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Cong. Barletta, Sen. Yudichak announce third gang awareness series event

Published April 24. 2012 05:01PM

Congressman Lou Barletta, R-11, and state Sen. John Yudichak, D-14, have announced the third event in a five-part series of community discussions to help combat increasing gang activity in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The two lawmakers are sponsoring "Combating Gang Activity in Our Communities: Community Action Plan" at 6 p.m., on Thursday, May 3, in the Educational Conference Center at Luzerne County Community College. The event is open to the public.

More than 500 people have attended the first two events in the series that follows the release of a major study from the Department of Justice on the growing problem of gangs in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The first event last June at the Penn State Hazleton Campus centered on what members of the community can do to help law enforcement battle gang activity. In February at King's College the discussion was about how to combat gang activity in area schools.

"Public involvement at all levels is critical in fighting the influence gangs have on our communities, our schools, and our children. We need to get people involved in the fight against gangs, from civic and church groups to school boards and parents. By working together, we can make Northeastern Pennsylvania a tough place for gangs to operate," said Barletta.

"We want to continue the important community discussions that have been a part of each of our events to find the most effective methods to combat gang activity in our communities. These discussions are crucial for building the foundation for a comprehensive community action plan," added Yudichak.

The evening will feature a presentation from D. Darell Dones, supervisory special agent of the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI and a nationally renowned gang expert. It will also include a discussion with panelists: Carmen Ambrosino, CEO of Wyoming Valley Alcohol and Drug Services, Arthur Breese, director of diversity at Geisinger Health Systems, Bill Browning, director of Lackawanna County Children and Youth, Angel Jirau, Community Leader, Detective Chris Orozco of the Hazleton Police Department who started the city's Gang Task Force,Tricia Thomas, executive director of Boys and Girls Club of NEPA and Theresa Tyler-Smith, New Covenant Fellowship Church.

The moderator for the discussion will be Andy Mehalshick of WBRE-TV.

Audience members will also be able to ask questions and offer suggestions on what steps they can take in their community to help reduce gang activity.

For more information, contact Barletta's office toll-free at 1-855-241-5144 or Yudichak's Office at 570-883-4690.

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