Wolf admin announces $10K grants for farmer-veteran startups | Five for the Weekend

The $200K in funding for the program comes from the Pa. Farm Bill 

By: - September 10, 2022 6:30 am

A farmer plants corn into a cover crop of barley. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service/The Missouri Independent).

The Wolf administration announced this week that it’s offering grants of up to $10,000 to support the start-up or expansion needs of Pennsylvania’s farmer-veterans.

The total of $200,000 in grant money comes courtesy of the Pennsylvania Farm Bill, a $13.6 million funding package that was reauthorized for a fourth time in this year’s state budget.

The program is “designed to recognize the great commitment of Pennsylvania’s farmer-veterans: to love and defend their country and also to serve humanity by growing the food that we all need to survive,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement. ” … It’s a ‘thank you’ for their service and a commitment to better serving their needs as they serve ours.”

The grant money will be administered through two veterans’ service organizationsGreenforge, Inc., in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, and the Community Action Partnership in Butler County, according to the administration.

“We have worked hard to ensure that everyone who wants to be a part of agriculture has the opportunity to contribute without barriers,” state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said in a statement. “These grants are a down payment on the success of farmer-veterans in the industry, for the success of Pennsylvania.”

Citing federal data, the commonwealth is home to more than 7,000 veterans who identify as “agricultural producers,” the administration said.

As always, the top five most-read stories of the week start below. 

Supporters of former President Donald Trump have threatened violence against the FBI after the law enforcement agency executed a search warrant at the former president’s residence in Florida (Getty Images).

1. Trump isn’t going to jail. And that’s good news for Democrats | Bruce Ledewitz

Democrats are aware that the search of former President Donald Trump’s home by the FBI hurt the Party politically. This Aug. 17 headline from The New York Times, referencing the Inflation Reduction Act, says it all: President Takes a Bow, but Spotlight Stays on His Predecessor.

Yet, even with this knowledge, 88 percent of Democrats want Trump charged for fomenting the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Slightly over half of Democrats think he will be.

Undoubtedly, Democrats are also hoping that state criminal investigations into financial improprieties and election interference will lead to prosecutions.

And now there is concrete evidence from the search of his home that Trump broke the law by possessing “top secret” documents. Since no one is above the law, surely now there must be a criminal case.

Well, the politically good news for Democrats is that no criminal prosecution is likely in any of these areas. There is no indication that the Justice Department is preparing a treason case against Trump, the evidence of election interference in Georgia is ambiguous—he was complaining about “illegal” voting, after all—financial cases are notoriously difficult to bring and the classified documents charge is actually legally dubious.

Donald Trump is not going to jail, which improves the chances that Democrats will retain majority control of Congress and the presidency.

President Biden meets rally attendees Tuesday at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre.
President Joe Biden meets rally attendees on Tuesday 8/30/22 at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (Capital-Star photo by Patrick Abdalla).

2. Biden touts public safety policy in visit to Wilkes-Barre

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. —  President Joe Biden knocked defenders of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol while touting his recent public safety policy wins in a visit to Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday.

“You can’t be pro-law enforcement and pro-insurrection,” Biden said.

The president also referenced the FBI search at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago residence in Florida, which has led to threats against the agency.

“Now it’s sickening to see the new attacks on the FBI,” Biden said, “Threatening the life of law enforcement agents and their families for simply carrying out the law and doing their job.”

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, attends the Senate Education Committee Hearing held at the Pennsylvania Capitol on May 24, 2022 in Harrisburg, Pa. (Photo by Amanda Berg, for the Capital-Star).
State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, attends the Senate Education Committee Hearing held at the Pennsylvania Capitol on May 24, 2022 in Harrisburg, Pa. (Photo by Amanda Berg for the Capital-Star).

3. Republican endorsements of Shapiro could give conservatives cover to reject Mastriano, analysts say

Since July, more than a dozen prominent Republicans, including two former congressmen, and a former secretary of homeland security, have crossed partisan lines to endorse Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro.

Implicit in their approval of Shapiro’s experience as a legislator and attorney general, policy positions and bipartisan accomplishments is a repudiation of Republican nominee Doug Mastriano, who surprised party leaders with a commanding victory in the crowded May primary.

Mastriano, a state senator from south-central Pennsylvania, is campaigning on a far-right platform that includes further restricting abortion access, cutting public school funding, and the promotion of conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Present at the U.S. Capitol during the attempted insurrection in January 2021, Mastriano has since been identified as a key player in the conspiracy to throw out the 2020 presidential election results by presenting an alternative slate of electors to Congress.

“All that adds up to someone who is prepared to undermine democratic choice to get what he wants,” said former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, under President George W. Bush, who is one of 16 former Republican officials from county to national levels to endorse Shapiro. “This is someone who shows an antipathy to the core values of the country and undermines democracy.”

© jd-photodesign – Stock.Adobe.com

4. Happy Labor Day, Pa. Here are five things to know about the holiday | Monday Morning Coffee

Today is Labor Day in Pennsylvania and nationwide. It’s a time to gather with family and friends to mark the end of summer, to honor and celebrate the contributions of the America worker and labor movement, and … because ‘Murica … a time for markdowns and sales.

But who created the holiday? And when did we first start celebrating it? Excellent questions. Glad you asked. Below, some answers, courtesy of the good folks at the National Constitution Center.

1. So when did it start, anyway? Back in 1882, labor leaders in New York decided to throw a parade to celebrate their members being in unions and to show support for all unions, according to a history posted to the National Constitution Center’s website. At least 20,000 people attended, and workers had to give up a day’s pay to attend. Thus, it’s probably understandable that (and setting the stage for future Labor Day bashes) much, much beer was consumed. Other regions of the country soon followed New York’s lead, and by 1887, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Colorado had made Labor Day a state holiday, according to the history.

In this aerial view, a destroyed apartment building is seen next to an area of heavily damaged houses on April 21, 2022 in Borodianka, Ukraine. (Photo by Alexey Furman/Getty Images)
In this aerial view, a destroyed apartment building is seen next to an area of heavily damaged houses on April 21, 2022 in Borodianka, Ukraine. (Photo by Alexey Furman/Getty Images)

5. With counter-offensive, a change of momentum in Ukraine | Opinion

On Aug. 29, Ukraine launched a counter-offensive against Russian forces in and around the city of Kherson. Reports of Ukrainian forces breaking through front lines have already appeared, and it appears that Russia forces west of the Dnieper River are vulnerable given Ukraine’s attacks on Dnieper River bridges.

Roughly six months ago, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began; now Ukraine, a nation whose capital city was once under fire, is initiating an operation to take back Russian occupied cities. Such a shift in momentum begs the question, what went right for Ukraine and so very wrong for Russia?

Before the invasion, there was a consensus among foreign affairs and military experts that it would take a miracle for Ukraine to defend and defeat Russia’s forces. Instead, the course of the conflict has validated U.S. Army mission command doctrine. Under the extraordinary leadership of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine has adopted a philosophy of decentralized execution and distributed leadership. National level control of information, air assets, and conventional military forces has been reinforced by local militia-like forces that, by defending their local towns, are also defending the independence of Ukraine.

The support of Ukraine’s allies, led by the United States, in providing advanced weaponry has put Russian forces at risk anywhere in Ukraine and damaged the logistics that are essential in modern combined arms warfare.

And that’s the week. See you all back here on Monday.

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.

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