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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Play Premiers in Bradford

The world premier of the play "Before I Go," was presented Saturday afternoon at the Bradford Area Public Library.

Playwright Paige Kiliany of Shady Side High School of Pittsburgh is the winner of Bradford Little Theatre's first-ever Young Dramatist Contest. Paige and her mother were among the people who attended the staged reading of the play.

Without giving away too much, the play is about a recent high school graduate who dies in a car accident.

During an informal question and answer session following the play, Bradford Area High School students Hallie Kleiner and Leah Costik were asked how they managed to rehearse and get through the play, considering the deaths of fellow BAHS students Evan Yehl and Britt Bookhamer in an accident on May 2.

"When I'm on stage, I'm Sophie. I'm not Leah," Costik said, explaining that getting totally into her character allowed her to block out the real-life accident.

"I bit my lip and tried not to cry," Hallie said.

Also in the play were Pam Gaffney, Erik Austin, Melissa Robbins and Charles Church. It was directed by Cindy Matteson.

Pictured, Paige Kiliany accepts her $100 cash prize and a plaque from BLT Vice President Rick Frederick.

You can read our previous post on this story HERE.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Weekend Wrap - Debbie Macomber

"Twenty Wishes," the new novel from best-selling author Debbie Macomber is an uplifting story of hope and renewal. A group of recently widowed women bond over a unique and heart-warming idea: make a list of all the wonderful things they hope to experience in their lives.

You can hear Debbie talk about her book, and more, on The Weekend Wrap Saturday at 9:15 a.m. on 1490 WESB and at 6 a.m. on 100.1 The HERO.

But there's more.

Debbie and her publisher are inviting readers to enter a contest to make their most-desired wish come true. Debbie and her publisher will choose the winner, who will receive $10,000 cash to make that wish come true. For more details, visit Set Your Wish Free

And there's even more.

On Thursday, May 22, Debbie will be at Wegman's in Williamsville, NY, at 2 p.m. for a book signing. On Friday, May 23, at 12:30 p.m., she'll be at Borders on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga.

Legislators Discuss Taxes, More

News Director

Taxes was one of the main topics of the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce inaugural legislative luncheon held Friday at the Abasso at The Downbeat.

State Representative Marty Causer, one of more than half a dozen legislators and/or their aides who attended, said he knew gasoline taxes would be one of the questions posed by people at the event.

He said the current tax is about 31 cents a gallon, and that money goes toward highway and bridge projects. He explained that if the gas tax was cut, the state would have to come up with another source to pay for those projects.

Causer added that Pennsylvania is one of the few states that uses the gas tax for highway and bridge projects without using general tax money.

Another question concerned a state House bill that calls for providing money to municipalities that have a large number of tax-exempt properties.

Bradford Mayor Tom Riel explained that the bill calls for helping municipalities where 17 percent of the tax base is exempt. In Bradford, about 34 percent is exempt, he said.

He explained that schools, some churches, group homes and parks are among the properties that are exempt from taxes.

Causer explained that money would come from the Johnstown Flood Tax, and the bill should be considered by the full House soon.

Riel and township supervisors Don Cummins and Cary Kaber were asked what they think of the proposal to upgrade the sanitary sewer system.

Cummins, of Bradford Township, says he believes the proposed upgrade isn't the right answer.

"If they (the sanitary authority) have that amount of money that they're talking about spending – in excess of 28, 29, 30 million dollars – our suggestion was to give the municipalities some of that money to work on their own conveyance systems to eliminate the purges that happen periodically in the townships and the city," Cummins said.

Kaber of Foster Township, and Riel agree and added that residents can't afford increases in their sewer bills.

Another topic was the proposal to put tolls on Interstate 80.

Neither Causer nor representatives for Congressman John Peterson and State Senator Joe Scarnati see that plan coming to fruition.

Currently, Governor Ed Rendell is pushing his original plan to lease the turnpike.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Scarnati will be at WESB/WBRR later this month to talk about a new transportation funding plan.

Another question asked of Riel concerned parking meters in downtown Bradford.

Riel reminded people that he is, and has been, in favor of removing the meters but when city council called a work session on the matter none of the downtown business owners showed up to help come up with a solution.

But, he said, if the meters are there, the parking ordinance must be enforced.

"For now," he said, "I guess the meters are staying unless you're on a street where 'Little Chicago' is being filmed."

Also attending Friday's luncheon were McKean County Commissioner Joe DeMott; Joe Fadden, representative for Peterson; Chuck Dillon, representative for Scarnati; Bradford City Councilman Rick Benton, who moderated the event; and Councilman Bob Onuffer.

UPDATE: Jamestown Soldier Back in US

A soldier stranded overseas by the collapse of ATA airlines is back in the United States. Capt. Sharron Oleniacz is a nurse anesthetist from Jamestown, serving overseas as a reservist. She's at the end of her 90-day tour of duty in Iraq, but has been stranded in Kuwait since last weekend. Hundreds of soldiers are awaiting flights home, after charter ATA went bankrupt and cancelled flights in April.
Oleniacz finally got a flight out of Kuwait and arrived in Mississippi earlier today. No word on when she'll be back in the Twin Tiers.

Hexavalent Chromium in Punxsutawney

After discovering hexavalent chromium inside the former Berlin Metals building in Punxsutawney, the Department of Environmental Protection has ordered the property’s owners to prevent people from entering the building until it's safe. DEP has been investigating groundwater and soil and conducting a cleanup project in the neighborhood since 2006, but last month found material seeping through cracks in the concrete floor and learned it was hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen, which you may recognize from the movie "Erin Brockovich." The building at 400 Walnut Street formerly housed the electroplating company Berlin Metals. Its last occupant vacated the property several months ago. The building is owned by Punxsutawney residents Columba M. and Anthony J. Runco and the Runco Trust.

Olean Man Dies in Potter County Crash

An Olean man is dead after an accident on Kinney Road in Potter County early Friday morning. 66-year-old Edward Muniga was driving his truck when it went off the road and hit several trees. Muniga was pronounced dead at the scene by Potter County Coroner Kevin Dusenbery. Police are continuing their investigation.

UPB Student Earns Internship with FBI

A criminal justice major at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford has been awarded a coveted internship with the FBI at its Behavioral Science Division in Quantico, Va., the first time a Pitt-Bradford student has ever received an internship with the bureau. Nathaniel Rhoades of Linesville, a senior who is pursuing a dual degree in criminal justice and psychology, will spend 10 weeks with the FBI in what is known as the bureau’s Serial Killer Unit. From June 16 to Aug. 22, Rhoades will assist special agents with various tasks. In order to do so, he had to get top secret security clearance. “An FBI internship at Quantico is truly a remarkable accomplishment,” said Dr. Tony Gaskew, assistant professor of criminal justice, “and truly validates the fact that Nathan is considered one of the top criminal justice students in the country. I am extremely proud of Nathan.” Rhoades, who hopes to work for the FBI one day, said he wanted to intern with the Behavioral Science Division because he wants to study criminal minds and eventually work as a forensic psychologist. "Working with the best helps you achieve the most and become the best,” Rhoades said. “What better place to really understand criminals and really help people than working in the FBI?” Rhoades credits Gaskew, who is his FBI internship faculty sponsor, with helping him secure the internship. Gaskew, who amassed 18 years of law enforcement experience before commencing a teaching career, helped Rhoades through the various contacts he made at the FBI during his previous career. Rhoades, who is the son of Lloyd and Cindy Rhoades, is a member of honor societies Alpha Lambda Delta, Psi Chi and Pi Gamma Mu. He was also the president of the Criminal Justice Club.

Pitt-Bradford Creates New Position

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford has named Leslie E. Kallenborn to the newly created position of assistant director for annual giving. Kallenborn will develop and manage annual giving programs for alumni, faculty, staff, friends of the university and corporate donors. She will oversee direct marketing campaigns such as the annual Phonathon and mailings. She will report to Karen Niemic Buchheit, executive director of institutional advancement and managing director of the Bradford Educational Foundation. “We are very pleased to have a full-time staff member of Leslie’s caliber devoted to annual giving as it provides the foundation for fundraising growth at Pitt-Bradford,” Buchheit said. “In particular, Leslie will be using her considerable communication and marketing skills to work with more than 8,000 alumni to give them a chance to participate in a variety of ways and gift levels.” Before coming to Pitt-Bradford, Kallenborn was the director of fund development and community outreach at Charles Cole Memorial Hospital. Before that she worked seven years for Adelphia Communications and Time Warner Cable in various positions, ending as a retention liaison in the national sales, marketing and retention call center in Coudersport. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from St. Francis University. Kallenborn lives in Port Allegany with her husband, Jim. She can be reached on campus at (814)362-5145 or via e-mail at

Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands

Author Terri Morrison laughs during a presentation on business protocol around the world at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Friday morning. About 75 people from local businesses and industries attended the free seminar on international trade featuring Morrison, author of “Kiss Bow or Shake Hands,” the best-selling guide to doing business in more than 60 countries. The seminar was sponsored by the Pitt-Bradford Entrepreneurship Program in conjunction with the North Central Regional Planning and Development Commission and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
(Photo Courtesy of Pitt-Bradford)

Ripley Boy Hit by Train

A 16 year-old Ripley boy died Thursday night after being struck by a train on Goodrich Street in Ripley. Chautauqua County Sheriff Deputies say Kenneth Strang
was with a group of youths running across the railroad tracks and was struck by a south-bound CSX train. Strang was taken to Westfield Hospital, but later died of his injuries.

Jamestown Soldier Stranded in Kuwait

A Jamestown, NY, soldier is stranded in Kuwait after the airline that was supposed to bring her home after her tour of duty in Iraq went bankrupt. Captain Sharron Oleniacz was ready to return home last weekend when the bankruptcy of ATA Airlines grounded her flight. She and 100 other soldiers are have not been notified when alternate travel plans will be arranged. Congressman Brian Higgins has written a letter to the US Army say that he understand delays are part of air travel, and the airlines' bankruptcy was unavoidable, but the armed services are not doing enough to get the soldiers home.

Woman Arrested for Stealing from Clinic

A Forest County woman has been arrested for stealing 80 thousand dollars from Laurel Eye Clinic in Brookville. Police say 45-year-old Deborah Geyer stole the money over a period of seven years when she worked as a patient account manager. Police say she didn't record checks in the accounting books, but deposited them for herself.
She faces charges of theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, tampering with records and forgery. Police say more charges are possible.
She is Currently in Jefferson County Jail on $100,000 bail.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Toddler Taped Smoking Pot

Hilliard Calling for 'Clean' Campaign

While saying he wants to run a clean campaign, Senator Joe Scarnati's opponent in November's election is passing along misleading information about campaign finances.
Donald Hilliard of Brookville says he wants to concentrate on the issues, including healthcare, transportation and school funding. Meanwhile, he says he concerned about Scarnati's campaign contributions, saying the vast majority are from Political Action Committees. Hilliard told a newspaper in the 25th Senatorial District that only $200 dollars come from local people, one in Coudersport and one in Shinglehouse. However, the Department of State web site lists several thousand dollars worth of contributions from private citizens in Bradford, Brockway, Warren and Ridgway among other places in the district.

Fatal Crash Near Troyer Farms

State police say a car drifted over the centerline before colliding with a tractor-trailer at just after noon today on Route 97, just south of the Troyer Farms potato chip plant. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene, and her passenger was seriously injured in the accident. The passenger was flown by helicopter to Hamot Medical Center. The driver of the tractor-trailer was not hurt. The truck is owned by Briggs Transport of Warren County. As state police were investigating, Hazmat crews were using sponges to absorb diesel fuel from the truck that was leaking into a stream that flows into French Creek.

UPDATE: A Union City girl died Thursday after her car crossed the center line and hit a tractor trailer head-on. State Police say 18 year-old Crystal Carneal of Union City was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger in her car 20 year old Katie Ellsworth was seriously injured. The accident happened on Route 97 - near the Troyer Potato Chip Plant - just after noon.

UPB Names Distinguished Teacher

Pictured, Amy McCoy, a 2008 Pitt-Bradford graduate from Kittanning, with Dan Spencer, whom Pitt-Bradford has been named Distinguished Secondary Teacher. McCoy nominated Spencer for the honor, which is given each year to a secondary teacher nominated by a graduating Pitt-Bradford senior. They are shown at Honors Convocation last month.

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford has named Dan Spencer, a retired teacher and volleyball coach from Armstrong School District in Armstrong County, this year’s Distinguished Secondary Teacher. Spencer was presented with the award during Pitt-Bradford’s annual Honors Convocation last month. The award is presented annually to a teacher who is willing to work with and challenge students both inside and outside of the traditional classroom. Members of the university’s senior class nominated candidates. Spencer was nominated by Amy McCoy, a 2008 graduate in public relations with a minor in athletic coaching from Kittanning. McCoy described Spencer as “a teacher, my volleyball coach and my friend. He helped to shape my life and be part of the reason I am who I am today.” Spencer retired in June 2007 after teaching mathematics for 35 years. He holds a master’s degree in mathematics and a bachelor of science degree in mathematics, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Spencer is a member of the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He also served as the athletic director at Elderton High School. “What made Mr. Spencer special to Amy was his ability to challenge and inspire her,” said Dr. Donna Armstrong, assistant professor of education, in giving Spencer the award.

NYS Missing Child Alert

The Niagara County Sheriff's Department is alerting the public about a missing child. They say two-year-old Giana Lynn Bootes has not been seen since Wednesday May 7th at 8:00 p.m.

For more information, click HERE.

UPDATE: Figueroa-Oehler and the girl were found in the Super 8 Motel on Sheridan Drive in the Town of Tonawanda.

Wildflowers for Beauty - 2nd in a Series

This week’s article on spring flowers will highlight some of the beauty of spring flowers. Many plants derive their name from the flower that caught a colonial’s eye and, henceforth, the common name of the plant became identified by the flower.

Spring beauty” is a prime example of this connection of flower to plant’s name. Spring beauty flowers are considered a harbinger of spring because they are one of the first flowers to bloom after winter. These flowers can bloom as early as late March or early April. Spring beauties are often found in groups in fields, borders of woods, and front lawns. ‘Fragile’ is a word that adds to the beauty of the plant. The one-half inch wide flowers are on a thin stalk, and the pale pink streaks in the white flower add to the daintiness of the flower.

Jack-in-the-pulpits are another beautiful flower of May because of its unique flowers. Found in shaded, woody areas, the Jack-in-the-pulpit resembles a man speaking from a pulpit. The pulpit itself is hard to find because the three, wide leaves hide the “Jack”. The flowers or “Jack” is a small inflorescence (arrangement of flowers on a vertical axis) of tiny flowers. These flowers produce a club-shaped mass of red berries, often called Indian Turnip, in late summer.

Gaywings, or fringed polygala, is a low growing, bright white and pink/purple orchid blooming in late May to early June in Pennsylvania. Often found in disturbed soils, such as roadbanks, the beautiful flowers add to roadside beauty. The flowers appear to be trying to fly, hence the name gay wings.

It doesn’t make any difference whether you live in the Borough or Township, now is the time to really look at the wildflowers blooming in your area. The flowers of spring are most likely small, dainty, and better hidden than the showy flowers of late summer, but their beauty is no less a prize. Take your children out to enjoy wildflowers on a wildflower walk.

The US Forest Service is providing a series of articles is recognition of National Wildflower Month.

Facebook to Implement Safeguards

Officials from several states, including Pennsylvania, say Facebook has agreed to implement more than 40 safeguards to protect younger users. Attorney General Tom Corbett said that like the agreement reached with MySpace in January, this agreement will better protect children from predators and inappropriate content on the Internet. Facebook has agreed to ban convicted sex offenders from using the service and will make it harder for older users to search online for subscribers who are under age 18.

Shur-Save Honored By Borough Council

The Mount Jewett Shur-Save has received borough council's first-ever certificate of appreciation. Councilman Chuck Paar says the management and employees of the store are very supportive and involved in community and civic affairs. He said the store and its employees support the Mount Jewett Swedish Festival, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Little League baseball, the Mount Jewett Ambulance Association, the Mount Jewett Volunteer Fire Department and the Charter School Coalition. Council voted 6-1 last month to accept Paar’s idea to honor a Mount Jewett business every quarter.

Thanks for the Chocolate!

Thanks to the "Elegance in Chocolate" Committee for sending us the scrumptious samples!

For anyone who missed the first announcement about this event:

Coming up on May 14, you can indulge in all kinds of chocolate during a fundraiser for The Salvation Army. For a preview of some of the treats you'll find during the event, check this out:

If you'd like to help with a donation of money, supplies -- or chocolate -- call the Chocolate Line: 814-368-4576.

In Case You Missed It ...

05/07/08 - Man Charged With Fleeing From Police
A Bradford man was arrested Tuesday after stealing a truck and leading police on a high speed chase from Coleville to Bradford. State Police were joined in the pursuit by Bradford City Police in apprehending 32 year-old Brian Uber at the Riddle House on main Street in Bradford. Uber had at one point ended his run from the law at Dresser Manufacturing where he ran inside before heading downtown. He was charged with theft, speeding, fleeing from police, possession of marijuana and numerous other violations. Uber was sent to McKean County Jail on $25,000 dollars bail.

05/05/08 - Foster Township Supervisors Meet
During last month's Foster Township supervisors meeting, several residents raised concerns about a brine disposal plant being built in the township.
Supervisor Chairman Bob Slike says they don't have to worry about that anymore because attorney Dan Hartle told him the plan is "dead in the water." The Department of Environmental Protection wouldn't approve the proposal.

Supervisor Cary Kaber is still reminding residents that they need to have house number on their houses so emergency vehicles can find them, and for census reasons. He also stressed that it is a township ordinance. Code enforcement officer John Place added that international code states that the color of the numbers have contrast with the house color. The house numbers must also be numerals.

Township engineer Roy Pedersen says the new plan for the South Kendall Avenue sewer line extension will be as close to the old plan as possible. The Department of Environmental Protection has ordered the township to perform a new wetland delineation plan, which is what's holding up the project. Pedersen said they are getting closer to starting the wetland delineation, and it could start by early June.

Supervisors also announced during their meeting Monday night that Spring Cleanup is set for May 31. Also, Cary Kaber said railroad-crossing lights are expected to be installed by this fall at Tuna Cross Roads. Cross bars won't be installed, but can be added later if necessary.

Happy Birthday ...

... to my brother, Jim Sweeney.

Company Wants to Drill at Rimrock

An oil company wants to drill in the Rimrock area, but the US Forest Service says they haven't been able to work out the details with the company yet. PAPCO wants to drill for oil and natural gas on 300 acres near the scenic overlook. Forest Ranger Tony Scardina says the forest service wants to know where the roads and the wells would go before they come to an agreement. PAPCO revealed its plans in March, but Scardina says when it's a sensitive issue, the forest service likes to spend a lot of time on it.

Honoring Nurses at BRMC

Rows of candles were aglow Wednesday evening outside Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC) to pay tribute to the tireless healthcare efforts of all current and retired nurses. A candelight ceremony was held in front of BRMC’s Outpatient Services Center as part of National Nurses Week which began May 6 and concludes May 12, the birthday of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale. The national week’s theme is “Nurses Making A Difference Every Day.” In honor of their work, a candle-lighting ceremony was led by Deborah A. Price, the hospital’s senior vice president of Patient Care Services. Candles were individually lit from one to another in the crowd of more than 60. Meanwhile, nurses on shift at the hospital joined from inside by using glowsticks from windows above the scene.

Prior to the lighting ceremony, Edwin O. Pecht, chairman of BRMC’s Board of Directors, said in his opening remarks, “We honor all nurses tonight - those currently serving our community with their special caring and those who have gone before us.” He added, “Nurses are a professional and compassionate group of people whose knowledge and caring assists our community daily to cheat illness, injury and death. We gather tonight at this candlelight vigil to acknowledge nurses are the foundation of our healing. We salute your accomplishments.”

In the keynote address, Jill Owens, M.D., BRMC’s medical staff president, said, “A nurse, as defined by Webster’s Dictionary, is one who provides care for the sick. But we all know that they serve a much greater role. They are the eyes and ears of physicians, gathering historical data and symptoms that many times reveal the diagnosis.” Earlier in the ceremony, Bradford Mayor Tom Riel (pictured) read a proclamation which urged community residents to “join me in honoring the nurses who care for all of us” and to celebrate their accomplishments and efforts to improve the healthcare system. Included in the ceremony: an inspirational reading was given by Linda Wankel, RN, director of nursing at BRMC’s McKean County VNA & Hospice; Rev. Leo Gallina of St. Bernard Catholic Church provided a blessing; “Love Can Build A Bridge” was sung by Lynne Shannon, a speech/language pathologist at BRMC; Florence Nightingale’s Pledge was read by Michele Jack, RN, BSN, of the VNA; and a note of thanks was read by Cheri Sowash, RN, the VNA’s clinical supervisor.

~~Story by George Nianiatus, senior writer
BRMC Communications Department

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Coulter Pleads Guilty to Drug Charges

The main defendant in a huge marijuana-growing operation in Crawford County has pleaded guilty and faces a mandatory 10 years in a federal prison at his sentencing in U.S. District Court in Erie on Aug. 5. 53-year-old Gary Coulter pleaded guilty today to one count of trafficking in marijuana. He was charged with five other defendants, four of whom have either pleaded guilty or pleaded guilty and been sentenced. State drug agents found the plants growing throughout eastern Crawford County after a raid on Coulter’s house in Rome Township, in the eastern part of the county, in August 2006. The investigators said they found 1,183 full-grown marijuana plants -- with an estimated street value of $1.2 million. Authorities described the operation as one of the largest in Pennsylvania history.

Ulyan Resigns as Red Cross Director

Greg Ulyan has resigned as executive director of the McKean Potter Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross, after holding the position for 18 ½ years. "I can't tell you how much this job and the people in this community have meant to me," Ulyan said. "I had a good time working with the volunteers, the staff members, the donors – whether they be blood donors or financial donors – they have really made it an enjoyable and worthwhile experience. The National Red Cross hasn't named a replacement yet. Jason Bange will be the interim director.

Man Dead After Police Standoff

A Corry man is dead after a standoff with police and members of the Erie SWAT team.
The SWAT team entered the house early this afternoon to find 40-year-old Tony Bromley dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police say he barricaded himself in the home of his estranged wife at about 8 o'clock this morning after police responded to a domestic violence call there. No one else was in the home when the SWAT team went inside.

Twenty Wishes

Stayed tuned to WESB and The HERO, and keep checking back here, for more about Debbie Macomber and her new book ... coming (very) soon.

Bloodhounds Train at Pitt-Bradford

Story and Photos By
Kimberly Marcott Weinberg
Assistant Director of Communications and Marketing

3-year-old bloodhound Lucy and her handler, Karl Allen of Lexington, S.C., and NPBA instructor S.L. “Buck” Garner of Louisa, Va., are participating in the organization's spring seminar. In the first three photos, Lucy is trying to find Garner. Below, she has found him and is receiving lavish praise from Garner and Allen. These photos were taken Wednesday morning along the West Branch of the Tunungwant Creek on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

Members of the National Police Bloodhound Association brought their dogs to the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford this week for field training as part of the organization’s spring seminar.

In total, about 50 dogs and their handlers from around the United States are attending the spring training seminar in nearby Allegany (N.Y.) State Park. The seminar is hosted by the Cattaraugus County (N.Y.) Sheriff’s Department.

Handlers have been training their dogs in rural and town settings in surrounding communities. On Tuesday and Wednesday, they brought their dogs to campus, taking advantage of the Richard E. McDowell Community Trail and the West Branch of the Tunungwant Creek, which flows through campus.

“This stuff is invaluable,” trainer Darren Prochaska of the Joliet (Ill.) Police Department said of the field training. Prochaska is working with his first bloodhound and values the chance to work with experienced handlers like Lt. S.L. “Buck” Garner, a detective with the Louisa County (Va.) Sheriff’s Department now working with his ninth bloodhound, Chess.

“These guys give you so much information your head starts to spin,” Prochaska said of the instructors.

They can also lay down a pretty mean trail.

For Wednesday morning’s training, Garner laid down a tricky scenario meant to simulate a situation in which someone is locked in the trunk of a car.

After parking near the creek on campus, he walked along the creek, leaving a few bits of clothing early on along the way to give both dog and handler some clues.

But then he abruptly turned around, doubled back and crawled in the back of his truck – in his own dog’s empty crate.
For 3-year-old Lucy and her handler, Karl Allen, a recently retired police officer from Lancaster, S.C., who now works with Lucy on a freelance basis, it was a challenge. After tracing the path back to the truck, Lucy worked in circles in the area of the truck until she finally keyed in on Garner.

The members say they like the challenging situations offered by the training, including realistic distractions such as campus construction and pedestrians and bicyclists along the community trail.

The association has been training at Pitt-Bradford as part of the spring seminar for more than five years.

Penguins Arena Design Approved

The Pittsburgh city planning commission has approved the design for the Penguins $290 million arena. The decision clears the way for a groundbreaking this summer, with completion expected before the start of the 2010-2011 hockey season.

This is one of the drawings submitted to the planning commission. It shows the entrance to the arena at Fifth Avenue and Washington Place.

ARG Awarded Employer of the Year

The American Refining Group has a simple company vision. “It is important for a large employer to integrate into the fabric of the community, especially in a small town,” said Harvey L. Golubock, President and Chief Operating Officer. Success in business is inextricably coupled with community leadership. We provide our employees with the opportunity and encourage their participation in community and civic projects.”

This vision is one reason why ARG is being awarded the 2008 Governor’s Workplace Development Employer of the Year award for Central Pennsylvania. The award will be presented at an awards luncheon during the Pennsylvania Partners annual conference in Harrisburg on Thursday, May 8, 2008. It will be jointly presented by PA Partners and the PA Department of Labor and Industry on behalf of Governor Rendell.
ARG was nominated for this award by the North Central Workforce Investment Board (WIB). Susan Snelick, WIB Director, describes ARG as a “true friend of workforce development.”

ARG was a critical partner in establishing the North Central Energy Industry Partnership. This re-emerging industry is experiencing critical workforce needs, and through partners like American Refining Group, has been successful in the re-establishment of the Petroleum Technology course at the University of Pittsburgh, Bradford.

Golubock credits the time and effort of Robert Esch, Vice President of Packaging and Blending, for ARG’s receipt of this accolade. ARG has allowed Esch the necessary time to participate on the Workforce Investment Board for a number of years, serving as chairman for both last and this coming year. During his tenure Esch has been a valuable leader who understands the critical importance of providing an educated and skilled workforce to local employers.

In turn, Esch stated he “couldn’t do this without the support and patience of Harvey. On behalf of the company, I was delighted to accept this award. There are many companies and individuals within the workforce development community equally deserving.”

Both Golubock and Esch praise Harry Halloran, Chairman and CEO, and his visionary leadership for building ARG to be the company it is today. Halloran’s American Refining Group and Halloran Philanthropies have continued a tradition of supporting the Bradford community that dates back to a gift of land by Witco/Kendall (the previous owners of the Bradford refinery) in 1967. That gift is the site of the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford campus.

More recently, ARG has given a gift of $500,000 to the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford for energy-related studies and the formation of the Energy Institute at the school. The company has also donated 140 acres on West Corydon Street that doubled the physical size of the campus. The company and its related Foundation have contributed to numerous other Bradford based organizations as well as many organizations located in the Philadelphia area, the company’s headquarter location.
Golubock is happy to receive recognition for ARG’s accomplishments on behalf of the employees. “Many people have made this possible. It’s not a one-man show. It makes the employees proud.”

White Nose Syndrome?
Is Pennsylvania Next?

By Joe Kosack
Wildlife Conservation Education Specialist
Pennsylvania Game Commission

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Game Commission has found itself on a new frontier: it is working with several states and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to sort out what is killing bats in New York and New England.

Although White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) has not been found in Pennsylvania - and agency officials hope it stays that way - the state is fast becoming an integral player in regional and national efforts aimed at learning more about this unprecedented threat to bats.

Just mentioning the words White Nose Syndrome (WNS) to Pennsylvania Game Commission biologist Greg Turner brings concern to his face. He knows WNS is just over the border in New York, as well as Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, and recognizes it's not something that Pennsylvania's bat population can endure without negative consequences. In many northeastern hibernacula where it has struck, WNS has decimated wintering bat colonies with mortality that ranges from 80 to 100 percent. Now there are symptoms in Pennsylvania bat hibernacula that have heightened concern among agency bat biologists, as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"We found fungus on bats' ears and wings - similar to that on bats afflicted with WNS in Vermont and New York - at sites in Fayette, Luzerne and Blair counties," said Turner. "One of the sites, Hartman Mine, at Canoe Creek State Park in Blair County, is the state's largest hibernaculum for Indiana bats, a federally endangered species.

"The good news is no dead bats have been found to date in Pennsylvania, and the bats we captured in mist nets leaving hibernacula were not grossly underweight, a noticeable condition observed in many bats affected with WNS. But with WNS surfacing only 11 miles away from our New York border, it now seems that it might just be a matter of time. That's why the Game Commission is gearing up to try to identify the progression of WNS and shed further light on how this mysterious disorder kills bats."

"This spring, New York and New England sustained terrible losses," Turner said. "The Fish and Wildlife Service has projected tens of thousands of bats may be lost to WNS in New York and New England in 2008. Should Pennsylvania - with more than 4,000 mines and 1,000 caves - become the next hotbed, we could sustain even larger losses."

WNS was first documented in New York in late 2006. Its discovery occurred during routine surveys counting endangered Indiana bats, a large portion of which had inexplicably disappeared from one hibernaculum. Wildlife officials then noticed a strange white fungus on the muzzle of the bats still remaining - hence the syndrome's name. The problem worsened in 2007 as officials investigated reports of bats flying from hibernacula in mid-winter and in broad daylight, when they were supposed to be hibernating. Some bats bore no sign of disease or sickness, but were underweight and leaving their wintering quarters, which is abnormal. Others had white fungus around their noses and/or on their ears and wings.

All affected states and the USFWS have sent afflicted bats to laboratories throughout the United States. This effort includes several bats from Barton Cave - on Forbes State Forest in Fayette County - and Hartman Mine, because some white fungus was found on otherwise apparently healthy bats in recent Game Commission fieldwork. But lab-work has yet to shed further light on anything. As Susi von Oettingen, a USFWS endangered species biologist, said recently about WNS, "We have no clue what it is right now and it doesn't look like we're going to find out anytime soon. Nothing like this has been documented in bat populations anywhere else in the world to this extent."

It remains unclear whether the fungus is killing bats, an up-until-now unrecognized byproduct of cave hibernation, or a secondary opportunist attacking already weakened bats. Currently, the best WNS indicators are mass mortality, early emergence from hibernacula and erratic daytime flying.

An associated problem WNS causes in hibernacula occurs when movement by afflicted bats awakens healthy bats hibernating nearby. These repeated disturbances may cause healthy bats to draw from critical fat reserves they need to make it through winter. When a bat awakens from hibernation, its body temperature rises from around 45 degrees, to about 100, burning up considerable fat reserves unnecessarily. Awakened too often, a bat cannot sustain hibernation, and it will starve to death foraging for food on a winter landscape.

Wildlife managers investigating these unusual and desperate eruptions from hibernacula in New York and elsewhere haven't been able to pinpoint what is causing bats to behave so erratically. And now Game Commission bat biologists, regarded as one of the best management teams in the country, will get their chance to investigate this enigma.

WNS has drawn the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's attention. The agency is working closely with the four states where WNS has appeared, as well as Pennsylvania and other New England and Mid-Atlantic states. Although the federal response isn't a red alert, there is great concern, because bats are so gregarious and often state-hop - wintering in one state, summering in another. This lifestyle increases the likelihood of contact with affected bats or sites, as well as the potential for huge losses among our bat populations.

"Our three possible sites will be monitored intensively this fall and next winter to develop baseline data in the event WNS shows up in Pennsylvania." Turner said. "Mostly, we'll band and weigh bats taken in traps at entrances, and then see if they return. Recording weights will help us ascertain whether bats are entering hibernacula ill-prepared to hibernate, or leaving with a health problem they contracted while wintering. We also will focus on examining their hibernating patterns and conditions with Dr. DeeAnn Reeder, a bat physiologist at Bucknell University."

Theories abound about what's happening to the Northeast's cave bats. Although wildlife managers attribute the chronicled behavior and mass mortality to WNS, they can't positively identify what causes it. It could be the fungus, or the fungus could be a symptom. It may be a pathogen. If it is, where did it come from, why is it spreading so rapidly, and why haven't American cave bats been through this before? Or have they? So much remains unclear, including how to rank the threat this deadly enigma poses to bats in the Northeast, or the tens of thousands of federally-endangered Virginia big-eared bats and gray bats in the huge limestone caves south of the Mason Dixon Line.

What is clear is Pennsylvania's newfound role in this unfolding conservation drama. "Pennsylvania appears to be directly in the path of where WNS is heading next, so the Fish and Wildlife Service will be looking to the Game Commission to try to uncover the early warning signs that we didn't have a chance to look for in New York, Vermont and Massachusetts," explained von Oettingen. "We're optimistic the Game Commission can assist us in learning how other states can prepare to deal with WNS."

Of course, von Oettingen, also is hoping for the best. "My hope is that white-nose syndrome stops in New York and New England," she said. "If it doesn't stop, I don't even want to think about it, because we could lose more Indiana bats and it could be an unmitigated disaster for small-footed bats."

The Game Commission will have a chance to shed light on WNS as soon as this summer when bats head to Pennsylvania maternity roosts, such as Canoe Creek Church and "bat condos" on State Game Lands. "There's no doubt some New York bats summer in Pennsylvania, and there's a possibility they could influence the health of some maternity colonies," von Oettingen said. "So it will be important for Game Commission biologists to monitor the population and health of their colonies."

The USFWS plans to continue facilitating and coordinating the regional response to WNS, and is looking for sources of additional funding to help states sort out what's happening within their borders. It also will continue to analyze suspect bats at its laboratories and coordinate to have other leading laboratories assist in this effort.

In Pennsylvania, Turner said the Game Commission will focus on summer maternity roosts and prepare for monitoring bats heading into hibernacula in the fall. He also noted Northeastern bat biologists will meet in June to establish priorities for collecting data at hibernacula this fall and winter, and brainstorm for funding to help defray the cost of additional fieldwork. Without supplemental funding or manpower assistance from other states, however, there will be a limit to how much fieldwork the Game Commission can accomplish on this important front.

Bats are a tremendous asset to wildlife communities, and humans. Collectively, they eat insects by the tons and spare Pennsylvanians from myriad backyard flying pest and crop-damage issues. Unfortunately, people know more about elephants than they do bats. So misinformation about bats often overshadows the good they do and their importance in Pennsylvania's biodiversity. Fore more information on bats, visit the Game Commission's website To learn more about WNS, visit the USFWS's website.

Pictured, Game Commission biologist Greg Turner checks hibernating bats this spring in Hartman Mine at Canoe Creek State Park in Blair County. PGC Photo by Joe Kosack.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

'Lackawanna Six' Member Out of Prison

Lackawanna Six member Faysal Galab has been released from prison and has been sent to a halfway house in Detroit. Galab's sentence was set to expire next year, but he applied for time off for good behavior. Galab is one of six men accused of attending an al Qaeda training camp inside Afghanistan in summer 2001, just months before the September 11 terrorist attacks. All of the defendants, who lived in Lackawanna, were indicted in October 2003 on charges of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

$1 Million Gift for Chapel at Pitt-Bradford

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford has received a $1 million gift from anonymous donors in honor of Harriett B. Wick to build an interfaith chapel on campus. The announcement was made at a luncheon for potential donors where the design of the chapel was also unveiled.
“We are delighted and honored to receive this gift,” said Dr. Livingston Alexander, university president. “This lead gift will enable us to secure the balance of funds needed to build this chapel.”

The chapel, which has been part of the university’s master plan for several years, will be located on the west side of the campus, overlooking the Tunungwant Creek. The building will intentionally be set apart from other buildings, thus reinforcing the perception of its unique use as a place for spiritual reflection and campus community prayer. The location overlooking the stream was chosen specifically for its woodland setting. Albert Filoni president of MacLachlan, Cornelius and Filoni Architects Inc. of Pittsburgh designed the chapel, which university officials hope to break ground on in the fall. The firm also designed the renovation and expansion of the Frame-Westerberg Commons and Blaisdell Hall on campus.

Pictured, Andy Fortna of MacLachlan, Cornelius & Filoni Inc., far left, discusses elements of a chapel to be built at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford with, from left, Jacquelyn Jones; Pauline Higie; Dr. James K. Evans, vice president and dean of student affairs; William F. Higie; and Howard Fesenmyer.
(Photos Courtesy of Pitt-Bradford)

Soap Box Derby Date Changed

The date of the upcoming All American Soap Box Derby has been changed from May 31 to June 21. Organizers say there's still plenty of time to get involved and they're still looking for boys and girls ages 8 to 17 to be drivers.
For more information, call Steve Feldman at 558-0669.

Pot-Grower Sentenced; Dad Pleads Tomorrow

The son of the main defendant in one of the largest marijuana cases in Pennsylvania history has been sentenced to a year and six months in a federal prison for his part in the operation, which was based in Crawford County. 26-year-old Dustin Coulter appeared in court today. His father, Gary Coulter, is scheduled for a plea hearing tomorrow. Drug agents with the state Attorney General's Office found nearly 1,200 full-grown marijuana plants with an estimated street value of $1.2 million throughout eastern Crawford County in August 2006. Investigators say this was the largest pot-growing operation in state history.

Talik Sentenced to Life in Prison

A Pennsylvania man who strangled a 28-year-old mother of two in 2006 has been sentenced to life in prison. 39-year-old Eugene Talik Jr. of Sewickly pleaded guilty in January to killing his girlfriend, Kelly Jo Elliott. Her body was burned and buried in a shallow grave near the Clearfield/Elk County line. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors dropped the death penalty as a possible sentence.

Allegheny-Bradford Expansion Project 'Well Underway'

Construction is well under for Allegheny-Bradford Corporation's 50,000 square foot manufacturing facility. The facility will house state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment and a secure inside loading area for truck shipments. With the new facility, ABC will increase its capacity and expand its capabilities for tanks and large assemblies. The building will be finished in September.

For pictures of the construction site, click HERE.

FOP Memorial Ceremony in Harrisburg

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati pays tribute to Pennsylvania police officers who died in the line of duty during a Fraternal Order of Police Memorial Ceremony held at the State Capitol on Monday.
(Photo Courtesy of Senate Republican Communications)

United Way of the Bradford Area's "Live United" Day of Action

The United Way of the Bradford Area has a new initiative called "Live United" – a mission aimed at getting people to give, advocate and volunteer in the community.
United Way Assistant Director Mandi Wilton Davis explained "Live United" during this morning's Red Feather Breakfast. She says "You're being asked to complete an action today demonstrating how you live united: Give of yourself, advocate on behalf of an organization which is near to your heart, volunteer your time to those in need of it. Then, tell the United Way what you did today. After you complete your action, go to the United Way's web site and tell them about it.

Go ahead. Do it. It'll make you feel good!

Monday, May 5, 2008

National Guard Holds Memorial Service and Reunion

The Annual Memorial Service at the 28th Division National Memorial Shrine, Boalsburg, Centre County, will be held Sunday May 18, 2008 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sponsored by the Pennsylvania National Guard and hosted by the Pennsylvania Military Museum, this event commemorates the Pennsylvania "citizen soldier” in a ceremony that dates back to 1924 when the first monuments within the Shrine were dedicated to the fallen divisional soldiers of World War One.

For more information on the museum pleased call 814-466-6263 or visit For information on the Celebration of Service, call Master Sergeant Rodney D. Drake at the Harrisburg Military Post at 717-787-6705.

05/05/08 - Man Pleads Guilty to Helping Kysor

A 26-year-old inmate from Philadelphia has pleaded guilty to helping convicted killer Malcolm Kysor escape from the State Correctional Institution at Albion in November. John Gromer entered the plea today in Erie County Court to one count of criminal conspiracy to commit escape. He remains in jail and his sentencing is set for July 22. State police accuse Gromer of helping Kysor escape by hiding him in a garbage can. . The can and Kysor went outside the prison gates on the back of a state Department of Corrections truck. Kysor was found April 5 in Bakersfield, Calif. He is now in the state prison at Mercer. His preliminary hearing on an escape charge is May 29.

Man Charged with Forgery, Theft

A Wellsville man has been charged with four felony counts of forgery and related offenses for stealing checks then cashing them at area businesses. State police say Levi Hunt and another person cash checks at Reed's Market and State Line One Stop in Genesee for a total of 400 dollars. The checks had been stole from Josey Kemp of Wellsville. Hunt was arrested after allegedly trying to cash a forged check in New York State. Police say several similar incidents have been reported in New York. Police are continuing their investigation and trying to identify the second suspect.

Man Pleads Guilty to Timber Theft

A 40-year-old Ridgway man has pleaded guilty to a federal charge that he stole 11 black cherry trees from the Allegheny National Forest in September 2004. Joseph Harvey is charged with theft of government property. Harvey is scheduled for sentencing on July 31 in Erie Federal Court.

Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Dept. Looking for Info Related to Fatal Crash

Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Deputies are asking for help in their investigation into an accident that killed a Bradford woman on April 26 in Limestone. They say they are looking for the driver who swerved to avoid the accident, resulting in a vehicle driven by Wendy Karnes to be hit head-on by a vehicle driven by David O'Brien of Allegany. O'Brien is a retired state trooper. He's charged with DWI, 2nd degree vehicular manslaughter and is free on bail. Anyone who has information on the accident should contact Investigator Nathan Root at the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Department.

PGC Seeks Comment on Fisher Plan

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is seeking public input on a draft fisher management plan, which can be reviewed on the agency's web site. "We are seeking public comment on the draft fisher management plan to ensure the resulting final management plan considers the thoughts and concerns of Pennsylvanians about this species," said Calvin W. DuBrock, Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Management director. "As written, the plan is science-based, progressive and promotes responsible management. We're interested in hearing from Pennsylvanians who would like to offer comments, and to see if we've missed something or if they share our management vision for the future." Pennsylvania's fisher reintroduction got started back in 1994, when 22 fishers were released on the Sproul State Forest in Centre and Clinton counties. Overall, 190 fishers were released in Pennsylvania as part of a reintroduction partnered by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Frostburg State University and Pennsylvania State University. The recovery effort followed about eight decades of fisher-less forests in Penn's Woods. The furbearers, one of the largest members of the weasel family, disappeared in the state in the late 1800s and early 1900s as a result of deforestation and unregulated trapping. Since the fisher reintroduction program, which ran from 1994 to 1998, fishers have made great progress expanding their range from release sites in the Quehanna Wild Area, Allegheny National Forest, Pine Creek Valley and the Pocono Mountains. Fishers also have been expanding their range northward from the Mason-Dixon line deeper and deeper into the Alleghenies and the state's Ridge and Valley province since the 1980s.

Bradford's Main Street Manager Resigns

Main Street Manager Diane DeWalt is leaving her position Wednesday. Mayor Tom Riel says DeWalt turned in her resignation last week and is leaving to take a similar position in Florida. Her replacement as Main Street Manager hasn't been chosen yet.

Grief Counselors at BAHS Today

Bradford High School principal Ken Coffman tells WESB and The Hero that grief Counselors are on hand at Bradford High today and will be available to students throughout the week. McKean County Coroner Mike Cahill confirmed Sunday night to WESB and The Hero that 18-year-old Evan Yehl and 18-year-old Britt Bookhamer died in Friday's night's crash near Marilla Reservoir in Bradford Township. Cahill says Yehl and Bookhamer both died instantly of blunt force trauma. Yehl was driving the car. The funeral for Evan Yehl is Tuesday at 7pm at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Bradford. Funeral arangements for Britt Bookhammer are incomplete.

Yehl was driving the car. A third boy in the car, Ian Clark, is in fair condition after surgery at Hamot Medical Center in Erie. Boys in a car that was traveling with Yehl's car reportedly pulled Ian out before the car burst into flames. Jeffrey Caldwell, Joshua Hilmes and Brenton Goldthwait were all treated at Bradford Regional Medical Center Friday night, then released.

One student we spoke with this afternoon says the tragedy seems to have brought the student body together, and they are closer than they've ever been. Many students have the message R.I.P on their My Space pages.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

BAHS Students Who Died are Identified

McKean County Coroner Mike Cahill has confirmed that 18-year-old Evan Yehl and 18-year-old Britt Bookhamer are the Bradford Area High School students who died in Friday's night's car crash near Marilla Reservoir. A third boy in the car, Ian Clark, is still in serious condition at Hamot Medical Center in Erie. Cahill says Yehl and Bookhamer died instantly of blunt force trauma.

Investigation Continues Into Deaths of Bradford High Students

The investigation continues into the deaths of two Bradford boys in a two vehicle crash Friday night near Marilla Reservoir in Bradford Township. Sources tell 1490 WESB that the two were seniors at Bradford High. They also tell us that one boy has been charged with DUI in the accident. Bradford Township police say two vehicles were "traveling together" in the same direction when one of the vehicles left the road, hit numerous trees and burst into flames. Two of the youths died. A third young man, Ian Clark, is in Hamot Medical Center in serious condition. Three other boys in a seperate vehicle were treated at BRMC Friday night. Bradford Township Police have been joined by a State Police crash reconstruction team from Erie in the investigation.