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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Judge Won't Dismiss Rigas Charges

A federal judge has refused to dismiss charges of conspiracy and tax evasion against Adelphia Founder John Rigas and his son Timothy Rigas. The charges are separate from the fraud charges on which they were prosecuted in New York. "In the New York action, the Rigases were charged with agreeing to conceal from investors, analysts and lenders the failing financial condition of Adelphia," District Judge John E. Jones III wrote. "In this action, the Rigases are charged with agreeing to avoid paying income taxes. These two different objectives mark two different conspiracies." John Rigas is serving 12 years in prison and Timothy Rigas, once Adelphia's chief financial officer, is serving 17 years following their 2004 New York convictions on charges including conspiracy, bank fraud and securities fraud. The Rigases argued that their acquittal on wire fraud and conspiracy charges in New York means they did not scheme to defraud the company by diverting funds for personal use. But Jones wrote in his 39-page decision that while the New York jury "concluded they did not engage in a scheme to defraud Adelphia, this conclusion does not establish that they did not receive funds from the company for personal use."

Sunny Saturday in the City

By ANNE HOLLIDAY
WESB/WBRR News Director


Our meteorologist and Betty Jane Monjar were right.

Saturday was the annual Betty Jane Monjar Garden Walk and, according to tour committee member Becky Ryan, Monjar said the second weekend July is the least likely to rain and gardens are at their most beautiful.

Ryan said Monjar kept track of the Bradford weather for many years, so when she, Janet Detweiler and Debbie Lowrey decided to start the garden tour, they picked the second weekend in July.

"We've never been rained out," Ryan said. "Ever."



Even the koi in Dan and Sandy O'Brien's garden pond seemed to enjoy the weather. The O'Brien's backyard "sanctuary" was one of three stops on the annual garden walk. Before the walk, people enjoyed lunch and a mini-symposium at the First Presbyterian Church. The speaker was Tom Parsons of Pittsburgh.

As for the scientific forecast, News 4 Meteorologist Mike Cejka said Saturday would be mostly sunny with a high near 90. Showers and thunderstorms were in the forecast for Saturday night, however.

Crews with Sports Construction Group of Cleveland, Ohio, took advantage of Saturday's weather by putting some of the finishing touches on the end zones and center of the new Parkway Field.


Many people throughout the city had yard sales and porch sales, while others simply enjoyed the day by strolling along the Richard E. McDowell Community Trail. Others could be seen walking or running along Campus Drive or bicycling throughout the city. Both Hanley and Callahan parks welcomed basketball players and kids who like swinging.


Dozens of motorcyclists used the day to raise money for Charlie Company, 112th Infantry of the local National Guard Unit, which is being deployed to Iraq later this year. The inaugural "Operation Salute" Dice Run got underway from the VFW on Barbour Street.

The money raised will go toward helping not only the troops, but their families, while they are overseas.

Staff Sergeant Steve Jones said the support from the community has been overwhelming.

"It really helps a lot. It helps morale just to know the people support us," Jones said. "Even if they don't support the war, they support the soldiers and that's very important."

Just a few yards from the kick-off of the dice run, Ray Owen was treating youngsters at the Bradford Area Public Library to his "Insect Odyssey." The event was part of the library's summer reading program. This year's theme is "Buggy for Books." Although the youngsters and their parents were inside on part of a beautiful Saturday, they could have gone to their backyards after the program and looked for the bugs they learned about.

People who didn't get out and enjoy the sunshine on Saturday are out of luck until Monday. Cejka is calling for rain and thunderstorms for much of the early part of the day on Sunday.

3 Face Charges for Illegal Gambling Ring in Jefferson, Cambria Counties

Three men face charges in relation to an illegal gambling ring in Jefferson and Cambria counties. Police say thousands of dollars were involved, with bets on the lottery and various sporting events. Jefferson County officials received permission in March to wiretap the phone lines of Robert Juliette, of Punxsutawney. Over the next few weeks, they said Juliette worked on the operation with two other men, Robert Boast of Johnstown and Jeff Papalia of North Carolina. Police raided Juliette's home in April and took several notebooks, including a list of his alleged clients. Police say more arrests are possible.

Breaking News from CNN:
Tony Snow Has Died

Former White House press secretary Tony Snow has died at the age of 53 after a second battle with cancer. Snow, who had been undergoing chemotherapy treatments for a recurrence of the disease, left his White House job September. 14, 2007, and joined CNN as a conservative commentator.

More from CNN

Dog Dies in House Fire

A dog died, but no people were hurt, in a fire Friday afternoon on Parkside Drive in Limestone. Two rooms in the home of Don and Grace Weaver were severely damaged by fire. The rest of the house had smoke and water damage. Twenty-five firefighters were on the scene for about an hour and a half. The fire has been ruled accidental.

Rendell Names New Top Cop

Governor Ed Rendell has named a 30-year Pennsylvania State Police veteran to serve as the acting state police commissioner. Rendell said Friday that Lt. Col. Frank Pawlowski would temporarily assume the post being vacated by Col. Jeffrey Miller. The appointment takes effect August 9. Palowski enlisted in the state police in 1978 and has served as the agency's deputy commissioner of operations since March 2007. Miller is leaving his post next month to become the NFL's director of strategic security. The job is a new position that will cover all aspects of stadium security from fan behavior to signal stealing.

Friday, July 11, 2008

CCR Rocks Salamanca

By ANNE HOLLIDAY
WESB/WBRR News Director


If you were wondering who stopped the rain Friday, the answer is CCR.

Creedence Clearwater Revisited lead singer John Tristao made a reference to the classic Creedence Clearwater Revival song "Who'll Stop the Rain" during the band's performance Friday night as part of the Seneca Allegany Casino free outdoor concert series.

That wasn't the only classic the band played during the hour and a half long show. They rocked the crowd with "Suzie Q," and "Midnight Special," and also played "Lodi," "Down on the Corner" and "There's a Bathroom on the Right." What? You say it's "Bad Moon Rising?" Yeah. Right. Anyway, name a favorite CCR song and they probably played it.

From people in their 80s to babies in strollers, everyone seemed to enjoy the show on a night that turned out to be perfect – complete with a spectacular sunset -- for an outdoor concert.

Toddlers danced with their grandparents during "Bad Moon Rising" and several women showed their best moves during "Proud Mary."

Earlier on in the show original CCR member Stu Cook explained how he and Doug "Cosmo" Clifford (and John Fogerty) met in junior high and decided to start a band. They were 13 then – 50 years ago – which makes them 63. Hard to believe when watching them perform.

According the band's Web site, Cook and Clifford launched the Creedence Clearwater Revisited project in 1995 to once again perform live Creedence Clearwater Revival hits - touchstones of a generation. Though the pair initially only planned to play private parties, Creedence Clearwater Revisited now performs up to 100 shows a year and has released the album "Recollection."

The release of a double-live CD on Universal's Hip-O Records label, which features passionate, authoritative versions of 22 classic hits - was the result of public demand. "It was generated by requests of the people who came to the shows," Stu acknowledges. "Over and over they would ask, "'do you guys have a CD?'" Creedence Clearwater Revisited's "Recollection" has proven so popular that it was certified as a gold record by the RIAA in 2002 and is well on its way towards platinum record status.

So, now you don't have to say you heard through the grapevine that the concert was awesome. You read it here first.

Zippo Car is Ten Years Old

The world famous Zippo Car is celebrating its 10th Anniversary on Saturday, July 19 beginning at 3 p.m. at the Zippo/Case Visitors Center. Highlighting the celebration will be the release of the 10th Anniversary Zippo Car Collectible. This limited edition lighter commemorates the 10th Anniversary of the unveiling of the Zippo Car, with a double sided surface imprint of the Zippo Car on a high polish chrome Zippo windproof lighter. Only 1,500 of these consecutively numbered commemorative lighters were produced.

Also making its Bradford debut will be the new Zippo Mobile Exhibit. The Mobile Exhibit is equipped with video screens and over 2,000 historical and current lighters. This is definitely something to see!

Everyone is invited to come join in the celebration and pick up their piece of history!


Pictures of the Zippo Car Collectible

Feast of St. Bonaventure to Begin

ST. BONAVENTURE, July 11, 2008 - Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., S.T.D., St. Bonaventure University president, and Fr. Michael F. Cusato, O.F.M., director of the Franciscan Institute and dean of the School of Franciscan Studies, invite the public to attend a series of public events highlighting The Feast of St. Bonaventure, commencing on July 13.

The dates, times, and events of the celebration are:

Sunday, July 13:

* 5 p.m. - Evening prayer service, University Chapel, Doyle Hall

* 5:30 - 7 p.m. - An Academic Roundtable,
Robert R. Jones Board of Trustees Room, Doyle Hall
A presentation of former Doino Visiting Professor of Franciscan Studies, Dr. Jacques Dalarun's, latest book, "Towards a Resolution of the Franciscan Question: The Umbrian Legend of Thomas of Celano."

Monday, July 14:

* 4:30 p.m. - First Walk-Through of the Rare Books Wing of the Friedsam Memorial Library
Brief presentations by Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., and Dr. Paul Spaeth, director of Friedsam Memorial Library.

Tuesday, July 15:

* 5 p.m. - Eucharistic Liturgy of the Feast of St. Bonaventure,
University Chapel, Doyle Hall
Celebrant and Homilist: Most Rev. John Corriveau, O.F.M. Cap., Bishop of Nelson, Canada

* 7:30 p.m. -Dessert reception, Cafe LaVerna

Regola Found Not Guilty

A state senator has been acquitted of perjury, reckless endangerment and gun counts. A jury cleared Republican state Sen. Robert Regola of any wrongdoing in the death of a 14-year-old neighbor. The freshman lawmaker is running for re-election. He had been charged with perjury, reckless endangerment and allowing a minor to illegally possess a gun. Prosecutors had said Regola should be held accountable for lies he told during a coroner's inquest. They also claimed the 9 mm handgun essentially belonged to son Bobby Regola. The neighbor used Regola's gun to shoot himself in July 2006. A coroner ruled the death a suicide.

Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati released the following statement:

“This is welcome news and quite frankly news I fully expected all along,” Scarnati stated. “From the get go, this has been nothing more than a political vendetta against Bob Regola and I am pleased the jury saw it for what it was. Now that the verdict is in, I am hopeful that the Regola family and the Farrell family can find it in their hearts to move forward and find some sort of closure to this sad tragedy.”

“I am also confident that Bob will continue to effectively represent the good citizens of the 39th District, as he has throughout this difficult process,” Scarnati added. “It goes without saying that Senator Regola has been a leader in the Senate in advancing causes such as the end to lame duck sessions, and will be a vital part in reforming the way the Commonwealth operates.”

Kane Relay Parade


These cancer survivors sit on their float during Kane's Relay for Life parade Thursday. In the following pictures, relay teams and others get ready to march in the parade.





Moments before the largest parade to hit Kane in years, teams gathered, survivors mounted a float decorated in the colors of cancer, Miss Relay contestants, Kane's Prince and Princess, and other dignitaries got in their convertibles, fire trucks, motocylists, ice cream and winery trucks fell in line to launch the 8th annual Kane Area Relay. The survivor and luminary ceremonies and kickoff are Friday night at the Kane Area High School Track. 18 teams are participating this year. The 24 hour relay event is a celebration after a year of fundraising which ends Saturday morning. This year's fundraising goal for Kane is $40K. Barry and Shirley Morgan of Kane planned the well received parade. They also championed community wide fundraising efforts raising well over $5K for the overall Kane Area Relay. They conducted many fundraising events for their own teams.

Below, McKean County Commissioner Joe DeMott makes his way through the parade, while the crowd watches.






The Relay is at Kane Area High School. Go support these people!

Kennedy Street Work Continues


Work continues Friday afternoon on the Kennedy Street portion of the Bradford Streetscape Project. Although the street is closed, all the buisnesses are still opened.

Mitchell Completes Navy Training

Navy Seaman Recruit Reno P. Mitchell, a 2006 graduate of Smethport High School, Smethport, Pa., recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.

During the eight-week program, Mitchell completed a variety of training which included classroom study and practical instruction on naval customs, first aid, firefighting, water safety and survival, and shipboard and aircraft safety. An emphasis was also placed on physical fitness.

The capstone event of boot camp is "Battle Stations". This exercise gives recruits the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the fleet. "Battle Stations" is designed to galvanize the basic warrior attributes of sacrifice, dedication, teamwork and endurance in each recruit through the practical application of basic Navy skills and the core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. Its distinctly ''Navy'' flavor was designed to take into account what it means to be a Sailor.

Woman Struck by Lightening

A Jefferson County woman got a shock last night – literally. Mary Kay Thompson was opening a refrigerator door when a bolt of lightening shattered a tree in her yard, sent a current of electricity through the refrigerator and her. She says she could feel the electricity coming out of her toes, and she was numb for several hours. Thompson suffered only a small burn on her arm.

Tuition Increase at Pitt

Most students attending the University of Pittsburgh will pay a little bit more for tuition next year. The university's trustees today approved tuition increases of between 2 and 6 percent as part of the school's $1.7 billion budget for next year.
In-state students attending Pitt's main campus will pay 6 percent more, while out-of-state students will see a 4 percent increase. In-state students at the school's four regional campuses will pay 4 percent more, while out-of-state students at those campuses will pay 2 percent more. Besides Bradford, the regional campuses are in Johnstown, Titusville and Greensburg.

PennDOT Work Schedule July 14-18

Ridgway/Cyclone Pa. (July 11, 2008) PENNDOT ELK / MCKEAN County Has announced work for the week of July 14, 2008 through July 18, 2008.

Maintenance work planned by McKean County employees includes:

Ø REPAIR DRAINAGE – SR 6, Port Allegany to Smethport, Clermont

Ø CRAFCOING – SR 59, Tack Inn to Bingham Road – SR 1006, Bells Run

Ø SHOULDER CUTTING – SR 6, Mount Jewett to Smethport

Ø BRIDGE REPAIRS – SR 246, Rixford Area

Ø CUT BRIDGE – SR 6, Warren County Line to Kane

Ø SIGN REPAIRS – Various Routes, County wide

Ø INSTALL CROSSPIPES – SR 6, Port Allegany to Smethport

Ø REPAIR GUIDE RAILS – Various Routes, County Wide

Maintenance work planned by Elk County employees includes:

Ø CRACK SEALING – SR 948, Kersey Area – SR 949, Ridgway Area – SR 4002, Evergreen Drive – SR 4001, Grant Road

Ø SHOULDER CUTTING – SR 948, Kersey

Ø PATCHING – SR 219, Johnsonburg Area – SR 948, Highland Area

Ø BRIDGE REPAIR – SR 3002 – Laurel Mill

Ø DITCH CLEANING – SR 1008, West Creek Road

The Value of Mountain Laurel

On May 5, 1933, Governor Pinchot signed a law that made Mountain-Laurel the state flower. The mountain-laurel’s stunning, but short, display of beauty is worthy of becoming the Keystone state’s flower. Over the last month, we’ve all admired the beauty of the mountain-laurel, but it has other values within the Allegheny ecosystem that deserve our recognition, too.

Animals that associate with mountain-laurel include white-tailed deer, eastern screech owl, black bear, ruffed grouse, turkeys, snowshoe hare, and song birds. Black bears are known to den in "ground nests" in mountain-laurel thickets. Snowshoe hare, ruffed grouse, and warblers hide in the dense thickets. Many a hunter has waited in anticipation just outside a clearing in the laurel for a tom turkey to ‘spit and drum’ close enough for a shot.

Mountain-laurel's leaves, buds, flowers, and fruits are poisonous, and may be lethal to livestock and humans. However, white-tailed deer, eastern cottontails, black bear, and ruffed grouse are known to eat mountain-laurel in the winter or during years of food shortages.

Mountain-laurel is noted for preventing water runoff and soil erosion on mountain hillsides. Researchers in the southern Appalachian Mountains found that excessive cutting of dense stands of mountain-laurel greatly increased the amount of water runoff. In urban and suburban parks and recreation areas mountain-laurel is commonly used in forest restoration projects that focus on stabilizing thin soils. The leaf litter of mountain-laurel contains higher than normal levels of minerals than forest trees. The leaf litter contributes nutrients back to the forest soil as the leaves decompose.

Mountain-laurel is dependent on mycorrhizal fungus associated with its root system in the soil; mycorrhizal means a fungus and root association where the fungus helps the roots, and the roots help the fungus. The mycorrhizal fungus association of mountain-laurel helps the laurel obtain water and minerals from even the nutrient-poor, acidic soil of the Allegheny Plateau.

Humans have also developed uses for mountain laurel, despite its poisonous nature. Extracts of mountain laurel can be used to treat diarrhea, upset stomach, skin irritations, and as a sedative. Do NOT try to develop an extract on your own.
The wood of mountain-laurel has a long history of uses by native and Euro-Americans. It has been used in the manufacturing of pipes, wreaths, roping, furniture, bowls, utensils, and other household goods and novelties. Economically, mountain-laurel is the most important member of the genus Kalmia. Laurel is sold commonly as an ornamental and the leaves are used in floral displays.

How does this valuable forest shrub replace itself? Pollination of laurel flowers is normally accomplished by bumblebees. The anther (male part of the flower that contains pollen) of a laurel flower is positioned under tension which is released when a bumblebee or other insect lands on the flower. The pollen is then showered over the pistil (female part of the flower). If a pistil remains unpollinated, the anther self releases pollen onto the flower’s own pistil.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Abercrombie, Peterson Form Bipartisan Energy Working Group

Washington, DC – U.S. Representatives Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) and John Peterson (R-Pa.), have joined forces to develop and promote a comprehensive energy plan that will fuel the American economy rather than fueling partisan debate. The two representatives will announce a bipartisan working group of House Members on Tuesday, July 15. The working group will include a diverse group of rank-and-file Republican and Democratic Members from across the nation who share one interest: A comprehensive, environmentally responsible energy plan for the American people.

Abercrombie and Peterson have worked together for years addressing our energy crisis and have promoted responsible domestic energy production, conservation, and investment in renewable and alternatives energy sources – all components of becoming energy independent. They issued the following statement:

“If we remain locked in opposing political positions instead of working together to find real solutions, it will be a death struggle that puts the U.S. economy and our way of life at profound risk, and the country will miss an opportunity to declare energy independence from unstable, overseas supplies,” said Abercrombie. “We are sending hundreds of billions of dollars to other countries to buy oil— the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the world— without fully and carefully considering the possibilities here at home.”

Peterson continued, “In order for us to remain competitive and rescue ourselves from a second ‘great depression’, Washington needs to put the politics aside and address the crisis. Yes, we need to conserve more, and incentivize the American people to invest in energy efficient appliances, cars and homes. Yes, we need to streamline the permitting process so oil companies can expeditiously produce on the acres already under lease. Yes, we need to re-examine our fuel mix and the possibilities offered by technology. And finally, we need to invest in renewable and alternative forms of energy and increase domestic production of oil and natural gas. But, folks, there is no silver bullet. However, most importantly, we need to do something now.”

Kathleen McGinty Resigns

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The head of the state Department of Environmental Protection plans to step down next week.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Kathleen McGinty has resigned and will leave office July 18.

Gov. Ed Rendell's office won't comment on the report, saying it will have an announcement about McGinty later. Her representatives didn't immediately return a message left by The Associated Press.

McGinty has led the department for five years. She has pushed for energy conservation and renewable energy sources, and worked to attract green businesses to the state.

McGinty's resignation letter does not indicate her future plans.

The environmental group Penn Future praises McGinty for helping the state pass a $625 million bond for environmental cleanup.

Ziaukas Presents Paper on 'Mr. Yuk'

Mr. Yuk now has his own biographer. Tim Ziaukas, associate professor of public relations at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, presented a paper titled “Mr. Yuk is Mean … The Biography of an American Icon” at the Visual Communications Conference last month in Lake Tahoe, Nev.

In the 1970s, children in Pittsburgh were inadvertently ingesting poison at a rate higher than the national average, Ziaukas explained. Health officials eventually determined that this tragedy was occurring, at least in part, because of confusion caused by the beloved logo of the hometown baseball team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, which used the skull and crossbones – a centuries-old image for danger or poison.

The Jolly Roger, as the skull and crossbones is called, progressed from being the calling card of pirates to a symbol meaning “poison.” But to the minds of children in Pittsburgh, the frightening symbol meant one thing – baseball, Ziaukas said.

In the early 1970s, medical and communication professionals at what is now the Poison Center at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC began to develop a replacement that wouldn’t confuse children – Mr. Yuk.

Ziaukas interviewed the medical and communications professionals who developed the Mr. Yuk campaign and charted their attempts to have it replace the Jolly Roger as the national symbol for poison.

“I grew up in Pittsburgh,” said Ziaukas, “and knew some of the people who had developed the Yuk campaign. I want to get the case of this iconic image on the academic record while most of the people who did the work are around to tell the tale.”

Ziaukas has taught public relations, journalism and visual communications classes at Pitt-Bradford since 1994. He is currently working on the publishable version of the Yuk campaign. His scholarly work has appeared in the Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Quarterly, and American Journalism: A Journal of Media History.

State Rep., Former Rep., 10 Others Indicted in 'Bonusgate' Scandal

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania state representative, a former lawmaker and 10 others have been indicted in a probe of nearly $4 million in secret legislative bonuses.

The defendants named in Thursday's indictment include Rep. Sean Ramaley, a Beaver County Democrat; former Rep. Mike Veon, who served as Democratic whip; and Michael Manzo, a former chief of staff to Democratic Majority Leader Bill DeWeese.

The investigation centered on whether some of the bonuses paid to legislative staffers in 2005 and 2006 were illegal rewards for campaign work. Veon was voted out of office in 2006 by the backlash over the 2005 legislative pay raises.

Attorney General Tom Corbett says he expects more arrests to follow.

AG's News Release

Alternative Fuels Bill Signed

Legislation sponsored by Senator Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks) that would encourage the use of energy efficient alternative fuels was signed into law today.

Special Session Senate Bill 22 will improve and expand the state's Alternative Fuels Incentive Fund, which is aimed at reducing both air pollution and providing the Commonwealth with the independence to manufacture its own fuel source.

Tomlinson said the law authorizes an additional 75 cents per gallon subsidy for biodiesel producers who produce more than 25,000 gallons per month, up to a total of $5.3 million annually. Individual producers could receive no more than $1.9 million. The law will also increase the reimbursement to producers of alternative fuels from 5 cents to 10 cents per gallon up to 12.5 million gallons annually.

"At a time when fuel costs are rising and we are looking for more energy efficient fuels, this law will create incentives to move away from gasoline and traditional diesel," Tomlinson said. "It will also stimulate economic development for those companies that manufacture to meet the demand for these alternative fuels."

Tomlinson said the law expands upon a program that he helped to create in 2004, by making improvements to promote even more energy independence and save millions in energy costs.

The law will require an education and outreach program to car dealers and consumers to educate them on the availability of the rebate. It also expands the rebates to plug in hybrids or other alternative fuel vehicles.

It also establishes a three-year matching grant program to install nitrogen tire inflation systems which have proven to save on fuel consumption.

"With rising gas prices and concern for the environment, consumers are demanding alternatives to oil," said Tomlinson. "These changes will make the fund even more effective in helping consumers to afford alternative fuel vehicles and other renewable energy efficient products."

Alternative fuels emit no particulate matter, less carbon monoxide and fewer pollutants that contribute to ground-level ozone, or smog, than conventional gasoline and diesel fuel.

"Encouraging the use of these fuels will not only help to clean up our environment but also make us stronger economically to produce our own fuel," Tomlinson said. "I'm very pleased that the Governor and General Assembly worked together to pass this very important environmental initiative."

Reward Increases for Information on Missing Sykesville Woman

Nearly a year after Joey Lynn Offutt disappeared, her family is hoping more reward money will lead to more information on her whereabouts.

Offut has been missing since July 12 of last year, the day the remains of an infant were found in her burned-out Sykesville home. The remains of the infant hadn't been positively identified until recently. Offutt's nephew, Jason Hungerford, says police told the family within the last couple months that the body is Offutt's 6-week-old son. A cause of death has not been determined.

The family plans to increase the reward money for information leading to Offut's whereabouts from $10,000 to $15,000.

For more information visit findjoey.org

More on Autism, Cancer Bill

The new Pennsylvania law mandating insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorders also requires that insurance companies cover colon cancer screenings. It also outlines statutory requirements for the proposed merger of Highmark Blue Shield and Independence Blue Cross.

Autism Insurance Coverage Mandate

The law requires insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders for individuals under twenty-one years of age, including any medically necessary pharmacy care, psychiatric care, psychological care, rehabilitative care and therapeutic care. Coverage will be capped at 36 thousand dollars per year, and there are no limits on the number of treatments. In 2012, the cap will be adjusted to match the Consumer Price Index. Insurers have to accept as a participating provider any autism service provider within its service area.

Colon Cancer Coverage Mandate

The law requires insurance coverage for colorectal cancer screening for individuals who are fifty years of age or older, or those under fifty years of age who are at high or increased risk for colorectal cancer. Coverage includes a colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy or any combination of colorectal cancer screening tests at a frequency determined by a treating physician.

Blues Merger

The law ensures that the Insurance Department has appropriate oversight over the merger or consolidation of Blues Plans. It also allows the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee and the House Insurance Committee to receive and review all filings submitted to the Department of Insurance and develop written comments and recommendations on the merger filings. And it requires the Insurance Commissioner to determine that any approved merger will result in a 'sustained benefit’ to its policyholders.

Case Appreciation Weekend Coming

W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company is a small-town competitor in an ever-swelling global economy. Situated in Bradford, Pennsylvania, a town of fewer than 10,000 people in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, the company is owned by Zippo Manufacturing Company, another Bradford-based icon, makers of the world famous Zippo lighter. A visit to their Zippo/Case Visitors Center and Museum will convince you that Bradford is to knife and lighter collecting what Nashville is to country music.

The Case Company began in 1889 in Little Valley, New York, located just across Pennsylvania’s northern border, the center of a turn-of-the-century boom in pocket knives that spawned dozens of America’s very first companies to market knives to consumers. Now, more than 119 years later, only W.R. Case & Sons is left standing, a testament to its products’ enduring quality and all-American workmanship. To celebrate the phenomenon that is Case, the company will be holding a Case Collector Appreciation weekend on its own grounds from July 18-19, 2008. Thanks to the growing popularity of knife collecting and a constantly evolving lineup of new offerings, Case has survived a recent growth period, hiring more artisans, expanding its authorized dealer network, and delivering its message of hope to beleaguered town squares across the highways and byways of small-town America. The company’s simple, yet timely message, encourages everyone to rekindle their enthusiasm for their hometowns by “Making a Case for America.” Case will be featuring a traveling interactive exhibit devoted to the campaign at the upcoming event, scheduled for July 18 and 19.

Hundreds of pocket knife enthusiasts from all walks of life are expected to attend, celebrating the rich history of this 119-year old company, sharing the stories behind their prized Case collectables and lauding the utilitarian aspects of Case products.

Bob Farquharson, a past Case President from Henrietta, Texas, and John R. Osborne, Jr., a local resident who worked as Vice President of Manufacturing at Case and is a great-great-nephew to the company’s founder, are among the VIP’s scheduled to appear.

Tom Wolfe, a professional whittler who specializes in character art, will demonstrate his creative talent using only a Case pocket knife and a small block of wood. Whittling hobbyists will be showcasing samples of their own artwork in the Carvings Displays Exhibit. An Apple Peelin’ Contest is scheduled for two rounds; one each on Friday and Saturday. The contestant able to draw the longest strand of unbroken peel from a single delicious apple with a Case knife will be declared champion.

Job Case, the patriarch of the Case family who was born in the mid-1800’s, was known for being a free thinker; a man ahead of his time. Job’s steely-eyed face, with his billowing white-haired beard and mustache, has been used on Case’s own product packages for many years. In honor of this notoriously famous icon, there will be a grand prize—a one-of-a-kind Grand Daddy Barlow knife— to the person who most closely reincarnates the Case family leader…so start growing those whiskers!

Of course, Case knives will be swapped almost continuously throughout the weekend. The Collector Knife Swap Tent will be filled with nearly 100 display tables, full of Case knives and stories from the people who love them.

Now would be a good time to look around for old Case knives you might have hidden from sight. Tony Foster, one of the foremost authorities on vintage Case knives, will be performing knife appraisals and sharing insights on serious knife collecting as part of the event’s “Tony’s Road Show” segments. Tony will be pointing out some of his more interesting finds to the public.

During the Swap Meet, Case Collectors Club members will be led through a Case factory tour to witness how Case knives are made and meet the people that have hand-crafted the most respected knife brand still made in America.

A silent auction will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, along with sales of chicken barbecue dinners, which will go on until sold out. A food court will offer a variety of menu choices throughout the event. Music and other entertainment will be ongoing.

The weekend frenzy will hit a fever pitch on Friday night with the start of the Case Collectors Live Auction, which will take place at 7:00 p.m. and feature several one-of-a-kind Case knives crafted by the company’s talented model makers, Mike DuBois and Paul Lipps. Scott King, Executive Vice President of Sales and a co-owner the J.P. King Auction Company of Gadsden, Alabama, will be the guest auctioneer. Bidding will be open to the public; pre-registration is required and will begin promptly at 4:30 p.m.

The gates will close to the public at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, but that’s not the end of the evening’s celebration. Bradford residents will line Main Street in preparation for a fireworks display, which will emblazon the skies above downtown Bradford at approximately 9:45 (weather permitting).

Appreciation Saturday will kick off with a special “200 Club” event for registered members of the Case Collectors Club only, accompanied by a homestyle breakfast bonanza that will be served to pre-registered guests only.

Tony Bose, a world-renowned custom knife maker from Shelburne, Indiana, will be on hand to demonstrate his craft to the public.

A Kid’s Corner will offer balloon animals, temporary tattoos, and arts and crafts activities to younger attendees. Other events include a Clinko game, pin trading, and a “Kids 4 Case” educational program. Drawings and games for prizes will be conducted throughout each day.

The Zippo/Case Museum will showcase exhibits of rare Case knives and Zippo lighters and offers a fun and interactive setting for educating the public about these two great American icons. Shirley Boser, Case Historian, will lead guided tours of the Museum at 1:30 p.m. on Friday and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Saturday’s tour will be followed by a special celebration marking the 10th anniversary of the Zippo Car and Bradford’s premiere of the company’s new traveling history exhibit. Special collectibles will be available at the Zippo/Case Visitors Center, which will operate under an extended schedule throughout the weekend, including Sunday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Free Radon Test Kits

The American Lung Association of Pennsylvania (ALAPA) is once again helping people protect their health and their family's health. In addition to their nationally recognized smoking cessation and asthma education programs, the American Lung Association announced today that they would be providing free radon test kits to the public when you visit their website, www.lunginfo.org/freeradonkit, while supplies last.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, and it is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking. The only way to know the level of radon inside the home is to test for it. The U. S. Surgeon General and the American Lung Association recommend that all homes be tested for radon.

The American Lung Association is conducting this program under a recent grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). "The American Lung Association is using the program as a way to help the public carry out DEP's call for everyone to test their homes for radon," said the group's Environmental Health Director, Kevin Stewart.

For the past twenty years, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, state environmental agencies, and organizations nationwide such as the American Lung Association have encouraged the public to test homes and to get radon problems fixed.

Supplies of the free test kits are limited, and availability varies according to each of six Pennsylvania regions. The current campaign is focusing on the western and north-central parts of the state. The American Lung Association asks that interested persons request only one test kit per household. In addition, individuals requesting test kits should be Pennsylvania residents who do not have a previous test result for their homes. To obtain a radon test kit, people should visit www.lunginfo.org/freeradonkit. This offer will be in effect for a limited time and can only be ordered online.

Nearly one in fifteen homes nationwide has a high level of indoor radon, and in Pennsylvania, the rates are even greater. The good news is that homes with high radon levels can be fixed. In most cases, the solution is simple and similar in cost to other typical home repairs.

If you have a question concerning radon or would like to contact your local American Lung Association office, please call the American Lung Association toll-free at 1-800-LUNG-USA .

'Bonusgate' Charges to be Filed;
News Conference at 2 p.m.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett planned to file criminal charges Thursday against at least two people in his investigation of the possible misuse of bonuses for legislative staff members.

Corbett scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference in Harrisburg to announce the results of the grand jury probe. His office has spent 17 months looking into whether any of the millions of dollars in bonuses handed out to legislative staffers in 2005-06 were illegal rewards for work the aides performed for political campaigns.

A spokesman for the attorney general said he cannot release names of the defendants yet because the charges had not been filed. The Dauphin County Common Pleas Court clerk's office had no new public records in the case Thursday morning.

For the full story, go to pennlive.com.

CCMH Adds Surgeon

Charles Cole Memorial Hospital has announced the addition of Coudersport native Terry Foust, D.O. to its medical staff, effective July 14.
Dr. Foust, specializing in orthopedic surgery with emphasis on spine and trauma procedures, will become a member of the Champion Orthopedics & Sports Medicine team, joining Dr. Bradley Giannotti and Dr. Seth Shifrin at their offices in Coudersport and Olean, NY. He will also serve patients at CCMH’s satellite offices in Westfield, Port Allegany, and Emporium.

Dr. Foust graduated from Central PA College, Pennsylvania State University, and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his internship and residency at Pinnacle Health System in Harrisburg where he most recently served as chief resident. Before going to medical school, he worked as a physical therapist assistant. He is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Osteopathic Association, American Osteopathic Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association.

“Coming to Charles Cole Memorial Hospital offers me the chance to join an established group, Champion Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, with a good reputation. I can do what I want to do, orthopedic surgery with an emphasis on spine and trauma procedures,” Dr. Foust said. Many places can limit your scope of practice but here there is the opportunity to see the full spectrum of orthopedics you don’t find elsewhere. There is top care here and people don’t need to travel. In a small hospital, patients benefit from the personal touch and they know that they’re more than just a number in a huge system. Dr. Giannotti and Dr. Shifrin are incredible physicians. The physician assistants and staff are also top notch and I have learned firsthand that is not found in larger health care systems. I’m coming back to work with professionals like them. It’s perfect for me to be where I want to be and do what I want to do,” he said.

“His spine expertise will complete our musculo-skeletal care. I’m ecstatic about working with Dr. Foust,” Dr. Giannotti said.

“This marks a new chapter for Champion Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, where we can provide complete care from head to toe,” Dr. Shifrin said.

“It’s not often that a community has the chance to welcome home someone like Dr. Foust who has achieved so much and who has the potential to help his neighbors and citizens of this region,” Ed Pitchford, CCMH president and chief executive officer, said. “His presence will be felt throughout north central Pennsylvania and lower New York state for a long time to come. Our hospital is very fortunate to welcome Terry to our medical staff.”

Spinal surgery patients should be referred to Dr. Foust through their primary care physician. Surgical patients have typically gone through tests and treatment that may have included physical therapy, injections, x-rays, and MRIs to show that surgery is needed. For more information on Dr. Foust’s services, call 814/274-0900.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Bradford Township VFD

I've been meaning to point out this site for a couple of weeks, but I keep forgetting. Now, I remembered. It's the Bradford Township Volunteer Fire Department. Great pictures. Interesting information.

Rendell Signs Infrastructure Bills

With Pennsylvania facing nearly $20 billion in unmet needs for its water and wastewater facilities, as well as inadequate flood control measures and unsafe, high-hazard dams, Governor Edward G. Rendell today signed into law a historic investment in the state’s infrastructure that will provide up to $1.2 billion in new investments to ensure safe, clean water and safer communities.

“A sustainable infrastructure that is capable of protecting its citizens and providing quality, dependable services is paramount to the public’s health and well-being,” said Governor Rendell as he signed Senate bills 2 and 1341 at the Mechanicsburg Wastewater Treatment Plant in Cumberland County. “Our water-related infrastructure—our drinking water and wastewater plants, our dams and our flood protection projects—are aging and deteriorating after decades of neglect and underinvestment. These bills provide new investments not just for capital improvements, which are increasingly expensive but, as in the case of wastewater facilities, to support other nonstructural options that are oftentimes more cost-effective.”

S.B. 2 will provide $800 million over the next 10 years for critical water, sewer, flood control projects and repairs to unsafe, high-hazard dams in areas outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The debt service on the bond will be repaid using uncommitted game revenues distributed by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

S.B. 1341 will place a referendum on the November ballot asking voters to approve an additional $400 million for improvements in public drinking water and wastewater systems, including innovative, cost-effective strategies such as nutrient trading. If approved, the funding would be used for grants and loans to be administered by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST).

Under both bills, the 183 publicly-owned water systems in Pennsylvania that are facing federal mandates to reduce the amount of nutrient pollution in the Susquehanna and Potomac river basins and downstream in the Chesapeake Bay will be eligible for additional support. The grants and loans may be directed towards plant upgrades, but other more cost-effective options – such as nutrient credit trading, water conservation and water reuse – may also be eligible.

In Pennsylvania, there are 900 community drinking water facilities and 1,100 community wastewater operations that are owned by a municipality or municipal authority that would qualify for funding under S.B. 2. Grants will range from $500,000 to $20 million.

According to a recent federal clean water needs survey, Pennsylvania is facing nearly $11 billion in unmet drinking water infrastructure needs and at least $7.2 billion in unmet wastewater infrastructure needs.

Kysor Accomplice Sentenced

A state prison inmate won’t be serving additonal time for helping convicted murderer Malcolm Kysor escape from the State Correctional Institution at Albion last fall. 26-year-old John Gromer was sentenced today in Erie County Court to two and a half to five years in state prison for conspiring to help Kysor break out of prison on Nov. 25. But the judge ordered Gromer, to serve the sentence at the same time he serves his current five-to-10 year sentence for drugs and weapons charges. That sentence began in 2006. Kysor was picked up in Bakersfield, California, in April and brought back to Pennsylvania.

CEO of Charming Shoppes Resigns

BENSALEM, Pa. (AP) — The head of struggling women's clothing retailer Charming Shoppes Inc. stepped down Wednesday after recent turmoil that included a first-quarter loss and a bitter proxy fight. President and chief executive Dorrit J. Bern's resignation takes effect immediately, the company said in a statement. The parent of Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug and Catherines stores said board chairman Alan Rosskamm will serve as CEO until a replacement for Bern is found.

For more on this story, go to pennlive.com.

Pitt Professor Presents Paper

Dr. Yong-Zhuo Chen, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford professor of mathematics, presented a paper at the World Congress of Nonlinear Analysts last week in Orlando, Fla. “A Presic Type Contractive Condition and Its Applications,” was a theoretical paper dealing with discrete dynamics, the study of quantities that change at discrete points in time. The congress is held every four years to bring together scholars from around the world in the various disciplines that attempt to understand nonlinear phenomena.

Chen was born in China. He obtained his master of science degree in mathematics from Shanghai Normal University and taught there as an instructor for a couple of years. He came to the United States at the end of 1983 to attend the University of Pittsburgh, where he received his doctorate in mathematics in 1988.

Chen’s Ph.D. work was in the field of harmonic analysis and he, together with his advisor, initiated the study of several new classes of Hardy spaces, which have been developed considerably by other mathematicians since then.

After working as a visiting assistant professor at Bowling Green State University for one year, he began his career at Pitt-Bradford in 1989.

Since coming to Pitt-Bradford, his research interest has shifted to the field of nonlinear operators. He has published about 30 refereed papers, which include several co-authored articles with students, in college-level mathematics journals.

He is also chairman of the division of physical and computational sciences. He lives in Bradford.

Peterson on Fox Business Channel

U.S. Rep. John E. Peterson, R-Pa., discusses offshore energy production on Fox Business Channel:

“The American public owns this energy. It’s not owned by Presidnet Bush, it’s not owned by Speaker Pelosi, it’s not owned by the environmental groups…”

“Everyday we wait [to produce more energy domestically], we become more OPEC dependent…”

Click HERE for the video.

Breaking News from CNN

New DNA evidence in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case does not match that of anyone in her family, a prosecutor says.

For the full story, go to CNN.

Alleged Assaults in Olean

An Olean man has been charged with assault after allegedly breaking another man's nose Tuesday night in a convenience store parking lot. 22-year-old Franklin Chase is accused of punching Robert Gilbert in the face and breaking his nose while two other men hit Gilbert with a baseball bat and golf club. Chase is also accused of throwing a metal pipe at Gilbert's car, denting it and smashing a side-view mirror. Police say more arrests are pending.

An Olean man has been charged with assault and possession of a controlled substance. 22-year-old Gary Maull is accused of kicking Greg Eaton in the head and ribs while they were at Younger's Bar. He also allegedly violated a court order by contacting an Olean woman, and allegedly possessed and sold crack cocaine.

Business As Usual at Buffalo Casino

The Seneca Nation has no plans to stop building the new Buffalo Creek Casino in Buffalo. Yesterday, a federal judge vacated approval of gaming on the property. Seneca President Mo John addressed the issue during a news conference this afternoon at the Seneca-Niagara Casino, and said it'll be business as usual at the site while the matter makes its way through the court system. The Senecas are appealing the court decision. Erie County Executive Chris Collins and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown are in favor of building the casino.

Robbery at Crosby Mart

Bradford City Police are investigating a robbery at the Interstate Parkway Crosby Mart Tuesday night. A clerk reported that a man entered the store at about 10:15, brandishing a knife and demanding cash. The clerk gave him an undetermined amount of money. The man then fled on foot through the back door of the building. The clerk was not hurt. Anyone with pertinent information is asked to call Bradford City Police or use the confidential tip line at cityofbradfordpolice.com.

Casey, Altmire Unveil Bill to Help Firefighters Pay Rising Fuel Costs

WASHINGTON, DC –U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Congressman Jason Altmire (D-PA) today introduced legislation to help volunteer fire companies cover the rising cost of fuel prices. The Supporting America’s Volunteer Emergency Services Act of 2008 (SAVES Act) would establish a grant program under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to be distributed to volunteer fire companies to help them pay to fuel fire trucks and emergency response vehicles.

“High gas and diesel prices have put a strain on millions of Americans, particularly those operating on razor-thin budgets like our volunteer fire companies,” said Senator Casey. “Many companies are finding it difficult to cope with the added strain, making it impossible for them to respond to emergencies with enough equipment and vehicles. Volunteer companies save Pennsylvania taxpayers and towns millions of dollars every year, so this is an investment in their future and ours. We must help our firefighters so they aren’t forced to choose between their budgets and saving lives.”

“High gas prices are taking a tremendous toll on volunteer fire departments, many of whom are the only emergency service providers for their areas,” Altmire said. “I am introducing this bill because I want to make sure that high fuel costs do not prevent volunteer fire departments from continuing to protect our communities and investing in the training and equipment needed to provide quality emergency services. We cannot afford to let high gas prices stand in the way of firefighters’ ability to provide local families with the help they need.”

The SAVES Act would set a baseline of gas and diesel prices using average prices from 2007. Volunteer fire companies would be eligible for reimbursement of 75% of budget overages due to the rising cost of gas over the baseline cost. The companies would then receive a grant to help cover the additional costs. For example, a volunteer fire company that uses 1,000 gallons of gasoline and 700 gallons of diesel under current levels would receive approximately $1,725.00 in reimbursements under this program.

Between June 2003 and June 2008, regular gasoline prices have risen 171% and diesel prices have risen 229%. Volunteer fire companies have reported that they are not able to respond to fire emergencies with the amount of trucks and equipment recommended under guidelines provided by the National Fire Protection Association. Volunteer Fire companies serve over 9 million Pennsylvanians and account for 97% of its fire departments.

The SAVES Act has the endorsement of Ed Mann, the Fire Commissioner for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the National Volunteer Fire Council.

Summer Fun Camp in August

The Rainbow Corner Preschool will be holding a week-long Summer Fun Camp for children age 3-5 years old. Camp will run from Monday, August 4th through Friday August 8th, 2008 from 9:00am to 12:00pm at 20 Russell Boulevard in Bradford.

Children do not have to be enrolled at Rainbow Corner to attend.

The Summer Fun Camp will focus on the outside world, nature, and outdoor play. Tuesday and Thursday of camp will focus on water activities and water play. Friday’s activities will be held at Callahan Park.

The Summer Fun Camp will provide structured play and socialization opportunities as well as school readiness activities for preschool age children and children entering Kindergarten.

The cost for summer camp is $50.00 for the first child and $30.00 for each additional child from the same family. Deadline for register is Friday, July 25, 2008.

To register please contact CARE for Children.

Rendell Signs Autism Bill


Governor Ed Rendell hands signed copies of House Bill 1150 to Senators Jane Orie and Don White following a July 9 ceremony. The new law provides for coverage of autism services, colorectal cancer screening and state oversight of the proposed merger of Highmark Inc. and Independence Blue Cross.
(Photo Courtesy of Senate Republican Communications)

Governor Ed Rendell today signed House Bill 1150 into law, groundbreaking legislation that will provide unprecedented new protections for children and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

By requiring private insurers to cover medically necessary treatments for individuals with autism up to age 21, the new law will improve access to essential services and treatments by building a stronger provider network for thousands of children and their families. Insurers will be responsible for the cost of treatment up to $36,000 per year. Advocates praise Pennsylvania’s new law as being among the nation’s best.

“This is a major victory for Pennsylvania families whose lives are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. The number of children diagnosed with autism continues to rise, along with the cost of those services,” said Governor Rendell. “By requiring private health insurers to shoulder their fair share of the cost of treatment, we’re taking steps to address the gap in the private insurance market and reduce reliance on government programs as the primary source of services and funding.”

Senate Whip Senator Jane Orie (R-40 and co-chair of the Autism Caucus in the General Assembly) hailed the enactment of the new law.

"This will end discrimination for individuals with autism, and provides them the same medical necessity standards provided to those with cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses," Senator Orie said. "Individuals with autism deserve the same quality of care that all those with chronic and severe health conditions receive."

Currently, many private insurance programs restrict coverage for certain services for individuals with autism. In Pennsylvania, the Department of Public Welfare provides health care coverage for children with disabilities through the Medical Assistance program without regard to family income and covers costs that private insurance does not pay.

“Five years ago, Public Welfare Secretary Estelle Richman convened the Autism Task Force, bringing families and practitioners together to begin the critical work of ensuring the very unique needs of children and their families living with autism were being met,” Governor Rendell said. “Mandating coverage for families was one of their key recommendations and we’re pleased today to have new laws in place that will bring relief to so many Pennsylvania families.”

Under the new law, treatments and services for autism, including psychiatric care, psychological care, rehabilitative care including applied behavioral analysis, therapeutic care and pharmacy care will be covered, as well as those services proven to prevent regression.

For more information on services available for children living with autism, visit www.dpw.state.pa.us.

Mortgage Licensing Bills
Signed into Law

Under new morgage licensing laws, mortgage brokers must be licensed by the state and undergo training on mortgage laws. The five bills Gov. Ed Rendell signed into law Tuesday will:

● Require anyone selling mortgages to pass a state background check and be licensed. Previously, mortgage companies, rather than individuals, had to be licensed.
● Forbid mortgage companies from imposing prepayment penalties on mortgages up to $217,000, when a borrower tries to refinance with another company.
● Impose fines up to $10,000 on appraisers who inflate home values to get buyers to borrow more money than the house is worth.
● Require mortgage lenders to report foreclosures to the state Housing Finance Agency, which will track them and recommend changes, publish a list of approved credit counseling agencies and notify borrowers threatened with foreclosure of counseling options.
● Require the state Banking Department to make public all enforcement action against mortgage brokers, pawnshops, money transfer agents, even repossession firms -but not depository institutions such as banks.

Homebuyers will be able to view Pennsylvania Banking Department records to see a history of enforcement actions, such as fines and penalties, against mortgage bankers and brokers. Previously, that information was barred from release.

Senator Mike Stack,Democratic Chairman of the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee, says the new laws are needed to protect homeowners from unscrupulous mortgage lenders.

"Home ownership is the American Dream, but for many it's become a nightmare," Stack says. "As Pennsylvania tries to work through these difficult economic times, it's imperative that the Legislature come up with proactive solutions to safeguard our housing industry."

"Folks that are nervous about losing their homes -- I think a lot of those folks can feel more at ease (now that)the name of the game for the Pennsylvania Legislature and the governor is to help folks hold on to their homes," Stack says.

Bill Will Help Farmers Stay Productive and Profitable

ALBANY – Legislation that clarifies the law allowing farmers to rightfully manage and harvest woodland lots in conjunction with their overall farm management plan, has passed both houses of the legislature and awaits consideration by Governor Paterson, Senator Catharine Young (R,I,C – Olean)has announced.

Senator Young’s initiative further defines that farm operations shall also include the production, management and harvesting of farm woodlands.

“Farmers across New York need the flexibility to diversify their agricultural activities in order to remain profitable and productive,” said Senator Young. “This legislation will help provide access to additional financial resources to ensure viable farm operations.”

Under current law, the first fifty acres of a timber plot on a farm operation is eligible for the agricultural assessment farm tax relief program, but the operation is not protected under law by the Department of Agriculture and Markets. Senator Young’s bill extends these full protections to farm woodlots.

“New York is home to millions of acres extremely productive crop land, environmentally unique wetlands, and beneficial woodlands which contribute to the strong future of agriculture and the preservation of the open space that we have all come to enjoy and appreciate,” the Senator said. “As part of that, we must continue to recognize the importance that our farmers play in not only feeding the state but also in protecting our environment through the agricultural districts law which provides, among other things, agricultural assessments and right-to-farm protections. This is even more important now as we seek to ensure the growth of renewable energy sources, a reduction in ozone depleting pollutants and an overall increase in our tree management practices.”

Man Accused of Raping Boy, Horses

A Port Allegany man was arrested Tuesday and charged with raping a boy and several miniature horses over a period of several years. Court records show that 41 year-old Eddie Graham is facing numerous charges including rape, indecent assault and sexual intercourse with an animal. He also tried to force the boy to have sex with the horses. The incidents happened over a period of time between 2004 and 2006. Graham is jailed on $150,000 dollars bail.

Bradford's Community Garden

Listeners have heard about Bradford's Community Garden on the LiveLine and also on Around the Home with Bob Harris. I've also done several news stories on the air, and on the blog, about the project being coordinated by Elm Street interns Kara Smith and Rachel Ense. Now, you can see everything we've been talking about -- and more. Kara has started the Community Garden Blog. Go check it out and see why everyone involved is so excited about it.

3rd Annual Kessel Klassic July 18

The Third Annual Kessel Klassic Golf Outing to benefit the Jeffrey Brian Kessel Memorial Scholarship at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford is scheduled for Friday, July 18.

The event will take place at the Pennhills Club in Bradford. A continental breakfast runs from 9 to 10:45 a.m., with a shotgun start to the golf outing set to begin at 11 a.m. An awards dinner is scheduled for 5 p.m. with a cocktail hour prior to that.

The Jeffrey Brian Kessel Memorial Scholarship was established at Pitt-Bradford by Ann and Dick Kessel. Jeff Kessel died of cancer in 2001 at the age of 41.

Kessel graduated from Pitt-Bradford in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in social studies. He was a cousin of Dick Kessel and worked for his business Kessel Construction Inc. for 12 years, the last six as general manager.

Kessel was a dedicated community volunteer and leader, serving as mayor of Limestone, N.Y., from 1989 until 1999, when he was named Limestone’s Man of the Decade. Also in 1999, he received the Cattaraugus County (N.Y.) Community Leadership Award.

The Jeffrey Brian Kessel Memorial Scholarship is now supporting two Pitt-Bradford students annually, and a total of seven students have received scholarships from the fund since its inception.

All proceeds from the golf outing will benefit the scholarship fund. More than $4,000 in prizes will be available.

The outing is open to the public. The cost of both the dinner and golf outing is $135, which includes breakfast, greens fees, cart rental, lunch, beverages, a reception and prime rib dinner. The cost for the dinner only is $75, which includes a reception and prime rib dinner.

Sponsorship packages are also available in five different categories.

Registration is due by Friday, July 11.

New Telemetry Unit at BRMC

Penny Oyler, Bradford Regional Medical Center’s director of Cardiopulmonary Services, and Jason Nuzzo, exercise physiologist at the Upbeat Wellness/Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, review data of a rehab patient when active and at rest. Upbeat can now monitor patients more completely with a new telemetry unit. (Photo Courtesy of BRMC)

By George Nianiatus, senior writer
Communications Department


Up to eight cardiac patients undergoing rehabilitation can now have their exercise activities simultaneously monitored and the data fully summarized for diagnostic trending purposes at Bradford Regional Medical Center’s (BRMC) Upbeat Wellness/Cardiac Rehabilitation Program.

This new capability is due to BRMC’s acquisition of a state-of-the-art telemetry unit, TeleRehab Advantage, a uniquely designed monitoring system for heart patients developed by ScottCare Corp. The telemetry unit provides continuous monitoring of heart patients, measuring heart rhythm and other vital signs such as blood pressure, breathing and oxygen content in blood during exercise and at rest, says Penny Oyler, BRMC’s director of Cardiopulmonary Services.

“This more comprehensive data log will allow staff and physicians to see trends more clearly and determine a patient’s condition throughout the rehabilitation process,” Ms. Oyler says.

BRMC’s Upbeat program is on the groundfloor of the Outpatient Services Center, located off North Bennett Street access. “The new telemetry system will provide physicians with important information regarding exercise hemodynamics (blood pressure and heart rate), thereby allowing them to select cardiac medication dosages more efficiently,” explains Steven Herrmann, M.D., Ph.D., FACC, FASE, medical director of Cardiovascular Services at The Heart Center at BRMC.

“Cardiac rehab is the backbone of cardiac secondary prevention for heart disease,” Dr. Herrmann says. “The Upbeat program is vital to BRMC’s success for these patients and the new telemetry system confirms our belief and commitment to the program.”
The cardiologist notes, “I am very excited about our new system and believe that, through the efforts of the staff and the Upbeat program, we have a valued new addition in our fight against heart disease.”

Because of the new telemetry system, “We can now measure outcomes more completely and also retain a patient’s information from visit to visit for far more accurate trending purposes,” Ms. Oyler says. “We’ll be better able to determine the benefits of cardiac rehab on the heart and lungs of patients.”

With the help of more detailed data and graphics, “It shows us a patient’s progress from start to finish during their rehab program,” notes Jason Nuzzo, Upbeat’s exercise physiologist. The telemetry unit also gives Upbeat healthcare professionals the ability to remotely monitor patients on one side of the facility while they are with another patient.

“With a PDA (personal digital assistant), for example, I can go out on the floor and keep track of two patients with the handheld computer while I’m with another patient,” Mr. Nuzzo says.

Another benefit of the system, in terms of data interpretation, is “visual clarity is far better so it’s easier to read,” he adds.

Funding for the new unit came from the Bradford Stroke Group Upbeat Fund, Ms Oyler says. Gifts to this fund, established in 1998, support the Upbeat wellness programs at BRMC. For more information about the fund or to make a donation, call Bradford Hospital Foundation at 362-3200 or visit the website brmc.com.

At BRMC, there’s a holistic approach to heart health, from appropriate diagnostics and treatment to a focus on the mind-body-spirit connection. This is the focus of the Upbeat program, Ms. Oyler says. It was the first of its kind in the region, offering wellness programs in exercise, nutrition and stress reduction for cardiac and pulmonary patients through physician referral and to BRMC employees. Programs are tailored to meet each individual’s unique needs and where comfort is a concern. Started in 1989 initially for cardiac rehab patients, the program has since expanded to address areas of wellness including diet, exercise and stress reduction.

The professionally trained staff includes exercise physiologists, a physician advisor, nurses, dietitians, social workers, cardiopulmonary specialists and a complement of CPR-trained volunteers, many of whom successfully completed the Upbeat cardiac rehabilitation program.

Upbeat’s hours are: 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 4 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; and 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday. To learn how to obtain a referral from a physician for the Upbeat program, costs or additional information, call 814-362-8426.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

'One Person Can Make a Difference:'
Kohler Receives Key to City


Bradford Mayor Tom Riel reads a proclamation before presenting businessman John Kohler with a key to the city during Tuesday night's council meeting.

By ANNE HOLLIDAY
WESB/WBRR News Director


One person can make a difference.

That was the title of a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the accomplishments of Bradford businessman John Kohler. The presentation was prior to Tuesday's city council meeting, in which Kohler received a key to the city.

Office of Economic and Community Development Executive Director Sara Andrews said ten years ago no one was investing in Main Street. She said the city was buying buildings with the intention of renovating them to try to encourage other people to do the same.

She said Kohler "really stepped forward with the number of buildings he's now acquired and has renovated. And they're viable buildings. They're not just buildings that were renovated and you hope someone moves in. He actually went out and recruited people to come into those buildings."

One of the examples she pointed out was 45 Main St., which now houses a furniture store and the Emery Espresso Bar.

Andrews said they "fought to save this building," after a fire heavily damaged it.

She said they were "fortunate during this effort that (Kohler) stepped forward and said he wanted to renovate the building."

"That says a lot about John and his efforts to try to save our buildings on Main Street," she said.

The proclamation read by Mayor Tom Riel says, in part, "the renovations that he has made to various historic buildings in the downtown historic district, as well as renovations to several residential structures have contributed to economic revitalization of the city. Whereas his vision for a better and stronger Bradford, and continuing investments in the community have created new employment and housing opportunities for our citizens, thus helping to provide economic stability."

Also during Tuesday's meeting, council approved a payment of $9,765 to Modeltech for a "Hazard House" for the city fire department.

Fire Chief Boo Coder explained that a hazard house is a cutaway of the inside of a house that's about 4 feet wide and 3 feet tall. It shows people where to put smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors, and allows firefighters to demonstrate the proper use of the detectors.

Coder said the hazard house can show a fire in the kitchen – even with smoke coming out of a stove – which gives firefighters a tool to show people how to put the fire out, and what happens during a fire.

He said among the places they will take the hazard house are schools and senior centers. He also hopes to give council a demonstration.

Ninety-five percent of the money for the hazard house is grant money from the FEMA Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

Also Tuesday, council granted a waiver for alcohol to be served on Festival Way for Festa Italiana on August 14, 15 and 16.

Split Decision in Casino Case

A federal judge has issued a decision that gives a partial victory to both the Seneca Nation and the group that's opposing the construction of the Buffalo Creek Casino. The judge says that while the land in downtown Buffalo is sovereign, he was vacating approval from the federal government allowing gaming on the land. Construction on the new casino and gambling in the temporary casino continued this afternoon, but Richard Lippes, the lawyer for the casino opponents says that must stop. Seneca president Mo John says they will fight the ruling.

Alleged Militia Member Indicted

A Clearfield County man who police say taught undercover officers how to make homemade grenades has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on a charge of violating federal firearms laws.

Sixty-year-old Bradley Kahle was among several people arrested by federal authorities in a weapons raid last month.

Authorities say Kahle told undercover agents he hoped Sen. Hillary Clinton or Sen. Barack Obama would be killed if they were elected president, and that he would shoot judicial and law enforcement officials if he became terminally ill.

The indictment says that on June 8 Kahle was in possession of bombs.

He is in jail, pending trial.

If convicted, Kahle could be sentenced to 10 years in prison, fine $250,000 or both.

$3M Worth of Pot Found in Catt. Co.

Two people have been arrested after police found more than 1,000 marijuana plants at their house in a sophisticated growing operation.

70-year-old Joseph Tigano and 44-year-old Joseph Tigano III were picked p after a federal search warrant was issued for their home on Mill Street in the Village of Cattaraugus.

The plants would have a street value of $3,000,000. Police also found about $25,000 in cash and several guns at the house. They also found more than 80 pounds of packaged marijuana with an estimated street value of $400,000.

The Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Department says this was one of the most highly sophisticated operations in Western New York.

The Tiganos were taken to federal court in Buffalo for arraignment and are in the custody of US Marshals.

The FBI, US Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS, New York State Police, Erie County Sheriff's Aviation Unit and Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force helped in the investigation, which started in February.

The State Capitol is Nothing
if Not Interesting

GrassrootsPA has posted this at the top of the Web site:

HB is abuzz as rumors of a House Democrat 'sex room' scandal spreads... Rumored to have been exposed in the Bonusgate investigation... .

*sigh*
I'm glad Marty's a Republican.

Scarnati on Education Funding

The state’s new budget for fiscal year 2008-2009 includes good news for area schools and taxpayers, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson), who played a key role in budget negotiations.

“This budget increases education funding by 5.5 percent – or nearly $275,000 -- without raising taxes,” Scarnati said. “This will help ensure our children get the best possible education and help to ease the property tax burden on our residents.”

Scarnati said the budget sets a lot of goals to help ensure that all students have adequate resources.

“This is very important in establishing a fair and predictable funding system for our schools, so that school districts can plan ahead,” Scarnati said. “By increasing the state’s share of school funding, school districts will not have to rely so heavily on property taxes to make up the difference.”

Scarnati said the funding formula is also fairer to rural areas of the state, which have been underfunded compared to more urban areas.

“The governor initially proposed an almost 10 percent increase to the Philadelphia School District – more than $85 million,” Scarnati said. “I strongly opposed this giveaway to Philadelphia at the expense of school districts in our area of the state.”

During budget negotiations, Scarnati was successful in forcing the governor to reduce his appropriation to Philadelphia and instead provide more money to districts, like his, which have been underfunded in recent years.

“Overall, I’m very pleased that we are investing in education and helping to provide relief to taxpayers,” Scarnati said. “While we fought against a number of expensive proposals that the Administration wanted, we were able to invest in core areas, such as education and infrastructure improvements – all without raising taxes.

Enhanced Phone System at SFP

Officials at Bradford Regional Medical Center’s satellite health care office in Smethport are announcing the start of a new phone system designed to expedite patient requests and scheduling. Rhonda Chilson, BRMC’s Director of Practice Management, said the change at Smethport Family Practice has been implemented to aid callers in obtaining quick assistance with their most routine needs.

"We wanted to give our patients a way to call at their convenience to leave information when they need routine prescription refills, or to leave the staff a non-emergency message," she said. All callers will use the general office number at 887-5655 and then hear a series of four prompts to choose from. "The prompts explain in clear, simple terms which of your phone buttons to press if you need your prescription refilled, if you want to leave a message for a nurse, or for other calls," Mrs. Chilson said.

One of the prompts offers callers the opportunity to make an appointment or speak directly to the office receptionist. "During our regular office hours, the staff is still available to speak directly to our community," the official noted. Area medical staff can also use the prompt for patient referrals to the practice.

Smethport Family Practice, with care provided by Ferdinand Magno, M.D., and Bonnie Scanlan, CRNP, offers comprehensive family care, the management of chronic diseases, diagnostic testing and laboratory services. In addition, the satellite office of Bradford Regional is the only health care provider in McKean County affiliated with the Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Hospital in Erie, PA. Smethport Family Practice is located at 406 Franklin St.

83-Year-Old Man Charged
for Cutting Rings on Trees

Erie police have charged an 83-year-old man with cutting rings around the trunks of two large trees at the foot of Liberty Street.

Police say the trees partially obstructed the view of the bayfront from property owned by Paul Brugger.

Brugger’s lawyer told investigators her client would turn himself in Wednesday. He is accused of two felony counts of criminal mischief.

The walnut trees, which belong to the city, were valued at $15,000. A charge of criminal mischief is elevated to a felony if damage exceeds $5,000.

Arborists said the trees will likely die within a few years from the damage, called “girdling.” Slicing a ring around the base of the trees cuts off its nutrients.

PA's Top Cop Going to NFL

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL hired Pennsylvania's state police chief to make sure there are no more signal-stealing scandals like the one involving the New England Patriots last season.

Col. Jeffrey Miller was appointed to the new post of director of strategic security Tuesday and begins work Aug. 18.

His job will involve overseeing everything from pregame security screening for people entering stadiums to ensuring that team signals are not intercepted by opponents through electronic bugging or other devices.

For more on this story, go to pennlive.com.

The Greatest Show on Turf

The annual Geneseo Air Show, dubbed “The Greatest Show on Turf” for its grass landing strips, will be held July 12–13. This year, the Geneseo Air Show will gather the largest fleet of the iconic World War II Curtiss P-40 Flying Tigers assembled since WWII. For perhaps the last time ever, the Geneseo Air Show will reunite the largest fleet of remaining P-40 pilots and fighters, known as the Flying Tigers. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the P-40’s introduction. This type of reunion has never been done before, and it will be the most talked about aviation event of the year.

WHERE:
Geneseo Air Show and 1941 Historical Aircraft Group Museum, Inc.
3489 Big Tree Lane
Geneseo NY 14454

WHEN:
Saturday, July 12, and Sunday, July 13
Gates open at 6 a.m.
Air Show performances from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

ADMISSION:
$15 for adults
$5 for children 6 – 12
Free for children under 6

PARKING:
FREE

'Good for Nuthin'' in Pleasantville


The Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry & Tourism is pleased to present an afternoon of Traditional American Roots Music by the Good for Nuthin’ String Band at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 27. The program will be presented at the Neilltown Church just outside the Borough of Pleasantville.

The band is comprised of Susan Beates on mandolin, fiddle and cello; Roger TeWinkle on upright bass; Michael Vickey on the hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer and 5-string banjo; and Mark Zimmer on the guitar and Cajun accordion. They play a mix of old-time and mountain traditional tunes as well as original pieces including a fan-favorite, “Fishin’ in the Sink.” They have recorded two CDs; both will be available for sale at the Neilltown Church.

The concert site is a wood frame one-story building constructed in 1842. Because there is no heating, guests should dress for the day’s temperatures. During intermission, brief remarks about the former church building and ongoing efforts to preserve and rehabilitate it will be given by representatives from the Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry & Tourism.

There is no fee to attend the musical performance. Donations will be accepted which will go toward efforts to preserve the church building, which is located on Pineville Road just north of the intersection of Pineville Road and Route 227 in the village of Neilltown, in Harmony Township, northwest Forest County.

The 2008 musical programs were supported by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency, through the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA,) its regional arts funding partnership. State government funding for the arts depends upon an annual appropriation by the Pennsylvania General Assembly and from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. The Elk County Council on the Arts administers the PPA for the Neilltown Church musical programs.

The program continues the series entitled “Music Returns to the Neilltown Church.” Additional information about the concert series and educational programs scheduled at the Neilltown facility is available by contacting Toni Kresinski, Oil Region Alliance Events Manager at (814) 677-3152, ext. 110.

Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back

Everybody loves a parade. And Kane Area Relay organizers are expecting a spirited parade on Fraley Street from Poplar to Chestnut Streets on Thursday, July 10 at 6 p.m.

Relay committee organizers hope residents of the area will make it a fun night out while supporting Relay and many local cancer survivors who will walk or ride in the parade.

Eighteen teams are expected to participate with their banners. Two floats were decorated Monday night. Several cancer survivors will be riding on the "Colors of Cancer float".

Several members of the KAHS marching band will lead the parade. More than a dozen convertibles will carry Miss Relay Contestants, the Kane Prince and Princess and other dignitaries along with many area volunteer fire department vehicles as well as other surprises.

Parade participants will gather by 5:30 p.m. at Dangelo building parking Lot (formerly HAMDAM) at Poplar and Wetmore Avenue.

Earlier this week, Uptown Kane was dressed with purple bows and purple curb (the color of Relay) lines the route on the curb. A banner announcing the annual Relay event stretches across main street.

The parade marks the start of the 8th Annual Kane Area Relay Event weekend which officially begins Friday at 3 p.m. at the Kane Area High School Track. The public is urged to attend the parade and weekend events.