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Thursday, November 27, 2008

And Last But Not Least...

I'm thankful for our loyal listeners and advertisers.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I told you I'd have more (I guess I'm just a very happy and thankful person):

The American Cancer society; the Bradford and Kane Relay for Life teams; Dorie Meabon; Skye, Rhonda & Chico for believing in something and working so hard to make sure it comes to fruition (and I know it will!); Dawn & Debi; Charlie Company; knowing that if I want or need to, I can hop a flight from Bradford to Cleveland to see my family; my LiveLine and Weekend Wrap guests (especially that guy who's gonna officially be Lt. Governor on Wednesday); publicists who send me two copies of a book -- one for me and one to give away; the incredibly generous people in this community; Linda Devlin; Bradford Special Police; all the area VFDs; Terri Cannon; everyone at Dom & Rich's offices; snowplow drivers who do the very best they can on my street (I wouldn't want to have to plow it!); YouTube; Sasha & Malia; Crocs; the best classic rock in the Twin Tiers; people who read this blog; people who comment on this blog; and people who miss me after just one day. I luv you guys too!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Forgot to Mention ...

... that I'm on vacation 'til Monday so don't expect many posts here in the next few days.

I also wanted to mention a few people I didn't mention in my "I'm Thankful For ..." post from Sunday. (scroll down). So, I'm also thankful for Lisa, Anita, Mike & everyone (yes, everyone) at the PD, Boo & everyone at the FD, all the local businesses who are trying to make a go of it in these tough economic times, Ted Hardy (& Robin, too -- and the rest of the BASD), all the employees at Chapel Ridge, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the ELF Fund, Father Gallina, Chip, Linda Newman & everyone at the library, the Tuna Valley Trails Association, the Bonnies, Trent Edwards, Jabari Greer, Jim & Jill Kelly, Jane Orie, Cathy Young, City Clerk John Peterson, and my next-door-neighbor & my cousin Mike for shoveling my sidewalk.

Hey, it's only Wednesday. I could think of more by tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

City Looking at Tax Increase

By ANNE HOLLIDAY
WESB/WBRR News Director


Anyone who's been paying attention to the state of the nation's – and the commonwealth's – economy probably saw something like this coming. City of Bradford taxpayers are looking at a 4.43 mill tax increase.

Mayor Tom Riel said, "Nobody missed the boat. Municipalities and governments all across the state are in trouble. All municipal governments are in the same boat."

Riel said the increase for a person who has a $40,000 home would be $160.

He said that next year timber revenues will be about half of what they were four years ago. Health care costs have doubled in the last five or six years, and they're looking at a 23 to 24 percent increase next year.

Riel also explained that because people aren't working, wage taxes are down. Mercantile taxes are down and, because contractors aren't building as much, permit fees are down, he said.

"As the general public knows," he said, "when they go to the grocery and, until recently, when they went to the gas station, you pay more for everything. It's the same way in the city."

He said some departments actually came in under budget on everything for 2008, except for fuel costs.

"Everything costs a lot more money than it did a year ago," he said. "I don't think anyone thought the economy would get this bad. It's the national economy that's fueling this. It's not something local."

Riel said they worked very hard to cut more than $400,000 from the budget, but there's only so much they can cut and still run a government and maintain public safety.

He did say they are still working on it, however, and they hope they can find more to trim between now and the second reading of the budget on December 23.

After the meeting, Riel told WESB and The HERO that he and three councilmen have offered to donate their salaries back to the city.

Councilman Bob Onuffer also said that, because of mandated pension contributions, health care insurance, energy costs and the cost of motor fuels, the city is over budget for this year. Because of that, they have instituted a freeze on all non-essential spending for the rest of the year.

In other matters during Tuesday's council meeting, council approved a certificate of appropriateness to Tor & Rebecca Swanson to demolish the two-story building at 15 East Washington Street.

And not a moment too soon. Earlier in the day, heavy snow caused part of the building to cave in.

Council also authorized execution of all documents related to the PA Smooth Operator Grant Program for the police department.

Smooth Operator is a model for a coordinated, intra- and interstate program designed to combat the aggressive driving problem and find short- and long-term solutions for it. The 2007 campaign involved law enforcement agencies from all around Maryland, Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania.

Council also approved free parking in the business district from Friday through December 31 for holiday shoppers.

Also, Riel noted that Tuesday was the first night the streetlights in the Streetscape project were lighted and they looked "very nice."

Fumo the Farmer

Prosecutors questioned (a former aide of Senator Vince Fumo) about e-mails from Fumo in which the senator asked him about using the farm to graze alpacas and whether he could collect as much as $4,200 yearly in farm subsidies by not raising crops.


For the full story, go to philly.com

Slinky Namer Dies at Age 90

Betty James, who named the toy her husband invented -- the Slinky -- and rebuilt the toy company he abandoned, making the springy plaything a pervasive part of American culture, has died. She was 90.

For more on this story go to the Los Angeles Times.

First Senior Exhibition By UPB Interdisciplinary Arts Major

“A.J.” Laganosky, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, will break new ground next week when he becomes the campus’s first interdisciplinary arts major to present a solo multimedia exhibition in the KOA Art Gallery in Blaisdell Hall.

Laganosky’s exhibition, “Battle of the Brutes,” will integrate the worlds of baseball and music through music and original compositions performed by Laganosky, computer graphics, multimedia and traditional art forms.

The exhibit will open with a live music performance at noon Monday, Dec. 1, in the gallery, followed by a reception at 12:20 p.m. in the KOA Speer Electronics Lobby that is free and open to the public. The exhibit will run through Dec. 5 and is part of the Pitt-Bradford Spectrum Series.

“Working on this exhibit has been a great learning experience for me,” Laganosky said. “Getting to work with Kong Ho, associate professor of art, and Dr. Lee Spear, associate professor of music, has been a great honor, and nothing is better than hearing them say ‘it looks/sounds great.’”

As part of his senior capstone requirements, Laganosky also had to write an artist’s statement about his work.

“My interests in baseball, music and art have influenced my life almost every year in one form or another,” he wrote. “‘Battle of the Brutes’ encompasses the struggle between baseball, music and art in my life.”

Laganosky hails from Carlisle, where he grew up playing music. He didn’t take his first art class until he was a sophomore at Pitt-Bradford. In addition to studying music and composition with Spear and art and design with Ho, Laganosky has studied ceramics with Dr. Martie Geiger Ho, visiting assistant professor of art, and Japanese art and basket weaving with Isabelle Champlin, assistant professor of anthropology.

In creating his exhibit, Laganosky used many multimedia computer programs, such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign; IMovie, GarageBand, Finale Notepad and iDVD.

Ho, who is also director of the interdisciplinary arts program, said that Laganosky’s exhibition is the first senior capstone exhibition for the major, which was first offered in 2006. The interdisciplinary arts major requires students to complete 52 credits in three disciplines, art, music and theater.

“His multimedia exhibition truly integrates the areas of art and music and will set a good example for the future interdisciplinary arts students,” Ho said.

Spear said that, “A.J.’s project goes far beyond being interdisciplinary. He has developed artistic hybrids by integrating elements of his training. No one of our courses in music prepares a student to compose at the scope that AJ has accomplished. He has pulled together melodic and harmonic concepts, arranged them according to classical models, and used his music technology skills to turn them into an underscore for a video presentation of his project. This work sets a very high bar for future capstone projects. It is an ideal accomplishment.”

Totals From 1st Day of Bear Season

From the Game Commission:

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Game Commission officials today announced that hunters started the 2008 black bear season by taking a preliminary harvest of slightly more than 1,700 black bears in 50 counties.

Game Commission employees processed 1,725 bears at the agency's check stations on the opening day of the three-day statewide bear season. The 2008 first-day preliminary harvest compares with 1,005 in 2007; 1,461 in 2006; 2,026 in 2005; 1,573 in 2004; 1,454 in 2003;1,348 2002; 1,812 in 2001; and 1,691 in 2000.

“The first day harvest is the third highest opening day harvest recorded for Pennsylvania,” said Mark Ternent, Game Commission bear biologist. “Weather cooperated, there was some snow on the ground and hunters appear to have had a fine day afield for the opener. Our season is off to a good start.”

The top 10 bears processed at check stations on Monday all had estimated live weights that exceeded 580 pounds. Ray E. Barrick, of McAlisterville, harvested the largest bear, which was a male that weighed in at 691 pounds (estimated live weight). The bear was taken in Todd Township, Huntingdon County, at 1 p.m.

Other large bears included: a 680-pound male taken by Brian R. Clark Jr., of Olanta, in Pike Township, Clearfield County, at 2:30 p.m.; a 651-pound male taken by Ryan M. Miller, of Pittston, in Bear Creek Township, Luzerne County, at 9:50 a.m.; a 650-pound male taken by Walter Rupnik, of Breinigsville, in Green Township, Pike County, at 9:30 a.m.; and 611-pound male taken by Matthew N. Shirk, of East Earl, in Union Township, Huntingdon County, at 10:30 a.m..

The preliminary first-day bear harvest by Wildlife Management Unit was as follows: WMU 1A, 14 (2 in 2007); WMU 1B, 40 (17); WMA 2A, 1 (1); WMU 2C, 145 (120); WMU 2D, 97 (44); WMU 2E, 63 (36); WMU 2F, 152 (134); WMU 2G, 363 (257); WMU 3A, 169 (88); WMU 3B, 186 (54); WMU 3C, 42 (18); WMU 3D, 123 (48); WMU 4A, 85 (53); WMU 4B, 20 (19); WMU 4C, 41 (22); WMU 4D, 174 (83); WMU 4E, 9 (9); and WMU 5C, 1 (0).

The top bear harvest county in the state after the first day of season was Potter with 152 (54 in 2007), followed by Lycoming, 135 (54); Tioga, 124 (63); McKean, 95 (38); and Clearfield and Huntingdon, both with 67.

County harvests by region for the opening day, followed by the opening day 2006 preliminary harvest in parentheses, are:

Northwest: Venango, 44 (14); Clarion, 36 (14); Warren, 34 (51); Jefferson, 33 (22); Forest, 31 (38); Crawford, 19 (1); Erie, 6 (1); Butler, 5 (5); and Mercer, 3 (0).

Southwest: Somerset, 64 (56); Armstrong, 37 (21); Indiana, 37 (16); Westmoreland, 30 (19); Fayette, 28 (35); Cambria, 20 (4); and Beaver, 2 (0).

Northcentral: Potter, 152 (54); Lycoming, 135 (54); Tioga, 124 (63); McKean, 95 (38); Clearfield, 67 (49); Clinton, 55 (78); Elk, 48 (38); Centre, 47 (27); Cameron, 26 (57); and Union, 22 (11).

Southcentral: Huntingdon, 67 (38); Bedford, 52 (29); Mifflin, 27 (7); Snyder, 17 (5); Blair, 11 (13); Juniata, 11 (9); Fulton, 8 (2); and Perry, 4 (4).

Northeast: Sullivan, 56 (12); Pike, 45 (22); Monroe, 37 (7); Bradford, 33 (16); Wayne, 32 (14); Luzerne, 30 (10); Lackawanna, 19 (5); Wyoming, 18 (2) Carbon, 14 (8); Susquehanna, 11 (7); Columbia, 6 (8); and Northumberland, 1 (2).

Southeast: Schuylkill, 18 (7); Dauphin, 5 (4); Northampton, 2 (2); and Berks, 1 (0).

Politically Correct Thanksgiving

You may have heard about this on The Radio Factor:

Parents in this quiet university town (Claremont, CA) are sharply divided over what these construction-paper symbols represent: A simple child's depiction of the traditional (if not wholly accurate) tale of two factions setting aside their differences to give thanks over a shared meal? Or a cartoonish stereotype that would never be allowed of other racial, ethnic or religious groups?

"It's demeaning," Michelle Raheja (whose mother is a Seneca), the mother of a kindergartner at Condit Elementary School, wrote to her daughter's teacher. "I'm sure you can appreciate the inappropriateness of asking children to dress up like slaves (and kind slave masters), or Jews (and friendly Nazis), or members of any other racial minority group who has struggled in our nation's history."

For the full story, go to the Los Angeles Times.

SBU Changes Slogan?

Thanks to Kimberly Weinberg for passing this on to me. Warning: You must have a sense of humor to read it.

St. Bonaventure Changes Slogan to Just %#@&in’ Come Here!

Kind of reminds me of something Dan Barry might have written back in the day.

JoePa Coach of the Year;
10 Players Honored

Daryll Clark and Aaron Maybin were two of a school-record 10 Nittany Lions to earn first-team conference honors, and Joe Paterno earned his third Big Ten Coach of the Year award.

For the full story, go to the Centre Daily Times.

Gas Price Report

From Darlene:

We called Monday as we headed south via 219 to report gas prices in Johnsonburg at 1.99 and thought that was great. The prices held as we continued on to DuBois but the best part is is on our way back home we stopped at SHEETZ in Ridgway and they had dropped another 2 cents to $1.97!!! Every place but Bradford seems to ring very true - as we came the rest of the way home to Duke Center via Smethport and there the Kwik Fill was at 2.09 - and Tuesday is nickel off day there so will be at least 2.04 on Tuesday. Still love your show and all you do for the station and community!!!

Thanks Darlene!

Gas this morning in Bradford -- $2.24

Monday, November 24, 2008

FDs Get Federal Grant Money

Two Cattaraugus County fire departments are receiving federal Homeland Security Department grants through the Assistance to Firefighters Grants program.

The Kill Buck Fire District will receive $99,935 in Operations and Safety money, while the Salamanca Fire Department will receive $9,993.

Senator Hillary Clinton announced the grants, saying that they will "help provide the training, equipment, and other resources vital to ensuring they will be fully prepared for the hazardous jobs they perform.''

Not Guilty Plea in Drug Cases

An Olean man accused of selling crack cocaine has pleaded not guilty.

20-year-old Ronald Billingsley is charged with selling crack on September 25, 2007y, in Olean. Also, on October 22, 2007, he was allegedly found with 11 packets of crack cocaine weighing more than 1/8 of an ounce.

Both case have been adjourned for motions.

Billingsley was sentenced Thursday in McKean County Court for selling cocaine to a confidential informant of the McKean County Drug Task Force on three separate occasions.

Olean Graffiti Artist Pleads Guilty

An Olean teenager has pleaded guilty to making graffiti between September 6 and September 9 in the city.

18-year-old Robert McCormick spray-painted "O-Town Soldiers" and "OTS" on a number of buildings, including the Knights of Columbus Hall, the B'nai Israel Synagogue and the Beef 'n' Barrel Restaurant.

McCormick will be sentenced January 26.

Man Sentenced For Fatal Crash

A man who left the scene of an accident that killed a Salamanca teenager has been sentenced to five years' probation after the girls' mother asked the court for leniency.

54-year-old Frederick Freeman of Gowanda was charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident.

On June 13 of last year in the town of New Albion, he attempted to pass another vehicle and ended up causing an accident that killed 16-year-old Ellie Pierce.

Whizzinator Sellers Plead Guilty

Two California men who sold a device to help people cheat on drug tests have pleaded guilty in federal court in Pittsburgh.

65-year-old George Wills of San Padro and 62-year-old Robert Dennis Catalano of Huntington Beach sold a product called the Whizzinator to men, and a product called Number 1 to both men and women. They also sold synthetic urine to be used in the products to be passed off as a customer's real urine during a drug test.

The devices were sold from October 2005 through May 2008.

Wills and Catalano are scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 20. They face up to eight years in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both.

DEP Approves Rustick Expansion

From the DEP:

The Department of Environmental Protection has approved the first phase of the application process by Rustick LLC to expand its municipal waste landfill in Sergeant Township, McKean County, and to construct a rail line and a related municipal waste transfer station.

The decision allows the landfill expansion permit application and the permit application for a rail line and waste transfer station to accommodate the proposed rail intake to proceed to the technical review phase, which will examine the design details of the projects.

In approving the first phase environmental assessment portion of the applications, commonly called the benefits/harms review, DEP concluded that the benefits of the projects outweigh the known and potential harms.

The landfill expansion permit application requests a 336-acre expansion with 204 acres being used as new disposal area, which would add approximately 19.5 million tons of capacity. Rustick submitted the expansion permit application on Oct. 31, 2007.

The expansion permit application also requests an increase in the average daily volume from 1,500 tons per day to 6,000 tons per day. According to the application, the landfill would limit the amount of waste arriving at the facility by trucks to 1,000 tons per day, with the remaining 5,000 tons per day arriving by rail.

On April 11, 2008, Rustick submitted a separate application for a rail line and a municipal waste transfer station to accommodate the proposed rail intake. DEP held a public meeting on the rail application on Nov. 19.

Both permit applications are available for the public to review at DEP’s Northwest Regional Office in Meadville, the Sargeant Township municipal office, and the McKean County commissioners’ office.

Snowmobiles Trails to Open Dec. 20

From the USFS:

Warren, Pa. – Snowmobile trails on the Allegheny National Forest will open on Saturday, December 20, 2008. Trail conditions permitting, the snowmobile trail system will remain open through April 1.

According to Deputy District Ranger Jodie Vanselow, “If conditions are favorable, we will consider opening the trails after December 13 (hunting season). Opening prior to this date will not occur due to the potential safety issues and conflicts with hunters.”

Trail conditions are updated as they change on the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) website at http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/snowmobile/allegheny.aspx. The snowmobile toll free Pennsylvania DCNR hotline (1-877-766-6253) updates trail conditions Tuesdays and Thursdays.

In addition, information on grooming activities may also be found on the Allegheny National Forest website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/allegheny/recreation/snowmobile trails/.

We would like to remind riders that helmets are required, as well as a valid state registration from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, to ride on Allegheny National Forest Trails. All riders are required to stay to the right on the trails, and the use of alcohol while riding is strictly prohibited.

Deputy District Ranger Jodie Vanselow would like to remind snowmobilers to ride safely and enjoy the the 224 miles of groomed trails the Allegheny National Forest has to offer.

Corbett Offers Cautions, Tips

From AG Tom Corbett:

Attorney General Tom Corbett today urged consumers to use extra caution during the holiday season to avoid common problems, scams and fraud.

“The holidays can be a busy and exciting time, filled with many distractions, so it is extremely important for consumers to think before they spend,” Corbett said. "The pleasure of the holiday season can quickly be spoiled by crimes like identity theft or disputes involving gift purchases.”

Corbett said that consumers should review a number of important details before making a purchase at a store:

- Check the exchange and return policy for restrictions or exceptions.

- When shopping for a gift card or gift certificate, check for fees and expiration dates (You may also want to consider the financial health of the store you are dealing with, or consider a gift card that is not attached to one particular business).

- Keep all records and receipts in case you need to return an item or as proof-of-purchase for warranty repairs.

- Check receipts for errors before you leave the store.

- Be careful dealing with seasonal businesses that may quickly disappear.

- Watch your purse or wallet and avoid carrying extra credit cards or personal information that could be lost of stolen.

“Online shopping has become increasingly popular, but making purchases by long-distance generates other potential problems and pitfalls,” Corbett said.

- Do your homework before buying, especially if you have never dealt with a particular store or seller before.

- Comparison shop for the best price, including shipping and handling fees.

- Research the seller to see if they have a history of problems or disputes.

- Understand all shipping costs and delivery times.

- Review refund and return policies.

- Read the businesses’ privacy policy to be certain that your information won’t be sold or shared without your knowledge.

- Print all receipts and emails to verify your purchase.

- Make sure your computer anti-virus program and firewall is up-to-date.

- Watch for “look alike” website that are used by scam artists.

“Consumers should be cautious about identity theft during the holidays,” Corbett said. “Whether shopping in-person or online, your credit card numbers and other personal information can be at-risk if you don’t take steps to protect it.”

- Keep your personal information in a safe location (only carry the credit cards and other items that you need to make a purchase).

- Shred all unwanted credit card & other financial “junk” mail.

- Don’t give personal information over the phone or by email (Identity thieves may pose as representatives of banks, Internet service providers and even government agencies to get you to reveal information).

- Review all credit card and bank statements as soon as they arrive and contact your bank or card company immediately if you discover any unauthorized charges.

- Check your credit history regularly – Every consumer is entitled to one free credit report each year from the three major credit bureaus. Check your report several times per year to spot potential problems.

Corbett said the holidays are a busy time for many charities, adding that it is important to support charitable programs in your community, but consumers should also carefully consider any request for money.

- Donate to charities that you are familiar with and whose activity you support.

- Feel free to ask for additional information, in writing, about charitable programs.

- Find out how much of your donation will be used for charitable activities, as opposed to administrative and fund-raising expenses –information on charities is available on the PA Dept. of State website (http://www.dos.state.pa.us/char/site/default.asp).

- Watch out for organization using names that closely resemble respected charities.

- Never feel pressured into making a donation.

- Ask door-to-door solicitors to show you their identification or credentials.

- Write checks to the charity, not to the company or person collecting the money.

If you have questions or concerns about a consumer issue, or you believe you have been targeted by a holiday scam, contact the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1 – 800 – 441 – 2555.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm Thankful For ...

~~ Adam, Alex and Aaryn – the three best nephews any aunt could hope for

~~ The rest of my family

~~ A job I love, love, love. (I'd say more but it's never good to let your boss know you're that happy. So don't tell him, ok? And don't tell Scott, Frank, Dan, Stefan, Peg and Clara either.)

~~Tom Riel, who I'm proud to call my friend (and whose wife created the best salad in the world. Thanks Janel!)

~~ City Council meetings or, as I think of them, my twice-a-month night of entertainment

~~ A state government with a plethora of entertaining figures

~~ Friends who appreciate the use of the word "plethora"

~~Drivers who use turn signals

~~People who tell me they appreciate the work I do (This means you, Bob Onuffer)

~~The United Way

~~The Kiwanis Club

~~Mike Walter

~~Mike Cejka

~~Diane, Becky and Maria

~~Everybody who appreciates community theater (I hope that includes everyone I may inadvertently leave off this list.)

~~Joe Scarnati for trusting me and saying all that nice stuff about me

~~Anne Albright, Tim Nyquist, Hanson Quickel, Matt Roberts and Mike Davies for taking such good care of me

~~Kimberly Weinberg, Tom Missel and George Nianiatus for making my life so much easier

~~Brad Christman – for hardly ever saying no – and for making me laugh

~~Sara Andrews for her vision and dedication

~~Marty Causer

~~Sister Margaret Carney and Dr. Livingston Alexander

~~Joe Paterno

~~Joe Frombach

~~Joe the Plumber – No, just kidding. But I already had Joe the Senator/Lt. Governor; Joe the Coach; and Joe the Baker so I figured … Never mind.

~~Hillary, CBK, Tina Fey and, yeah, even that hockey mom from Alaska

So, what are you thankful for?