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KEEP PA BEAUTIFUL ANNOUNCES 2017 GREAT AMERICAN CLEANUP, REGISTER AND RECEIVE FREE CLEANUP SUPPLIES
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is encouraging all Pennsylvanians to join their fellow Americans for the Great American Cleanup, scheduled for March 1 through May 31. You can participate in the 2017 Great American Cleanup of PA by picking up litter and trash along roadsides, streams, beaches, parks, forests and neighborhoods. Additional events include holding recycling events for hard-to-dispose-of items like tires and appliances, creating or enhancing green areas by planting trees, bulbs, and plants, removing or painting over graffiti that devalues your neighborhood, and sponsoring other activities that help beautify your community. During the Great American Cleanup of PA, registered events can get free cleanup supplies such as bags, gloves and vests donated by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Keep America Beautiful. Additionally, during the Pick It Up PA Days, which is from April 18 to May 8 and sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association, and participating landfills, registered events have access to reduced or free disposal. Community and civic associations, schools and youth groups, families and friends, business employees, hunting and fishing clubs, conservation organizations, sports teams, and others can organize their members and participate in the Great American Cleanup of PA. To register your event and take advantage of the free cleanup supplies, visit www.gacofpa.org/ or www.facebook.com/keeppabeautiful/, or call the Great American Cleanup of PA Hotline at (877) 772-3673, ext. 113.

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FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR CREATIVE PLACEMAKING PROJECTS
Artplace America is accepting applications for the National Creative Placemaking Fund, which has $9.5 million available for projects that work with artists and arts organizations to build stronger, healthier communities anywhere in the United States. The application deadline is February 22. For more information and an application, visit http://www.artplaceamerica.org/our-work/national-creative-placemaking-fund/introduction.

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USDA ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR RURAL BROADBAND ACCESS LOANS AND COMMUNITY CONNECT GRANTS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service is accepting applications for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 for the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee program and Community Connect Grant Program. The Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee program supports the construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities and equipment to provide broadband service for rural areas. Applications will be accepting starting March1 through March 31. A second application round will be held in September. For more information, visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/farm-bill-broadband-loans-loan-guarantees. Community Connect grants support broadband service to all premises in currently unserved, lower-income, and extremely rural areas, with priority for places that demonstrate the greatest need for broadband. The application deadline is March 13. For more information, visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/community-connect-grants.

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DRUG-FREE COMMUNITIES SUPPORT GRANTS AVAILABLE
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is accepting applications for the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program. The program offers grants for collaborative efforts to reduce substance use among youth and, over time, reduce substance abuse among adults by addressing the factors in a community that relate to the risk of substance abuse. The application deadline is March 15. For more information, visit https://www.samhsa.gov/grants/grant-announcements/sp-17-001.

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SIGNATURE EMPLOYMENT GRANTS TO SUPPORT PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
The Kessler Foundation is offering grants ranging from $100,000 to $250,000 per year for up to 2 years to fund pilot initiatives, demonstration projects, or social ventures that lead to the generation of new ideas to solve the high unemployment and underemployment of individuals with disabilities. Preference is given to interventions that overcome specific employment barriers related to long-term dependence on public assistance or advance competitive employment in a cost-effective manner. Although proposals can be submitted from any state, this year the Foundation has prioritized serving Americans with disabilities that live in rural states and other areas with more limited service delivery. Nonprofit organizations, public or private schools, and public institutions, such as universities and government agencies based in the United States or any of its territories are eligible to apply. The deadline to apply is March 17. For more information, visit http://kesslerfoundation.org/grantprograms/signatureemploymentgrants.php.

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USDA ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR FARMERS MARKET PROMOTION, LOCAL FOOD PROMOTION PROGRAMS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for the Farmers Market Promotion Program and the Local Food Promotion Program to fund innovative projects designed to strengthen market opportunities for local and regional food producers and businesses. The application deadline for both programs is March 27. For more information on the Farmers Market Promotion Program, visit https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/fmpp. For more information on the Local Food Promotion Program, visit https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/lfpp.

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PDE OFFERING FREE FARM TO SCHOOL TRAINING SESSIONS IN FEBRUARY
The Pennsylvania Department of Education, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and Penn State University are offering free "Farm to School: Making the Connection" training sessions. Five half-day, regional sessions will be offered in February. These sessions are designed to bring together school food service directors as well as sponsors of Summer Food Service Programs and Child and Adult Care Food Programs with farmers and distributors who are able to provide local food for school, summer food service, and child care food programs. There is no registration fee for these sessions. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration will close when site capacity is reached or one week prior to each session, whichever comes first. The session will be held: February 9, State College; February 14, New Kensington; February 16, Lancaster; February 21, Harrisburg; and February 23, Malvern. For more information, visit http://www.projectpa.org/ppa-v3/index.php/about-locations.

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PA RURAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION RELEASES STATUS CHECK VI
The Pennsylvania Rural Health Association has released the report, Status Check VI, which highlights the health care challenges and opportunities present in rural Pennsylvania and provides policymakers with a guide to develop meaningful and informed policy. Key focus areas in the report include rural emergency services, the rural elderly, migrant farm worker health needs, oral health issues, telehealth services, behavioral health, and more. For a copy of Status Check VI, visit www.paruralhealth.org.

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HUNTERS SHARING THE HARVEST CELEBRATES 25TH ANNIVERSARY, 1 MILLION POUNDS OF DONATED VENISON
Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) recently celebrated the donation of its one-millionth pound of venison at the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. For 25 years, the statewide program has worked to distribute donated venison to food banks and food assistance centers. Hunters Sharing the Harvest is a non-profit that coordinates the processing and distribution of donated deer meat throughout the state for families at risk of hunger. The program has become a nationally-recognized model, with many other states adopting similar efforts. In an average hunting season, the program’s goal is to channel about 100,000 pounds of processed venison annually through the state’s 20 regional food banks, which then re-distribute the protein source to more than 5,000 local provider charities, such as food pantries, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters. The donations help to provide the equivalent of more than 500,000 meals annually to feed the nearly 1.8 million Pennsylvanians – or 1 out of every 7 residents – who are considered to be food insecure. Over the years, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) has provided funding through the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to help defray the costs of processing donated venison. Because of a significant increase in the number of deer donated to HSH over the past two hunting seasons, HSH has maxed out its allocation of TEFAP administrative funds, which were increased from $100,000 to $125,000 prior to the 2013-14 hunting season. In response to the need for more funding to cover processing costs for the 2016-2017 hunting season, PDA will increase the administrative funding cap. For more information on Hunters Sharing the Harvest, visit www.sharedeer.org. For more information on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, visit www.agriculture.pa.gov.

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STATE WORKGROUP RELEASES REPORT ON OPIOID OVERDOSE PREVENTION IN PENNSYLVANIA
The Pennsylvania State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup, a state substance abuse prevention initiative funded through the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, has released the report, Confronting an Epidemic: Opioid Overdose Prevention in Pennsylvania. The report is available on the Drexel Dornsife School of Public Health October News and Events page at http://drexel.edu/dornsife/news/latest-news/2016/October/PA-Opioid-Prevention-Data-Brief/.

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RURAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT GRANTS AVAILABLE
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is offering grants through the Rural Business Development Grant Program to rural public entities to support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses that have fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenues in rural areas. For more information, contact the Pennsylvania USDA Rural Development office at (717) 237-2299 or visit www.rd.usda.gov/pa.

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PA INSURANCE DEPARTMENT UNVEILS ONE-STOP SHOP FOR FLOOD COVERAGE INFORMATION
The Pennsylvania Insurance Department has created a new webpage at www.insurance.pa.gov to provide a one-stop shop for information on flood insurance available to Pennsylvania homeowners and renters. Users should click on “Flood” under Top Pages. The webpage has flood insurance links for surplus lines insurers selling coverage in Pennsylvania, as well as Pennsylvania licensed insurers selling flood insurance. Licensed insurers typically provide coverage for only a very limited market at this time. The page also has a link to the National Flood Insurance Program, which may remain the only option for high risk properties. The webpage also lists the type of coverage written by each licensed insurer. For example, some insurers only offer contents coverage for renters, while others offer coverage for both the dwelling and its contents, for homeowners.

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USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT 504 LOANS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development is accepting applications for the Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants Program, also known as the Section 504 Home Repair program. The program provides loans to very-low-income homeowners to repair, improve or modernize their homes or grants to elderly very-low-income homeowners to remove health and safety hazards. Applications are taken year-round. For more information, call the USDA Rural Development Pennsylvania Office at (717) 237-2186 or visit http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/single-family-housing-repair-loans-grants.

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USDA OFFERING FARM OWNERSHIP MICROLOANS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin offering farm ownership microloans, creating a new financing avenue for farmers to buy and improve property. These microloans will be especially helpful to beginning or underserved farmers, U.S. veterans looking for a career in farming, and those who have small and mid-sized farming operations. For more information, visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/farm-loan-programs/microloans/index.

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