In this email edition:
Happy Holidays from Maggie and Wolfgang Argall!
I hope you are having a happy and safe Holiday Season! My dogs sure are!
For the record, this photo was the result of almost 100 unsuccessful attempts. Maggie and Wolfgang had “other” ideas!
2 Schuylkill County Projects Receive Economic Development Grants
Two Schuylkill County projects have received state grants from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP). $1.5 million was awarded to support the development of the Center for Education, Business, and Arts (CEBA) in Shenandoah. $2.5 million was awarded to support the construction of a new Shyft Manufacturing Facility in Schuylkill County.
I believe that this funding is another important tool in improving economic opportunities and fighting blight in Schuylkill County. These grants were highly competitive, so I was very pleased to hear that these well-deserving projects were rewarded for their efforts to bring new jobs to the area.
Frank Zukas, president of the Schuylkill Economic Development Corporation, said they have been working for six months on bringing Shyft Manufacturing to Schuylkill County. The group will be considering three sites in Schuylkill County. Shyft is a truck manufacturing company with locations around the country.
You can read more from the Times News here and the Republican & Herald here.
Lawmakers Call on Wolf to Better Protect Nursing Home Residents
Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 mortality rate among nursing home and long-term care residents is among the worst in the nation. Six of the top 10 nursing homes with the most COVID-19 deaths nationally are located in Pennsylvania, according to the New York Times.
Workzone Speed Cameras Prove Effective
According to the Morning Call, since the 1970s, PennDOT has lost 89 workers due to accidents at construction sites. In 2018, five construction workers died in highway work zone accidents. A change was necessary to help prevent such tragic losses of life.
This change is PennDOT’s new Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement system which has proven to be effective in the first 8 months of its implementation. This system is designed to catch speeders in active work zones and ultimately prevent speeding from happening. There are 17 white Jeep Grand Cherokees parked near construction sites across Pennsylvania equipped with sensors and cameras that will flag drivers going 11 miles per hour over the speed limit and higher.
You can read more here from the Morning Call.
Pennsylvania Unemployment Rate Update
According to labor reports, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate continued to fall in November. Joblessness in the state fell from 7.4 percent in October to 6.6. percent in November.
Though this statistic looks promising, it’s important to note than only 15,000 people secured employment during the month while 40,000 people dropped out of the civilian labor force – those either working or looking for work.
Employers throughout Pennsylvania added 21,000 jobs in November compared to October. However, when you compare the jobs numbers to November 2019, November 2020 saw 452,000 fewer jobs.
The 2021-2022 legislative session must focus on creating an environment in Pennsylvania which creates and maintains family-sustaining jobs for our residents.
Applications Available Now for Fire, EMS Grants
Fire companies, EMS organizations and rescue squads can apply now for funding through the Fire Company and Emergency Medical Service Grant Program. The program helps eligible organizations fund facility renovations and/or construction, equipment purchases, debt reduction and training. Funding can also be used to supplement operational expenses due to revenue losses suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grant applications must be submitted to the Office of the State Fire Commissioner by January 25.
PA Virtual Farm Show
The Pennsylvania Farm Show will be held virtually this year. It will take place from Saturday, January 9th until Saturday, January 16th. You can learn more about the plans for this year’s event and how the farm show is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic here.
Past Senators: John Parker
John Parker was born in England in 1822. He apprenticed as a blacksmith In England but eventually moved to the United States in 1850. His family lived near Tamaqua.
Parker was successful in the coal region. He pivoted from his trade as a blacksmith to being the owner of multiple local newspapers including the Anthracite Monitor and Mahanoy Valley Record. He was also a school director, president of the Schuylkill Press Association, and the director of the Fidelity Building and Loan Association of Mahanoy City.
He served in the State Senate from 1879-1882. He was a member of the Greenback Labor Party. This party focused primarily on the issue of preventing the government from backing US currency with gold or silver.
You can learn more here.
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