Apr. 26, 2024

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#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

In this Edition:
  •   Grants Support Infrastructure Improvements
  •   Fish ‘Low & Slow’ in High Waters
  •   Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming Events
  •   Important Update for Students Seeking Financial Aid
  •   Applications Accepted for Sports Marketing and Tourism Program Grants
  •   Call Before You Dig
  •   Spring Gobbler Season Underway
  •   Keeping Busy in Dauphin County
Grants Support Infrastructure Improvements

A combination of grants and low-interest loans awarded this week will support important infrastructure development within the 106th District.

For Derry Township Municipal Authority, the combination of a $10.2 million loan and $4.2 million grant awarded by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) will allow for key improvements at the Clearwater Road wastewater treatment plant.

Derry Township Municipal Authority sought the funding to make upgrades that will serve current and future sewer customers.

An additional $2.9 million loan will aid Hershey Lumberyard LLC in its ongoing project to redevelop the former lumberyard into short-term housing for employees and recent graduates associated with Milton Hershey School as well as Hershey Entertainment and Resorts. The loan will not only address stormwater pipes and manholes, but also streetscape improvements that include 81 new trees and 28 new shrubs.

When I advocate for projects like these, I do so with a focus on what infrastructure will benefit our children and grandchildren. These initiatives will lay the foundation to serve greater Hershey for years to come.

Established in 1988, PENNVEST provides capital funding for drinking water, sewer, stormwater and non-point source pollution prevention projects that benefit the health, safety, environment and economic development of the Commonwealth. The 20-year loans have interest rates ranging from 1.7 to 2.1 percent.
Fish ‘Low & Slow’ in High Waters

Click here to view video.

Last week, I pitched in as the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission stocked trout with the Dauphin County Anglers. I’m hearing great things about trout being caught this year across Dauphin County.

Waterways Conservation Officer Mark Sweppenhiser advises to fish “low and slow” when creeks and streams are high, as you want to give trout an opportunity to see the bait. Learn more in the video linked above.
Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming Events

Our region has plentiful resources related to healthcare. Learn more about them at my Health Expo scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, May 2, at the Leader Center for Active Life, 605 Cocoa Ave., Hershey.

Enjoy ice cream? (And really, who doesn’t?) Join me for Ice Cream & Issues from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday, May 23, at the South Hanover Township amphitheater, 161 Patriot Way, Hershey. Call 717-534-1323 to sign up.

There are several more upcoming events, including June’s Scam Jam (incorporating bingo) in which you can learn about common scams. Learn more at repmehaffie.com/events.
Important Update for Students Seeking Financial Aid

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) has announced the submission deadline for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), with relation to the Pennsylvania State Grant Program, has been extended to June 1.

The launch of the FAFSA application for the upcoming academic year was delayed almost three months as the FAFSA underwent changes as a result of the FAFSA Simplification Act, which was intended to streamline the financial aid application process. The U.S. Department of Education rolled out the new FAFSA on Dec. 31 for the 2024-25 academic year, but it has since encountered a number of issues, delays and errors in processing student applications.

The PA State Grant Program uses the FAFSA form as its primary application point to determine student eligibility for a PA State Grant award. Historically, May 1 was used as the deadline for students to complete their FAFSA for PA State Grant purposes.

More information is available at www.pheaa.org.
Applications Accepted for Sports Marketing and Tourism Program Grants

Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Rick Siger has announced that the application period for grants through DCED’s Sports Marketing and Tourism Program is open through June 30.

The Sports Marketing and Tourism Program was created to attract high-quality, amateur, and professional sporting and e-sports events to Pennsylvania. The goal of the investment in the program is to capitalize on the influx of tourism that comes with hosting a major national or international event, which can increase sales to both large and small businesses in the surrounding area and in turn boost the regional economy, as well as improve the quality of life for residents.

Pennsylvania is preparing to host the 2026 World Cup, the 2024 USGA Women’s Open, and the 2025 USGA Men’s Open

Eligible program applicants include a municipality, a local authority, a nonprofit organization, or a legal entity that meets all of the following criteria:
  •   The applicant participates or plans to participate in a competitive selection process;
  •   The site selection process is conducted by a Site Selection Organization not located in Pennsylvania; and
  •   The applicant is seeking to secure a single year or multiyear commitment from a site selection organization to conduct high quality, amateur and professional sporting or esports events at one or more locations in Pennsylvania.

Learn more at this page.
Call Before You Dig

April is Safe Digging Month, an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of calling 8-1-1 before digging to ensure the safety of excavation projects across the state.

Every time an underground utility line is hit, there is a risk to the contractors or homeowners who are doing the digging; to utility workers and emergency responders who are mobilized to deal with the damage; and to bystanders who live, work or travel near the locations of the incidents.

State law requires contractors and residents to contact PA One Call at least three business days prior to excavation – triggering alerts to all utilities within an intended digging area and prompting utilities to mark where their lines are located. Pennsylvanians can dial 8-1-1 to connect with the One Call system, while out-of-state residents or businesses can call 1-800-242-1776.

Learn more at www.PA1call.com.
Spring Gobbler Season Underway

Pennsylvania’s 2024 spring gobbler season begins this Saturday, April 27, with a half-day hunt for junior hunters and mentored hunters 16 and under. All participants must be accompanied by adults, and hunting hours are from a half hour before sunrise until noon.

The regular season runs May 4-31, with hunting hours going from a half hour before sunrise until noon from May 4-18, then from a half hour before sunrise until a half hour after sunset from May 20-31.

For details, including licensing and safety tips, click here.
Keeping Busy in Dauphin County

I recently joined Hershey Troop 65 for its Arrow of Light Crossover ceremony and caught up with Miss Pennsylvania Sydney Miller at Bark For Life of Hershey-Harrisburg.

Rep. Dave Madsen and I made presentations at the Lower Swatara Fire Department’s annual banquet last weekend.

The State YMCA of Pennsylvania Youth & Government program provides a great weekend of opportunities for young people every year. For 2024, Sarah Anderson of Hershey served as the House speaker.