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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Glowing Pickles and Giant Peeps

The Express-Times

The fiberglass Peep's competition was stiff.

There was a glowing pickle, a papier-mache gumbo pot and an 18-foot sausage.

But in the end, it was the intriguing combination of a conch shell, a drag queen and a costumed pirate wench that beat Bethlehem's Peep as TripAdvisor's No. 1 quirkiest New Year's Eve event.

For the full story, go to Lehigh Valley

Must be TripAdvisor didn't hear about our gazebo drop, or the awesome oil derrick fireworks we had last year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Riel Outlines Changes to PD

One of Tom Riel's campaign promises when he was running for mayor was that he would make positive changes to the City of Bradford Police Department.

In a speech Tuesday afternoon during a joint meeting of the Kiwanis and Rotary clubs, Riel said one of the first things he did after being sworn in as mayor was to make good on that pledge.

He said when he named Mike Close as the new chief "reforming the City of Bradford Police Department began."

"The publicly requested beat cop was walking the streets the next day," Riel said. "Chief Close dove in head first and was hard at work making the changes the city and police department needed."

The department now has the Emergency Response Team and Street Crimes Unit, which were equipped, armed, trained and have specialized vehicles all at no cost to the city.

Riel said Microtech, American Refining Group and Zippo were "more than generous" in their support.

"The officers themselves were very giving, too," Riel said, adding that they volunteering their time to be trained out of the area and paid for their own lodging and meals while they were away from home.

"This is testament to the dedication and the increased morale in the City of Bradford Police Department," Riel said.

Also during the past year, the late Joe Warner started the web site, City of Bradford, which includes an anonymous tip line that Riel said is an "invaluable resource in the fight against drugs in the city."

Since February, police have received 131 anonymous tips.

Riel noted that in 2007, 81 drug-related arrests were made in all of McKean County. This year, 103 drug arrests were made in the City of Bradford alone.

He said city police and the McKean County Drug Task Force are doing a tremendous job and putting a huge dent in the drug trade.

He did say, however, that he's shocked in the discrepancy between sentencing guidelines in Pennsylvania and New York.

He said a person can be arrested in Pennsylvania for selling cocaine and can get a sentence of probation if they don't have a previous record. But in New York, a person who is convicted of possessing a small amount of cocaine for personal use can get a year in state prison.

Riel said that's one reason drug dealers from other states come to Pennsylvania, and we need to "curb repeat, recycled offenders."

Also Tuesday, Riel mentioned the new look of the police department – from the uniforms that are more versatile, cheaper and more comfortable to black and white police cruisers – which came at no extra cost to the city.

He also mentioned the efforts of Elm Street Manager Lisa Campogiani in getting Segways for the department, which allows officers to patrol more ground.

"We should all be thankful for the officers of Bradford City Police Department, and especially Chief Close, for doing their part to make Bradford a safer and better place for us all," Riel said.

Cops: Teens Blew Up Mailboxes

Four Dunkirk teenagers accused of blowing up mailboxes with homemade explosive devices have been arrested.

The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office, along with the US Postal Service and Dunkirk Police have been investigating the incidents for two months.

Some of the explosive devices didn't detonate and the county bomb squad had to be called in.

18-year-old Jacob Schnur and Michael Barras and 17-year-old Aaron Cole and Michael Mirek were all sent to jail on felony criminal mishief charges.

Former No. Po Student Dies in Iraq

A sailor who attended Northern Potter High School died on Christmas Day in Bahrain, Iraq.

19-year-old Master-at-Arms Seaman Apprentice Joshua Seitz suffered fatal injuries when his patrol boat collided with a barge moored in the Mina Salman port harbor.

Seitz attended Wellsville middle and high schools, and Northern Potter High School, but graduated in 2007 from a Reading-area school.

Two other sailors riding with Seitz survived and are hospitalized in stable condition.

The incident is under investigation.

Mayor Tom Riel Describes Alleged
Elaborate, Clumsy Plot Against Him

WESB/WBRR News Director

Mayor Tom Riel says after he won the election in November of 2007, some people went to great lengths to try to make sure he was never sworn in.

"An elaborate but clumsy plot was hatched by a few rogue members of law enforcement to try to set me up with some sort of drug charges so that I would never be sworn in as mayor and I would never appoint a new police chief," Riel said Tuesday afternoon during a joint meeting of the Kiwanis and Rotary clubs.

He said, "drug-related rumors were spread wildly" about him all over town so that when and if the charges were filed people would be more likely to believe them.

Riel went on to describe parts of the "plot."

He said a man who hadn't lived in Bradford very long was arrested on charges that were later dropped. While this man (who is not being named in this story in deference to Riel and the man's family) was in jail he was approached by law enforcement, shown a picture of Riel and offered "a way out," Riel said.

He was let out of jail to help "get Tom Riel," and the reasons were explained to at least one member of his family, Riel said.

At the end of last December when "he hadn't gotten Tom Riel yet," the man was arrested for robbing the Lewis Run Crosby's although he didn't come close to matching the description given by witnesses.

The family went to the late Joe Warner, who posted all the related documents on Bradford-Online.

"Mysteriously," Riel said, a few hours later a no contest deal was reached.

"Is that McKean County justice for poor people who know too much?" Riel asked.

Riel did contact the state attorney general's office, which is conducting an investigation.

Riel said he knows this story "would cause waves" and probably shock people, but he believes the truth should be told.

He said at least one person allegedly said the story should never get out because "it could damage the integrity of law enforcement in McKean County."

"Now you know what can happen when you take a stand for what you believe in and truly try to change things," Riel said. "Your life will never be the same."

Attic-Dweller Wanted in Arkansas

A Trumann man who slept in a Pennsylvania attic for several days was being sought on misdemeanor offenses when he was arrested in the Keystone State last week, Trumann police said Monday.

Detective Jerry Foster said authorities had been seeking Stanley Carter, 21, of Trumann on violation of the Arkansas Hot Check Law and contempt of court-nonpayment of fines since June.

For the full story, go to the Jonesboro Sun.

Charges for Driving In Floodwater

A Falconer man is in hot water after driving his car into floodwater in the Town of Poland.

Chautauqua County Sheriff's Deputies say 77-year-old Theodore Clark attempted to drive through a section of Clay Pond Road that was flooded. When the car was pushed off the road by the floodwater and the car began to flood.

A passerby was able to transport Clark and his passenger to dry land.

Clark was charged with disobeying a traffic control device because there were barriers in place indicating the road was closed due to flooding. Deputies say Clark apparently drove around the barriers.

Spare Him the Bowling Jokes

KAILUA, Hawaii (AP) — President-elect Barack Obama thought he'd put the bowling jokes behind him.

Not likely.

On the golf course Monday, a woman waiting at the 18th green reminded Obama of his disastrous bowling during the presidential campaign. It was an unwelcome reminder for Obama, whose golf game during a 12-day vacation has been just as troublesome.

For the full story, go to

Monday, December 29, 2008

Stanley's Christmas List

An intruder slept undetected for days in a family's attic, stealing food and clothing when they were away, and only surrendering when he heard a police dog inside the Wilkes-Barre area home.

21-year-old Stanley Carter of Trumann, Arkansas, was reported missing December 19th by the homeowners' neighbors, who he had been staying with. Police believe Carter sneaked next door through a shared attic of the duplex.

The family called police when they noticed a laptop and an iPod were missing. They also saw footprints in a bedroom closet, where a trap door leads to the attic.

Police say Carter did keep track of everything he took, and labeled it "Stanley's Christmas List."

Tionesta Teen is Missing

State Police are asking people to be on the lookout for a missing Tionesta teenager.

15-year-old Tara Jean Phillips left her house to visit a friend, and was last seen late Saturday afternoon at a Youngsville bowling alley.

Tara was wearing a new, brown winter jacket with fur lining, blue jeans and a white T-shirt.

Anyone with information concerning her whereabouts is asked to contact state police.

3-Year-Old Boy Hospitalized After
Wearing Same Diaper for a Month

GREENSBURG, Pa. - Suffering skin burns from a diaper that likely hadn't been changed in a month, a child was taken to a Pittsburgh hospital for treatment, police said.

The father -- Jesus Rodriguez, 34, of Greensburg -- was arrested Friday on charges of aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of children and reckless endangerment.

For the full story, go to MSNBC.

Funeral for Galeton Fire Chief

Funeral services were held over the weekend for Goodyear Hose Company Fire Chief Tim Martin, who died as a result of a snowmobile accident on December 21.

At the family's request, no fire apparatus was sent to the funeral, but a large contingent of area fire personnel did attend the services.

Martin, who was 32 years old, had been chief of the department for three years. He was the youngest chief in the history of the Goodyear Hose Company.

Duck Hunters Rescued from Harbor

Three duck hunters were rescued after high waves swamped their boats at about Sunday morning in Barcelona Harbor.

The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office says two of men were able to get to the outer breakwater, where they waited for rescuers. But a 16-year-old remained in a boat and could not get to the breakwater.

Chautauqua County Water Emergency Team members used a rubber raft to pick them up one at a time. All three were treated at the scene.

Deputies say high winds, rain and waves hampered the rescue effort. The Westfield Fire and Police departments also responded.

Brotherly Love Gone Wrong

A Titusville man was accidentally stabbed by his brother after they decided to hug and make up following a bar fight Saturday night.

Police say the brothers got into a fist fight at a Titusville bar. One of the brothers left and they other chased him down the street.

They apparently resolved their differences, but when they went to hug each other one brother's pocketknife cut the other across the face and punctured his cheek.

The injured brother received three stitches. Police say no charges will be filed. They didn't release the names of the men.

Cops: Woman Stabs Husband,
Fixes Herself a Ham Sandwich

An Erie woman is in jail after allegedly stabbing her husband, then making herself a ham sandwich.

Police say 48-year-old Tammy Yeany was making the sandwich when they arrived at her home, and didn't seem concerned that her husband was on the couch bleeding from a stab wound she allegedly inflicted with a 7-inch knife.

Police say Yeany told them she was going to eat the sandwich then go to bed.

She is being held at the Erie County Prison on $25,000 bond. The victim is at Hamot Medical Center in fair condition.

Letter to the Editor

Note: Sorry I didn't post this earlier. With days off, etc., the letter didn't make it to me until today.

As a City of Bradford tax payer and member of the Police Department I feel some facts need to be given about the current financial situation of the city and the police department. I want to stress that these facts are not meant in any way to represent the views of the Fraternal Order of Police or any other members of the department other than myself. These facts are also being stated as a tax payer with knowledge and not as a police officer.

During the last contract negotiations I along with two other representatives met with representatives of the city, one of which was John Peterson. During these negotiations the police officers agreed to concessions partially because John Peterson stated the insurance premiums were expected to raise 17 to 25% in 2008 and were expected to continue rising within those percentages. His anticipated increase fell within the range of the 23% the city received. This should have been anticipated while figuring the next budget.

When the city met with representatives of the departments on December 10th we were given the option to accept a package of three concessions which have been printed in the paper. It was asked in this meeting if the three could be voted on separately and we were informed no, it was all or nothing. I have talked with several members of the police department about the possibility of the wage freeze to help with the financial situation, this may have been acceptable.

There are many other concessions officers have made to better the police service at no cost to the tax payer. All members of the Emergency Response Team volunteered to be trained with the City of Erie S.W.A.T. and receive their Basic S.W.A.T. certificate at no additional cost to the city. Seven officers paid for their own meals, gas and lodging while being trained. Chief Close has also sent officers to other schools with no additional cost to the city to have better trained and qualified officers.

There are many other instances in which officers and the Chief have donated their time or taken compensation time in lieu of overtime.

Another point which should be made is that there are two officers in our department which are eligible for retirement but are unable to leave at this time. One of these officers expressed interest in retirement to save the job of a younger officer more capable of performing the duties. Representatives spoke with City officials and compiled figures which would have enabled one if not both of the officers to retire and keep a more productive officer on the street. These figures did show a significant savings for the city. It is my understanding that Mayor Riel understood the need for young enthusiastic officers in the department who will be an asset and worth training in specialized fields and be serving the city for years. It is also my understanding that Mayor Riel does not have the support from John Peterson or other council members.

I would like to stress that the meeting with the departments was not until December 10th, why was this not discussed earlier with the departments. John Peterson City Clerk, and Councilman Onuffer whom is in charge of Accounts and Finance should have some accountability as this should have been anticipated and the departments approached prior to the first budget reading.

Michael S Simanowski

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Kennedy Waited for Right Moment

NEW YORK (AP) — With the wind of her family's legacy at her back, Caroline Kennedy says her quest for a Senate seat has been a long time in the making.

In her first sit-down interview since she emerged as a Senate hopeful, the 51-year-old daughter of President John F. Kennedy told The Associated Press that she has always pondered jumping into politics, but waited for the right moment.

"I am an unconventional choice. I understand that. I haven't pursued the traditional path. But I think that in our public life today, we're starting to see there are many ways into public life and public service," she said.

For the full story, go to The Associated Press.

Fatal Fire in Philadelphia

A brief but lethally intense house fire killed seven people - four of them children - and injured two others late Friday night in Southwest Philadelphia.

More from and CNN.

Earthquake in Lancaster, Pa.

More than 1,000 people called the Lancaster County 911 center after a minor earthquake shook the area early this morning.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the 3.4 magnitude quake hit just after midnight and was centered just outside Lancaster.

Many who called 911 thought there had been an explosion nearby, but there were no reports of injuries or severe damage.

U.S. Geological Survey

Man Charged for Importing Beetles

Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia have charged a man for allegedly importing 25 giant beetles from Taiwan without a permit.

If convicted, 36-year-old Marc DiLullo of Birdsboro could get up to a year in jail, one year on probation and a $100,000 fine.

Prosecutors say someone in Taiwan mailed the package to DiLullo and he tried to pick it up at a post office on May 8. But postal workers were suspicious of the package labeled "toys, gifts and jellies" and notified authorities.

Politico Will Miss Ed Rendell

Governor Ed Rendell has made the list of politicians who will be missed by in 2009.

They say Rendell is a reporter's dream: a powerful, plugged-in politician who actually speaks his mind. One of the first stirs caused by Rendell happened when he told reporters that some white people in Pennsylvania were probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate.

Rendell's name still pops up as a possible Cabinet member, but that won't happen until he leaves Harrisburg in 2010. The Democrat has said he won't leave the state in the hands of new Republican Lieutenant Governor Joe Scarnati.

For the full story, go to

Friday, December 26, 2008

Man Pleads Guilty to Sex Charges

A Brookville area man has pleaded guilty to charges filed by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Child Predator Unit.

Steve Kempski is accused of using the Internet to sexually proposition and send sexually explicit photos to people who he believed were young girls. They were actually undercover agents from the Child Predator Unit.

Kempski will be sentenced after the state Sexual Offender Board peforms a Megan's Law evaluation.

Gov. Considers Gambling Expansion

New York Governor David Paterson is considering raising money for the financially strapped state by expanding gambling.

Paterson believes the state could get nearly $500 million in additional revenue by extending gambling to bars, restaurants and racetracks.

Among the proposals are allowing the Quick Draw game to be played 24 hours a day instead of 13 and making the game permanent instead of subject to review by the Legislature every few years.

Paterson also wants to lower the legal gambling age from 21 to 18.

Snow Globes Being Recalled

A holiday decoration is being recalled because it can be a fire hazard.

The Hallmark jumbo snowman snow globe is being recalled because when the glass globe is exposed to the sun it can act as a magnifying glass and ignite nearby objects. So far there have been two reports of fires caused by the snow globes.

The snow globes were sold at Hallmark Gold Crown stores for $100 but, if you have one, you can return it to any Hallmark store for a full refund.

For more information, go to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site.

United Way Reaches 60% of Goal

The United Way of the Bradford Area has reached 60% of its 2008 campaign goal of $375,000. “This wonderful achievement illustrates the commitment of the Bradford community to care for others,” states Kristen Tate Luther, Executive Director. “The capacity to care for one another is the key concept the founding fathers of the Community Chest were aiming to accomplish back in 1925 and the same level of caring exists within our community today.”

Monies raised from the annual appeal are allocated locally to health and human service agencies in Bradford. The 2008 funding cycle benefited 28 programs and 17 local agencies. “We work diligently to ensure donors their contributions DO stay locally, but many misconceptions regarding who is funded and where the monies go oftentimes prevent residents from contributing. The United Way of the Bradford Area operates on the ‘abundance philosophy’ where resources are utilized to their full potential so we can achieve the common good. Other United Way organizations may choose different paths, but the Bradford United Way has been and will always be committed to keeping everything local”, states Luther.

Several divisions within the campaign are working hard to finalize numbers – but the pace of the 2008 appeal has had its pace set by a third party….the economy. “The completion rate of the pledge process has definitely fluctuated this year, but we are and remain extremely grateful for sacrifices made to ensure pledges are completed. It’s a community success, not just organizational, so understanding financial limitations goes with the territory”, says Luther.

The United Way Board of Directors serve as the leadership team for the appeal and will take the necessary time to do all follow-up calls and contacts. The board hopes to finalize everything by January 31st. Pledges can be made by calling the United Way office.

‘We ALL Win’, the 2008 Campaign Theme, holds an impactful message, especially in these difficult economic times. Remember, ‘it’s not what you give, but that you give’ – which will help the United Way make the most of its resources this year in helping local agencies and programs.

Judge: NY Can't Enforce Tax Law

A New York State Supreme Court judge is temporarily barring officials from enforcing a new law requiring the collection of taxes on cigarettes sold by Indian retailers to non-Indians.

The judge's order tells government officials to appear in court next month to show why she shouldn't issue a permanent injunction against the tax collection.

The new law scheduled to take effect in February will prohibit manufacturers from selling tobacco products without a state tax stamp to any wholesaler that doesn't certify the cigarettes won't be resold tax-free.

A spokesman for Governor David Paterson says the state will comply with the judge's order.

Paterson in No Hurry To Name
Hillary Clinton Successor

New York Governor David Paterson says he's in no hurry to pick a successor to Hillary Clinton in the US Senate, and he wishes people would stop talking about who he will choose when, and if, Clinton is confirmed as Secretary of State.

More attention has been given to Paterson and his choice since Caroline Kennedy decided to seek the seat once held by her uncle, Robert Kennedy.

Paterson says he doesn't feel that much anxiety over the choice because, under the state constitution, whomever he appoints much stand in the next general election in 2010.

Leon Man Jailed for Firing Guns

A Leon man has been for firing guns outside a house on Route 62 Wednesday night.

Sheriff's deputies say that at about 10:15 p.m. on Christmas Eve someone called to complain about an intoxicated man who was making threats and firing guns.

44-year-old Timothy Donner was taken into custody without incident and charged with menacing, trespassing, unlawful possession of marijuana and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling.

He's in Cattaraugus County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail.

Christmas Break-Ins in Smethport

Police are looking into Christmas Day break-ins at The Cottage House Restaurant and St. Elizabeth's Church in Smethport.

They say someone broke into the church sometime between 1 and 8 a.m., broke a window on the church's basement door, took $10 from a cabinet and fled in an unknown direction.

Sometime between 1 and 1:25 a.m. someone forcibly opened, and broke, the cash register drawer at The Cottage House. Police say there was loose change in the drawer but it wasn't taken.

Police say they're not sure if the door was locked and secured by employees before they closed the restaurant, but no force was used and the door was not damaged.

Accused Orange Thief Jailed

A Jamestown man has been accused of stealing a Christmas present from a front porch on Christmas Eve.

Police say a neighbor told them he saw someone take a package that had been left on the porch by a delivery person at about 4:15 Wednesday afternoon.

Police officer Rick Hooks followed footprints from that house to a house nearby and found 28-year-old Ruben Mascitti hiding under the kitchen sink.

Mascitti was arrested and taken to Jamestown City Jail.

The package contained a box of oranges.

Gas Leak Evacuates Homes

Some Roulette homes were evacuated Wednesday night when natural gas from a new Marcellus Shale well started leaking in heavy concentrations.

At just after 6 p.m., Route 6 was closed from the eastbound Roulette Main Street exit to the Fishing Creek exit.

Roulette firefighters had to access the wells with four-wheel-drive vehicles to turn off the valves. The leak was eventually stopped.

Guardian Exploration of Texas owns the wells, but they have an office in Shinglehouse and are investigating.

For the full story, go to Solomon's Words.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Yes, Virginia ...

From The Newseum:

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

And make sure you keep checking out NORAD's Santa Tracker so you know how close he is to your house!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Council Passes 2009 Budget

WESB/WBRR News Director

Bradford City Council passed its 2009 budget Tuesday night, which does include a tax increase – but not as big as council members thought it would be.

Mayor Tom Riel says a lot of the credit for that goes to City Clerk John Peterson.

He said Peterson cut roughly $750,000 from the budget when the city was looking at a $1.2 million deficit.

"That's tremendous," Riel said. "I'm proud of the rest of city council … Everyone's worked hard."

Riel said he's sorry they had to pass the tax increase on to the public but they had no other choice.

Also Tuesday night, passed the new "residential rental unit ordinance," which is aimed at cracking down on landlords who don't take care of their property.

City Solicitor Mark Hollenbeck explained that, following a work session with area landlords, some language in the ordinance was changed from its first reading.

Hollenbeck said the ordinance makes it clear that a violation "has to be a willful act," not an unintentional mistake.

Another change is that a landlord – or an agent of the landlord – does not necessarily have to live in Bradford. For example, if someone lives in Limestone, New York, but regularly comes to Bradford, that would be acceptable.

Also, there is a change in inspection fees. If a landlord has the same tenant for two years, and the property has passed inspection for two years, there will be no fee after that as long as the same tenant lives in the property.

In other matters, Steve Cavallaro of Cavallaro's Custom Picture Framing, representing other Kennedy Street business owners, said they would like the city to consider using parking meters with only a 30-minute time limit, instead of two hours, so they would have a greater turnover.

He mentioned that they already lost parking on one side of the street because of the Streetscape project. Cavallaro also noted that if the two-hour meters are installed people will park on Kennedy Street then leave for two hours, taking up a space that a potential customer would use.

Riel said council will discuss the matter, and noted that they would have to change the parking ordinance to install meters with a shorter time limit.

In other matters, Peterson wanted residents to be aware that instead of receiving coupon books for refuse payment, they will be receiving a sheet of perforated coupons.

He said this is a cost savings to the city.

Also Tuesday night, council recognized Bradford Eagle Scout Tyler Thomas for his restoration work at the 5th Ward Park.

Riel said his efforts made a visible difference and were also a cost savings to the city.

At the end of the meeting, Riel thanked everyone for bearing with council as they "get through this financial trouble. … We hope that everyone has a happy holiday season – and the politically incorrect Merry Christmas as well."

UPB Prof Reviewer for Textbook

Dr. David Soriano, associate professor of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, is among 22 professionals who reviewed the newest edition of a textbook for college courses on drugs and society.

The 10th edition of “Drugs and Society” is the only introductory text of its kind co-authored by two pharmacologists and a criminologist, Soriano said. The authors are Glen R. Hanson, Ph.D., DDS; Peter Venturelli, Ph.D.; and Annette E. Fleckenstein, Ph.D.

The new text, published by Jones and Bartlett Publishers, illustrates the impact of drug use and abuse on the lives of ordinary people and provides students with a realistic perspective of drug-related problems in our society.

“I consider it an honor to be selected as one of the reviewers for the newly released 10th edition of this highly regarded text,” Soriano said.

“The publishing company and authors asked me to review the new edition because they are aware of the number of students taking the Drugs and Society class on our campus. I have been teaching the course since Fall 2001 and it was the first on-line course taught on our campus.”

Soriano teaches Drugs and Society at Pitt-Bradford, where it is a required course for three Pitt-Bradford majors. The lab is taught from a chemist’s perspective and involves formal lab courses and field trips to the New York State Crime Lab in Olean, N.Y., Federal Correctional Institution – McKean and the Mentally Ill Chemically Addicted unit of Bradford Regional Medical Center.

“There are still a significant number of undergraduate campuses not offering such a course on drugs of high use/abuse potential, but the situation is rapidly changing,” Soriano said. “In my estimation, all college students should have a course in drug education and awareness while at the undergraduate level.”

Soriano earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, N.J., and earned his doctorate from the University of Nebraska. He has taught at Pitt-Bradford since 1984 and teaches general chemistry, biochemistry, organic chemistry and medicinal chemistry.

His research interests include the evaluation of drugs and the design of potential new drugs using computer graphics.

CCMH Awards Scholarships

Several area students were recently awarded scholarship funds from Charles Cole Memorial Hospital.

Funds are awarded to students pursuing nursing and allied health careers. Upon graduation, scholarship recipients agree to work at CCMH for a minimum of two years.

“The hospital looks to its scholarship program to help with recruiting the next generation of heath care workers. Today, we have over 40 past recipients working at Charles Cole,” said Tom Noe, executive director, corporate support services at CCMH. Noe said that $75,000 in scholarship funds will be awarded this year

Those receiving scholarship funds include:

Carol Strawderman of Port Allegany is attending the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. She is married to Michael Strawderman and is a daughter of Gloria Kelly of West Virginia and Ron Kelly of South Carolina.

Megan Woods is attending UPB and is a daughter of Dan and Kim Woods of Smethport.

Amber Gardner of North Bend, Pa., is attending Lock Haven University’s Clearfield Campus. Gardner, a daughter of Robert and Cheryl Gardner, received the Brenda A. Ross Memorial Nursing Scholarship which was established in memory of Ross, who was a nurse at CCMH until her untimely death in 1987.

For additional information on scholarship opportunities, call 814/274-5431 or e-mail

Rep. Peterson Has Mixed Emotions

WESB/WBRR News Director

After nearly 40 years in public office, Congressman John Peterson says he is retiring with "mixed emotions."

Peterson represented the 5th district for six terms in Congress, but decided not to seek a 7th term this year. He says he has no firm plans for the future, but will be spending time with his family and working around his Victorian home and two-acre flower garden.

"I leave office with very, very mixed emotions. I'm not tired, I'm not sick, I'm not out of gas," Peterson said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon. "I don't think these are jobs you should hold for life. … I think a good turnover in a legislative body is healthy."

Peterson, who turns 70 on Christmas Day, says he believes he has been a strong voice for rural issues in Congress. He says he tried to get people to work together on issues including economic growth, rural health care and technology education.

He says be believes his successor, Glenn Thompson, will be an advocate for rural Pennsylvania as well.

Peterson says one of the most important issues facing the country is energy. He says the U.S. needs a broad-based energy policy that can't be built around renewable energy sources just yet.

"You can't stop using coal, oil and gas because you want to switch to renewables that aren't ready to supply you affordably," Peterson says.
He says energy is "still an under-valued issue … and now we have to watch the new administration."

On the state level, Peterson says he will still continue to oppose putting tolls on Interstate 80 if Governor Ed Rendell and/or the Legislature go in that direction again.

He adds that he would be willing to work with an organization to disband the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and "fold it into" PennDOT.

Peterson says he set out to be a businessman before getting involved in politics. He served in the state House and Senate before being elected to Congress.

He says what he'll miss most about politics is the debates.

If you debate an issue long enough you're likely to do the right thing," Peterson says. "I thnk today we have far too little debate, far too little discussion that the public gets involved in."

"I love the discussion of issues," he says. "I will miss that very much."

One Book Bradford Receives Grant

The Bradford Area Public Library and its One Book Bradford Committee has received a grant for $2,883 from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council as part of its Our Stories, Our Future initiative on American History.

The grant was received to support the February 9, 2009, visit of author David Laskin at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s Bromeley Family Theater.

One Book Bradford is a collaborative venture among local book clubs, the Friends of the Bradford Area Public Library and the Spectrum Series of Pitt-Bradford.

“This year’s selection, ‘The Children’s Blizzard,’ by David Laskin, was chosen with care and understanding of the residents of the local area who identify with fierce independence and family loyalties of the early settlers of the American prairie,” said Linda M. Newman, director of the library.

“The author’s visit will offer a unique opportunity for a rural audience to interact with a published author who has made a meaningful contribution to the field of literature.”

Other funding for Laskin’s visit comes from One Book Bradford, Spectrum and the Pitt-Bradford writing program and the Division of Communication and the Arts.

Our Stories, Our Future, is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of We the People, a national initiative exploring the history of the United States.

The Pennsylvania Humanities Council’s mission is to inspire individuals to enjoy and share life-long learning. Since 1973, the PHC has empowered local groups to offer high-quality public programs that have a positive impact on the everyday life of their communities. PHC represents the federal-state partnership of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The next One Book Bradford event is at 2 p.m. January 24, when Bradford Little Theatre will present an original short play based on Ted Kooser's book of poetry from from reminiscenses of blizzard survivors.

Pictured, members of the One Book Bradford committee, from left, Bradford Area Public Library director Linda Newman, Ann Gannon and chairwoman Pat Shinaberger, present State Rep. Martin Causer with a copy of this year’s One Book selection, “The Children’s Blizzard” by David Laskin, in appreciation for his support of the arts.
(Photo Courtesy of One Book Bradford)

Parkview, Hamlin Bank Lead

In round 5 chess league action at School Street Elementary, there were several upsets in the junior varsity division. Lang Surveying Team was knocked out of first place by the Tasta Pizza Team. Northwest Savings Bank Team drew their match against Team Edmond Chevrolet. Hamlin Bank Team crushed the Domino’s Pizza Team to take over the division lead. Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair Team won a major victory against Drs. Rhinehart Team. Hamlin Bank now has a 2-point lead in the league followed by Lang Surveying in second and the Tasta Pizza Team in third place.

In the JV division, only Leah Swineford, captain for Tasta Pizza, and Mitchell Forbes, captain for Hamlin Bank, remain undefeated.

In the varsity section, Parkview Super Market Team won its match against Dr. Laroche Team by half a point to continue in first place. Bradford Window Co. Team managed a narrow win over Smith’s Fine Jewelry. Dexter’s Service Center Team tied with the Ed Shults Toyota Team, and Team Dr. Gonzalez bested the Pharmacy at Union Square Team. Parkview continues to lead the varsity action followed closely by Dr. Gonzalez and Bradford Window Co.

Tied for first in the varsity division are Tamara Ferguson, captain for Smith’s Fine Jewelry; Mike Jones, captain of the Dr. Gonzalez team; Rob Ferguson, captain for Ed Shults Toyota; Todd Hennard, captain of the Bradford Window team; Greg Henry, captain for the Dr. Laroche team; and Bob Ferguson, captain for Parkview Super Market.

There will be no league activities over the Christmas Holidays. Matches will resume on Wednesday, January 7.

Bradford Makes Top 200

Allegheny National Forest Vacation Bureau

If you like the outdoors, Bradford should be on your destination list.

That’s according to Outdoor Life magazine’s Top 200 Towns for Outdoorsmen. Bradford is ranked 164th, according to Outdoor Life’s December/January issue.

The towns were rated based on several criteria – population, huntable species available, fishable specials available, “trophy potential,” year-round hunting and fishing opportunities, public land access and lack of gun laws limiting sportsmen.

This distinction is sure to boost the area.

“Having Bradford selected as one of the national top 200 towns for outdoorsmen is an honor,” said Linda Devlin, executive director for the Allegheny National Forest Vacation Bureau, located at 80 E. Corydon St., Bradford. “Our national assets are unsurpassed.”

The Allegheny National Forest Vacation Bureau promotes tourism to McKean County.

Sometimes, as Devlin pointed out, those who live in the area don’t always recognize what the area has to offer.

“As residents, we sometimes miss the beauty and uniqueness of our region,” she said. “Bradford and the other communities around the Allegheny National Forest are truly an amazing destination for recreational enthusiasts.”

According to the article, the magazine combed through every population center in the U.S. with more than 4,000 people.

Some of the factors considered were the growth rate of the local economy, the unemployment rate, the degree of taxation, the time it takes to commute to work, the crime rate, housing prices, median household income and the variety of cultural opportunities within an easy driving distance.

Outdoor Life then looked at how the towns were purely from a sporting perspective.

“We rated them on the fishing and hunting opportunities each town offers, the trophy quality of the sporting opportunities, proximity to land, the restrictiveness of the gun laws and whether fishing and hunting is good year-round,” according to the article.

The magazine then put this information into a database and developed a formula that gave a little more emphasis to sporting opportunities than to quality-of-life rankings.

“These places exist in every state – towns where you can step out your back door with a fly rod or a shotgun and find abundant fishing and hunting opportunity in sight of the municipal water tower,” the article said. “Places where the economy is vibrant, but the pace is slow. Towns with good schools and hospitals and a strong sense of community.

“Places where you can wear fishing waders or a camouflage hunting jacket into a bar and not call attention to yourself.”

Many attributes featured in the article are part of a message that the Allegheny National Forest Vacation Bureau has been working to promote.

“This designation as one of the top 200 sites in the nation for hunting and fishing in America by Outdoor Life reinforces the marketing message that the vacation bureau has been promoting to travelers,” Devlin said. “Our region is a unique destination full of quirky attractions offering world class outdoor recreation for all seasons. Plus, we are a safe and economical destination.

“I think this designation will be useful in helping to brand the region as a major destination. It will be helpful in increasing the number of visitors to McKean County.”

According to the article, which is also featured in the Dec. 19 issue of Pennsylvania Outdoor News, the writers of Outdoor Life scored towns on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being better.

With a population of 8,578, Bradford scored seven for huntable species; four for fishable species; four for trophy potential; 4.7 for year-round opportunities; six for public lands access; and seven for gun laws.

Devlin also noted that only five towns within Pennsylvania were selected. The other Pennsylvania towns on the list are Williamsport, Carlisle, State College and Scranton.

For more information, log onto or call the Allegheny National Forest Vacation Bureau, 800-473-9370.

Monday, December 22, 2008

VoiceCare Provides Assurance

Linda South, personal emergency response coordinator for Bradford Regional Medical Center’s McKean County VNA & Hospice, displays the pushbutton activator necklace and the two-way voice console of the VoiceCare Personal Emergency Response System, an alert system available through Bradford Regional Medical Center’s McKean County VNA & Hospice at 20 School St. in Bradford. “We have 150 people who are subscribing to VoiceCare throughout McKean County,” says South. “But more could benefit from this alert unit. It promotes secure independent living for those who are on their own and away from family and caregivers."
(Photo courtesy of BRMC)

Causer: Health Care is Big Challenge

By State Rep. Martin Causer

Next to dwindling state budget revenues, one of the biggest challenges facing this Commonwealth and its citizens is access to health care.

In rural areas like ours, it can be difficult to attract doctors and specialists. It is even more challenging to keep them once they get here. Unfortunately, thanks to the high malpractice insurance costs in Pennsylvania, that problem is no longer unique to rural areas. Many parts of the state are struggling to keep enough doctors on hand to meet patient needs. High-risk specialists, such as OB-GYNs, are in especially short supply, and a number of hospitals have closed their maternity wards as a result.

Most of us who are fortunate enough to have good health likely take for granted that if and when we do get sick, we’ll just go to the doctor or the hospital and be as good as new. But talk to anyone who’s had serious health problems and you’ll likely learn that we should not assume the care we need will be available.

In Harrisburg, there’s been quite a lot of talk about health care over the past two years, but not enough action. I sincerely hope that changes in the new legislative session.

First and foremost, I believe we need to extend the MCare abatement program that helps make malpractice insurance more affordable to doctors and keeps them practicing in our state. The abatement is funded by money paid by doctors into the MCare fund, so there is no impact on our state budget. The governor has refused to extend this program until lawmakers approve his very costly plan to “cover all Pennsylvanians.” I oppose this plan because we cannot afford it and broad-based, state-sponsored health care plans simply do not work.

However, I do recognize that while our Commonwealth has one of the lowest rates of uninsured people in the nation, there are still people in need of coverage. The CHIP program has provided an important safety net for children, and adultBasic could serve that role for adults. I would consider supporting an expansion of the adultBasic to cover the 50,000 or so people already on the waiting list who cannot get coverage elsewhere. We should also consider sliding scale premiums that would be based on a person’s income in order to enroll more people who cannot obtain coverage elsewhere.

Finally, we must take steps to make it more affordable for the private sector to continue providing health care benefits to employees by encouraging the use of Health Savings Accounts, wellness tax credits and establishment of a basic but affordable health benefit plan that small businesses can afford to offer employees.

With this prescription, we can better ensure the health of our citizens.

WIVB Being Pulled from Lineup

WIVB-TV will be taken off the Atlantic Broadband lineup on January 1 unless an agreement can be reached between the cable company and Channel 4's parent company.

Earlier this year, LIN Television and Time Warner Cable had a dispute that left Time Warner customers without CBS programming for nearly 4 weeks.

LIN was holding out for Time Warner to pay "fair market value," while Time Warner said it should not pay for free over-the-air broadcast signals. An Atlantic Broadband representative says their situation is similar.

Terms of the eventual agreement were not disclosed. WGRZ-TV had a contract dispute with Atlantic Broadband in December 2006, although a deal was eventually reached there as well.

If WIVB is pulled from the Atlantic Broadband lineup, customers can still get CBS programming on WSEE-TV from Erie.

Wong to Lead Pitt-Bradford's Choir

Maestro Samuel Wong, a former assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic who has recently relaunched his medical career, will lead the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s College-Community Choir next semester.

Wong said the choir’s program for its March 18 program will be famous opera choruses, including Beethoven’s “Fidelio,” Mozart’s “Magic Flute,” Verdi’s “La Traviata” and Wagner’s “Lohengrin.”

“I welcome all voices to join in this exciting program,” Wong said. “It will be a chance to delve into the drama of great operas as well as review language pronunciations in Italian, German and French.”

The first rehearsal will take place at 7 p.m. Jan. 6, 2009, in the Webb/Bradford Forest Rehearsal Hall, Room 138 in Blaisdell Hall. No auditions are required, and all young adult and adult singers are welcome.

Wong’s dual career as maestro and medical doctor began with a degree in piano performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, where he also studied composition, tuba and violin.

He moved on to Harvard University, where he graduated magna cum laude in applied mathematics. He remained at Harvard for medical school, graduating with honors in ophthalmology, neurology and psychiatry.

While pursuing a residency in ophthalmology at Manhattan Eye and Ear Hospital, he continued to pursue his passion for music by conducting the New York Youth Symphony.

It was in this role that he was “discovered” by New York Philharmonic music director Zubin Mehta, who offered him the philharmonic’s assistant conductor position.

He first came to international attention when he made his New York Philharmonic debut in December 1990, stepping in for the late Leonard Bernstein, and then, in January 1991, replacing Mehta. Over the years, he has led more than 35 performances with the New York Philharmonic in New York City and in Washington, D.C.

Frequently in demand as guest conductor, Wong has appeared with the major orchestras in Toronto, Montreal, New York, Seattle, Houston, London, Brussels, Prague, Tel Aviv, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Mexico City, Spain, Italy, Australia and New Zealand.

Active in new music, Wong has led significant first performances with many orchestras, including 15 premieres in Carnegie Hall. He has collaborated with such distinguished artists as Yo-Yo Ma, André Watts, Marilyn Horne, Federica von Stade, Renée Fleming and more.

At the peak of his music career, Wong decided to return to medicine, accepting a position with Seneca Eye Surgeons Inc. in March to serve offices in Bradford, Warren and Jamestown, N.Y.

Wong takes over direction of the choir from Dr. Lee Spear, who led it for a decade and retired at the end of the fall semester.

“I am really delighted that fate has brought Sam to Bradford at exactly the right moment,” Spear said. “It is a pleasure to know that the choir will be in the hands of such an accomplished conductor.”

Food for The Warming House

For the 27th straight year, students from St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute pulled their weight — 44,562 pounds, to be precise — for St. Bonaventure University’s soup kitchen in Olean.

Volunteers, about half of them members of the St. Bonaventure men’s swimming team, spent almost two hours Saturday morning unloading more than 22 tons of non-perishable food items and paper products at The Warming House on West State Street.

In all, almost 30,000 food items and paper products were collected for The Warming House.

The three-truck delivery was postponed from Friday, when weather closed almost all schools in Western New York and made driving dangerous. The switch prevented the boys from the Buffalo high school from making the Saturday trip to unload the trucks, so members of the St. Bonaventure community rallied to help.

“It’s the least we could do,” said Sean McNamee, men’s swimming coach. “Help was needed, and we were happy to provide it.”

The donation provides about 90 percent of the non-perishable stock for the year at The Warming House, said director Trevor Thompson.

Called the St. Joseph’s Food Basket, the donation effort is student-driven, running for three weeks right after Thanksgiving. Other Buffalo-area food pantries are aided by the drive, but The Warming House is the prime beneficiary.

Thompson and Bob Donius, vice president for University Ministries, presented Food Basket organizers with a 150th Anniversary Medallion at a school assembly Thursday in recognition of St. Joseph’s 27-year commitment to supporting The Warming House, the nation’s oldest student-run soup kitchen.

“The sacrifice and dedication of St. Joseph’s students in this food drive allow for the daily opportunity of St. Bonaventure University students, faculty and staff and Olean-area community members to continue providing much needed dignity, hospitality and nourishment to the area’s needy,” Thompson said.

In the photo, provided by St. Bonaventure University, Dan Donner (left) from Technology Services hands a box to Jim Miller of the Biology Department at the head of the food brigade unloading more than 22 tons of non-perishables into The Warming House soup kitchen in Olean Saturday morning.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Off for a Few Days

I'm taking a few days off, so don't expect many (if any) posts 'til Monday. Hope to see some of you at the Bromeley Family Theater for A Christmas Story.

Spear Retiring from Pitt-Bradford

Dr. Lee Spear, who re-established the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s College-Community Choir in 1997 and contributed to the design of Blaisdell Hall, is retiring from Pitt-Bradford at the end of the fall semester.

Spear, who earned his own bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Oberlin College, began his teaching career at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., where he started a combined men’s and women’s chorus shortly after Hamilton became co-educational.

Later he earned doctor of musical arts in conducting from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

From Hamilton College, Spear moved on to Chautauqua County, N.Y., where he became the artistic director of the Chautauqua Chamber Singers.

The Chautauqua Chambers Singers regularly assisted in the concerts of Allan Slovenkay, who founded the College-Community Choir at Pitt-Bradford, served as its director and taught music.

The Chautauqua Chamber Singers also appeared annually at Pitt-Bradford as part of the Spectrum series, presenting a dinner concert in Renaissance costume for the annual December banquet in the 1980s.

Slovenkay arranged for Spear to be invited to teach classes at Pitt-Bradford, which he began doing in the fall of 1983. In fall 1997, he was appointed associate professor of music.

“We’re happy that Lee chose to share his talents with us back in 1983 and he will be missed by all of us in this community,” said Dr. Steven Hardin, vice president and dean of academic affairs. “He not only enriches the lives of his students through his excellent teaching but he also brings music to life for anyone who has ever attended his concerts or lectures.”

Although Pitt-Bradford does not offer a music major, Spear clearly doesn’t believe in offering watered-down classes for non-majors.

“You have to dive in with general education students,” he said, “otherwise it’s a waste of their time. You only have 14 weeks.”

Students taking his basic musicianship class end up composing their own pieces of music with four parts, something that advances in technology have made easier, he says.

“Music education has changed as it has begun to embrace technologies,” he said. Spear welcomed the new tools, studying and designing a music lab for Blaisdell Hall, Pitt-Bradford’s fine arts center, which opened in 2005, that consists of a dozen Macintosh computers and keyboards. Spear said it was the first iMac G5 lab in the world.

“Technology is a great gift to students who are learning to analyze music by listening to it,” Spear said. “We were one of five schools in the country that participated in the development of a software solution to the problem of enabling students to freeze an audio file and place markers in the file wherever they hear something interesting -- a process that used to

have to be done by rewinding and fast-forwarding tape with a counter.

In designing the lab, Spear visited a dozen other labs at universities across the country to examine what was being done on the cutting edge of music pedagogy.

He also contributed to the design of the Bromeley Family Theater and the Webb/Bradford Forest Rehearsal Hall, which is an acoustically superb room, constructed to be totally isolated acoustically from the rest of the building. He said that the first time the College-Community Choir practiced in that room it accomplished in two hours what previously would have taken three weeks because the singers could hear each other so well.

Spear is proud of the work he did to make Blaisdell Hall a first-class facility for a small college. “To leave a legacy that is a permanent legacy, you can’t beat bricks and mortar,” he said.

Jeff Guterman, chairman of the Division of Communication and the Arts, commented on Spear’s departure.

“Lee’s accomplishments are evident in the wonderful music he has brought to the college, in the fine and performing arts facilities he had a direct hand in helping to design, and in his standards of utmost quality and attention to detail,” he said. “He is the type of individual who will take on especially challenging and complex tasks and experience a very high degree of success with them.

“He teaches courses that are at several different skill levels in terms of student learning, and he seamlessly moves from the most fundamental music courses to those that are highly advanced.”

Spear plans to continue his involvement with the Chautauqua Institution near his home in Jamestown, N.Y., where he teaches courses in how to listen to the symphony, presents pre-concert lectures for every symphonic concert of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, and writes the “Symphony Notes” column for the Chautauquan Daily newspaper.

He and his wife, Becky, who is also retiring from Pitt-Bradford, where she has been a voice instructor, also plan to work on renovating their home.

(In the photo, courtesy of Pitt-Bradford, Dr. Lee Spear works with students in the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s music lab.)

First Night Buttons on Sale

From Main Street Manager Anita Dolan:

Area residents are encouraged to ring in the New Year family style by participating in First Night Bradford. Buttons are now on sale for the event which will be held on Wednesday, December 31st. Buttons may be purchased at Tina’s Hallmark, The Grocery Stretcher, JD Novelties, Tops Supermarkets and all Crosby's locations.

Events scheduled throughout the day include movies beginning at 10 a.m. at the Bradford Movie House, an art show, bowling, ice skating, swimming, a trail hike, an inflatable children’s carnival, karaoke, teen bands, Celtic music, the Wild World of Animals, a ventriloquist and a local music variety show. The event will end at midnight with fireworks provided by Zambelli Fireworks International.

For a complete listing of events, details and locations, people can visit

Wanderers Make Holidays Brighter

A Bradford-based motorcycle club called The Wanderers made good on its promise for another Christmas holiday by giving presents Wednesday to Bradford Regional Medical Center’s Health Beginnings Plus, located at 222 W. Washington St. The club holds fundraisers throughout the year so it can purchase presents. Members of the club say they’ve been donating presents to Healthy Beginnings Plus for nearly 20 years. Shown in the photo (from left) are: Fred Otto of The Wanderers; 10-year-old Ashton Little; Timothy Deyoe of The Wanderers; Healthy Beginnings Plus secretary Brenda Osborne, who’s holding 2-week-old Trinity Tipton; and David Farr, also of The Wanderers. The presents will be given to Healthy Beginnings Plus families until the supply is depleted. Healthy Beginnings Plus provides prenatal and postpartum healthcare for mothers and babies. The staff includes nurses, a dietitian and a social worker who offer a range of services to women enrolled in the Pennsylvania Medical Assistance Program. For more information, call 814-362-4722.
(Photo Courtesy of BRMC)

Scarnati: Cut to Rural Tourism
Funding is 'Incomprehensible'

Lieutenant Governor Joe Scarnati has written a letter to the state Department of Community and Economic Development saying he's disappointed with the recently released Tourism Promotion Assistance guidelines.

He says the administration has unilaterally taken action to provide Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with exorbitant funding at the expense of rural areas in much greater need.

He says many communities in the 25th senatorial district rely on tourism to sustain their economic viability, and to cut funding during these difficult economic times is incomprehensible.

Scarnati says if the department doesn't re-evaluate its guidelines, he will correct the inequities through the legislative and budgetary process.

You can read Scarnati's letter to DCED Acting Secretary John Blake HERE. (PDF)

Defilippi Named Coach of the Year

Tony Defilippi of Cameron County has been named D9 Sports dot com football coach of the year.

Ross Nicholson of Kane has been named defensive player of the year and Nick Redden of Clearfield is offensive lineman of the year.

Jarrin Campman of Clearfield is the overall player of the year and Derek Buganza of Brockway is the rookie of the year.

For the full story, go to

Changes to Clean Indoor Air Act?

Three months following the effective date of Pennsylvania’s Clean Indoor Air Act banning smoking in most public places, the author of the law, State Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf (R-Montgomery / Bucks) announced that he is introducing legislation in the new session which begins in January that would expand the state’s smoking ban.

Greenleaf, who first introduced smokefree legislation in 1993, said, “We have fought long and hard, and have won a major victory for the health of Pennsylvanians. The current Clean Indoor Air Act removes secondhand smoke from about 95% of workplaces and public areas in this Commonwealth. The adoption of these new amendments will provide Pennsylvania with a more comprehensive smoking ban.”

Greenleaf’s Clean Indoor Air Act of 2008 arrives two years after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared cigarette smoke a class ‘A’ carcinogen, the agency’s rating for the most lethal of cancer causing substances.

According to the EPA, there is no safe level of secondhand smoke. It is estimated that over 53,000 non-smokers die each year due to exposure.

Pennsylvania’s smoking ban covers most public places and workplaces with exceptions including drinking establishments with less than 20% food sales, portions of casinos, and private clubs.

“I believe that these exceptions can create confusion and make it harder to implement the law,” said Greenleaf. “Furthermore, they provide for an unlevel playing field when some establishments must comply while others do not.”

Under Greenleaf’s new legislation, the following exceptions would be removed from the Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA):

ü Drinking establishments where food sales amount to 20% or less of total sales

ü Gaming floors

ü Private clubs

ü Residential care facilities

ü Fundraisers

ü Tobacco promotion events

ü Full Service Truck Stops

The bill would as well prohibit smoking on an outdoor deck, patio, or similar outdoor service area of a food or drinking establishment.

Greenleaf’s legislation would also allow local governments at the city, county, and township level to enact smokefree ordinances that are stricter than the state law. Only Philadelphia is currently permitted to enforce its own ordinance. According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, 35 states allow local governments to adopt more stringent smokefree rules than state law. Pennsylvania’s six neighboring states: New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Ohio do not preempt local smokefree ordinances.

The state of Oregon enacted a smokefree law that goes into effect January 1, 2009 prohibiting smoking in all bars, gaming venues, truck stops, and assisted living facilities. In February, 2008, Maryland’s smokefree law was extended to include all bars and private social clubs. Smoking continues to be banned in all Maryland casinos, healthcare-related facilities, and truck stops. Municipalities are not preempted. Also, Utah and Montana enacted 100% smokefree bar laws which are scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2009 and October 1, 2009, respectively.

Greenleaf’s legislation is supported by the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, and Smokefree Pennsylvania.

'Person of the Year' No Surprise

Time magazine named President-elect Barack Obama its "Person of the Year" for 2008. The magazine says Obama "has come to dominate the public sphere so completely that it beggars belief to recall that half the people in America had never heard of him two years ago."

For the full story, go to

Tony Dorsett's Nephew
Allegedly Ran Coke Ring

Federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh say they've broken up a violent crack cocaine ring headed by the nephew of former University of Pittsburgh star and Hall of Fame Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett.

Authorities say 31-year-old Anthony Dorsett of Aliquippa and 12 others sold crack and powder cocaine since 2003. An indictment unsealed Tuesday detailed the operation as authorities arrested most of the suspects. They say Dorsett had previously been arrested Saturday in West Virginia.

The drug trafficking was centered in a public housing complex in Aliquippa.

For more information, go HERE.

No Birthday Cake for Adolf Hitler

You may have heard this yesterday on The Morning Buzz. Now it's everywhere.

EASTON, Pa. (AP) — Three-year-old Adolf Hitler Campbell is cute, cuddly and, for now, blissfully unaware of the shock value conveyed by his first and middle names. That may be changing, though.

The youngster was at the center of a recent dispute between his parents and a local supermarket that refused to spell out his name on a cake for his birthday party last weekend.

For the full story, go to

DEP Says 'No' To Act 537 Plan

The state Department of Environmental Protection has rejected the update to the city's sewage transfer infrastructure, saying that there's not an agreement on the plan between the city and the surrounding municipalities.

DEP says it won't accept the plan until the city, Bradford and Foster townships and Lewis Run agree on terms for the plant expansion and funding commitment.

Township and Lewis Run officials say they don't want to raise their residents' rates because they don't contribute to the problem with the sewage system.

DEP has given the municipalities 90 days to come up with a draft of an agreement.

Eldred Twp. Home Damaged by Fire

An Eldred Township home was heavily damaged by a fire Tuesday afternoon, but no one was hurt.

About 100 firefighters from 10 departments battled the blaze at the home of Bruce and Tammy Ireland on North Branch Road.

Firefighters were on the scene for about 7 hours.

They say the fire was accidental but a state police fire marshal will be on the scene today to investigate.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Contract Extension for JoePa

Joe Paterno will be coaching the Nittany Lions through the 2011 season.

Penn State University President Graham Spanier announced the contract agreement today. He and athletic director Tim Curley agreed that they might re-evaluate the circumstances and alter the arrangement by either shortening or extending the contact as necessary.

Paterno, who turns 82 on Sunday, guided Penn State to an 11-1 regular season this year. The sixth-ranked Nittany Lions face No. 5 USC in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.

PSP Get High Visibility Vests

HARRISBURG: (Dec. 16, 2008) – Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski said troopers and motor carrier enforcement officers who work on busy roadways have an added measure of protection now that they have new, high-visibility safety vests for directing traffic and carrying out other duties.

“These bright yellow vests will enhance officer safety because they can be spotted easily by drivers from a distance,” said Pawlowski, who added that a study by the Emergency Responder Safety Institute found that about 50 police officers, firefighters and rescue personnel have been struck by vehicles while performing duties along roads this year.

“Working in traffic can be dangerous,” said Pawlowski. “Troopers who direct traffic, investigate crashes, conduct safety checkpoints, and handle lane closures are expected to wear these vests. Additionally, though, I urge all drivers to slow down and proceed with caution when encountering any emergency vehicle stopped along the road.”

About 3,000 vests were distributed last month to members of the department’s patrol units, collision analysis and reconstruction specialist units, forensic service units and motor carrier enforcement units. Another 2,800 vests are expected to be purchased during 2009 so that every trooper and motor carrier enforcement officer has a vest.

Federal regulations that went into effect last month require anyone working along a highway to wear a high-visibility vest that meets the requirements of the American National Standards Institute/International Equipment Association.

The vests, which cost $43 each, are being purchased with federal grant money.

Pictured: Trooper James Ford of the Vehicle Fraud Investigation Unit at Troop R, Dunmore, wears one of the new high-visibility safety vests being provided to members and motor carrier enforcement officers. (Trooper William Satkowski photo)

Sen. Cathy Young Statement On
Gov. Paterson Budget Proposal

“While there is no doubt that New York State must effectively deal with a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall due to our Nation’s recession, there are several areas of concern.”

“Hiking taxes and fees on families who already are struggling is not the right thing to do. Abolishing systems that detect welfare fraud also is a huge step backward. We need more accountability in government, not less.

And, there seems to be no initiatives to stimulate the economy and grow more jobs. In fact, this budget would weaken the Empire Zone Program, which has been an effective economic development tool. We’ve kept and added thousands of new jobs in my Senate district through the Empire Zones. Rebuilding our economy is the best route to recovery and prosperity.”

“I already am hearing from my constituents about the budget’s impact on them. We in the state Legislature are rolling up our sleeves to fully review these proposals, and we will gain more information in upcoming budget hearings.”

Snyder Urges Peaceful Resolution

Seneca Nation President Barry Snyder Sr. is urging the Seneca people to give its leaders a chance to peacefully work out a solution with New York State regarding the bill signed by Governor David Paterson that would tax cigarettes.

11 years ago when then-Governor George Pataki attempted to collect taxes, the Senecas reacted with violence and tire fires on the New York State Thruway and I-86.

At a news conference today, Snyder said he sent a letter to Paterson asking for another meeting on the issue. He also sent a letter to President Bush notifying him of a treaty violation.

The Senecas say the Buffalo Creek Treaty – which dates back to George Washington – exempts them from taxes being collected on retail sales.

Gas Drilling Fees to Increase

Proposals to increase the fees that companies must pay to drill into the Marcellus Shale natural gas formation in Pennsylvania are past a first hurdle.

The Environmental Quality Board approved a Department of Environmental Protection request to impose new fees for Marcellus Shale drilling permits that will replace the flat $100 permit fee with a variable fee structure based on well depth.

The new fee structure sets a base permit cost of $900 for all Marcellus Shale wells up to 1,500 feet deep, and imposes an additional cost of $100 for every 500 feet of depth past 1,500 feet.

The DEP says the new fee structure will help ensure adequate funding to cover program expenses for permit reviews and well site inspections. The fee increase will also allow the department to hire additional staff in Meadville, Pittsburgh and Williamsport to process permits and monitor drilling activities in the northcentral and northeastern areas of the commonwealth.

Local Juvenile Center Could Close

The Cattaraugus Resident Center in Limestone and the Great Valley Residential Center are two of the casualties in Governor David Paterson's budget proposal.

In the proposal unveiled this morning, Paterson also said aid to public schools will be cut by $700 million, state university tuition will go up and state workers who aren't laid off will get no pay raises.

The proposal also calls for re-instating the sales tax on clothing as well as taxing satellite television and radio users. It also calls for higher taxes on beer and wine and a new state fee for people who write bad checks. Auto registration and license fees would also increase.

For more details on Paterson's proposal, visit the governor's Web site.

New 'Patient Navigator' Program

The American Cancer Society today launched its Patient Navigator Program at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), thanks to support received from AstraZeneca. This is the first site to launch in Upstate New York State as part of a strategic nationwide effort to significantly extend the reach of this innovative program and assist individual cancer patients in negotiating the health care system.

“A cancer diagnosis can be a life-changing experience for patients, their families and their caregivers,” said Gretchen Leffler, regional vice president of the American Cancer Society. “Our patient navigator is able to provide support every step of the way, from explaining what to expect with chemotherapy, to helping patients find transportation to appointments and even linking them with free temporary housing like at our Buffalo Hope Lodge. Fighting cancer is a difficult, challenging journey; but with the help of trained American Cancer Society patient navigators, people don’t have to go through it alone.”

The American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program directly connects cancer patients to a cancer education and support specialist – known as a “patient navigator” – who, through one-on-one relationships, serves as a personal guide to patients and caregivers as they face the psychosocial, emotional and financial challenges that cancer can bring. The service is free and confidential, and places an emphasis on assisting the medically underserved.

AstraZeneca’s support will enable the launch of a full-time American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. According to American Cancer Society estimates more than 9,000 people in Western New York are diagnosed with cancer every year. The gift is part of a $10 million pledge by AstraZeneca to the Society to accelerate development of at least 50 new Patient Navigator Program sites over a five-year period in communities throughout the United States.

"Roswell Park was the first hospital in Western New York to offer its patients a patient navigation program. This collaborative effort will enhance our existing innovative program and help ensure that patients obtain individualized support throughout their treatment and follow-up cancer care,” said Donald L. Trump, MD, FACP, President & CEO, RPCI. “This program proactively reaches patients who are most in need of specialized services and support, providing the critical link to local resources that will improve their outcomes and quality of life."

As no cancer experience is the same, American Cancer Society patient navigators connect patients and caregivers with the most appropriate programs and services to help improve each individual’s access to health care and quality of life. Whether it is connecting patients and caregivers with the information they need to make treatment decisions and better understand their disease, helping them deal with the day-to-day challenges of living with cancer, such as transportation and insurance issues, or connecting them with community resources such as support groups, American Cancer Society patient navigators can provide help throughout the disease continuum – from the time of diagnosis through treatment and into survivorship. Furthermore, navigators are able to increase treatment compliance and follow-up care.

“AstraZeneca is thrilled to be the first company to give nationwide, large-scale support to the American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program,” said Lisa Schoenberg, Vice President of Specialty Care, AstraZeneca LP. “This new program site at Roswell Park Cancer Institute is a testament to our commitment to provide cancer patients with the access to the medicines and care they need to live longer, healthier lives. We are proud to support the American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program in its mission to improve patient outcomes, not only in Buffalo, NY, but in communities throughout the country.”

Gabler Opens St. Marys Office

People who live in the northern portion of the 75th District can now get answers to their legislative questions with the opening of a St. Marys district office for state Rep.-elect Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk).

"We are very excited to be here for the citizens of Elk County," Gabler said. "This office has a great staff that is ready and anxious to serve the residents of the district. I promised to put the needs of my constituents first, and I demand that of the personnel working in my offices."

The St. Marys office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and is located at 53 South St. Marys Street, Suite 2. Elissa Cunningham and Fritz Lecker will staff the office full-time Monday through Friday.

The DuBois office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is staffed by Rich Kenawell and Rob Gaertner. Constituents may stop by the office, which is in Suite 10 of the DuBois Area Plaza, 1221 East DuBois Avenue.

Until local phone numbers are established, you can contact Gabler's office through his toll-free number, 1-866-901-2916. Signing up to receive more information, including the latest legislative news from Gabler, may be done by logging on to his Web site,

Baby Jesus Figure Stolen

Someone has stolen a baby Jesus figure from a crèche on Independence Mall in Philadelphia.

Police are still investigating the weekend theft. A nearby church lent a replacement figure of the baby Jesus for a dedication ceremony on Monday.

Organizer John Kelly of the National Park Service says officials thought the foot-long figure was securely bolted down.

Security cameras didn't reveal anything about the theft.

Munday Pleads Not Guilty

A Bradford man accused of trying to rob the Domino's Pizza in Allegany has pleaded not guilty in Cattaraugus County Court.

21-year-old James Munday has been indicted on charges of attempted robbery, criminal use of a firearm and conspiracy.

The indictment charges that on October 9 he and Bradford residents James Baribeau and Douglas Carnahan attempted to steal property from Domino's while Munday displayed what appeared to be a gun.

Munday is being held in Cattaraugus County Jail. Baribeau and Carnahan are in McKean County Jail on charges related to other robberies in the area.

Fallen Soldier Honored

DuBOIS - The American Legion building in DuBois held a standing room only crowd Monday morning for the unveiling and dedication of two signs honoring SFC Michael J. Tully, who was killed last year near Baghdad, Iraq.

For the full story, go to Courier-Express.

Benefit for Potter Co. Fire Victims

The Tri-Town Junior Firefighters will be holding a spaghetti dinner on Thursday Dec. 18th from 5-7PM. The dinner is to benefit the Tom Williams family who lost their home and all thier belongings in a fire this past Sunday morning. Duane and Brandon Williams are Junior Firefighters with the Tri-Town Fire Co.

Monday, December 15, 2008

'I Can See Russia From My House'

Sarah Palin lost the election, but she's a winner to a connoisseur of quotations.

The Republican vice presidential candidate and her comedic doppelganger, Tina Fey, took the top two spots in this year's list of most memorable quotes compiled by Fred R. Shapiro.

First place was "I can see Russia from my house!" spoken in satire of Palin's foreign policy credentials by Fey on "Saturday Night Live."

Palin's actual quote was: "They're our next-door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska."

For the complete story, go to The Associated Press.

CNN: Caroline Wants the Job

(CNN) -- Caroline Kennedy, the 51-year-old daughter of President John F. Kennedy, has made it clear to high-level Democrats that she wants to be the next senator from New York, a source close to Kennedy has told CNN's John King.

For the full story, go to

AG Investigates Fumo Charity

The Pennsylvania attorney general is investigating the charity at the heart of the federal corruption case against former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo - an inquiry that could force the organization to shut down.

A spokesman for Attorney General Tom Corbett said the conduct of Citizens' Alliance for Better Neighborhoods "raises red flags all over the place."

For the full story, go to

Troyer Farms May Sell Company

Troyer Farms, the Waterford, PA-based potato chip and snack food maker, is getting close to selling the company.

Mark Troyer, president of the family-owned business, says he plans to meet with employees this afternoon about plans to sell the company to a buyer whose name has not been released.

Terms of the sale call for keeping the Route 97 open and the company's employees on the job.

Troyer Farms, which has been in business since 1967, employs about 300 people.

Deal Made Over Lead-Laced Toys

Attorney General Tom Corbett today announced that Pennsylvania, along with 40 other states, have reached a consumer protection agreement with Mattel and Fisher-Price concerning children’s toys that were recalled because they allegedly contained excessive levels of lead.

“Toy-makers have an obligation to parents and other consumers to ensure that the products they market and sell will not threaten the health and well-being of the children who play with these items,” Corbett said. “This agreement is a step in the right direction, requiring Mattel and Fisher-Price to take immediate action to reduce children’s exposure to lead and make their products safer for young users.”

Corbett said the consent judgment filed today with Mattel, Inc., of El Segundo, California, and Fisher-Price, Inc., of East Aurora, New York, requires the payment of $12 million to the states. Pennsylvania will receive $540,874 to support consumer protection and enforcement activities or to enhance toy safety education programs.

Corbett said the multi-state investigation was triggered in the fall of 2007 after Mattel and Fisher-Price announced several voluntary recalls with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for Chinese-made toys that contained excessive lead in accessible surface coatings. The probe was led by a nine-state executive committee, including Pennsylvania, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio and Vermont.

“The agreement requires Mattel and Fisher-Price to meet stricter limits for lead in children’s toys well ahead of the timeline required by new federal standards,” Corbett said. “Mattel and Fisher-Price have also agreed to strengthen their testing and quality control processes to prevent the future sale or distribution of toys that contain excessive lead.”

Corbett said the companies have agreed to notify state Attorneys General if they confirm levels of lead in any of their new children’s products in violation of state or federal law, or in violation of this consent judgment, and to work with the states to remedy such violations.

For older toys, not already subject to recalls, Mattel and Fisher-Price have agreed to immediately alert the states about any violations of existing federal lead standards, to stop distributing those items and to notify consumers.

Corbett said the states participating in this investigation and consumer protection agreement include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. California also took part in negotiations, but reached a separate agreement.

“It is important for consumers to carefully consider safety issues when purchasing toys and other items for children,” Corbett said. “We encourage consumers to use various resources – including our website at – to research items before making a purchase and to double-check items you already have in your homes.”

Corbett said that detailed information about product safety recalls and safety notices involving many different consumer products is available in the “Consumer Safety” section of the Attorney General’s website, at (Highlight the “Consumers” button on the front page of the website and select “Consumer Safety” from the menu that appears).

The agreement was filed today in the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas by Deputy Attorney General Tim Gates of the Attorney General’s Health Care Section.

Pitt-Bradford's Christina Graham
Named Outstanding Professional

Christina Graham, the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s director of student activities, was named Outstanding Professional at the National Association for Campus Activities Mid America Awards last month.

The award was presented at NACA’s Mid America Regional Conference in Peoria, Ill.

Graham joined Pitt-Bradford in 2002 and has demonstrated outstanding leadership at the university, said Dr. Holly Spittler, associate dean of student affairs.

“Since coming to Pitt-Bradford, Christina has brought a high level of vitality and excitement to campus life,” said Spittler said. “She has a strong impact on students as she serves as the advisor of the Student Activities Council, the co-advisor of Student Government Association and coordinator of the fall new student orientation program.”

Under her leadership, SAC and SGA have flourished to the point that Pitt-Bradford was one of five colleges nominated for Campus Activities Magazine’s Campus of the Year for 2008.

“This honor reflects the quality, quantity and diversity of programming created by SAC, SGA and other student clubs and organizations on campus,” Spittler said.

SGA president Jessica Visseau also praised Graham. “Christina Graham is an amazing person and incredible advisor,” she said. “She devotes herself to her job, her students and the university. SGA has been able to grow and thrive under her guidance, and I know that she has influenced other organizations on campus in the same way. Pitt-Bradford is very lucky to have her as a member of our community.”

In addition, Graham serves on the national advisory board of Campus Activities Magazine and was the regional conference coordinator of the 2004 NACA Mid America Regional Conference. She is a frequent presenter at local, regional and national professional conferences and meetings.