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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Man Charged for Texting

A Chautauqua County woman said "enough is enough" after she kept receiving text messages from a Fredonia man.

The woman, who lives in Brocton, told sheriff's deputies she received several hundred unwanted text messages from 37-year-old John Noell III.

Noel was charged with harassment and issued an appearance ticket.

Programming Note:
WESB's Year in Review

Our annual Year in Review program airs at 12:40 p.m. today on 1490 WESB and online at

We'll also be running RadioPA's Top 10 stories of 2009 and Top 10 stories of the decade starting at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

PGC Posts Strategic Plan

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe today announced that the agency has posted its new Strategic Plan on its website. To view the document, go to the agency’s website ( and click on “Resources,” then select “Reports and Minutes,” then choose “2009-2014 Strategic Plan.”

“This strategic plan will be used to guide the agency and its operations for the next five years,” Roe said. “We developed this plan to clearly define the agency’s priorities; how that work will be carried out; and how we intend to monitor our progress.

“This plan also will enable us to develop our annual budgets to reflect the priorities established to manage Pennsylvania’s wild birds, wild mammals, and their habitats for current and future generations.”

Roe noted that this strategic plan will replace the one developed to cover 2003-2008.

“In past Legislative Budget and Finance Committee reviews focused on the agency’s compliance with its strategic plan, it was made clear to the General Assembly that the agency’s ability to fully implement the goals and objectives of the strategic plan is severely limited by its current funding structure,” Roe said. “It is not a matter of will, but rather a matter of funding that limits the agency from achieving many of the important objectives that enhance wildlife, wildlife habitats and provide more opportunity for our hunters and trappers.”

The strategic plan is divided into seven goals that are further expanded through strategic and operational objectives and a set of strategic outcome and output measurements. The seven goals are:

Conserve, protect and restore wildlife populations for their many public values.

GOAL 2: Improve the public’s appreciation of wildlife, and their awareness and understanding of wildlife resource management.

GOAL 3: Promote and perpetuate our hunting and trapping heritage.

GOAL 4: Manage and protect a network of public and private lands and waters to provide habitat for wildlife.

GOAL 5: Enhance the public’s understanding of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s mission and its responsibilities.

GOAL 6: Develop sustainable funding sources that support the agency’s mission and identity.

GOAL 7: Promote a diverse, professional and efficient organization.

“We are committed to being the best wildlife management agency that we can be for the people of Pennsylvania, and for the wildlife resources that we are entrusted to manage for current and future generations,” Roe said. “This strategic plan will guide us in that effort and provide the public with a clear understanding of what we are striving to do to protect, conserve and promote hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing and the State Game Lands system.”

12 Months, 12 Photos

Here's a sampling of some of the photos we, and others, brought you in 2009.

In January, Kimberly Weinberg sent us a photo from Washington, DC, where she attended the inauguration of President Barack Obama. In February, Smokey the Bear and Eddie the Eagle from the National Rifle Association, a guest of the McKean County Sheriff's Department, attended the annual Kinzua Outdoor and Travel Show. In March, Tim Walter congratulated Jeff Puglio after Puglio was named Bradford High varsity football coach.


In April, Forest Supervisor Leanne Marten along with district rangers Tony Scardina and Rob Fallon talked about oil and gas drilling during one of several public meetings at Pitt-Bradford. In May, Crosby's/Tim Horton's store manager Crystal Payne cut the ribbon on the E85 pump at the Foster Brook Crosby's fueling station Reid Petroleum President Paul Quebral (wearing a suit) says this is the only E85 pump from Buffalo to Pittsburgh. In June, the Mastercraft All-American Soap Box Derby moved from Center Street to Campus Drive.

In July, Captain Cory Angell sent us a photo of Staff Sgt. Steven Jones, Bradford Pa., leading a patrol in the Taji Market with Co. C, 1st Battalion, 112th Infantry, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad. In August, it was a gusher during the Oil 150 celebration. In September, actor Lew Temple who was in the area filming the movie "Unstoppable" took time to stop by the station and talk about his experiences.

Bradford's Tea Party chapter held its first meeting in October at the Bradford Senior Center. In November, Harry Krott of the state Department of Community and Economic Development gave a presentation on the early intervention and distressed cities programs for financially troubled municipalities. In December, well, we'll end the year the way we started it – with a Weinberg. Rick was one of many hunters who bagged a buck on the first day of the season.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Part of I-80 Remains Closed

Seven miles of westbound Interstate 80 in Venango County remain closed because a tanker carrying ammonia turned over and spilled the chemical.

Police say the tanker crashed at about noon, causing a significant amount of ammonia, and at least one other substance, to spill.

Initial reports indicated that a firefighter had to be taken to the hospital with an inhalation injury, but police have said there are no injuries.

No evacuations have been ordered.

The road is closed from exit 35 to exit 42.

UPB Men Lose in Rochester

Corey McAdam poured in 38 points as Nazareth College defeated the Pitt-Bradford men's basketball team 77-73 in the consolation game of the Nazareth College Tournament on Wednesday.

Zach Moore had 27 points and Mike Ridge added 15 points on 7-for-11 from the field for the Panthers, who are now 3-7.

Pitt-Bradford will visit Penn State Behrend on Jan. 6.

Bona Men Beat Little 3 Rival

St. Bonaventure had a seven-point run late in the game and beat Canisius College 82-75 in the Reilly Center on Wednesday night.

Five St. Bonaventure players had double figures, led by 20 points, seven rebounds, six assists, three blocks and two steals from Jonathan Hall in 38 minutes. Chris Matthews had 15 points. Andrew Nicholson had 14 points, seven rebounds and four blocks while Michael Davenport and Adegboye each had 12 points.

The Bonnies improve to 7-5, and play at Marshall on Saturday afternoon.

Bona Women Lose in OT

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – After going on a 12-6 run to end regulation, the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team fell in overtime in the championship game of the Christmas City Classic against host Lehigh, 68-66, on Wednesday afternoon at Stabler Arena.

St. Bonaventure drops its second game of the season, moving its record to 12-2 with one game remaining before the start of conference play.

Dana Mitchell scored a season-high 28 points for the Bonnies.

Lehigh improves to 11-2 on the season.

Crash Closes Route 219

Route 219 in Horton Township, Elk County, was closed for about an hour and a half after a car and tractor-trailer collided at about 1:15 this afternoon.

State police say a car driven by 79-year-old Charles Reitz of Kersey crossed the center line and traveled into the path of the tractor-trailer driven by 36-year-old Robert Cabaniss of Greensburg.

Brockway and Horton Township fire companies and Brockway and Ridgway EMS were on the scene.

Police are continuing their investigation.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bonaventure Women Crush IUPUI

The St. Bonaventure University women's basketball team didn't have much trouble defeating IUPUI in the first game of the Christmas City Classic in Bethlehem, PA, this afternoon.

The final score was 69-39, improving the team's record to 12-1.

Senior Dana Mitchell led all scorers with 13 points on four-of-seven from the floor and a perfect five-for-five from the line in only 23 minutes of play.

Tomorrow, the Bonaventure women play the winner of today's game between Lehigh and Wagner.

For the full story, Go

Cuomo Gets Restraining Order

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has obtained a restraining order against a Wellsville company accused of defrauding customers out of more than $200,000.

Allegany Pellets and its owners Paul and Iasia Ceglia are accused of taking orders and payments from customers in New York, Pennsylvania and other states in the spring of 2009 but not delivering any products or refunds.

The restraining order issued today bans Allegany Pellets from taking advance payments, destroying any business records or property or transferring any assets.

State police charged the Ceglias in November.

Parts of Lewis Run Without Water

Some Lewis Run residents and businesses will be without water for a couple of hours this afternoon because of a water line break.

The affected areas are Richardson and Lafayette avenues, Lincoln and Valley Hunt drives and, possibly, JFK Drive.

Stay tuned for updates.

United Way Allmost There

With only one week to go until the United Way of the Bradford Area plans to make a final goal announcement, the organization has $25,000 left to raise.

“We’re appealing to anyone who has been a donor in the past, or anyone who would be considered new, to submit your pledge to us this week,” says Executive Director Kelly Case. “We’re not looking for payment in full at this time, but just a planned contribution to campaign 2009.”

“We have been working hard to make personal visits or phone calls to as many individuals and businesses as possible,” says Assistant Director Mandi Wilton Davis. “Our Board of Directors has been working on the follow-up tasks,” she added, “as well as the campaign chairs.”

“We’ve made great strides throughout this entire process,” says Case, “we’re just hoping to continue with those successes and ultimately give the agencies which have applied for funding what is necessary to keep their programs operational.”

With money raised last year, 16 agencies and 33 programs were able to receive financial assistance, many of which would not be in existence without the United Way allocation.

“There are so many worthwhile programs that benefit from United Way funding,” says Davis, “a pretty substantial void would be left if these programs couldn’t be offered in the local community.”

A contribution to campaign 2009 can be made by contacting the United Way office or visiting the organization’s website,

In other news, the first quarter (2010) Community Innovations applications are due Monday, January 4. An application can be obtained via the website.

Patricia Hunt

Patricia M. Phillips Hunt, 66, of 356 West Washington St. passed away Sunday, December 20th, 2009 surrounded by her loving daughters at the Bradford Manor.

Born October 24, 1943, in Sunderland, England, she was a daughter of the late Philip and Dorothy (Rubery) Phillips.

On March 21, 1964 in Birmingham England, she married Roy Henry Hunt who died on September 17, 1993.

Mrs. Hunt was a 1959 graduate of Long Meadow Girls High School in Birmingham, England. She moved to the United States in 1981. She was a former manager of the McKean County SPCA for several years. She had worked as a nursing assistant at the Bradford Manor for 16 years.

Surviving are two daughters: Anita (Michael) Dolan, and Catherine (David) Trumbull, Jr. all of Bradford, a brother, Brian Bishop of Australia, five grandchildren, Steven Trumbull, Andrew Dexter, Tomi Dolan, Brady Dolan and Regan Dolan, several nieces and nephews, and her faithful companion Abbey.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, one sister, and one infant granddaughter, Samantha Trumbull.

Family will be receiving friends on Tuesday, December 22, from 7:00 to 9:00PM in the Hollenbeck-Cahill Funeral Homes, Inc. South Ave. where funeral services will be held at 11:00am on Wednesday, December 23rd, with Rev. Dennis Swineford pastor of the First United Methodist Church officiating.

Committal services and burial will be in Willow Dale Cemetery.

Memorial contributions if desired may be made to McKean County SPCA PO Box 113 Bradford, PA 16701 or American Cancer Society McKean Co. Unit PO Box 67 Bradford, PA 16701.

Online condolences may be made at

Jerry Cummins

Gerald Paul Cummins, 78, of 8 Chelsea, Lane, Bradford, a prominent local labor leader, died on Christmas Eve (December 24, 2009) at his residence, after a long illness.

Born March 7, 1931 in Bradford he was a son of Jerome and Hazel (Holmes) Cummins. Jerry, as everyone knew him, was a 1949 graduate of Bradford High School.

He was drafted into the United States Army on July 2, 1952 and was deployed to Trieste as a medic, he was honorably discharged on June 11, 1954.

On July 14, 1956 in Knapp Creek he married Billie Jean (Kockler) Cummins who survives.

After being discharged from the Army, Jerry returned to work with his brother, Richard, at the Emery Hotel. In 1954, he joined the Laborer’s International Union of North America as an assistant business agent for Local 836. He remained a member of the Laborer’s Union for the remainder of his life. In 1973, Jerry went to work for the Prevailing Wage Division of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a post he held for 10 years. After retiring from the Commonwealth position, Jerry became business manager of Local 836. He retired in 1989. Upon retirement, Jerry and Billie moved to Mechanicsburg, in order to be closer to their grandchildren. In 2001, they returned to Bradford.

Jerry was an avid Penn State sports fan and took great pleasure in closely following the Nittany Lions throughout the year. He was a former member of the Bradford Moose Lodge, and the American Legion.

Surviving is his wife, Billie, of 53 years, three children: Steven (Nancy) Cummins of Columbia MD, Kari O’Donnell of New Market MD, and Erin (Jason) Hara of Mechanicsburg, and five grandchildren: Shannon Cummins, Liam Cummins, Brittney O’Donnell, Steffani O’Donnell, and Gabrielle O’Donnell, one sister in law; Theresa Cummins, and nieces and nephews, including Joe, Bob, Don, Nick, and Andy Cummins and Dianne Thompson.

He was preceded in death by his parents, one son: David Cummins who died May 24, 1975, and three brothers: Robert, Donald, and Richard Cummins.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 am today in St. Bernard Church with the Rev. Leo Gallina, pastor, as celebrant. Following the Mass committal services and military honors will be accorded in the Mausoleum of St. Bernard Cemetery, with burial to follow.

Memorials if desired may be made to St. Bernard Church or St. Bernard School.

Online condolences may be made at

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday Book Talk:
Stories of Louis L'Amour

This week's show features Kathy L'Amour, widow of legendary author Louis L'Amour.

Listen here.

Get more information at

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Pitt-Bradford to Kick Off Spring Spectrum Series with Playwright

Playwright Sam Kelley, author of the nationally acclaimed play “Pill Hill,” will kick off the spring term Spectrum Series at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. Spectrum events are free unless otherwise noted.

Kelley will read from “Pill Hill” and two new works at noon Jan. 12 in the KOA Speer Electronics Lobby of Blaisdell Hall.

“Pill Hill” is a play about African-American steel workers in Chicago, where it has been staged three times, most recently last summer. The visit by Kelley, a distinguished service professor in the departments of Africana Studies and Communication Studies at the State University of New York Cortland, is the first of 10 days of events to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

The King celebration will culminate in “Ain’t Got Long to Stay Here,” a one-man play written and performed by Barry Scott based on the life of Dr. King at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22 in the Bromeley Family Theater in Blaisdell Hall.

During the 90-minute presentation, Scott recreates numerous figures from the Civil Rights era, presenting differing opinions and personalities to capture what King faced.

Scott has performed “Ain’t Got Long to Stay Here” at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Beacon Theater in New York, the Fox Theater in Atlanta and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. A question-and-answer session will follow.

Tickets are $10 for the public; all students are free.

More events for the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at Pitt-Bradford will be announced.

Also in January, the unveiling of Pitt-Bradford’s award-winning student literary magazine, Baily’s Beads, will take place at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20 in the Mukaiyama University Room in the Frame-Westerberg Commons. The annual literary magazine celebration will also feature readings by contributors.

The 2010 magazine is edited by Mandy Colosimo, a writing major from Bradford. The 2007 and 2005 issues of the magazine were each named one of the top 12 student literary magazines in the country by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.

An invitational art exhibit, “The Content of Becoming: Mixed Media Exhibition by Shaqe Kalaj” will open in the KOA Art Gallery in Blaisdell Hall and run through Feb. 26. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays and during evening arts events.

A free gallery talk and opening reception will be held beginning at noon Jan. 22 in the Webb/Bradford Forest Rehearsal Hall in Blaisdell.

The final Marilyn Horne Residency and Recital at Pitt-Bradford will feature contralto Meredith Arwady at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30 in the Bromeley Family Theater. Tickets for the public are $10; students are free.

The national residency series will be moving to new performing space at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

“Although giving young artists the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall should be very exciting for them, we will still miss hosting the residencies and having the opportunity to meet some exceptionally gifted artists,” said Randy L. Mayes, director of arts programming.

Arwady, a native of Michigan, has performed for five summers at the Chautauqua Institution, performing Madame Flora in “The Medium,” Zita in “Gianni Schicchi,” Mrs. Peachum in “Threepenny Opera,” Mother in “L’Enfant et les sortileges” and Madame de Quimper Karadec in La Vie Parisienne.

In February, novelist Sherrie Flick will visit Feb. 23 to read from her works at 7:30 p.m. in the Bromeley Family Theater. A reception will follow. She is the author of the award-winning flash fiction chapbook “I Call This Flirting.”

Her first novel, “Reconsidering Happiness,” was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2009.

At noon, Feb. 25, Ed Epstein will play jazz piano as part of the Noon Tunes series in the KOA Speer Electronics Lobby.

Poet Kate Northrup will read from her work at noon March 2 in the University Room, followed by a reception.

Northrup is an assistant professor of English/creative writing at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Northwest Review, Quarterly West, Black Warrior Review, Rattle and Louisiana Literature.

The Southern Tier Symphony will perform at 3 p.m. March 7 in the Bromeley Family Theater. Tickets are $20 for the public at the door; students are free.

“Music Tells a Story” will be the theme for the pops concert for this regional symphony. Pieces include “The Thrill of the Orchestra” by Russell Peck, “Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham” by Robert Kapilow and “Peter and the Wolf” by Surge Prokofiev.

The Pitt-Bradford Annual Student Art Exhibition will be on display March 19 to April 9 in the KOA Art Gallery with an opening reception at noon March 19 in the KOA Speer Electronics Lobby.

The Spring College-Community Choir Concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. March 24 in Bromeley Family Theater.

The spring Division of Communication and the Arts theater production will be the “Macbeth Project,” adapted from William Shakespeare.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. April 8, 9 and 10 and 2 p.m. April 11 in the Studio Theatre in Blaisdell Hall. Tickets are $6 for the public; $2 for all students.

Shakespeare’s shortest, most intense tragedy gets stripped down even further, then thoroughly imagined and reinvented for the world we find ourselves in now.

The Southern Tier Symphony will perform again at 3 p.m. May 9 in the Bromeley Family Theater. Tickets are $20 for the public; all students are free.

Works with the theme “Fire and Water” will include “The Russian Sailor’s Dance” from “The Red Poppy” by Reinhold Gliere and works by Haydn, Tchaikovsky and Handel.

“Spectrum offers plenty of activities for both campus and community this spring, and I look forward to each event,” Mayes said. “I do not know of any other university close to our size that offers such a series and hope many people take advantage of it.”

For disability-related needs, contact the Office of Disability Resources and Services at 814-362-7609 or

Season's Greetings from Sen. Young

“Recently, I had the opportunity to ring the bell for the Salvation Army. As passersby dropped money in the kettle, it was a great time to reflect about the wonderful district that I am so fortunate to represent. I passionately believe that our area is the best part of New York State -- we have neighbors who reach out helping hands in times of need, people who work hard everyday, and communities that are wonderful places to raise a family.

The people who live in my district inspire me, and renew my resolve to work to turn our state around. Our focus should be on growing our economy, which in turn will solve the state's fiscal woes, and also will mean more career opportunities so that our families and young people won't have to leave to find jobs. It is going to be a challenging year ahead, but I believe with all my heart that we are worth the fight.
I truly hope that your holiday season is filled with warmth, joy and laughter, and that the new year brings you health and happiness. I value your input, and please keep letting me know what is on your mind and important to you. Happy holidays!”

Pictured, Young accepts a donation from a young constituent while volunteering for the Salvation Army at the Wal-Mart in Dunkirk, NY on December 21, 2009.
(Photo courtesy of Senator Young's office)

13 Graduated from Master of Social Work Program at Pitt-Bradford

Thirteen residents of the region graduated Dec. 12 from the master of social work program at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

Dr. Livingston Alexander, president, greeted the graduates and their guests, recognizing the continued need of master’s-prepared social workers in the area. Similarly, Dr. Larry Davis, dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, congratulated the students on their accomplishments and discussed expanding social problems across the country.

Two graduates, Lacy Thompson of Erie and Cheryl Tingley of Bradford, shared reflections during the ceremony.

During her remarks, Thompson said, “As social workers, we need to be empathetic and patient, be comfortable with ourselves and others, be strengths-based and be an advocate.”

Tingley said, “I encourage all of us to constantly challenge ourselves and not to become complacent with the status quo. Be an advocate for what you believe in and advocate for equal rights for others.”

Stephanie Eckstrom, Pitt-Bradford MSW program coordinator, commented on the students’ commitment to their program, “You succeeded, and in doing so, demonstrated incredible strength and grace. You are an amazing group of women.”

In addition to Thompson and Tingley, those graduated include Kimberly Cain and Michele Nuhfer, both of Bradford; Nicole Drauschak of Port Allegheny; Jessica Eskesen and Natalie Stenhach, both of Coudersport; Frankie Johnson of Warren; Haley Marshall of Brookville; Diane VonArx of DuBois; Donna Gunsolus of Olean, N.Y.; Karen Swartz of Grand Island, N.Y.; and Patrina VanSickle of Portville, N.Y.

Pitt-Bradford is forming a new cohort, or group that completes the program together as a class, for Fall 2010. For more information, contact Eckstrom at 814-362-7527 or via e-mail at

For disability-related needs, contact the Office of Disability Resources and Services at 814-362-7609 or

Santa Visits ARG

Santa took time out of his very busy schedule to visit his friends at ARG. He wanted to make sure they knew they were on the nice list. (L-R) Susie Lerch, Yvonne Cattoni, Santa Claus, Kay Soble, and Devon Hayden.
(Photo courtesy of American Refining Group)

Wanderers Give Toys to BRMC

Bradford-based motorcycle club The Wanderers made good on its promise for another Christmas holiday by giving presents Wednesday to Bradford Regional Medical Center's Healthy Beginnings Plus at 222 W. Washington St. in Bradford. The club holds fundraisers throughout the year so it can purchase presents. Club members say they've been donating presents to Healthy Beginning Plus for nearly two decades. In the photo, one-year-old Destani Herbstritt holds up her arms in excitement at the vision of the presents and plush toys. Holding her is her father, Robert Herbstritt. With them are club members (standing, from left) David Farr, Steve Hartzell and Rudolph Scholtz.
(Photo courtesy of BRMC)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

No Need to Worry

Even if your children get a little confused when thinking about who runs the North Pole and who runs the Bradford City Police Department, you can tell them they don't need to worry. Santa's helpers at WESB always make sure the letters get to the right place. (Having Santa come to the radio station everyday makes it easy for us ... and pretty much ensures that we won't be getting coal in our stockings.)

I'm Really Going Now

Technically, I've been on vacation since Sunday. But now I'm really going . I'll be back on Tuesday (but a couple of posts might pop up here between now and then).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Last Meeting for Onuffer, Tingley

Bob Onuffer and Bob Tingley attended their last Bradford City Council meeting as councilmen Tuesday.

Mayor Tom Riel, councilmen Rick Benton and Ross Neidich, City Clerk John Peterson and resident Brad Mangel all thanked them for their service to the city.

Peterson said both men have done an exemplary job.

He added that preceding his tenure on council, Onuffer was always concerned about the city's budget.

"For all the years we had to have major tax increases and everything else, it was kind of like water off a duck's back (to other people)," Peterson said.

"(Onuffer) is the only person in the city of Bradford that ever came in to city hall to look at a budget," Peterson said. "I think that speaks volumes of Bob as a person and his commitment to the city."

Neidich said to Onuffer, "You always had the best interests of the city at heart."

Riel said Onuffer is "one of the most active members of council the city has seen in many years. I'm sure everybody in the city of Bradford appreciates that and wishes you well."

Pictured, Tingley, Riel, Onuffer

Tax Hike Not as High as Expected

Another Change in the Police Department

WESB/WBRR News Director

Taxes in the City of Bradford won't be going up as high as officials thought they would two weeks ago, and they say that's because of the cooperation all city departments displayed.

During the first reading of the millage ordinance during the last council meeting, officials announced a .8 increase. Tuesday, they announced that's been reduced to .5. Two weeks ago, Mayor Tom Riel said they would continue to work on the budget and had hoped they would be able to cut expenses even further.

Bob Onuffer, who oversees accounts and finances for the city, read a letter introducing the final reading of the budget.

"The spirit of cooperation that was and still is being exercised went over and above what I expected," he said, adding that with four unions and non-union personnel involved, "the budget process could have been a disaster."

He said the city was looking at millage increase of 4.5 when the budget process started.

"With increases in health care costs and a decrease in timber revenues, this council knew we were faced with a challenge," Onuffer said.

Onuffer addressed his next comments to incoming councilmen Jim Evans and Fred Proper, who were at Tuesday's meeting.

"My hope is that the new councilmen … when they are seated on January 4, 2010, they will continue to work on cutting expenses along with helping our employees by giving them what they need to increase their work safety and efficiency."

"I would like to make a recommendation to every citizen of our great city," Onuffer continued. " When you see any city employee out doing a service for you, please take time to thank them for the sacrifices they've made and the work that they perform to keep you safe and healthy."

As for the tax increase, Riel explained that if you own a $25,000 house your taxes would go up $12.50 a year. Someone who owns a $50,000 house would see an increase of $25.

Riel reiterated that the surprisingly low tax increase is due to the hard work of all city employees, especially City Clerk John Peterson, and he hopes everyone appreciates it.

He also said that, with continued hard work, council hopes to bring back all the employees who were let go for budgetary reasons.

Onuffer added that "office girls" who had the least to give up, gave up the most as far as concessions to keep the tax rate what it is.

"I believe we should be proud of our employees, proud of our city," a tearful Onuffer said.

"Council has taken, I believe, the direction necessary to start to get our fiscal affairs in order," Peterson said.

Peterson also wanted to thank all of the unions and other employees, and especially his staff.

"I have the best staff of people that God ever put breath into," Peterson said, adding that "the citizens of Bradford are very fortunate to have the employees they have."

Along with the change in the millage rate, there was another change to the police department.

Officers will work some 12-hour shifts instead of only 8-hour shifts, which will save a significant amount of overtime. They'll be working 36 hours one week, and 44 hours the next week.

Riel said the idea came from the department, not city council.

"I thank the City of Bradford Police Department for doing this to help us," Riel said.

And, because Officer Jim Erwin is retiring on February 1, only one police officer will have to be let go. Riel explained that it would not make sense to lay an officer off at the end of this month, then bring him back a month later.

As for the fire department, council OK'd the new union contract and the concessions in it.

Councilman Ross Neidich, who oversees the fire department, thanked firefighters for their "willingness to step forward in the budget crunch and bite the bullet with both the wage freeze and healthcare concessions."

Riel also wanted to thank the public "for bearing with us," adding that he's glad "none of us are hanging from a flag pole out front."

Kobis Named BRMC's COO

David Kobis, previously Vice President of Operations at Olean General Hospital in Olean, N.Y., has been named Chief Operating Officer of Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC), announced Timothy J. Finan, President and CEO of Upper Allegheny Health System, the parent company of BRMC and Olean General.

"Given his proven track record at Olean General and elsewhere, David is clearly someone who has both the credentials and experience to assume this important position," Mr. Finan said.

BRMC and Olean General integrated Nov. 5, 2009, under a new parent company, Upper Allegheny Health System, to improve the stability of regional hospital services.

Prior to Mr. Kobis’ post at Olean General, he was the Director of Operations Improvement for ECG, a national healthcare consulting firm based in Seattle. Prior to that, he was Director of Operations for Lakeland Regional Medical Center in Lakeland, Fla.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Richmond in 1988 and his master’s degree in business administration from Ohio State University in 1992.

Hopkins Poems to be Published

Poems by Judy Hopkins, an adjunct writing instructor at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, have been accepted for publication in two literary journals.

Her poem titled “How We Once Moved” appears in the current issue of California Quarterly, a poetry journal sponsored by the California State Poetry Society.

“This poem is a contemporary take on the concept of ekphrasis, or the ‘stilled movement’ of art objects,” Hopkins explained.

The other poem titled “The Over-Ripe Imagination of Buckle-Up Country” will appear in an upcoming issue of Timber Creek Review, a quarterly journal.

“‘Buckle-Up Country’ is a term I made up about this area of the map,” Hopkins said. “It’s not flyover country but not the destination either. It’s about how ‘place’ can spark imagination.”

Hopkins holds a bachelor of arts degree in English from Dickinson College in Carlisle and a master’s degree in English from Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz., where she taught English.

Hopkins has also taught at various colleges in the Los Angeles area and St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y.

Since 2001, she has taught composition at Pitt-Bradford, where she also teaches news writing, news editing and courses in public relations.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Casey Meets With Local Leaders

WESB/WBRR News Director

US Senator Bob Casey says he wants rural northwestern Pennsylvania to get the money it needs to spur economic development and job growth.

“The worst thing we could do is have a recovery and get out of the hole, and move down the road … and then go back into the ditch because we didn't invest, we didn't build a strong foundation or we made other mistakes,” Casey told a panel of local leaders via video conference Monday morning at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

Casey said the main focus of the gathering was to hear the concerns of local industries and governments, but he also wants to see “what’s in the pipeline now that we can move more quickly.”

He said that although Pennsylvania's unemployment rate is improving "numbers don't mean a heck of a lot to real people."

It doesn't matter to unemployed people in Pennsylvania that Michigan's jobless numbers are double what Pennsylvania's are, he said.

But a number he did point to was 5 million. He said that, over a two-year time period, a good job creation tax credit could create that many jobs.

Pitt-Bradford President Dr. Livingston Alexander said he hopes job training becomes important as well.

He noted that people are coming in from Texas and Oklahoma to take Marcellus Shale drilling jobs.

Alexander said he believes that universities are in unique positions to help people get back into the workforce and should be called upon to do that, with financial help from the government.

"It immediately gets workers trained and back into the workforce," he said.

On a related note, American Refining President and COO Harvey Golubock pointed out that ARG is working with both Pitt-Bradford and the Bradford Area School District on petroleum technology programs.

“It’s extremely important that we train our citizens,” Golubock said. “There’s tremendous opportunity in these industries.”

He also said that he thinks some federal money that’s being geared toward alternative energy sources should be channeled toward traditional energy businesses because “that’s where the jobs are now.”

Golubock also noted that the recently lifted moratorium on drilling in the Allegheny National Forest cost this region “a significant amount of jobs.”

Sue Swanson of the Allegheny Hardwood Utilization Group (AHUG) added that the ANF is “critical to our resource basket.”

The region’s economy is tied to the forest, she said.

Cheryl Banco of Warren County represented the dairy industry and said Pennsylvania will probably lose more than 300 farms this year because dairy farmers have not been fairly paid, or helped during the economic downturn.

She did point out that the federal government will be sending out emergency money to farmers next week.

She said most Pennsylvania farms will be getting $6,000 to $10,000, which won't save a farm, she said, but will help them pay some bills. Her farm, which has 100 cows, will get $4,800.

The discussion also hit on more and better ways to get the money to rural areas to attract more business and industry.

County Commissioner Joe DeMott said that larger counties and municipalities are able to respond more quickly, and get a quicker response from the government when it comes to attracting industries.

He pointed to the regional fiber optic system, the idea for which was born in 2008, and is now up and running thanks to a public/private partnership of sorts.

He said the project to expand the network to the larger region – 13 or 14 counties – is taking longer because of the bureaucratic red tape that's involved.

That's "a classic rural counties issue," said Mike Glesk of the Bradford Area Alliance, who facilitated the gathering.

He said that when the idea of the fiber optic network arose, the people behind it were told by national and international companies that it's more economical for them to invest in one block in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia than an entire county in northwestern Pennsylvania.

He said the same problem exists with traditional infrastructure.

"Four-lane highways are just as critical to the economy now as they were when the interstate system was extended almost 50 years ago," he said, adding that the region has two east/west interstates – 80 and 86 – but not a north/south interstate highway.

"We do not have a four-lane highway coming through this area and that affects us significantly on attracting businesses (and) on our local businesses being economically competitive," Glesk said.

Glesk said another critical element is airports, noting that the Bradford and DuBois airports are under the Essential Air Service subsidy program, which he said is "outmoded."

He noted that when Bradford's flights were going to Washington, DC, emplanements tripled. Since EAS switched Bradford from Washington to Cleveland, emplanements are down by two-thirds.

"Cleveland is not where we need to go,” Glesk said, adding that the EAS system does not fairly serve rural airports across the county.

Toward the end of the meeting, Casey pointed to statistics showing that McKean, Cameron, Elk, Cameron, Potter and Warren counties are well below the state average when it comes to the number of people with bachelor's degrees.

Alexander said the statistics don't tell the whole story. He said plenty of people in the region are earning bachelor's degrees – then they're moving out of the area because there are no jobs.

Casey also said he’s not apologetic about going after Congressionally directed money -- earmarks. He said it’s going to go somewhere; it might as well come to Pennsylvania.

He said during Senate debates on the appropriations bill and healthcare, other senators got up and specifically criticized Pennsylvania projects.

"I don't care. In fact, I want them to criticize it," he said. "That means it gets more attention."

"Call me whatever name you want," he said. "I'm going to pursue those dollars for communities in Pennsylvania with a ferocity and focus that people have a right to expect of me."

Pictured, Casey listens to Sue Swanson of AHUG. Also pictured (front row) Golubock, Alexander and Glesk. Second row, Rob Stewart Precision Fabrication and Controls, Bradford Mayor Tom Riel, DeMott, Jeff Miller, president of the North Central PA Building Trades, and Banco.

Rep. Thompson Presents BRMC/VNA USDA Grant Check

Holding the ceremonial grant check are (from left): U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson (PA-5th District); Timothy J. Finan, President and CEO of Upper Allegheny Health System, the parent company of Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC); Robert Schoenfeldt, Area Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development; and Kathy Pascarella, Director of BRMC’s McKean County VNA and Hospice.
(Photo courtesy of BRMC)

Steinberg Named Director of
Environmental Studies at UPB

Dr. Jesse Steinberg, assistant professor of philosophy, has been named the new director of the environmental studies program at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

He takes the place of Dr. Stephen Robar, associate professor of political science, who resigned the post to make more time for his new position as chairman of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

“I am very happy to have Dr. Steinberg accept the leadership role of the environmental studies program,” Robar said. “He has the full confidence and support of the entire environmental studies faculty, and with a growing program Dr. Steinberg will have a good group of students to work with as well. Few first-year faculty members are given such a leadership position.”

Steinberg earned his doctoral degree in philosophy at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Before coming to Pitt-Bradford, he taught at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; University of California, Riverside; Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand; University of California, Los Angeles; and University of California, Santa Barbara.

One of Steinberg’s areas of expertise is moral theory.

“These issues are fascinating and especially challenging,” Steinberg said. “How is one to balance considerations of the obligations one has toward other people with other considerations like one’s right to personal property or one’s interest in having inexpensive utilities and food.

“Although much of my work is theoretical, it has implications on what sorts of policies we, as a society, should try to pursue. I’m especially excited to delve into some of these issues in a class we’re offering this spring, Environmental Ethics.”

The Pitt-Bradford environmental studies program is an interdisciplinary academic program that explores the relationship between humans and the environment, integrating knowledge from natural sciences, social sciences, the arts and humanities.

For more information on the environmental studies program, contact Steinberg at (814)362-7586 or

Holiday Cards Delivered

Representatives from the Cameron County Family Center’s Share the Love program visited Charles Cole Memorial Hospital’s Long Term Care residents to deliver holiday cards this week. Program organizers Kris Fapore and Sissy Miller deliver holiday cards throughout the year and also visit residents at the Guy and Mary Felt Manor, Grove House, and Elk Regional Medical Center. Pictured, from left, are Pearl Coyle, Sissy Miller and Janice Green.
(Photo courtesy of Charles Cole Memorial Hospital)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Book Talk:
Why Dogs Are Better Than Cats

Today is the beginning of a new series: Sunday Book Talk

Our first book is "why dogs are better than cats" by New York Times Best-Selling Author Bradley Trevor Greive, with photographs by Rachael Hale.

Listen here.

Get more information here:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Kennedy, NY, Man Allegedly
Abused 8-Year-Old Girl

A Kennedy, New York, man is accused of sexually abusing an 8-year-old girl over several months this summer.

28-year-old Dale Johnson has been charged with course of sexual conduct against a child for alleged incidents that happened between June and August.

He's in Chautauqua County Jail pending a court appearance

Emporium Man Accused of Megan's Law Violation, Sent to Jail

An Emporium man has been charged with failing to register his employment under Megan's Law.

56-year-old Ralph Bennett of West Allegany Avenue was charged with failure to comply with registration of sexual offenders requirements.

He was arraigned and sent to Potter County Jail, unable to post bail.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Opening of 3 ATV Trails Delayed

Warren, Pa. – The Allegheny National Forest announced today that the Rocky Gap, Timberline and Marienville ATV trails will remain closed until further notice.

These three trails were scheduled to re-open for the winter season on December 20th; however mild temperatures over the past several months have not allowed portions of the trails to freeze completely. Trail conditions will be re-evaluated after January 1, 2010, to determine whether conditions have improved sufficiently to allow safe operation without risking trail and resource damage.

The Forest encourages all winter-season ATV riders to call one of its offices or check the Forest website prior to riding as trail conditions can change rapidly. Trail conditions can be obtained by calling the Supervisor’s Office in Warren at (814) 723-5150 or the Marienville Ranger District at (814) 927-6628, or by visiting our website at

Arrest in Murder Case 'Imminent'

An arrest in the murder of a Delevan man is imminent, according to the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Department.

In a news releases, Lt. Tom Bradigan said the sheriff's office is still investigating various aspects of the case but is prepared to say that "we are very encouraged and optimistic that an arrest of a person of interest is … forthcoming following the results of forensic evidence testing that is currently underway."

On December 1, 80-year-old Wilbur Norton was found dead in his home at the Delevan Terrace Apartments by a Meals on Wheels worker.

Autopsy reports indicated that Norton's death was a homicide.

Eldred Woman in MSNBC Story

An Eldred woman is featured in an MSNBC story about the cost of "air ambulances." You can read the story here.

NORAD Santa Tracker

With Christmas just a week away, it's time for a reminder about NORAD's Santa Tracker.

Dairy Farmers to Get Federal Money

New York dairy farmers will be getting a Christmas present from the federal government.

Senator Chuck Schumer says the USDA will soon start mailing $40 million in emergency money.

It's part of a bill that passed in October that's providing $290 million in direct relief to the nation's struggling dairy farmers.

Rodent Infestation in Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The cafeteria in Pennsylvania's state Capitol had to be shut down after inspectors found evidence of a rodent infestation.

Get the full story from The Associated Press. (Then come back here and leave your jokes in the comments.)

Poll: Most Pennsylvanians Say
Medical Marijuana is OK

Pennsylvania voters say allowing marijuana to be used for medical purposes is a good idea, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

67 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of independent voters favor the use of medical marijuana. Republicans are pretty much split with 49 percent in favor and 47 percent opposed.

According to the poll, medical marijuana wins support from all age groups, ranging from 62 percent among voters 18 to 34 years old to 56 percent among voters over 55.

State Attorney General Tom Corbett says he opposes a House bill that would legalize marijuana for medical purposes, saying that even limited legalization of marijuana could compound the dangers that drugs present to society.

Men Face Burglary, Other Charges

Two Shinglehouse men are facing charges for stealing from a number of camps in Potter County and one in McKean County.

24-year-old Nicholas Brown and 20-year-old Ethan Turner also allegedly took items from a scrap yard owned by Gas Field Specialist.

Brown is accused of burglarizing 7 camps and conspiring with Turner in 4 of those burglaries as well as the scrap yard theft.

Police say most of the thefts were of gas, scrap metal and tools, but Brown's alleged crimes also included theft of guns and generators.

Turner is free on bail. Brown is in Potter County Jail.

Carjacker Pleads Guilty

The man who carjacked a vehicle from a Barbour Street parking lot in August has pleaded guilty in McKean County Court.

24-year-old Michael Blum took the vehicle from its owner at knifepoint. He was caught in Limestone, New York, the next day after a police chase.

Blum will be sentenced January 13.

Ex-PennDOT Manager Pleads Guilty

A former PennDOT equipment manager has pleaded guilty to stealing from the department.

48-year-old Timothy Brem of St. Marys bought items with state money for his personal use between March of 2004 and April of 2007.

The cost of the items is about $6,000.

Brem will be sentenced in January in Potter County Court.

Snowball Tourney in Olean

OLEAN, NY -- COED 4 A Cause, a private group funding sports-related projects in the area, is looking for softball teams to participate in a 2010 WINTER MUSH BALL SOFTBALL TOURNEY. The tourney, scheduled for Saturday, January 2, at the Forness Fields in Olean, seeks co-ed teams. Team Entry Fee is $150 per team which must be paid before first pitch with all waivers signed. Winners receive Championship shirts and second place gets tourney shirts, which will also be on sale.

Entry rules include rosters with five men and five women with a man and woman as designated hitters for a total of 12 people. Any type of bat is allowed for both men and women. The ball is a mushball, a lot like softball, except the ball is so much softer and larger. There is also an unlimited arc.

Spectators are welcome with coffee, hot cocoa, hamburgers and hot dogs for sale. The cause also seeks tournament sponsors and volunteer umpires. The tourney is being held to purchase a break away fence for Forness 1 for all softball leagues to use next year. For more information or to sign up your team, please call Joe Dupe at 716-307-0699.

Benefit for Area Youth Minister

Chris Abrams is a Limestone resident who volunteers his time with several youth minstries in Bradford. He has served as a volunteer with First Nazarene church's Club Naz, Open Arms Community church's Revolution and Youth for Christ's Campus Life ministries. Chris also spends times with students at Grace Lutheran Church's Community Life Center on a daily basis and has been involved in service trips to Guatemala.

Chris plans to attend Elim Bible Institute in Lima, NY in 2010 in order to further his credentials for working with young people.

A benefit show is planned both to thank Chris for his work in the community and raise funds for his schooling.

"A lot of time, we put on benefit shows for people when something really terrible has happened. We're excited to put this on to help someone do something good!" says Larry Petry, Director of Youth for Christ of the Bradford Area.

The concert will take place Saturday, December 19th at Grace Lutheran's Community Life Center (79 Mechanic Street-behind Country Fair).

The show starts at 6pm and features three local acts: Josh Hatcher (acoustic folk-rock), Who Breaks Darkness (a hardcore band) and Panic Attack (a hip-hop duo).

There will be a small admission charge, with concessions for sale and door prizes for the audience.

For more information about this event, please contact Larry Petry with Youth for Christ, or the Grace Lutheran Community Life Center.

Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association
Awarded Gold Banner

For the 12th consecutive year, the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Alumni Association has earned a Gold Banner Award from the University of Pittsburgh’s Alumni Association.

“A Banner Award at the Gold Level comes with a $500 scholarship, so we are most proud to be able to provide a student with financial assistance in this meaningful way,” said Lindsay Hilton Retchless ’98, director of alumni relations.

The Pitt Alumni Association gives the Gold Banner to constituent alumni groups in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in serving as the link between alumni and the university.

The Association’s Gold Banner Status is the highest level of award and is reserved for those groups demonstrating exceptional performance in alumni communications, student involvement and other partnerships.

Alumnus Christopher Luke, who is the PBAA’s representative to the Pitt Alumni Association, said, “Being a recipient of the Gold Banner Award for the 12th consecutive year is a true testament to the dedication, strength and commitment of the Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association. This is an honor that all 9,000 Pitt-Bradford Alumni can be proud of.”

The PBAA serves alumni through Alumni and Family Weekend, and giving awards for a distinguished alumnus, volunteer and member of the faculty.

The PBAA also helps connect current students with alumni in their field during the Career Networking Luncheon held during Alumni and Family Weekend and the Backpack to Briefcase program held each January and welcomes graduates to its ranks through Graduation Central, a one-stop commencement planning fair, and the graduate dinner for graduates and their families.

For more information or to volunteer, contact the Alumni Relations Office at 814-362-5091 or e-mail

Pictured, top, Lindsay Hilton Retchless ’98, director of alumni relations, and Christopher Luke, the Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association’s representative to the Pitt Alumni Association at an awards gathering at Pitt-Oakland. The second photo shows Luke (center) with Pitt Alumni Association board president F. James McCarl (on the left) and Al Novak, vice chancellor of institutional advancement at Pitt-Oakland.
(Photos courtesy of Pitt-Bradford)

Causer, Others Meet with FHWA

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A dozen members from the Pennsylvania House and Senate who represent districts along the Interstate 80 corridor met with four high-ranking members of the Federal Highway Administration about their concerns regarding the tolling of the highway on Thursday during a meeting on Capitol Hill.

That agency currently is considering an application on behalf of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to toll the 311-mile highway.

The meeting included Reps. Martin Causer (R-McKean/Potter/Cameron), Michele Brooks (R-Crawford/Mercer/Lawrence), Mario Scavello (R-Monroe), Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong), Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk), Brad Roae (R-Crawford), Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Forest/McKean), Dick Stevenson (R-Mercer/Butler), Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango/Butler), Russ Fairchild (R-Union/Snyder), Merle Phillips (R-Northumberland/Snyder), along with Sens. Bob Robbins (R-Mercer) and John Gordner (R-Columbia) and Congressmen Glenn Thompson (R-Centre), Paul Kanjorski (D-Luzerne) and Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Erie). Sen. Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) and Rep. Sam Smith (R-Jefferson) were represented at the meeting by staff members.

"We wanted to present to the FHWA an accurate portrayal of the hardships that are going to be undoubtedly faced by the people most affected by these tolls," the legislators said. "There are going to be real people hurt, real jobs lost and real family-owned businesses and farms devastated by the imposition of tolls. We are here to convey the message from our constituents that tolling I-80 is poor public policy that punishes rural Pennsylvania in favor of more populated areas of the Commonwealth. This is an issue of economic fairness which puts our residents at a significant disadvantage."

The legislators explained to the agency officials three main arguments why I-80 should not be tolled. First, each legislator explained the devastating financial impact tolling will have on their areas and cited numerous companies, manufacturers and industries that would reduce their workforces or close altogether. Transportation estimates range from the tens of thousands of additional dollars per business to upward of $1.2 million.

Those costs would be in addition to the expenses faced by local governments in terms of traffic diversion and the loss of economic activity and economic development opportunities. If I-80 is tolled, one of the corridor's main selling points to new business, industry and expansion is lost.

Second, legislators explained the negative example that would be set if the Turnpike Commission's application were to be approved, especially in light of the controversies, inefficiencies and alleged fraud occurring within the Turnpike Commission. Such an approval would set a dangerous precedent.

Third, members argued that the Turnpike Commission's application does not meet the stringent criteria specifically set forth in federal law. The debt service on such a project would be unmanageable after the first few years and officials with both the Turnpike Commission and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) have publicly admitted that toll revenue would be directed to projects in other areas of the state and for urban mass transit systems. In fact, many of the so-called highway improvements targeted for I-80 and cited by the Turnpike Commission may not even be necessary.

Members requested that the FHWA consider all the facts when determining whether or not the Turnpike Commission's application to toll I-80 meets the strict criteria set forth in the federal government's Interstate System Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Program.

The legislators believe this issue is so important to the residents of their communities that they missed legislative session on Thursday, which included Fairchild, who had a 21-year perfect attendance record.

"It was our goal to have FHWA officials listen carefully to our concerns, and that based on the information presented to them, their decision should be clear cut regarding the lack of merit the I-80 tolling application has," members added. "We again respectfully asked for the application to be denied, and we are hopeful that they recognize how important it is to look at all of the facts presented and make their decision in the fairest way possible."

Thompson to FHWA:
Keep Politics Out of I-80 Decision

U.S. Representative Glenn `GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, today joined 13 members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly for a briefing with the Federal Highway Administration, FHWA, to let them know of their strong opposition to the plan to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s recent application to toll I-80.

“Eleven representatives and two Commonwealth senators made the trip to Washington, despite the fact that they were in session in Harrisburg, in order to let the people who will make the decision on advancing the application for tolling I-80, know just how much this topic means to them and the people they represent,” said Thompson.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Thompson told the Deputy Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, Greg Nadeau, that there are two ways to make this decision. “It can be made under the rule of law, or it can be made based on politics. I hope you follow the intent of the law in your decision.”

On November 19th, Thompson and his House of Representatives colleagues met with FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez to voice their opposition to the tolling plan. Additionally, on December 10th, Thompson wrote to Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood requesting that he reject Pennsylvania’s third attempt at tolling Interstate 80 and to use his discretion to deny subsequent attempts to toll the highway.

Thompson said he thought the meeting was an important and powerful opportunity for the FHWA to hear from 11 state representatives who represent 60,000 people each and the two senators, who represent almost 250,000 people each in the Commonwealth. Joining the delegation from Harrisburg were U.S. Representatives Thompson, Paul Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke, Kathy Dahlkemper, D-Erie.

A separate meeting, set up by FHWA for any elected official, who wanted to voice their opinions on the tolling of I-80. That meeting did not take place because there was no one attended.

Each of the legislators had an opportunity to speak during the more than hour-long session. They addressed varying points, from the current economic constraints along the corridor and how tolling would exacerbate those problems, to the cloud tolling places over future economic development, to the questionable and troublesome history of corruption at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, the lawmakers denounced the efficacy of this current application.

Rep. Matt Gabler, R-Treasure Lake, told the group that businesses in his district have said that if I-80 tolls had been in existence they would never have located in the district. He also expressed deep concern with the integrity of the Turnpike Commission.

Rep. Scott Hutchison, R-Venango, told the FHWA that his area has never recovered from the recession of the 1980s. But he said that the growth that has come has been near the Interstate. “If you take that away, we have almost nothing.”

An aide to Lt. Gov. Joe Scarnatti, R-Brockway, a de facto member of the Turnpike Commission, read a letter objecting to the application to toll I-80.

Nadeau told the lawmakers that the FHWA would complete their review of the application “judiciously and expeditiously.” But he would not provide a timeframe. He said the review was being conducted by a number of offices in his agency and the Department of Transportation.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

FR 123 to Close Temporarily

Forest Road 123 that runs between the Kane Experimental Forest and Twin Lakes Campground near Wilcox will be closed temporarily beginning today.

Officials with the Allegheny National Forest say the road will be closed for two to three months while major road reconstruction and repairs are done.

The project was one of the local projects funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Wal-Mart & Lang Surveying Take Over First Place in Chess League

After the fifth round of play at School Street Elementary, Wal-Mart is in first place. Only half a point behind in second are Pharmacy at Union Square and Dexter’s Service Center. Five of the eight team captains in the varsity remain with perfect scores.

In the JV section, Jessica Yost (member of Drs. Rhinehart team) is in first place. A half point behind in second is Brent Kennedy (captain for Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair). Nate Evan, a member of the Edmond Chevrolet Team, is in third place. The top JV team at the end of round 5 is Lang Surveying followed closely by Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair and Dragonfly Guitar Studio.

There will be no chess club over the holiday break. Matches will continue on Wednesday, January 6. For additional information about the league, email or visit

Results and Standings after round 5:

Varsity Division

Dr. Laroche defeated Bradford Window Company, 1.5-0.5; Parkview Super Market tied with the Pharmacy at Union Square, 1-1; Smith’s Fine Jewelry defeated Dr. Gonzalez, 1.5-0.5; Wal-Mart managed a win over Dexter’s Service Center by ½ point.


Dexter’s Service Center 6.0

Pharmacy at Union Square 6.0

Dr. Laroche

Parkview Super Market

Smith’s Fine Jewelry

Dr. Gonzalez

Bradford Window Co.

Junior Varsity Division

Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair shut out Hamlin Bank, 4-0; Dragonfly Guitar Studio defeated Northwest Savings Bank by two games; Lang Surveying won over Tasta Pizza, 2.5-1.5; Hayden Auto Detailing tied with Drs. Rhinehart, 2-2; Edmond Chevrolet defeated Ed Shults Toyota by 2 points.

Lang Surveying

Dragonfly Guitar Studio

Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair

Edmond Chevrolet

Hayden Auto Detailing

Drs. Rhinehart

Northwest Savings Bank

Tasta Pizza

Hamlin Bank

Ed Shults Toyota

Education Advocates Sue Paterson

A group of teachers and education advocates is suing New York Governor David Paterson over his plan to withhold state aid to schools.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Albany challenges Paterson's ability to delay 10 percent of upcoming aid payments. It claims that Paterson is illegally withholding funds already set aside by the Legislature.

Paterson says holding back $750 million is needed to keep the state from running out of cash

PSP: Remains Found Near Punxsy
Belong to Murdered Woman

Nearly a year after remains were found in the woods south of Punxsutawney investigators have determined they belong to a woman who was murdered 5 to 15 years ago.

Dr. Dennis Dirkmaat of the Applied Forensic Sciences Depart-ment at Mercyhurst College in Erie determined that the victim died from a single gunshot wound to the back of the head. Her body was then dismembered.

State Police say the woman was either black or Hispanic, and likely between the ages of 20 and 50.

The remains were found December 29 by someone walking in the woods in North Mahoning Township.

Tractor-Trailer Crashes on I-86

Two Florida residents suffered minor injuries after a tractor-trailer rolled onto its side this morning in the Town of North Harmony.

Chautauqua County Sheriff's deputies say 23-year-old Everett Halfhill of Hollyhill, Florida, was driving the rig on Interstate 86 at 5:20 when it went out of control, went off the road into a ditch and rolled onto its side.

Halfhill and his passenger, 22-year-old Shannon Dunn, were treated at WCA Hospital in Jamestown.

UPDATE from Sheriff's Department at 11:16 a.m. --

Because of the accident, the westbound lane of I-86 in the Town of North Harmony has been reduced to one lane.

G&B Towing is in the process to remove the overturned tractor-trailer.

Both lanes may be shut down temporarily during the process.

Sewage Sludge to Energy

While you may think some politicians' plans are full of you-know-what, this one really is.

The state House held a hearing Wednesday on using sewage sludge as an energy source.

State Representative Bud George, who chairs the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, says the hearing focused on health concerns related to the plan.

An expert at the hearing testified that drying sludge reduces pathogens and odors and has the potential to reduce disposal costs by 80 percent, provide a cleaner fuel source to power plants, boilers and cement kilns. Methane produced in the drying process also at can be recycled to help power sewage treatment plants.

Man Pleads Guilty in Connection
with Crash that Killed 2 Sisters

A Brockway man has pleaded guilty to homicide by motor vehicle in connection to an accident that killed two sisters and severely injured another.

34-year-old Eric Veltri will be sentenced Monday in Jefferson County Court.

In March of 2008 Veltri was driving under the influence when he crossed the center line of Route 219 in Snyder Township and traveled into the path of a car driven by Delora Burrow-Bradish of Bradford.

Burrow-Bradish was severely injured. Her sisters, Connie Bailey of Brockway and Karen Peters of Newark, Delaware, died in the crash.

Rapp, Gabler Headed to DC

Congressman Glenn Thompson and several of his colleagues have invited their counterparts in the Pennsylvania General Assembly to meet with the Federal Highway Administration today about the proposed tolling of Interstate 80.

Among those attending will be representatives Kathy Rapp and Matt Gabler, and staff members for Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati and House Republican leader Sam Smith.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission's application to toll I-80 is under consideration by the Federal Highway Administration for the third time.

Chautauqua County Offering Free
Computer Training to Seniors

Fredonia, NY -- The Chautauqua County Office for the Aging has announced their office is offering tutorial computer training lessons free of charge to all interested senior citizens (55+ years of age) throughout Chautauqua County. These lessons are funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) through Senior Services of America, Inc.’s Digital Inclusion Program.

Chautauqua County Executive Gregory J. Edwards said the purpose of the Digital Inclusion Program is to bring seniors up to date with current technology.

"The tutorial sessions will teach the seniors basic computer skills using the 'Generations-On-Line' registered software program," Edwards said. "This software was specifically designed to be used by seniors."

The skills include mouse mastery, keyboarding, e-mailing, internet navigation, web searching, and link usage.

Each participant will complete the tutorial sessions at their own pace, utilizing the computer for approximately one hour per session, per week, to be completed in approximately four weeks. A Peer Coach, working in the Senior Aide Employment Program, will be available for training assistance at the site.

Recent statistics indicate that the fastest rising population for computer interest and training is the sixty plus age group. There already is an enthusiastic response from seniors in the community to take this particular training.

Currently, the computer lab at the Fredonia-Pomfret Grape Belt Senior Center at 32 Moore Avenue, Fredonia is open for registration and training sessions. Interested seniors should call Betty Crowell, Coach Coordinator, at (716) 224-0822, to register. The program has initially been scheduled to run now through June, 2010.

The Cattaraugus One Stop Center has also begun to offer classes, and sessions will be available at the Prendergast Library in Jamestown beginning in January, 2010.

Pictured, Back Row: Greg Edwards, Chautauqua County Executive; Linda Spaulding, Coordinator for the Senior Aide Program and Project Director; Jeanine Smith, Fredonia-Pomfret Grape Belt Senior Center Director; Betty Crowell, Digital Inclusion Coordinator; Mary Ann Spanos, Office for the Aging Director. Front Row: Nancy Jager, Computer Trainer; class participants.

(Photo courtesy of Edwards' office)

BRMC Did Not Receive Recalled H1N1 Vaccine for Children

Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC) did not receive any shipments of H1N1 vaccine for children which has been recalled across parts of the country because of some lost strength.

“We want the public to know we did not have any of those lot numbers associated with that recall,” said Gary Malacarne, Pharm.D., the hospital’s pharmacy director.

“The H1N1 vaccines we’ve administered to children were from an entirely different lot number and do not have any lost strength. We want to stress that to parents and family members to ally any concerns,” Dr. Malacarne said.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

AAA Predicts Travel Increase

AAA is projecting 87.7 million Americans will be traveling 50 miles or more away from home during the year-end holidays. This is a 3.8 percent increase from the 84.5 million Americans who traveled during the same Christmas / New Year period one year ago, and is the largest projected increase for any major holiday this year.

The number of travelers by automobile is expected to be 77.7 million in 2009 compared to 74.4 million last year; an increase of 4.4 percent. The number of travelers by air is expected be 4.2 million compared to 4.1 million in 2008; an increase of 2.9 percent. The number of those traveling by “other” means, including, trains, watercraft, buses and multiple-modes of transportation, is expected to be 5.8 million compared to 6.0 million last year, AAA said. Last year, the total number of travelers during the year-end holidays was 84.5 million; a decline of 4.7 percent from 2007.

“An increase in holiday travel signifies that consumers are more optimistic about their personal financial situations,” said AAA East Central’s Jim Lehman, Senior Vice President. “The moderate projected rise in the number of air travelers this holiday period is especially welcome since the airline industry was hit especially hard by the recession.”

AAA’s projections are based on research conducted by IHS Global Insight. The Lexington, Mass.-based economic research and consulting firm teamed with AAA earlier this year as part of an agreement to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. For purposes of this forecast the year-end holidays travel period is defined as trips that include travel of 50 miles or more away from home during the period from Wednesday, Dec. 23 to Sunday, Jan. 3. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight 2009 year-end holidays forecast can be found at

Gasoline prices – while higher – will not deter holiday travelers, AAA says

Eighty-eight percent of year-end vacationers are expected to travel by automobile, while five percent are projected to go by air. In November, the time when most people make decisions in regards to year-end travel, average gasoline prices were over $.50 more expensive per gallon than they were in November 2008. Despite these higher prices, AAA believes the impact of higher fuel costs on year-end travel will be minimal. This is because the average cost of self-serve regular gasoline remains well-below $3 per gallon, and because prices have been fairly stable since mid-October; staying between $2.60 and $2.70 per gallon on a nationwide average basis.

Average spending will be $1,009 and average distance traveled will be 791 miles

Americans are expected to spend approximately $1,009 per household on travel during the Christmas / New Year period. The largest average share of all spending will be on transportation and transportation-related charges. Approximately 11.6 percent of spending will go toward lodging. Dining will account for 17.6 percent of total holiday spend, while shopping will account for 17.6 percent. Entertainment and recreation expenses will account for 13.1 percent of the average travel budget.

Christmas / New Year travelers will average of 791 miles roundtrip this upcoming holiday weekend. An estimated forty percent of travelers will journey more than 700 miles round trip. One-quarter (25 percent) of travelers will log between 251 and 700 miles. More than one-third (35 percent) of travelers will travel 250 miles or less round trip.

Airfare and rental car cost to be slightly higher, lodging expense will be lower

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index - a monitor of pricing in 20 popular cities across the US for hotel and car rentals, car rental rates will increase; up two percent to an average of $50 per day for a mid-size car versus $49 per day last year. Rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to be 10 percent less than last year with travelers spending an average of $119 per night. Travelers planning to stay at AAA Two Diamond lodgings will pay 6 percent less than last year; an average of $86 per night. These are the lowest average lodging rates for this time period since 2004.

Paterson Approval Numbers Up

New York Governor David Paterson's approval rating has gone up.

He still has more people viewing him unfavorably than favorably, but the Quinnipiac Polling Institute says Paterson's tough talk on the budget crisis boosted his number.

The poll shows 38 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of the governor while 44 percent view him unfavorably. 40 percent say they approve of the job Paterson is doing while 49 percent disapprove.

Those are the best numbers for Paterson since February.

Assault at Warren State Hospital

Another assault has been reported at Warren State Hospital.

Police say 32-year-old Buddy Steadman punched 53-year-old Terry Wolfe and 36-year-old Michael Smoot at the hospital.

Wofle and Smoot's injuries required medical attention.

Corry Man Made Child Porn

A Corry man has pleaded guilty to making child pornography and keeping it on his computer.

52-year-old Mark Brecker admitted that he sexually exploited a 1 1/2-year-old child between August and October 2008 and filmed the abuse.

He faces at least 15 years in federal prison when he's sentenced April 9.

Prosecutors traced seven movies depicting the sexual abuse of children to Brecker's computer. When they executed a search warrant at his home they found 180 images of child pornography, as well as movies that depicted Brecker performing sex acts on a child in his home.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

House Passes SB 711

The state House has passed Senate Bill 711, the table games bill.

The Senate still has to act on the measure. The Senate will be back in session in the morning.

DeWeese Resigns as Whip

State Representative Bill DeWeese has just resigned his position as Majority Whip.

DeWeese was charged earlier in the day in connection with the Bonusgate investigation.

State Board Re-elects Pascarella

Kathy Pascarella, director of Bradford Regional Medical Center’s (BRMC’s) McKean County VNA & Hospice, has been re-elected to the Pennsylvania Homecare Association (PHA) Board of Directors for a three-year term.

The PHA board represents the state’s homecare and hospice industry which provides medical, personal and end-of-life care in the homes of approximately 750,000 Pennsylvanians each year.

Mrs. Pascarella also has been appointed chair of the Education Committee which develops educational programming, including continuing education and professional development workshops and PHA’s annual conference. She has also served on the board’s executive committee and PHA Foundation since first being elected in 2006.

“I’m honored to once again have the opportunity to represent my peers in homecare,” Mrs. Pascarella said. “The PHA board brings a collective strength in addressing the issues that impact home health care and challenges me to be a better director and stronger advocate for homecare agencies and patients.”

Mrs. Pascarella has been a registered nurse for 32 years with 25 years of experience in home health and hospice. She has served as director of the VNA for seven years with responsibilities for the operation, planning and coordination of all VNA activities and programs. She previously served the VNA as director of patient services, director of nursing and as a staff RN.

Additionally, Mrs. Pascarella chairs the Homecare Council of Western Pennsylvania and is a member of several committees at the VNA and BRMC.

Owls on the Air and on the 'Net

The Bradford Owls travel to Warren tonight to battle the Dragons in a non league basketball matchup. Owls pregame on the air at 7:20 with Dave Fuhrman’s coaches show on 1490 WESB and on the web at

Warren is 2-0 and the Owls are 1-0.

Voice of the Owls Frank Williams and Tom Bowes will call the game.

ANF Drilling Ban Lifted

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Representative Glenn `GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, today issued the following statement after Judge Sean McLaughlin of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania issued an injunction lifting the ban on drilling permits in the Allegheny National Forest:

“I’ve had confidence all along in the State’s ability to take care of the environment in the Allegheny National Forest—confidence in the local industry and the citizens of the four-county area, who have been exceptional stewards of the environment for decades.

“The local stakeholders have taken care of the Forest for 86 years with the State Department of Environmental Protection providing some of the best enforcement in the Nation. It looks as if the Judge agreed the Commonwealth does not need outside environmental groups to come in and tell them how to do things.

“This ruling allows companies to bring their employees back to work and plan for the future. The decision by the U.S. Forest Service to stop permitting—and, by extension, drilling, for so-called `environmental reasons’ was wrong from the start and did irreversible harm to the local economy.

“This decision is a victory for state’s rights and for local control. It allows drilling to commence and stops the need for those who own drilling rights to prepare a National Environmental Policy Act study as a precondition to the exercise of private oil and gas rights in the ANF.

“This also is a victory for the hard-working people of northwest and north central Pennsylvania, who anxiously have been waiting for the opportunity to go back to work in the Forest they love, and where they have supported their families for several generations.”

McLaughlin held an evidentiary hearing in August in regard to preliminary injunction filed by Minard Run Oil Company, the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Association, the Allegheny Forest Alliance and Warren County.

The parties were seeking the injunction against a settlement in a previous lawsuit that called for the US Forest Service to perform analysis that was in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act before approving future oil and gas development on the forest.

You can see a copy of the judge's ruling here. (PDF)

'Exceptional Value' Waterways

Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger announced today that 265 miles of streams in Pennsylvania will receive increased protection after being designated as “exceptional value” waterways by the Environmental Quality Board

The waterways receiving the new designation include Young Womans Creek in Clinton, Lycoming and Potter counties; and Blue Eye Run and East Hickory Creek in Warren County.

Buliga Promoted to Associate
Professor with Tenure at UPB

Dr. Marius Buliga has been promoted to associate professor of mathematics with tenure at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

“Dr. Buliga is a dedicated and effective teacher,” said Dr. Yong-Zhuo Chen, professor of mathematics and chairman of the Division of Physical and Computational Sciences.

“His research record is of good quality and more than sufficient to support the promotion. He is also a collegial colleague and plays a crucial leadership role by serving as the mathematics program director. I believe he will continue to make valuable contributions to our university in the years ahead.”

Among the classes he has taught since joining the faculty in 2002 are Calculus I and II, Linear Algebra, Operations Research, Abstract Algebra and Numerical Analysis.

Buliga’s area of research includes graph theory and the use of mathematical software and Java applets for teaching math at an undergraduate level.

He is co-author of the book, “The Elementary Catastrophe Theory: A Survey.”

Buliga earned his doctoral degree in mathematics and master of science degree in information science from the University of Pittsburgh in 2002. He also holds a master of science degree in computer science from the West University of Timisoara, Romania, which also granted his bachelor of science degree in computer science.

Before coming to Pitt-Oakland in 1997 for his graduate studies, Buliga worked as an assistant professor and taught programming languages at the Polytechnical University of Timisoara for two years. After finishing his doctorate in Pittsburgh, he came to Pitt-Bradford to work as an assistant professor of mathematics.