Public Input Needed to Finalize the State Plan for Independent Living

Todd Fabrizi - Monday, March 22, 2010
Below is a link for the schedule for the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) Hearings scheduled in Philadelphia, Erie and Harrisburg. Please pass along this information, we would like to receive as much feedback as possible on the draft of the new SPIL.

Click HERE for the schedule.

Bay City Thunder & Lightning

Todd Fabrizi - Tuesday, March 16, 2010
It was good to see that some CRI employes made it out to the games this past weekend. The team thanks you!

The Bay City Thunder & Lightning has a Conference Tournament coming-up this weekend, March 20 - 21. The Tournament will be held in Wooster, Ohio.

2009-2010 MAC Conference Tournament
Game Date Time Location Home Away
#1 03/20 11 AM Cornerstone Gym Cleveland Wheelchair Cavaliers Bay City Thunder & Lightning
#2 03/20 11 AM Grace Church Western NY Wheels Lafayette
#3 03/20 1 PM Cornerstone Gym Pittsburgh SteelWheelers Winner of Game #1
#4 03/20 1 PM Grace Church Winner of Game #2 Moraine
#5 03/20 3 PM Grace Church Loser of Game #1 Loser of Game #4
#6 03/20 3 PM Cornerstone Gym Loser of Game #2 Loser of Game #3
#7 03/20 5 PM Cornerstone Gym Winner of Game #3 Winner of Game #4
#8 03/20 5 PM Grace Church Winner of Game #5 Winner of Game #6
#9 03/20 7 PM Grace Church Winner of Game #8 Loser of Game #7
#10 03/20 7 PM Cornerstone Gym Loser of Game #5 Loser of Game #6
#11 03/21 11 AM Cornerstone Gym Loser of Game #8 Loser of Game #9
#12 03/21 11 AM Cornerstone Gym Winner of Game #7 Winner of Game #9

For those of you who want to show your support and make the trip to cheer-on the Thunder & Lightning, the addresses are below:

Cornerstone Gym
101 West Bowman Street
Wooster 44691

Wooster Christian (Grace Church)
4599 Burbank Road #B
Wooster 44691

View our Web page for more details

King Family Benefit

Todd Fabrizi - Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Sunday March 21st at Rainbow Gardens, beginning at 1:00 PM, is the King Family benefit that CRI has been working so hard in collaboration with Ameridrives and The Wattsburg School District to try and make a success. If you are unfamiliar with this family in need, please look at their Web site, www.kingsfight.com, in which you will find their courageous story and information/details on the benefit.

Event tickets are only $10.00 and that includes food, drink, the chance to win prizes, live entertainment by the M80's & Loose Change, and more.

Purchase Tickets at

Ameridrives International Couplings

1802 Pittsburgh Avenue

Community Resources For Independence

3410 West 12th Street

Wattsburg School District Administration Building

10782 Wattsburg Road

Rainbow Gardens (The Day Of The Event)

Waldameer Amusement Park


The friends of the King family need your help. They are collecting donations for this fundraising event to cover the cost of medical treatments. They need major items, as well as, smaller items. Please help them by offering hope and support to this family by your generous donations. For drop off or pick up information call 814-480-5068.

Wheelchair Basketball Tournament

Todd Fabrizi - Wednesday, February 24, 2010
CRI's Wheelchair Basketball team, the Bay City Thunder & Lightning, will be competing in the EUP Tournament. This tournament will be held at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania from Saturday, March 13, 2010 to Sunday, March 14, 2010.

Saturday, March 13, 2010
9:00 AM Bay City Thunder & Lightning vs. Edinboro University Fighting Scots
11:00 AM Cleveland Wheelchair Cavaliers vs. Pittsburgh SteelWheelers
1:00 PM Pittsburgh SteelWheelers vs. Bay City Thunder & Lightning
3:00 PM Cleveland Wheelchair Cavaliers vs. Edinboro University Fighting Scots
5:00 PM Edinboro University Fighting Scots vs. Pittsburgh SteelWheelers

Sunday, March 14, 2010
9:00 AM Edinboro University Fighting Scots vs. Cleveland Wheelchair Cavaliers
11:00 AM Cleveland Wheelchair Cavaliers vs. Bay City Thunder & Lightning

Come watch the team and show your support!

Efficient Management Allows Expansion of Home Heating Program for Low-Income Families

Todd Fabrizi - Wednesday, January 06, 2010
News for Immediate Release

Jan. 5, 2010

Governor Rendell: Efficient Management Allows Expansion of Home Heating Program for Low-Income Families

Harrisburg - Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced significant changes to Pennsylvania's Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program - better known as LIHEAP -- that will help keep low-income families warm this winter.

The federally-funded LIHEAP helps income-eligible households pay for heat during the winter months and is administered by the Department of Public Welfare.

"As a result of smart policy decisions and efficient management of LIHEAP resources, we are able to increase cash grant amounts by $100 and extend the program through April 2," said Governor Rendell. "These steps will help to ensure Pennsylvania families can stay safe and warm during the cold winter months.

"These changes will bring needed relief for the many families who continue to struggle to make ends meet," added Governor Rendell. "Should the federal government release additional contingency funds as it has done in previous years, Pennsylvania would be positioned to increase grant amounts to vulnerable households - those over 60, with a disability or with children aged five and under.

"We estimate that by extending the LIHEAP closing date from March 15 to April 2, an additional 80,000 households will receive help paying for their heat," the Governor added.

This year, all LIHEAP applications are run through a new computer system which includes more eligibility checks. As a result, the opportunity for fraud or abuse of the system has been significantly reduced.

DPW expects to assist approximately 600,000 families with cash grants during the 2009-2010 program year. As a result of the Governor's announcement, cash grants for the current season are expected to average $326.

DPW expects to provide LIHEAP crisis grants to 126,000 households this season. Crisis grants are offered to resolve heating emergencies, such as furnace failures or unexpected fuel shortages. In addition to proof of income and household size, applicants must provide a recent bill or a statement from their fuel dealer verifying their customer status and the type of fuel that they use.

Applications are available at county assistance offices, local utility companies and community service agencies, such as Area Agencies on Aging or community action agencies. Applications for LIHEAP cash grants are available online at www.compass.state.pa.us<http://www.compass.state.pa.us/>.

Residents of the counties listed below are encouraged to contact the agencies that operate the crisis component in their areas:

* Allegheny - Allegheny County Department of Human Services, (800) 851-3838;
* Carbon - Carbon County Action Committee, (610) 377-6400
* Centre - Central PA Community Action Agency, (814) 765-1551 or Millheim Family Service Center, (814) 349-5850 or (800) 822-2610;

* Lackawanna - Scranton-Lackawanna Human Development Agency, (570) 963-6836;
* Lancaster - Community Action Program of Lancaster County, (800) 732-0018;
* Luzerne - Commission on Economic Opportunity of Luzerne County, (800) 822-0359
* Wyoming - Commission on Economic Opportunity of Wyoming Co., (570) 836-4090

To ensure they have adequate resources to heat their homes the entire winter, LIHEAP consumers are urged to keep their thermostats at 65 degrees - unless they have young children or older adults living in the home. Visit www.turnsealsave.org<http://www.turnsealsave.org/> to learn about available assistance programs, energy conservation and home weatherization tips.

Media contacts:

Stacey Witalec, DPW; 717-787-4592

Gary Tuma, Governor's Office; 717-783-1116

Editor's Note: Household sizes and income limits for LIHEAP's 2009-10 season are listed below.

1 -- $16,245

2 -- $21,855

3 -- $27,465

4 -- $33,075

5 -- $38,685

6 -- $44,295

7 -- $49,905

8 -- $55,515

(For each additional person add $5,610).

Wheelchair Basketball Games

Todd Fabrizi - Tuesday, December 08, 2009
CRI's very own Wheelchair Basketball team, the Bay City Thunder & Lightning will be playing two games against the Rochester Wheels on Saturday, December 19th at 12:00 PM. The games will be held at the Waterford Elementary School; 323 Cherry Street, Waterford, PA 16441.

The athleticism that is displayed is one of kind, if you haven't seen a wheelchair basketball game, you don't know what you are missing!

Come Support Our Team! Come Support CRI!

Wheelchair Basketball Tournament

Todd Fabrizi - Tuesday, November 24, 2009
CRI's Wheelchair Basketball team, the Bay City Thunder & Lightning, will be competing in the 3rd Annual Rock and Roll Shootout. This tournament will be held at Kent State University from Friday, December 11, 2009 to Sunday, December 13, 2009. Check out our Schedule.

The other teams that are competing in this tournament are: Cleveland Wheelchair Cavaliers, Pittsburgh Steelwheelers, Waukesha Thunder, Hill on Wheels, Moraine Minutemen, Detroit Diehards, Forest City Flyers, Western NY Wheels, and Kentwood Rollers.

Come watch the team and show your support!

*** Schedule and event details are subject to change.

LIHEAP Update

Todd Fabrizi - Friday, October 30, 2009

News for Immediate Release


Oct. 29, 2009

Pennsylvania’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program to Open on Nov. 2
Crisis program will open Jan. 4, 2010

Harrisburg – The federally-funded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP, will accept applications for cash grants starting Nov. 2, Secretary of Public Welfare Estelle B. Richman today reminded Pennsylvanians.

LIHEAP provides cash grants to help low-income households pay for home heating fuel. A crisis grant component to address heating emergencies will open Jan. 4, 2010.

“As many Pennsylvanians continue to struggle as a result of the economic downturn, the opening of the LIHEAP program will bring relief when families need it the most,” said Secretary Richman. “We encourage families to learn about the program so they can stay warm and safe throughout the coldest months of the year.”

During the 2008-09 LIHEAP season, approximately 547,000 families were helped through cash grants and more than 202,000 families received crisis assistance.

Cash grants are based on income, family size, type of heating fuel and region. Crisis grants are provided to resolve heating emergencies or unexpected fuel shortages. In addition to proof of income, residency, citizenship, birth dates and Social Security Numbers for all household members, applicants must provide a recent bill or a statement from their fuel dealer verifying their customer status and the type of fuel that they use.

When the program opens, applications will be available at county assistance offices, local utility companies and community service agencies, such as Area Agencies on Aging or community action agencies. Applications for LIHEAP cash grants will also be available online at www.compass.state.pa.us. Applicants may also call 1-866-857-7095.

Residents of the counties listed below should contact the agencies that operate the crisis component in their areas:
• Allegheny - Allegheny County Department of Human Services, (800) 851-3838;
• Carbon - Carbon County Action Committee, (610) 377-6400
• Centre - Central PA Community Action Agency, (814) 765-1551 or Millheim Family Service Center, (814) 349-5850 or (800) 822-2610;
• Lackawanna - Scranton-Lackawanna Human Development Agency, (570) 963-6836;
• Lancaster - Community Action Program of Lancaster County, (800) 732-0018;
• Luzerne - Commission on Economic Opportunity of Luzerne County, (800) 822-0359
• Wyoming - Commission on Economic Opportunity of Wyoming Co., (570) 836-4090
To ensure they have the resources to heat their homes the entire winter, LIHEAP consumers are urged to keep their thermostats at 65 degrees – unless they have young children or older adults living in the home. Visit www.turnsealsave.org to learn about available assistance programs, energy conservation and home weatherization tips.
Media contact:
Stacey Witalec, 717-787-4592
Editor’s Note: Household sizes and income limits for LIHEAP’s 2009-10 season are listed below.
1 -- $16,245
2 -- $21,855
3 -- $27,465
4 -- $33,075
5 -- $38,685
6 -- $44,295
7 -- $49,905
8 -- $55,515
(For each additional person add $5,610).


Information provided by:
MEDIA in Pennsylvania

PUC Urges Electric, Natural Gas Utilities to Help Consumers ‘Prepare Now’

Heather Smith - Tuesday, October 20, 2009
October 20, 2009

HARRISBURG –The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today urged electric and natural gas utilities to take extra steps to help consumers “Prepare Now” for winter heating costs.

A letter, which was signed by all five PUC Commissioners, was sent to electric and natural gas utilities under the PUC’s jurisdiction asking the utilities to join the PUC in reaching out and educating consumers. The letter contained specific suggestions as to how the utilities can help. The utilities are asked to inform PUC Chairman James H. Cawley of any of the suggested actions they implement.

The Commission’s focus for the seventh year of its “Prepare Now” outreach campaign is increasing consumer awareness on rising energy prices; exploring ways to reduce energy usage; educating consumers about the availability of low-income programs; and increasing awareness for safe home heating.

“Winter months and winter heating bills are approaching,” the letter said. “As a result of the nation’s economic status, we are entering the winter months with natural gas prices significantly lower than last year. However, the economic conditions continue to put many families in difficult financial positions. The lower natural gas prices provide little comfort for struggling families who are facing the routine costs of winter energy bills.”

The letter encourages consumers on limited or fixed incomes to call their utility about programs to help heat their homes or pay their energy bills such as Customer Assistance Programs (CAPs) and Low Income Usage Reduction Programs (LIURP).  It also appeals to the companies to increase efforts to educate consumers with limited or fixed incomes about special programs such as Customer Assistance Programs (CAPs) and Low Income Usage Reduction Programs (LIURP), which assist consumers in paying their energy bills and controlling their energy usage. 

The PUC’s message is simple: “Prepare Now” for higher energy costs this winter.  Learn about changes in the law related to utility shut-offs and know your rights.  Save money by learning how to conserve energy.  Heat your home safely.  Explore budget billing options. Look into programs that help low-income customers restore and maintain service. Visit www.puc.state.pa.us and click on "Prepare Now" or call the PUC at 1-800-692-7380. The PUC also is actively participating in Gov. Rendell’s third annual Stay Warm PA campaign – “Turn Down. Seal Off. Save Up.” Visit www.turnsealsave.org for more information.

The PUC has consumer outreach specialists who provide utility education and assistance to consumers. This team of consumer education specialists reaches out to consumers by traveling throughout the state conducting or participating in workshop events, free seminars, roundtable discussions and community fairs.

During those events, plain language materials and literature designed to educate consumers about assistance programs and their rights are handed out. Materials include information on consumer rights in dealing with terminations and reconnections, available low-income programs and tips on how to “Prepare Now” for winter. For more information on hosting a PUC consumer outreach specialist at a community event, please call 717-787-5722.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protect the public interest; educate consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; further economic development; and foster new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner. For recent news releases, audio of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at www.puc.state.pa.us.



Information provided by:

http://www.puc.state.pa.us/general/press_releases/press_releases.aspx?ShowPR=2367

 

LIHEAP Update

Todd Fabrizi - Monday, October 19, 2009
This year the State is proposing to significantly cut the program - LIHEAP the low income home energy assistance program-- that helps seniors and low and moderate income families pay their heating bills.

This is not a state budget issue. All of the money, including the overhead for the program, comes from the federal government in a block grant. Last year the Federal Government allocated 1.7 billion for LIHEAP – this year it is almost 30% more—2.41 billion. While the ultimate amount Pennsylvania will receive is not yet set, we will at the very least get more than last year’s 142 million. This chart shows just how bad the proposed plan will be if adopted:



In past years, both programs opened on the first business day in November and closed in early to late April. Families who were shut off could use both programs to have their service restored. And families that developed problems during the winter could apply for both programs.

This year only LIHEAP will open and not until December 1st, after the beginning of the heating season. And only the LIHEAP part will be open. This is a devastating change because in the past families could apply for LIHEAP and LIHEAP Crisis at the same time and could use the grants to restore service before winter began.

If the proposal is allowed to be adopted as proposed the following will happen:

  • Thousands of families will not have the money they need to get their utility service re connected before the start of the heating system.
  • Many of the newly unemployed, not familiar with the LIHEAP program will miss the early deadlines and shortened application period and not receive the help to which they are entitled.
  • The reduced benefits will leave 10’s of thousands of families without enough help, leading to spring shut offs.
  • Because thousands of seniors and families will not be able to pay their bills because of the lower grants, utilities will attempt to raise rates


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