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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Off for a Few Days

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

Spear Retiring from Pitt-Bradford

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First Night Buttons on Sale

From Main Street Manager Anita Dolan:

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

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

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

Wanderers Make Holidays Brighter

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

Scarnati: Cut to Rural Tourism
Funding is 'Incomprehensible'

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

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

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

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

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

Defilippi Named Coach of the Year

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

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

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

For the full story, go to

Changes to Clean Indoor Air Act?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ü Gaming floors

ü Private clubs

ü Residential care facilities

ü Fundraisers

ü Tobacco promotion events

ü Full Service Truck Stops

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

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

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

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

'Person of the Year' No Surprise

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

For the full story, go to

Tony Dorsett's Nephew
Allegedly Ran Coke Ring

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

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

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

For more information, go HERE.

No Birthday Cake for Adolf Hitler

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

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

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

For the full story, go to

DEP Says 'No' To Act 537 Plan

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

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

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

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

Eldred Twp. Home Damaged by Fire

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

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

Firefighters were on the scene for about 7 hours.

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

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Contract Extension for JoePa

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

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

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

PSP Get High Visibility Vests

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sen. Cathy Young Statement On
Gov. Paterson Budget Proposal

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

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

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

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

Snyder Urges Peaceful Resolution

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

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

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

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

Gas Drilling Fees to Increase

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

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

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

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

Local Juvenile Center Could Close

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

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

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

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

New 'Patient Navigator' Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gabler Opens St. Marys Office

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

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

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

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

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

Baby Jesus Figure Stolen

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

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

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

Security cameras didn't reveal anything about the theft.

Munday Pleads Not Guilty

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

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

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

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

Fallen Soldier Honored

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

For the full story, go to Courier-Express.

Benefit for Potter Co. Fire Victims

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

Monday, December 15, 2008

'I Can See Russia From My House'

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

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

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

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

For the complete story, go to The Associated Press.

CNN: Caroline Wants the Job

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

For the full story, go to

AG Investigates Fumo Charity

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

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

For the full story, go to

Troyer Farms May Sell Company

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

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

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

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

Deal Made Over Lead-Laced Toys

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pitt-Bradford's Christina Graham
Named Outstanding Professional

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paterson Signs Cigarette Tax Bill

Gov. David Paterson has signed a bill to enforce collection of excise taxes on cigarettes sold at Indian-owned stores.

Paterson traveled to Utica to sign the measure earlier today.

Supporters believe collecting the tax would bring the state more than $62 million a year at a time Paterson is projecting budget deficits of tens of billions of dollars over the next few years.

Indian tribes view the law as an attack on their sovereignty and financial well-being.

The law prohibits manufacturers from selling tobacco products without a state tax stamp to any wholesaler that doesn't certify the cigarettes wont be resold tax-free. The state excise tax is $2.75 per pack.

State Senator Cathy Young is urging Paterson and the Seneca Nation to undertake discussions to find a peaceful and productive resolution to their differences.

Paterson Not Laughing at SNL

ALBANY, N.Y. - A "Saturday Night Live" skit portraying New York's blind governor as a bumbling leader didn't get a laugh from Gov. David Paterson.

For the full story, go HERE.