Hose company gets FEMA grant

William Walker Hose Company in Jermyn received a $18,095 federal grant to buy personal protective equipment and essential supplies.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters grant is part of more than $56,000 going to local fire departments, according to U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-8, Moosic. It’s the second round of awards for the grant, which is funded through the CARES Act.

“I often think of the men and women who serve in our fire companies and their families as I continue to push for more support for our safety infrastructure and local governments during this crisis,” said Cartwright, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “I consider it my duty to fight for them and ensure our first responders have what they need to keep themselves and our communities safe.”

Carbondale students learn from Holocaust survivor

Carbondale Area’s 11th grade Honors World Cultures class and AP US History class, along with teachers Robert Barnett, Bruce Gordon and Licia Olivetti, participated in a Zoom meeting last month with Holocaust survivor Ben Lesser.

Students listened as Lesser described how his family left their home for the ghettos in Poland and how they escaped to Hungary. He also talked about living in Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps before he was liberated in Dachau.

“Being given the opportunity to have Mr. Ben Lesser share his story about what it was like trying to hide from the Nazi was a once in a lifetime experience,” said senior Alyvia Schaivone. “It was extremely fascinating hearing every minuscule detail that Mr. Lesser was able to retain from his memory from something that happened so long ago. Him having that ability simply shows how disturbing of a situation it was and how greatly it impacted his life onward. Going through something like that first hand like he did definitely puts life into a whole different perspective. I never imagined that I would be given the chance to video call with someone who went through something like he did, but I am extremely grateful I was given the opportunity.

YMCA offering swim lesson scholarships

As part of its commitment to reduce drowning rates and keep kids safe in and around the water, the Greater Scranton YMCA will provide scholarships for swim instruction and water safety to children from underserved communities in our region, they announced recently.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14 years old. In ethnically diverse communities, the youth drowning rate is two to three times higher than the national average, according to a USA Swimming study.

“Educating children how to be safe around water is just as important as teaching them to look both ways before they cross the street,” Ken Brewster, aquatics director at the Greater Scranton YMCA, said in the press release. “The Y teaches children of all ages and backgrounds that water should be fun, not feared, and this practice not only saves lives, it builds confidence.”

The Y believes this is especially true following 2020’s COVID-19 shutdowns. In a typical year, the Greater Scranton YMCA teaches 1,500 people in their swim programs; this decreased to 617 in 2020.

“We know there are children in our community who are now more at risk due to the need to maintain social distancing in 2020 and we want to make every effort we can to reach those kids this year,” Brewster said in the press release. “In order to maintain a safe and healthy environment while COVID-19 is still present, the Y is offering smaller class sizes, requiring all staff and volunteers to wear masks and is deploying hydrostatic foggers throughout the building for disinfection of areas and equipment.”

To learn how to qualify for financial assistance for swim lessons, contact Bewster at kbrewster@greaterscrantonymca.org or 570-828-3112.

DCNR grants available for parks, recreation

Grant applications are now being accepted for recreation and conservation projects in communities across Pennsylvania, according to a press release from Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn.

“This COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the critical importance of parks, forests and trails to our mental and physical health as demonstrated by the significant increase in their use, even now during the cold months,” Dunn said. “Our DCNR grants can assist communities with local park acquisition and improvements, trails and river access that are so critically in demand.”

Dunn noted that for the first time this year, climate resiliency will be included in the criteria used to review grant applications. Grantees are asked to explain how their project implements sustainable and climate resilient adaptations and/or mitigations. A document is provided to help grantees understand the green and sustainable practices that may be suitable for projects.

Every grant dollar generally leverages an additional $3 in local, county and private investments, giving every state dollar more power for the public good.

Grantees include local governments and recreation and conservation organizations.

The 2020 grant application round closes at 4 p.m. on April 14.

For more information, visit DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnership Grant Program website.

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