State Funding Awarded to Local Sewer Authority

(HARRISBURG) – The Shamokin-Coal Township Joint Sewer Authority (Authority) in Northumberland County has been awarded funding through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) to assist in the upgrade of its system, according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27) and Representative Kurt Masser (R-107). 

Through PENNVEST, the Authority will receive $2,905,517 in grant money and another $80,319 in low-interest loans.  The project calls for the replacement of the anaerobic digester lids at the facility.  They were last replaced in 1997 and are now at the end of their useful life.  The new lids will help to limit the escape of methane and other greenhouse gasses.

“I want to thank the PENNVEST Board for making this significant investment, which will have a lasting impact on the residents of the Shamokin and Coal Township area,” said Senator Gordner.  “I also want to recognize the Authority for its hard work to make this project become a reality.”

The completed project will serve a total of 9,325 households.

“The $2.9 million grant will save the ratepayers in the area a significant amount of money and will allow this project to be successfully completed,” said Representative Masser.

PENNVEST offers grants and low interest loans to assist municipalities with sewer, storm water and drinking water projects.  The program is designed to contribute to the long-term health of Pennsylvanians, while also fostering economic growth at the same time.

CONTACT:  Mike Stephens

Two Northumberland County Communities Receive PennDOT Grant

(HARRISBURG) – Two Northumberland County municipalities have been awarded a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27).  The funds are provided through the Green Light – Go Program. 

The first project is in Mount Carmel Borough and would include the modernization of the traffic signal at Third Street and Oak Street.  The grant amount is $276,080.

The second project is in the City of Sunbury and includes the replacement of the traffic signal at Front Street and Reagan Street.  The grant amount for this project is $353,008.

“I am grateful to Governor Tom Wolf and PennDOT for awarding these important grant funds to communities in Northumberland County,” said Senator Gordner.  “Upon completion, safety will be greatly improved for drivers and pedestrians alike.”

Pennsylvania’s Municipal Signal Partnership Program (Green Light – Go Program) is a competitive state grant program designed to improve the efficiency and operation of existing traffic signals located in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Established by Act 89 of 2013 and revised by Act 101 of 2016, the program is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and is purposed to improve mobility and safety at signalized intersections.  The Green Light-Go Program is a reimbursement grant program and applicants are required to provide a minimum 20% match.   Eligible projects include: LED light installation, traffic signal retiming, special event plan development, traffic signal monitoring and traffic signal technology upgrades.

CONTACT:  Mike Stephens

Gordner Bill Passes Senate

(HARRISBURG) – Legislation sponsored by Senator John R. Gordner (R-27) to add certain county judicial seats has passed the Senate by a vote of 50-0. 

Senate Bill 691 would create a new seat in each of the following: the 15th Judicial District (Chester County), the 20th Judicial District (Huntingdon County) and the 26th Judicial District (Columbia and Montour Counties).

The 26th Judicial District currently consists of two judges and SB 691would add a third judge to the compliment.  The addition of a third judge is supported by the President Judge Gary Norton, as well as the Columbia County Commissioners and the Montour County Commissioners.  The action is further supported by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC).

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for its concurrence.

CONTACT:  Mike Stephens

Governor Makes Appointment to Fill Local Judicial Vacancy

(HARRISBURG) – Berwick Magisterial District Judge Richard Knecht has been nominated by Governor Tom Wolf to fill a vacant seat on the Court of Common Pleas for Columbia and Montour Counties, according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27). 

“Rich is an excellent choice to fill this important role as judge in the Court of Common Pleas” said Senator Gordner.  “I am very supportive of his nomination by Governor Tom Wolf and will work with my colleagues in the Senate to complete his approval.”

Mr. Knecht is a graduate of Bloomsburg State College and The Dickinson School of Law.  He has been a practicing attorney in the Berwick area since 1984.

Mr. Knecht has been a Columbia County First Assistant District Attorney, the solicitor for the Columbia County Commissioners and counsel for Columbia County Children and Youth Services.

Richard Knecht has been the Magisterial District Judge in Berwick since 2010.  He was initially appointed by Governor Ed Rendell in 2010 and was then elected to two subsequent terms.

The nomination now heads to the Pennsylvania Senate, which has a constitutional duty to advise and consent on the Governor’s nominations.

CONTACT:  Mike Stephens

Legislators Announce $15.4 Million in Grants for Luzerne County Communities

(HARRISBURG) – State grant funding totaling $15,464,430 has been awarded for 85 projects in communities across Luzerne County, according to Senator Lisa Baker (R-20), Senator John R. Gordner (R-27), Senator John Yudichak (I-14) and Senator Dave Argall (R-29).

The legislators explained that the support was made available through the Local Share Account (LSA) for Luzerne County, which was established by the Commonwealth’s Gaming Act. The LSA allocates a portion of slot machine operation fees and table game revenues to the host municipality and county of a licensed gaming facility.  The Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority and any municipality in Luzerne County are eligible for the LSA funding, for projects that improve the quality of life of citizens in the community.

“During a time when many families and communities are feeling an immense strain from rising inflation and ongoing efforts to recover from the effects of the pandemic, it is crucial that state government provides support to make our region stronger, safer, and more vibrant,” Senator Lisa Baker said.  “I’m proud to have worked with my fellow Luzerne County elected officials to address the needs that have been voiced by many local leaders.”

“I am pleased that the Commonwealth Financing Authority has made such a significant investment in these Luzerne County communities,” Senator John Gordner said.  “The LSA grants will be utilized for a wide range of public safety and infrastructure projects to benefit the local residents.”

“Today’s state investment in economic development, recreation, infrastructure and public safety will enhance the quality of life for our residents in Luzerne County while continuing to build upon our historic job creation gains in the region,” Senator John Yudichak said.

“I’m pleased to see this number of projects across all these communities,” Senator Dave Argall said. “I know that the competition for this funding is very competitive and I congratulate all of the successful applicants.”

The full list of approved LSA projects for Luzerne County can be found here.

The grants were approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) at the June 10, 2022, meeting in Harrisburg. The CFA was established in 2004 as an independent agency of the Department of Community and Economic Development to administer Pennsylvania’s economic stimulus programs.  The CFA reviews and evaluate applications based on cost, strategic importance, and impact.


Kate Flessner (Senator Baker)
Mike Stephens (Senator Gordner)
Mark Grochocki (Senator Yudichak)
Christine Verdier (Senator Argall)

UPMC Announces Donation of Sunbury Facility to DRIVE

SUNBURY – UPMC, owner of the former hospital campus in Sunbury, announced today the donation of the building and facilities on the campus to DRIVE, an economic development entity serving five counties in the central Susquehanna region.

“When our facilities closed in Sunbury in 2020, UPMC began a thorough investigation into potential future uses for the property with the goal of transitioning the campus as an investment in the community so it could be utilized by others in the future,” said Steven Johnson, president, UPMC in North Central Pa. “Given their history with repurposing commercial facilities in the region, we were encouraged by DRIVE’s interest in the facility and their desire to use it for new job creation and economic development. Donating the facility to DRIVE turns the keys of this historic structure over to the community bringing new opportunity to the city.”

UPMC announced in December 2019 it would be closing UPMC Sunbury due to underutilization.  Following the successful donation and repurposing of the former Sunbury Textile Mill property, Sen. John Gordner (R-27), Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-108) and Jennifer Wakeman, Executive Director of DRIVE, engaged with Steve Johnson and the team at UPMC to determine the best outcome for the hospital and surrounding properties.    

“UPMC Sunbury, formerly the Sunbury Community Hospital, served Sunbury and surrounding communities well for decades. We all knew it could continue to be an asset for the region, but it was going to take a unique approach to find new, innovative uses for this complex.  Given its experience in revitalizing potential economic development sites, DRIVE seemed like the perfect choice for UPMC,” said Sen. Gordner.  

“I, along with Rep. Culver, were pleased to work with Steve and the team at UPMC as well as DRIVE to make this announcement today.  It allows the flexibility that is needed to make sure that the hospital and surrounding properties do not become eyesores, but find a new purpose to benefit the community,” said Sen. Gordner.

“Projects like Sunbury Hospital are a key component of DRIVE’s mission,” said Executive Director Jennifer Wakeman. “Assembling a team of partners, as we did here, to breathe new life into buildings like these is at the core of DRIVE’s identity. This is who we are. It’s what we do.”


“While it was difficult to see the hospital close, we’re grateful that UPMC recognized the value of this property to our community,” said Rep. Culver. “With DRIVE taking ownership, working with partners in Sunbury and Northumberland County, it means that whatever new businesses or services locate here, they are ones that continue to support the needs of the community.” 

DRIVE has already fielded numerous inquiries from companies interested in all or part of the 20 parcels of land, totaling approximately 12 acres, that comprise this complex. “It seems unlikely that a single entity will want the entire hospital or all of its surrounding properties,” said Wakeman. “We’re open to leasing or selling portions of it if that’s what it takes.  Our goal is for this facility to continue to be an asset for the City of Sunbury and Northumberland County.”


Contacts:        Joshua Funk (Sen. Gordner) –

                        Scott Little (Rep. Culver) –

                        Tyler Wagner (UPMC) –

About UPMC

A $24 billion health care provider and insurer, Pittsburgh-based UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centered, cost-effective, accountable care. The largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates 92,000 employees, 40 hospitals, 800 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a 4.1 million-member Insurance Services Division, the largest medical insurer in western Pennsylvania. In the most recent fiscal year, UPMC contributed $1.7 billion in benefits to its communities, including more care to the region’s most vulnerable citizens than any other health care institution, and paid more than $900 million in federal, state and local taxes. Working in close collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC shares its clinical, managerial and technological skills worldwide through its innovation and commercialization arm, UPMC Enterprises, and through UPMC International. U.S. News consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside among the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. For more information, go to

About Drive

DRIVE is an economic development council of governments serving Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, and Union Counties. Established in 2015, DRIVE provides professional staff for project development, business retention and expansion, and site selection services. It also serves as a forum for communication and coordination of economic development activity among its member counties.

State Legislators to Make Major Announcement Regarding the former UPMC Sunbury Campus

WHAT:     State Sen. John Gordner (R-27) and Rep. Lynda Culver (R-108) are hosting a news conference to make a major announcement related to the former UPMC Sunbury campus. The hospital officially closed in March 2020.

WHO:       Gordner and Culver will be joined by representatives from UPMC along with other dignitaries and invited guests.

WHEN:     Thursday, May 26 at 1 p.m.

WHERE:  350 N. 11th St., Sunbury (the former site of the hospital). News conference will be held outside the emergency room entrance. 

Media contact: Scott Little, 717.260.6137,

Northumberland County Receives State Grant for Herndon Area Project

(HARRISBURG) – Northumberland County, in coordination with SEDA-Council of Governments, has been awarded a Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $1,518,812 through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27) and Representative Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-108). 

Specifically, the grant will assist the Herndon Borough Jackson Township Joint Municipal Authority to upgrade its water system.  The project calls for replacing 9,400 lineal feet of antiquated cast iron water main along Route 147.  This will allow the 213 users along the section to avoid the service interruptions that have plagued them, due to the age of the current lines.  It will also allow the water main to withstand the roadwork along Route 147 that is scheduled in 2024.

“I am pleased that Governor Tom Wolf and DCED have chosen to award this essential grant to Northumberland County,” said Senator Gordner.  “These funds will help to address a critical issue with the water supply for the residents in the affected area.”

“I want to recognize SEDA-COG and, specifically, Program Specialist Linda Sterling, for their efforts to support this important project,” said Representative Culver.  “The residents of Herndon and the immediate area will greatly benefit from it upon completion.”

CDBG grants are awarded through DCED for community facilities and infrastructure improvement projects. 

CONTACT:  Mike Stephens


Media Advisory: Silk Mill Announcement

(HARRISBURG) –   There will be a special announcement at 3:30pm on Friday, April 22, 2022.  The event will be held at the Sunbury Textile Mill, 1150 Walnut Street Extension, Sunbury.

Senator John R. Gordner (R-27), Representative Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-108) and other dignitaries will be in attendance.

For media inquiries, please contact Mike Stephens at

Media Advisory: Selinsgrove Announcement

(HARRISBURG) –   There will be a special announcement at 2:30pm on Friday, April 22, 2022.  The event will be held at the Regional Engagement Center, 429 8th Street, Selinsgrove.

Senator John R. Gordner (R-27) and other dignitaries will be in attendance.

For media inquiries, please contact Mike Stephens at