Statewide environmental cleanup event is underway
Passing along a vibrant, healthy environment to future generations is a serious responsibility for community residents. For the past several years, the state Department of Environmental Protection and the state Department of Transportation have partnered with civic-minded volunteers to hold a number of environmental improvement efforts in conjunction with the nationwide Great American Cleanup campaign. This effort is already underway, and a number of local events over the next two months are designed to keep our roadways and streams healthy and beautiful.
The Lititz Run Watershed Alliance recently kicked off the campaign in our area by hosting a litter cleanup event along Lititz Run from LititzSpringsPark to Creek Road in WarwickTownship on March 15. Other upcoming events in our region include:
• Marietta Borough, Chickies Rock Park Cleanup on March 29, sponsored by Rivertownes PA USA;
• Elizabethtown Borough, College Volunteer Day beautification event on April 5, sponsored by ElizabethtownCollege;
• Ephrata Township, roadside littler cleanup event on April 10, sponsored by Ephrata Mennonite School;
• East Hempfield Township, Adopt-A-Highway littler cleanup event on April 19, sponsored by Brubaker Inc.;
• Upper Leacock Township, roadway cleanup at Leola Community Park on April 26, sponsored by Rep. Keith Greiner;
• Lititz Borough, litter cleanup event in the downtown area on May 3, sponsored by Venture Lititz; and
• Manheim Township, beautification event in Landis Woods Park on May 3, sponsored by Manheim Township Commissioners and Parks and Recreation Board.
The Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania runs through May 31. Additional information, including a complete listing of upcoming events and details regarding participation, is available online at gacofpa.org.
Financial resources available for volunteer fire companies
Volunteer fire companies provide an underappreciated service to our communities by devoting their time and efforts to better protect our lives and property. I offer my deepest thanks to the members of these organizations for their dedicated service to our communities.
Pennsylvania offers a number of resources to aid volunteer fire companies in their mission to improve public safety. Grants of up to $7,500 are currently available through the Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant Program to help rural communities pay for training and equipment to fight brush and forest fires. The application period for this grant program runs until May 22. Additional information on the program is available online at the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website at dcnr.state.pa.us.
In addition to this program, the Volunteer Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program offers funding for the purchase or repair of firefighting or rescue equipment, construction or renovation costs for facilities, training or debt reduction. Low-interest loans are also available through the Volunteer Loan Assistance Program for the purchase or repair of apparatus, construction or modernization of fire and emergency services facilities, or debt refinancing. More information on both programs is available online at the Office of the State Fire Commissioner’s website at osfc.state.pa.us.
Funding is always a challenge for volunteer organizations, but many of these grant and loan programs can help ease the significant fundraising burden on these organizations. I encourage local volunteer fire companies to learn more about these programs to maximize the resources they have available to perform their life-saving duties.
Sen. Brubaker represents the Ephrata area in Harrisburg. His column appears weekly in the commentary section of the Review. His local office is located at 301 E. Main St., Lititz. To contact him, call 627-0036.
For more information on issues of importance to Lancaster and ChesterCounty residents, visit his website at senatorbrubaker.com.