Petrarca: More than $2 million in funding awarded to area school districts to address health and safety during coronavirus pandemic, mitigation efforts

(Aug 06, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 6 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, announced that $2.147 million has been awarded to career and technical centers, and school districts in the 55 th Legislative District to support costs incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its mitigation efforts. “Our schools have had to make extraordinary adjustments since the onset of this health crisis and these funds can help our districts ensure that when students and teachers return to the classroom, they are able to practice social distancing, and have the supplies necessary to protect themselves against the spread of the coronavirus,” Petrarca said. “Technical education students also were impacted by the mitigation efforts taken during the pandemic, so these grants should help the schools resume operations.” The districts and amounts awarded are: Apollo-Ridge School District -- $170,316 PCCD grant. Blairsvill e-Saltsburg School District -- $179,582 PCCD grant. Derry Area School District -- $198,587; PCCD grant. Greater Latrobe School District -- $272,543 PCCD grant. Kiski Area School District -- $260,882 PCCD grant. Leech burg Area School District -- $148,532 PCCD grant. Central Westmoreland Career and Technical School -- $90,000 PCCD grant and $111,443 CTC Equity grant. Eastern Read more

 

Petrarca joins colleagues in calling on governor to lift 25% capacity limit for restaurants, bars

(Jul 28, 2020)

VANDERGRIFT, July 28 – Citing troubling financial concerns facing local restaurant, bar and tavern owners, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca today joined several legislators in writing to Gov. Tom Wolf, demanding he lift the 25% indoor capacity restriction. The letter calls on Wolf to restore the 50% capacity guidelines for these establishments, adding that the current restrictions are hurting these businesses, many which have followed state health guidelines and operations. “It’s extremely unfair to crack down on all restaurants and taverns during these challenging times,” said Petrarca. “I have voted approximately 30 times in support of efforts to open up our businesses. We are at the point where we need to trust these businesses to fully reopen safely, and that includes our restaurants, taverns and bars. While 50% capacity is difficult enough in the short term, 25% is unsustainable and will lead to more local businesses closing their doors for good. Our communities cannot afford that.” The letter is co-signed by state Reps. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence; Mark Longietti, D-Mercer; Frank Burns, D-Cambria; Ryan Bizzarro, Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, all D-Erie; and Scott Conklin, D-Centre. Read more

 

Petrarca announces grants for volunteer fire companies in Armstrong, Indiana counties to combat wildfires

(Jul 21, 2020)

VANDERGRIFT, July 21 – An Armstrong County volunteer fire company and one in Indiana County were awarded grants designed to help rural communities guard against the threat of wildfires, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca announced. Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said the grants were offered through the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and were awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. In Armstrong County, the Leechburg Volunteer Fire Company was awarded a grant of $7,500. Saltsburg Volunteer Fire Department was awarded a $8,353 grant. “Our rural communities, including those near our state forests or situated near undeveloped areas, will certainly benefit from these grants,” Petrarca said. “These funds will help firefighters with equipment purchases or specialized training to keep our residents and property safe.” Departments in communities with fewer than 10,000 residents are eligible for the grants, and recipients were selected based on vulnerability and adequacy of existing fire protection criteria. The grant program has awarded more than $14.5 million since its inception in 1982. Read more

 

Petrarca: Nearly $300K in state funds awarded to construct access road for future athletic complex in Latrobe

(Jul 16, 2020)

VANDERGRIFT, July 16 – Approximately $299,200 has been awarded to the Greater Latrobe School District Parks and Recreation to begin construction on an access road as part of a larger-scale plan toward building a new athletic complex, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca announced. Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said the Multimodal Transportation Funds would be used to construct the access road from Center Drive to the Loyalhanna Creek with a boat launch for canoes and kayaks. “This access road will also be beneficial to residents, as it will also connect them to an athletic complex that is currently underway that will include a basketball court, dog park, hiking trails and more,” Petrarca said. “What makes our communities great places to live is providing areas for relaxation and fun, and I’m pleased that I was able to assist in making this project move forward.” Act 89 of 2013 established a dedicated Multimodal Transportation Fund, which provides funding for ports and rail freight, increases aviation investments, establishes dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian improvements, and allows targeted funding for priority investments in any mode. More information can be found at the following link: https://www.penndot.gov/about-us/Pages/Act-89-Funding-Plan.aspx Read more

 

Petrarca: Indiana County to receive nearly $100K to help families, individuals impacted by homelessness due to pandemic

(Jul 13, 2020)

VANDERGRIFT, July 13 – Indiana County Commissioners have been awarded approximately $99,640 to assist homeless families and individuals and to support efforts to prevent future homelessness, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca announced. Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said the funds are part of the first of two allocations of Emergency Solutions Grant CARES Act funding distributed through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. “We know many Indiana County residents, through no fault of their own, have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the loss of their homes,” Petrarca said. “These funds will provide immediate help to them and also prevent further losses by other residents who may be facing the same threat.” Approximately $19 million will be distributed statewide, with most of the funds earmarked for homelessness prevention efforts. The remaining funds will be used to provide immediate shelter, including emergency shelter services and outreach. More information can be found at the following link: https://dced.pa.gov/programs/emergency-solutions-grant-cares-act-esg-cv/ . Read more

 

Petrarca reminds pet owners to keep their pets safe during hot weather

(Jul 01, 2020)

VANDERGRIFT, July 1 – With summer officially here, it’s important that pet owners take proper precautions to keep their furry friends safe. State Rep. Joe Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said when the temperatures and humidity begin to rise, it can also adversely affect our pets, especially if they don’t have adequate shelter or water while they’re outside. “Many of us know to not leave our pets alone in a parked vehicle, but unfortunately, we still hear of pets who are neglected and left outdoors who end up becoming ill or worse,” Petrarca said. “If we’re uncomfortable during the hot, humid days of summer, imagine what it’s like for your pet – that’s why it’s so important to follow these tips to keep your pet healthy, comfortable and safe.” Petrarca, who has supported several efforts to protect pets in Pennsylvania, including Libre’s Law , recommends these tips to keep your pet healthy, comfortable and safe during the summer: Never leave your pet in a parked vehicle, even for a minute or even with the air conditioner running. On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach over 100 degrees within 10 minutes. In 30 minutes, temperatures can rise to 120 degrees, which can cause your pet to suffer irreversible organ damage or die. Watch the humidity – if humidity is too high, it’s more Read more

 

Petrarca: Small businesses can begin applying for CARES act funding tomorrow to offset losses due to pandemic, shutdown order

(Jun 29, 2020)

VANDERGRIFT, June 29 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca today announced small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can begin to apply for a special funding program starting tomorrow, June 30. Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program will provide $225 million in grants to eligible small businesses to cover operating expenses during the state’s shutdown order and the transition to reopening. In addition, the funding can be used for training and guidance for owners as they work to reopen their businesses. “Our communities depend on our small businesses and helping them to get back on their feet and recover from the pandemic’s impacts is the right thing to do,” Petrarca said. “I encourage small businesses to consider applying, and please contact my office if you have questions or need assistance in doing so.” Petrarca said the funding will be available through three specific programs: $100 million for the Main Street Business Revitalization Program for small businesses that experienced loss as a result of the March 2020 order relating to the closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses, including those businesses that have or will incur costs to adapt to new business operations. $100 million for the Historically Disadvantaged Business Revitalization Program for small businesses that experienced loss as a result of the Read more

 

Petrarca: Westmoreland County senior center awarded grant to use toward facility upgrades

(Jun 24, 2020)

VANDERGRIFT, June 24 – The Latrobe Center for Active Adults has been awarded a state grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Aging to use toward upgrading and modernizing the facility, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca announced today. Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said proceeds from the Pennsylvania Lottery helped to fund the $38,880 Senior Community Grant to the center, allowing it to make needed improvements and upgrades. “Our community’s seniors deserve a place to socialize and enjoy a variety of activities, including those they participated in prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Petrarca. “I was happy to help the center receive this funding to keep it an enjoyable place for our older adults for years to come.” The grants can be used by senior community centers for a variety of projects, including facility improvements, providing new or enhanced programs and services, upgrading technology, or enhancing marketing opportunities. More information on senior community centers can be found at this link: https://www.aging.pa.gov/local-resources/Pages/Senior-Center.aspx . Read more

 

Petrarca announces nearly $300K in funding to assist homeless families in Armstrong, Indiana counties & to provide safe housing

(Jun 24, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 24 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca announced that $297,000 in funding has been awarded to Armstrong and Indiana counties to assist homeless families and to combat homelessness. Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said the funding originates from the federal Emergency Solutions Grant program and is being distributed through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. Armstrong, Indiana and Westmoreland counties previously received a direct allocation of ESG funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. An additional $191,938 in funds was awarded to Armstrong County, with Indiana County receiving an additional $105,618 in funding. “Everyone deserves a safe, reliable place to call home,” Petrarca said. “This funding can be used to provide critical support and resources, including but not limited to, emergency shelter, homelessness prevention programs, emergency and health services for homeless individuals, and rental assistance.” More information can be found at the following link: https://dced.pa.gov/programs/emergency-solutions-grant-esg/ . Read more

 

Petrarca to introduce resolution to support increased PPE access to child welfare, service providers

(Jun 08, 2020)

VANDERGRIFT, June 8 – Citing their vital role in assisting state and county child welfare and juvenile justice agencies in keeping children safe, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca will soon introduce a resolution to classify child welfare workers and service providers as level 1 emergency responders to ensure they have access to personal protective equipment. “Due to the current pandemic, many of these workers have had to make drastic changes in how they provide services and care to children in need, including the use of PPE,” said Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana. “It’s been made clear to me that many of them do not have adequate access to this equipment, and that’s why I am asking for my colleagues’ support to reclassify them as level 1 emergency responders to ensure they have these necessary tools to continue to help and protect the children they serve.” More information on his resolution can be found at this link: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=31910 Read more

 

Petrarca: Bill would ensure child welfare workers and service providers have access to personal protective equipment

(Jun 05, 2020)

VANDERGRIFT, June 5 – Child welfare personnel and service providers are in significant need of personal protective equipment, and state Rep. Joseph Petrarca will soon introduce legislation to ensure they have vital access. Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said his bill would provide additional funding to county welfare agencies and service providers to assist them in purchasing the PPE they need to conduct their work during the current pandemic. “We know that during this time, it’s vital to take steps to protect ourselves and others from this virus, and that includes wearing masks and other types of protective personal equipment,” Petrarca said. “I understand that this restricted face-to-face contact can be challenging for staff and the youth they serve, but it’s necessary to prevent the spread of this virus and also protect those who are vulnerable, including those with compromised immune systems.” More information can be found at this link: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=31911 . Read more

 

Petrarca: Westmoreland, Armstrong and Indiana counties to move from yellow to green reopening status

(May 29, 2020)

VANDERGRIFT, May 29 – Westmoreland, Armstrong and Indiana will be moving to the state’s green reopening phase, effective at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 5, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca announced today. “Our collective efforts have clearly worked in reducing the spread of the virus and flattening the curve, and this is certainly welcome news,” said Petrarca. “I am confident that as more of our businesses begin the process of resuming and expanding their operations, they will continue to follow appropriate safety and health guidelines to get our residents back to work and help our region move forward in the recovery process.” Counties in the green designation must follow these restrictions: Work-related restrictions: Continued telework strongly encouraged. Businesses with in-person operations must follow updated business and building safety requirements. All businesses operating at 50% occupancy in the yellow phase may increase to 75% occupancy. Childcare facilities may open and must comply with state guidelines. Congregate care restrictions in place. Prison and hospital restrictions determined by individual facilities. Schools subject to CDD and state guidance. Social restrictions: Large gatherings of more than 250 persons prohibited. Restaurants and bars can open at 50% occupancy. Personal care services (including hair salons and barber Read more

 

Petrarca announces Westmoreland, Armstrong and Indiana among counties to begin reopening process

(May 08, 2020)

VANDERGRIFT, May 8 – Today state Rep. Joseph Petrarca announced that Westmoreland, Armstrong and Indiana counties are among those allowed to move from a red to a yellow reopening designation, effective at 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 15. “It’s clear that the governor listened to my concerns and those of area residents and colleagues, and the data clearly shows we can begin the reopening process and will do so in a safe manner,” Petrarca said. “Today’s news means that many businesses can reopen their doors and follow the health and social distancing guidelines to ensure we continue to move forward in the pandemic recovery process.” Petrarca said counties in the yellow designation must follow these restrictions: Work-related restrictions: • Telework must continue where allowed and feasible. • Businesses with in-person operations must follow business and building safety orders. • Childcare facilities open must comply with state guidelines. • Congregate care and prison restrictions remain in place. • Schools will remain closed for in-person instruction. Social restrictions • Stay-at-home order lifted for aggressive mitigation. • Large gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited. • In-person retail is allowed, curbside and delivery preferable. • Indoor recreation, health and wellness businesses and personal care services (such as spas, hair and Read more

 

Petrarca urges local school districts to apply for federal CARES funds

(May 07, 2020)

VANDERGRIFT, May 7 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, is encouraging area school districts to consider applying for funds to assist them in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, Petrarca said the Pennsylvania Department of Education submitted an application to the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Once the state’s application is approved, school districts will need to apply for the funding. “These funds can help our districts with needed technology purchases, summer and after-school programs, mental health supports, and for sanitation and cleaning supplies,” Petrarca said. “Our schools have had to make extraordinary adjustments in light of the pandemic to help keep our students engaged and learning, and I want to ensure our school districts are aware of these forthcoming funds, and I encourage them to apply once it’s available.” Petrarca said area school districts are anticipated to receive the following amounts of funding: Apollo-Ridge: $248,717 Blairsville-Saltsburg: $346,311 Derry: $419,916 Greater Latrobe: $459,504 Kiski: $607,894 Leechburg: $172,088 Petrarca added that PDE expects the U.S. Department of Education to approve the application within a week and is currently working on a streamlined application process to ensure Read more

 

Petrarca supports measure to expand COVID-19 testing statewide

(May 05, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 5 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca voted for a bill designed to curb the spread of COVID-19 and help Pennsylvania move forward in its recovery efforts. Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said House Bill 2455 would have the state develop a comprehensive testing plan. It also would fund research, development and manufacturing of COVID-19 testing equipment and supplies, contact tracing and other measures. In addition, it would require healthcare and other essential workers to be given testing priority once the plan is activated. “We need a strong, wide-ranging testing program to halt the spread of this deadly virus and allow our state – including our businesses – to reopen safely and recover from the effects of this pandemic,” said Petrarca. “This plan would protect all Pennsylvanians, including our healthcare workers and emergency responders, who remain on the front lines in keeping all of safe.” The measure now heads to the Senate for further action. Read more

 

Petrarca: Measure to exempt Pennsylvanians from paying state, local taxes on COVID-19 aid passes House

(May 04, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 4 – A bill to exempt federal pandemic cash payments from state and local taxes has passed in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, announced today. House Bill 2408 would ensure that those who received those funds as part of the federal CARES Act would not be required to pay state and local taxes on them, Petrarca said. The funds are already exempt from federal taxation, he added. “Residents and businesses in my district are hurting, and it’s not fair to ask them to pay state and local taxes on funds to help them through this pandemic,” Petrarca said. “These are emergency funds they need to stay afloat, to pay for groceries, to keep the power on – not for the state or local taxation authorities to consider as income. That’s why I voted in favor of House Bill 2408.” The CARES Act, which passed last month in Congress and was signed into law, included a provision to provide cash payments to individuals making less than $99,000 per year and couples making less than $198,000 annually. The House bill, which has companion legislation in the state Senate, now heads to the Senate for further consideration. Read more

 

Petrarca: Extremely frustrated area not included in first reopening phase, asking governor to reconsider

(May 01, 2020)

VANDERGRIFT, May 1 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, expressed his frustration today after Gov. Tom Wolf announced the partial reopening of 24 counties in the state, but Armstrong, Indiana and Westmoreland were not among them. “Armstrong, Indiana and Westmoreland counties border the counties that will be opened May 8, but instead of considering the low number of cases there, they apparently are being lumped in with the Pittsburgh region, which still struggling with a large number of COVID-19 cases,” Petrarca said. To date, Armstrong only has 52 cases reported, and Indiana, 63. “I firmly believe that the lifting of the stay-at-home restrictions and the reopening of local businesses should be determined on a county-by-county basis. It’s simply not fair to lump our more rural counties in with urban ones. Our population density is nowhere near that of Allegheny County and Pittsburgh,” he said. “In fact, our counties have fewer reported cases than other counties -- such as Erie and Centre -- that were included in today’s reopening announcement. “I urge Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Rachel Levine to reconsider this decision and include our counties in the plan to reopen the state on May 8.” The governor today announced that the state was moving 24 counties from the red “closed” category to yellow, which is the first step in reopening. The counties Read more

 

Petrarca announces passage of bill to reopen local lawn and garden centers

(Apr 30, 2020)

VANDERGRIFT, April 30 – A bill passed by the House today would allow local lawn and garden centers to reopen through a waiver to the governor’s business closure order, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, announced. Petrarca said he voted for H.B. 2429 to help local garden centers and lawn stores compete against big-box stores and support the local community. “I know our local lawn and garden businesses have been hurting since the pandemic began, and the business closure affecting them couldn’t have come at a worse time, with prime gardening season approaching,” said Petrarca. “What made it worse was having big box stores open for business selling lawn and garden items. This bill would provide a safe way for them to operate, stimulate our local economy and allow more of our residents to get back to work.” Petrarca added that the legislation would require lawn and garden centers to implement safeguards, including social distancing requirements, providing workers with personal protective equipment and other related safety measures, and mandate regular cleaning of facilities. The measure now heads to the state Senate for consideration. Read more

 

Petrarca: Area hospital receives emergency COVID-19 funding

(Apr 30, 2020)

VANDERGRIFT, April 30 – Indiana Regional Medical Center has been awarded funds to assist with needed resources to continue providing patient care during the current pandemic, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca announced today. Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said Indiana Regional Medical Center will receive $10 million through the Hospital Emergency Loan Program . The program allows hospitals to use the funds to purchase equipment, including personal protective equipment, and for staffing as needed. “Our healthcare teams are truly the unsung heroes in this pandemic, and this vital funding will ensure Indiana Regional Medical Center has the resources it needs to continue providing qualify, life-saving care to its patients,” Petrarca said. “The fight against COVID-19 is far from over and taking these actions to safeguard our healthcare workers in combatting this virus remains a top priority.” The funding for the program was dispersed by PENNVEST and is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development through the Pennsylvania First Program. Read more

 

Preventing child abuse and neglect is everyone’s responsibility

(Apr 30, 2020)

With many of us staying at home during the COVID-19 health crisis, one of the biggest concerns I have is that there are fewer people who are interacting with children – including those who may need our help – due to schools and many childcare facilities being closed.Our children count on us to look out for their wellbeing. And during this time, it is imperative we continue to do all we can to keep them safe and prevent abuse and neglect. Read more

 

Petrarca: More than $2 million in funding awarded to area school districts to address health and safety during coronavirus pandemic, mitigation efforts
Aug 06, 2020

Petrarca joins colleagues in calling on governor to lift 25% capacity limit for restaurants, bars
Jul 28, 2020

Petrarca announces grants for volunteer fire companies in Armstrong, Indiana counties to combat wildfires
Jul 21, 2020

Petrarca: Nearly $300K in state funds awarded to construct access road for future athletic complex in Latrobe
Jul 16, 2020

Petrarca: Indiana County to receive nearly $100K to help families, individuals impacted by homelessness due to pandemic
Jul 13, 2020

Petrarca reminds pet owners to keep their pets safe during hot weather
Jul 01, 2020

Petrarca: Small businesses can begin applying for CARES act funding tomorrow to offset losses due to pandemic, shutdown order
Jun 29, 2020

Petrarca: Westmoreland County senior center awarded grant to use toward facility upgrades
Jun 24, 2020

Petrarca announces nearly $300K in funding to assist homeless families in Armstrong, Indiana counties & to provide safe housing
Jun 24, 2020

Petrarca to introduce resolution to support increased PPE access to child welfare, service providers
Jun 08, 2020

Petrarca: Bill would ensure child welfare workers and service providers have access to personal protective equipment
Jun 05, 2020

Petrarca: Westmoreland, Armstrong and Indiana counties to move from yellow to green reopening status
May 29, 2020

Petrarca announces Westmoreland, Armstrong and Indiana among counties to begin reopening process
May 08, 2020

Petrarca urges local school districts to apply for federal CARES funds
May 07, 2020

Petrarca supports measure to expand COVID-19 testing statewide
May 05, 2020

Petrarca: Measure to exempt Pennsylvanians from paying state, local taxes on COVID-19 aid passes House
May 04, 2020

Petrarca: Extremely frustrated area not included in first reopening phase, asking governor to reconsider
May 01, 2020

Petrarca announces passage of bill to reopen local lawn and garden centers
Apr 30, 2020

Petrarca: Area hospital receives emergency COVID-19 funding
Apr 30, 2020

Preventing child abuse and neglect is everyone’s responsibility
Apr 30, 2020