Senator Ward, J E-Newsletter

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September 24, 2019

Committee Hears Testimony on Cost of Stormwater Systems-MS4 Requirements

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee recently held a hearing in Chambersburg to discuss a concern that many local leaders have shared with me – the cost of complying with laws governing municipal sewer systems.

The hearing included a discussion of the financial impacts to local taxpayers and ratepayers, including the fact that some community residents are paying fees to meet federal pollution reduction mandates that exceed the total cost of their water and sewer bill combined.

I am hopeful that this hearing will serve as the first step toward helping our local municipalities deal with this burden.

Video and testimony from the hearing are available here. The Echo-Pilot also covered the hearing in an informative article here.

I was honored to participate in the POW/MIA Recognition Ceremony hosted by the Hollidaysburg Veterans Home and James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center. Pictured with me is Brigadier General Mark D. McCormack who was the Keynote Speaker.

School Safety Grant Application Period Opens

The School Safety and Security Grant Program was created last year in order to help boost school safety and reduce the risk of community violence, and I supported restoring funding for that program in this year’s state budget. Applications for the program are being accepted now through November 4 for grants to help schools meet a variety of safety needs for students.

Every school district that submits a qualifying application will receive a share of the $18.72 million in available funding, and school districts can qualify for additional grants totaling more than $33 million on a competitive basis. More details about the grant program are available here.

Steller is a new company in Tyrone started up by a young couple providing an innovative product – a floating hardwood flooring system. It was great to meet Brittany and Evan Teller as well as their team.

CareerLink Connects Job-Seekers to Available Positions

Job-seekers and employers can benefit from the variety of services offered by PA CareerLink.

Employers can get a boost on recruiting efforts, find more information on the labor market and get help with a number of different workforce challenges at no cost online at

The website also includes a searchable list of jobs available for individuals who are looking for work. In addition, PA CareerLink representatives attend numerous job fairs throughout the state, including the upcoming event at the Jaffa Shrine in Altoona on October 16. The job fair will begin at 10 a.m. for veterans and 10:30 a.m. for the general public.

Additional information on all of the PA CareerLink services is available online here.

I appreciated the tour of the new CareerLink location at the Altoona Public Library with Administrator Gwen Fisher.

Grants Available for Transportation Improvement Projects

Pennsylvania’s Multimodal Transportation Fund provides grants to finance numerous transportation improvement projects, including roadways, bridges, transit facilities, park and ride facilities, sidewalks, crosswalk safety improvements, bicycle lanes, route designations and more.

Eligible applicants include municipalities, council of governments, business/non-profit organizations, economic development organizations, public transportation agencies, public airports, airport authorities, and ports and rail entities. Grant applications are being accepted now through November 8.

More information about the program is available here.

Altoona resident Cheryl Rawlings was honored recently by the PA Realtors Association for her incredible efforts with the Allegheny Highlands Association of Realtors. Representative Lou Schmitt joined me in congratulating Cheryl on her great work.

Applications Accepted Now for Agriculture Water Quality Tax Credits

Reducing run-off pollution from agricultural operations is a big part of Pennsylvania’s ongoing efforts to improve water quality throughout the state. The Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) Program offers tax credits for farmers who purchase equipment or implement best management practices to reduce the amount of nutrient and sediment run-off into Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams.

Tax credits are available on a first-come, first-served basis. More information about REAP is available here.

Thanks to Mike Ward for showing me around the facility at Manitowoc Cranes in Shady Grove.  Manitowoc is a leader in the crane industry with operations in over 20 countries around the world and I am thrilled they are operating in the 30th Senatorial District.

REMINDER: Senate Committee Will Explore Blight Solutions in Altoona

The Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee will hold a public hearing in Altoona on Thursday to take a closer look at the work of the City of Altoona’s Blight Task Force and its progress toward fighting blight.

The hearing will be held at the Penn State Altoona Devorris Downtown Center in Room 201 beginning at 10 a.m. Additional information will be available following the hearing here.

Congratulations Davey Witmer of Troop 99 in Greencastle on achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. His community service project was an outdoor classroom on the grounds of the Tayamentasachta Environmental Center.

Grants Available for Housing

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) today is issuing a Request for Proposals soliciting applications from organizations for projects to improve the availability and affordability of housing across the commonwealth. Funding for this RFP is being provided through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) Fund.

PHARE applications can be completed entirely online, eliminating the need for paper submissions and simplifying the process for applicants. The RFP is located on PHFA’s website at, and the application is accessible at Applications are due to PHFA no later than 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15.

Aiden Conese a junior at Huntingdon Area School District was able to shadow me for the day at the Captiol. I also had a chance to visit with his parents Susan and Jerry. Thank you for coming to Harrisburg.





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