Senator Dush E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • We’re Still Collecting Items for Area Food Banks
  • Be Aware of Partisan Political Mailings that Try to Appear Nonpartisan
  • Second Amendment Rights Rally Held at PA Capitol
  • Help Available to Move Students from Schools to Employment
  • Pine Creek Rail Trail Extension Project Receives $924,000 Grant
  • “Making $ense of Finance” Veterans’ Benefits Event on Oct. 13 in Port Allegheny, McKean County
  • More than $100 million in Violence Intervention & Prevention (VIP) Grants Available
  • State Grants Available for Public Libraries
  • Conservation and Natural Resources Grant Applications Now Being Accepted
  • Thank You, Truck Drivers
  • Celebrating Our Enduring Constitution
  • PA to Offer Free Breakfast Program for School Students
  • 2023 Environmental Education Grant Round Now Open

We’re Still Collecting Items for Area Food Banks

Throughout Hunger Action Month, my district offices (see addresses below) are collecting non-perishable items to be given to food banks in our communities.

Neighbors helping neighbors is the best form of charity and it’s one of the many traditions that make our country great. Please consider making a donation to help a family in need.

Be Aware of Partisan Political Mailings that Try to Appear Nonpartisan

It has come to my attention that two political advocacy groups, the Voter Participation Center (VPC) and the Center for Voter Information (CVI), will be conducting unsolicited direct mailings to Pennsylvania residents that contain voter registration applications and mail ballot applications.

These unsolicited mailings are NOT affiliated with or endorsed by any county board of elections in the 25th Senatorial District.

The VPC and CVI organizations bear all responsibility for the mailings, including any mailings that contain incorrect information – and be aware the information contained within the mailing is partisan in nature, i.e. it is designed to produce support for one set of political candidates.

The mailings are expected to begin in late August and continue through mid-September, possibly longer.

Any recipient of an unsolicited VPC or CVI mailing who wishes to be removed from the mailing list can do so by noting a code near the bottom of the letter and emailing the code to the correct organization: or Recipients can also request to be removed from the mailing list by calling VPC at 866-255-6750 or CVI at 866-290-1599.

Second Amendment Rights Rally Held at PA Capitol

Click photo to watch video.

This past week at the state Capitol defenders of our constitutional right to bear arms rallied – for a seventeenth-straight year – to make clear the rights of law-abiding Pennsylvania firearm owners should never be subject to infringement or questioning.

The 17th annual Right to Keep and Bear Arms Rally included speakers from across the county and Pennsylvania, including myself, in support of the Second Amendment as well as similar protections found within the Pennsylvania Constitution (Article I, Section 21).

During the past year, Gov. Wolf has vetoed multiple gun-related bills sent to his desk – including one I prime-sponsored – that would have ensured our constitutional right to own and carry a firearm isn’t violated and increased public safety and security. Instead, the governor and his legislative allies have continued their assault on our rights while creating an environment in many of our communities that is more unsafe than it has been in decades, with crime rates – particularly violent crime rates – skyrocketing.

You own your government and you set the framework of that government. Since 1791, no changes have been made to the Pennsylvania Constitution except by the express will and vote of the people.

That’s the way it should stay in a free Republic such as ours.

Help Available to Move Students from Schools to Employment

State assistance is available to develop and improve partnerships between schools, employers, organizations or associations for pre-apprenticeship and training pathways for students.

Successful project applications should create career opportunities that lessen the gap between high school and employment or post-secondary education through the use of pre-apprenticeships.

Applicants must be registered with the department as a pre-apprenticeship program and be connected to a registered apprenticeship program that will be responsible for administering and operating a pre-apprenticeship program. Additional details and the grant application for the Schools-to-Work grants can be found here. Applications are due by Oct. 12.

Pine Creek Rail Trail Extension Project Receives $924,000 Grant

Tioga County’s Pine Creek Rail Trail Extension Project was the recipient of $924,200 as part of a $90 million effort to assist more than 330 projects across Pennsylvania focused on creating new recreational opportunities, conserving natural resources and helping revitalize local communities.

Of the total grant funding, $500,000 will be used for the acquisition of approximately 21.4 acres in Charleston Township to provide approximately 2.4 miles of trail for the development of the Marsh Creek Greenway. The other $424,200 will be for the construction of the initial connection to Wellsboro, from the trail to Charleston Street (including the relocation of the historic bridge structure).

The plan is for the trail to connect Wellsboro to the northern terminus of the Pine Creek Rail Trail.

With the increased interest in outdoor recreation as a result of the pandemic, these grants are a major investment in our communities because they’ll help improve local tourism and the benefits from that.

“Making $ense of Finance” Veterans’ Benefits Event on Oct. 13 in Port Allegheny, McKean County

More than $100 million in Violence Intervention & Prevention (VIP) Grants Available

For all the 25th District’s local law enforcement agencies, campus or university police, railroad or street railway police, airport authority police and county park police, on Sept. 1, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) announced the availability of up to $100.5 million in Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) funding for two grant programs:

  • VIP Competitive Grants Program ($85.5 million): Under this solicitation, eligible applicants can request funding for a wide range of programs that address community violence and prevention efforts.
    • Maximum award amounts are based on the applicant organization’s size and service area and range from $25,000 to $2.5 million to support project activities over a 29-month period.
    • PCCD is utilizing a two-phased application process for FY 2022-23 VIP Competitive Grants. Interested applicants are invited to submit an online survey form (via SurveyMonkey) for the initial funding request, which will close on Oct. 12, 2022.
  • Coordinated Community Violence Intervention (CVI) Strategies Pilot Grants Program ($15 million): This new initiative invests in collaborative community violence prevention and response strategies within focused service areas (defined as contiguous geographic areas). Grants will support five to eight pilot projects with planning and implementation of short-term intervention, mid-term prevention, and long-term transformation strategies designed to increase local coordination to more effectively prevent, intervene, and respond to gun and group-related violence.
    • Under this funding announcement, eligible applicants can request up to $3 million to launch and implement pilot projects over a 32-month period.
    • Interested applicants have until Oct. 31, 2022, to apply for funding in PCCD’s Egrants System.

Interested parties are urged to apply early, do not wait until the last minute.

More detailed information about these funding opportunities can be found on PCCD’s Gun Violence Grants & Funding webpage and on the Open Funding Opportunities webpage.

PCCD will host informational webinars for prospective applicants to provide an overview of these funding opportunities and offer a chance to ask questions and receive instructions on the application process.  Registration for the webinars can be found on PCCD’s website here.

If you have any questions regarding these funding opportunities or the informational webinars, please contact PCCD staff at

State Grants Available for Public Libraries

Applications are being accepted until Oct. 14 for the 2023 Keystone Grants for Public Library Facilities program.

It provides funds to sponsoring municipalities for up to 50% of eligible project costs to plan, acquire, construct, or rehabilitate public libraries as outlined in the guidelines. Examples of fundable projects include ADA upgrades, a new roof, replacement windows, energy-efficient upgrades to HVAC systems, new elevators, facility expansion and new construction.

To be eligible, the sponsoring municipality and the board of the state-aided library must jointly prepare and submit their application. A competitive review process is used to evaluate and score applications.

Conservation and Natural Resources Grant Applications Now Being Accepted

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) recreation and conservation grants program is now accepting applications for a special fall funding round from through Oct. 27, 2022.

Application process, eligible applicants and project types largely mirror those for DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program grants, which typically have a spring application period. In general, most municipal entities and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply.

The supplemental fall funding round does have some differences from typical DCNR grant rounds, thanks to its unique federal funding source, with the primary one being that for municipalities with populations under 5,000 people, the match requirement is 20% of the grant amount with no cap on project size.

The special fall funding round is also an ideal time to apply for tree planting, lawn conversion, and riparian buffer grants because the round includes over $8 million in Keystone Tree Fund money to support watershed and community forestry practices.

Other priority projects of this funding round include:

  • Community Parks and Recreation: Projects that help rehab existing parks and those that improve access for all.
  • Land Conservation/Watershed Protection: Land conservation projects that provide habitat corridors, provide connectivity with other protected land, or protect headwater streams.
  • Trails: Projects that close Priority Trail Gaps.
  • State and Regional Partnerships: Select projects for state- and federal-designated Heritage Areas

For more information about the grant round, the DCNR Bureau of Recreation and Conservation (BRC) offers a Frequently Asked Questions document, and more information about the fall round will also be published through the BCR e-newsletter.

Thank You, Truck Drivers

This is National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. These one million professional men and women keep the American economy moving by delivering our goods safely, securely and on time. Thank you for your commitment and hard work.

Appalachian Region Truck Parking Study

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is advertising a request for proposals (RFP) for an Appalachian Region Truck Parking Study. 

If you are aware of researchers or consultants who may be interested in submitting a proposal, please forward this RFP to them.  The RFP can be found on ARC’s website at

The Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) is a proposed 3,090-mile network of highways, now over 90% complete, which links the Appalachian Region to the Interstate Highway System. To meet trucking needs to grow the Appalachian Region’s economy and to improve safety, there must be sufficient safe and high-quality truck parking capacity along the ADHS.

This request for proposals (RFP) is to complete a study to:

  • Identify existing truck parking facilities and truck parking management systems;
  • Estimate current and future truck parking demand;
  • Assess impacts, benefits, and costs of truck parking; and
  • Develop recommendations for truck parking policy, initiatives, and investment priorities.

Proposals are due by 5 p.m. on Sept. 30.

Celebrating Our Enduring Constitution

On Sept. 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, the Founding Fathers signed the most influential document in American history, the U.S. Constitution.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

It recognizes that we are born with rights that government did not grant and cannot take away. Every legislator takes an oath to support, obey and defend the U.S. Constitution and the Pennsylvania Constitution.

PA to Offer Free Breakfast Program for School Students

Pennsylvania’s Universal Free Breakfast Program will go into effect on Oct. 1, 2022 and run through the end of the 2022-23 school year.

Pennsylvania children enrolled in public schools, intermediate units, charter schools, career and technology schools, and child care institutions that participate in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs will be eligible for this $21.5 million state-funded program.

Children from families with incomes at or below 130% of the poverty level, children in families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or children in families receiving food stamp benefits are eligible for free breakfasts. Those children in families whose income is between 130% and 185% of the poverty level are eligible for reduced-price breakfasts. Eligibility guidelines for the 2022-23 school year can be found here.

Interested schools that do not currently participate in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs should contact the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

2023 Environmental Education Grant Round Now Open

A total of $900,000 in grant funding is available for environmental education projects, with the application deadline set for 4:59 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9, 2022.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will hold a live webinar on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. regarding the grant funding. Program staff will review the application process, offer tips and answer questions. The webinar is free, but registration is required.

You can register here and click here to view a 2022 webinar that provides an overview of the 2022 EE Grants Program, a review of the required application documents, and a Q & A session.

You can also refer to 2023 Environmental Education Grants Program Manual for more information.

The DEP explains that while all education project topics are considered, priority areas are water quality, climate change and environmental justice. Project examples include tours, demonstrations, and hands-on learning experiences, and workshops on stream monitoring, rain gardens, wetlands, green infrastructure, and other watershed stewardship; solar and other renewable energy, alternative transportation, energy conservation, and other approaches to address climate change; and improving air quality and community and municipal partnerships to address local environmental challenges.

Projects with a local focus may receive up to $5,000 and regional or statewide initiatives may receive up to $30,000. Projects that engage students and teachers at three levels, local, state, and national, may be awarded up to $85,000.

The Environmental Education Grants program was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1993, which mandates setting aside 5% of the pollution fines and penalties DEP collects annually for environmental education in Pennsylvania. Since the program began, more than 2,100 projects totaling over $12 million have been awarded grant funds.


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