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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Scarnati Working With DCNR on
Future of Denton Hill State Park

Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25) issued the following statement regarding the future of Denton Hill State Park:

“Denton Hill State Park is a tremendous asset to our area, providing outstanding recreational opportunities to local residents and visitors to our region. Operation of the park has long been a collaboration between the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and a local concessionaire through a Concession Lease Agreement.

“Unfortunately, the concessionaire has announced that Ski Denton is not financially able to open for the 2014-2015 ski season. I have been engaged in conversations with DCNR to determine opportunities moving forward that will provide for growth and promote year-round visitation at Denton Hill State Park.

“DCNR has recently agreed to conduct a feasibility study of ski operations and all-season operation of concessions at Denton Hill State Park. The park is an important part of our community and I will continue to work with DCNR to do all that we can to keep it open.”

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Car Swerves to Miss Elk, Lands in Ditch

A woman who swerved her car to avoid hitting some elk, ended up in a ditch.

Police say 31-year-old Jeannette Friday of Weedville was on Bennetts Valley Highway at 3 o’clock this morning when she looked down to light a cigarette. When she looked back up, the elk were in the road.

She was issued a citation.

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Accidental Shooting at Kinzua Bridge State Park

An accidental shooting has been reported at Kinzua Bridge State Park.

A landing zone for a trauma patient has been set up in the park’s overflow parking lot.

The incident happened at about 3:40 p.m.

We’ll have more information as it becomes available.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

School Bus Windows Shot

Windows from a number of school buses were shot and cracked over the weekend in Wetmore Township.

Police say the incident happened between 4 o’clock Friday afternoon and 5:30 Sunday afternoon while they were parked at 39 Old Smethport Road.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact Kane-based state police.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Jeep Hits Tree in Potter County

A driver was hurt when his Jeep went out of control on Route 44 near the Black Forest Inn in Potter County and hit a tree.

Police say 27-year-old Nathaniel Shirey of Jersey Shore was speeding when the Wrangler went out of control. He was thrown from the vehicle when it hit the tree, and suffered moderate injuries.

He was taken by ambulance to Jersey Shore Hospital, and was cited for driving at an unsafe speed.

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City of Bradford Police Log for 10/28/14

City of Bradford Police on Bradford investigated a fraud reported from Forman Street as well as motor vehicle accidents on Mill and Kennedy streets. They were called to a domestic incident on Bank Street and reports of harassment on School and Congress streets, Interstate Parkway and Lorana Avenue. Officers were also called about barking dogs on Walker Avenue and suspicious activity on Main Street.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

As Halloween Draws Near ...

You can find a list of trick-or-treating times and other Halloween activities on our community calendar at

You can also listen to some safety tips for your pets by going to, clicking on the "Local Programs" tab and scrolling down to today's LiveLine and "Halloween and Your Pets."

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Some Info Released on Fatal Route 255 Crash

Ridgway-based state police have released some information about this morning's fatal crash in Elk County, but have not released the names of the victims yet.

They say the crash happened at 10: 20 a.m. when a Kenworth T800 was traveling south on Route 255 (Million Dollar Highway) at the intersection with Laurel Lane when, for unknown reasons, it left its lane and went into the path of another Kenworth truck.

The driver of the first truck was flown to UPMC Mercy in Pittsburgh. The driver of the second truck was pronounced dead at the scene by the Elk County Coroner.

Police are continuing their investigation.

They were assisted by Fox Township Fire and EMS, St. Marys fire and EMS personnel, the Elk County Hazmat Unit and PennDOT.

Route 255 between Kersey and Old Kersey Road will be closed for several more hours so emergency crews can continue conducting an accident investigation. Motorists are asked to use alternate routes if they must travel that way.

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Eldred Man Charged With Burglary

An Eldred man is facing charges for a burglary in Port Allegany.

Geromia Schoonover is charged with felony burglary and misdemeanor counts of defiant trespass, criminal mischief/tampering with property, and disorderly conduct in connection to an incident Monday in the borough.

Schoonover is free on $5,000 unsecured bail and a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for November 6 in front of District Judge Bill Todd.

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Several In Court on Drug Charges

Several people appeared in Cattaraugus County Court on drugs charges, including a couple of people already in jail on similar charges.

33-year-old Demario Watkins of Buffalo, who is currently in jail, pleaded guilty to selling a controlled substance on December 19 in Salamanca. 24-year-old Bryant Battle of Olean, who is also in jail, sold a narcotic drug on April 18 in Olean. They are both scheduled for sentencing on January 5.

A heroin dealer has been sentenced to 2 years in state prison. 29-year-old Joseph Vavrecan of Olean sold the drug on February 1 in the Town of Hinsdale.

22-year-old Lawrence Smith of Buffalo will spend 4 months in jail and 5 years on probation for selling drugs on May 9 of last year in Olean.

And, 21-year-old Alexander Carpenter of Allegany has pleaded not guilty to selling drugs in Olean on April 26. His case has been adjourned for motions.

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Blues Traveler Coming to Salamanca

SALAMANCA, N.Y. – One of the most well-traveled acts of the “jam band” era will roll into Western New York, when Blues Traveler takes the stage at Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino on Friday, December 26.

Best known for their harmonica-laden melodies and rock ‘n roll undertones, Blues Traveler combined blues-rock and Southern rock to create a defining sound over the past 25 years. The band gained widespread fame in the mid-1990s, fueled by the Grammy Award-winning single “Run Around” and the follow-up smash hit “Hook.” The release of a new exciting and dramatically different album is scheduled for 2015.

Tickets for Blues Traveler start at $20, and go on sale Thursday, Oct. 30 at Noon. Tickets are available at select Seneca Resort & Casino retail outlets,, all Ticketmaster locations or by phone at 800-745-3000.

Other upcoming performances scheduled for Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino include comedian Bill Engvall (November 16, tickets start at $25), Southern rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd (November 29, tickets start at $41), and Lorrie Morgan – An Enchanted Christmas (December 3-7, tickets start at $10).

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Webinars Planned for Information on
Obtaining Health Insurance

On November 15, 2014, residents of Pennsylvania who are without health insurance will have the opportunity to enroll in a health care plan through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace.

Created under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Health Insurance Marketplace is a resource where individuals, families, and small businesses can learn about their health coverage options; compare health insurance plans based on costs, benefits, and other important features; choose a plan; and enroll in coverage.

The Marketplace also provides information on programs that help people with low to moderate income and resources pay for coverage. This includes ways to save on the monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs of coverage available through the Marketplace, and information about other programs, including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The Health Insurance Marketplace is a unique opportunity for previously uninsured consumers, small businesses, and others to shop for health insurance and compare plans at one location. The next enrollment period runs from November 15, 2104 to February 15, 2015, with coverage beginning as early as January 1, 2015.

To assist consumers in using the Health Insurance Marketplace, Penn State Extension and the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health have launched a website, “Health Insurance and You” ( designed to be a one-stop resource for information on the Marketplace, the benefits of health insurance, a county-by-county listing of “patient navigators,” and other resources. The website can be accessed at

The website provides extensive resources that are just a keystroke or phone call away for Pennsylvania shoppers who want to do their homework before deciding which policy to buy, according to consumer-issues specialist Cathy Bowen, professor of agricultural and extension education in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

"We have consolidated many of the key reliable resources for consumers in a no-frills format," she said, noting that most of the references are from the federal government and nonprofit agencies and are designed to provide unbiased information. Added Lisa Davis, director of the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health and outreach associate professor of health policy and administration at Penn State, “Those who are eligible to get their health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace need to have a good understanding of the basics of health insurance and how to apply for benefits. These webinars will give the information needed to get enrolled or resources for more information.”

As an additional resource, three one-hour webinars are planned that will focus on the specifics of the Health Insurance Marketplace, enrollment, and local resources for consumers interested in health insurance. The webinars are planned for noon on October 31, November 14, and December 5. To register for one of the webinars, go to

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Pitt-Bradford Spectrum Series to
Host Visiting Artist Exhibition

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s Spectrum Series will host visiting artist Ron Geibel and his exhibition titled “Picture Perfect” from Nov. 7 to Dec. 5 in the KOA Art Gallery in Blaisdell Hall.

The exhibition opening is scheduled for noon on Nov. 7 in the KOA Speer Electronics Lobby in Blaisdell Hall and will include a gallery talk in which Geibel will discuss and present some of his work; a reception will follow.

Geibel, who currently resides in White Plains, N.Y., tries to create objects that reference the private parts of peoples’ lives.

According to his website, Geibel confronts matters concerning sexuality, gender and identity, and other issues that are typically kept hidden.

Anna Lemnitzer, assistant professor of art and a colleague of Geibel, said, “The reason I chose (Geibel) to visit was because of the gender issues he brings up.”

It’s important to have a contemporary artist featured who works with this kind of content, she said.

In an effort to reach out to other students, Lemnitzer added, Geibel will be offering constructive criticism of students’ work and host a ceramics workshop.

Geibel received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Montana and has previously been an artist in residence at Red Lodge Clay Center and The Chautauqua Institutions School of Art. He is currently an adjunct professor of ceramics at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.

For more information or to view some of Geibel’s work, please visit

Pictured, one of Geibel’s porcelain topiaries.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Pinter named St. Bonaventure's 11th Jim Murray Scholar

By Casandra Nguyen
SBU ‘15

St. Bonaventure University senior Joseph Pinter has been named the school’s 11th Jim Murray Memorial Scholar.

A double major in history and journalism and mass communication, Pinter is one of five winners of the foundation’s annual nationwide essay contest among students from 28 other invited universities with strong journalism programs. Each of the winners receives a $5,000 scholarship in honor of the late sportswriter Jim Murray.

Pinter attended the congratulatory ceremony for the 2014 Murray Scholars at the Santa Anita Racetrack in California on Oct. 25.

Pinter, originally from Angola, N.Y., and a graduate of Lake Shore Senior High School, came to St. Bonaventure with a passion for his hometown teams, the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabres.

As a writer for the school’s student-created online newspaper, The Intrepid, he has the itch for sports writing. Having written a story on the 2013 winner of the scholarship, Emily Steves, he decided it was his year to win the scholarship.

After reading the criteria, “writing a feature story on a person or event that influenced your school’s sports history,” he had an idea.

Bill Swan, a 1969 graduate of St. Bonaventure and chair of the Board of Trustees during the university’s 2003 NCAA basketball scandal, had inspired Pinter to find the positive in a negative, well-known situation.

Pinter began his research on Swan, who was the Brown Indian mascot, and discovered personal stories about the revered alumnus. The essay shifted focus as he took a closer look at Swan’s role as board chairman during the scandal. He didn’t want Swan’s memory to be a negative one despite criticism Swan experienced in some media and alumni circles.

Pinter’s essay was the top pick of the judges, earning the most points of all the winning entries.

“I know Joe will be a marvelous ambassador for the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation, just as the past Bona Murray Scholars have been over the past 14 years,” said Linda Murray Hofmans, CEO and founder of the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation.

Pinter is proud to represent St. Bonaventure amongst the other winners.

“The little school of Bonaventure competes with Syracuse, University of Kansas and other schools with large numbers. It was just awesome to see us on that list,” he said.

Pictured, Linda Murray Hofmans presents Joe Pinter with his award. At right are Joe's mother, Linda Gambee, and sister, Carlisle Pinter.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Smethport United Way Campaign
Nearing 50 Percent of Goal

Local community members and businesses have shown their support for the Smethport Campaign for United Way, having raised nearly 50% of the $15,000 goal. This is the third year that solicitation efforts have been managed by the United Way of the Bradford Area.

“I am pleased with the status of the Smethport campaign to-date,” said Executive Director Mandi Wilton Davis. “We’ve seen a positive response from our existing donors, but we’ve seen a significant increase in new donors, which has contributed greatly to the success so far.”

Davis says that although they have raised the fundraising goal for the second year in a row, she anticipates reaching the $15,000 mark.

“The residents of Smethport and the surrounding communities have shown how generous they are over the past several years,” said Davis, “and we know they feel very strongly about impacting the lives of their family, friends and neighbors through the agencies funded from our annual appeal.”

12 agencies located in or serving residents of the Smethport area received funding from the 2013 fundraising efforts: Alcohol & Drug Abuse Services, Inc.; CARE for Children; CASA of McKean County; Children’s Advocacy Center of McKean County; Christian Community Services’ Food Pantry; Hamlin Memorial Library; McKean County 4-H; McKean County Cooperative Extension; Smethport Memorial Recreation Center; Smethport Senior Center; and the YWCA.

For more information on the Smethport Campaign for United Way, or to make a contribution, visit or call the United Way office at 814-368-6181.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Repeat Felon Sent to State Prison

A 62-year-old repeat felon from Olean will spend 2 to 4 years in state prison on a burglary conviction.

Prosecutors say Jesus Melendez broke into a building in the Town of Allegany on October 29 of last year with the intent to commit another crime.

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Man Who Assaulted Cop is Sentenced

A man who injured a police officer this past winter will spend the next 1 ½ to 3 years in state prison.

28-year-old Marcus Hicks of Olean was convicted of attempted assault for the February 12 incident when he prevented the police officer from performing his duties, and then injured the officer, who was trying to arrest him.

Hicks has also been ordered to pay restitution.

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Fatal Crash in Elk County

Crews are still on the scene of a fatal crash in Elk County that happened this morning.

The accident happened at about 10:20 a.m. on Million Dollar Highway at the Kersey intersection when a tractor-trailer and another truck collided, and one of them burst into flames.

The county coroner was called to the scene. A medical helicopter was called for another person.

We’ll have more information as it becomes available.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Drug Dealer Gets More Jail Time

A Buffalo man already in Cattaraugus County Jail on drug charges has pleaded guilty to more drug charges.

33-year-old Demario Watkins sold a controlled substance on December 19 in Salamanca.

He is scheduled for sentencing on January 5. In March he was sentenced to a year behind bars for selling a narcotic drug on November 10, 2011, in Salamanca.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Kirkin' o' the Tartans

Members of the Cadeonian Pipes and Drums from Buffalo, New York, visited the First Presbyterian Church in Bradford Sunday for the annual Kirkin' o' the Tartans worship service. The Scottish ceremony is a gathering of the tartans for the blessing of the church. Sunday was also Reformation Sunday.
Photo courtesy of Jerry Harvey

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PA Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Will Now Account for Social Security Cost-of-Living Increase

HARRISBURG – Income eligibility guidelines for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program have changed under a new law that will enable more local residents to qualify for the program, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25).

Scarnati, who supported the legislation, explained that House Bill 1067 was signed into law and will ensure that income increases due solely to Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) will no longer disqualify claimants from receiving rebates.

“Over the last four decades the Property Tax Rent Rebate Program has helped Pennsylvanians on a limited income by making housing costs more affordable,” Scarnati said. “I am pleased that this recent change will ensure individuals who have a need are not disqualified simply because of a Social Security COLA.”

Scarnati explained that any homeowner with an annual income of up to $35,298 last year, who collects Social Security and received a property tax rebate in 2013 for claim year 2012 is encouraged to apply for a rebate for claim year 2013.

Renters with an annual income of up to $15,128 last year, who collect Social Security and received a rent rebate in 2013 for claim year 2012 are also encouraged to apply.

Scarnati said the Department of Revenue is automatically reviewing previously denied claim year 2013 applications where the rebate was denied for income in excess of $35,000 for homeowners and $15,000 for renters. In cases where the overage is due only to Social Security COLAs, the Department will reopen, process and pay these claims.

For those who have not yet submitted applications, the deadline to apply for 2013 rebates is December 31, 2014.

The program is open to state residents age 65 or older; widows and widowers age 50 or older; and 100 percent disabled people 18 or older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, with half of Social Security income excluded, and all of a Social Security COLA excluded. Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms and related information are available online at or by calling, toll-free, 1-888-222-9190.

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Bradford Man Charged with Raping Teenager

A 20-year-old Bradford man is accused of raping a 14-year-old girl, and he and his friend are accused of having sex with other teenage girls.

Garrett Evan had sexual intercourse with the girl after she repeatedly told him she didn’t want to. At one point, according to court papers, he said, “Just let me keep going.” He also had sex with a 15-year-old old. Both incidents happened earlier this month.

His friend Matthew Wells had sex with one 15-year-old girl three times at a party back in August, when he was 19 years old. He also had sex with a different 15-year-old girl earlier this month.

Court papers say the meetings were set up on Facebook.

Evan and Wells are each charged with aggravated indecent assault, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault of a person younger than 16 and unlawful contact with a minor. Besides rape, Evan is also charged with sexual assault.

They are in McKean County Jail and $30,000 cash bail each.

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SBU Senior Participates in Youth Advocacy Training

By Lian Bunny
SBU ’17

St. Bonaventure senior biology major Alex Gu traveled to Washington, D.C., on Oct. 17 to participate in the Global Campaign for Education-US Chapter’s biannual youth advocacy training.

The Global Campaign for Education-U.S. Chapter (GCE-US) is a coalition of U.S. organizations including non-profit organizations, foundations, faith-based groups, think tanks and teachers’ unions. Its goal is to “create advocacy and policy strategies to influence and educate policy makers and the US public, provide and support opportunities for youth to act on behalf of education for all and increase public support of universal quality education,” according to its website.

Twice a year the program takes 20 students to Washington to learn why 58 million children worldwide are out of school and why 250 million children worldwide are in school but not learning. Through teaching different advocacy techniques, the students are challenged to share the information learned with their communities to ensure that all children have access to a quality education.

Gu, from Flushing, N.Y., is the second student from St. Bonaventure University to be accepted to the training. Simone Bernstein, class of 2014, was the first to attend.

According to Gu, a professor he worked for in the summer of 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana, recommended that he apply for the training. He completed an application and obtained a letter of recommendation.

“I applied to the Student Advocacy Training to raise awareness and support for educational opportunities,” Gu said. “Through this training, I wanted to learn new skills and gather new experiences to continue advocating for educational programs worldwide. I am always open to new ideas and willing to listen, question, analyze and explore ways to spread the message and engage and empower youth to advocate for the importance of an education.”

Gu said the event taught him that few countries can escape poverty and achieve decent health with low literacy rates and ineffective education programs.

“Literacy forms the basis for all future learning and problem solving,” Gu said. “Improving literacy rates can and do improve the overall health of a nation with increased awareness and knowledge to prevent diseases and information on nutrition and immunizations. There are many challenges we face in the world and problems that need to be fixed on a global level: access to clean water, hunger, inequities in education and health care and to address and find work for the vast number of unemployed and underemployed people around the world.”

The four-day training taught Gu networking strategies on a national and international level, in an effort to lessen the aforementioned world problems. Gu said he learned how to better utilize discussion groups about grassroots organizing, event planning, community mapping and online organizing initiatives.

“I plan to present and share my experiences in both my hometown and college community,” Gu said. “With skills from this training, I will strengthen our on-campus MERT program and the prevention safety education program we are implementing in rural areas. In addition, I will work with other organizations on campus to help advocate for and create awareness for the importance of global education.”

Gu is chief of the St. Bonaventure Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT).

The skills Gu gained during the advocacy training will continue to assist him in his future. Gu has been selected to present at a conference convened by the United Nations, UNSECO and the Council of Europe. The conference will be the First Global Forum on Youth Policies in Baku, Azerbaijan, and will take place Oct. 28-30.

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Man Arrested for Portville Burglary

A Salamanca man was picked up over the weekend in connection to a burglary that happened almost a year ago.

State police charged 23-year-old Jeremy Foster with felony burglary in connection to an incident last December in Portville.

Foster was released on his own recognizance pending further court action.

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Two Cited for Having Feathers

Two people accused of having feathers from protected birds have been cited by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and face thousands of dollars in fines.

The commission says they got information saying an East Springfield woman had eagle feathers. When a wildlife conservation officer searched the home of 49-year-old Laurie Gibbons he found hundreds of feathers from protected birds, including bald eagle, various hawks, owls, gulls, songbirds and wild turkey. A subsequent search at the Girard home of 59-year-old Gerald Stazer led to the seizure of more feathers from protected birds.

Gibbons was issued 41 citations for unlawful taking and possession of protected birds, game or wildlife. She could be fined as much as $8,400. Stazer was issued 6 citations for taking and possession of protected birds. He could be fined as much as $1,200.

US Fish & Wildlife Service photo

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Fighting the 'Grandparent Scam'

New York's Attorney General is fighting back against the “Grandparent Scam.”

This is the scam when a caller claims to be a person’s grandchild and is in some kind of emergency situation that requires money. For example, the person has been arrested and needs bail money or his car has broken down and needs money for repairs.

Today, Eric Schneiderman announced the “Grandkids Against the Grandparent Scam” initiative that encourages high school students to talk to their grandparents about the scam. The program provides the students with specifics about how the scam works, and an informational brochure to share with their parents and grandparents.

Among other tips, the brochure offers students a script to warn their grandparents about this dangerous scam: “When I go off to college, someone may call you and pretend to be me. The caller will say he’s in trouble and needs you to wire money fast. He’ll ask you to keep it a secret, and to not say anything to my parents. This is a scam. Don’t fall for it.”

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947