Senator Gebhard E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Kountry Kraft Cabinetry Tour
  • School Safety Grants Awarded
  • Training PA’s Workforce for Available Positions
  • Increasing the Number of Firefighters in Pennsylvania
  • Spring Gobbler Season Begins April 27
  • April is National Donate Life Month
  • Local Events

Kountry Kraft Cabinetry Tour

I enjoyed joining ELCO School District Superintendent Julia Vicente to tour Kountry Kraft Cabinetry, a small business located in Newmanstown that specializes in custom-made cabinetry.

As chair of the Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee, I was interested in how small businesses are dealing with current economic realities. We also discussed how workforce development is needed and a possible partnership with ELCO School District.

Thank you to Kountry Kraft for opening their doors to us. I was impressed with the quality and craftmanship of their cabinetry.

School Safety Grants Awarded

More than $150 million in School Safety Grants have been approved this week for students across the commonwealth. Pennsylvania’s School Safety & Security Grant Program was originally established in 2018, providing for school entities to be safer places for students, staff and visitors. Most recently through Act 33 of 2023, changes were made to strengthen and expand the program, which is overseen by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, School Safety and Security Committee.

Meritorious Grants ranging from $30,000 to $45,000 were awarded to each of the 497 applicants from all 67 counties that applied. The award amount is based on the school size. Funding can be used to address safety and security through security assessments, violence prevention and all-hazards plans.

Mental Health Grants ranging from $70,000 to $100,000 were awarded to each of the 719 applicants from all 67 counties that applied. These applicants included school districts, area career and technical schools, intermediate units, charter schools, regional charter schools and cyber charter schools. School districts received a base of $100,000 plus a formula amount depending on their school size. The intermediate unit, area career and technical school, charter school, regional charter school or cyber charter school applicants each received $70,000. The funding can be used for school mental health services, training and programs for students and staff.

Additionally, grants were approved through the Competitive School Safety and Security Grant Funding, and Targeted School Safety and Security Grant Programs. Learn more.

Training PA’s Workforce for Available Positions

Complementing Senate Republicans’ efforts to protect Pennsylvania jobs, support is available for community colleges, trade or tech schools, school districts and nonprofits through the Manufacturing PA Training-to-Career Grant Program.

The program is designed to help companies identify and train a skilled workforce for existing positions or ones that will be open soon. It is also designed to advance capacity for local and regional manufacturers and increase awareness of manufacturing career opportunities for youth or those with barriers.

Grants may be used for professional services/consultants, internships, equipment purchases, shop modifications, program development, marketing, domestic travel and salaries. Learn more and apply online.

Increasing the Number of Firefighters in Pennsylvania

The Senate approved a bill aimed at increasing the number of volunteer firefighters in Pennsylvania by reforming the certification process without sacrificing quality or safety.

Current firefighter applicants must complete four training modules totaling 188 hours. They then must pass a cumulative test covering all four modules. Senate Bill 1101 would enable applicants to be tested following each of the four modules.

In the 1970s, the commonwealth had as many as 300,000 volunteer firefighters. There currently are fewer than 38,000 volunteer firefighters in Pennsylvania.

Spring Gobbler Season Begins April 27

On Saturday, April 27, spring gobbler season opens with a half-day hunt for junior hunters and mentored hunters 16 and under. All participants must be accompanied by adults, and hunting hours run from 30 minutes before sunrise until noon.

The regular season runs from May 4-31. Hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise until noon from May 4-18 and 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset from May 20-31.

Approximately 172,000 people hunt spring turkeys in Pennsylvania every year. Last season, hunters harvested about 39,500 gobblers – an increase from 35,700 in 2022 and 28,100 in 2021. Information about spring turkey hunting rules and regulations, for youth and regular hunts, is available here.

April is National Donate Life Month

Making a difference in the lives of others might be easier than you think. With nearly 7,000 Pennsylvanians awaiting organ transplants, donors can save up to eight lives. People donating tissue can enhance the lives of 75 others by helping them recover from trauma, spinal injuries, burns and vision loss.

If you aren’t an organ or tissue donor yet but would like to be, there’s no need to wait until you get or renew your driver’s license, learner’s permit or photo ID. It’s easy to register online to donate.

Misconceptions about organ and tissue donation can discourage people from taking the important step to save lives. Find myths and facts here.

Local Events

Saturday, April 27, 9am-4pm: Lebanon Holistic Expo
Lebanon Expo Center (Lebanon, PA)
Click here

Friday, April 26, 5pm-8pm: Food Trucks for Fire Trucks
25 S Railroad St, Myerstown (Lebanon, PA)
Click here

Saturday, April 27, 8am: Lancaster Native Plant and Wildlife Festival 2024
595 Granit Run Drive, Lancaster (Lancaster, PA)
Click here

Saturday, April 27, 2:30pm-5:30pm: Chili Cook-Off
711 Rohrerstown Rd, Lancaster (Lancaster, PA)
Click here

Saturday, April 27, 9am-5pm: 2024 Keystone Diecast CARnival
Leesport Farmers Market (Berks, PA)
Click here

Saturday, April 27, 11am-5pm: West Reading Craft Pretzel & Beer Fest
700 Blocks of Penn Ave, West Reading (Berks, PA)
Click here

Saturday, April 27, 10am-3pm: Spring Outdoor Market
112 W Lincoln Ave, Myerstown (Lebanon, PA)
Click here

Saturday, April 27, 6pm-9pm: Sunset Cruise In (Car Show)
1655 N 7th St, Lebanon (Lebanon, PA)
Click here

Saturday, April 27, 10:30am: Birding for Beginners
3940 Penn Ave, Sinking Spring (Berks, PA)
Click here

Saturday, April 27, 9am-12pm: 4th Annual Community Spring Clean Up Day
South Londonderry Township (Lebanon, PA)
Click here


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