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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pitt Improvers to Perform

Pitt Improvers, a student improvisational club, will perform a comedy show on Jan. 22 at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

Members will take to the stage from 8 to 10 p.m. in the Mukaiyama University Room of the Frame-Westerberg Commons. The free show is geared toward teenagers and adults.

Like the popular television show, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” hosted by Drew Carey, the 16 students seek input from the audience and create unexpected scenes.

Ten to 12 games will be performed, said Kristin Asinger, adviser and visiting instructor in sports medicine at Pitt-Bradford.

The group hopes to draw a large crowd following a successful three-night performance at last November’s Kiwanis Kapers charity variety show in Bradford, she said.

“We would love to get big crowds; it adds to the energy,” Asinger said. “We performed for the Kapers and got a lot of positive feedback.”

The troupe is led by Asinger and her husband, Tim Asinger, who also joins in the improvisational games. Both are former members of a Chicago area comedy troupe.

Latdior Williams, a junior chemistry major from Newark, Del., and Kristin Asinger formed the troupe during the fall semester. Pitt Improvers have performed twice at Pitt-Bradford.

Rehearsals are held once a week. Another performance is set for Feb. 26.

“Pitt-Bradford is the perfect fit,” Asinger said. “We have students with a lot of energy and creativity and an audience that gives us great suggestions.”

'I Have a Dream ..."



"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

To read the entire speech, go HERE.

Adding More Nice People ...

Iris Ervin, Lisa Geitner, Jason Bange, Greg Ulyan, Joanne Walter, Mandi Davis, Kris Luther ...

Add yours HERE.

Attention Owls/Panthers Fans!

If you listen to the games on Network 1 Sports.com, you can now chat live with other fans who are listening.

That's right, Network 1 Sports.com has added a chat room feature. They tell us their software has allowed them to block more than 600 words that could be considered objectionable, so the chat rooms will be family-friendly.

You can hear the Owls game starting at 2:20 p.m. today. The Panthers game follows at 4 p.m.

Cattaraugus County Leader Says
County Should Support Senecas

The leader of the Cattaraugus County Legislature thinks county lawmakers should support the Seneca Nation in its tax fight with the state.

James Snyder says the Senecas have been good friends and neighbors to the county over the years and lawmakers should support their sovereignty and economic development.

Governor David Paterson signed a law that would require wholesale tobacco distributors to certify the tax-free cigarettes they sell to Indian retailers are not being resold to non-Indians. Paterson says the law would generate at least $60 million in additional revenue for the state.

The law is being challenged in state Supreme Court, and the Senecas are making plans to collect tolls on the part of the New York State Thruway that runs through reservation land in Irving.

B-R-R:
And That's An Understatement!

I took this picture in the WESB Weather Center at 5 a.m. so people wouldn't think I was exaggerating about how cold it is here.



As I was downloading the picture, I looked up at the Weather Center and saw this:



I hope the thermometer starts going the other way soon! (Wind chill, schmind chill. It's just plain cold!)

It actually got colder before it got "warmer," but I didn't want to depress people even further.

Friday, January 16, 2009

'The Real MLK' at St. Bonaventure

The community is invited to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a Monday, Jan. 19, program called “The Real MLK” at St. Bonaventure University.

“The Real MLK” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. in Dresser Auditorium by St. Bonaventure faculty members Dr. Barry Gan, professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Nonviolence, and Dr. Mark Huddle, associate professor of history and board member of the Association for the Study of African American History and Life.

“Each year we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr., but we celebrate only a small part of his life, making him a hero without recognizing that people become heroic by overcoming their own shortcomings and weaknesses,” said Gan.

“In this presentation we will explore the real Martin Luther King Jr., the man few Americans ever learn about, who, despite his failings, rose to greatness because he battled with them, and who, despite being sanitized by mainstream America, offered insights, critiques, and analyses that we still ignore at our own peril. And we will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr., heroic because he is in the end a human being like all of us,” added Gan.

Dresser Auditorium is located in the John J. Murphy Professional Building. The program is sponsored by the university’s multicultural center, The Damietta Center, and is free and open to the public.

Special Snow Goose Season to Start

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission officials are set to offer hunters the opportunity to participate in a snow goose conservation hunt designed to help stem the growth of continental snow goose populations.

Hunters must obtain a free snow goose conservation hunt permit and report cards from the agency to participate in the season, which will be held from March 11 through April 1. To do so, hunters can access the “Snow Goose Conservation Hunt” page by clicking on the appropriate icon in the center of the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and then following the instructions. By completing the application online, hunters will be able to print off the permit and report cards and will not have to wait for the package to be mailed.

For those individuals with no online access, permits and the required report cards can be obtained by calling the Game Commission at the Harrisburg headquarters (717-787-4250) and asking for the Bureau of Wildlife Management. However, this process will require mailing the permit and report cards to the applicant, so allow a minimum of one week for processing and mail delivery to obtain a permit.

“Snow goose populations have reached levels that are causing extensive and possibly irreversible damage to their, as well as other nesting birds’, arctic and sub-arctic breeding grounds,” pointed out John Dunn, Game Commission waterfowl biologist. “For some populations of snow geese their nesting habitats can no longer support these large numbers. What’s more, these geese are beginning to impact fragile coastal marsh habitats and crops in Mid-Atlantic States and Quebec.

“It’s likely that North America has never had as many snow geese as it does now. The current population of greater snow geese that inhabits the Atlantic Flyway is estimated at more than one million birds, more than double the management goal of 500,000. They have become a huge and unexpected problem for themselves and other wildlife that shares the wintering and breeding grounds these waterfowl occupy.”

The quickest and probably most effective way for wildlife managers to respond to the problem is to allow additional hunting days – and new hunting methods – to reduce and stabilize snow goose populations. That’s why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service first offered states the opportunity to allow hunters to take snow geese at a time when all other waterfowl seasons are closed. This will include an option to allow hunting hours for this special snow goose season to extend one-half hour after sunset. Currently, all waterfowl shooting hours close at sundown, except for the September Canada goose season. Also, the Board of Game Commissioners recently gave preliminary approval to allow the use of electronic calls during this conservation hunt. The daily bag limit during the conservation hunt will be 15 daily with no possession limit.

“Currently, the regular snow goose season runs from Nov. 6 through March 10, with a daily limit of 15 birds,” Dunn said. “The additional hunting days offered after March 10 will provide hunters additional opportunity to harvest snow geese.”

Participating states are required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to monitor and assess hunting activity and harvest. That is why the Game Commission has created the free Snow Goose Conservation Hunt Permit.

“Along with this new permit, hunters must possess a general hunting license, migratory game bird license and a federal duck stamp (for those 16 or older),” Dunn said. “The permit holder will be required to maintain records specifying hunting activity and daily harvest. All permit holders must submit a report, even if they did not hunt or harvest any birds, to the Game Commission no later than April 15. Failure to report by April 15 may result in loss of eligibility to participate in next year’s snow goose conservation hunt.”

Photo provided by the Game Commission

D'Vine to Perform at Pitt-Bradford

World-class gospel group D'Vine, which has performed at the White House and during the Olympic Games in Atlanta, will perform gospel music, spirituals and songs during a concert on Saturday, Jan. 24, at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

The show, a Martin Luther King Jr. special event, starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Bromeley Family Theater in Blaisdell Hall. The cost is $10 for the public, $6 for faculty and staff, and free for students. The concert is a part of the university’s Season Subscription Series.

The trio, composed of sisters Paula McGuire Saunders and Pamela McGuire Dees and their friend, Sheryl Denise Pollard, will perform gospel music, spirituals and songs and special a cappella renditions of the American and Black National Anthems.

“One of the main reasons I wanted to book D'Vine is their respect for Martin Luther King’s legacy,” said Randy Mayes, director of arts programming at Pitt-Bradford. “This will be a special concert that people who enjoy gospel music, great a cappella singing in general or are admirers of Dr. King will not want to miss.”

The Atlanta-based group has performed for former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Nobel Laureate Bishop Desmond Tutu and sports legend Hank Aaron. The trio has also been featured at the 53rd Presidential Inauguration and was part of the Centennial Olympic Choir formed for the Atlanta games in 1996.

They have sung with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and members performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Atlanta Braves, Falcons and Hawks games.

The trio recently released its third recording, an a cappella project, titled “Two Sisters and a Friend.” D’Vine also produced “Simply D’Vine” in 1996 and “Perfect Timing” in 1999.

The group formed 13 years ago and now performs more than 150 concerts each year while holding down full-time jobs. D’Vine has performed all over the world, including Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Spain and Greece.

For disability-related needs, contact the Office of Disability Resources and Services at 814-362-7609 or arj4@pitt.edu. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Bromeley Family Theater box office at (814) 362-5113.

VNA & Hospice in Full Compliance

A recent inspection of McKean County VNA & Hospice by the Pennsylvania Health Department found the home health agency to be in full compliance with state and Medicare guidelines.

“The state Health Department said we were in compliance with all the required standards for a home health agency,” says Kathy Pascarella, director of VNA & Hospice, the home health agency of Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC).

“They evaluated our agency by going on home visits, looking at our policies and procedures and doing chart reviews. It was a thorough look at how we provide care and how we bill” for rendered services, Mrs. Pascarella notes.

“Our home health agency performs a wonderful and valuable array of services for people throughout all the communities in McKean County,” says Deborah Price, BRMC’s senior vice president of Patient Care Services.

“We at BRMC are proud of what the VNA can offer to those in need so they can remain safely in their home. The recent state Health Department inspection shows the quality service we provide,” she adds. “These wide-ranging services at the VNA are part of the overall continuum of care provided at BRMC,” Mrs. Price says.

The VNA at 20 School St. in Bradford is the county’s first home health agency, established in 1912. It is the only home health agency affiliated with BRMC. The VNA offers specialized nursing care, therapy services, medical support and technological services.

The agency provides cancer and diabetic care, infusion therapies, maternal/child health care, medical and surgical follow-up, medication management, nutritional care, ostomy care, pain management, telemedicine monitoring and wound care.

Telemedicine monitoring provides real-time data of a patient’s heart rate, blood pressure and weight. This monitoring system also asks simple healthcare questions to quickly identify any changes in clinical condition and allows for timely interventions that reduce the potential for hospital re-admissions.

Another technological service offered by the VNA is VoiceCare. This is a personal emergency response system designed for people who are confined to the home, medically vulnerable, physically handicapped or socially isolated. Additionally, physical and occupational therapy are provided to patients in the home by the VNA.

The agency’s home health aides also can assist patients with bathing, personal care, daily living activities, light housekeeping, blood pressure checks, taking temperatures, exercises and dressing changes.

The VNA’s medical social services offer problem resolution, grief counseling, emotional support, Medicare Part D counseling, living wills assistance, transportation, caregiver support, utility and medical bills assistance, and crisis intervention. Its hospice staff offers care and support to those with life-limiting illnesses and their families and caregivers. It enables a patient to experience death with dignity in the comfort of their home. This service provides direct care and counseling by specially trained professionals and volunteers to fulfill the patient’s and family’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs.

For more information about VNA, call 362-7466 or go to the Guide to Services section of BRMC’s Web site at www.brmc.com.

'The Great Poe Debate'

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Edgar Allan Poe, master of the horror tale, inventor of the modern detective story and a pioneer in the field of science fiction, was also during his life an example of another literary category: the starving artist.

"Philadelphia was the crucible for Poe's imaginative genius," Philadelphia-area critic Ed Pettit said. "The six years he spent living here were the most productive and successful of his writing career. Poe became a great writer while living in Philadelphia."

For the full story, go to pennlive.com.

WESB Programming Note

1490 WESB will be broadcasting the inauguration of Barack Obama LIVE on Tuesday starting at 11:30 a.m.

PennDOT Releases 'Wish List'

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation on Friday produced a list of the projects it hopes will qualify for a future economic stimulus program from the federal government.

PennDOT's highway and bridge projects on the list would cost $1.5 billion. A list of transit projects also was released.

Route 219 from Lewis Run to Custer City, and the Janders Run Bridge in Ceres Township are on the list. The Area Transportation Authority is on the list for new vehicles, shelters and a management center.

PennDOT Secretary Allen Biehler said projects were selected that can get started quickly and cut the state's backlog of infrastructure needs.

The department said it was putting the lists forward now, but acknowledged more discussions with regional planning agencies will take place before a final list is adopted.

Road and Bridge Projects PDF

Transit Projects PDF

FDs Get Federal Funding

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, a senior member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, announced today that the Department of Homeland Security has approved funding for several fire companies in Northwest Pennsylvania.

“These fire prevention and safety programs will help protect the citizens of Pennsylvania and the firefighters who risk their lives every day,” Senator Specter said. “I commend the Department of Homeland Security for recognizing this priority and for its continued support of the nation’s fire services.”

The funding is contained in Rounds 17 through 20 for the competitive Fiscal Year 2008 Fire Grants Award announcements. The awards are administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.

The AFG programs are designed to enhance first responders’ ability to protect the health and safety of the public, as well as that of first-responder personnel. In Fiscal Year 2008, the AFG program awarded approximately $500 million directly to fire departments and EMS organizations for operations and safety programs, as well as vehicle acquisition.

Funding has been approved for the following companies in Northwest Pennsylvania:

$264,100 for North Shenango Volunteer Fire Department in Crawford County
$190,000 for Ridgway Fire Department in Elk County
$79,372 for Wheatland Volunteer Fire Department in Mercer County
$69,962 for West Mead Township District #1 Volunteer Fire Company in Crawford County
$69,069 for City of Warren Fire Department in Warren County
$9,500 for Port Allegany Fire Department in McKean County
$14,964 for South Fayette Township Volunteer Fire Department in Lawrence County
$21,738 for Jefferson Township Volunteer Fire Department in Mercer County
$28,500 for Belle Valley Fire Department, Inc. in Erie County
$42,750 for Hannastown Volunteer Fire Company in Mercer County
$47,500 for Jamestown Volunteer Firemen’s Association Inc. in Mercer County
$49,875 for Sandycreek Township Volunteer Fire Department in Venango County
$50,359 for Elgin-Beaverdam Hose Company in Erie County
$58,627 for Scott Township Volunteer Fire Department in Lawrence County

Norovirus Cases on the Rise

Outbreaks of viral gastroenteritis, or “stomach flu,” are sharply on the rise in Pennsylvania, prompting the Department of Health to offer tips to help prevent the spread of the highly contagious norovirus infection – a common cause of the illness.

“Norovirus infection is very common this time of year and spreads easily,” said state Acting Health Secretary Everette James. “If you have symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, you should try to stay home and practice good hygiene, like washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, to avoid spreading the illness to others.”

Norovirus symptoms often begin suddenly and can include nausea, stomach cramping, vomiting and diarrhea. Norovirus illness can be a difficult experience for those affected, but most people normally recover within 12 to 60 hours.

Because norovirus is very contagious, sudden outbreaks can result when people bring the infection into facilities such as hospitals, residential and nursing homes and schools. No one who has suffered from vomiting and diarrhea should visit or work in crowded places until they have been completely free from symptoms for at least 48 hours.

The spread of norovirus can be prevented by following some simple guidelines:

· Frequently wash your hands, especially after using the bathroom and changing diapers, and before eating or preparing food.

· Anyone ill with diarrhea should not prepare food for other people. In particular, people with diarrhea should not work in restaurants, day care centers, or medical settings unless they are cleared to do so by their doctor or the local health department.

· Carefully wash fruits and vegetables, and steam oysters before eating them.

· Thoroughly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces (including toilets) immediately after an episode of diarrhea or vomiting by using a bleach-based household cleaner.

· Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with virus after an episode of diarrhea or vomiting (use hot water and soap).

For most healthy individuals, drinking plenty of fluids and resting at home is sufficient to recover from a norovirus infection and there is no need for hospital treatment. However, the elderly or very young can sometimes get more severe infections. If this is a concern, consult your doctor.

Because norovirus is not the same as influenza, flu shots do not offer protection against it. For more information about norovirus, go to www.health.state.pa.us.

Williams: Our Binding Strength is
That We're All Americans

Senator Williams introduced a resolution on the floor of the Senate (Senate Resolution 4) naming January 11-17th "Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Week" in Pennsylvania. The resolution passed unanimously.

Senator Williams says Dr. King's birthday celebration is special this year because it occurs one day before Barack Obama, the country's first African-American president, is sworn into office. He says this is important not just for the African-American community, but for all Americans, because the civil rights Dr. King fought for affect all Amercians of all ethnic, racial and economic backgrounds.


Listen to Senator Williams' floor remarks HERE

Thanks to Senate Democratic Communications for providing me with the audio.

Chess League Results

After the holidays and a week off for inclement weather, chess league action at School Street Elementary resumed on Wednesday, January 14. Several upsets marked round 6 in the junior varsity division. Rayelle Nelling (a member of the Tasta Pizza Team) defeated last year’s individual champion in her match, as Tasta Pizza defeated Team Edmond Chevrolet. Lang Surveying Team drew with the Hamlin Bank Team to leave the latter in control of first place. The Tasta Pizza Team is only half a point behind Lang Surveying in third, and the Northwest Savings Bank Team destroyed Drs. Rhinehart Team. The Domino’s Pizza Team tied their match against Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair Team.

In the JV division, only Leah Swineford, captain for Tasta Pizza, and Mitchell Forbes, captain for Hamlin Bank, remain undefeated.

In the varsity section, Parkview Super Market Team drew its match against the Bradford Window Co. Team to retain a narrow lead for first place. The Ed Shults Toyota Team drew with the Dr. Laroche Team. Smith’s Fine Jewelry won a narrow victory over Team Dr. Gonzalez, and Dexter’s Service Center Team managed a slim win over the Pharmacy at Union Square Team.

Top individuals in the varsity division are Tamara Ferguson, captain for Smith’s Fine Jewelry; Mike Jones, captain of the Dr. Gonzalez team; Rob Ferguson, captain for Ed Shults Toyota; Todd Hennard, captain of the Bradford Window team; Greg Henry, captain for the Dr. Laroche team; and Bob Ferguson, captain for Parkview Super Market.

Casey Wants TV Conversion Delay

WASHINGTON, DC- U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement regarding to the TV digital conversion date which is scheduled to occur on February 17, 2009:

“The digital conversion is less than 35 days away and I am concerned that during these tough economic times, nearly half a million Pennsylvanians who have broadcast-only systems will be left behind. This is why I support including additional funds in the stimulus to continue the coupon program and would support Congressional action to carry out President-elect Obama’s recommendation to push back the digital conversion date. I am going to continue to fight on behalf of Pennsylvanians to ensure that they do not have their television service disrupted.”

Say Good-Bye to the Pickle

Goodbye gherkin, hello tomato. After more than 110 years, H.J. Heinz Co. is giving the tomato top billing on its namesake ketchup and bumping the pickle from the label of one of America's most iconic brands.

For the full story, go to Forbes.com.

A Birthday Wish

Happy Birthday to
Marilyn Horne!

Rendell Defends Surra Hiring

He defended Surra as qualified and told reporters peppering him with questions to "get off your butts and go up to the Pennsylvania Wilds and ask the people up there" about Surra.

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

OK "people up there (here)" ... What do we think about this? Please comment!

To read a couple of letters to the editor of the DuBois Courier-Express, go HERE

Strong Wind Chills Today, Tonight

By Mike Cejka
News 4 Meteorologist


A WIND CHILL ADVISORY is in effect for all of Western New York until 11 AM Saturday for wind chill vales in the -10’s and at times into the -20’s. A WIND CHILL WARNING is posted for the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania.

A LAKE SNOW WARNING is in effect for Southern Erie, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties until 1 AM Saturday and a LAKE SNOW ADVISORY is in effect for Wyoming County. Wind speeds have increased somewhat overnight but could actually increase a bit more after sunrise today.

Even though the actual air temperature will increase slightly today, with the wind, wind chill values will remain steady if not even worsen a bit during the day.

Lake snows will oscillate between the extreme southern suburbs; Hamburg, East Aurora, Wales, the ski country of Southern Erie and Wyoming Co’s and extreme northern sections of the Southern Tier where as much as 5-10 inches of snow could fall today. Expect sunny breaks with a few snow showers in the metro northward.

Over the next few days, it is suggested to protect exposed skin and limit exposure to the outdoors. Also, due the severity of this cold, check on elderly neighbors and keep pets out of the cold. Dressing in layers is the best safe guard against extreme cold.

At home, close off unused rooms and stuff towels in cracks under doors and around windows. Observe proper precautions when using electrical, gas burning and wood burning heating appliances. If caught outdoors unexpectedly, seek shelter out of the wind by standing near a building. In an open area, seek shelter in a wooded area where the wind speed would be more limited. It caught in a car, run the vehicle with the heater on for 10 minutes each hour. Open a window a little to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and make sure that your exhaust pipe is not blocked.

Artist Andrew Wyeth Has Died

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Artist Andrew Wyeth, who portrayed the hidden melancholy of the people and landscapes of Pennsylvania's Brandywine Valley and coastal Maine in works such as "Christina's World," died early Friday. He was 91.

For the full story, go to The Associated Press.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Malcolm Kysor Pleads Guilty

A convicted murderer has pleaded guilty to escaping from a northwestern Pennsylvania medium-security state prison.

Authorities say 54-year-old Malcolm Kysor escaped from the State Correctional Institution at Albion on Nov. 25, 2007, by hiding in a trashcan that was taken from the prison and picked up by a farmer who collects food scraps.

He was picked up in a Bakersfield, Calif., park last April. He had been serving a life sentence for a 1981 murder in Erie County.

'Family Cookout' Leader Sentenced

An Albion-area man accused of operating a methamphetamine ring with his brother for 10 years has been sentenced to five to 20 years in state prison.

46-year-old James Frey pleaded guilty to possession of meth with intent to distribute.

Although the judge acknowledged letters saying Frey supported his family and neighbors, he said Frey hurt more people than he helped through the distribution of "poison."

Prosecutors say Frey was one of the two most prolific meth dealers in Pennsylvania arrested by the state Attorney General's Office in 2008 as part of Operation Family Cookout.

Rendell Ups Shortfall Estimate

Gov. Ed Rendell is upping his estimate of the state's 2008-09 budget shortfall to $1.9 billion.

Rendell's administration had previously estimated the shortfall at $1.6 billion, but Rendell disclosed the higher estimate today in a speech at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Rendell has said one way he'll offset the shortfall is using money from the state's Rainy Day Fund.

On the LiveLine earlier this week, Lt. Governor Joe Scarnati said taking money from the Rainy Day Fund won't solve the problem.

"You can't just take that money and balance the budget and not cut expenditures, because you'll have those expenditures re-occuring next year and no money to pay for them," he said.

Scarnati said the shortfall could end up being $2 billion by the end of the fiscal year in June.

Sounds Good to Me

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Invitees to the Pennsylvania inaugural gala next week are in for a special treat for dessert.

A scoop of "BaRocky Road," anybody?

It's one of three flavors created by the Berkey Creamery at Penn State University specifically for Tuesday night's ball celebrating President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration.

For the full story, go to pennlive.com.

Plane Down in Hudson River

From CNN:

US AIRWAYS FLIGHT 1549 HAS CRASHED IN THE HUDSON RIVER IN NEW YORK.

Watch live coverage now on http://CNN.com/Live.

A small plane carrying more than a dozen people splashed down in the frigid waters of the Hudson River off Manhattan and survivors are standing on the wings awaiting rescue.

It was not clear what caused the plane to go down. It is floating on the surface of the fast-moving river and ferries are approaching to rescue passengers.

MSNBC is reporting that the plane flew into a flock of geese, and a bird hit the engine. There were 146 passengers and 5 crew members aboard the plan that was on its way from LaGuardia to Charlotte. All of them have been rescued.

'Biggest Loser' at BRMC

By George Nianiatus, senior writer
Communications Department



Just when people tend to become less active in the winter, Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC) is giving its employees the incentive to lose weight and start exercising so they’ll be healthier.

BRMC’s Wellness Committee is sponsoring its own 12-week-long “Biggest Loser” contest that will ultimately award separate grand prizes to an individual and the team with the biggest weight-loss percentages.

The contest starts Monday, Jan .19, and it’s received far more employee entrants than originally expected from BRMC’s workforce of 750.

“There’s been a lot of talk about it throughout the hospital and we’ve gotten a good turnout. About 160 to 170 employees have registered for either of the two weigh-in days this week,” says Beth Price, RN, who’s the Wellness Committee’s chairman and also BRMC’s education coordinator and manager of the Employee/Occupational Health Department.

The contest was spawned partly from the popular television show of the same name and the fact BRMC’s Surgical Services held its own inner-department competition a few months ago that was successful for employees and gained attention from others, says Mrs. Price.

“The Wellness Committee thought that if we held a hospital-wide competition it would spur individuals to lose weight. Just a loss of 10 pounds can make a person healthier,” she says.

“The idea of the contest is to promote wellness, make weight loss fun and competitive,” notes Mariann Kahle, BRMC’s Food & Nutrition Services director and also a member of the Wellness Committee.

As incentive, the competition will give out a $1,000 prize to the individual who has the highest weight-loss percentage. The winning team will get a prize that has yet to be decided, Mrs. Price states.

Additionally, those individuals who lose 10 percent of their body weight in the competition will have their names entered in a drawing for a $500 prize. Meanwhile, weekly prizes will be given out as added incentive. Each week the individual with the highest weight-loss percentage will win an MP3 player. Also, the leading team each week will have a banner in their department indicating it has the highest weight-loss percentage. Another banner for the leading team will be displayed in BRMC’s cafeteria.

To determine the entrants’ progress and the weekly leaders, weigh-ins will be held Tuesday and Wednesday between 4 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at Upbeat, located on the ground floor of BRMC’s Outpatient Services Center. Upbeat is BRMC’s wellness and cardiac rehabilitation program that provides a variety of exercise equipment and professionally trained staff.

“The hope is that this competition will lead to a healthier and more efficient work force,” Mrs. Price explains. The competition also will be a precursor to other upcoming events, including a heart health program in February and a walking program in spring, Mrs. Price notes. More details about these events will be revealed as they unfold.

For more health information, go to the Medline Plus section at BRMC’s Web site at www.brmc.com.

Pictured, Jamie McDermott (right), RN, of Pain Management at Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC), gets initially weighed for the “Biggest Loser” competition by Judy Harris, RN, clinical analyst, in BRMC’s Upbeat facility, located on the ground floor of the Outpatient Services Center.
(Photo Courtesy of BRMC)

Be Aware to Prevent Crime

Crime prevention is the concept of simply being aware and using common sense to keep things from happening.

Senator Mike Stack says if a person is aware of his or her surroundings and observes what is going on in the immediate vicinity, there is a better chance that person will not become a crime victim. By limiting the opportunity for crime, a criminal’s ability to commit the crime is reduced

He says crime prevention is simply the concept of being aware and using common sense.

Most people have survival mechanisms that should help them be aware of their surroundings and observe things that are going on around them, Stack says, adding that being observant gives people a better chance of preventing a crime.

"If you sense that people are looking a certain way, they're standing in the shadows, they've got their collar up and they're trying to not be identified, and you're getting ready to walk by them – it might be a decent idea to cross the street and not walk by that person," he says. "Or maybe don't walk on that particular street.

Stack says neighbors should also look out for each other.

"If you see something that's suspicious, you're not doing a disservice to your neighbors, you're helping them out. And you're helping out the police, too, because they rely so heavily on what we see and observe,' Stack says.

"That's how you become neighborly," he says. "You look out for each other."

"The police can't do it all," Stack adds. "There are not enough of them compared to the people. But they can do a really good job if they're supported by neighbors and people who are observing things and giving them a heads up."

Native Dance Ensemble at SBU

The Kevin Locke Native Dance Ensemble will open the 2009 world music series at St. Bonaventure University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts with a performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22.

The performance, “The Drum is the Thunder, the Flute is the Wind,” will be presented by Friends of Good Music in association with The Quick Center for the Arts.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer Kevin Locke as the first concert in this unique world music series,” said Nancy Consedine, president of Friends of Good Music. “We offered the series for the first time last year and it was extremely popular.”

The one-of-a-kind Kevin Locke Native Dance Ensemble features award-winning Native American performers representing the Plains nations of Lakota, Anishinabe and Comanche, the Southeastern tribe Choctaw, and the Woodlands Nations of Ojibwe and Oneida. Their performance offers a rich variety of native traditions and aesthetics in dance, instrumentals, song, storytelling, sign language and audience interaction, and includes visionary hoop dancing, fancy dancing, elegant traditional dancing, soaring powwow vocals, ancient flute songs, and authentic stories of the First Nations.

Kevin Locke is known throughout the world as a visionary hoop dancer, a preeminent player of the indigenous Northern Plains flute, cultural ambassador, recording artist and educator. The National Endowment of the Arts has awarded him a National Heritage Fellowship, honoring him as a master traditional artist who shapes artistic traditions and preserves the cultural diversity of the nation.

The Kevin Locke Native Dance Ensemble has been performing for the past seven years. Recent appearances at the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and at the World Culture Open at New York’s Lincoln Center, sponsored in part by the United Nations, have been met with high acclaim.

The ensemble’s “The Drum is the Thunder, the Flute is the Wind” program represents the Return of the Thunders and a revitalizing of the spirit within people, just as spring revitalizes the spirit within living things. Each instrument represents a part of nature: The drum is the thunder, the rattle is the rain, the flute is the wind and the voice is the lightning.

This performance is being presented in conjunction with the exhibition “Land and Spirit Re-visited,” which is on view in the Kenney Gallery on The Quick Center’s second floor. The exhibition provides a fresh look at the Edward S. Curtis photographs of Native Americans with the addition of photographs taken 100 years later. The gallery will remain open throughout the intermission.

Tickets for the performance are $18 at full cost; $15 for Friends of Good Music subscribers, St. Bonaventure University staff members, and senior citizens; and $5 for students. For tickets and information, call The Quick Center at (716) 375-2494.

This performance is supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts.

For this and all other performances, the museum galleries will open one hour before the start of the performance and remain open throughout the intermission. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Museum admission is free and open to the public year round.

For more information, visit The Quick Center for the Arts at www.sbu.edu/quickcenter.

New Identity Theft Action Plan Site

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, the State Police and the Department of Transportation today unveiled an updated “Identity Theft Action Plan” Web site to help consumers prevent, and recover from, identity theft.

The Web site, www.identitytheftactionplan.com, offers resources for consumers and law enforcement. A companion brochure includes a checklist allowing consumers to write down and quickly access their credit card, bank and driver’s license information. The checklist should be stored in a secure location, such as a lockbox.

“These are vital tools that all Pennsylvanians can use to fight back against identity theft,” said Walter M. Phillips Jr., chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. “As someone who has experienced identity theft, I understand the frustration and fear that can follow such a crime. Our combined efforts are designed to help consumers avoid identity theft and also help victims repair any damage to their identity or credit.”

The Identity Theft Resource Center reports 30 million Americans have become victims of identity theft in the past five years. This crime has surpassed drug trafficking as the top crime in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

“If you suspect that you’ve been the victim of identity theft, act quickly to contact police,” said State Police Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski. “The ID Theft Action Plan explains all the steps you should take.”

“In our fast-paced, high tech society, it can take mere moments for someone to steal another person’s identity, which may result in long-lasting repercussions for the victim. While PennDOT has taken steps to safeguard such information, it is equally important that individuals remain vigilant in protecting their identity. The ID Theft Action Plan is one way Pennsylvanians can be proactive,” said PennDOT Deputy Secretary Kurt Myers.

The ID Theft Action Plan brochure will be available at PennDOT’s Driver License Centers, at State Police stations, and also online at www.identitytheftactionplan.com. Copies may also be obtained by contacting PCCD at 717-705-0888.

For more information about PCCD, visit www.pccd.state.pa.us.

Paterson, Snyder in War of Words

ALBANY - Tensions between Gov. David Paterson and Seneca Nation President Barry Snyder Sr., are rising, with the Seneca leader this morning telling the governor he needs to brush up on his history lessons and stop lecturing Indian leaders.

For more, go to The Buffalo News.

Lawmakers Question Surra Hiring

Some GOP lawmakers are questioning the hiring of former state representative Dan Surra for a newly created $95,000 a year job after Governor Rendell imposed a hiring freeze.

Surra, who was on the House Democratic leadership team before he was defeated by Matt Gabler in the general election, started work on Monday as an adviser to the Pennsylvania Wilds.

Six Republican House members have written to Rendell saying his double standard and favoritism toward friends is out of touch with the realities facing most Pennsylvanians.

~~
Here's the letter:

Dear Governor Rendell,

You implemented a statewide pay and hiring freeze to combat a mounting state budget deficit. This policy is adversely affecting many of our constituents, yet we understood and supported your various efforts to decrease state spending.

Bluntly, we are troubled by the recent news that you have hired former House Democrat leader Dan Surra to fill an apparently specially-created, $95,000-plus-per-year job with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). We feel this is truly an egregious slap in the face to hard-working Pennsylvanians across this Commonwealth.

If the creation of this special job wasn’t shocking and appalling enough, you created it at a time when, according to a DCNR spokeswoman, the department has left 11 positions, including park ranger jobs, unfilled since the hiring freeze was announced in September. This is in addition to the fact that this particular department, in order to cut costs, decided to discontinue posting lifeguards at state park swimming areas.

We do have several questions for which the people of Pennsylvania deserve to receive answers:

· Can you assure the people of Pennsylvania without hesitation that the $95,000 being spent on the former House Democrat leader’s annual salary will better serve their needs than if this money had been spent on any of the programs or services that you cut in September and December?
· Was the job for which the former House Democrat leader hired publicly posted?
· Did more than one person apply for the position and, if so, were there any more qualified candidates available?
· At what point did you realize this position was so critical to the needs of Pennsylvania?
· Can you explain to the people of Pennsylvania why the hiring of the former House Democrat leader will be more advantageous to them than the filling of any of the 11 previously existing jobs, including the currently vacant park ranger positions?

As public servants, we must be willing and able to explain our actions and motives to the people we are elected to serve. Your recent personnel decisions, considered in the context of the state’s budgetary situation and the overall economic circumstances facing working families, raise many questions, issues and concerns.

In light of these concerns and the state’s precarious budget situation, we are requesting the hiring of Mr. Surra be rescinded immediately.

In the spirit of openness and full disclosure, we – and the people we are elected to represent – anxiously await your response to this letter.

Sincerely,

Rep. Ron Marsico
105th Legislative District


Rep. Glen Grell
87th Legislative District


Rep. Sheryl M. Delozier
88th Legislative District

Rep. Mauree Gingrich
101st Legislative District


Rep. Sue Helm
104th Legislative District


Rep. Will Gabig
199th Legislative District

Gov. Wants to Meet with Senecas

New York Governor David Paterson is defending the state's right to collect taxes on cigarettes by Indian retailers, but also says he want to meet with Seneca Nation leaders to discuss their differences.

He also talked of the state being compensated for the “privileges and benefits” the Senecas enjoy being located in New York.

Paterson's comments came a day after Seneca Nation President Barry Snyder Sr. said the tribe wants to begin collecting $2 tolls on vehicles traveling the Thruway through reservation land in Irving. The Senecas have also called on President-elect Barack Obama to send in federal troops to protect the tribe’s sovereignty from New York’s efforts.

On Thursday's LiveLine ...

Dr. Daniel A. Monti, co-author of The Great Life Makeover.

SPCA Winter Pet Care Tips

Special steps need to be taken to keep pets safe in cold weather. The SPCA recommends that all dogs and cats be kept inside with their families.

If you aren't able to keep your animals inside, however, it is important to make provisions for the warmth, health, and safety of your outdoor pets. Animals are at risk of freezing if not provided with adequate shelter, and their caloric needs are much higher in the cold weather.

Dog houses should have four sides, a roof, and a floor. They should not be placed on the ground, but raised a few inches off the ground. Houses should have a door that's just big enough for the dog to go in and out, and should be roomy enough inside for the dog to sleep while stretched out. They should be kept clean at all times and bedding (straw, for example) should be provided. Similar shelter arrangements should be made for cats that live outdoors.

Animals have a hard time regulating their body heat if they're kept outside during the day and brought in at night. Indoor/outdoor animals should be kept in a cooler, draft-free room if they are brought in only at night.

Outdoor animals have greater nutritional requirements in the winter. Their diet should be increased to almost double to help them maintain their body heat. Clean water must be available to animals at all times. The water should be checked several times each day to make sure that it hasn't frozen, and replaced if it has.

Cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars in the wintertime. If you have outdoor cats, it's important to bang on the car hood before starting the engine. The fan belt can kill or injure cats under the hood.

Keep all antifreeze away from animals. It has an appealing taste to animals, but it is highly poisonous for pets.

The McKean County SPCA is a not-for-profit organization that is committed to providing care to abandoned animals and to alleviating suffering of animals in McKean County. The SPCA will make every attempt to place animals in an appropriate living environment.

Located at 80 Glenwood Avenue in Braford, the McKean County SPCA is open seven days a week.

From Mike Cejka ...

A WIND CHILL WARNING has been issued for all of Western New York and Northern Pennsylvania from 4 AM until Noon Friday when wind chill values are expected to reach -20.

A LAKE SNOW WARNING has been issued for Southern Erie, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties from Thursday Noon until 1 AM Saturday.

Persistent lake effect snows will continue to impact sections of Niagara and Orleans counties where several more inches of accumulation are possible Thursday. Lake snows will become more organized in the ski country later today and overnight where as much as 6-12” of feathery snow could fall overnight. Expect sunny breaks with just some very light snow showers in the metro.

Over the next few days, it is suggested to protect exposed skin and limit exposure to the outdoors. Also, due the severity of this cold, check on elderly neighbors and keep pets out of the cold. Dressing in layers is the best safe guard against extreme cold. At home, close off unused rooms and stuff towels in cracks under doors and around windows. Observe proper precautions when using electrical, gas burning and wood burning heating appliances. If caught outdoors unexpectedly, seek shelter out of the wind by standing near a building. In an open area, seek shelter in a wooded area where the wind speed would be more limited. It caught in a car, run the vehicle with the heater on for 10 minutes each hour. Open a window a little to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and make sure that your exhaust pipe isn’t blocked.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cops: Money Spent from Bank Error

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania couple is behind bars after police say they failed to call the bank when a glitch put an extra $175,000 in their account. Authorities say 50-year-old Randy Pratt and 36-year-old Melissa Pratt instead withdrew the money, quit their jobs and moved to Florida. They were buying a house in the Orlando area when the mistake was traced.

For more, go to The Associated Press.

Man Charged with Cruelty to Cows

A Celoron, New York, man has been charged with cruelty to animals for not providing proper food, water and shelter for 32 cows.

64-year-old James Lee is also accused of failing to properly dispose of seven dead cows.

Lee was charged following an investigation that started a month ago. The SPCA conducted tests on the dead cows and determined they died of malnutrition.

Possible Tuition Tax Credit

WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, joined by Senators Evan Bayh, Patty Murray, Joe Lieberman, Barbara Boxer, Sherrod Brown, and Bob Casey, today announced they will introduce a bill to quadruple the value of the current college tuition tax benefit and will push to pass it as part of the economic recovery package currently being assembled in Congress. The bill is a new approach and a major change to the current college tuition tax benefit. The new credit will save middle class families up to $4,000 on their taxes per student each year. Schumer said today there is a good chance that this credit could pass with the economic stimulus package, as it has received broad support from the Senate Finance Committee and the incoming Obama administration. If so, middle class families across the country could utilize the new tax credit as soon as this tax year for returns filed next year. The senators said the savings is needed now more than ever as the economic downturn takes its toll on middle-class families and tuition costs skyrocket.

“A college education is a necessity for America's children and it is being priced as a luxury item. This bill is a new approach that would provide middle class families with one dollar off their taxes for every dollar spent on college tuition,” said Schumer. “This bill could save middle-class families thousands of dollars. In tough economic times like these, this bill will offer families real relief.”

“Access to an affordable college education is a key component in preparing students for the job market of the future,” said Bayh. “Especially during challenging economic times, this important bill will not only simplify and expand access to higher education for students, but help alleviate the stresses on family budgets today.”

“There is nothing more important in tough economic times than ensuring access to higher education. We can’t fill the jobs of tomorrow without a educated, skilled and highly trained workforce,” Senator Murray said. “This bill will help middle-income Americans afford higher education even in challenging times.”

“Higher education is a critical investment in our children’s future that we cannot afford to shortchange,” said Lieberman. “This bill represents a new strategy to ease the burden that middle-income families bear on the path to success.”

“College costs have continued to climb rapidly, making college unaffordable for many families and saddling our students with debt for years,” Senator Boxer said. “This bill will help make college affordable for middle-class families so that more children can achieve their full potential and succeed based on their merits, not their wallets.”

“We need to make sure the economic downturn doesn’t keep students from going to college,” said Senator Brown. “This bill simplifies tax breaks for college students and increases the number of students who can use them. It’s critical that we make a college education more affordable and accessible for all Americans.”

“We must encourage students to invest in themselves, especially at a time of economic downturn,” said Senator Casey. “Recession and high college costs can discourage families who have bills to pay and needs that they must meet, but investments in education pay off for individuals and in the long run for the economy as a whole with more skilled, more productive workers.”

In the last decade, college tuition has skyrocketed across the country in light of rising costs. With the recent tightening in the student loan credit market, more students of all income levels are being forced into borrowing from both federal and private lenders to finance college and they are borrowing in higher amounts than ever before. Others are forced to make tough decisions about whether or not higher education is feasible. According to the federal Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, cost factors prevent 48 percent of college-qualified high school graduates from attending a four-year institution and 22 percent from attending any college at all.

To provide real relief for middle class families saddled with skyrocketing tuition costs, the senators today announced that they are fighting to significantly increase the tax benefits provided by the current higher education tax incentives. The senators said the plan would quadruple the middle class tax benefit in many cases and save U.S. families thousands of dollars every year. They said that if it passed, the tax credit would take affect as soon as this tax year.

The bill introduced today would combine the HOPE and Lifetime Learning credits and the above-the-line tuition tax deduction into one credit of up to $4,000 per student. For middle class families currently taking the HOPE credit, making less than $60,000, the new credit would more than double the existing tax benefit. If these families currently use the college tuition deduction, the maximum tax benefit could be quadrupled or more, depending on a family’s circumstances and tuition costs. The tax credit would go into effect for tax year 2009 and help the millions of individuals that apply for higher education tax credits each year. The bill is written in such a way so that even students with modest tuition—such as those attending a community college—still receive a sizeable credit. The lifetime benefit per student is set at $16,000, and it can be used for college or graduate school. The new credit will also include expenses for tuition, fees, and textbooks and can be used for up to three students per household. Up to 50 percent of the cost of textbooks, up to $400, can be claimed as part of the $4,000 credit each year.

The college tuition tax credit bill works much better than existing tax incentives and would save families thousands more dollars every year. For example, a family making $60,000 this year would save $600 this year if they use the current tuition deduction, or $1800 if they use the HOPE credit. Under the new proposal, that family would see their entire federal tax liability disappear and they would save $3,265 for each student, every year. A family making $70,000 a year, with $8,000 in out of pocket tuition costs, would save the full $4,000 under Schumer’s new bill. Under the current incentives, they would likely save just $600 because they would not qualify for the HOPE credit at all.

Ricardo Montalban Has Died

Actor Ricardo Montalban, best known as the mysterious Mr. Roarke on the popular television series "Fantasy Island," died on Wednesday at the age of 88, a Los Angeles city official said.

Mexican-born Montalban had a long career in entertainment but found broad fame as the star of ABC's "Fantasy Island" in which he fulfilled the dreams of his guests with the help of his sidekick, Tattoo.

He was also known during the 1970s as a TV spokesman for Chrysler and played the villain in "Star Trek," both on television and in a feature film.

Jobs Taking Leave 'Til June

CNN is reporting that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is taking a leave until the end of June; Jobs says his health issues are "more complex than I originally thought."

Thompson Votes for SCHIP

Washington, DC – Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Howard, who has spent the past 26 years as a patient advocate in Central Pennsylvania, voted today in support of reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Originally authorized by Congress in 1997, SCHIP was designed to cover needy children that do not qualify for Medicaid and whose parents cannot afford to purchase insurance on the open market.

“Like most legislation passed out of the House, this SCHIP bill is not perfect – far from perfect,” said Congressman Thompson. “While I would have written a much different bill if provided the opportunity, this program is worthy of reauthorization and will ultimately increase the number of insured children in the Fifth District.”

Currently, over 12,000 children in the 17 counties that comprise Pennsylvania’s sprawling Fifth District are enrolled in the SCHIP. By reauthorizing this legislation SCHIP enrollment will increase from 7 million children nationwide to 11 million children over a 5 year period.

“In this time of economic unrest, there are undoubtedly families across the Fifth District that cannot afford health insurance for their children and unfortunately fall through the cracks – this legislation will hopefully provide these families with a safety net.”

Thompson continued, “While I did not have an opportunity to weigh in on this measure prior to passage, I am committed to working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as they write regulations and look forward to proposing common sense solutions to ensure that these funds are used for the children SCHIP is intended for and that waste and abuse are minimized.”

Crafted after Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), SCHIP is funded by both the Federal and state governments, with States administering the program. While the Federal government sets broad guidelines, each state has the authority to design a program that best suits its needs while also determining benefit packages and eligibility requirements.

“Having spent nearly three decades advocating on behalf of my patients, I know full well the benefits of this program. I look forward to working with my colleagues across the aisle to ensure that this program remains effective in Pennsylvania and assist in disseminating our best practices to other states, so that this program remains viable nationwide.”

For more information on Pennsylvania’s CHIP program, visit their website at www.chipcoverspakids.com.

Listen to Thompson's comments HERE.

Memorial May Be Unfixable

Five plywood boards are now plastered on the side of the Eternal Peace Light Memorial in Gettysburg after someone vandalized the monument last week.

"There ain't no point in it, nothing to gain by it," said James Hickman, a West Virginia man who stopped by to see the monument Tuesday afternoon.

For the full story, go to The Evening Sun.

Punxsutawney Phil in a Coma?!?!?

Well, not exactly.

But another groundhog in PA is laid up and, wouldn't ya know it, the accident happened whenthe biggest day of the year for groundhogs is just a couple of weeks away.

Follow the surreal adventures of the Groundhog and his Shadow at www.groundhogdreams.com, the Pennsylvania Tourism Office's new Web site promoting the annual Feb. 2 Groundhog Day celebration, Governor Ed Rendell said today.

"Visitors to the site will learn that even in Groundhog's dreams, he can't escape Shadow," Governor Rendell said. "As excitement for Groundhog Day builds, we are again having a little fun and keeping those who love Groundhog on the edge of their seats."

Visitors can send Groundhog a "virtual get-well gift" of Pennsylvania products ranging from traditional flowers, to soft pretzels with mustard, or shoofly pie. Two new dreams will debut each week between today and Feb. 2.

As for Phil, as far as we know he's fine as is Tarport Tony.

Corbett: Report is Misleading

HARRISBURG -- Attorney General Tom Corbett today called a recently issued report on Internet safety a setback in developing safety guidelines for children using the Internet.

The Internet Safety Technical Task Force report was issued by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. MySpace, at the request of the attorneys general, agreed to create and lead the task force to identify and explore age verification and technologies to improve social networking safety. Although the attorneys general requested the creation of the task force, they did not serve as members.

“I believe this report is incredibly misleading and significantly lessens the progress we have made in implementing safety techniques for children using the Internet,” Corbett said. “Giving parents a false sense of security about their children’s safety online is dangerous, especially when thousands of predators are still trolling the Internet seeking victims.”

“The threat is real,” Corbett said. “In the last four years, my office has arrested 183 predators, all of whom have used the Internet for the purpose of contacting minors to engage in sexual activity.”

Corbett noted that among the predators arrested in child sex stings was a 50-year old male who used chat rooms to solicit young boys to engage in illegal deviant sex acts. Upon further investigation, agents discovered that he was HIV positive and had already had sexual contact with a 14-year old boy.

Corbett said that it is not uncommon for Internet predators to show up at arranged meetings with duct tape, condoms, rope, lubricant, and even presents.

Discussing the report further, Corbett was encouraged that the task force identified 40 technologies and tools to improve social networking site safety. However, he noted that this positive aspect was not the focus of the report. Instead, the task force went to great lengths to deny the existence of a problem, casting blame on the adolescent victims instead of working toward a productive solution.

“Outdated statistics and academic projections are of little comfort to the minors who have been sexually victimized by online predators,” Corbett said. “The mere fact that tens of thousands of registered sex offenders have been removed from MySpace should be sufficient to cause any parent concern.”

Corbett will continue to call upon social networking sites to implement technology to provide greater protection to minors. He will also continue to educate Pennsylvania’s communities and families about safely navigating the Internet and will continue his efforts to protect Pennsylvania’s minors by arresting those who seek to do them harm.

Sen. Specter Supports Shinseki

Washington, D.C. – United States Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) expressed his support for retired General Eric Shinseki, Veterans Affairs Secretary-designate, at today’s Senate confirmation hearing. Senator Specter and General Shinseki also met in Senator Specter’s office on January 7, 2009 to discuss General Shinseki’s nomination, at which time Senator Specter and General Shinseki expressed their mutual desire to build a strong Veterans Affairs Department for the 21st century.

“We have a lot of work to do to provide adequate funding,” Senator Specter said during his opening statement. “We tend to forget about the veterans after they’ve done their job, and I’ve urged General Shinseki to be a tough advocate for the Office of Management and Budget. I’m pleased to support you, General.”

Senator Specter is the longest serving Republican member on the Veterans Affairs Committee. He has served on the committee during his entire tenure in the Senate, and has served three terms as chairman.

As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and a former chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, Senator Specter has worked hard for our nation’s veterans. He has:

Consistently supported large increases for the Department of Veterans Affairs’ budget, including a $3.9 billion increase for the Veterans Health Administration for fiscal year (FY) 2009;
Recently helped secure $295 million between FY2004 and FY2009 for major construction associated with the consolidation of campuses at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System;
Recently helped secure over $40 million for the construction of a national veterans’ cemetery for Southeastern Pennsylvania;
Consistently fought for lower priced prescription drugs for our veterans, as well as improvements to veterans’ education, job training, employment preference, and transition assistance benefits.

Senator Specter’s full statement from the hearing follows:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


I am pleased to be here to join in the accolades for General Shinseki.

It was interesting to hear the opening statements of Senator Dole and Senator Inouye. Senator Dole and I have a common heritage coming from the same little town in Kansas, 4,998 people. It used to have 5,000 until Dole and I left town. I moved there when I was twelve. He was away at college; he was a much older man at that time. I’ve pretty much caught up with him.

To hear Senator Inouye’s recitation of General Shinseki’s illustrious career really tells it all. A West Point grad. I had the opportunity to meet General Shinseki about a decade ago in Bosnia. I was very much impressed with his record then and was impressed when I had a chance to sit down and talk to him a few days ago.

He has a very, very difficult job. The United States has become a great powerful nation because of what our fighting men and women have done, from the Revolutionary War on.

I had a special interest in Veterans Affairs which led me to select this as a first committee. I had the honor to chair it for some 6 years. My interest arose because of my father who was a veteran of World War I. My dad was born in Russia and he was 18 in 1911 and the Czar wanted to send him to Siberia. He didn’t want to go to Siberia; he heard it was cold there. He wanted to go to Kansas – it was a close call. But he got to Kansas, where I was born. He served in World War I and he was wounded in action. He carried shrapnel in his legs from the Argonne Forest until the day he died, including the days when he drove a big truck full of junk onto the scale of Doran Dole who ran the grain elevator in Russell, Kansas. Bob’s father – the only scale big enough to weigh the truck.

The federal government promised the veterans a bonus of $500 – a lot of money in those days, still a lot of money. The government broke the promise, which the government too often does to the veterans. There was a march on Washington. My father didn’t participate because he could not walk that far and he did not have the train fare. On that day they killed veterans right out here on the mall; one of the blackest days in American history. When I heard about that as a toddler - I think it’s hard to know what motivates a person – but that made up my mind to come to Washington to get my father’s bonus, figuratively speaking. I haven’t gotten it yet, so I’m running for reelection.

We have a lot of work to do to provide adequate funding. We tend to forget about the veterans after they have done their job, and I have urged General Shinseki to be a tough advocate for the Office of Management and Budget. I’m pleased to support you, General.

We have the Holder hearing tomorrow so, regrettably, I’m not going to be able to stay, but nothing would change my mind anyway. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

(Photo Courtesy of Sen. Specter's Office)

Rapp Announces VFD Grants

Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Forest/McKean) announced today that 31 volunteer fire and ambulance organizations throughout Forest, McKean and Warren counties have been awarded approximately $271,587.62 from a grant program administered by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and Office of the State Fire Commissioner.

“I am very pleased once again to see that hundreds of thousands of dollars will benefit first responders throughout Warren, Forest and McKean counties,” said Rapp. “Many of these companies struggle to pay basic necessities, such as fuel and other operating costs, and have little money left to upgrade their facilities or their equipment. I continue to support this funding because it is specifically designed to help them meet basic needs and to improve their services. I applaud all of the men and women of our volunteer companies for applying for this funding, and most importantly, for serving their communities.”

Specific emergency response providers and grant amounts awarded are as follows:

Forest County
Tionesta Borough Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Service, $14,581.
West Hickory Volunteer Fire Department, $9,500.

McKean County

Mount Jewett Fire Department, $9,686.46.
Lafeyette Volunteer Fire Department, $9,686.46.
Mount Jewett Area Ambulance Association, $9,686.46.
Kane Volunteer Fire Department, $9,669.65.
Hamlin Volunteer Fire Department, $9,500.

Warren County
Pleasant Volunteer Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services (EMS), $14,977.26.
Sheffield Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Service, $14,790.29.
Russell Volunteer Fire Department and EMS, $14,603.32.
Clarendon Volunteer Fire Department and EMS, $14,416.86.
Sugar Grove Volunteer Fire Department and EMS, $14,416.86.
Youngsville Volunteer Fire Department and EMS, $14,416.86.
Grand Valley Volunteer Fire Department and EMS, $14,284.11.
Glade Township Volunteer Fire Department, $10,584.13.
North Warren Volunteer Fire Department, $10,041.04.
Scandia Volunteer Fire Department, $9,873.43.
Wrightsville Volunteer Fire Department Inc., $9,873.43.
Spring Creek Township Volunteer Fire Department Inc., $9,686.46.
Bear Lake Volunteer Fire Department, $9,500.
Cherry Grove Volunteer Fire Department, $9,500.
Columbus Volunteer Fire Department, $9,500.
Garland Volunteer Fire Department, $9,500.
Tidioute Area Volunteer Fire Department, $9,500.
Lander Volunteer Fire Department, $9,500.
Grant awards may be used for construction or renovation of a fire company or ambulance facility; purchase or repair of firefighting, ambulance or rescue equipment; training; or debt reduction.

Mayor Steelerstahl -- For Now

Pittsburgh's mayor has a new name. Because the Steelers are playing the Baltimore Ravens Sunday for the AFC Championship, Luke Ravenstahl has changed his last name to Steelerstahl.

The mayor made the ceremonious change today and will keep it at least through Sunday.

He says he didn't come up with the idea for the name change himself. Callers to a local radio station's morning show thought the name change would be a good idea.

The mayor agreed.

See? Radio gets results.

Police Address Council

Bradford City Police Officer Chris Lucco addressed Mayor Tom Riel and City Council last night concerning the lay off of Officer Mark DeLuca because of budget problems. Riel said it's unfortunate that DeLuca had to be the one laid off because he's one of the most valuable members of the department, and he hopes the city can bring him back as soon as possible.

Listen to Lucco's address and Riel's response HERE.

Naked Dancers, Santa and Lawyers

Sometimes you just have to hear something to believe it. Such is the case with the following exchange between "Hollywood" Helen Burfield, Mayor Tom Riel and City Solicitor Mark Hollenbeck from Tuesday night's City Council meeting.

Enjoy.

City Council 1/13/09

'Facelifts' at BRMC

With an eye toward the comfort of patients and visitors at Bradford Regional Medical Center, several locations on the first floor of the facility will undergo cosmetic "facelifts" beginning this week.

"They're just small changes, but they'll make a big impact," says Plant Services Director Jeff Gabel.

While no detours or closing will take place in any of the areas, the public is asked to watch for "wet paint" signs in the areas where the maintenance staff will be working.

"We'll have the hallways clearly marked so everyone should know where the work is taking place," Mr. Gabel explains.

Two years ago, the Medical Center hosted an open house for its $11.5 million Outpatient Services Center, a state-of-the-art facility with sleek, modern finishes. "The project we started this week will help present a better transition from the new building to our older areas and will blend the colors and finishes," the Plant Services director notes.

From the hallway at the end of the Outpatient Services Center connecting corridor to the front lobby at 116 Interstate Parkway, hospital maintenance crews will paint, rework and upgrade handrails and touch up elevators.

In the Emergency Department lobby, wood chair rails will be installed, along with vinyl wall coverings in a light sage green "to add color," Mr. Gabel says.

"It's a general spruce-up," he notes. Total cost for the project is about $1,500. The work, he says, should conclude the week of Jan. 26.

Pictured, Steve Martin, a member of the maintenance/construction staff at Bradford Regional Medical Center, works on wall preparation for lobby renovations near elevators at the Interstate Parkway entrance.
(Photo courtesy of BRMC)

Man Charged in Rhoades' Death

BRODHEADSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — A man was charged Wednesday with vehicular homicide while under the influence in a head-on crash that killed a veteran state lawmaker.

Thomas Senavitis, 45, had a blood-alcohol level more than four times the legal limit for driving when his pickup truck crossed over the center line and plowed into Sen. James Rhoades' Cadillac on Oct. 17 in the Poconos, state police said in court documents.

For the full story, go to pennlive.com.

Fumo to Collect State Pension

HARRISBURG - Former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo will soon make much more sitting in a courtroom defending himself against federal corruption charges than he did as a legislator.

State pension officials recently authorized Fumo's request to begin collecting $8,421.27 monthly in retirement benefits.

For the full story, go to philly.com.

More Nice People to Add ...

Pam Fredeen, Don Fredeen (no, I'm not sucking up. They really are nice!), Jeannie Satterwhite, Mike McAvoy, Paula at the Jackson Avenue Crosby's, Kimberly Weinberg. I know someone already mentioned Father Gallina, but he's on my list, too. And since the mayor mentioned my uncle, George Bove (and I totally agree with that), I'm going to add his daughters -- Kathy, Karen, Kris and Karla. I'm sure I'll add more later.

You can add yours HERE.

Today on the LiveLine

Ginny Hauser from the Bradford Hospital Auxiliary and Mike Walter of the AKtion Club talking about the upcoming "Touching Hearts, Changing Lives" fundraiser.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Senecas to Collect Thruway Tolls

The Seneca Nation will start collecting tolls on the New York State Thruway in response to state taxes on wholesalers who deal with Indian retailers.

The Tribal Council has authorized an action for an advisory opinion to declare the Thruway an illegal invasion of soverign Nation terriorty, and increase the current toll to $2. In May of 2007, the Senecas assessed the state $1 for every vehicle that passed through the reservation. The state owes the Nation more than $20 million.

Seneca President Barry Snyder says the Tribal Council has authorized him to spend as much as $1 milllion to retain emergency response personnel; help with medical care to Nation residents; make sure children can get to school; and that all residents can go about their daily activities without interference.

They didn't say when the toll will go into effect. The Senecas say the impositon of state taxes on wholesalers who deal with them would pose a grave threat to to their livelihood.

Ridgway FD Gets Grant for Truck

Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Howard, announced today that the Ridgway Fire Department is recipient of $190,000 in federal dollars thought the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program to purchase a new tanker truck. AFG is administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, otherwise known as FEMA.

“As a volunteer firefighter, I know firsthand the budgetary challenges facing companies throughout rural Pennsylvania,” said Thompson, who is a past president of Howard Volunteer Fire Company. “This grant will go a long way in providing state of the art equipment needed to protect Ridgway and I am glad the Department of Homeland Security saw the merits in this request. First responders put their lives on the line without hesitation, so it is only fitting that these brave men and women have the necessary equipment to get the job done in a safe manner.”

The Ridgway Fire Department will utilize these funds to purchase a new tanker truck which will replace a tanker that was retired in November of 2008, due to safety concerns. Along with the $190,000 provided by the Federal government, the Ridgway Fire Department will have to raise $10,000 in order to procure the new truck.

“There is no question that these funds will be well utilized,” said Dave Matson, Deputy Chief of the Ridgway Fire Department. “In fact, the tanker we purchase will be the first wholly owned tanker in the history of the department. This is definitely exciting for the Department and we thank the Congressman for his support.”

The AFG program is designed to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and emergency medical services organizations across America. AFG helps firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.

“The Assistance to Firefighter Program is truly an effective program. I encourage every department across the Fifth District to apply for these grants as needed, and to contact my district office for assistance,” concluded Thompson.

PennDOT Contest Underway

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is inviting high school students across the state to help remind motorists to “Drive Safe PA” through a unique contest.

High school sophomores, juniors and seniors are invited to create a 30-second radio public service announcement, or PSA, focused on aggressive driving, buckling up or driving under the influence. The PSA must include the phrase “Drive Safe PA,” which PennDOT is introducing as part of its continued commitment to highway safety.

“As young drivers, high school students have a fresh perspective on the importance of safe driving,” said PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E. “Our hope is that through this competition, teens will start to talk more about safe driving behaviors and use their creativity to spread the word to others about how to drive safely through Drive Safe PA.”

According to PennDOT, there were 1,491 fatalities in Pennsylvania in 2007. Of those, 101 fatalities involved a 16- or 17-year-old driver, which was an increase from 68 in 2006.

One finalist will be chosen from each of PennDOT’s 11 engineering districts. The winning students will be offered the opportunity to travel to Harrisburg to have the PSA professionally recorded and then distributed to radio stations in their respective areas. Winning students from each PennDOT district will receive certificates and finished copies of their PSA.

Students can submit a completed audio PSA or written script which can be sent via e-mail to RA-penndotpress@state.pa.us or mailed to PennDOT Press Office, c/o Alison Wenger, 8th Floor-Keystone Building, 400 North Street, Harrisburg, PA, 17120. Entries must be received or postmarked by Feb. 28.

For complete contest rules, visit www.dot.state.pa.us and click on Drive Safe PA.

Judging by what I've seen from students during school board presentations, and in the other interaction I've had with some of them, I fully expect a Bradford High student to be a winner.

Dan Surra Has a New Job

Former state representative Dan Surra didn't go very long without a job.

Governor Ed Rendell has made an exception to the hiring freeze he imposed to create a new job for Surra , who started work Monday as a senior adviser for the "Pennsylvania Wilds."

Surra will be paid $95,000 a year — a bump up from the approximately $89,000 Surra would have made had he won a 10th term in the House and kept his leadership position.

Rendell's press secretary says the new position is a wise investment, and Surra's primary responsibility will be to balance the region's tourism with the surging interest in drilling for natural gas.

Gaskew's New Book on Policing Muslim American Commuities

A new book by Dr. Tony Gaskew, assistant professor of criminal justice at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, helps law enforcement officials better understand Muslim communities following Sept. 11, 2001.

“Policing Muslim American Communities” will be released this week by Edwin Mellen Press.

The book studies the impact of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, which gave law enforcement greater authority to search telephone, e-mail, medical, financial and other records of U.S. citizens. Gaskew examines how passage of the act affected the Muslim communities’ relationship with law enforcement, which is seen as key to preventing future terror attacks.

“This book is a one-stop shop for law enforcement who want to increase their understanding of Islam and Muslims in America,” said Gaskew, who wrote the book to be “very readable” for people from all disciplines.

“The first couple of chapters are very personal,” he said. “I share my thoughts and feelings as a law enforcement agent during the terrorist attacks of 9/11. It’s very practical.”

Gaskew served 18 years as a professional law officer and served in both the U.S. military and as a detective assigned to an Organized Crime Task Force in Florida. He became interested in the relationship between law enforcement and Muslim communities following 9/11, making it the subject of his doctoral research.

As part of that research, Gaskew lived in the Muslim community of Orlando, Fla., for 16 months and has traveled to and interviewed Muslims in Israel and Egypt.

“Muslim communities were invisible to law enforcement until Sept. 12,” he said, and then law enforcement was unprepared to work with the communities in a positive way.

Gaskew’s book explains not only the basics of Muslim beliefs, but also the nuances of different sects, nationalities and ethnicities within Islam – something he says has not been well understood by law enforcement.

“The USA PATRIOT Act negatively impacted the relationship between the Muslim American community and law enforcement,” Gaskew said. “You can never underestimate the effect of shame and humiliation. This is a very fragile balance between respect and enforcement.”

Hypothermia Tips, Info from BRMC


By George Nianiatus, senior writer
Communications Department


With winter’s inevitable return, so comes the concern of people suffering from hypothermia from frequently not being dressed properly for conditions.

Contrary to popular belief, hypothermia can strike as high as 55 degrees Fahrenheit when outside and even the low 60s when indoors.

Bradford Regional Medical Center’s John Radford, M.D., medical director of the Emergency Department, advises people to be aware of feeling chilled or having prolonged bouts of shivering when they can’t seem to get warm.

“Too often, in these cases, people are getting the early signs of hypothermia and they need to take action before it worsens and they require a visit to the Emergency Department,” Dr. Radford says.

Dressing in layers, whether outside or indoors, is paramount to keeping an optimum body temperature. Multiple layers trap air between them and help the body stay warm, Dr. Radford explains.

So who is at risk for hypothermia? Older adults can lose body heat fast - faster than when they were young. A big chill can turn into a dangerous problem before an older person knows what’s happening, the physician states.

For an older person, a body temperature colder than 95 degrees can cause many health problems such as heart attack, kidney problems, liver damage or worse, according to health experts.

“It’s important to understand the warning signs of hypothermia to prevent it or quickly address the early stages of it,” Dr. Radford says.

Early symptoms include cold, pale, or bluish gray skin; lack of concern; poor judgment; mild unsteadiness in balance or walking; slurred speech; numb hands and fingers, and difficulty performing tasks.

Late symptoms include muscles becoming stiff; slow pulse; breathing is shallow or slower; weakness or sleepiness; confusion; loss of consciousness; and shivering, which may stop if the body temperature drops below 90 degrees.

“Hypothermia is when the body’s core temperature falls below what’s safe. It is also easy to fall prey to this condition,” Dr. Radford says, noting it kill hikers, skiers and campers.

Additionally, it can affect those who are indoors, particularly the elderly, the ill and also young children, the physician states.

For the elderly living alone, Dr. Radford suggests family members and neighbors to regularly keep tabs. “Check on them to see that they are OK,” he recommends.

Some older adults, particularly those with dementia, likely require more frequent checkups by family members and neighbors as a precautionary measure. Regarding those who are outdoors for work, recreation or an unexpected emergency, Dr. Radford offers several tips:

— Dress warmly for weather conditions. “You never know when your car will slide on ice and you may have to walk to get help. Dress for cool or cold weather, not just for fashion,” he says;

— Keep dry. Water has five times the thermal conductivity of air so you get cold far more quickly if you’re wet. Wear waterproof layers and waterproof boots. If your clothes get wet, remove them as soon as possible;

— Wear wool. Unlike many fabrics, wood will keep you warm even when the fabric is wet. Wool socks, especially, will keep your feet warm even if your boots are wet;

— Wear layers. Multiple thin layers of clothing trap more warm air against your skin than a single thick layer;

— Wear hats and gloves. Your body loses a lot of heat from the top of the head and the extremities;

— Avoid wind chill. Even if the absolute temperature is not freezing, a breeze or wind can take body heat away far quicker than a calm day. This can lower your body temperature;

— Know the signs of hypothermia. Quick action can mean the difference between life and death;

— Get to safety. Remove the affected person immediately from the cold. If the clothing is wet, remove it gently from the skin because there could be frostbite or damaged skin that could be distressed from rough handling. Then get the person to a health facility as soon as possible. If necessary, call 911 for advice or guidance; and

— Do not heat the affected person quickly. Do not serve hot beverages, place the person in hot water, use a heating pad on high setting or put them in a sauna. Doing any of these can put a person in thermal shock. Instead, place the person in lukewarm water to slowly increase their core body temperature.

For more information about hypothermia, go to the Medline Plus section of Bradford Regional’s Web site at www.brmc.com.


In the photo, courtesy of BRMC, Mock hypothermia patient Emilee Morlock has a heating blanket that’s filled with warm air to raise her body temperature. Checking her vital signs is John Radford, M.D., the Emergency Department’s medical director at Bradford Regional Medical Center. Looking on is Theresa Potter, LPN, the Emergency Department’s triage liaison.