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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Feral Swine Protection Reinstated

HARRISBURG –Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe today announced that he was reinstating protection on feral swine in Bradford, Bedford, Fulton, Susquehanna and Wyoming counties in an effort to facilitate trapping by individuals permitted by the agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Under the executive order, issued in May of 2008, protection remains lifted on feral swine in the remaining 64 counties.

“Trapping is the most effective way to remove feral swine from the wild, because it limits their dispersal into new areas,” Roe said. “If funding is not available for trapping, we may consider lifting protection in these counties as well.

“The Game Commission has determined that the eradication of feral swine from Pennsylvania is necessary to prevent further harm to public and private property, threats to native wildlife and disease risks for wildlife and the state’s pork industry. We are not seeking to establish a hunting season, but we are committed to rid Pennsylvania of this invasive species.”

Roe noted that the Game Commission has launched a “Feral Swine” section on its website, and includes links to the executive order and a map delineating the counties in which feral swine may be taken incidental to other hunting seasons.

Child Predator Unit Nabs NY Man

Attorney General Tom Corbett announced that agents from the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit have arrested an upstate New York man accused of using the Internet to send sexually explicit webcam videos to what he believed was a 13-year-old girl from suburban Philadelphia. The "girl" was actually an undercover agent who was using the online profile of a young girl.

Corbett identified the defendant as Richard Lynn Alred, 45, 603 Hillingdon Way, Horseheads, NY.

Corbett said that Alred, a technician for a fire equipment company, allegedly used preteen Internet chat rooms to approach an undercover agent from the Child Predator Unit. During these initial chats, Alred allegedly used several different screen names and posed as teenage boys.

According to the criminal complaint, Alred repeatedly asked the undercover agents to send him nude photos, commenting, "I would love to see you with your shirt off and your bra off." At one point Alred allegedly offered to give the girl a digital camera or webcam so that she could send nude photos, telling her, "I can mail it to you," and "I will get you a webcam."

Corbett said that Alred expressed a desire to meet the girl for sex, stating, "I wanna take your clothes off," and, "I want you to be in my bed." He also allegedly described in graphic detail the sex acts he wished to perform with the girl and sent several webcam videos that showed him nude and masturbating in front of his computer.

Alred was taken into custody in Elmira, NY, on Thursday, January 22nd, by New York State Police, assisting the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit. He waived extradition in New York and was transported to Montgomery County, PA, where he was formally charged.

A search warrant executed at Alred's home resulted in the seizure of two computers, along with several digital cameras and webcam and various data storage devices. These items will be analyzed by the Attorney General's Computer Forensics Unit as part of an ongoing investigation.

Alred is charged with six counts of unlawful contact with a minor and one count of criminal use of a computer, all third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 fines.

Alred was preliminarily arraigned in Montgomery County on January 23rd, before Limerick Magisterial District Judge Walter Gadzicki and lodged in the Montgomery County Jail in lieu of $75,000 cash bail. He was also ordered to have no unsupervised contact with minors and is prohibited from using the Internet. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for January 29th, at 10 a.m., before Collegeville Magisterial District Judge Benjamin Crahalla.

Corbett thanked the New York State Police, Horseheads Barracks, for their cooperation and assistance with this investigation.

Corbett said that since its creation in January 2005, the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit has arrested 186 men from across Pennsylvania, along with several other states, all accused of using the Internet to attempt to sexually exploit children.

"Predators are using popular websites to search for potential victims, in many cases sending sexually graphic messages or photos during their first chats," Corbett said. "It is essential for parents to regularly discuss online safety with their children and encourage teens and pre-teens to immediately report anyone who tries to send them sexually explicit messages, photos or videos."

Corbett said that some predators try to arrange meetings with kids, while others send nude photos or sexually explicit videos - often within the first few minutes of an initial online chat. Computer and cell phone technology makes it fast and easy to send messages or images, and many of the men arrested by the Child Predator Unit began sexually graphic discussions during their first online conversations with what they believed were children.

Corbett added that colder temperatures have increased the online activity of both children and Internet predators. Over the past four weeks agents from the Child Predator Unit have made nine arrests, and agents have made a total of 36 arrests so far this fall and winter.

Scarnati: Report is 'Jaw-Dropping'

HARRISBURG - The Rendell administration is doing a poor job of tracking which of its employees are assigned state cars and why, and whether those vehicles are being used and maintained properly.

Those findings are contained in a report issued yesterday by Auditor General Jack Wagner's office.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson) called Wagner's audit "jaw-dropping" and said it indicated that General Services "was unable to ensure the responsible use of taxpayer money."

For the full story, go to philly.com.


Scarnati, Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-9), and Senator Mike Folmer (R-48) commented on the release of Auditor General Jack Wagner's Special Report on the administration's use and management of state vehicles PDF.

Scarnati:
"When we first asked Auditor General Wagner to examine the use of state vehicles in March of last year, we had no idea how deep and wide the problems were. This report is simply jaw-dropping. As the report says, DGS was unable to ensure the responsible use of taxpayer dollars. That cannot be tolerated."

Pileggi:
"The poor and often non-existent records at DGS mean that we may never know how much money has been wasted. We are grateful to the Auditor General and his staff for the hard work that went into preparing this special report, but we are shocked by what this report reveals. It is inconceivable that DGS could not even provide a reliable list of the names of all drivers with permanently assigned vehicles."

Folmer:
"This is a scathing report that reveals an appalling disregard for the taxpayers. There is a desperate need for reform and transparency in the management of state vehicles.

"Clearly, the time is right to enact Senate Bill 104, which would put common-sense restrictions on the use of state vehicles and establish a much more transparent reporting system. We are reviewing the Auditor General's report in detail to see how my legislation can be strengthened."

'Miracle on the Hudson'
Has Clearfield Connection

Former Clearfield resident David Hoy of Brooklyn, N.Y., was asked to do a job that no one else has ever done before - retrieve an intact airliner from the Hudson River.

For the full story, go to The (Clearfield) Progress.

Send Off for the Steelers

To see video of last night's rally at Heinz Field, click HERE.

Snow Plow Hits Man in Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A Buffalo man has undergone brain surgery and is in critical condition after police say he was struck by a city plow. Investigators say the driver of that plow was drunk.

Gonzalez, Hamlin Bank Lead League

Round 7 chess league action at School Street Elementary on Wednesday, January 21 saw more upsets in both divisions. Kyle Wedge, a member of Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair Team, defeated his older brother to help clinch the win for his team against the Northwest Savings Bank Team. Tasta Pizza gobbled up Drs. Rhinehart Team and moved into second place—only one point away from the top slot. Team Edmond Chevrolet lost a close match against the Hamlin Bank Team. The Domino’s Pizza Team held Lang Surveying Team to a draw.

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

In the varsity section, Team Dr. Gonzalez crushed Parkview Super Market Team when Bob Ferguson blundered a won game to Ray Nelling. Bradford Window Co. Team drew its match against the Ed Shults Toyota Team to maintain second place. The Dr. Laroche Team drew with Dexter’s Service Center Team. Smith’s Fine Jewelry won a convincing victory 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; and Greg Henry, captain for the Dr. Laroche team.

For additional information about the league or chess events, contact Robert Ferguson at execdirchess@amchess.org.



Standings after round 7:

Junior Varsity Division
Team Score
Hamlin Bank
21.5

Tasta Pizza
20.5

Lang Surveying
19.0

Northwest Savings Bank
17.0

Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair
14.5

Domino’s Pizza
12.5

Edmond Chevrolet
12.5

Drs. Rhinehart
8.5

Varsity Division
Team
Score
Dr. Gonzalez
10.0

Bradford Window Co.
9.5

Ed Shults Toyota
9.0

Dexter’s Service Center
9.0

Parkview Super Market
9.0

Smith’s Fine Jewelry
8.5

Dr. Laroche
8.0

Pharmacy at Union Square
5.0

Friday, January 23, 2009

Help Needed to Clear Fire Hydrants

The Bradford City Water Authority is asking businesses and residents throughout the Tuna Valley for help in removing snow from around fire hydrants.

Persistent snowfall has blocked or buried fire hydrants, despite the ongoing efforts of the Water Authority and others to keep them clear.

More than 600 fire hydrants serve the area.

Art Exhibition Starts Next Week

Figurative pieces, documentary work and miniature objects by photographer Ward Roe will be featured in an art exhibition starting Jan. 30 at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

The People, Places, Things: Photography Exhibition, showcased through Feb. 27 at the KOA Art Gallery in Blaisdell Hall, is a part of the University’s Spectrum Series.

The exhibition will open with a talk by Roe from noon to 12:30 p.m. in the Webb/Bradford Forest Rehearsal Hall in Blaisdell Hall. A reception will follow in the KOA Speer Electronics Lobby in Blaisdell Hall.

More than 40 photographs in the exhibit will feature landscapes, iconography, pop culture and the human figure.

“These photographic works reveal not only a broad and diverse range of subject matters, but also the moments lost in time,” said Kong Ho, associate professor of art at Pitt-Bradford. “Most of his black-and-white photographs shown in this exhibition carry a sense of uneasy feeling with sad comedic implication.”

Ward described his work in his artist’s statement: “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. Other pictures are sadly poetic and tinged with melancholy.”

An art professor at Keystone College in La Plume, Roe earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from Binghamton University and a master of fine arts degree from Marywood University.

His work has appeared in The Photo Review, an international quarterly journal.

KOA Art Gallery is open from 8:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Fridays. The art gallery is closed Saturdays and Sundays.

3-Vehicle Crash Closes Road

Two people were hurt in a three-vehicle crash that closed down Route 255 in Jay Township for several hours this afternoon.

Police say a car driven by 78-year-old Mary Youngmark of Byrnedale was coming out of a driveway when it pulled into the path of an S-U-V driven by 74-year-old Chauncey Logue of Emporium.

When Logue tried to avoid that collision, he hit a tractor-trailer head-on. The tractor-trailer traveled off the road, where it hit a utility pole and mailboxes before coming to rest in a yard.

Logue and his passenger, 66-year-old Dorothy Logue suffered unspecified injuries.
Youngmark and the driver of the tractor-trailer, 32-year-old Anthony Miller of Middle Berry, Indiana, weren't hurt.

The tractor-trailer and SUV had to be towed from the scene. Police say charges will be filed against Youngmark.

Safe Sleep for Babies



Kim Murphey, CARE for Children community relations coordinator, Leah Burke, clerk typist and Debbie Olsen, RN from the PA Department of Health, and Erica Soble, CARE for Children, special instructor for birth to three early intervention program, look over one of twenty portable cribs that were part of a grant Safe Kids McKean received from Safe Kids Pennsylvania.

Safe Kids McKean is working with Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Cribs for Kids program to distribute the portable cribs to families in need in McKean County.

Cribs for Kids provides families with low incomes a portable crib to promote safe sleep environments for infants. To be eligible for a crib the family must: reside in McKean County; family income must meet WIC guidelines; the child must be under one year of age; and be referred to the program by a social services agency.

The effort is part of the Back to Sleep Campaign which promotes providing safe sleep environments for babies and the recommendation of placing healthy babies on their backs to sleep to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

SIDS has been associated with unsafe baby sleep practices.

For more information please contact the PA Department of Health in Bradford or CARE for Children, the lead agency for Safe Kids McKean.

(Photo courtesy of CARE for Children)

SAVIN Now in McKean County

The Pennsylvania Statewide Automatic Victim Information Notification System is now available to residents of McKean County who have been victims of a crime.

The program will notify victims who have registered about changes in the status of the person who committed a crime against them.

Information available to victims includes release, transfer or escape from prison; placement on work release; posting of bail; getting admitted to a hospital; and death.

Notifications are made with a phone call or email. People can register online at pacrimevictims.state.pa.us or by calling 1-866-9PA-SAVIN.

Listen to the comments of McKean County District Attorney John Pavlock HERE.

Youngstown State Lowering
Surcharge for Some PA Students

Ohio's Youngstown State University is practically eliminating its out-of-state tuition surcharge for students from eight counties in Pennsylvania.

The school says the out-of-state surcharge will be dropped from $2,692 per academic year to $200 per year. The standard tuition is $6,921 per year.

The tuition break will be available to residents of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Crawford, Erie, Lawrence, Mercer and Venango counties, which currently have about 650 students enrolled in the university.

The reduction goes into effect next fall.

DEP: Close Mobile Home Park

MEADVILLE – Butler County Court of Common Pleas has ordered Victor Kennedy, the owner of Kennedy Mobile Home Park in Marion Township, Butler County, to close the property by Jan. 31.

“The mobile home park’s wastewater treatment plant has discharged inadequately treated sewage for a number of years into an unnamed tributary of McMurray Run in the Slippery Rock Creek watershed,” said Department of Environmental Protection Northwest Regional Director Kelly Burch. “The department initiated a number of enforcement actions and attempted to work with Mr. Kennedy after attempts to encourage voluntary compliance failed.”


In March 2008, DEP ordered Kennedy to close the wastewater treatment plant by August. Kennedy appealed the order and initially did not comply with it. DEP pursued additional judicial remedies that ultimately resulted in a consent decree—signed by the department, Kennedy and the Butler County Court of Common Pleas—that includes closing the mobile home park by the end of the month.


“The department is determined to bring an end to this saga of disregard for environmental laws,” said Burch. “Since the March order, we have been in contact with Butler County social service agencies to assist park residents in the transition to new housing.”


The consent decree requires Kennedy to:

• Withdraw his appeal of the March 2008 order;

• Ensure that all mobile homes are vacated;

• Disconnect or permanently cap all sewage and water lines; and

• Remove and properly dispose of all sewage from the septic tanks by Feb. 15.


The consent decree also requires Kennedy to pay a $60,500 civil penalty, of which $10,000 has been paid. The remaining $50,500 is to be forgiven upon full-compliance with the decree.

Joseph Bruno Indicted

Joseph Bruno, the former New York State Senate majority leader, has been arraigned on federal public corruption charges.

The indictment says Bruno used his office to defraud the people of New York from 1993 through at least 2006.

He pleaded not guilty, was released on his own recognizance, and is expected to comment later today.

If convicted, Bruno faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine.

Proposal for 'No Frills' Colleges

HARRISBURG -- As college students face mounting debt, state education officials yesterday proposed a new kind of higher-education institution that would offer a "low-cost, no frills" bachelor's degree.

The schools would have no sports teams, no extracurriculars, no glittering fitness center and no plum dorm rooms.

For the full story, go to philly.com

Elk County Road Closed - UPDATE

The road re-opened at 3:56 p.m.
~~~
Route 255 in Jay Township near Caledonia Road is closed because of a traffic crash and road conditions.

State police say they will update the media when the road reopens, and will provide more information about the accident as soon as its available.

Black & Gold Symbolize Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Black and gold. It decorates Pittsburgh's hilly neighborhoods and adorns the city's flag. Steelers fans in Heinz Stadium turn winter days brighter with black and gold Terrible Towels.

And in a national oddity, all three of Pittsburgh's sports teams use the colors.

For the full story, go to pennlive.com

It's Official: Kirsten Gillibrand

ALBANY, N.Y. - New York Gov. David Paterson on Friday chose second-term Democratic Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton in the U.S. Senate after Caroline Kennedy abruptly withdrew from consideration. Gillibrand, a lawmaker from upstate New York, will fill the seat vacated when Clinton resigned to become secretary of state in the Obama administration.

For more, go to MSNBC

2nd Person Charged with Murder

JOHNSON CITY - Anthony J. Carnevale III was arraigned on a murder charge Thursday in the intensive care unit at Wilson Regional Medical Center, where he is being treated for gunshot wounds.

Carnevale, 21, of Gorman Road, Kirkwood, killed Jean Clark, 39, of Parsons, Pa., and shot a man during a drug-related home invasion Tuesday night in the Town of Windsor, according to state police. He was wounded when his own gun was turned on him, police said.

For more, go to the Press & Sun-Bulletin.

Scholarship Applications Available

HARRISBURG -Applications are now available for the 2009-10 Pennsylvania House of Representatives' Scholarship Program. Pennsylvania high school seniors are being urged to apply by Wednesday, April 1, Rep. Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk) announced today.

Applicants must have a 3.0 grade point average to apply and will be evaluated on leadership qualities, commitment to their community, extra-curricular activities and financial need.

Additionally, applicants are required to write an essay based on the following statement: "On January 1, 2009, Pennsylvania's new open records law took effect, bringing greater transparency to government at all levels in the Commonwealth. Openness in government is key to democracy and it is expected that the effect of the new law will be widely felt. Discuss the impact and substance of this law favoring broader public access to public records."

The scholarship can be renewed for each of four years of college and is the value of one semester of tuition at a State System of Higher Education school (approximately $2,500 for the 2009-10 academic year). However, recipients may attend any eligible Pennsylvania public or private post-secondary institution.

Students may also be eligible to receive matching funds from SAGE Scholars Inc. (Savings and Growth for Education) and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency's (PHEAA) PATH Program. Recipients' names are automatically submitted to PHEAA, and a matching award may be granted based upon financial need.

The House Scholarship Program was established in 2003 by the state House of Representatives and is independently administered by The Foundation for Enhancing Communities. It is not affiliated with any political party.

The House program is funded by donations from organizations and individuals, including former and current House members, as well as proceeds from various special events.

For information about the Pennsylvania House of Representatives' Scholarship Program, including complete eligibility requirements and application information, visit Gabler's Web site, Rep. Gabler.com, and click on Saving for College, or contact one of his district offices at (814) 375-4688 or (814) 781-6301.

AG Warns of Super Bowl Scams

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Tom Corbett today cautioned consumers to be wary of potential scams surrounding the upcoming Super Bowl, including bogus sweepstakes offers, "too good to be true" travel packages or game-day ticket offers.

"The excitement surrounding another Super Bowl trip for the Pittsburgh Steelers may cause some fans to act quickly, without carefully reviewing all the details of a ticket offer or travel promotion,” Corbett said. “Scam artists are counting on the fact that enthusiastic fans may not be as attentive as they should be."

Corbett said the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection has received complaints about bogus Super Bowl contest notifications recently sent to Pennsylvania residents.

“The scam letter, which implies that the contest is affiliated with the NFL and VISA, informs consumers that they have won a prize of $100,000 and two tickets to the Super Bowl,” Corbett said. “The letter also includes a check for several thousand dollars that consumers are supposed to use to pay the taxes for their prize – wire transferring the money to a ‘claim agent’ who will verify their winnings.”

Corbett said the criminals, mainly based in Canada or overseas, have been using these types of sweepstakes notifications to lure Pennsylvania consumers into cashing counterfeit checks and wire-transferring money for several months. The Attorney General’s Office issued a warning to consumers about aggressive “easy money” lottery and sweepstakes scams in October 2008.

“The lure of a large cash prize, combined with tickets to the Super Bowl, may be too much of a temptation for some consumers,” Corbett said. “Unfortunately, consumers who try to claim their prize by sending money to these scam artists will quickly learn that there is no $100,000 jackpot, there are no Super Bowl tickets, and the check they were given to pay the taxes will eventually be returned as counterfeit or forged.”

Corbett also encouraged Steelers fans considering a trip to Florida for the game to shop carefully for their travel packages or tickets:


· Make sure that you are dealing with a reputable travel agent and do not assume that ads offering travel deals are being offered by travel agencies.

· Pay particular attention to what the travel package does and does not offer. Do not assume that every package includes airfare, hotel accommodations and tickets to get into the game.

· If the package includes airfare and a ticket to the game, federal rules apply. The travel agent must either have the game tickets in hand, or have a written contract to obtain the tickets before the agent can make the offer. If a ticket is offered, but never provided, you may be entitled to a full refund of the entire package price.

· Do not be pressured into making an immediate decision about a particular package.

· Research the hotel and its location. In some instances, consumers have been told that their hotel is within walking distance to the venue, when in reality it was too far to walk and required additional expenses to either rent a car or pay for other ground transportation.


· Get all the terms and conditions of your package in writing, including the cancellation policy in the event that you are unable to make the trip.

· Use a credit card to pay for travel packages and tickets. Do not use cash or wire money. You can dispute charges on a credit card and have little-to-no recourse when using cash.

· Be wary of unknown and private sellers who refuse to provide you with verifiable contact information.

· Be cautious of travel packages that appear to be extremely cheap or extremely expensive.

· Contact the Better Business Bureau or Attorney General's Office to see if the travel agency is in good standing.

"In the past, our office has heard from consumers who fell victim to phony travel agents and ticket sellers," Corbett said. "In several cases, consumers learned at the gate that their tickets were counterfeit and they were denied entry. In other cases, fans purchased hotel rooms that were inconveniently located. Still others told our office that they were quoted a certain amount on a Super Bowl package and were charged additional fees for services that they thought were included."

Consumers who wish to file a complaint or obtain additional information are asked to contact the Attorney General's Office by calling 1-800-441-2555 or using the online consumer complaint form available on the Attorney General’s website: www.attorneygeneral.gov.

Penn State Applications Are Up

Applications to attend Penn State University are up.

University president Graham Spanier says applications for enrollment are still coming in at a record pace, up more than 5 percent from last year across the Penn State system.

Penn State has an enrollment of roughly 92,000 among its 24 campuses statewide as well as online students.

Spanier says Penn State's financial status remains sound, though the school is taking steps to ensure a stable outlook.

He reiterated that university employees will likely not get raises next academic year.

St. Bona's Receives $1 Million Gift

St. Bonaventure University has received an anonymous gift of $1 million from an alumnus to support entrepreneurial service learning.

Received during the Christmas holiday, the leadership gift will endow service programs in the School of Business, specifically Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), and BonaResponds.

“In this time of economic uncertainty, this tremendous gift illustrates the donor’s firm belief in the comprehensive service learning happening across our campus and the activities that benefit economies at the local, national and international level,” said Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., S.T.D., president of the university. “I am especially pleased to announce this gift during St. Bonaventure’s sesquicentennial as service to others has been a hallmark of our University’s century-and-a-half existence. This gift allows our students to continue to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”

The $1 million gift will provide annual support to innovative programs that prepare students to lead and serve.

The SIFE program, which focuses on economic empowerment and entrepreneurial education, provides both local and international programs and ranks in the top 5 percent of SIFE teams nationwide. In its fifth year, it operates service trips to the Bahamas and Africa and works with nearly 20 schools in Cattaraugus and Allegany counties.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides free income tax preparation to lower income citizens within Cattaraugus County. In the first five years of the VITA program, St. Bonaventure students have invested 6,000 service hours to generate more than $1.6 million in income tax refunds for Cattaraugus County residents. Last year, working in cooperation with the United Way and the Cattaraugus County Department of Social Services, VITA opened a retail location in the Olean Center Mall.

BonaResponds, a group composed of students, faculty, staff, alumni and local residents formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, sent nearly 300 relief workers to the Gulf Coast immediately following the storm, one of the largest collegiate efforts in the nation. Since then BonaResponds has sponsored dozens of initiatives that have assisted people both locally and nationally.

“Our faculty, staff and students have worked incredibly hard over the past five years to bring these programs to life. This gift is not just a vindication of our hard work but of our vision of serving our communities while providing extraordinary opportunities for our students to grow,” said Todd Palmer, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Business and lead SIFE adviser. “We are extremely blessed to have a donor who sees that the ties between the community and the university must be strengthened and has given us the resources to take this program to the next level.”

Susan Anders, Ph.D., CPA, professor of accounting and VITA adviser added: “As we face the beginning of a new tax season, the VITA volunteers are incredibly grateful for both the resources and the recognition, but especially for the recognition.”

Funding co-curricular programs is a key initiative in the university’s current Anniversary Campaign for St. Bonaventure.

“This gift, while advancing our students’ education and career paths, also enhances the energy level of our campaign as we head into the critical final months,” said Mary Driscoll, associate vice president for advancement.

To date, more than $93 million in cash and pledges has been raised in the campaign, Driscoll said. Launched to the public in September 2005, the campaign will conclude this May as St. Bonaventure ends its 15-month sesquicentennial celebration.

FAW Calling on Congress to
Designate Wilderness Area

More than 50 scientists and researchers with intimate knowledge of Pennsylvania¹s flora, fauna, and ecosystems have signed a letter to the state¹s Congressional delegation endorsing the Citizens¹ Wilderness Proposal for Pennsylvania¹s Allegheny National Forest.

The Citizens¹ Wilderness Proposal, developed by volunteers from throughout Pennsylvania and advocated by Friends of Allegheny Wilderness (FAW), calls on Congress to designate as wilderness eight tracts totaling 54,460 acres on the 513,300-acre Allegheny National Forest (ANF). The ANF is Pennsylvania¹s only national forest.

Wilderness designation under the federal Wilderness Act of 1964 is the highest level of protection that can be given federal lands, forever keeping them as natural areas free from road building, development, and motorized uses.

In their letter to Congress, the scientists stated that designating the areas recommended in the Citizens¹ Wilderness Proposal "would help to improve the ecological health across the entire landscape."

They further note that the permanent protection of the areas identified by FAW as qualifying for wilderness would "provide a regionally rare attraction for hunters, anglers, hikers, birders, photographers and others, and prove a steady economic boon to the region for generations to come."

"We urge the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation to act on this matter as expeditiously as possible," they said in closing.

The signatories to the science letter supporting the FAW wilderness campaign represent Pennsylvania¹s leading botanists, conservation biologists, ecologists, economists, herpetologists, mammalogists, and ornithologists, among others.

"We have always believed that wilderness designation would protect the best of the diverse values of the Allegheny National Forest," FAW field representative John Bartlett said. "This strong letter from these scientists makes that abundantly clear. They are asking Congress to act on behalf of all future generations to ensure the Allegheny¹s natural legacy."

The letter carrying the names of the initial 54 signatories was recently delivered to all members of Pennsylvania¹s Congressional delegation, including newly-elected 5th district Congressman Glenn Thompson and 3rd district Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper. Additional signatories are still being submitted from the scientific community.

Today, only two areas of the ANF ­ the 8,600-acre Hickory Creek Wilderness and the Allegheny Islands Wilderness composed of seven Allegheny River islands totaling 368 acres ­ are designated as wilderness. That is less than two percent of the ANF.

"This bold statement from the scientific community underscores the need to bring real balance to the multiple uses of the Allegheny National Forest," said FAW executive director Kirk Johnson. "We know that there will always be logging, motorized recreation, and oil development here, but by contrast the continuing integrity of our remaining wild areas is very much in jeopardy and requires the swift action of the Congress to alleviate the threat."

The Citizens¹ Wilderness Proposal was published in the fall of 2003 to coincide with the initiation of the ANF¹s Forest Plan revision process. Of the 8,200 public comments the agency received in response to their Draft Plan in 2006, more than 6,800 of them (over 80 percent) specifically favored the Citizens¹ Wilderness Proposal.

On average, 18 percent of all national forest lands are designated wilderness and included in the National Wilderness Preservation System established under the Wilderness Act. FAW¹s proposal would bring the total in the ANF to about 12 percent, which would be commensurate with other national forests in the eastern United States.

Volunteers with Friends of Allegheny Wilderness spent more than two years intensely evaluating the ANF to identify those areas that qualify for wilderness designation in preparing the Citizens¹ Wilderness Proposal.

You can read a copy of the science letter with the current signatories HERE(PDF). To sign on to the letter, or to request a hard copy of the Citizens¹ Wilderness Proposal, scientists are encouraged to contact FAW at info@pawild.org. The Citizens¹ Wilderness Proposal can also be downloaded as a PDF document on the FAW website at www.pawild.org.

National Park Service Using
Chris Mackowski Videos

The National Park Service is now featuring a series of short videos on its Web site produced by a St. Bonaventure University journalism professor.

Chris Mackowski, associate professor of journalism and mass communication, created the videos to help promote Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park (FSNMP), a Civil War park in central Virginia. The videos appear on the park’s Web page.

Two of the videos highlight the unique features of FSNMP, and two of the videos highlight the park’s internship program. A fifth video, also aimed at prospective interns, will appear later this month.

“Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park is the second-largest military park in the world,” explained Mackowski. “The park encompasses four battlefields that span 18 months of the Civil War. We tried to capture, in just a few short minutes, a bit of the spirit of the park. Hopefully, people who watch the videos will be inspired to know more.”

Mackowski worked with NPS historian Kristopher White to produce the videos. The two planned the content of the videos and split the videography and interviewing duties; Mackowski handled the editing.

“One of our main goals was to promote the park as a prestigious place for college students to gain internship experience,” said White, who started out as an intern several years ago, and now, as a staff historian, works formally and informally with the park’s interns each year. “This park has a long legacy of producing some notable Civil War scholars, and our internship program provides a way for that legacy to continue.”

FSNMP’s internship program is coordinated and supervised by historian Greg Mertz.

“Interns play an important role in our park because, during the summer months when we’re at our busiest, the interns provide services that we’d not otherwise be able to provide, such as tours, research assistance, and additional visitor services,” Mertz explained. “We want to continue to attract top talent, so we thought the videos would be an additional way for us to show prospective interns what our program is all about.”

The videos run two to three minutes each. One video features members of the staff providing an overview of the park’s unique characteristics. Another features the staff discussing why they enjoy their work as historians. The third offers specific details about the internship program, and the fourth talks about the historians and scholars who’ve worked at FSNMP.

“The stories tell themselves,” said Mackowski, adding that the videos feature no narration. Instead, sound bites from interviewees provide the details. “We placed a strong emphasis on the pictures. Despite the carnage that once took place on those battlefields, some of the scenery today is just beautiful, so we tried to highlight that.”

Mackowski, who volunteers as an historical interpreter and tour guide at FSNMP, has collaborated with White on a variety of projects over the past 12 months, most recently on a journal article published last December.

Mackowski has taught in the Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication at St. Bonaventure since the fall of 2000.

The videos can be viewed at:
http://www.nps.gov/frsp/supportyourpark/hisinterp.htm
http://www.nps.gov/frsp/supportyourpark/intern.htm
http://www.nps.gov/frsp/historyculture/index.htm

Here We Go ...

This is the new Steelers Super Bowl Fight Song:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Man Pulls Out His Eye, Eats It

For our HERO listeners who heard Igor tell this story, here it is, just so you know he wasn't making it up and truth can be stranger than fiction.

HOUSTON — A Texas death row inmate with a history of mental problems pulled out his only good eye and told authorities he ate it. Andre Thomas, 25, was arrested for the fatal stabbings of his estranged wife, their young son and her 13-month-old daughter in March 2004. Their hearts also had been ripped out.

For the full story, go to The Huffington Post.

Woman Tried to Sell 'Goth' Kittens

A Pennsylvania dog groomer thought she had come up with the perfect sideline for her business: Piercing kittens' ears and necks and marketing them as "gothic" over the Internet.

Holly Crawford, 34, says she didn't think she was doing anything wrong when she decided to pierce her black kittens and attempt to sell them for hundreds of dollars apiece.

For the full story, go to the Lebanon Daily News.

Gov. Wasn't Going to Pick Caroline

Governor David Paterson wasn't going to pick Caroline Kennedy anyway.

That's what a source close to the governor tells The Buffalo News a day after Kennedy removed herself from consideration for the US Senate seat vacated by now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, says Paterson wasn’t going to pick Kennedy because of herlack of experience, and because she has a tax problem and a potential nanny problem.

For the full story, go to The Buffalo News.

On the Road to Sixburgh...

The video:



The words to the song:
Ryan Parker Songs

The Sixburgh Shirt:
The Pittsburgh Channel

Finding the Steelers' Biggest Fan

Steelers fans are said to bleed black and gold. Now, the search is on to find the most die-hard fan in Steelers Nation.

VisitPittsburgh is in search of the biggest Steelers fan in the country. Not in size, but in spirit. To this end, VisitPittsburgh is holding a "Biggest Steelers Fan" contest to determine just who is the biggest Steelers fan in Steeler Nation.

"We know how passionate Steelers fans are and we know that there are Steelers fans all over the world," said Joseph McGrath, president and CEO of VisitPittsburgh. "We thought it would be fun to show the lengths that some fans will go to in order to demonstrate their devotion to the Steelers."

Steelers' shrines in the yard? VisitPittsburgh wants to see photos of it. Children named Ben or Troy? VisitPittsburgh wants to hear about it. Steelers logo tattooed on your arm? Send us a picture. While photos can be wacky and wild, they must be tasteful and legal! E-mail your photos, stories or video links to steelerscontest@visitpittsburgh.com by noon, on Wednesday, January 28. Don't forget to include your name, address and phone number!

The winner, which will be selected on Thursday, January 29, will receive two tickets to a future Steelers' home game, a Steelers jersey and a Super Bowl XL Game Football.

VisitPittsburgh launched a similar contest in 2006 - the year the Steelers won Super Bowl XL. Entries attesting to Steelers devotion came from such unlikely places as Cleveland Browns territory and as far away as New Zealand. The winner, Jeffrey Verscharen of Eighty-Four, Pa., wrote: "My basement is a shrine to Steelers football. My wedding was planned around the schedule in 1999 bye week and my baby's baptism is planned for January 29 - the week between the AFC Title Game and the Super Bowl."

In addition to attending every home game, Mr. Verscharen also carves a pumpkin in the shape of a football helmet to wear on his head at the last home game before Halloween.

Now for the fine print: Employees and immediate families of VisitPittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Steelers are not eligible to win. Steelers tickets are subject to availability. No studio photography will be considered. Contestants warrant that the photo submission is original and that they are the sole owner and creator of the piece. Entries may not have been copyrighted or published previously in any media, including books, magazines, newspapers, postcards, web sites, calendars or advertising/marketing materials. While contestant retains copyright and ownership of his/her original work, it is understood that all submissions become the property of VisitPittsburgh which has the legal right to use, publish, reproduce and give legal consent to others to use the photograph.

Rendell Nominates DCED Secretary

Governor Edward G. Rendell today named George E. Cornelius, the immediate past president and chief executive officer of Arkema Inc., as secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development.

In his nearly 13 years with Arkema—the last four of which he held the top executive position—Cornelius led the company to double-digit growth in earnings, increased margins, and tens of millions of dollars in cost savings.

“When George took the helm of Arkema, he applied a strong focus on outcomes and turned the chemical company into a competitive player in the Americas,” said the Governor. “George’s experience and track record as a CEO is stellar. While the improved financial condition of the company is evidence of George’s talent, he understood that in order for the bottom line to grow, the company had to function better at all levels.

“George is also one of those great CEO’s who takes seriously his responsibility to be a civic leader. He was an active member of United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania’s executive board. He increased his company’s involvement in the United Way and encouraged other companies in the southeast to follow his lead.

“When I asked George why he was involved in the United Way, he said, ‘I believe that corporations owe something to their community. A vibrant community attracts talent, so it’s to everyone’s advantage to have a vibrant community. That includes a strong cultural environment and a good education system.’ I share those beliefs and appreciate George’s efforts to give back to his community.”

The Governor added that Cornelius’ experience managing an international company and overseeing Arkema’s breakthrough developments in cutting edge products will help advance initiatives in two areas critical to the state’s economic success.

“Given George’s experience leading a multi-national organization and facilitating agreements in other countries, he’s a terrific fit to build upon our international trade efforts – increasing exports while attracting more cross-border investments to our state,” said the Governor. “DCED’s work has established Pennsylvania as a major player in the global marketplace with foreign companies investing approximately $484 million here over the past three years with plans to create 4,900 jobs.

“Additionally, I have been impressed by his drive to advance cutting edge research and technologies. George can help us push forward with our Energy Independence Strategy, which is essential to our nation’s effort to break its dependence on foreign oil and usher in a cleaner, greener economy.”

Arkema, a global diversified chemical company and France’s leading chemicals producer, consists of three strategically related businesses: vinyl products, industrial chemicals, and performance products. Arkema reports sales of 5.7 billion euros (nearly $7.4 billion). Arkema has 15,200 employees in more than 40 countries and six research centers located in France, the United States and Japan.

The company’s business segments serve a variety of industries, including agriculture, automotive, chemical, construction and water treatment industries. Arkema’s products are also used to produce electronics, hygiene and beauty products, paper goods and athletic apparel. Perhaps Arkema’s most well known product is Plexiglas®.

More recently, the company has made major breakthroughs in products that will help develop advanced fuel cells and nano technologies.

From Arkema’s U.S. headquarters in Philadelphia, Cornelius served as president and CEO of the company’s Americas division, where he oversaw seven business units, research and development activities in King of Prussia, 18 manufacturing sites, and commercial offices in the U.S., Brazil, Mexico and Canada. The Americas operation, with nearly 2,200 employees, was responsible for 25 percent of the global company’s total sales.

Cornelius previously served as the corporation’s vice president and general counsel before being named to the top U.S. position within the company. Prior to joining Arkema, he was a partner with Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellot, a full service national law firm, headquartered in Pittsburgh.

Cornelius holds a juris doctorate from Dickinson School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from The Pennsylvania State University.

“As a life-long Pennsylvanian who has worked and been involved in businesses across the state, and who cares deeply about the future of this great commonwealth and its people, I am excited about the opportunity to help strengthen the state’s competitiveness and facilitate the generation of 21st century jobs,” said Cornelius. “Pennsylvania is well positioned to succeed in the hyper-competitive global marketplace, but it must be proactive if it is to be successful in preserving and attracting well-paying jobs.”

As DCED secretary, Cornelius will continue to implement the key components of Governor Rendell's economic stimulus package, which has leveraged nearly $3 billion in state resources to attract $8.6 billion in additional investments—far more than the state’s original projection of $5 billion. Combined, these resources are supporting 2,800 job-producing projects throughout the commonwealth.

During Governor Rendell’s administration, Pennsylvania’s gross domestic product has jumped more than 20 percent, growing from $423 billion in 2002 to $531 billion in 2007; and exports have nearly doubled from $15.8 billion to almost $30 billion. Venture capital investments in Pennsylvania have also skyrocketed from $458 million to $835 million during that same time period.

DCED has focused on helping existing Pennsylvania businesses expand and attract out-of-state businesses under Governor Rendell. The Governor’s Action Team has successfully completed nearly 1,100 projects with 115,385 committed new jobs and $13.8 billion of private investment since January 2003. Additionally Pennsylvania’s has emerged as a major player in the global marketplace through the Governor’s World Trade PA initiative with foreign companies investing $484 million here over the past three years with plans to create 4,900 jobs.

DCED is a more than 350-person agency with a nearly $900 million budget from state, federal and other funds.

Cornelius and his wife, Susan, reside in Chester County. They have two adult sons.

If confirmed by the Senate, Cornelius will succeed Dennis Yablonsky, who quit last fall after five years in the post to take a job in the private sector.

'I Want Some TARP'
By Bill Zucker



DNA Tests ID Erie Shooter

Erie police say DNA tests have identified the body found in a burned home earlier this month as 42-year-old Robert Daniels – a man who repeatedly shot at police from the home before it caught on fire.

Roads in nearby neighborhoods were closed, and the SWAT team and a state police helicopter were called in during a standoff on the morning of January 6.

Roberts fired on police sporadically for about an hour.

They found the body in the house later that day, but it was so badly burned that they couldn't identify it without the DNA tests.

Gov: Deficit Could be $2.3 Billion

Governor Ed Rendell today provided an update to Pennsylvania’s budget situation and discussed steps to address an anticipated $2.3 billion shortfall in the fiscal year ending June 30th.

The governor said he will help to close the gap by using a larger portion of the anticipated federal stimulus package, and asking the General Assembly to give back to the state nearly $175 million that lawmakers are holding in surplus funds.

Rendell said he will continue to monitor the budget and make strategic cuts as needed. He is expected to announce his budget plan for the 2009-10 fiscal year in early February

White-Nose Syndrome in PA

By Joe Kosack
Wildlife Conservation Education Specialist
Pennsylvania Game Commission


SHINDLE, Mifflin County – Aware since 2008 that White-Nose Syndrome appeared to be making its way to the Keystone State, the Pennsylvania Game Commission now has evidence that the deadly bat disorder is likely present in a mine near this small community in the state’s heartland. Where else this may be occurring and the consequence to bats –a fragile guild of wildlife species – remains an unfolding story.

In late December, DeeAnn Reeder, a biologist with Bucknell University, and Greg Turner, a biologist with the Game Commission’s Wildlife Diversity Section, found bats in an old Mifflin County iron mine that exhibited some of the signs of White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), during field investigations into bat hibernation patterns that included weekly monitoring for the disorder’s presence in several Pennsylvania hibernacula. During this work, which had been ongoing for weeks, dozens of bats suddenly had a fungus appear around their muzzles and on the wing membranes, while many more displayed other symptoms associated with this disorder. Several bats were submitted to the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, which now is reporting that the bats have preliminarily tested positive for the cold-loving fungi found on many bats with WNS.

“Our agency, with assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other management partners, will work diligently and methodically to measure the extent of the problem in Pennsylvania and monitor the disorder’s progression,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. “This find is a direct result of the Game Commission’s ongoing initiative to proactively monitor for WNS.

“To date, no dead bats have been found in Pennsylvania. That’s a plus, but it comes with no promise of what will or won’t follow. In New York and New England, the disorder seems to arouse bats from hibernation prematurely. Once they depart from caves and mines, they quickly sap their energy reserves and die on the landscape. Mortality in some colonies has exceeded 90 percent, ensuring that any local recovery will be quite lengthy given the low reproductive rate of bats. Little brown and the federally-endangered Indiana bats produce only one young per year.”

Currently, researchers still are unsure exactly how bats contract WNS and how it initially and, ultimately, affects a bat’s body. They cannot confirm whether the fungus appearing on some bats is a cause or a symptom of the disorder. What is clear is that the geographic area where WNS has been documented is expanding. It was first found in bat colonies in New York in 2006, and subsequently in populations in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont in 2007. Now bats in Pennsylvania and New Jersey appear to be affected.

“We do know that the visible fungus appears on some – but not all – bats afflicted with WNS, and that a significant percentage of bats in affected hibernacula move closer to the entrance,” explained Turner. “The bats eventually leave their hibernacula – often in daylight, which is unnatural. Most of those bats likely die on the landscape, but some may return to the cave or mine they left. Researchers cannot determine what bats are searching for, or if they’re hunting for anything. Most bats found dead on the landscape have depleted their fat reserves.”

About the only thing certain about WNS is that its ambiguity continues to baffle the cadre of researchers who are working long hours to positively identify what it is, and if there is anything wildlife managers can do to disable it. WNS does appear to be spreading bat-to-bat, but it’s unknown whether it’s passed in summer roosts, or hibernacula, or both. It also is unknown yet whether the cause of WNS will linger in hibernacula without bats.

“Of course, there’s also the possibility that bats have been – or are being – poisoned somehow,” Turner said. “The source could vary; insecticides, herbicides, livestock supplements, changes in the composition of building materials, even changes in air and water quality. That’s what makes this whole search so open-ended. But, to date, the disorder is found only in America’s Northeast, so it would appear the source is here, too. That’s a solid lead, if it is something like a toxin.”

New York and New England have lost tens –maybe even hundreds – of thousands of bats to WNS over the past two years. Significant losses to bat populations could have ecological consequences because of the role that bats play in the environment. Across Pennsylvania, bats eat tractor-trailer loads of insects on summer nights, making our backyards more bearable and crop yields more bountiful.

“Bats have survived for more than 50 million years because they are tough mammals,” said Lisa Williams, a Game Commission wildlife diversity biologist. “But they have become increasingly vulnerable. Destruction and disturbance of caves, changes to summer habitat, all have impacted bat populations. White-Nose now presents more uncertainty for bats. Quite frankly, we’re not sure yet that we can help them survive this threat. We’re looking for answers. “An impressive team of researchers is in place. But this whole situation has been so sudden, so fluid and so devastating to bats, that it makes it incredibly hard for wildlife managers to develop a conservation response.”

The Game Commission spent last summer monitoring the state’s bat maternity colonies for signs of mortality, both in adults and juveniles. Bats also were mist-netted and checked for abnormalities. Both efforts shed light into Pennsylvania’s unfolding situation, but neither provided conclusive evidence as to what’s happening.

“We came out of summer knowing that we hadn’t lost major numbers of bats, but we did notice that some bats had small white spots on wing membranes,” Turner said. “What the white spots represent is still unclear, but some researchers believe they may be the early signs of WNS.

“This past fall we began to examine the health of our bats to see if they came into their winter quarters prepared for hibernation. We also are using telemetry gear and data-loggers to monitor the body temperatures and arousal patterns of hibernating bats, hoping to shed light on how the emergence of WNS may be affecting individuals, hibernating clusters and the wintering colony.”

Weekly battery changes are needed to keep the telemetry receivers (data recorders) going. It was during one of these battery changes that Reeder and Turner noticed changes occurring in the Mifflin County hibernating colony. As recently as Dec. 12, there was no change to bats in the mine. Then on Dec. 20, they noticed bats starting to shift toward the mine’s entrance and a small amount of fungus on some of them. Bats normally don’t hibernate at entrances, so this movement was interpreted as a red flag. On Dec. 29, about 150 of the 2,200 bats in the mine appeared to be affected. By Jan. 5, about 45 percent of the mine’s wintering colony had relocated toward the mine’s gated entrance.

Reeder and Turner are monitoring three sites in Pennsylvania to record the arousal patterns and body temperatures of hibernating bats. This work, part of a multistate effort funded primarily by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, also is being conducted in New York, Vermont, Michigan and Kentucky.

“This research may tell us if bats are arousing too frequently and consequently burning off fat reserves prematurely, or if they’re not lowering their body temperature enough to support hibernation,” Reeder explained. “It may also show that bats are having difficulty going back into hibernation after being aroused.”

The Game Commission will be surveying 20 to 30 hibernacula between January and March as part of annual fieldwork and during those visits will be monitoring for signs of WNS. The agency may add more sites to the scheduled list of caves and mines to ensure good coverage across the state. The agency also will assist researchers who are doing fieldwork instate. This work includes investigating metabolic rate of hibernating bats; studying the immune response capabilities of bats; and measuring whether bats have sufficient amounts and types of fat heading into hibernation.

“This winter and early spring, the Game Commission is asking the public to keep an eye on Pennsylvania’s bats,” Roe said. “It is unusual to see bats flying outside or around your home in January, February and March. If you see winter-flying bats, if you find multiple dead bats or if you or neighbors repeatedly find dead bats in a particular area, please report the incidents to the nearest Game Commission region office.”

Pictured, in Game Commission photos are, Game Commission Biologist Greg Turner and Dr. DeeAnn Reeder of Bucknell University monitoring the signals of transmitters affixed to hibernating bats in Shindle Iron Mine; and a few of these hibernating little brown bats in Shindle Iron Mine exhibiting what is likely the fungus associated with White-Nose Syndrome.

Screenings Can Prevent Cancer

By George Nianiatus, senior writer
Communications Department


Preventing cervical cancer in women can be attained by making sure they undergo regular Pap smears and pelvic exams.

Two physicians at Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC), Kenneth B. Goodrich, M.D., and Evad S. Al-Hattab, M.D., are urging area women to get yearly screenings and exams so they can avoid getting what is considered to be one of the most preventable forms of cancer. Additionally, when detected early, cervical cancer is almost 100 percent curable.

January is National Cervical Cancer Screening Month, designed to raise awareness and emphasize the need for women to educate themselves about the disease and understand it’s preventable.

Dr. Goodrich, an obstetrics/gynecologist specialist at the hospital’s OB/Gyn Suzzalo Medical Arts Building, says it’s imperative for women undergo Pap smears that detect cervical cancer and conditions leading to it.

“Most cervical cancer is caused by HPV (human papillomavirus),” says Dr. Goodrich. “HPV causes genital warts and abnormal changes on the cervix” which can lead to cervical cancer, he explains.

The two medical experts agree that infection from certain strains of HPV is one of the strongest risk factors for cervical cancer.

Dr. Al-Hattab, medical director of Oncology/Hematology at BRMC’s Cancer Care Center, a clinical network member of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, says that women can have HPV or cervical cancer without any symptoms. “That’s why Pap smear testing is so important. It detects changes in the cervix.”

Also, women who are sexually active - no matter how young they are - should have regular Pap smears, notes Dr. Goodrich. Additionally, women who are past menopause or have had a hysterectomy still need to have regular Pap tests, states Dr. Goodrich.

Increased risk factors leading to cervical cancer include women having early sex, smoking and having multiple sexual partners, the physicians say.

“In the event cervical cancer is diagnosed, treatment can range from surgery, or chemotherapy and radiation therapy to shrink the tumor or tumors,” Dr. Al-Hattab says.

However, latter stages of this cancer that spread outside the cervix are almost incurable, the oncologist says.

“We want to stress women having Pap smears every year as part of their pelvic exam,” Dr. Goodrich states.

If HPV is detected in a woman, for instance, Dr. Goodrich says she should have her sexual partner checked as well to prevent her re-infection or further development in her of new cervical changes and abnormalities.

To prevent the spread of HPV, “More also needs to be done with men on having them checked,” Dr. Goodrich emphasizes.

HPV treatment for women frequently involves the vaccine Gardasil. The vaccine is currently given in three doses to young women ages 9 to 26 to help prevent cervical, vaginal and other cancers attributed to HPV.

According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, studies that have identified risk factors associated with cervical cancer have shown it is closely linked to:
— Failure to receive a regular Pap test screening;
— HPV infection; and
— Immunosuppressive disorders such as HIV/AIDS.

For more information about cervical cancer or other health questions, go to the Medline Plus section at BRMC’s Web site at www.brmc.com.

Charlie Company Arrives in Kuwait

Members of Bradford and Ridgway's Charlie Company arrived at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, about 48 hours ago, and have started their final training before entering Iraq.

Specialist Lorenzo Herrera of Smethport says he's ready to get to work.

"I'm anxious. I'm excited to go," Herrera says. "I knew this day was coming … I'm just ready to get over there, do my part and get home safely."

This is the only Stryker brigade in the National Guard, and they are equipped with the latest communications and weapons system in the Army. At more than 4,000 troops, this is the largest deployment of the Pennsylvania National Guard since the Korean War.

Listen to Spc. Herrera's comments HERE.

Thanks to Capt. Cory Angell!

Thompson Votes Against TARP

U.S. Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Howard, joined 165 other Members today in exercising fiscal responsibility by voting to deny the Department of the Treasury access to an additional $350 billion of taxpayers’ dollars to bailout corporate America.

“Like many citizens across the Fifth District, I too am suffering from bailout-itus,” said Thompson, who opposed the Federal Government’s initial Wall Street bailout. “My neighbors back in Howard, and friends and family across the district, continue to sacrifice to make ends meet in this time of economic uncertainly – it’s time for corporate America to do the same.”

Thompson is referring to the government sponsored, Department of the Treasury administered, Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which was created by an act of Congress prior to his arrival – the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. While the intent of Congress was to free up the credit markets so that small businesses and citizens could access capital, TARP funds were instead expanded to purchase equity stakes in many of America’s largest financial institutions.

“With $350 billion already squandered, I am not prepared to put my constituents on the hook for another $350 billion, plain and simple. This TARP program has been poorly administered from day one, offering little oversight, and to date, zero accountability.”

Thompson continued, “I think the taxpayers would be best served if this Democrat controlled Congress and the new President focused on tax relief for working class families as opposed to increasing governments role in the private sector.”

Thompson supported the Republican alternative that would require the Secretary of the Treasury to develop a plan and establish a timeline for repayment of all funds provided to corporate America under the TARP program to the Treasury.

“I remain committed to working with my colleagues across the aisle to enact smart government – not big government – solutions to the many economic challenges facing our nation. Today qualified as an expansion of government involvement in the private sector – or what I call a ‘big government solution’,” concluded Thompson.

Listen to Thompson's comments HERE.

Thanks Pat!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Woman Charged with Murder

WINDSOR, N.Y.—A 20-year-old Southern Tier woman was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder after a home invasion and attempted robbery left one person shot dead, another wounded and one of the intruders in critical condition.

Ashley Carnevale was being held in the Broome County jail on a charge of second-degree murder, said Fred Stapleton, the town justice in Windsor.

For the full story, go to The Evening Sun.

'Blues' End Merger Effort

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's two largest health insurers on Wednesday abandoned their nearly 2-year-old plan to merge, citing resistance from state regulators concerned that it would stifle competition.

For the full story, go to pennlive.com.

New Washington Memorial in Philly

A memorial on the spot where George Washington lived as president with slaves is scheduled to open in Philadelphia next year thanks to more state funding than anticipated.

The $8.4 million project will include information on the nine slaves Washington kept at the President's House near Independence Hall.

Governor Ed Rendell says the Delaware River Port Authority will probably contribute $3.5 million in economic development funds.

George Washington and John Adams each lived at the house when Philadelphia was the nation's capital between 1790 and 1800.

Man Indicted on Murder Charge

A Chautauqua County grand jury has indicted a man for the shooting death of a man in Dunkirk last year.

26-year old Lawrence Carter is charged in the death of Gabriel Guzman, who was found shot in an apartment on Octobeer 21, 2008.

Carter faces the possibility of life without parole if convicted of first-degree murder.

Bill Would Modernize
'Games of Chance' Laws

To modernize Pennsylvania’s laws regarding small games of chance, Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Lower Paxton) is reintroducing legislation that would overhaul current law and give many organizations the ability to continue funding efforts to enhance communities across the Commonwealth.

“Many of the limitations in current law provide inadequate flexibility to non-profits and have hampered their efforts to fund charitable causes in all of our districts,” said Marsico. “Rather than taking a piecemeal approach, I am proposing a comprehensive overhaul.”

Marsico’s legislation includes the following recommendations:
Increase the payout limit of $5,000 per seven-day period for small games of chance to $20,000 per seven-day period.
Eliminate advertising restrictions on small games of chance.
Allow progressive games in small games of chance.
Increase top tier payouts for a single winner in small games of chance from $500 to $1,000.
Require winning tickets to be treated in accordance with IRS regulations for reporting purposes ($600 and above recorded, $1,200 and above reported).
Make insured small games of chance available.
Allow more than one small games of chance license per building.
Provide that the District Attorney's have further power to investigate and enforce violations of the Act.
Progressive games are those where a winner moves on to a higher board with an additional chance to win. Insured games allow smaller organizations to offer bigger jackpots without risking breaking the bank. An insured game is one where a third party pays the winner of a jackpot while the organization pays smaller winning tickets.

Across the Commonwealth organizations from veterans clubs to churches to humane societies and fire companies use small games of chance to raise money for charitable purposes in their communities.

“While I have no reliable independent index to cite, it is safe to say, with more than 20,000 licenses in Pennsylvania, that these groups pour in excess of hundreds of millions of dollars into their communities each year,” said Marsico. “With the decades old limitations currently in place, these groups are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the needs of their communities. My proposal should not cost the Commonwealth anything in dollars while ensuring the flow of good works by these organizations continue.”

Marsico’s legislation will be introduced in the House in the near future.

Breaking News ...

Hillary Clinton confirmed as Secretary of State.

The U.S. Senate approved the nomination of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state Wednesday by a vote of 94-2.

The two senators who opposed Clinton's confirmation were Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, and David Vitter, R-Louisiana.

For the full story, go to CNN.com.

Bills vs. Packers in 'Souper Bowl'










They may have been left out of the race for the Super Bowl weeks ago, but the Buffalo Bills are up against the Green Bay Packers in the final round of the "Souper Bowl."

Campbell's Chunky Soup is holding its "Click for Cans" contest, with the winning city getting a donation of thousands of cans of soup for a local food bank.

Campbell's Chunky (TM) soup and the NFL will donate 1,000 cans to each of the 32 teams. AFC and NFC champs get an additional 12,000 cans a piece. The overall champ gets 5,000 cans on top of that - for a total of 18,000 cans of soup for their local Feeding America food bank.

Go to click for cans.com to vote.

'Card Check' Legislation on PCN

Regular listeners of WESB's LiveLine have heard our shows on the proposed union card check legislation.

As part of its efforts to focus attention on the negative implications for employers and employees of the proposed federal Employee Free Choice Act, or union card check, the PA Chamber will appear on tonight's edition of the Pennsylvania Cable Network's (Channel 9 on Atlantic Broadband in Bradford) Live Call-in Show.

PA Chamber Vice President of Government and Public Affairs Gene Barr will appear along with Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Rick Bloomingdale.

Members are encouraged to call in between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. with their questions or comments about the union card check proposal.

The toll-free number to call is 877 726-5001.

Make-A-Wish Looking for Wishers

Children with life-threatening medical conditions need the magic of a wish come true. The Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Greater Pennsylvania and Southern West Virginia needs your help to find children who may qualify for our magic.

Children can be referred by anyone – a parent, guardian, family member or teacher – but are qualified by the child’s physician. Life-threatening medical conditions, which generally qualify children for our services include, but are not limited to, various forms of cancer, heart disease, cystic fibrosis, Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy and transplants. Children with more chronic conditions like cerebral palsy, developmental delays, diabetes, Crohn’s disease or spina bifida, may qualify if their conditions are coupled with other complications and the combination is considered life-threatening.

If you know a child, aged 2 ½ to under the age of 18, who may qualify, please contact the Make-A-Wish office at (814) 938-8888. Referring a child only takes a few minutes, but the memories of a wish last a lifetime.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Greater Pennsylvania and Southern West Virginia is a non-profit organization, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. It was founded in 1983 and serves 57 counties in western, central and northeastern Pennsylvania and 23 counties in southern West Virginia with headquarters in Pittsburgh and regional offices in Erie, Punxsutawney, Pottsville, Wilkes-Barre and York, Pa., and Charleston, W.Va.

In fiscal year 2008, the Foundation fulfilled 706 wishes with the help of more than 900 volunteers. 85.9% of all donations fund wish granting activity. The Punxsutawney Regional Office opened in July 1994. It oversees wish fulfillment and fund raising activities in Blair, Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, McKean and Potter counties. In fiscal year 2008, the Regional Office fulfilled 62 wishes. Currently, the Foundation is one of the most active chapters in the country, having fulfilled nearly 10,000 wishes, and has earned two consecutive 4-star evaluations from Charity Navigator. For more information on how to refer children or to volunteer, please call the Make-A-Wish Foundation at 1-800-676-9474 or visit its Web site at www.wishgreaterpa.org.

B-Ball Game Shooting Victim ID'd

The woman who was shot last night at a basketball game in Erie has been identified as 21-year-old Shareese Birchfield.

She's at Hamot Medical Center, but he family has asked that no information be released about her condition.

Birchfield was shot in the left hip after a fight broke out at about 8:30 p.m. in the crowded gym at East High while they were playing Harbor Creek High School.

Police have not made any arrests in the case.

Classes at East High resumed today. Students submitted to a weapons search as they entered the school. No weapons were found.

Steelers Will Wear White Uniforms

The Pittsburgh Steelers will wear their white road uniforms against Arizona in the Super Bowl. The Cardinals, as the home team, chose to wear their red home jerseys in the Feb. 1 game in Tampa.

The Steelers wore their white road uniforms when they beat Seattle for the NFL title three years ago in Detroit.

In the February 2006 Super Bowl, the Steelers had the option of wearing their black home jerseys, but decided to wear white after playing and winning three road playoff games in as many weeks.

This will be only the third time in their seven Super Bowls the Steelers will wear white. They also wore white while defeating Minnesota in the Super Bowl during the 1974 season.

Family Suing Over Elevator Death

The family of a student from Erie who was crushed to death in a dorm elevator more than two years ago is suing Ohio State University.

The suit filed by the family of Andrew Polakowski seeks more than $50,000 and says the school was negligent. Polakowski was 18 years old on October 20, 2006, when he got pinned trying to leave an overcrowded elevator that was stuck between floors.

A university spokesman says the university has kept in regular contact with the Polakowskis' attorneys and is reviewing the family's filings.

In Case You Missed It ...

01/20/09 - Details of New BASD Teachers Agreement

Details have been released on the new four year contract between the Bradford Area School District and it’s teachers union. The new deal includes a 4 percent wage increase. Sources tell WESB and The Hero that despite the wage increase taxes will not be going up for the 2009-2010 school year. The four-year contract was approved on January 12.

01/20/09 - Derrick City Man Charged With Burglary

A Derrick City man was arraigned last weekend on charges he burglarized the Lighter Side bar on Mechanic Street in Bradford on January 13. Court records indicate that 24 year-old Eric Quinn gained entry by force into the bar and took $905 dollars in cash. Quinn is charged with burglary, theft and criminal mischief. He was sent to the McKean County Jail on $15,000 dollars.

01/16/09 - Austin Boys Dies in Snowmobile Accident

An Austin teen was killed in a snowmobile accident Wednesday night in the borough. Austin Police say that 15 year-old Trevor Dynda was riding snowmobiles with a few friends near Watkins Road when the fatal accident occurred. Potter County Coroner Kevin Dusenbury says the cause of death was blunt force trauma.

Derby Gala Scheduled in Bradford

The Bradford Area Public Library is sponsoring a community-wide gala, which will coincide with the Kentucky Derby in May, to benefit its endowment fund and raise residents’ awareness of the services the library provides.

The Derby Day Gala will be held on Saturday, May 2, at the Bradford Club. At the event, guests will watch the race, sample Southern-style cuisine, sip mint juleps and participate in other Kentucky Derby-related activities. An additional event – the Derby Chapeau Tea – will be held on March 29, and will enable participants to make Kentucky Derby-like hats in anticipation of the gala.

Tickets for the gala will be available starting Feb. 16 and can be purchased at the library. Tickets are $50 per person.

“The idea for the gala came during a meeting of the library’s honorary board of trustees,” said Madeline Miles, a library board member. “The honorary trustees wanted to create an event that would make people more aware of all the library offers, provide much-needed funds for the facility, and be fun and exciting for those who attend.”

“Our hope is that the Derby Day Gala will be held annually and generate excitement each year in the community,” she added.

Money raised at the gala will benefit the library’s endowment fund, which was created in 1984 by Virginia Loveland Miles, Madeline Miles’ mother. In more recent years, income generated from the endowment has been used to close the widening gap between ever-rising costs and unpredictable funding, explained Linda Newman, the library’s director.

“Increasing the size of the endowment ultimately will increase the income it can generate,” Newman said. “Any increase will help strengthen the library’s overall financial health.”

Despite its fragile and unpredictable funding situation, the library continues to provide all of its services to the community.

But it hasn’t been easy, Newman said. There have been additional expenses recently and others loom on the horizon, she added. Only generous donations from members of the community made it possible to replace carpeting in some of the more heavily used parts of the building and to continue upgrading the computer system. Utility costs are rising, of course, and the building is 17 years old.

However, she and the gala organizers are hopeful that the annual event will help ease the library’s financial burdens. This year’s fundraising goal is $35,000, Newman said, adding any additional income generated from the endowment will be used to help improve a variety of services and address rising costs.

“The endowment has been and continues to be our lifeline,” she added.

For more information, contact Newman at the library at 362-6527.

A Note to the Bonnies ...



YOU CAN DO IT!

Senate GOP Announces Reform Bills

Members of the Senate Republican Caucus today announced the introduction of a 10-bill package of government reforms intended to continue changing the culture of state government by increasing accountability and transparency.

“As we begin a new legislative session, which brings with it new challenges, it is imperative that we continue to build on the positive work we have already begun,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25). “Passage of the reform measures being unveiled today is essential to creating a state government which is open and accountable to the people we have taken an oath to serve.”

Among the bills introduced today are measures to change how consulting contracts are awarded, to increase penalties for violating the Sunshine Law which requires public business to be done at open meetings, to ban bonus payments for state employees, and to eliminate lame-duck legislative sessions.

“Today, state government is significantly more open than it was just two years ago when we began the process of rewriting Pennsylvania’s Open Records Law,” said Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-9). “The 10 bills we are announcing today will continue that progress.”

The 10-bill package includes:

· Senate Bill 101, sponsored by Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R-13), to increase penalties for violating the Sunshine Law. “This Sunshine bill is aimed at public officials who intentionally make decisions in a way that avoids the requirements for public scrutiny,” said Senator Smucker, the bill’s prime sponsor. “Setting out more serious penalties should discourage illegal secret meetings and encourage enforcement actions when violations occur.”


· Senate Bill 102, sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Jane Orie (R-40), to reform the procurement of consulting contracts. “The Pennsylvania General Assembly should do all it can to eliminate the appearance of impropriety in regards to ‘Pay-to-Play’ in Commonwealth government,” said Senator Orie. “This can be done by creating an open bid process and providing for transparency in regard to who is receiving state contracts and their political contributions. This issue is receiving an enormous amount of national coverage at the current time and there is no better time than now to adopt legislation to restore integrity as to how public dollars are spent.”


· Senate Bill 103, sponsored by Sen. John Eichelberger (R-30), to prohibit bonuses for Commonwealth employees. “The people of Pennsylvania have seen the abuses from not having this law on the books,” said Sen. Eichelberger. “It would be irresponsible for the legislature to not fix this problem after seeing the evidence from the ‘Bonusgate’ scandal. I applaud our Senate leadership for making this issue a priority and will ask the House leaders to do the same.”


· Senate Bill 104, sponsored by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-48), to increase accountability related to the use of state-owned vehicles. Sen. Folmer is also the sponsor of Senate Bill 109, the Taxpayer-Funded Advertising Transparency Act. “While some might say that the reforms that I am sponsoring are not significant, I would argue that each is like the fingers of a hand,” said Senator Folmer. “Individually, the impact might be limited, but collectively, they are like a fist that can pack a lot of wallop: bringing more accountability to the use of state vehicles and letting taxpayers know how their hard-earned money is being spent on government advertising.”


· Senate Bill 105, sponsored by Sen. Pat Browne (R-16), to create a searchable online budget database. “I am reintroducing the Pennsylvania Taxpayer Transparency Act to bring more accountability to government spending,” said Sen. Browne. “With the actions of state government segregated into many independent departments and agencies, it is currently very difficult for a Pennsylvania taxpayer to effectively monitor the spending practices of state government. However, with the use of technology we can significantly improve this process and promote greater transparency in the affairs of the Commonwealth.”


· Senate Bill 106, a constitutional amendment sponsored by Sen. Kim Ward (R-39), to eliminate sine die legislative sessions. “Eliminating the sine die sessions, or ‘lame duck’ sessions, is a key component to open government and reform,” said Sen. Ward. “These sessions too often provide opportunities for outgoing legislators to make votes without being accountable to Pennsylvanians.”


· Senate Bill 107, sponsored by Sen. Pileggi, to post government salary information online. “This is part of our ongoing drive to make all three branches of state government more open and accessible,” said Sen. Pileggi. “Giving the public the ability to easily review how their money is spent makes good sense.”


· Senate Bill 108, sponsored by Sen. Jake Corman (R-34), to change the process for filling a vacancy in the office of lieutenant governor. “This common-sense reform measure will ensure that in case of a vacancy of Lieutenant Governor, the sitting Governor will be able to pick his or her Lieutenant Governor,” Senator Corman said. “Currently, due to the unfortunate passing of Catherine Baker Knoll, we have a situation where we have a Governor and Lieutenant Governor from different parties. While this bill is a constitutional amendment and will not impact the current situation, it is my sincere belief that the Lieutenant Governor is a part of the Administration and needs to be a willing, working partner of the sitting Governor.”


· Senate Bill 110, sponsored by Sen. Smucker to improve access to, and expand the information contained in, state plane logs. “When there are specific and thorough record-keeping requirements in place, and the media and the public have access to those records, that should curtail questionable or excessive uses of the state aircraft,” Senator Smucker said.


Nine of the 10 bills in this package passed the Senate last session with strong bipartisan support. “Reform is not a partisan issue. We will once again work with our colleagues in the Senate Democratic caucus to pass these bills in the Senate,” said Sen. Pileggi. “We are optimistic the House will join us in sending them to the Governor.”

Photo courtesy of Senate Republican Communications