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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Heisman Has Titusville Tie

TITUSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — If Jerry Schill has his way, 2009 will be the year when everyone knows where the legend of John Heisman got its start.

Schill, the executive director of the Titusville Area Chamber of Commerce, has been working to spread the word about the legendary college football coach's connection to the city since Schill assumed his job in July 2007.

For the full story, go to

Steelers vs. Chargers Wager

The mayors of Pittsburgh and San Diego have their own unique wager on the Steelers-Chargers playoff game.

If the Chargers lose, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl will send San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders a Steelers cap, jersey and pair of skis. Sanders must send Ravenstahl a photo of himself in the gear while holding the skis at the Sea World Penguin Encounter.

If the Steelers lose, Ravenstahl must wear Chargers swim trunks and a jersey and pose with a surfboard next to one of the city's three rivers.

New Web Site

How cool is THIS?

Well, I think it's cool and I maintain the blog, so there ya go.

It's the Buzz Week in Review

Check out the latest webisode of the Buzz Week in Review

Dan, I'm with ya on the tartar sauce.

Salmonella Outbreak Hits PA

At least a dozen Pennsylvania residents have been infected in a salmonella outbreak that's hit 42 states.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 400 people have been infected with the bacterial illness. No deaths have been reported.

The infected Pennsylvanians are in Bucks, Butler, Chester, Clinton, Delaware, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Lehigh, Luzerne, and Montgomery counties. Their ages range from three to 73 years.

Health officials in Minnesota say lab tests traced the salmonella bacteria to a container of peanut butter. They are waiting for more test results.

Man Jailed After Alleged Threats

A St. Marys man is in jail after allegedly threatening two people early this morning.

Police say 38-year-old Scott Gore entered a private residence and made the threats at 1:45 today.

He was charged with criminal trespass, terroristic threats and having a prohibited offensive weapon.

Gore is in Elk County Jail on $10,000 bail.

Cops: Man Made False Report

An Olean resident has been charged with making false reports to law enforcement.

34-year-old Andrew Washington reported that his vehicle had been stolen from the City Limits Bar in Olean.

While investigating an accident on Goodrich Street involving the vehicle that had been reported stolen, sheriff's deputies learned that Washington allegedly crashed the vehicle on his way home from the City Limits, then reported it was stolen.

Russell Man Hit By Car, Dies

A Russell man is dead after being hit by a car Friday morning.

Police say 78-year-old Randall White was walking on Cemetery Road when he was hit by a car driven by 20-year-old Joshua Graham of Sugar Grove.

White was taken to WCA Hospital in Jamestown, N.Y., where he died as a result of his injuries.

Graham wasn't hurt, but has been cited for driving too fast for conditions.

Child Porn, Firearms Charges Filed

A Potter County man is facing several charges including firearms violations and possession of child pornography.

Police say when they executed a search warrant at the North Bingham home 25-year-old Adam Johnson they found three firearms, which he can't possess because he is a convicted felon. Two of the shotguns were stolen from a seasonal residence in New York.

Police also found identity and credit cards of four people besides Johnson, computer printouts depicting child pornography and two pipes containing marijuana.

St. Marys Residents Arrested

Two St. Marys residents were arrested in Allegany for allegedly having property stolen from St. Marys.

31-year-old Aubrey Sapielak and 33-year-old Jeffrey Geyer have both been charged with criminal possession of stolen property and sent to Cattaraugus County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail each.

Deputies say they responded to a complaint of two people in the parking lot of the Allegany Wal-Mart who were possibly in possession of stolen property. After speaking with St. Marys Police, deputies verified that the property was stolen from during a burglary in St. Marys.

Man Admits to Robbing Banks

A Jamestown man is facing 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to robbing five banks.

31-year-old Rashawn Smith, who also has a Buffalo address, admitted to robbing a total of $39,000 from banks in Jamestown, Pittsburgh and Erie between April and July of 2007.

Smith carried a knife during one of the robberies and a pellet gun during another.

He will be sentenced June 17 in US District Court in Buffalo.

Nutter, Bloomberg Bet on Game

As the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles prepare for the National Football Conference divisional playoff game, the mayor of each city placed a traditional wager on the outcome.

The winner of the Sunday afternoon game at Giants stadium will advance to the NFC Championship game.

If the Giants win, Mayor Michael Nutter will send five cheesesteaks from popular shops across Philadelphia. If the Eagles win, Mayor Michael Bloomberg will send a giant, New York-style cheesecake from Manhattan's Carnegie Deli.

Mayor Bloomberg better get used to Cheese Whiz – fast. Remember, that's coming from a Bills fan who thought they were going to make the playoffs this year. So, what do I know?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Better Late Than Never ...

Sorry I forgot to post this a couple of days ago. I guess it's old news now, but just in case you want to read it sometime in the future, you know it'll be archived here.

Joint statement to the media from Mayor Tom Riel and District Attorney John Pavlock:

"We recently met and had a lengthy discussion regarding these limited disagreements. Each of us now has a much better understanding of the other's position. As far as both of us are concerned, any limited disagreement between the two of us about these issues has been completely resolved.

This matter is now behind us and we will continue our joint efforts to work for the citizens of McKean County and the City of Bradford. Anyone who thinks otherwise, particulary criminals, will be sadly mistaken."

It's National Blood Donor Month

By George Nianiatus, senior writer
Communications Department

It’s conceivable Beverly Vinca of Bradford has saved the lives of more than 40 people and she doesn’t even know their names.

Although Mrs. Vinca never met any of them, she’s undaunted in her self-less act of giving the gift of life. With predictable regularity, every eight weeks she donates blood at Community Blood Bank (CBB) at Union Square, 24 Davis St., in Bradford. CBB is the sole provider of blood and blood supplies to Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC). Donating a pint of blood takes less than an hour and can be done by an individual every 56 days, say CBB officials.

Mrs. Vinca and a friend became motivated several years ago to give blood when someone they knew became ill and eventually died. “It was then that we decided to start giving blood. And it’s not hard to do at all,” Mrs. Vinca says.

There are a couple reasons that keep Mrs. Vinca returning to donate blood. First, “It makes me feel good to know this is going to help people,” she explains. Secondly, “Everybody here at Community Blood Bank is so nice it makes it a pleasant experience. We get to talk to everyone and after donating we’ll even have a snack together,” she adds. People should donate blood because it’s the right thing to do, Mrs. Vinca states. “Anyone can donate. All they have to do is set aside a little time,” she says. “And it doesn’t take very long. In 45 minutes or so you can be done.”

January is National Blood Donor Month, notes Dan Desrochers, CBB’s marketing director. “This is a great time of year for people to begin donating blood.”

Part of the reason is because a low donor turnout during the holidays has created a critical blood shortage for CBB. This is why donating blood can be one of the most important acts a person can do, say officials from CBB which provides blood to all hospitals in McKean, Warren, Potter, Elk and Erie counties in Pennsylvania, and 90 percent of blood in New York’s Cattaraugus, Allegany and Chautauqua counties.

“Levels of blood have dropped across the board with O-positive blood falling to critically low levels,” says Mr. Desrochers. As a temporary remedy, “CBB was able to borrow 50 units of O-positive blood from Indiana over the weekend but levels remain low.” Mr. Desrochers adds, “We hope we get some extra donors this week and throughout January.”

According to blood donation requirements, individuals must be at least 16 years old, be a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good basic health. Not long ago the age limit was lowered from 17 to 16, notes Mr. Desrochers. “Those who are age 16 must get parental consent, though.” Most of those who are age 16 typically donate at blood drives held in high schools.

No matter what their age, “Blood donors say they do it because it makes them feel good in knowing they’re helping others,” says Stephanie Frederick, BRMC’s laboratory supervisor. A unit of blood can help three different people with red cells, platelets and plasma, she explains.

Also, “It doesn’t cost you a cent to do it and very little time,” Mrs. Frederick says. At CBB, “We try to make blood donation as quick and as enjoyable an experience as possible,” says Jean Reese, MT, CBB’s site coordinator in Bradford.

“If we could get four or five donors each day at CBB in Bradford, that would be a tremendous help to those who need blood,” she adds.

The CBB site in Bradford is open every Thursday, 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., plus the second Wednesday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. No appointment is necessary. For further information, call CBB at 362-3694. CBB also hosts employee blood drives the Medical Center in Bradford.

Pictured, Stephanie Frederick (left), Bradford Regional Medical Center’s (BRMC’s) laboratory supervisor, gets Beverly Vinca ready to donate blood at Community Blood Bank (CBB) at Union Square, 24 Davis St., in Bradford. CBB is the sole provider of blood and blood supplies to BRMC.
(Photo Courtesy of BRMC)

Family Fitness Grants Awarded

Coudersport, Austin, and Galeton school districts each received a $10,000 grant through the Healthy High 5 School Challenge Grant Program to fund the Family Fitness Challenge for students in each of the schools.

The Family Fitness Challenge is a 10-week fitness and nutrition program for school aged children. Curriculum for the program was developed by Penn State University. Additional enhancements were made by Charles Cole Memorial Hospital’s Childhood Obesity Task Force, who also assisted with writing the grant, and includes pediatricians, registered dieticians and an exercise specialist.

“The Highmark Healthy High 5 School Challenge Grant Program is geared toward helping schools address their unique health and wellness challenges,” said Yvonne Cook, president of the Highmark Foundation. “This grant provides the Coudersport, Austin and Galeton school districts with the resources and tools to implement an innovative program that will help their students establish lifelong, healthy habits.”

Highmark Healthy High 5 is a five-year, $100 million children’s health promotion initiative of the Highmark Foundation. The mission of the initiative is to improve the health of children and adolescents ages 6 to 18 by providing them with the tools and practices needed to make informed decisions about living healthier lives.

Highmark Healthy High 5 addresses five critical children’s health promotion issues – nutrition, physical activity, self esteem, grieving, and bullying prevention – by raising awareness, changing behavior through grants and programs, and providing resources to parents, schools, and communities served by the Highmark Foundation.

Representatives from Charles Cole Memorial Hospital and Coudersport, Austin, and Galeton schools recently met to discuss the Family Fitness Program which received grant funding from the Highmark Foundation. Pictured from left are Ellen Shinn, Russ Streich, and Sarah Fry. In back are, Patrice Levavasseur, Donna Thomas, Sherry Cowburn, Kim Reese, and Dr. Mary Ann Rigas.
(Photo courtesy of Charles Cole Memorial Hospital)

Prof's Article Appears in Journal

An article by University of Pittsburgh at Bradford assistant professor of communications Dr. Fang-Yi Flora Wei appears in the January issue of the journal Communication Teacher.

Wei’s article, “Birthdays Then and Now: Applying Uses and Gratification Theory to Analyze the Media Progression Cycle,” outlines a classroom lesson that communications teachers can use to increase students’ knowledge of print media.

Wei developed the lesson as part of the Mass Media and Society course she teaches at Pitt-Bradford.

In the lesson, students study newspapers from the day they were born and from 40 years before they were born as well as an online version of the newspaper. Wei has the students examine which sections and headings are most prominent in the paper, look at the advertisements and see what the headlines of the day were.

The lesson ties into the uses and gratification theory of media that says that audiences use the media to get specific gratification. In this case, students who are reluctant to examine print media are motivated by researching their birthdates.

Communication Teacher is a publication of the National Communication Association that gives teaching and lesson ideas to those teaching communications.

In addition to Mass Media and Society, Wei also teaches Broadcast Programming and Management and Broadcast Journalism. She holds a doctorate from the University of Memphis and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication from the University of Tennessee.

Her research focuses on mass media effects on children, computer-mediated communication, and instructional communication.

Dem. Senators Setting Priorities

With the new session of the state legislature underway, Democratic lawmakers are setting their priorities.

Senator Mike Stack is the new Democratic vice-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and he says he wants to see a "responsible" state budget that encourages growth in the state's economy.

"It's going to be a rocky time, and we've got to make sure that we keep the economy rolling in a stable way, and make sure Pennsylvanians' interests for the future are protected," he said, adding that lawmakers need to "spend the state money in a responsible way so that the state once again is functioning smoothly and we're creating jobs and people are holding onto jobs"

Stack said that he will continue to advocate for senior citizens, education, health care and jobs.

He said, "The number one thing is: We've got to get the economy under control. All the other things fall into line after that."

Senator Andy Dinniman agrees, saying lawmakers first priority should be the economy. He wants to address Pennsylvania’s growing deficit and balance the budget without raising taxes. Dinniman said that the legislature is expected to take on a number of important issues this session, including healthcare reform, legislative redistricting and the possible expiration of electric rate caps.

Sen. Dinniman is the new Democratic chairman of the Senate Education Committee. A lifelong educator and former school board member, Sen. Dinniman holds a doctorate in education. He says that education is one of the largest appropriations in the state budget. He says he will continue to work to
ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and that Pennsylvania’s students have access to quality education.

Casey Statement on Job Numbers

WASHINGTON, DC- Following release of new job numbers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that the U.S. unemployment rate increased to 7.2% in December from 6.8% in November and that the U.S. economy lost 524,000 jobs in December, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement:

“As expected, the December job loss numbers were grim. They were record breaking. The unemployment rate is the highest since 1993. The 2.6 million jobs lost this year mark the highest level since 1945.

“I've heard story after story from my constituents about the effect the economy is having on them, their families or their businesses. I hope that Washington will move quickly to pass a stimulus that will immediately jump start the economy, create millions of jobs, reverse the decline in our economy and prepare the country to compete in the new economy.”

PennDOT Encourages Sled Safety

CLEARFIELD- With winter snowfalls, children of all ages head outside for sledding fun. Unfortunately, each year thousands of people are seriously injured while sledding. Most injuries are preventable and the following tips can help you keep the fun from turning to tragedy.

· Make sure that children wear a helmet when sledding. Many head injuries occur because children often ride headfirst.

· Children should be warmly dressed with gloves and boots to prevent frostbite. If they get wet, have them change into dry clothing.

· Always supervise young children when they sled ride.

· Choose a safe area with plenty of light. Avoid parking lots, roadways, and areas with trees or other obstructions.

· Use a sled that is in good condition and in not broken.

· A “steerable” sled is safer than a tube or saucer you can’t control. Teach children to roll off a sled that will not stop.

· Don’t ride on a sled that is being pulled behind a moving vehicle.

· Never use alcohol or drugs while sledding or supervising children who are sledding.

Clubs Urged to Participate in
Pheasant Chick, Egg Program

HARRISBURG -- Sportsmen’s organizations with approved propagation facilities can augment local ring-necked pheasant stockings and increase localized recreational hunting opportunities by raising day‑old pheasant chicks supplied free-of-charge by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Applications to participate can be downloaded from the agency’s website (, by clicking on “Forms & Programs” and then selecting “Pheasant Chick & Egg Program.” In order for Game Farm superintendents to plan and set hatches to accommodate requests, the Bureau of Wildlife Management must receive completed applications by March 31.

“To restore self-sustaining and huntable pheasant populations, the Game Commission is committed to creating Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas, as outlined in our pheasant management plan,” said Calvin W. DuBrock, Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Management director. “While we strive to create these areas, we continue to urge interested clubs to participate in our pheasant chick and egg programs, which provide wonderful opportunities to get young people involved in raising birds. In addition to learning about the food and habitat requirements of pheasants, they’ll have the chance to see the chicks mature into adult game birds, and to help augment local pheasant populations and increase hunting opportunities.”

In 1929, the Game Commission began the propagation of pheasants on an extensive scale with the establishment of two game farms. Over the next six decades, to off‑set the increasing demand for pheasants from hunters, three other farms were placed into operation, and the day‑old pheasant chick program was implemented and made available to sportsmen’s organizations, 4‑H clubs, farmers, and other cooperators for rearing and releasing on areas open to public hunting.

In 1959, the number of pheasant chicks distributed to cooperators reached 229,685, an all-time high, in addition to the more than 88,500 pheasants raised and released by the agency at its four game farms. Unfortunately, cooperator participation has dwindled significantly over the last few decades. In recent years, only a dozen or so clubs have participated; raising and releasing 3,000-4,000 birds.

Because of budgetary constraints, the Game Commission was forced, in 2005, to reduce its annual pheasant stocking allocation from 200,000 to 100,000. The Game Commission released 100,000 adult birds again this past season, and expects to keep pheasant production at 100,000 until additional financial resources are made available. However, as part of the agency’s pheasant management plan, the agency intends to increase that stocking effort to 250,000 birds, should increased funding become available.

DuBrock said that the agency provides, free of charge, day-old pheasant chicks to clubs entering into an agreement with the Game Commission to raise birds and promote recreational hunting on lands open to public hunting. Gender is not determined as the chicks are boxed for distribution, but are generally at a one-to-one male/female ratio. The number of chicks received depends on the size of the club’s facility. The agency will provide enrolled clubs with plans for a brooder building, covered pen, and guidelines for rearing pheasants.

“The agency also offers enrolled organizations technical assistance and advice at the club’s facility, and a training session and overview of agency game farm operations can be scheduled during the off‑season from January through March to assist in development of the club’s program,” DuBrock said.

To be eligible to receive pheasant chicks, a sportsmen’s club is required to have a minimum of 25 square feet of covered pen space available per bird. In addition, 72 square inches of floor space per chick is recommended in the brooder building. All feed and expenses incurred in the work of constructing covered pens and raising pheasants will be the responsibility of the club. All pheasants propagated by organizations must be released on lands open to public hunting.

Pheasant chicks can be raised at the cooperator’s facility or by a designated caretaker with the proper facilities.

“Youth who participate in raising birds can help release hen pheasants in early September in areas where hens are protected from hunting and where habitat is sufficient to provide food and cover,” DuBrock said. “These birds can provide good dog training opportunities and releasing hens early also provides additional room in the pen to finish growing out the males for the hunting season.

“Maximum recreational opportunities can be attained by releasing male pheasants as close to the opening of small game season as possible, and no later than the end of the second week of the season.”

Game Commission pheasant hatches come off once a week during the month of May, and the chicks for clubs will be scheduled into those hatches. Game farm superintendents will send notification to approved organizations when chicks will be ready for pick‑up.

The Game Commission requires a complete report of the production and release results. Renewal applications will not be processed unless a complete report has been filed for the prior year.

In addition to the cooperating sportsmen’s club program, the agency also sells surplus day-old hen pheasant chicks and eggs in lots of 100 chicks for $60, or 300 eggs for $180. Early requests receive top priority and orders are processed until the last scheduled hatch, which usually is the first week of June. While day-old hen pheasant chicks may be purchased by anyone, pheasant eggs will be sold only to licensed game propagators. Both eggs and chicks must be picked up at the supplying Game Commission game farm.

Applications to purchase surplus day-old hen pheasant chicks or pheasant eggs can be downloaded from the agency’s website (, by clicking on “Forms & Programs” and then selecting “Pheasant Chick & Egg Program.”

The pheasant is native to Asia. Recorded attempts to establish pheasants in North America date back to the mid 1700s. These early attempts were unsuccessful; it wasn’t until 1881, in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, that pheasants first became established.

During the early 1890s, Pennsylvania citizens purchased pheasants from English gamekeepers and released them in Lehigh and Northampton counties. For several decades, many other small releases were made across the Commonwealth to establish pheasants for sport hunting.

In the early 1900s, the Game Commission set aside a special appropriation of funds to purchase and propagate game. Pheasant eggs were purchased and given to agency refuge keepers, sportsmen’s organizations and private individuals interested in raising pheasants. The first stocking of pheasants by the Game Commission occurred by 1915.

(Photo Courtesy of the Game Commission)

Man Rescued from Creek

Emergency crews rescued a man who fell into a creek while trailing a wounded deer Thursday night.

Officials say 19-year-old Tyler Lyngarkos of Northeast was trailing the deer from Pennsylvania as it crossed into New York when he fell down an embankment and into 20-Mile Creek.

Rescuers were able to find him in the Town of Ripley by using the signals from his cell phone during his 9-1-1 call.

He was taken to a hospital, where he was given IV fluids and treated for cold exposure. His father, who was helping in the rescue effort, was treated for minor injuries to his leg and back.

Both father and son are in stable condition.

Glenn Thompson Named to Ag,
Small Business Committees

Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Howard, on Thursday was appointed by the Republican Steering Committee to serve on the House Agriculture and Small Business Committees in the 111th Congress.

“I could not be more pleased and excited to serve on both the Agriculture and Small Business Committees,” said Thompson. “As the number one industry in Pennsylvania, I look forward to working with the agriculture community across the district in crafting fiscally responsible and environmentally friendly policies to strengthen family farming, the forest products and timber industry, and assist rural communities in Pennsylvania to create sustainable new jobs.”

The House Agriculture Committee is responsible for a wide array of issues from rural development to bioterrorism and regulation of the commodities markets. The Committee also has jurisdiction over bio-fuels, agriculture research and development, the Allegheny National Forest and rural electrification.

“Representing one of the premier agriculture sciences universities in the nation, I look forward to partnering with Penn State and its elite team of scientists in crafting legislation beneficial to the farming community and rural Pennsylvania,” continued Thompson.

As a member of the Small Business Committee, Thompson will have oversight and legislative authority over the Small Business Administration and its programs. This committee also provides support and assistance to small business owners and ensures that the Federal Government abides by procurement and contracting laws.

“Small Business is the backbone of our economy, providing over 85 percent of our jobs. By sitting on this vital committee and working with my colleagues across the aisle, I am eager to enact pro-growth, smart government solutions in an effort to assist small business owners struggling to survive in this ailing economy.

“Sitting on these two committees is a perfect fit for the Fifth District. I am enthusiastic about getting back to the district to reach out to small business owners and farmers to discuss their needs and concerns,” concluded Thompson.

For more information on the House Agriculture Committee click here, and for the Small Business Committee website, click here.

Click here to listen to Congressman Thompson’s thoughts on being assigned to the Agriculture and Small Business Committees.

(Thanks to Pat Creighton for the audio!)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Yell of 'Help Me' Prompts Search

WESB/WBRR News Director

About 35 people from more than half a dozen organizations searched last night and today for a person calling for help in Roulette Township, but didn't find anyone.

Coudersport-based state police say they received a call at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday from a resident of Atkins Road reporting that they heard a male voice yelling, "Help me!"

The caller checked with neighbors and area residents, and searched part of the area before calling police. Four other area residents also heard the call for help.

When police arrived, they also heard the call for help, but didn't find anyone during a "hasty" search of the area.

Police then contacted the Roulette Fire Department for help searching the area of Fishing Creek Road, Atkins Road and the West Branch of Fishing Creek Road.
The area within hearing distance was thoroughly searched before the effort was called off at 1 a.m. because of darkness. They used a thermal imaging device during the search.

The searched resumed during daylight hours today, using additional manpower. They searched the original area, and then widened the search area.

"A thorough search was made for an approximate 1-mile radius of the focal point with negative results," police said.

A state police helicopter was used for a short time today, but was "severely limited" due to weather conditions.

Police say they have determined that anyone in need of assistance Wednesday evening is no longer at that location and no longer in need of assistance.

Police did check with area hospitals and learned that no treatment was provided for anyone with outdoor related activities.

Further, they say there are no current missing person reports filed with police agencies in the area to match the description of this incident.

Besides Coudersport state police and the Roulette Fire Department, others involved in the search were Roulette Ambulance, the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the state Game Commission, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the Emergency Management Agency. The Coudersport Volunteer Fire Department was on standby as medical officers with an RTV.


Thanks to James Jones for the photo of the Potter County Emergency Services Incident Command Trailer. For more photos, and comments from PSP Cpl. Michael Murray, go to Solomon's Words.

'09 Butter Sculpture Unveiled

Pennsylvania’s dairy farmers today unveiled the 19th annual butter sculpture to kick off the 93rd Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg. This year’s creamy creation, crafted from 900 pounds of butter donated by the Land O’Lakes plant in Carlisle, is a tribute to the Pennsylvania National Guard.

Since Benjamin Franklin formed the first Pennsylvania National Guard in 1747, the brave members have been ready to leave the comforts of home and farm to defend their nation’s interests and bring peace and hope throughout the world.

“Dairy farmers have a long and proud involvement in the Pennsylvania National Guard,” said Tom Croner, a Somerset County dairy farmer and chairman of the Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program. “When the Guard first formed, dairy farmers laid down their farming equipment and picked up weapons to fight for our freedom. Today, we salute the men and women who work diligently to protect us.”

At the conclusion of the Pennsylvania Farm Show, the butter sculpture will march across the state to Erie, where it will be made into biodiesel at Lake Erie Biofuels.

Those attending today’s butter sculpture unveiling enjoyed music from “High Altitude” a popular music component of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard Band of the Mid-Atlantic under the direction of Master Sergeant Howard Boots. Invited guests included Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Dennis C Wolff, Pennsylvania Dairy Princess LeeAnn Kapanick, Nelson Habecker representing Land O’Lakes, Blair County dairy farmer and Pennsylvania National Guardsman Ethan England, and Major General Jessica Wright of the Pennsylvania National Guard.

Sculptor Jim Victor of Conshohocken, who has carved himself a niche using butter, chocolate and cheese as his mediums, created this year’s sculpture. Victor began crafting the design in mid-December and spent approximately two weeks creating the tribute to the Pennsylvania National Guard.

The butter sculpture is sponsored annually by Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program on behalf of the Commonwealth’s dairy farmers. Funded by dairy farmers, the promotion organizations work to increase the demand for and sales of milk and dairy products in the Mid-Atlantic region. For more information, visit

To see a picture of the butter sculpture, go to the York Daily Record.

Great Topic at TAB

"Walking Man" has started a fantastic topic on Talk About Bradford.

Nicest people in Bradford -- name names! What are you waiting for? Go respond!

By the way, I vote for my mom, and I bet some people who remember her as the school nurse at St. Bernard's would agree.

I made the list! WOW! (Thanks Brian. I think you're pretty darn nice, too.) Even better than making the list myself is one of Tom Riel's choices -- My Uncle George. :)

Spring Spectrum Series Announced

The gallery exhibit “People, Places, Things” by photographer and art professor Ward Roe will kick off the spring term of the Spectrum Series at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

The Spectrum Series offers academic and curriculum-based programming at little or no cost to the university community and community at large.

“This semester features exceptionally strong Spectrum Series events, and we are proud to present them,” said Randy Mayes, arts programming director.

Roe’s exhibit will open in the KOA Art Gallery Jan. 30 and run through Feb. 27. Roe will give a gallery talk followed by a reception at noon Jan. 30 in the Webb/Bradford Forest Rehearsal Hall and KOA Speer Electronics Lobby.

“Some of the pictures are quirky, atypical viewpoints or banal subjects photographed in ways that alter their context. In some cases these are downright funny,” Ward wrote in 2006, when the exhibit appeared in Scranton. “Other pictures are sadly poetic and tinged with melancholy.”

Author David Laskin will give a reading as part of the One Book Bradford project at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 in the Mukaiyama University Room in the Frame-Westerberg Commons. In addition to the reading, the One Book Bradford committee, a group comprised of representatives from the university, Bradford Area Public Library and Friends of the Hanley Library, has sponsored many activities throughout the year that relate to Laskin’s 2005 book, “The Children’s Blizzard,” for which he won the Washington State Book Award.

“The Children’s Blizzard” tells the story of a group of pioneers on the Great Plains and a blizzard that has been remembered for generations. After reading histories of the prairies, pioneer accounts and books about one-room schoolhouses, Laskin hit the road from his home in Washington State to interview descendants of those who lived through the blizzard and meteorological experts.

On Valentine’s Day, the Marilyn Horne Foundation Residency/Recital will feature baritone Eugene Chan, who will perform romantic songs at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 in the Bromeley Family Theater. The cost to the public is $6; students are free.

An avid recitalist, Chan made his Carnegie Hall recital debut under the auspices of the Marilyn Horne Foundation last year and has recently performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and “Madame Butterfly” with the San Francisco Opera.

Because his Pitt-Bradford recital falls on Valentine’s Day, patrons can take advantage of a special pre-show dinner featuring London broil with chocolate merlot sauce and New York cheesecake. The cost is $18 per person. Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance. Seating is limited. To make reservations, call the Bromeley Family Theater box office at (814)362-5113.

The last Spectrum Series author of the year will be Joyce McDonald, who will read from her work at 7:30 p.m. March 2 in the Bromeley Family Theater. McDonald is the author of several critically acclaimed books for teens and young readers, among them “Swallowing Stones,” an American Library Association/Young Adult Library Services Association 100 Best of the Best for the 21st Century; and “Shades of Simon Gray.”

Other honors and awards include ALA Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults, ALA/YALSA’s Best of the Best 100 (1966-2000) and New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age. Her latest novel is “Devil on My Heels.”

Maestro Samuel Wong, a former assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic who has recently relaunched his medical career, will lead Pitt-Bradford’s College-Community Choir in concert March 18. The program of famous opera choruses, including Beethoven’s “Fidelio,” Mozart’s “Magic Flute,” Verdi’s “La Traviata” and Wagner’s “Lohengrin,”will be presented at 7:30 p.m. in the Bromeley Family Theater.

“Affairs of the Art,” the annual student art exhibition, will take place from March 20 through April 15 in the KOA Art Gallery. An opening reception will be held from noon to 1 p.m. March 20 in the KOA Speer Electronics Lobby. “Affairs of the Art 2009” will feature more than 80 distinguished artistic works, including mural, paintings, drawings, graphic design, digital prints, pottery and ceramic sculptures created over the past academic year by more than 40 Pitt-Bradford art and design students.

Pitt-Bradford students will perform in the Division of Communication and the Arts production, “The Cripple of Inishmaan” at 7:30 p.m. April 2, 3 and 4 and at 2 p.m. April 5 in the Studio Theatre in Blaisdell Hall. The show had originally been scheduled for November.

Directed by Dr. Kevin Ewert, associate professor of theater, the Martin McDonagh production tells the story of “Cripple Billy” who decides to audition for a Hollywood film crew when it comes to town to film a documentary about his island.

“The Cripple of Inishmaan” is a dark comedy linked to the real-life filming of the documentary “Man of Aran.” Over the span of eight years, four of McDonagh’s plays have received Tony Award best play nominations with “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” winning four. In 2006, he won an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film for “Six Shooter,” a film he wrote and directed.

Cost for the public is $6; student tickets are $2.

The final event of the year will be a lecture by Dr. Marvin Thomas, professor of history, at 7:30 p.m. April 14 in the University Room. This year Thomas’s popular lecture series takes on a subject of historic and modern significance in “Nothing so Successful as Success: The Suez Canal.” Thomas will trace the history of the canal that allows water passage between Europe and Asia without the dangerous trip around Africa from Greco-Roman times to the present.

Tickets for events are available by calling the Bromeley Family Theater box office in Blaisdell Hall at 362-5113. Box office hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

More 'Family Cookout' Guilty Pleas

Two more people accused of operating a Albion-area methamphetamine ring have pleaded guilty.

43-year-old Patricia Frey and 30-year-old Bradley Hatcher are two of 29 people charged in connection with the state Attorney General's Operation Family Cookout investigation.

The ring was operated for more than 10 years by brothers James and Ronald Frey. Patricia Frey is Ronald's wife. She faces up to 10 years in prison when she's sentenced on February 24.

Hatcher faces a maximum of 27 years in state prison for his role in the operation.

SWAT Team Shoots Suspect

Pittsburgh police fatally shot an armed man after they cornered him in his apartment bathroom, ending a standoff that lasted more than 9 hours and started as a domestic dispute.

As a SWAT team surrounded the building, officers shot the man when he made aggressive movements toward them shortly after noon.

They tried to negotiate with the man, but he did not come out even after police fired several tear gas rounds into the building.

A man who claimed to be the suspect's brother said his brother was distraught over a recent death or deaths in his family. Police didn't release the suspect's name.

Earlier this week, a domestic dispute in Erie ended with a man dying in a house fire. Authorities are waiting for DNA test results to confirm that the body they found in a burned-out building was the man who shot at them early Tuesday morning.

Bills Declared StormReady®

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will announce on Tuesday that the Buffalo Bills have become the first National Football League team to be a StormReady® Supporter.

To achieve this status, the Buffalo Bills met rigorous guidelines, which include developing severe weather safety plans, actively promoting severe weather safety through awareness activities and conducting safety training in an effort to better protect fans and spectators of events at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

For more information, you can visit NOAA's StormReady Web site.

The Pennsylvania Bowl

Just a little note to Ben Roethlisberger, Donovan McNabb, Andy Reid, Mike Tomlin, Troy Polamalu, Asante Samuel, et al.:

I really have my heart set on an all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl, although I am a Bills fan. (Please don't hold that against me, though. In fact, you could use it as motivation to win. Ya know -- win it for the long-suffering Bills fan in Bradford and maybe her loyalties will swtich to a team in her own state.)

Anything you could do to make my dream come true would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

In Case You Missed It ...

01/07/09 - Three Bills Finalists for Hall of Fame
Three Buffalo Bills are among the 17 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Bills founder and owner Ralph Wilson, defensive end Bruce Smith and wide receiver Andre Reed will be on the final ballot. For Wilson and Reed it's their third time as finalists.

01/07/09 - Eldred Ethan Allen Plant is Closing
Employees of the Ethan Allen plant in Eldred were told during a Tuesday afternoon meeting that the plant will be closing in a few weeks. The Ethan Allen plant had employed nearly 200 people. The plant manufactures custom furniture and other products.

01/07/09 - Leonard to Redshirt at St. Bona
St. Bonaventure has announced that junior Lewis Leonard will redshirt his first year in the program. Leonard, a highly touted forward from San Bernardino Valley and Philadelphia, will attend classes, but not play. He averaged 25 points per game last season in the Foothills Conference in California.

01/07/09 - Former Bill Jack Kemp has Cancer
Former Buffalo Bills quarterback and congressman Jack Kemp has cancer. A statement issued Wednesday in Buffalo says the 73 year-old Kemp is undergoing tests to assess the origin of the disease and the best treatment. The statement did not address the type of cancer.

01/06/09 - Defilippi Steps Down at Cameron County
Cameron County football coach Tony Defilippi has stepped down. Defilippi says he resigned for “personal reasons.” In his four seasons as coach Cameron County was 32-14, with two AML North Division titles an d a District 9 Class A championship. He was also the District 9 Coach of the Year.

01/05/09 - Harrison is Defensive Player of the Year
James Harrison is The Associated Press 2008 Defensive Player of the Year. The Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker had a career-high 16 sacks, setting a team record, and led the NFL with a career-high seven forced fumbles. Harrison got 22 of 50 votes, and teammate, safety Troy Polamalu, got two.

Catt County Man Charged with Rape

A Cattaraugus County man is has been arrested for allegedly having sex with a teenage girl.

25-year-old Brandon Darcy of Conewango Valley allegedly had sex with a 15-year-old on Monday.

He's been charged with rape and endangering the welfare of a child and was sent to Chautauqua County Jail without bail.

State Performance Report Out

The Rendell administration has released its second annual report on state government performance, outlining the accomplishments of various agencies.

Rendell describes it as a way to measure and improve state services, partly by comparing Pennsylvania's government to other states.

The 224-page document is part of the governor's attempt to show how tax dollars translate into public services.

The report costs about $24,000 to print.

You can see the report HERE.

Clarion County Man Found Guilty
on Federal Weapons Charges

A Clarion County man has been found guilty of federal weapons charges.

A jury took about an hour to convict 59-year-old Dana Darryl McCall of possessing unregistered firearms, including a machine gun with a heat-sensing device on it, a "street sweeper" shotgun and the various materials necessary to make pipe bombs.

Prosecutors say McCall was targeting a state trooper from the Clarion barracks because the trooper had cited him for a summary violation that carried a $100 fine.

Read the news release HERE.

Micek: Senator Has New Office (LOL)

From John L. Micek's Capitol Ideas Blog:

"Quote Of The Day.
I am speaking only for myself, but for [Senate President Pro-Tem Joe] Scarnati to represent the position of all the southeastern Republican senators the way he has, that we will not support any tax increase, is not correct.

-- state Sen. Ted Erickson, R-Delaware, puts a ding in the Senate GOP's united front (via Capitolwire).

In a related story, Erickson's new office is now in the Capitol garage."

Once again, here's the link to the blog. My fellow PCN addicts will recognize Mr. Micek from Journalists Roundtable.

Auction Raises $719 for Ventilator

A silent auction over the holidays for 21 employee-donated wreaths and swags at Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC) raised $719 toward Bradford Area High School's ongoing fundraising effort to purchase a ventilator, says Stacy Williams, the hospital’s director of Annual Giving and Volunteer Services.

Auction proceeds benefit “First Breath,” a fundraising effort to purchase a ventilator for BRMC’s Respiratory Services Department, she says.

The First Breath fundraising campaign was started by a Bradford High student who had a desire to attend the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for Health Care and her need to participate in a leadership program.

Steve Mongillo, a Bradford High guidance counselor, says, "This was quite an undertaking for one student. The school and other students would like to see this project through and will continue to work on fundraising efforts."

Earlier fundraising activities included a walk-a-thon at Callahan Park and a coin drive.

Driftwood Bridge to Open Tuesday

The new Driftwood Bridge on Route 555 in Driftwood will open to traffic on Tuesday.

A new roadway alignment will be in effect with the opening.

Once the new bridge is open, the old bridge will be closed and removed. A temporary road will remain open for Driftwood Avenue until paving is completed later this spring.

The new 278 foot, concrete bridge replaces the old, one-lane, steel structure over the Driftwood Branch of the Sinnemahoning Creek. The new bridge is downstream from the old location.

Contractor on the $3.5 million project is Clearwater Construction Inc. of Mercer.

Murder Charges Added

First-degree murder has been added to the charges against two people in connection with the shooting death of a Tionesta man.

33-year-old Susan Yeager and 36-year-old Robert Pessia were originally charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

Originally, 28-year-old Cory Altman was the only one of the three charged with murder because he allegedly shot 39-year-old Shawn Yeager last month.

Both Susan Yeager and Pessia have been arraigned on the new charge and are in Warren County Jail without bail.

Authorities believe Susan Yeager hatched the plot against her estranged husband because she wasn't getting as much time with her sons as she thought she should.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Young: We Can't Tax Our Way Out

State Senator Cathy Young released the following statement after Governor David Paterson's State of the State address:

“Tax relief and economic growth are our state’s most pressing needs. Our families are having a terrible time trying to afford living here, and we desperately need more jobs. Instead of new spending, we should eliminate the proposed 151 new taxes and fees that hit the middle class squarely between the eyes. And, I’m hoping for more details from the Governor about stimulating small businesses and manufacturers.

“While I agree that one element of rebuilding our economy should be developing jobs related to clean energy, I was surprised that agriculture was not mentioned even once. I also was hoping that the Governor would bring up the Jamestown BPU’s oxy-coal plant.

"We have very tough times facing us, but we can’t tax and spend our way out of this crisis."

Listen to Young's statement HERE.

(Audio courtesy of Young's office. Thanks Matt!)

BRMC's ED Holds Open House


More than 120 people visited Bradford Regional Medical Center’s (BRMC) expanded and redesigned Emergency Department during an open house held Wednesday. Shown speaking during a tour to visitors were (from left) Donald Human, M.D., an Emergency Department physician; Theresa Potter, LPN, the Emergency Department’s triage liaison; and Deborah Price, BRMC’s senior vice president of Patient Care Services. The $3.5 million project, completed this past summer, was Phase II of BRMC’s overall “Building the Future” campus improvement plan. The Emergency Department doubled its size to increase efficiency and patient monitoring. Along with streamlined patient admission procedures, the Emergency Department expanded to 8,500 square feet to accommodate more beds. It now has the ability to add patient beds during “surge capacity,” meaning times of disaster or a sudden influx of individuals due to the flu, for example. Other improvements include the ability to treat 15 patients, two more than before; streamlined registration procedures; centralized location of physician and nursing station for better observation; a new decontamination and an isolation room for patients with special privacy and safety needs. As part of this improvement, BRMC signed an agreement this fall with Exigence Group to oversee the management of its Emergency Department.
(Photo Courtesy of BRMC)

Causer Announces VFD Grants

Volunteer emergency response organizations in Cameron, McKean and Potter counties have been awarded more than $330,000 in grants from the state, Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) announced today.

“In these challenging economic times, it is important to ensure our fire and ambulance companies have the resources they need to continue protecting the public safety,” Causer said. “I applaud the dedicated volunteers who give so much of their time in service to our communities.”

The grants were awarded to 32 fire and ambulance companies in the 67th Legislative District that Causer represents. The funding comes from an ongoing grant program administered by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and Office of the State Fire Commissioner.

This year’s program provided $25 million in grants statewide. Projects eligible for funding include: construction or renovation of a fire or ambulance company facility, purchase or repair of equipment, training, or reduction of existing debt.

Following is a list of local fire and ambulance companies and the amount of their grant awards:

Cameron County
Cameron County Ambulance Service Inc., Emporium – $4,916.86
Emporium Fire Department Inc., Emporium – $9,500.
Mountaineer Search and Rescue, Emporium -- $9,500.
Sinnamahoning Volunteer Fire Department, Sinnamahoning – $19,000.

McKean County
Bradford Township Volunteer Fire Department, Bradford – $11,181.22.
Clermont Volunteer Fire Department, Mt. Jewett – $7,497.
Corydon Township Volunteer Fire Department, Bradford – $9,873.43.
Derrick City Volunteer Fire Department, Derrick City – $9,500.
Eldred Borough Volunteer Fire Department Inc., Eldred – $9,500.
Eldred Township Volunteer Fire Department, Eldred – $9,686.46.
Hilltop Volunteer Fire Department Inc., Cyclone – $9,500.
Lewis Run Volunteer Fire Department, Lewis Run – $9,873.43.
Mt. Jewett Fire Department, Mt. Jewett – $9,686.46.
Otto Township Volunteer Fire Company, Duke Center – $4,916.86 for EMS operations; $9,500 for fire company operations.
Port Allegany Fire Department-Star Hose Company No. 1, Port Allegany – $11,367.68.
Port Area Ambulance Service Inc., Port Allegany – $4,818.53.
Rew Volunteer Fire Department, Rew – $9,686.46.
Smethport Fire Department Inc. – $7,580.

Potter County
Austin Volunteer Fire Department, Austin – $4,916.86 for EMS operations; $9,500 for fire company operations.
Coudersport Volunteer Ambulance Association, Coudersport – $4,916.86.
Coudersport Volunteer Fire Department, Coudersport – $9,686.46.
Gale Hose Company No. 1 Inc., Galeton – $4,916.86.
Genesee Volunteer Fire Department, Genesee – $4,916.86 for EMS operations; $9,500 for fire company operations.
Goodyear Hose Company No. 1 Inc., Galeton -- $9,500.
Harrison Township Volunteer Fire Company, Harrison Valley – $9,500.
Kettle Creek Ambulance Association, Cross Fork – $4,916.86.
Kettle Creek Hose Company No. 1, Cross Fork – $9,500.
Roulette Chemical Engine Company No. 1, Roulette – $3,832.69 for EMS operations; $9,500 for fire company operations.
Shinglehouse Ambulance Association, Shinglehouse – $4,916.86.
Shinglehouse Volunteer Fire Department, Shinglehouse – $9,873.43.
Tri-Town Fire Company, Ulysses – $9,686.46.
Tri-Town Volunteer Ambulance Association, Ulysses – $4,916.86.

Causer, Rapp Named to Task Forces

State representatives Marty Causer and Kathy Rapp have been named to task forces that will develop policy solutions to get Pennsylvania out of its current fiscal crisis.

Causer has been named to the Infrastructure Task Force and Rapp is on the Education and Job Training Task Force.

Other groups will tackle the budget and economic policy; health care; energy and government reform.

Republican Policy Committee Chairman Stan Saylor has asked the task forces to begin work immediately so proposals will be ready for upcoming budget discussions.

Prof's Article Appears in Journal

An article by University of Pittsburgh at Bradford assistant professor of education Dr. Wayne Brinda appears in the winter issue of the scholarly Journal of Aesthetic Education.

“Building Literacy Bridges for Adolescents Using Holocaust Literature and Theatre” is about using Holocaust literature to engage adolescent readers and draws on Brinda’s background in both Holocaust studies and the theater.

“As literature becomes complex, adolescents tend to struggle with comprehension and may forgo the idea of discovering enjoyment,” said Brinda, assistant professor of education. “Incorporating nonfiction stories from the Holocaust with innovative theatre experiences can engage these students in literature with complex themes, characters and plots.”

As an educator, researcher, and stage director, Brinda teaches and conducts research on adolescent literacy, theater and Holocaust education. As the co-founder and artistic director of Prime Stage Theatre in Pittsburgh, he produces adaptations of literature and educational programs that “bring literature to life.”

Before coming to Pitt-Bradford, Brinda was an assistant professor in the Duquesne University School of Education, where he earned his doctorate of education in educational leadership.

Brinda also taught English and theater at The Oakland School, Sewickley Academy Senior School and was director of Playhouse Jr. A reviewer of the National Middle School Journal, Brinda also conducts research on using young adult literature and the theater to teach the Holocaust as a Museum Teaching Fellow at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.

His articles and presentations have been published by and presented at Jagiellonian University in Poland, Seton Hill University, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literature, The ALAN Review, the National Council of Teachers of English, The National Middle School Association, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, and the International Reading Association.

He is the author of numerous journal articles and has conducted research into teaching classical works of literature to adolescent readers.

KOA Lays Off 28 People

More bad economic news for Bradford.

KOA Speer Electronics has laid off 28 people.

Chief Financial Officer Lance Eastman tells WESB and The HERO that the layoffs are due to the current economic conditions, especially within the auto industry on which KOA heavily relies.

Eastman says they hope to call everyone back when economic conditions improve but, for now, they told employees "they know as much as we do."

KOA offered a voluntary layoff in December, expecting that business would pick up in January. Eastman says all of those people were called back before today's layoff.

Villa, Prep to Become One Entity

Bishop Donald Trautman of the Erie Dioceses has announced that Villa Maria Academy and Cathedral Prep will become one educational entity while remaining as two separate campuses.

Villa Maria will begin returning to its roots as a female-only campus starting in September.

Male students, who currently make up about 20 percent of Villa's enrollment, will be allowed to graduate, but no new male students will be accepted as of the 2009-10 school year.

Cathedral Prep will continue as an all-male school. The schools will be run by a joint board, but will maintain their existing names.

Paterson: State of State is 'Perilous'

In his first State of the State address, Governor David A. Paterson outlined his plan for a stronger New York including the need to confront the current fiscal crisis head on. He laid out a progressive policy agenda to help working families during these difficult times including calling for one of the most ambitious clean energy plans in the nation, setting a “45 by 15” goal that 45 percent of New York State’s electricity needs will be met through improved energy efficiency and greater use of clean renewable energy by 2015.

For the full text of Paterson's address, go to the governor's Web site.

Heroin, Other Drugs Seized in City

Bradford City Police have arrested three people after finding a large amount of prescription medication, heroin and marijuana at a Pike Street home.

Police executed a search warrant early this morning and found the drugs, paraphernalia and a large amount of tobacco cigarettes that had been stolen from a warehouse in Salamanca.

Toni Taylor has been charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and possession of a controlled substance

Phillip Haight has been charged with possession of marijuana. Vincent Santiago has been charged with possession of a controlled substance.

All three have also been charged with possession of paraphernalia and receiving stolen property.

The Bradford City Street Crimes Unit, Bradford City Emergency Response Team, Bradford Township Police and University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Police executed the search warrant.

The Salamanca Police Department is assisting in the investigation into the stolen cigarettes.

Rep. Glenn Thompson Sworn In

Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Howard, Tuesday was sworn in as a Member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Pennsylvania’s sprawling Fifth District. He will replace John Peterson who did not seek reelection after holding the seat for 12 years. Thompson issued the following statement shortly after being sworn in:

“To stand on the House Floor today and take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America is awe inspiring and in some sense a surreal moment. However, the job before me, which is to represent the citizens and interests of the Fifth District and to work with my colleagues across the aisle to get the economy back on stable ground, is a task that I am more than ready to embark upon and eager to get under way.

“As I said on the campaign trail and above all else, my motto of People above Politics will continue to guide my thinking and shape my positions in the months and years ahead. The people of the Fifth District and the Country are tired of the partisan debate that has dominated Washington for all too long and I look forward to working across the aisle on a host of issues including rural healthcare reform, a comprehensive energy plan, and providing an environment where small businesses can create new, good paying, family sustaining jobs.

“The challenges are great but the opportunity to change the way Washington operates and give the government back to the people is a challenge I willfully accept and plan on tackling in the days and years ahead.”

Thompson, who hails from the small town of Howard, Pennsylvania – off Interstate 80 in Centre County, joins 55 newly elected Members in the 111th Congress Freshman class. The House of Representatives consists of 435 voting members and 6 non-voting Members from the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories. Members of the House are elected to a two year term and must be sworn in at the beginning of each term.

Listen to Thompson's comments HERE.

(Photo and audio courtesy of Thompson's office)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rep. Causer Starts 4th Term

Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) joined 202 fellow House lawmakers in taking the oath of office during ceremonies at the state Capitol today. It marks the start of his fourth term representing the people of Cameron, Potter and McKean counties.

"Swearing-in day is almost like another New Year's Day," Causer said. "It's a new beginning, a time to assess past accomplishments and set goals for the new session."

Causer acknowledged that his biggest concern heading into the new year is the state's financial condition. During the first half of the current fiscal year, state revenues have come in $658 million below the administration's estimates. At his mid-year budget briefing last month, the governor indicated the state could face a shortfall of at least $1.6 billion by the time the fiscal year ends in June.

"We are going to have some very tough decisions to make as we craft a budget for next year," Causer said. "But given the financial challenges people across our state and the nation are facing, I believe we have to make those tough choices to cut spending as much as we possibly can. We need to make the state more attractive to employers to get them to come to Pennsylvania, invest in our state and provide good jobs to our citizens. We need to get back to the core functions of government."

While Causer expects the economy to take center stage for much of the next several months, other key issues on the House agenda this year include improving access to affordable health care, developing alternative energy strategies and finding the funds necessary to invest in roads, bridges and water and sewer infrastructure.

In addition to these legislative issues, Causer said he remains committed to providing the best possible constituent service to residents of the 67th Legislative District.

"Harrisburg is a long way from Cameron, Potter and McKean counties, but my office is available to serve as your link to state government," Causer said.

The lawmaker operates offices at 78 Main St., First Floor, in Bradford (telephone 814-362-4400) and at 2 Allegany Ave. in Coudersport (telephone 814-274-9769). He also maintains a Web site at

Letter to the Editor
Fuino: Enough About Me

Editor's Note: This letter concerns the conflicting opinions of Bradford Mayor Tom Riel and McKean County District Attorney John Pavlock.

I am appalled that I seem to be a "red herring" between these to "warring" public officials.

While Mr. Riel has a legitimate complaint with 1 or 2 local law officers for instigating a false complaint against him in an apparent attempt to keep Mr. Riel from office, a complaint in which I was approached to be a part of, Mr. Pavlock doesn't seem to have a legitimate complaint concerning me. Then why am I being dragged through the mud?

I don't fit any description given by any witness concerning the Crosby Mini Mart robbery of Lewis Run. I do not have gray hair. I do not and have not had a beard. I do not have an acne-scarred face. I have never confessed to anyone, especially a Pennsylvania State Trooper, of my guilt to any crime.

I find it ridiculous that I be the center of attention here. I have a past record. I never said to anyone that I didn't. I plead no contest to an F3 Felony and a misdemeanor and received a 3-6 year sentence. Why?

According to state law, if I got on the witness stand to testify on my own behalf, then my past record could be read to the jury. What jury would not be influenced by this information? What jury would or could give me the benefit of the doubt? But this is our law, and rather than face 25-50 years in prison, I agreed to a 3-6 year sentence worked out by the public defender and Ray Learn of the DA's office.

Ask yourself this: If the DA had a confession that I admitted to this crime, why not just take me to trial and put me away for life? Why give me 3 years?

But enough about me. That's the reason for this letter: Enough about me!

I hate the fact that I must write this letter in defense of myself. I hate the fact that my family (is being) embarrassed by these continuing articles. I have served my time. I am serving time now. I am not bitter or angry. You've heard it said "Sometimes life serves us lemons …" Well, this is my lemon and I'm gonna be a man and accept my fate.

And to each and every one of you who read this, know this: I deeply respect Mayor Riel and District Attorney Pavlock, but don't judge another human being until you've walked in their shoes.

Dennis Fuino
McKean County Jail

Matt Gabler Sworn In as State Rep.

State Rep. Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk) was sworn into office today during ceremonies held on the House floor of the State Capitol. He is one of 12 Republican freshmen representatives that make up the 193rd General Assembly.

"Officially becoming a member of Pennsylvania's state Legislature was a humbling experience," said Gabler. "What transpired today featured an oath I will always uphold on a day I will always remember."

Gabler took the oath of office before a crowd that included his family, district office staff and friends from his home district.

"I am honored to be asked to serve the fine citizens of the 75th Legislative District," Gabler added. "Their vote represents an investment in me, and I promise to show them how wise a decision that is by doing my best to represent their interests in Harrisburg."

Gabler has already established district offices in DuBois and St Marys. You can find out how to contact these offices, and well as sign up to get the latest legislative information, by logging on to Gabler's Web site,

(Photo courtesy of House Republican Public Relations)

Alleged Pelt Thieves Arrested

Police have arrested two people they believe stole nearly $6,000 worth of animal pelts from an Oswayo tanning shed over the weekend.

On Sunday, police searched the Coudersport home of Anthony Duell and found all of the stolen pelts. He was charged with burglary and receiving stolen property.

Monday, they arrested Eric Pfenninger of Roulette on similar charges.

They're both in Potter County Jail on $5,000 bail each.

UPB Gets Donations for Chapel

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford has reached $2 million of its $2.5 million goal to build a chapel on campus with the help of three major gifts.

The university has received a $250,000 gift from the estate of Agnes L. Thomas, a $50,000 gift from Richard S. and Pamela A. Johnson and a gift from Martha and Jack Campbell Jr.

“We’re in the final phase of fundraising for the critically important chapel construction project,” said Dr. Livingston Alexander, president of Pitt-Bradford. “The generous gifts from these strong and loyal supporters came at a very good time.

“We’re profoundly grateful to Rich and Pam Johnson and Jack and Martha Campbell for their generous expressions of support. And we’re pleased that a gift of that magnitude from the Thomas estate was designated for the chapel construction project.”

In November, Pitt-Bradford announced a $1million gift from Mrs. Thomas’s estate to establish the Agnes L. and Lewis Lyle Thomas Scholarship Challenge. Both the scholarship challenge and the chapel gifts were made through her will.

In appreciation of her gifts, Pitt-Bradford will name the entrance hall to the chapel in honor of the Thomases.

Agnes Thomas was born and grew up in Pitcairn, graduating from Pitcairn High School. She married Lewis Lyle Thomas in 1937.

Mrs. Thomas graduated with honors from the Pittsburgh Academy Business School and worked as an executive secretary at Dresser Manufacturing and later for Dr. Gordon Huff and Dr. Edward Roche.

She was a member of St. Francis of Assisi Church, the Pennhills Club and the Bradford Club and loved playing bridge.

“Mrs. Thomas was very generous with local churches and organizations,” said Alan Gordon, executor of her estate and her accountant for more than 20 years.

Lewis Lyle Thomas was an engineer for the former Bradford Motor Works who died unexpectedly in 1969.

Like Mrs. Thomas, the Campbells have been generous contributors to the university. The couple made its gift to the chapel to help complete the campus. “I don’t think it can really be a campus without a chapel,” Jack Campbell said. “The chapel is unique in that the university can’t use public funds to build it, so it has to be raised all privately. There’s still a lot of need.”

The Campbells are Bradford natives and Pitt-Bradford alumni. In 2005, the Campbells lent a collection of 11 works by artist Norman Rockwell to Pitt-Bradford for an exhibition in Blaisdell Hall.

Jack Campbell enrolled at Pitt-Bradford on the GI Bill in 1967 and attended for two years, moving on to earn his four-year degree from the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh in 1971. After graduating, he went to work for Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel and went on to a career in the steel industry.

After graduating from Bradford Central Christian High School, Martha Campbell worked as a nurse at St. Francis Hospital, then attended Pitt-Bradford from 1970 to 1972 and transferred to Pitt-Oakland.

The couple has also established a scholarship at Pitt-Bradford to benefit nontraditional students, and Mr. Campbell is a member of the Pitt-Bradford Advisory Board. In October, Pitt-Bradford named a wing of Swarts Hall in honor of the Campbells as part of the rededication of that building.

Like Mr. Campbell, Richard Johnson is a member of the Pitt-Bradford Advisory Board.

Richard Johnson retired from the oil industry prior to moving to Texas, Colorado and Arizona. Pamela Johnson is a Bradford native. The Johnsons have returned to Bradford to be closer to members of their family.

The couple began supporting Pitt-Bradford by donating their home in Bradford to the university before they moved west.

Upon returning, they set up a life annuity trust and established an endowed arts fund at Pitt-Bradford to support the fine and performing arts.

In December, Pitt-Bradford dedicated a wing of Blaisdell Hall, the university’s fine arts center, in honor of the couple.

Richard Johnson is an elected member of the Advisory Board and chairman of the Arts Council of the Advisory Board. He also serves on the Business Affairs Council.

He said he made the donation to the chapel in order to “bring the campus together.”

In October, the university announced a $500,000 gift from Bradford resident Harriett B. Wick in memory of her grandson, Michael Quinn Wick, who died in a 2005 automobile accident.

Fundraising for the chapel’s construction got off to a quick start in May, when two anonymous donors made gifts totaling $1 million in honor of Harriett Wick.

Albert Filoni, president of MacLachlan, Cornelius and Filoni Architects Inc. of Pittsburgh, designed the chapel, which university officials hope to break ground on this summer. The chapel has been designed for minimum impact on the environment, and will use low-energy equipment and lighting, solar shades and recyclable materials.

Since Pitt-Bradford is a state-related university, money from the commonwealth usually pays for a large part of the construction costs for a new building. Because of the unique use of the chapel, however, private funding is the only source of money for its construction.

For more information or to make a donation, contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at (814)362-5091 or e-mail Karen Niemic Buchheit, executive director of institutional advancement and managing director of the Bradford Educational Foundation, at

(Photos courtesy of Pitt-Bradford)

State GOP Legal Bills Top $1 Million

HARRISBURG -- Senate Republicans' legal bills have hit more than $1 million in the grand jury investigation of legislative corruption, senators were told in a New Year's Eve memo.

For the full story, go to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Former Exec: Fumo Sought Millions

The former president of Verizon Pennsylvania testified Monday that a powerful state lawmaker sought $50 million worth of demands during negotiations with the state over phone-industry deregulation.

For the full story, go to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Family Suing Over Fatal Fire

A family that lost two children in a house fire last September is suing the village of Fredonia for negligence.

The McKinnon family says they yelled down at police officers from the second floor of their burning home saying that their children were trapped, and they needed help.

The suit claims that the officers told the parents to wait for the fire department, which was on its way. The suit goes on to claim that as a result of the police officers' advice to wait, 10-year-old Dawson McKinnon and his 3-year-old brother Clayton died in the fire.

Teen Sentenced for Murder

The second of two boys convicted of brutally murdering a third teen in December of 2007 has been sentenced to 9 years to life in prison.

16 year-old Lyman Whitmore of Sinclairville received the sentence in Chautauqua County Court on Monday. Late last year he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of 18 year-old Dusty Elderkin.

Whitmore will be held in a state juvenile detention center until he's 18. A now-15 year-old accomplice was sentenced to a state juvenile center late last year.

Glee Club Members Hurt in Crash

Eight people were hurt when a van carrying members of the Miami University of Ohio glee club rolled over near Erie.

A Hamot Medical Center spokeswoman says four people were treated and released for injuries such as cuts and bruises and four others are under observation. She couldn't provide their conditions.

A volunteer firefighter says all the injuries are believed to be minor.

Authorities say the van was one of five taking people to a performance in Buffalo, N.Y., when it crashed on Interstate 90 at about 10:45 this morning

Senator Scarnati Sworn In

Senator Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) was re-elected to serve his second term as President Pro Tempore of the Pennsylvania Senate during swearing-in ceremonies today at the State Capitol in Harrisburg. Scarnati is also serving as Lieutenant Governor, following the death of Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll last November.

Scarnati was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Thomas Saylor after he was unanimously re-elected by his colleagues to the top Senate post. He was first elected to the position in January 2007.

During remarks on the Senate floor, Scarnati urged all the members of the Senate to work together on tough issues facing the state, particularly the looming economic crisis.

“Today, more than ever, Pennsylvanians want results, not stalemate,” Scarnati said. “They want family-sustaining jobs, not more unemployment benefits, and they want a vision for the future that is full of hope, and that what we do today will make tomorrow brighter.”

Since his election to the position of President Pro Tempore, Scarnati has been a leader in reforming the way business is conducted in the Senate and remains committed to making the institution more open and accessible to the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Senator Scarnati is also taking on many important issues such as reducing job-crushing taxes, eliminating benefits to illegal aliens, and cutting the cost of government in Pennsylvania.

Scarnati is a native of Brockway in Jefferson County and a lifelong resident of the 25th District.

(Pictured, Senator Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) is joined by Supreme Court Justice Thomas Saylor and his children Kelly and Michael following swearing-in ceremonies at the State Capitol. Photo courtesy of Senate Republican Communications.)

Body Found in Burned Erie House

Investigators have found a body in the debris of a home that burned on West 25th Street this morning.

They believe it's 42-year-old Robert Daniels, but haven't confirmed that yet.

Daniels had shot at police from the home shortly before the fire started. The shooting set off a manhunt for Daniels, prompting authorities to close roads and ask residents to stay in their homes.

The SWAT team and a State Police helicopter were brought in to help search for Daniels.

Police say the incident started when a woman came to the police station at 3:50 a.m. to report that Daniels had beaten her up.

Man Hurt in Cuba Lake Road Crash

A Black Creek man is hospitalized after an accident this morning on Cuba Lake Road.

Sheriff's Deputies say an SUV driven by 24-year-old Clifford Oakes traveled off the road and into a ditch, where it hit a sluice pipe and flew into the air before landing on its roof in a field.

Oakes had to be extricated by Cuba and Hinsdale firefighters.

He was taken by Mercy Flight to ECMC.

Rubin Gave to Rendell Campaigns

A campaign donor who is the target of the federal investigation that forced New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to withdraw from consideration for U.S. Commerce secretary also donated generously to Governor Ed Rendell's campaigns.

David Rubin gave $40,000 to Rendell's campaign committees between 2001 and 2005. His Beverly Hills, Calif.-based company also continues to hold a $45,000-a-year contract as an adviser to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority.

A federal grand jury is looking into state contracts in New Mexico to see whether they are related to $100,000 Rubin and his company gave to Richardson in 2003 and 2004.

Rendell spokesman Chuck Ardo says questions about the contributions to the governor are "much ado about nothing."

US Attorney Going to Private Sector

U.S. Attorney Terrance P. Flynn is resigning to become a partner with a major law firm.

Flynn will leave his federal job in Buffalo on January 16 to become a partner in the law firm of Harris Beach, which represents Fortune 500 companies and has offices in nine cities in New York state and one in New Jersey.

Flynn, who was appointed as the region's top federal prosecutor by President George W. Bush in 2006, says he fully expected to be replaced sometime after president-elect Barack Obama takes office on January 20.

The U.S. Attorney in Buffalo oversees thousands of criminal and civil cases in 17 counties of Western New York.

Scarnati Re-Elected Unanimously

Senator Joe Scarnati is returning as the presiding officer of the state Senate following his unanimous election as president pro tempore.

Scarnati was re-elected today, moments after Rep. Keith McCall was elected speaker of the House.

Thirty-four freshmen lawmakers joined returning members to take the oath of office amid family members and well-wishers who thronged to the state Capitol for the ceremony.

Audio of Scarnati taking the oath of office.

Scarnati's Address to the Senate.

Thanks to Senate Republican Communications

Riel Stands by His Statements

Mayor Tom Riel says he's sticking by claims he made in a speech last week, despite statements made by District Attorney John Pavlock.

Riel's statement:

John Pavlock is a seasoned politician who regularly tries to sell his story to a jury. It's sad and unfortunate that he somehow now feels he is on trial.

In his statement, he doesn't deny that Mr. (Dennis) Fuino was originally in jail on bogus charges that were later dropped. In fact, I have a recording from the alleged victim admitting the charges were bogus.

He doesn't deny that Fuino was shown a picture of me and let out of jail to – quote – help get me. He also once again gives a description from eyewitnesses that did not match Fuino, yet they supposedly picked him out of a lineup. Hair color and fingerprints didn't even match.

No matter what the spin on the facts, I still stand by my allegations and believe that they are true.

Audio of Riel's statement.

Riel's Dec. 30, 2008, Speech


Tom: I left a message for you to call me last week but still haven't heard from you. Are you ever going to call me back and set down and talk to me about this? I will be glad to go to Bradford. I want to hear and see first hand what your concerns are and share the information that I have. I would never ask a jury to reach a conclusion without having the facts first. I know you have my numbers. John Pavlock

Group Urges Temporary Rules

From Common Cause Pennsylvania:

Amid fanfare, flowers, family, and photos Pennsylvania’s newly elected General Assembly will begin its 193rd legislative session today. While the today’s activities are generally ceremonial, one set of very high impact votes will be taken – approving chamber rules. The chamber rules will determine how the legislature will do its business for the next two years. However, while a vote on rules likely will be scheduled for today, late yesterday rank-and-file lawmaker still had not seen this set of rules, generally scores of pages in length with arcane procedures, that will determine how they must conduct nearly all of their official acts.

“The way the legislature does its business can have dramatic effect on the quality of the laws and public policies it produces”, said Common Cause/PA Executive Director, Barry Kauffman. He stated that the chamber rules determine whether power will be concentrated in a handful of caucus leaders or whether it will be distributed among all legislators. “The rules determine whether rank-and-file lawmakers can get fair hearings on issues important to their constituents, whether the can play meaningful roles, or whether they will be buried in the rewards system for the loyal foot soldiers.”

In a letter delivered to every member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly yesterday, Common Cause urged lawmakers to pass only temporary chamber rules today, so that they can have time to examine the proposed operating procedures for the 2009-10 session, consider reforms that will modernize and democratize the process (such as those considered and recommended last session by the Speakers Commission on Legislative Reform), and then act with informed judgments to upgrade the quality of the legislature’s deliberative process. The citizens lobby also urged Speaker-designate Keith McCall to re-establish the Speaker’s Commission on Legislative Reform.

New Year's Baby at CCMH

Charles Cole Memorial Hospital welcomed the first baby of the New Year on January 3. Hunter James Gross was born at 1:51 p.m. and weighed 7 pounds, 2.5 ounces. He was 19 inches long. Hunter’s parents are Christopher and Jessica Austin Gross of Shinglehouse. He has a sister, Dakota, 11, and Charlie, 3. Maternal grandparents are Chuck and Lori Austin of Eldred. Paternal grandparents are Jean and the late Herbert Gross of Shinglehouse. Maternal great-grandparents are Alton and Dawn Spencer of Port Allegany and Nancy and the late Leroy Austin of Eldred. Pictured are Chris Gross, Charlie Gross (seated), Jessica Gross, Hunter Gross, Dr. Celso Backes. In back are nurses Sara Keck and Laura Patterson.
(Photo Courtesy of Charles Cole Memorial Hospital)

SBU Prof Co-Pens Civil War Article

Chris Mackowski, an associate professor of journalism and mass communication at St. Bonaventure University, has published an article in a Civil War history journal.

“From Foxcroft to Fredericksburg: Captain Sewell Gray of the Sixth Maine Infantry” appears in this year’s volume of Fredericksburg History & Biography, an annual journal published by the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust. This year’s volume — volume seven — was released in mid-December.

Mackowski co-authored the article with Kristopher D. White, a historian who works at Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, which encompasses four major Civil War battlefields in central Virginia. Mackowski works at the park one weekend a month as a battlefield guide and interpreter.

Their article focuses on an officer, Sewell Gray of Foxcroft, Maine, who served with the Sixth Maine Infantry. Mackowski and White based their article on Gray’s diary, which recently came to light.

“Sabbath and a lovelier day never overtook a soldier,” Gray wrote in his diary on May 3, 1863. Hours later, he was killed while his regiment stormed a heavily fortified Confederate position known as Marye’s Heights in Fredericksburg. However, Gray’s unit, the Sixth Maine, successfully captured the position, although their success was short-lived. The Federal advance was halted just a few hours later after the Battle at Salem Church. The action was one of several engagements related to the Battle of Chancellorsville.

“After Gray’s death, his diary had been recovered by someone in his regiment, and it was passed down through his family. His great-great-grandnephew has it today,” Mackowski says. “He was kind enough to provide a transcript, which Kris and I then used as the basis for the article. We did additional research to flesh out Gray’s story even further. He was an interesting guy to get to know.”

Mackowski’s father lives in the area in Maine where members of Gray’s regiment were recruited into service.

“I spent part of my life growing up and going to school in the same towns where some of Gray’s comrades came from,” Mackowski says. “It was important to me to do justice to Captain Gray’s story because of that connection.”

The article by Mackowski and White appears alongside articles by noted Civil War historians Eric Mink, Donald Pfanz, Noel Harrison and Russell P. Smith.