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HARRISBURG – Expanded federal and state funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program means more local families will qualify for home heating help this winter.

Because of the expansion, 80,000 more Pennsylvanians will be eligible for a LIHEAP cash grant, and 30,000 more will be able to receive crisis grants.

The program provides eligible households with cash grants of $300 or more to help pay heating bills and crisis grants of up to $800 to deal with heating emergencies.

Eligibility for LIHEAP is based on family size and household income. The income eligibility limit for Pennsylvania families has increased.

For example, the income limit for a family of four has been increased to $44,443, an increase from 150 percent of the federal poverty level to approximately 210 percent of the federal poverty level.

LIHEAP applications will be accepted beginning Nov. 3. More information about the program is available at www.dpw.state.pa.us, or by calling the Luzerne County Assistance Office at 570-826-2100.

HAZLETON – State Rep. Todd Eachus, D-Butler Township, presented nearly $100,000 in state grants to area municipalities and organizations to help fund a variety of projects ranging from repairs to youth sports facilities to a new municipal building for Freeland Borough.

The grants include:

$20,000 to the Freeland Business and Development Authority to help defray engineering and legal fees related to the construction of a new municipal building and to help reduce the number of blighted properties in the borough.

$10,000 to the Mountain Council of Governments to help fund projects ranging from a new rails-to-trails, a program to reduce the number of junked cars and a study of how police departments can improve efficiency.

$10,000 to the Greater Hazleton Philharmonic to make structural repairs and improvements to the plumbing and electrical systems at the Ferrwood Music Camp.

$10,000 to the Pennsylvania Wing of the Civil Air Patrol to improve the roof and building used for emergency services training, aerospace education and leadership programs for the 44 cadets.

$10,000 to Valley West Little League to install fences at the league field;

$10,000 to Hazleton Area High School’s Outdoor Sportsman Club to purchase two trapshooting systems to better prepare students for competitions.

$10,000 to the Police Athletic League to help defray the cost of basketball programs for more than 300 students, including new uniforms and insurance.

$5,000 to the Greater Hazleton Senior Citizens to help pay for social activities and flu shots.

$5,000 to the Hazleton Lions Club to build a pavilion at Community Park in Hazle Township.

$5,000 to the Helping Hands Society to repair the roof and make other repairs to the society’s building, which is used to provide therapy and training to disabled children.

The grants were part of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Community Revitalization Program, which makes funding available for municipalities and nonprofit organizations to purchase new equipment and upgrade community assets.

KINGSTON – State Rep. Phyllis Mundy, D-Kingston, and State Fire Commissioner Ed Mann will co-host an educational workshop to help area volunteer fire and ambulance companies make smart financial decisions and outline available state loan and grant programs.

The workshop will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 6 in the Luzerne County Community College Educational Conference Center, Building 10, Auditorium Room 132.

For additional information call 283-9622 or 655-3375.

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