Harkins: Low-interest loan will help area employer expand operations, retain jobs

(Jun 06, 2019)

ERIE, June 6 – A low-interest loan will enable an area employer to expand its operations and retain jobs, state Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, announced today. Harkins said the real estate development entity Sites Bros Holdings, LLC, was approved for a $400,000, 15-year loan at a 3.5% rate through the Enterprise Development Center of Erie County. The loan will allow for acquisition of a 12,850-square-foot Erie building currently occupied by XPO Logistics Freight, Inc., and will enable the company to retain 30 jobs over the next three years. “I’m excited to see that our efforts to help secure this loan were successful,” Harkins said. “Our regional businesses provide the pulse of our economy, and a favorable loan that permits a business to expand stimulates economic activity and promotes job retention. It’s an investment that yields multiple, healthy returns for families, businesses, and the entire community.” The loan was part of a package of loans approved through the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority for businesses in eight counties statewide. The loans are designed to help businesses at various stages of development – from startups to established businesses seeking to expand – and are projected to create or retain 324 jobs across the commonwealth. Read more

 

Merski kicks off month-long ‘flag takeback’ program Friday, June 7

(Jun 05, 2019)

ERIE, June 5 – State Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, is encouraging Erie residents to retire their torn, faded or tattered American flags as he kicks off a month-long “flag takeback” program at 2:30 p.m. Friday, June 7 at his 3901 Liberty St. district office. Merski said he is sponsoring the program in partnership with the Summit Township Supervisors to help residents prepare for the July 4 holiday. “Most residents know when it’s time to retire a torn, faded or tattered American flag, but they may be uncertain how to do so, or may not have the time to retire a flag in the manner the Flag Code specifies,” Merski said. “It’s my hope that this program will make that process a lot easier for residents as they prepare to show their patriotic spirit on July 4.” Merski noted that after June 7 and for the remainder of the month, residents will be able to deposit flags at one of two locations: His district office at 3901 Liberty Street or His Summit office at the Summit Township Municipal Building, 1230 Townhall Road W. Media coverage of the program kickoff is invited. Read more

 

Rep. Bizzarro applauds committee passage of insurance exchange bill

(Jun 05, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 5 – The House Insurance Committee today unanimously passed legislation that would help stabilize premiums and benefit Pennsylvania’s consumers insured under the Affordable Care Act through the creation of a state insurance exchange, according to state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie. Bizzarro, a member of the House Insurance Committee and one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said that by restoring Pennsylvania’s autonomy in overseeing the state’s private health insurance market, the bill would bring clear benefits to consumers with no added burden to taxpayers. “This is a great step toward bringing state sovereignty back to Pennsylvania’s insurance market,” Bizzarro said. “Insurance exchanges are the means by which plan choices, rate comparisons and other key information is delivered to consumers. Moving the federal government out of the equation and permitting the commonwealth to take control of that process stands to benefit consumers, stabilize rates, and ensure that our residents receive more meaningful choices – all without any added costs to taxpayers.” Bizzarro added that the bill would also permit the commonwealth to apply for a waiver to create a reinsurance program designed to drive down premium increases in the individual market. “Reinsurance programs have allowed insurers to lower the prices on their products by removing some of the risks,” Bizzarro said. “States Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: $400,000 grant will fund afterschool opportunities for Erie elementary school students

(Jun 04, 2019)

ERIE, June 4 – A $400,000 grant will permit Mercyhurst University to offer afterschool academic supports and other enrichment programs for students attending three Erie elementary schools, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. Harkins and Merski said the federally funded grant – part of a package of 21st Century Community Learning Center grants administered by the state Department of Education – will benefit students of Grover Cleveland, Jefferson, and Jo Anna Connell elementary schools. “I’m thrilled that our attempts to secure this funding were successful, because the programs funded will help level the playing field for students who may be at a disadvantage based on income barriers or academic obstacles,” Harkins said. “Every student deserves a chance to succeed.” Merski agreed, noting, “As a former teacher, I have seen firsthand the benefits of additional programs that boost learning and reinforce core concepts for grade school age children. Investing in a strong start early on for these students yields tremendous benefits later, in terms of greater confidence, greater engagement and future success.” Competitive, 21st CCLC grants fund the establishment of community learning centers that provide students with academic, artistic and cultural enrichment opportunities. The opportunities must occur during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session and help Read more

 

House unanimously adopts Rep. Bizzarro resolution to raise awareness about insidious parenting practice

(Jun 03, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 3 – Raising awareness about parental alienation – an insidious process in which a child is manipulated into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect or hostility toward a targeted parent or other family member – is the subject of a resolution the House unanimously adopted Monday, according to the author, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie. Bizzarro said he introduced H.R. 337 – designating June 3 – 9, 2019, as “Parental Alienation and Hostile Aggressive Parenting Awareness Week” in Pennsylvania – to highlight the detrimental effects this manipulative practice has on children. “A parent is often a child’s entire world,” Bizzarro said. “Their sense of security, ability to love and trust, and to deal honestly with others – starts with the parent. Yet far too many kids find themselves caught in the crossfire of spousal conflict, and the effects can be devastating. “Kids exposed to this kind of manipulation, in which a parent attempts to poison a child’s mind against another parent, often develop low self-esteem, have difficulty trusting others and are more likely to suffer from depression and addiction. “I introduced this resolution because we desperately need to educate everyone – judges, lawyers, law enforcement, healthcare professionals, social workers, policymakers and the general public – about how this practice can destroy family relationships and Read more

 

Enough is enough: Time to throw a safety line to our public-sector employees

(May 28, 2019)

On the day he died , Jake Schwab went to work like he did on any other morning, looking forward to tackling the projects ahead of him. The 48-year-old Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority mechanic and avid motorcycle enthusiast was assigned to work on a bus from a different agency. Although he wasn’t familiar with the bus, Jake wasn’t daunted. He was good at his job, and, with 27 years’ experience, he was comfortable working on a range of vehicles. But then, a problem arose: The lift equipment Jake requested was unavailable, forcing him to use different equipment in its place. As he was working, the equipment malfunctioned, and the bus shifted. A component of the suspension exploded, striking Jake in the head. He died just days later, on November 9, 2014, leaving his widow and the love of his life, Tiffany, to celebrate Thanksgiving alone. lipping through the cracks As a mechanic for a public transit authority, Jake shared many things in common with private mechanics – except one: Unlike private-sector employees, Jake was not protected by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and Pennsylvania has no state plan imposing comparable standards to protect public employees. As a result, there had been no safety training in Jake’s garage for more than nine years, and there was no public investigation and report detailing the safety problems leading up to his death. Instead, Tiffany battled to receive Read more

 

Harkins: $25,000 grant to Iroquois School District will fund purchase of security equipment

(May 20, 2019)

ERIE, May 20 – A $25,000 grant to the Iroquois School District will fund the purchase of security equipment, state Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, announced today. Harkins said the funding, administered by the state Department of Education, will allow the district to complement existing safety measures in schools with a variety of equipment-based resources. “Effective school security relies on a mix of different resources, and those vary depending on the school,” Harkins said. “There’s no one-size-fits-all plan. What’s true across the board, however, is that a safe, secure environment is essential for students to learn. The grant announced today should go a long way in ensuring that Iroquois School District can purchase the security equipment it has determined it needs to keep students and school employees safe.” Harkins noted that the grant is part of a statewide package of 39 competitive Safe Schools Targeted grants awarded up to a maximum of $25,000 each. Districts may use the funding to purchase student, staff and visitor identification systems; surveillance and special emergency communications equipment; metal detectors; protective lighting; electronic locksets, deadbolts and theft control devices; and training for the use of security-related technology. The funding announced today is in addition to more than $47 million in competitive Safe Schools Targeted grants announced earlier this month. Read more

 

Merski: $4,350 state grant will fund school breakfast program

(May 16, 2019)

ERIE, May 16 – A state grant of $4,350 will help ensure students at Erie Rise Leadership Academy Charter School start their day with a nutritious meal, according to state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, who said the grant will fund a breakfast program at the school. Merski said the grant, part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s School Breakfast Initiative, should give kids a productive start to the day. “Good nutrition – and a good breakfast in particular – makes a huge difference for students,” Merski said. “It’s linked to greater productivity, better understanding and retention of information, and higher test scores. As a former teacher, I’ve seen firsthand the difference proper nutrition plays in kids’ energy, performance, and confidence. I’m delighted that this grant will help fund a good start to the day for these students.” The School Breakfast Initiative was started two years ago and provides schools funding to implement breakfast programs using alternative serving methods such as “grab-and-go” or breakfast in the classroom. Schools can also expand an existing program to include an alternative serving method. Read more

 

Casey, Bizzarro seek to honor Korean War veterans with Ambassador for Peace Medal

(May 16, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 16 – U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-PA, and state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, said they are encouraging Korean War veterans in Northwest Pennsylvania to apply for the Korean Ambassador for Peace Medal. The commemorative medal is an expression of appreciation from the Korean government to American servicemen and -women who served in the three-year conflict from 1950 through 1953. “Our nation’s veterans deserve recognition for their bravery here at home and abroad,” Casey said. “While we cannot fully repay the debt of their sacrifices, an honor such as this is an important remembrance of our gratitude. I encourage those who are eligible, or their families, to apply.” Bizzarro, who sits on the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, noted that the nation’s Korean War veterans – including more than 75,000 such veterans in Pennsylvania – are often considered unsung heroes. “Too often, our Korean War veterans have not received the full recognition they deserve for their valor in that conflict, which is sometimes overshadowed by accounts about World War II and the Vietnam War,” Bizzarro said. “In fact, our troops in Korea achieved a monumental task by preventing a North Korean takeover of the south, despite facing incredibly harsh conditions and opposition from thousands of Chinese troops.” To be eligible for the Ambassador for Peace Medal, veterans must have served in Read more

 

Rep. Bizzarro announces more than $8,500 in breakfast grants

(May 15, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 15 – More Erie students will start their day with a healthy breakfast thanks to more than $8,500 in state grants, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, announced today. Bizzarro said the grants promise to fuel better academic performance for area kids. “Just as nutrition plays in a key role in child development, it’s also strongly tied to academic performance. Studies show that a proper breakfast improves kids’ concentration, thinking and other skills needed for success in the classroom. I’m so glad our efforts to bring about this funding were successful. Our kids deserve every chance to be their best.” The funding, which is part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s School Breakfast Initiative, includes $4,660 to General McLane High School and $3,843 to the Montessori Regional Charter School. Launched two years ago, the initiative provides schools funding to implement breakfast programs using alternative serving methods such as “grab-and-go” or breakfast in the classroom. Schools can also expand an existing program to include an alternative serving method. Read more

 

Harkins bill to rid Public School Code of derogatory language passes House unanimously

(May 15, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 15 – The House today unanimously passed a bill that would remove outdated, derogatory language from the state’s Public School Code, according to the bill’s author, state Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie. “Our laws are a reflection of our values as a society,” Harkins said. “Pennsylvania has made measurable progress in updating our classrooms and educational programs to be inclusive of students with mental health issues and disabilities. At the same time, however, derogatory terms such as ‘defective’ and ‘handicapped’ remain in the Public School Code. “Language is powerful: Studies have shown that the use of certain words and phrases maintains the stigma surrounding mental health issues and disabilities. It is time to update our laws so that they keep pace with our advancement toward a more inclusive society. I’m extremely pleased that the House unanimously passed this legislation. Removing such language from our laws would go a long way toward eliminating it from speech, social interactions and perceptions.” The bill (H.B. 1196) now heads to the state Senate for consideration and a vote. Read more

 

Bizzarro, Harkins, Merski: More than $65,000 in matching grants to help Erie County businesses grow greener

(May 08, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 8 – State matching grants totaling $65,335 will help 12 small businesses in Erie adopt greener practices, according to state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Pat Harkins, and Bob Merski, all D-Erie. The funding is provided by the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Small Business Advantage Grant program. “I’m extremely pleased that we were able to help these seven small businesses in our district procure funding,” Harkins said. “Taking steps to be more responsible stewards of the environment helps recover natural resources and also makes economic sense for businesses, because energy-efficient practices are more cost-efficient in the long run.” Merski agreed, noting, “Greener practices translate to less waste, a healthier work environment, and greater efficiency for these companies, which helps their bottom line. It’s an investment that pays off for everyone.” Bizzarro added that businesses that work to protect the environment set a good example for others. “Small businesses can be a positive force for change by inspiring other companies and private citizens,” Bizzarro said. “By ‘going green,’ small-business owners encourage others in the community to do the same. It sends a great message.” The grant recipients, projects and amounts, by legislative district, are as follows: First Legislative District: Two Penny Corporation – HVAC – $7,000 Read more

 

House unanimously adopts Rep. Bizzarro resolution to keep Pa. boaters safe

(May 08, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 8 – The House today unanimously adopted a resolution drafted by state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, designating May 18-24 as “National Safe Boating Week” in Pennsylvania. Bizzarro said he introduced H.R. 312 to help ensure that a popular pastime does not turn deadly for residents. “In 2017, there were more than 4,000 boating accidents in the United States and more than 650 reported deaths,” Bizzarro said. “Of those who died, nearly 85 percent were not wearing a life jacket. It’s especially tragic when residents die preventable deaths while enjoying favorite recreational activities. “I hope that while area residents enjoy the unique recreational boating opportunities that are afforded by Lake Erie and Presque Isle – and enhanced by the work of our Fish and Boat Commission – they remember how far simple safety precautions can go and what a difference they can make.” Bizzarro added that the message is an important one throughout the commonwealth, where there are more than 85,000 miles of rivers and streams and 735 miles of shoreline. Read more

 

House unanimously adopts Bizzarro resolution to raise awareness about form of soft-tissue sarcoma

(May 07, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 7 – The House unanimously adopted a resolution Monday designed to raise awareness about undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma – one of a group of soft-tissue cancers expected to kill more than 5,000 Americans this year, according to the resolution’s author, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie. “According to the American Cancer Society, about 12,750 Americans will be diagnosed with UPS and other soft-tissue sarcomas this year,” Bizzarro said. “It’s found most often in the arms and legs and can cause fast-growing masses that can affect the bones and muscles. The primary treatment is surgery, but as with all cancers, early diagnosis is key.” Bizzarro said because UPS and other forms of sarcomas are relatively rare, it’s important to raise awareness about them, especially because the causes of UPS are still largely unknown. “Knowledge is important in the fight against cancer,” Bizzarro said. “Because soft-tissue sarcomas are relatively rare, this can slow advances in treatment and cure. We all know someone who has fought a long and difficult battle against cancer, whether it’s a common or less common form. I urge everyone to support programs and organizations that are working to enhance research and awareness of UPS so we can combat this diagnosis with a stronger hand in the future.” Read more

 

Merski: Grant of more than $5,200 will enhance two Erie senior centers

(May 06, 2019)

ERIE, May 6 – Two popular Erie senior centers will benefit from a $5,213 grant, state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, announced today. The grant – part of the state Department of Aging’s 2018-19 Senior Community Center package of grants – will fund enhanced resources at the GECAC R.B.W. Central City Senior Center and the Erie West Senior Center. Greater Erie Community Action Committee’s Agency on Aging oversees both centers. “I know this funding is going to be extremely helpful to the centers, which work so hard to provide area seniors with the resources they need to stay active and remain connected to the community,” Merski said. “Our seniors have spent their lives enriching our community. This funding allows us to do something in return by ensuring that they have access to the programs and resources so important to their well-being and vitality.” Merski noted that the grants, funded by the PA Lottery, may be used to make needed refurbishments to facilities or to create new programs or services to help seniors maintain their independence and wellness. Kim Malone, GECAC’s director of center services, expressed appreciation for the grant. “We’re very grateful for the opportunities the state provides,” Malone said. “The centers are wonderful places for our seniors to go, and any opportunity that permits enhancements to the buildings or programs is great news. We know our legislators have a Read more

 

House unanimously passes Bizzarro resolution naming May ‘Youth Art Month’ in Pennsylvania

(May 06, 2019)

ERIE, May 6 – Calling attention to the importance of art education is the goal of a resolution the House passed unanimously today, according to the author, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie. Bizzarro said he introduced H.R. 289, designating May 2019 as “Youth Art Month” in Pennsylvania, to raise awareness about the many positive benefits of exposing students to the visual arts. “Multiple studies show that kids who are exposed to the arts in school have better test scores and lower disciplinary rates,” Bizzarro said. “What’s more, because art is based on self-expression and isn’t focused on ‘one right answer,’ it has a great motivating effect on kids and enhances creativity and critical thinking, which are extremely important skills for adulthood. It also makes kids more empathetic by connecting them to the larger world outside. “Unfortunately, when budget challenges arise, art classes are often the first to be cut. It’s my hope that by raising awareness about the importance of art education, we’ll help ensure that kids have continuing access to this important subject.” Youth Art Month is part of a national effort organized by the Council for Art Education to emphasize the importance of art education. The event is celebrated annually across the country with public art displays in schools, libraries and art centers. Read more

 

Merski: Erie fire, rescue services to receive more than $41,000 in state grants

(May 06, 2019)

ERIE, May 6 – Erie fire and EMS services are receiving $41,623 in grants, state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, announced today. “Erie’s firefighters and emergency medical workers answer the call tirelessly, despite tight budgets that can limit resources,” Merski said. “It’s my hope that these grants will ease some of those financial challenges and provide needed equipment, training and other resources that reinforce these essential front-line workers.” Merski said the grants – provided by Pennsylvania's Fire Company and Emergency Medical Service Grant Program – are as follows: Belle Valley Fire Department Inc. – fire company – $12,502. EmergyCare Inc. – EMS – $7,155. Perry Hi-Way Hose Company – fire company – $14,811. Perry Hi-Way Hose Company – EMS – $7,155. The state Fire Company and Emergency Medical Service Grant Program is administered by the Office of the State Fire Commissioner. In addition to funding equipment and training, the money can be used for repairing, building or renovating facilities and for repaying debt related to equipment purchases or facility building and maintenance. Read more

 

Bizzarro announces more than $114,000 in fire and EMS grants

(May 06, 2019)

ERIE, May 6 – State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, announced the awarding of $114,410 in state grants to eight fire and EMS companies in the 3 rd Legislative District. “Our area firefighters and medical rescue workers stand between our community and any kind of danger — from fires to hazmat incidents to medical emergencies – even as departments face financial constraints and units are asked to do more with less,” Bizzarro said. “I’m so glad our efforts in securing these grants were successful because the funding should help defray costs and provide essential resources to help our first responders continue their life-saving work.” Bizzarro said the grants are as follows: Central Erie County Paramedic Association Inc . – EMS – $12,667. Edinboro Volunteer Fire Department – fire company – $14,811 / EMS – $7,155. Kearsarge Fire Department – fire company – $13,326. Lake Shore Fire Department – fire company – $12,172 / EMS – $5,007. McKean Hose Company – fire company – $12,337 / EMS – $7,155. Millcreek Paramedic Service – EMS – $7,155. West Lake Fire Department – fire company – $14,151. West Ridge Fire Department – fire company – $13,986. The grants are provided by Pennsylvania's Fire Company and Emergency Medical Service Grant Program, which is administered by the Office of the State Fire Commissioner. Read more

 

Harkins announces grant of more than $14,800 to Erie Fire Department

(May 06, 2019)

ERIE, May 6 – The Erie Fire Department is receiving a grant of $14,811, state Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, announced. The grant is provided by Pennsylvania's Fire Company and Emergency Medical Service Grant Program, which is administered by the Office of the State Fire Commissioner. “Our firefighters never hesitate to be on the front lines, regardless of the emergency, and even while having to work under tight budget constraints,” Harkins said. “These first responders deserve the best for their courageous service, and this funding will help address some of the financial challenges they are facing.” Harkins added that in addition to funding equipment and training, the money can be used for repairing, building or renovating facilities and for repaying debt related to equipment purchases or facility building and maintenance. Read more

 

Bizzarro, Harkins, Merski: $1 million will fund new housing for Erie County residents with disabilities

(Mar 27, 2019)

ERIE, March 27 – New housing is on the horizon for Erie County individuals with disabilities, thanks to $1 million in funding from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, all D-Erie, announced today. The money will be used to fund the EHCA New Community Homes project, which will construct group homes for Erie County residents with physical and intellectual disabilities. “The many individuals in our area who live with disabilities are integral members of our Erie community,” Bizzarro said. “They’re our friends, our families, and our coworkers, and they have remarkable achievements to contribute. The funding announced today will ensure that they have housing that provides them with both the independence and support they need to thrive.” “I’m very pleased about this funding,” Harkins said. “The money will allow for construction of group homes that provide Erie County’s individuals with disabilities a true home environment while also providing the necessary medical, social and emotional support they need to live with dignity.” Merski said: “The measure of a community is how it provides for all residents of all abilities. The funding announced today will make sure our community is an inclusive one that offers the benefits of a warm, supportive living environment for all residents.” RCAP is administered by the Office of the Read more

 

Harkins: Low-interest loan will help area employer expand operations, retain jobs
Jun 06, 2019

Merski kicks off month-long ‘flag takeback’ program Friday, June 7
Jun 05, 2019

Rep. Bizzarro applauds committee passage of insurance exchange bill
Jun 05, 2019

Harkins, Merski: $400,000 grant will fund afterschool opportunities for Erie elementary school students
Jun 04, 2019

House unanimously adopts Rep. Bizzarro resolution to raise awareness about insidious parenting practice
Jun 03, 2019

Enough is enough: Time to throw a safety line to our public-sector employees
May 28, 2019

Harkins: $25,000 grant to Iroquois School District will fund purchase of security equipment
May 20, 2019

Merski: $4,350 state grant will fund school breakfast program
May 16, 2019

Casey, Bizzarro seek to honor Korean War veterans with Ambassador for Peace Medal
May 16, 2019

Rep. Bizzarro announces more than $8,500 in breakfast grants
May 15, 2019

Harkins bill to rid Public School Code of derogatory language passes House unanimously
May 15, 2019

Bizzarro, Harkins, Merski: More than $65,000 in matching grants to help Erie County businesses grow greener
May 08, 2019

House unanimously adopts Rep. Bizzarro resolution to keep Pa. boaters safe
May 08, 2019

House unanimously adopts Bizzarro resolution to raise awareness about form of soft-tissue sarcoma
May 07, 2019

Merski: Grant of more than $5,200 will enhance two Erie senior centers
May 06, 2019

House unanimously passes Bizzarro resolution naming May ‘Youth Art Month’ in Pennsylvania
May 06, 2019

Merski: Erie fire, rescue services to receive more than $41,000 in state grants
May 06, 2019

Bizzarro announces more than $114,000 in fire and EMS grants
May 06, 2019

Harkins announces grant of more than $14,800 to Erie Fire Department
May 06, 2019

Bizzarro, Harkins, Merski: $1 million will fund new housing for Erie County residents with disabilities
Mar 27, 2019