|The latest news from the State Capitol
Cook Confirms Major Mon Valley Trail Projects Moving Forward
Last week, I attended the River Towns Coalition quarterly meeting at California University and presented the following status update of three major trail proposals that are moving forward in the 49th Legislative District.
- Monongahela River Trail – Approximately 25 miles running from Maxwell Lock to the Washington County border in New Eagle.
Status: Trail study estimated to be completed 2017-18. Mackin Engineering currently compiling cost estimates.
Mon Valley Coal and Steel Heritage Trail© – Rail to Trail portion approximately 25 miles running from Monongahela, Carroll Township, Fallowfield Township, Bentleyville Borough, Ellsworth Borough, North and West Bethlehem townships to Marianna Borough; and Road Route portion approximately 25 miles from Monongahela, Route 88 from Donora to Fredericktown connecting into the Greene River Trail.
Status: Long Range Planning and Construction expected to take place for both portions from 2018-2019.
- Ten Mile Creek Water Trail – Approximately 25 miles running from Mariana Borough, East and West Bethlehem townships, Deemston Borough, Jefferson and Morgan townships.
Status: Engineering costs are currently funded; seeking business and municipal support for printing and promotion.
One of the priorities I pledged to tackle immediately are concerns regarding the Washington County Comprehensive and Greenways Plans not being followed adequately throughout the 49th District. Quality of life, lack of investment, blight removal, and business development along the river and rail lines to promote industrial bulk shipping are just a few of the major challenges that need to be overcome to help our region to flourish once more.
Following this quarterly meeting, I am even more confident that state, county and local officials must work together to achieve and fulfill the tasks at hand.
For the latest district event information and state government updates, visit RepBudCook.com and Facebook.com/RepBudCook.
101st Farm Show Attracts Thousands
Last week, I also had the pleasure of attending the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg for the very first time.
You can watch my interviews from the 101st Pennsylvania Farm Show by clicking on the video links below.
The Farm Show, which featured 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibitors, emphasized the importance of agriculture in daily life, highlights the latest in ag technology and advancements and offers attractions for all ages.
Locally, there were a lot of blue-ribbon entries from the 49th Legislative District at this year’s Farm Show. Be sure to check out the list of winners at www.farmshow.state.pa.us.
LIHEAP Can Help with Home Energy Bills
Residents who are struggling with their home heating bills can apply for assistance from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) this winter.
LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps individuals and families pay their heating bills through home heating energy assistance grants. It also provides crisis grants to help in the event of an emergency or if a resident is in danger of losing his or her heat due to broken equipment, lack of fuel or termination of utility service.
The income eligibility guidelines for LIHEAP are set at 150 percent of the federal poverty level income. For an individual, the income limit is $17,820; for a couple, the limit is $24,030; and for a family of four, it is $36,450.
Residents may apply for LIHEAP online or by contacting their respective County Assistance Office.
Click here for details.
Veterans Registry Helps Put Vets in Touch with Services
Thousands of Pennsylvania veterans have been better connected to benefits, programs and services, thanks to an online registry launched a year ago by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA).
Registration is conveniently available by using a computer or mobile device and visiting www.register.dmva.pa.gov. The process takes just a couple of minutes and includes the registrant providing basic information such as name, age, home address, email address, etc.
Registrants can choose to have their information shared with their county director for veterans affairs and other relevant state agencies. They can also opt in to receive timely, informative emails regarding local, state and national news; program updates; community events; and employment opportunities available specifically for veterans.
Pennsylvania is home to nearly 900,000 veterans.