State Grants Awarded to Monroe County Technical Institute
12/3/2018
 
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The latest news from PA State Representative Rosemary Brown


District of Character
The “District of Character” is an initiative I created to enhance character development and promote daily reminders for residents of the 189th District about how we can create a stronger community without policy changes. No one is perfect, but we can always work to improve our character daily.
December word of the month is “Unity.”

“Working and living together peacefully; feeling connected to one and other, valuing each person and their uniqueness.”
                       
 
State Grants Awarded to Monroe County Technical Institute
                      
Earlier this week, Monroe County Technical Institute (MCTI) received a total of $42,835 in state funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).

These funds will be used to purchase new and improved equipment for its precision machining, HVAC technology, plumbing technology, automotive technology and culinary arts programs.

MCTI offers numerous career and trade programs that many students from Pleasant Valley, East Stroudsburg, Pocono Mountain and Stroudsburg school districts take advantage of to prepare for their future occupation. Our area is always in need of those trained in trade professions and these funds will allow MCTI to continue to provide the necessary machines and equipment that students will need to properly train in their field.

A total of $1.2 million in competitive grants from PDE was awarded to 38 career and technical centers and area vocational technical education schools across the state for the purchase of new equipment aligned to training students in high-demand occupations.
 
 
Santa Claus is coming to the West End!
                       
 
The West End Park & Open Space Commission is bringing Santa to the Chestnuthill Township Park, 221 Rt. 715, Brodheadsville, on Friday, Dec. 7, from 6-8 p.m.
 
 
Decorating for the Holidays
                       
 
Thank you to my two elves who over last weekend helped me to decorate the office to give holiday cheer and blessings to all that visit during the holiday season.
 
 
Toys for Tots Drop Off
                       
 
Once again this year, my office is a drop-off location for Toys for Tots. The box is located in the district office lobby and is accessible Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit toysfortots.org for more information about the program and its impact. Every child deserves a little Christmas!
 
 
Big Apply Beauty Supply Offering Scholarship
                       
 
The 2018 Business Woman of the Year Award was presented to Donna Heath-Gonzalez of Monroe County on Nov. 2 at the BW NICE Red Shoe Luncheon held at the Camelback Resort. Donna is originally from the beautiful island of Jamaica, and has been a resident of Monroe County for the last 12 years. She opened Big Apple Beauty Supply in 2008 in Marshalls Creek and her second location in the Steamtown Mall in 2013.

One of the many ways that Donna has chosen to give back to her community is by creating a new scholarship fund through her business. There are two $500 scholarships that will be awarded to two high school seniors graduating in spring 2019, and enrolled in a trade school or community college. Applications are open from Nov. 1, 2018, to Jan. 31, 2019. Scholarship applications are available online here.
 
 
Flag Etiquette lesson at Notre Dame Elementary
  
   
On Nov. 19, my office, along with the Monroe County Joint Honor Guard, helped organize a flag etiquette demonstration for the fourth, fifth and sixth-grade classes. Al Compoly and Charlie Hamburger from the Honor Guard lead the lesson. Students from Mrs. Eileen Hines-Wurz, Mrs. Julie Palestri and Mrs. Stacy Schnatter’s classes participated along with school Principle Sister Mary Alice. All of the participants are pictured above. Thank you to our veterans Al and Charlie!
 
 
Human Services Reminder: Winter Heating Bill Assistance Available 
                       
This week, Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller reminded Pennsylvanians that the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) application period for the 2018-19 LIHEAP season is still open. Pennsylvanians who used LIHEAP during the 2017-18 season and who received a pre-season application or green postcard may use a simplified application via the myCOMPASS PA app.

LIHEAP provides assistance for home heating bills to keep Pennsylvanians with lower incomes warm and safe during the winter months. Assistance is available for renters and homeowners. DHS began accepting crisis and regular LIHEAP applications on Thursday, Nov. 1, and will continue accepting applications through April 12, 2019. Returning LIHEAP customers from the 2017-18 LIHEAP season are also able to apply through the myCOMPASS PA app available on the Apple App Store or Google Play. Returning customers should have received a green postcard with an access code to apply via the app.

LIHEAP Cash is a one-time payment made directly to utility companies or fuel providers to help offset winter heating costs. The average cash benefit this season is $262. Pennsylvanians may request LIHEAP Crisis assistance for home-heating emergencies when their household is without heat or in danger of being without heat. The average crisis benefit for this season is $404. More than 120,000 LIHEAP Cash and LIHEAP Crisis applications have been approved thus far.

On Oct. 24, the LIHEAP Turn-On Supplement prevented 16,547 homes from having their utilities turned off. The Turn-On Supplement paid $4,732,471 to 19 utility companies in the commonwealth to prevent utility shut-offs for individuals who received LIHEAP during the 2017-18 season, and had a threat of a shut-off or had their utilities shut off. The program’s goal is to prevent LIHEAP customers from entering the winter season with shut-off utilities.

Eligibility for the 2018-19 LIHEAP season is set at 150 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines. The chart below shows the maximum income allowed for eligibility based on household size:

 
If you received LIHEAP during the 2017-2018 season, there may be funds available for you in addition to LIHEAP Cash and Crisis assistance to halt a shutoff or shutoff notice. Applicants should talk to their caseworker about what help they may be able to receive.
In addition to financial assistance, eligible customers may also be able to receive LIHEAP support for emergencies due to broken or faulty heating units, fuel lines, windows, or pipes. Should any of those emergencies occur, customers can contact their caseworker to see if the unit can be repaired or replaced through LIHEAP’s Crisis Interface Program.

Online applications for LIHEAP can be completed at compass.state.pa.us or on the myCOMPASS PA mobile app if you received LIHEAP during the 2017-18 season. Paper applications are available through local county assistance offices, or interested applicants can download and print an application from the department’s website.
For helpful tips on keeping warm throughout the winter while saving money on utility costs, visit energysavers.gov.
 

Local Community Outreach Dinner
 
 
A complimentary dinner will be provided by The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort for local individuals and families in need. These community outreach dinners will be held on Dec. 12, Jan. 16, Feb. 20 and March 20, from 5-6:30 p.m.

Should you need transportation to any of these dates, a pick-up station will be set up in the parking lot of the American Ribbon Factory, 8278 Ann St., Stroudsburg, from 4:30-4:45 p.m.
 
 
Revitalizing Distressed Neighborhoods
 
A new law passed by the House this fall will expand a program that encourages revitalization of distressed neighborhoods. Created in 1967, the Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) is a tax credit program which incentivizes businesses to invest in affordable housing programs, community services, crime prevention, education, job training or neighborhood assistance.

Act 100 of 2018 increases the NAP’s funding from $18 million to $36 million and marks the first-time allocated funding for the program has been increased since its inception more than 50 years ago. A recent report from the state’s Independent Fiscal Office indicated that in Fiscal Year 2015-16, the NAP’s $17.9 million in tax credits resulted in a total economic impact of $138.1 million.

This proven program has helped bring new businesses, needed services and additional revenue to struggling towns and cities. The end result is more jobs, safer streets and a better quality of life for some of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable families.

Included under the NAP umbrella are several other neighborhood assistance programs: the Special Priorities Program, Neighborhood Partnership Program, Charitable Food Program and the Enterprise Zone Program.
 
 
Unemployment Comp Call Center Update
   
Earlier this month, the Department of Labor and Industry’s Unemployment Compensation (UC) Service Centers transitioned to a new phone system.

As a result, claimants may no longer hear a busy signal when phone lines are full. Instead, claimants may hear a default message from the individual’s phone carrier (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc.).

Please be aware that the UC Service Centers are able to take calls and the system is functioning. If you receive one of these messages, please try again.
UC call center hours are Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon.

Claimants are also encouraged to visit uc.pa.gov to create a new claim or check on the status of an existing claim.
 
 
Exciting Science Opportunity Available for High School Juniors

  
The Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences (PGSS) at Carnegie Mellon University is now accepting applications from talented high school juniors for its summer 2019 program.

PGSS is an intensive, five-week summer residential program, which emphasizes cooperative learning and hands-on laboratory research, for 56 talented high school juniors pursuing careers in science and mathematics.

Accepted applicants will receive a full scholarship to the program. Costs are underwritten through matching funds provided by PGSS Campaign Inc., the school’s alumni, Carnegie Mellon University, parents and corporations.

Scholarships will cover the costs of housing, meals and all instructional materials. Families are responsible for transportation to and from the university, personal items and spending money. Students must commit to living on campus at Carnegie Mellon University throughout the duration of the program.

For additional information about the program and to complete an application, please click here. All applications must be completed no later than Jan. 31, 2019. Applications emailed after this date and time will be disqualified.
 

Prepare Now for Winter Weather
                      
Winter weather has already hit much of Pennsylvania, but more is to come. PennDOT reminds motorists of the various travel tools they can use to help with navigating inclement weather this winter.

The website at penndot.gov/winter has a complete winter guide with detailed information about winter services in each of PennDOT’s 11 engineering districts. The site also includes tips for motorists to prepare their vehicles for winter travel.

The public can also access travel information on nearly 40,000 roadway miles year-round at www.511PA.com, and during the winter they can find plow-truck locations and details of when state-maintained roadways were last plowed. The information is made possible by PennDOT’s Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) technology, which uses units in each of the more than 2,200 department-owned and rented plow trucks to send a cell signal showing where a truck is located.

The 40,000 miles for which PennDOT is responsible translates into 96,000 snow-lane miles -- enough miles to circle the globe nearly four times. The department maintains roughly the same number of miles maintained by the state in New York, New Jersey and all the New England states combined.
 
Just a reminder: If you are encountering an issue with state government, please feel free to contact my district office. We are here to help you with the following services:      
 
 - Driver’s license and vehicle registration applications and renewals. 
 - Assistance with PennDOT paperwork (lost cards, changes, corrections, special registration plates, vanity plates, and temporary placards for disabled persons).                         
 - PACE and PACENET applications for seniors.                         
 - State Motor Vehicle and Driver Licensing Work.
 - Voter registration forms and absentee ballot applications.                         
 - State tax forms.                         
 - Student aid applications.                         
 - Free state maps, state park information, and PA Vacation Guides.                         
 - Copies of legislation and tours of the State Capitol.                         
 - Referrals to agencies to resolve state-related matters. 
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Office Locations
143 Seven Bridge Road, East Stroudsburg, PA 18301 | Phone: (570) 420-8301
164A East Wing, PO Box 202189, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2189 | Phone: (717) 260-6171
Email: rbrown@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614
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