White Haven Center Update
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The Weekly Roundup
 The latest news from the State Capitol
White Haven Center Update

In response to the recent announcement by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) to close the White Haven Center in 2022, I agree with employees and the families of its residents that the decision is a poor one.

I have participated in House Human Service Committee hearings in the past regarding these facilities and learned from family members that many residents have lived their entire lives in them. I am concerned about the future welfare of these individuals, who are receiving 24-hour care, and for the more than 400 employees who are providing a much-needed service.

I sincerely hope Gov. Tom Wolf and DHS will reconsider the decision, which they claim was based in part on the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Olmstead” ruling requiring the integration of individuals with disabilities into the community.

I plan to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to keep the doors of the White Haven Center open.

This week, DHS granted a change of venue request for next month’s public hearing regarding the pending closure. The Sept. 12 hearing will now take place at St. Patrick’s Church, 411 Allegheny St. in White Haven, starting at 1 p.m. The church is closer to the center and also handicapped accessible with a large parking area.

The formal request was made after there were complaints the first location in Hazleton chosen by DHS was too far away.
Weatherly Revitalization Project Underway

It was a big day in Weatherly on Tuesday as we broke ground for the Downtown Revitalization Project. A new municipal complex is on the way which will house borough offices, the police station and magistrate's office.

The project is a great example of how we can reclaim old industrial sites and make them productive again for the benefit of the entire community. I was happy to work with Sen. John Yudichak, along with county and borough officials to acquire state funding for this important project.
We Hope to See You Sept. 5 at Our Senior Expo

I’m looking forward to the Senior Expo that I’m co-hosting with Sen. John Yudichak in Lehighton on Thursday, Sept. 5. This free event will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Co., 2440 Fairyland Road. Please note that my district offices will be closed on that day.

The expo is a great way for older residents to learn about programs and services available to them in our area. My staff and I will also be available to discuss any state government-related issue. We hope to see you there!

Click here to view video.
Turnpike to Close for Bridge Project

A section of the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike will close next month for a bridge replacement project in Lehigh County.

The closure will take place from 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, through 4 a.m. Monday, Sept. 9, just north of the Lehigh Valley Interchange (#56). The detour exits are the Lehigh Valley Interchange (#56) for northbound traffic and the Pocono Interchange (#95) for southbound traffic. The authorized 70-mile detour route directs motorists to Route 22, Route 33 and Interstate 80.

Local travelers heading southbound on the turnpike will be able to drive past #95/Pocono and continue to exit at #87/Route 903 E-ZPass Only or #74/Mahoning Valley. The turnpike will be closed southbound at Mahoning Valley.

A turnpike official is strongly urging motorists to avoid these areas during the detour weekend or build in plenty of extra travel time.
Help for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

A helpline is now available to connect grandparents who are raising their grandchildren to the resources and programs available to them.

KinConnector can be reached by calling 1-866-KIN-2111 (1-866-546-2111). The helpline is staffed by social service professionals prepared to assist families understand and access local, state and federal resources. A website of resources will also be available in the near future.

The helpline was established through Act 89 of 2018 to address the growing number of grandparents in Pennsylvania who have become primary caregivers to their grandchildren. It is a situation that has skyrocketed in recent years as a result of the state’s opioid epidemic. An estimated 82,000 grandparents are the sole caregivers for nearly 89,000 grandchildren.
State Grants Available for First Responders

Fire companies and ambulance services in the 122nd Legislative District are encouraged to apply for state funding from the Office of State Fire Commissioner. The application period will open the first week of September and remain open for 45 days. Learn more here.

Grants may be used for construction or renovation of a unit’s station, the purchase or repair of equipment, training or debt reduction. The maximum grant amount is $15,000 for fire companies and $10,000 for volunteer ambulance services. A total of $30 million will be awarded through the program, which is funded by state gaming proceeds.
New Partnership to Protect Pennsylvania Wildlife


This week, the Pennsylvania Game Commission announced a new partnership with the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine to better address diseases that are threatening the state’s wildlife, including chronic wasting disease and West Nile virus.

Twelve employees will be dedicated to the Pennsylvania Wildlife Futures Program, helping to define wildlife diseases, their impacts and how to best manage them.

The program was established under a five-year, $10 million contract financed by the commission. Learn more here.
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Email: dheffley@pahousegop.com
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