Senator Argall E-Newsletter

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In this update:

  • Celebrating 18 Years: La Casa Dominicana of Hazleton
  • Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences
  • Family Promise of Carbon County Celebrates Expansion
  • Meeting with the Hazleton Area Chamber
  • License Plate Replacements
  • New CDL Skills Test Intended to Attract More School Bus Drivers

Celebrating 18 Years: La Casa Dominicana of Hazleton

Our Hazleton office intern Nicole Castillos pictured here with her family: (from left to right) Nicole; me; her brother, Max Almanzar-Castillo; her sister (an elected princess of the festival) Tarah Almanzar-Castillo; her dad, Maximo Almanzar; her mom, Shaskya Castillo.

Thank you to La Casa Dominicana de Hazleton Inc. for inviting PA State Rep. Dane Watro and me to celebrate their 18th anniversary on Sunday. I hope my attempt at remarks in Spanish was understandable. Many thanks to my intern, Nicole Castillo, for helping me to practice!

We had a lot to celebrate – they were recently awarded a highly competitive state grant to purchase and renovate a building so they can continue their important services in the Hazleton area.

Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences

This week, I met with two local students, Kaila O’Connor of Hazleton and Marbella Ramos of Jim Thorpe, who traveled to Carnegie Mellon University this summer to take part in the incredible programs offered by the Governor’s School for the Sciences.

Since 1982, the Governor’s School of the Sciences has provided a five-week summer program offering outstanding students the ability to study advanced sciences at Carnegie Mellon University. My son AJ attended the program in 2006 and the skills that he gained from the program helped propel him into his career as a patent attorney, specializing in scientific issues that I can’t even pronounce. 

Congrats to Kaila and Marbella!  For more information, please contact any of my local offices.

Family Promise of Carbon County Celebrates Expansion

Family Promise of Carbon County PA cut the ribbon for their new location in Nesquehoning this week. Since 2011, they’ve provided shelter, mental health care, housing assistance, and more in Carbon County. Because of their expansion, they can now offer more assistance to those who need it the most in our community.

Thank you for inviting PA State Rep. Doyle Heffley and me to join the celebration!

Meeting with the Hazleton Area Chamber

At the Hazleton Area Chamber of Commerce’s Breakfast on Thursday, I asked everyone when the last time there were two state representatives – Rep. Mike Cabell and Rep. Dane Watro – and a state senator who all lived within ten miles of Hazleton – the answer: probably never!

Recently the Governor’s Action Team listed northeastern Pennsylvania as the top job creator and location for private economic investment in Pennsylvania. It’s created a new problem for the region though:  Local employees need more housing close to home to prevent long, expensive commutes.

In Hazleton, the old Altamont Hotel downtown is being converted to new apartments. I’m also working with Mayor Cusat and the developer of the currently vacant St. Joseph’s Hospital to bring more market-rate housing to the city. 

The key theme of the meeting with the Chambers’ members:  The Hazleton area has made some significant progress, but much more remains to be done!

License Plate Replacements

Thank you to everyone who came to our license plate replacement event with PA State Rep. Dane Watro in Mahanoy Township, where we replaced almost 50 plates.

Special thanks to Chief Brian Johnson and Officer Harry Brown of the Mahanoy Township Police Department for assisting us with the inspections and Mary Beth Dougherty of my staff who coordinated this first-ever event for us!

New CDL Skills Test Intended to Attract More School Bus Drivers

Beginning Monday, Aug. 28, a modernized commercial driver’s license (CDL) skills test will be implemented at all Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) driver license centers that offer CDL skills tests and at all third party CDL driving skill testers.

Applicants who will take the test after Aug. 28 are encouraged to review updated materials here.

As some schools are already back in session and others are scheduled to start soon, there is a pressing need to ensure the availability of school bus drivers. According to PennDOT, these measures will streamline the school bus endorsement process and hopefully attract new drivers – alleviating Pennsylvania’s school bus driver shortage.


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