2019)

ERIE, Aug. 30 – Fifty-two students in the Erie City School District will benefit from $18,605 in funding serving homeless children and displaced youth. The money comes from a federally funded program created to assist local educational agencies serving homeless children and youth displaced by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, or the 2017 California wildfires. “This funding is great news for students in our district whose families are facing extremely difficult circumstances that have disrupted their lives,” Harkins said. “As legislators, we want to do everything in our power to make sure all kids in Erie city schools have an equal chance to learn.” Merski agreed, noting, “As a former teacher, I’ve seen how difficult it can be for kids to learn and achieve when they’re facing homelessness or poverty. This funding should bring a measure of hope and peace of mind to these students that will reduce their stress and uncertainty and allow them to get back to the business of learning and thriving.” Grants were awarded to 17 school districts throughout Pennsylvania with displaced students ranging from 28 to 495 children. Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: Grant of nearly $170,000 to enhance operations, maintenance at Erie International Airport

(Aug 29, 2019)

ERIE, Aug. 29 – A state grant of $168,750 will enable Erie International Airport to purchase additional vehicles and equipment needed for operations and maintenance, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The legislators noted the funding – which follows last year’s grant of $1.7 million for major renovations to the terminal building – is an important investment for the entire area. “Our airport has played – and continues to play – such an important role in our local economy, dating back to its roots early last century, when it became one of the nation’s first airports to be licensed for commercial operations,” Harkins said. “Today, it’s a thriving hub, supporting businesses, sustaining thousands of jobs, and connecting travelers with the rest of the state and the world. Investments that keep it running smoothly benefit the entire region.” Merski agreed, saying, “I’m delighted Erie International is receiving this grant, which will bolster efficient operations and enable better maintenance to the field’s turfed and paved areas. Travelers to and from our region deserve the safest, smoothest experience possible, and this funding will provide the resources needed to ensure that happens.” The funding is part of a package of grants to 29 airports statewide totaling $13.7 million and funded through the state Transportation Department's Aviation Read more

 

Bizzarro: Nearly $170,000 to fund new equipment, vehicles for Erie International Airport

(Aug 28, 2019)

ERIE, Aug. 28 – A state grant of $168,750 will ensure that Erie International Airport/Tom Ridge Field continues to operate smoothly and safely, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, announced today. Bizzarro said the grant will fund the purchase of equipment needed to maintain the airport’s facilities – including the turfed and paved areas – and additional vehicles to support airport operations. “I’m so glad we were successful in our efforts to secure this funding,” Bizzarro said. “Erie International Airport is more than a convenient transportation hub. It sustains hundreds of regional jobs, supports tourism, helps bolster commerce and serves as a connection point to worldwide destinations. Funding to keep it functioning safely and efficiently is one of the most important investments the state can make.” Bizzarro noted that the funding provides an excellent opportunity to build on progress enabled by a $1.7 million grant the airport received last year for a major renovation of the terminal building. The funding is part of a package of grants to 29 airports statewide totaling $13.7 million and funded through the state Transportation Department's Aviation Transportation Assistance Program, Aviation Development Program and the Multimodal Fund. As of April 2019, Pennsylvania ranks 13th in the country in the number of public-use aviation facilities with 127 airports, heliports and seaplane bases. Read more

 

Merski: School supplies still needed as drive enters final week

(Aug 26, 2019)

ERIE, Aug. 26 – With some area schools starting today and others scheduled for just after Labor Day, state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, is reminding residents that this is the last week of his “Back- to-School Supplies Drive” to help families in need. “We’ve had an excellent response to our school supply drive so far, which is a testament to our community’s wonderful, caring spirit,” Merski said. “In addition to saying a hearty thanks for what we’ve collected so far, I want to remind everyone that the drive ends this Friday, Aug. 30, and that we can still use more supplies. “Although many families try to budget for back-to-school shopping, buying all the necessary supplies can put a dent in tight budgets – especially for families with multiple kids in school. Donating to our drive is a great way to help make sure that all kids in our community start the school year off feeling prepared and confident in the knowledge that they have the tools they need to succeed.” Merski said residents can donate new school supplies to one of these three locations between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.: Merski’s district office, 3901 Liberty St.; his Summit Township satellite office (open Tuesdays only), 1230 Townhall Road W.; or the Belle Valley VFD Station 36, 1514 Norcross Road. Merski said the following items are especially helpful: Markers, including highlighters, color markers, dry-erase markers and Read more

 

Merski, Policy Committee investigate ways to grow technology workforce

(Aug 19, 2019)

ERIE, Aug. 19 – State Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, held a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing today at Mercyhurst University to discuss ways Pennsylvania can bolster its technology workforce. “It’s clear that the tech industry is only continuing to grow, fueled by businesses’ demand for state-of-the-art information technology and cybersecurity services,” Merski said. “Cities like Erie are quickly becoming home to startup tech companies that bring jobs and help stimulate the economy.” Joining Merski were legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. Sturla added: “Companies need highly skilled workers to compete, and bridging the skills gap is especially challenging in the tech field, which is constantly evolving.Today’s hearing on how we can bolster our tech workforce to keep pace with demand was a great first step.” Testifiers included Dr. Leanne Roberts, provost and vice president for academic affairs, Mercyhurst University; Steven Mauro, vice president of academic administration, Gannon University; and Karl Sanchak, president and CEO, Erie Innovation District. The hearing was one in a series being held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, focused on putting people first by growing good jobs, providing health care access, creating quality schools and providing training for jobs in a fair economy. More information about the plan is Read more

 

Bizzarro’s Senior Fair attracts large turnout, enthusiastic crowd

(Aug 19, 2019)

ERIE, Aug. 19 – A robust and enthusiastic crowd attended the 7 th Annual Senior Fair & Older Living Expo today hosted by State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie. Visitors who packed the first floor of McDowell Intermediate High School this morning browsed dozens of exhibits and filled their bags with program brochures, state applications and free samples. Many participated in free health screenings. Bizzarro said he particularly enjoyed getting to talk one-on-one with seniors around the community. “Today’s event was one of our best yet, and that’s a testament to the energy and enthusiasm of the nearly 1,700 seniors who stopped by,” Bizzarro said. “I had the chance to talk one-on-one with so many seniors in our community, and once again this year, they wowed me with their enthusiasm and their insights. “There are few things more satisfying than seeing the folks I serve coming out to engage with the community and knowing that they’re leaving with a feeling that they’ve learned some new ways to enrich their lives.” Bizzarro will join state Sen. Michele Brooks to co-host a similar free event – the Edinboro Senior Fair – from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, Sept. 27, at the Edinboro Volunteer Fire Department, 125 Meadville St. in Edinboro. Read more

 

Grant to boost Cambria County tourism, outdoor opportunities

(Aug 10, 2019)

State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, was proud to help Rock Run Recreation secure a $53,800 state grant to help maintain its 140-mile outdoor recreation trail system. Read more

 

Bizzarro to host Senior Fair & Older Living Expo Aug. 19

(Aug 09, 2019)

ERIE, Aug. 9 – State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, will host his 7 th annual Senior Fair & Older Living Expo from 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Aug. 19 at McDowell Intermediate High School, 3320 Caughey Road. The free event will feature about 80 exhibitors, valuable information on state programs, free health screenings, refreshments, door prizes and more. “The fair is one of the most exciting events I host each year because of all the energy our senior community brings,” Bizzarro said. “Erie’s seniors are an active, engaged group who understand that Pennsylvania offers a wealth of programs and services for older adults. The fair provides a great opportunity for them to learn about new and existing programs; pick up applications and brochures; and talk to staff, who will be on-hand to answer questions. “Once again this year, the fair will feature dozens of community exhibitors offering a look at all the latest resources important to older adults – from health, nutrition and fitness, to housing, home care, transportation and financial services. The best part is that every year, seniors come away with a better understanding of how to make the most of their retirement years.” Additional parking will be available in the parking lot adjacent to the Gus Anderson Field, located off Caughey Road, with shuttle service available to and from the fair. Residents interested in learning more should contact Bizzarro’s office Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: $75,000 grant to local university for teacher training

(Aug 06, 2019)

ERIE, Aug. 6 – A $75,000 state grant will help Gannon University develop cutting-edge residency programs that will provide advanced training to teachers, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced today. The funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Education is one of 11 grants awarded to universities statewide to support teacher and principal residency programs. The goal is to bolster and diversify the state’s educator workforce to better serve high-need areas. “Teacher training is a dynamic area, and like many other professionals, teachers in training benefit greatly from real-world experience,” Merski said. “My own training as a teacher began with the hands-on cadet teacher program, which builds in-classroom experiences from day one alongside teacher education courses.” Harkins added, “Historically, so many of our communities have faced problems attracting and retaining good teachers. The funding announced today will allow Gannon University to develop the best possible clinical residency programs to turn out educators who are well-equipped to serve in our most high-need areas.” Clinical residency programs must be developed in partnership with at least one high-need local education agency that serves high rates of historically underserved students or demonstrates chronic, multiple teacher shortages in key certification areas, including special education and English as a second language. The Read more

 

Local legislators announce $10.5 million in grants for Erie projects

(Aug 01, 2019)

ERIE, Aug. 1 – State Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, all D-Erie, announced today that $10.5 million in grants have been awarded under the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program to fund projects around the region. The legislators noted that the grants will provide benefits for generations to come. “I’ve always been a proponent of regional representation and understand the value of community assets that go beyond legislative district boundaries,” Bizzarro said. “I am proud to have worked diligently with my colleagues, House leadership, administrative leadership and community innovators to secure this funding for our community. “These grant benefits will extend far beyond the individual campus, facility or neighborhood project receiving the investment – they will enhance learning, living, shopping and economic opportunities for residents and generations to come in each of our legislative districts.” “These grants are incredible news for Erie,” Harkins said. “I’m especially pleased that we were successful in our efforts to help secure $2 million in funding for the project to expand Saint Vincent. My wife and I – and all three of our children – were born there, and we have many friends who work there. It is truly a regional investment.” Merski agreed, saying, “These state investments in the city of Erie are critical to accelerating our transformation. From Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $53,000 to fund Erie school safety resources
1 day ago

Bizzarro: $9,000 grant to fund safety-related programs for Millcreek schools
1 day ago

Bizzarro, Harkins, Merski: $32 million loan to ensure safe water supply for Erie
Oct 16, 2019

Bizzarro, Harkins, Merski: $500,000 grant brings Erie closer to becoming ‘smart city’
Oct 10, 2019

Merski to host Medical Marijuana Forum Oct. 16
Oct 09, 2019

Harkins, Merski: Grant will bring urban agriculture to the classroom
Oct 02, 2019

Bizzarro bill to improve charitable fundraising heads for House vote
Sep 19, 2019

Harkins: $190,000 grant to fund improvements to McClelland Park
Sep 17, 2019

Bizzarro, Harkins, Merski: More than $376,000 for programs to address domestic violence and abuse, curb gun violence
Sep 12, 2019

Harkins joins workers, advocates to rally on behalf of safety bill
Sep 11, 2019

Harkins, Merski: More than $18,000 in funding to benefit homeless children in Erie City School District
Aug 30, 2019

Harkins, Merski: Grant of nearly $170,000 to enhance operations, maintenance at Erie International Airport
Aug 29, 2019

Bizzarro: Nearly $170,000 to fund new equipment, vehicles for Erie International Airport
Aug 28, 2019

Merski: School supplies still needed as drive enters final week
Aug 26, 2019

Merski, Policy Committee investigate ways to grow technology workforce
Aug 19, 2019

Bizzarro’s Senior Fair attracts large turnout, enthusiastic crowd
Aug 19, 2019

Grant to boost Cambria County tourism, outdoor opportunities
Aug 10, 2019

Bizzarro to host Senior Fair & Older Living Expo Aug. 19
Aug 09, 2019

Merski, Harkins: $75,000 grant to local university for teacher training
Aug 06, 2019

Local legislators announce $10.5 million in grants for Erie projects
Aug 01, 2019