In this Edition:
Honoring a Fallen PA State Trooper
Please join me in praying for the family of our fallen State Police Trooper Landon Weaver. May peace be always with him and his service and memory never be forgotten.
Senator Scavello Appointed Chairman of Senate Committee
I am pleased to have been appointed Chairman of the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee for the 2017-18 legislative session by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati. The committee oversees state initiatives designed to boost community development and spur job creation, as well as regulations governing the gaming industry within Pennsylvania.
I look forward to exploring ideas to promote economic development, tourism, job creation and most importantly, to increase economic growth and the health of our communities. In addition, gaming is providing funds to the state and local communities, and the committee will work to ensure that it continues to do so in a responsible manner. Coming from an area that has a robust tourism industry, I look forward to boosting tourism across the Commonwealth and market the many attractions and natural beauty that Pennsylvania has to offer.
January Legislative Report
In the January 2017 episode of my Legislative Report, I interview Elizabeth Wise, Chief Operating Officer/Chief Nursing Officer, and Geoffrey Roche, Director of Government and Community Relations, at Lehigh Valley Hospital - Pocono (formerly Pocono Medical Center). We discuss recent redevelopments, additions and improvements to healthcare in the Poconos region. Elizabeth recently was named Acting President of Lehigh Valley Hospital - Pocono.
Veterans Assistance Day
On the second Tuesday of each month, the American Legion holds a Veterans Assistance Day at our Tannersville district office.
The next Veterans Assistance Day is January 10th. The district office is located at 2989 Route 611, Suite 103 in Tannersville.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., a service officer with the American Legion Pennsylvania Department will be on site to assist veterans with issues including: compensation and pension claims, education benefits, enrollment in the VA health care system, burial and survivor benefits, state benefits, and obtaining military personnel and medical records.
Veterans do not need to be a member of the American Legion to receive these services. Please contact the Tannersville office to schedule an appointment at 570-620-4326.
LIHEAP Applications Open to Eligible Residents
Pennsylvania’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is taking applications through March 31, 2017 for home heating assistance to qualifying low- and fixed-income individuals and families, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.
Income eligibility for heating assistance for a household of one is $17,820, increasing incrementally with a family of ten’s income eligibility set at $73,815. Each additional person over ten raises the limit by $6,240.
Please contact my office by calling (570) 620-4326 if you need assistance completing an application. All required documents should be brought with you in order to verify accurate information. You can also apply online or download an application through COMPASS, Pennsylvania’s secure website for many health and human service programs. Learn more here.
In addition to the LIHEAP cash program, households experiencing a heating crisis may be eligible for additional benefits through the LIHEAP crisis program.
Emergency situations include:
Assistance with home heating crisis situations will be available 24 hours a day; please contact the local County Assistance office.
Hallet Road Bridge Project Update
We have received another update regarding the rehabilitation of Hallet Road in Stroud Township.
To recap from my last update, Hallet Road bridge is a state-owned bridge on a township road and, even though the bridge was not on PennDOT’s list for repair, I was able to work with the agency in securing funding from other projects to expedite the bridge rehabilitation. In the beginning, barring any unforeseen obstacles, we were hopeful for construction work to begin before the end of 2016. As mentioned before, PennDOT’s original timeline proposed not even beginning the work until as late as July 2017.
During the planning and permitting phase for the bridge repair, it was discovered that there were issues with two of the four land parcels adjoining the bridge that are needed to access the bridge for repair. Since the bridge was constructed, a septic leach field was installed on the one parcel that could potentially be damaged during the construction phase on the bridge. PennDOT has to go through the legal process of condemnation to acquire right-of-way to access the bridge and to safeguard the homeowner from any potential damage to the septic system. As for the other parcel, it was discovered there is no clear owner of the parcel. It is unclear why there is no clear ownership, but PennDOT has to go through condemnation for that parcel as well.
The right of way clearance documents were submitted to the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas last week for approval by a judge. This typically takes 1-2 weeks.
Once the judge signs the documents they get recorded at the Recorder of Deeds and a set of the documents are returned to PennDOT. Once the documents are received back, PennDOT directs the contractor to begin construction work. I anticipate this happening very soon.
I continue to contact PennDOT weekly to get an update on the bridge and push them to expedite the project.
Bridge Street Project to Close Road
Bridge Street, crossing over Pocono Creek in Stroud Township will be closed in both directions for nighttime work in early January, as work continues by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).
A full closure of the bridge will be implemented from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Friday, January 13, 2017. Motorists will be detoured to US 209 and PA 611. Construction crews will be working on erecting beams during nighttime work. After completing the nighttime work, a single lane of traffic will reopen northbound, with traffic detoured southbound to PA 611 and US 209.
In the event of unforeseen construction activities or unfavorable weather this schedule may change. The bridge should be fully complete in June, 2017. To see the bridges included in the statewide initiative and to learn more about the Rapid Bridge Replacement Project and P3 in Pennsylvania, visit www.p3forpa.pa.gov.
Around the 40th District
Meet and Greet for the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley
It was my pleasure to join my colleagues and business leaders from around the Valley at a Meet and Greet for the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley. I was joined by Senator Pat Browne; David Lewis, President of United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley; Rep. Zach Mako; Rep. Marcia Hahn; myself and Gregg Potter, Senior Director of Labor Relations for United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley.
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If you have a public event benefiting our community in Monroe or Northampton Counties, please feel free to contact my office at (570) 620-4326 or by email email@example.com to include the event in my E-Newsletter at no charge. Requests should include details about the community event such as the time, location and the public purpose.
Senate Box 203040
2989 Route 611, Suite 103
Tannersville, PA 18372
Phone (570) 620-4326
FAX (570) 620-4379
8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
Northampton County Office