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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ground Broken for Kinzua Visitor Center


By ANNE HOLLIDAY
WESB/WBRR News Director

Ground was broken this morning for the new visitor center at Kinzua Bridge State Park, and Senator Joe Scarnati says the center is an important cog in the machine that’s putting this part of the state back together.

He said to say the northwest region of the state has suffered economically recently would be an understatement.

“It’s been a tough time,” Scarnati said, “but it’s all of these great attractions that is only going to enhance” the area by bringing in more visitors, more business for local shopkeepers, and the opportunity for more jobs.

“This state park is a crown jewel in our state park system,” he said.

Scarnati also said having a year round visitor center was the right way to go.

During the ceremony before the groundbreaking, several people talked about their memories of the bridge before a tornado toppled it in 2003.

State Rep. Kathy Rapp said her grandfather used to take her to the bridge when she was a little girl. St. Marys Mayor Robert Howard, who didn’t speak during the ceremony, told WESB his Eagle Scout project involved making improvements to the park. DCED Deputy Secretary Carolyn Boser Newhouse told the crowd her husband proposed to her on the bridge back in 1987.

“He’ll tell you when he was walking out to the center he wasn’t sure if he was going to propose or throw me over,” she said.

Almost all the speakers mentioned the relentless efforts of Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau executive director Linda Devlin in getting, and keeping, everyone on the right track.

Mayor Howard compared Kinzua visitor center to the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette that has brought in hundreds of thousands of visitors since it opened. Within the first four months of its opening in September of 2010, more than 51,000 visitors from 46 states and 16 countries went to the Elk Country center. Howard, who grew up in Mount Jewett, said there’s no reason the new visitor center shouldn’t show similar numbers.

DCNR Secretary Ellen Ferretti said already, even without the visitor center, 158,000 people visit Kinzua Bridge State park every year.

Rapp noted how many people attend the Kinzua Bridge Festival every year (16,000 last year – including two Sasquatch, according to Mary Ann Burgraff of the Kinzua Bridge Foundation) and said the first year after the Sky Walk she could hardly get into the park because of all the traffic.

“That was really exciting to see, that people were coming back to this park, because I remember the joy of coming here with my grandfather.”

Rapp also said you can still see license plates from everywhere in the United States when you’re visiting. “This is vital to McKean County,” she said.

McKean County Commissioner Joe DeMott talked about some of the bridge’s history and jokingly said maybe it could be repeated.

The original bridge, he said, was built in 94 days.

“If we get started this afternoon,” he said to much laughter, “late November we should have this building up and running.

The $6.9 million project is scheduled be finished in fall of next year and will include two exhibit halls, classrooms and much more.

State Rep. Marty Causer said the visitor center is an investment for the area in more than one way.

“This is an investment in our one state park (in McKean County). It’s an investment in our future by focusing on education,” he said, adding that he’s excited about the exhibits “because it really will educate people about our history, where came from and where we’re headed.”

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bona Women's Soccer in Bradford Sunday

St. Bonaventure's women's soccer game against Kent State this Sunday, Aug. 24, has been moved to Bradford Area High School's Parkway Field. The start time will remain 1 p.m.

The change was necessary because crews are still completing renovations to St. Bonaventure's McGraw-Jennings Field. The work is expected to be finished in time for the Bonnies' next scheduled home game on Aug. 27. While installation of the new turf should be done by the end of this week, there have been delays, mainly weather-related, with other work.

St. Bonaventure opens the 2014 season on Friday night at Buffalo at 7 p.m.

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Docs on Jim Kelly: No Evidence of Cancer

The New York Head & Neck Institute at Lenox Hospital in Manhattan, the hospital spearheading Jim Kelly’s cancer treatments and evaluation, released this statement today:

Jim Kelly was evaluated yesterday at the New York Head & Neck Institute at Lenox Hospital in Manhattan, three months after having completed the radiation and chemotherapy protocol designed to treat his recurrent sinus cancer. Dr. Peter Constantino, Executive Director of the Institute, stated that, “The treatments so far have completely eliminated Mr. Kelly’s pain, and his level of function has essentially returned to normal. Further, on physical examination, there is no evidence of cancer.”

Over the coming week, a series of tests will be performed to determine if any further treatment will be necessary. Constantino added, “It is possible that no further treatment will be required, and the testing over the next week will define this issue.”

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New Phone Scam Making the Rounds

State Attorney General Kathleen Kane is warning Pennsylvanians about another phone scam that’s sweeping the state.

In this scam, the automated call from a toll-free number tells the person that a hold has been placed on his or her credit or debit card, and then tells the person to press “1” and entered the credit card number to continue, and take care of the problem.

Kane says credit card companies will not ask people to give their information this way. She also reminds people to not give out personal information over the phone.

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Three FCI-McKean Inmates Indicted

Three inmates at FCI-McKean have been indicted by a federal grand jury for having contraband in the facility.

According to the indictments in the three separate cases, 29-year-old Keith Hightower had a weapon on May 9; 32-year-old Oscar Acosta-Levario had a weapon on June 10; and 31-year-old Jose Aquino had a cell phone on June 14.

The weapons charge carries a maximum sentence of five additional years in prison; the cell phone, one year.

Prosecutors did not say what kind of weapons the men had.

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Cops: Son Stole Money, Gun from Mom

A man is accused of stealing money and a gun from his mother’s St. Marys house while she was on vacation earlier this month.

Court papers say 20-year-old Nicholas Skok took a .22 caliber pistol and a safe that had $35,000.

His mother reported the theft on Friday. Skok was arrested on Saturday, when police found the gun and some of the money in his car. He told them he already spent a lot of the cash.

Skok is in Elk County Jail on $40,000 bail and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday.

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Prescription Drugs Taken from Home

State police are investigating a burglary at a home in Potter County.

They say someone went into Dustin Kio’s home in Genesee and took prescription drugs.

The burglary happened sometime between August 10 and Monday.

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Fire Claims Life of Ripley Man

Fire claimed the life of a Ripley, New York, man Tuesday afternoon.

The Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team say 61-year-old Kevin Lantz was found inside the West Main Street home at just after 4 p.m. He was taken to Westfield Memorial Hospital, where he died a short time later.

Investigators say an electronic device in the house accidentally caught on fire. They say it appears Lantz was able to get device to the porch of the house, but he went back in and then couldn’t get back out because of smoke inhalation.

Investigators are continuing to look into the incident.

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National Fuel Plans New Pipeline

National Fuel Gas is planning to build a pipeline from Clermont to Elma, New York.

The company has started the federal review process to build the 97-mile pipeline from McKean County to the Porterville Compressor Station in Erie County.

The 24-inch lines will be buried at least three feet underground, but four feet in agricultural areas.

The pipeline is being built to make transportation of Marcellus Shale gas from the source to the marketplace easier. A natural gas gathering system is already in place near Mount Jewett.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Crook Farm Country Fair Saturday, Sunday

The annual Crook Farm Country Fair is being held Saturday and Sunday at the historic Crook Farm on Seaward Avenue.

100.1 The Hero's Igor will be broadcasting live at Crook Farm from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Organizers are bringing back the popular Sunday breakfast this year. It will start at 9:30 a.m. Only 100 tickets are available. You can buy them at the Bradford Landmark Society, Tin Ceiling Gift Shoppe or Ott & McHenry Pharmacy.

To hear more about the Crook Farm Country Fair listen to today's LiveLine: http://www.wesb.com/listen/. Click on the "Local Programs" tab and then scroll down to today's date (8-19-14).

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Rep. Reed Coming Salamanca

US Congressman Tom Reed will hold a town hall meeting Saturday in the city of Salamanca.

All constituents with questions, concerns and thoughts are encouraged to attend and participate. The meeting is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in Salamanca City Hall, 225 Wildwood Avenue.

“We’re looking forward to spending the weekend with Southern Tier residents to listen to their thoughts and take what they have to say to Washington,” Reed said. “The kinds of face-to-face conversations we have at these town halls are essential to making sure our area is heard and represented. The more participation, the better.”

Reed recently worked with the Salamanca School District to secure a $2.7 million dollar impact aid award that helped decrease property taxes for residents. Reed called the federal aid a “lifeline for the school district and taxpayers alike” who will see lower taxes as a direct result of the award. Reed has already heard from residents and school employees about partnering in upcoming school years to secure the aid for the area.

Those unable to attend the town hall are encouraged to share their thoughts with Reed through his website (www.Reed.house.gov) or Facebook (www.Facebook.com/RepTomReed). Individuals can also sign up for regular updates through Reed’s website (www.Reed.house.gov/contact-me/newsletter).

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Aquatic Life Workshop on Saturday

PORTVILLE, N.Y. – Participants of this workshop will leave no stone unturned at the Pfeiffer Nature Center.

From noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, the Eshelman Property at 1420 Yubadam Road in Portville will be the site of Nature 101 – Aquatic Life headed by Christopher Anderson, a former Sea World aqua handler.

Participants will go to a nearby creek in search of various aquatic life, such as minnows, crayfish and frogs. Please wear old sneakers since this will be a hands on, feet wet afternoon.

The cost is $8 per person. Reservations must be made by Thursday by calling the PNC at 716.933.0187.

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Crash Closes Route 62

Route 62 in the Russell area was closed for about an hour Saturday evening after a tractor-trailer hit a pickup truck and both of them ended up blocking the road.

No one was hurt in the crash.

Police say the pickup driven by 28-year-old Jerry Rhoades of Sugar Grove was stopped on Route 62, waiting to make a left turn into Werner Park, when it was hit from behind by the tractor-trailer, driven by 25-year-old Aaron Phillips of Brahnport, New York. The tractor-trailer eventually stopped just past Werner Park, blocking both lanes. The pickup was blocking the northbound lane.

The road was closed while the wreckage was being removed. Police say charges of following too closely are pending against Phillips.

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Couple Facing Weapons Charges

Two Ohio residents are facing weapons and other charges after a traffic stop on I-86 in Cattaraugus County.

State police say they stopped a vehicle in the Town of Red House because it had an obstructed plate. They soon learned 46-year-old Angie Koscielak of Hicksville had methamphetamine and a stun gun. 53-year-old Jeffery Koscielak, also of Hicksville, had a dagger.

They were each charged with criminal possession of a weapon. Angie was also charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. She was sent to Cattaraugus County Jail. Jeffrey was scheduled to appear in Town of Red House Court and then released.

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84-Year-Old Jailed for Attempted Rape

An 84-year-old man is in jail for trying to rape a 16-year-old girl in his Brockport home.

Police say Junior D. Senior held the girl against a kitchen table, groped her, and tried to have sex with her.

Senior is charged with attempted rape, indecent assault and unlawful restraint. His bail is set at $50,000.

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Woman Accused of Assaulting Policeman

A Bradford woman is accused of assaulting a Bradford City Police officer early Saturday morning.

Court records say 24-year-old Kayla Gifford punched Officer Butch Bartlett twice in the face while another person was being arrested by a Bradford Township police officer outside Players Downtown in Bradford, where a fight was going on. Bartlett was trying to clear the crowd when he was assaulted.

Gifford is charged with felony aggravated assault, resisting arrest disorderly conduct and public drunkenness. She was sent to McKean County Jail on $50,000 bail.

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Pitt-Bradford Students to be
Housed at Best Western Again

More students than ever before want to live on campus this fall at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

With the addition this fall of Lester and Barbara Rice House, which can house109 students, Pitt-Bradford now can accommodate 1,028 students on campus. However, there are around 20 additional students who want to live on campus this fall. Instead of turning those students away, university officials have partnered with the Best Western to provide rooms so all of those students who want housing will be accommodated.

“We are pleased that so many more students want to live on campus,” said Dr. Livingston Alexander, Pitt-Bradford’s president. “We attribute that increased desire, in part, to our comfortable residence halls and the vibrant campus life we offer our students. We know this to be true because more students living in the region, who could commute, are opting to live on campus instead.”

Another reason for the increase in on-campus living is more students are coming to Pitt-Bradford from hometowns farther away, a change that has been occurring gradually over the past several years. For example, in the fall of 2005, 52 percent of students lived in McKean, Elk, Potter, Cameron, Warren, Forest or Cattaraugus County in New York, enabling them to commute; the remaining 48 percent lived in counties farther away.

However, this fall, only 40 percent of students are from those regional counties; the remaining 60 percent are from outlying counties and areas even farther away, including Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., New York City, and several counties in New Jersey and Maryland, creating that increased need for on-campus housing.

That gradual increased demand prompted university officials to develop a master housing plan several years ago, which includes two additional residence halls. However, those two other residence halls, as is the case with all new construction at Pitt-Bradford, will need to be approved by officials at the University of Pittsburgh before any construction begins.

“The overflow in campus housing should not be interpreted as an inability to plan for the future,” Alexander emphasized. “We have a comprehensive long-range housing plan that takes into account several factors, including population decline in our region and more aggressive marketing and recruiting in distant markets. We will continue to remain cautious about over-building, which would result in empty residence halls.”

Having empty residence halls is a situation some universities in Pennsylvania are facing this fall.

This is the fifth time the university has partnered with the Best Western to house students. This fall, the university will be using rooms at the Best Western to accommodate approximately 20 students, two Resident Advisors, positions held by upperclass students; and one live-in resident director, a staff member, who will all provide support for the students.

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DEP Fines Cabot Oil & Gas

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced it has fined Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. of Pittsburgh $76,546 for a January well control incident at the company’s Huston well pad in Brooklyn Township, Susquehanna County.

“Cabot lost control of the Huston J1 gas well for 27 hours, to which the department responded to promptly to ensure there were no significant environmental impacts,” DEP Director of District Oil and Gas Operations John Ryder said. “In this incident, mostly gas was released, which dissipated quickly to background levels within 100 feet from the well.”

The incident began the morning of Jan. 5 when a Cabot subcontractor was replacing equipment on the wellhead. The subcontractor did not follow standard operating procedures for the process by failing to first warm the wellhead prior to conducting any work in the freezing temperature. This resulted in damage to a wing valve.

A subsequent analysis of the damaged wing valve indicated that it was in the open position, allowing gas to escape. The analysis also indicated that frozen sand in the valve bore may have obstructed movement of the gate, causing a function test to indicate the valve was closed when it was open.

Cabot contacted Wild Well Control of Houston, Texas, for assistance, which installed two hydraulic valves to diminish the gas flow in the damaged valve to allow full replacement. The well was brought under control shortly before 1 p.m. on Jan. 6.

During the incident, Cabot contacted five property owners within a quarter mile of the well pad to notify them of the situation. However, it was determined that no evacuation was needed based on the results of DEP air monitoring. DEP staff used meters to detect combustible gas on and in the vicinity of the well pad, and to determine if there was an explosive atmosphere.

DEP Oil and Gas and Emergency Response program staff were on scene providing oversight throughout the incident.

The department issued a notice of violation (NOV) to Cabot on Jan. 16 for violations of the Solid Waste Management Act, Clean Streams Law and the Chapter 78 oil and gas regulations. The NOV requested a written response within 10 days, which Cabot provided.

In its response, the company said it could not determine the exact amount of natural gas or fluid released because it was not possible to safely measure the flows, but said the majority of the release consisted of natural gas.

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Adrianne Magnella, Owner of Cin-Cin Biscotti,
Passes Away After Battling ALS

Adrianne R. Magnella, 61, of 145 Looker Mountain Trail, formerly of 129 Williams St. passed away Monday, August 18, 2014 after a courageous battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's Disease at the family residence in the arms of her mother and her uncle.

Born May 24, 1953 in Bradford, she was the daughter of the late Anthony Magnella and Gisele (Meissner) Magnella, who survives.

She was a 1971 graduate of Bradford Central Christian High School. She received an Associate's Degree from Edinboro College and also attended The Wilma Boyd School of Air Travel.

Adrianne worked for the Combined Airline Travel Office (CATO) in Washington, D.C. making travel arrangements for the U.S. Senate and U.S. Government officials.

Prior to her move to Washington, D.C., she worked in various capacities for the J.C. Penney Company in Bradford.

Upon returning to Bradford, she owned and operated Cin-Cin Biscotti, a pastry catering business.

She was a member of St. Bernard Church, The Catholic Women's Club and The LaStella Auxiliary.

Adrianne loved baking, gardening and taking care of dogs, whom she referred to as her four-legged children.

In addition to her mother, Gisele of Bradford, she is survived by an uncle, Bernd Meissner of Downers Grove, IL. She was preceded in death by her father, who passed away Oct. 2, 1985 and her brother, Mario Magnella, who passed away April 2, 2012 as well as her paternal grandparents, Joseph and Rose Magnella and her maternal grandparents, Willi and Erna Meissner.

Her mother and uncle will be receiving friends from 3-5pm & 7-9pm Friday, August 22, 2014 in the Hollenbeck-Cahill Funeral Homes, Inc., 33 South Avenue, where a prayer service will be held at 9:30 AM, Saturday, August 23, 2014, followed by a 10 AM Mass of Christian Burial in St. Bernard Church, with Rev. Raymond Gramata, Pastor, as celebrant. Committal services and burial will follow in the Magnella Family Plot in St. Bernard Cemetery.

Memorial contributions, if desired, can be made to the McKean County VNA and Hospice, 1223 East Main St., Bradford or St. Bernard Church 98 East Corydon St., Bradford, or the Seventh Day Adventist Church P.O. Box 257 Derrick City, PA 16727 or to the charity of the donor's choice.

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Large Meth Lab Found in Little Valley

A tip led Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s deputies to a large scale methamphetamine operation in Little Valley on Monday.

The Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force and State Police Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team spent hours at a home on South Court Street, where they seized numerous pieces of evidence including lab equipment, meth precursors, reagents, solvents, and surveillance equipment. Deputies also found 14.8 ounces of meth.

32-year-old Lucas Leclerc is being held without bail pending arraignment in Buffalo Federal Court. The DEA Office in Buffalo has taken over the case, and the case will be prosecuted on the federal level. The investigation is continuing and more arrests are expected.

The Little Valley Fire Department and Cattaraugus County Emergency Services also helped with the hazardous materials clean up.

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Bona Grad Wins Blaisdell Pro Am Invitational

A St. Bonaventure alum took home the top prize at Monday’s Blaisdell Pro Am Invitational at the Pennhills Club in Bradford.

Chris Stoddard was awarded the $6,000 cash prize and trophy by Zippo owner and Chairman of the Board George B. Duke at the banquet following the tournament.

Stoddard’s team, composed of amateur golfers Mike Tarbox, Scott Tanabe, and Paul Kessel, each took home a $400 cash prize for their winning team score of 115.

The Blaisdell Pro Am, sponsored by Zippo, drew 26 PGA pros from the Western New York Professional Golf Association, along with 78 amateurs, competing for the $20,000 in prize money available.

“The day was perfect and the Pennhills course is outstanding,” said WNY PGA Executive Director Joe Bertino. “Our pros were really excited to get out here, and all the teams played exceptionally well.”

The Blaisdell Pro Am was held to honor Zippo founder George G. Blaisdell, who loved the game of golf and the club he helped found, the Pennhills Club.

Red roses, Blaisdell’s favorite flower, decorated the Pennhills clubhouse inside and out, and several golfers noticed the North Penn Championship plaque displayed in the clubhouse that marks Blaisdell as champion for eight different years.

Blaisdell sponsored many Pro Am tournaments at the Pennhills Club, proudly inviting top golfers of the time to the Walter Travis-designed course and was named as one of the inaugural honorary members of the WNY PGA for his active sponsorship and participation.

“We look forward to continuing the Blaisdell Pro Am,” Duke said, adding that it is a pleasure to bring back an event that his grandfather loved hosting at Pennhills.

Pictured, George Duke (right), owner and Chairman of the Board at Zippo Manufacturing Company, presents pro golfer Chris Stoddard, a St. Bonaventure alum, with the Blaisdell Pro Am trophy at the Pennhills Club on Monday.
Photo courtesy of Zippo

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