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Showing posts from January 25, 2009

Group Says Casino Fight's Not Over

Citizens Against Casino Gaming in Erie County is not giving up its fight to shut down the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.

On Friday, Judge William Skretney ruled that the casino can operate because of a decision by the National Indian Gaming Commission.

But the casino opponents say they're undeterred by the decision and will challenge it.

Four More Fires in Coatesville

Four more arsons have been reported in Coatesville, where more than 30 fires have been intentionally set in the past year.

The first fire started at around 12:35 a.m. The next started a few minutes later at another home down the street. At 3 a.m., the third fire was started, followed closely by the fourth.

These fires, and almost all of the others, have been started on porches. 17 fires have been set this month alone.

Coatesville is about 35 miles west of Philadelphia.

Hanger Disappointed in Ruling

Environmental Protection acting Secretary John Hanger Friday said he was disappointed in a Commonwealth Court judge’s decision that declared Pennsylvania’s state-specific Mercury Rule invalid and unenforceable.

“The Pennsylvania Mercury Rule is the most effective and timely way to reduce mercury exposure,” Hanger said. “The ruling makes Pennsylvania’s economy less competitive in the long run. Our Pennsylvania Mercury Rule enhances the quality of life here and promises to help attract new investment and new jobs by preserving the natural beauty of the commonwealth. We will continue fighting to protect Pennsylvanians from mercury exposure from all sources and we will carefully consider our legal options.”

Governor Edward G. Rendell’s administration developed the state-specific mercury rule in 2006 following a proposal for weakened regulation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under former President George W. Bush. The commonwealth’s state-specific policy would require mercury emi…

Steelers Fan Can't Wear Jersey

Eighth-grader Tristan Carrick, an eighth-grader at Stepping Stones Academy (in Phoenix), didn't heed his principal's warning that he wouldn't be able to wear a Steelers jersey to school yesterday, when his classmates were given a break from their strict dress code of khaki pants and polo shirts to don Cardinals attire.

Tristan no longer has perfect attendance.

For the full story, go to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

President Obama's Weekly Address

Because WESB is running the Pitt/Notre Dame basketball game, President Obama's weekly address won't be on at the usual time. But, you can hear and see it here:



Cleanup Plan for Bush Industries

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has has finalized the cleanup plan for the Bush Industries site in Cattaraugus.

The 4.4-acre property was involved in commercial operations since the early 1900s and has been the location of a Standard Oil facility, an apple evaporator facility and a gas service facility. A previous environmental cleanup project in 2007 removed 3,400 tons of contaminated soil.

The requirements for the new cleanup will include installation of a soil cover, depending on its land use and implementation of a site management plan and environmental easement restricting the use of the site

No Death Penalty for Colegrove

A man convicted of killing his parents and brother near Towanda is being spared the death penalty.

A jury couldn't reach a unanimous agreement Friday on whether 32-year-old Steven Colegrove, of Deposit, N.Y., deserves capital punishment. That means he automatically gets life without parole.

The bodies of 60-year-old Joseph Colegrove, 56-year-old Marlene Colegrove and 36-year-old Michael Colegrove were found in their home on Aug. 8, 2007.

Prosecutors say Colegrove killed his family to collect an inheritance.

Winterfest in Roulette Today

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From Solomon's Words for the Wise:

File photo from 2008 Winterfest Photo by James Jones

Roulette, on the western end of Potter County, in North Central Pennsylvania, is the place to go for winter fun on Saturday, January 31, 2009.

The West End Trailblazers Snowmobile Club is putting on their 7th annual Winterfest that starts at 10:00 am and runs until 4:00 pm.

They will have radar runs for the snowmobiles, hay rides for the kiddies, food and refreshments. There will be games, a money pit for the kids to dig for money, a clown, raffles & ripoffs, games and door prizes. Music will be provided by DJ Bill.

The event is held each year whether there is snow or not. The last few years, there wasn't much snow.

This year there is more than a foot of it out there. The snowmobile trails are marked to nearby communities if you want to ride your sled to the Winterfest.

If you have a sled to sell or are a dealer wanting to bring a display or demos, get up early and find your way to Roulette.

T…

Havers Beats Cowburn in Coudy

Bradford's Mark Havers recorded a 4-3 decision over current PIAA Class AA wrestling champion Dirk Cowburn Friday night – in Coudersport.

The Owls wrestling team handed the Falcons a 51-14 loss, improving Bradford's record to 5-2 in the league. They trail only Port Allegany and Smethport, who are both unbeaten.

The Owls are in action again Tuesday in Johnsonburg.

Tops Updates Recall List

Tops Friendly Markets, today announced that Tops Sundae Cones and several additional varieties of Perry’s Ice Cream, Detour Health Bars, and one variety of Turkey Hill Ice Cream have been added to the list of recalled products as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to investigate a multi-state salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter products.

The following products have been recalled as a precautionary measure as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to investigate a multi-state salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter products. The removal of these products is a precautionary measure, and based on the current state of the investigation, the FDA recommends that consumers avoid eating products that have been recalled and discard them. It is important that we communicate the following two points to customers:

1. ) All of these products have been pulled from our shelves and a complete list of recalled items is available at www.topsmarkets.com under “Product Rec…

First the Steelers, Then Phil & Tony

A big event that's happening Monday in Pennsylvania has just about been overshadowed by Sunday's Super Bowl.

On Sunday, members of the Steeler Nation will be focusing on Tampa to see if the team brings back its sixth Super Bowl title, as predicted.

But on Monday, attention turns back to western Pennsylvania as the most prolific predictor of them all tells us how much longer we can expect winter to last.

Tradition has it that if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, we'll see six more weeks of winter. If there's no shadow in sight, all signs point to early spring weather.

And, Tarport Tony will be making his annual appearance on Monday, too. He's expected to arrive at the East Main Street gazebo at 9:30 a.m.

Case Lays Off 31 Factory Workers

W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Co. has laid of 31 employees, all factory associates.

Case communications manager Fred Feightner says because of the economy, they have had to adjust their business plan.

He says the biggest problem is attitude – people and dealers are afraid to spend money right now.

Feightner says they don't foresee any more layoffs, but it all depends on the economy.

Dairies Recalling Ice Cream, Yogurt

Two Pennsylvania dairies are voluntarily recalling some ice cream and frozen yogurt flavors because of a possible link to salmonella-tainted peanuts.

The recalls announced today by Galliker Dairy in Johnstown and Turkey Hill in Lancaster County are because the Peanut Corporation of America expanded its recall.

Turkey Hill is recalling six flavors: Tin Roof Sundae Premium, Chocolate Nutty Moose Tracks Stuff’d, Chocolate Nutty Moose Tracks Light Recipe, Nutty Caramel Caribou Frozen Yogurt, Peanut Brittle No Sugar Added Recipe and Peanut Butter Mania Light Recipe.

Galliker is recalling Rocky Road Ice Cream and Sundae Nut Cones.

Only certain date codes are affected. Consumers with questions can call Turkey Hill at 800-693-2479 and Galliker at 800-477-6455 Ext. 239.

Cops: Sister Attacks Bride

Valparaiso, Indiana -- A woman who was not invited to her sister's wedding reception showed up anyway and attacked the bride, pulling clumps of hair from her head, striking her head and taking her to the ground, the Porter County Sheriff's Department said.

For the full story, go to NWI.com.

Dan Barry Coming to St. Bona's

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Dan Barry, a New York Times columnist and distinguished alumnus of St. Bonaventure University, will be on campus from Feb. 9-20 as the Lenna Endowed Visiting Professor.

Barry will be speaking at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 11, in Dresser Auditorium located in the John J. Murphy Professional Building. During his visit, Barry will give various classroom and campus lectures and an open address at Jamestown Community College, in that city, the morning of Wednesday, Feb 18.

Barry graduated in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and mass communication and was named the 1994 Alumnus of the Year. He is the author of “This Land,” a well-read weekly feature column that appears every Monday on the first page of the Times national section and takes him to every corner of the United States.

He has won two Pulitzer Prizes, the first in 1994 as an investigative reporter with the Providence Journal-Bulletin, in Rhode Island, for a series of articles about corruption in that state’s cour…

Blessid Union of Souls at UPB

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Pop rock band Blessid Union of Souls, known for Billboard chart hits “I Believe” and “Hey, Leonardo (She Likes Me for Me),” will perform Feb. 7 at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

The unplugged acoustic concert, sponsored by the Student Activities Council, will be held at 8 p.m. in the Bromeley Family Theater in Blaisdell Hall. Tickets are free for students, $5 for faculty and staff, and $10 for the general public.

The band, composed of lead singer/songwriter Eliot Sloan, bassist Tony Clark, guitarist Bryan Billhimer and drummer Shaun Schaefer, will perform pop, R&B and folk music.

“It is exciting to have a band with so many hits close out the Winter Week festivities,” said Christina Graham, director of student activities. “When contracting the band, the SAC students decided to go with their ‘unplugged’ concert. They felt that it would showcase the band as well as the acoustics in the intimate setting of the Bromeley Family Theater bette…

Hickey Dining Hall Goes Trayless

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By Tom Missel
Director of Media Relations/Marketing


Hickey Dining Hall at St. Bonaventure University has begun serving up a helping of energy savings and waste reduction with each meal.

St. Bonaventure has joined the growing list of campuses nationwide that have eliminated trays in their dining facilities in a move embraced by conservation-conscious students.

Dining hall trays contribute significantly to the waste stream by encouraging diners to take more food than they can eat and adding to the stack of dirty dishes to be washed after each meal.

Aramark Dining Services, a dining provider at 500 campuses including St. Bonaventure, measured food wasted from more than 186,000 meals served at 25 institutions and found that removing dining hall trays reduced the waste generated per person by 25 to 30 percent.

Aramark had the numbers to support going trayless and campus communities had the resolve. In a survey of more than 92,000 students, faculty and staff at 300 institutions across the cou…

Judge Says Casino Can Stay Open

The Seneca Nation has won another legal battle.

US District Judge William Skretny has denied a motion to close the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, citing a new National Indian Gaming Commission ordinance that now authorizes gaming on the site.

Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County had argued a previous gaming ordinance approved in July, 2007, was illegal.

The Senecas have operated a temporary casino off Michigan Avenue since July 2007. Last year, they started building a larger facility that they planned to open next year. But in August, they stopped construction because of economic difficulties. They haven't said when construction will resume.

Read the judge's ruling HERE. (PDF)

Man Ordered to Stand Trial for
Senator Rhoades' Death

A man has been ordered to stand trial on vehicular homicide and drunken driving charges in a head-on crash that killed Senator James Rhoades.

Thomas Senavitis appeared at a preliminary hearing today on charges stemming from the October 17 collision. Rhoades, the seven-term Republican from Schuylkill County died the following day.

Prosecutors say Senavitis had a blood-alcohol level more than four times the legal limit when his pickup truck crossed the center line and smashed into Rhoades' Cadillac on Route 209 in the Poconos.

Senavitis denies he was drunk. He says Rhoades veered into his lane to avoid hitting a minivan that was parked on the shoulder.

Specter Supports SCHIP

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) voted in favor of the State Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act. The U.S. Senate voted late last night, by a vote of 66-32, to renew the joint state-federal program.

The bill is aimed at providing health insurance to children from working families who earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid.

“It is imperative that we take steps to ensure health care coverage for our most important resource, our children,” Senator Specter said in a floor statement. “Congress can, and should, act to make sure children's health care does not suffer as a result of the economic downturn.”

Senator Specter also noted that the bill enjoyed less bipartisan support than its predecessor in the 110th Congress: “The legislation was revised without working across the aisle, which has resulted in a bill that is not as widely supported as its predecessor. Children's health is the wrong issue on which to push partisan politics.”

The House …

Man Hit By Buffalo Snowplow Dies

A 42-year-old man hit by a snowplow in Buffalo last Friday died early this morning in Erie County Medical Center.

Allen Andrew had been in critical condition since the incident.

44-year-old Rowan Gaines, the snowplow driver, has been charged with driving while intoxicated.

Andrew was walking on Kensington Avenue near Parkridge Avenue when he was hit by the snowplow at about 4:40 a.m. Jan. 23.

Gaines has worked for the City of Buffalo since 1987.

Rendell Wants New Cigarette Tax

Smokers could be paying 10 cents more a pack if Governor Ed Rendell gets his way.

His proposal is part of his plan to balance the state budget, and he says the additional cigarette tax would raise $50 million a year. He also wants to tax smokeless tobacco and cigars.

Rendell is proposing $150 million a year in new taxes on the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation.

The governor says he expects to cut 100 of the state budget's 750 line items, including funding for anti-drug education, health literacy and a summer program for high school students.

'Super Squibb' Wins Wing Bowl

Jonathon Squibb of Berlin, N.J., a.k.a. Super Squibb, won the battle of the amateurs and the Mini Clubman car at Wing Bowl 17 this morning by eating 203 wings.

For more, including video, go to philly.com.

Cops: Drunk Man Riding Horse

CODY, Wyoming - A Cody man has been cited for public intoxication while riding his horse on a busy street during a weekend snowstorm.

For the full story, go to the Billings Gazette.

Buzz Week in Review

National Fuel Lowering Rates

Erie, Pennsylvania: National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation (National Fuel) has submitted to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) a quarterly adjustment to gas supply charges, which will become effective February 1, 2009, for its Pennsylvania customers. This 8.2 percent decrease will lower the monthly bill of a typical residential customer using one hundred thousand cubic feet of gas annually from $138.48 to $127.13.

According to Nancy Taylor, Senior Manager of Corporate Communications, “Continued decreases in the market price of natural gas make this quarterly adjustment possible. This change reflects the cost of gas that has been, and will be, purchased by the company for its customers.” Pennsylvania utility companies are permitted to update gas supply charges on a quarterly basis to reflect changes in the market price of natural gas. National Fuel’s next opportunity to adjust gas supply charges will be May 1, 2009. Gas supply charges are passed along to customer…

Penalty Phase of Trial Starts

The penalty phase of a triple-murder trial in Towanda has started.

The jury will decide if 32-year-old Steven Colegrove should be sentenced to death for killing his parents and brother in August of 2007. He was convicted of first-degree murder on Wednesday.

Colegrove automatically gets life without parole if the jury decides against the death penalty.

Prosecutors say Colegrove killed his family to collect an inheritance.

Duquesne Not Happy with Grisham

A fictitious episode involving Duquesne University students is the central plot device of the new John Grisham legal thriller, but it's not exactly the kind of publicity an image-conscious school welcomes.

"The Associate" features a sexual assault by drunk fraternity boys in an off-campus apartment.

Duquesne is not thrilled.

For the full story, go to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Governor Super Bowl Bets Are On

Super Bowl bets between governors of the opposing teams' states usually involve food and team paraphernalia, so you might think Governor Ed Rendell's bet with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer would have something to do with a Primanti Bros. sandwich and a Terrible Towel.

Not this time.

Rendell told me today that the losing team must host a couple from the winning team's state for a long weekend that will include free hotel stays, free restaurants, free cultural events, free sporting events and more.

The winning couple will be chosen by using the Pennsylvania tourism web site.

Rendell also has a bet with former governor and current Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. If things go the Steelers' way on Sunday, Napolitano will be buying dinner for Rendell at a Washington, DC, restaurant of his choosing.

By the way, Rendell's prediction for the game is Steelers 27, Cardinals 10.

Super Bowl Will Delay Schools

No matter what the weather's like on Monday – Pittsburgh schools will be on a two-hour delay.

School district officials say by delaying the start of school, they hope they'll reduce absenteeism the day after the Super Bowl.

School officials did the same thing the day after the Steelers won Super Bowl XL three years ago.

Cops: Man Sold Stolen Newspapers

PHILLIPSBURG | A man who delivered The Express-Times to at least a dozen customers for three years was arrested Wednesday.

The problem? He doesn't work for the newspaper and was delivering stolen goods, police said.

Michael Farrell, 53, was arrested for allegedly stealing newspapers from Express-Times boxes in the Phillipsburg area then selling them to people who thought they were paying for a subscription, Phillipsburg police said.

For the full story, go to Lehigh Valley Live.com.

Obama Going With Steelers

WASHINGTON (AFP) — President Barack Obama on Thursday backed the Pittsburgh Steelers to triumph in Sunday's Super Bowl, snubbing the "Cinderella story" Arizona Cardinals.

"Other than the Bears, the Steelers are probably the team that's closest to my heart," Obama told reporters in the Oval Office, after a meeting with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

for the rest of the story, go to AFP

Blagojevich Ousted

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Senate voted unanimously Thursday to convict former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in his impeachment trial, making him the first Illinois governor to ever be removed from office by way of impeachment.

For more, go to the Morning Sun.

Pictures of Monday's Fires

If you'd like to see pictures of two of the three fires in Bradford/Bradford Township on Monday, go to the Bradford Township Volunteer Fire Department web site.

Backpack to Briefcase at UPB

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The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford will hold a career development seminar from 10:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, in the Frame-Westerberg Commons.

Organizers chose the theme “Lead with Your Strengths” to help students understand the importance of identifying and taking advantage of their best qualities as they contend with the challenges of the current economy.

The keynote speaker for the event is alumnus Mark P. Benton ’74-’75, a speaker, writer and founder, owner and president of Tri-County Events Inc., a company that delivers a wide range of sporting events, including camps, clinics, leagues and banquets. He has worked in both radio and television as a color commentator for high school and college football and basketball games. He serves on the education faculty at Medaille College in Buffalo.

In addition to Benton’s talk, alumni will present a variety of workshops and offer mock interviews.

Lindsay Hilton Retchless ’98, di…

State Money for Treatment Plant

A project in Tioga County is one of 49 projects sharing millions of dollars in state grant money to expand the clean energy and biofuels industries.

Babb Creek Watershed Association, Inc. will receive $428,710 for a 53 kilowatt microhydro turbine on the Antrim acid mine drainage treatment plant.

The Antrim treatment plant will save $9,400 a year, with excess to be sold, generating $17,300 annually. The plant treats 1,800 gallons per minute of acidic mine drainage, one of the state’s most difficult environmental challenges.

The grants announced today, which include $7.2 million through the Energy Harvest program and $6.5 million through the Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant program, will support projects in at least 25 counties and will leverage more than $53.1 million in private investments. The projects are also expected to create at least 77 jobs.
Scarnati said the Babb Creek Water Association will install a 53 kilowatt microhydro turbine on the discharge side of the Antrim acid mine …

Steelers R Good -- Part II

In case you couldn't get to Smokin' Section's web site, here's the song:

Steelers R Good.

Thanks Mick!

Associate Praises Fumo Dealings

Former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo's top lawyer in Harrisburg yesterday praised the tough bargaining by his boss that led Peco Energy Co. to freeze its rates and contribute millions to a nonprofit now at the center of a sweeping indictment against the powerful Democrat.

For the full story, go to philly.com.

New Exam for Corrections Officers

State Senator Catharine Young (R,I,C - Olean), in conjunction with the New York State Department of Corrections, has announced a new exam for correction officers. It will be held April 4, 2009 with a filing deadline of February 17,2009 under the auspices of the New York State Department of Civil Service.

Correction officer positions are located throughout the state in various correctional facilities. Under the direct supervision of a higher-ranking officer, correction officers are responsible for the custody and security, as well as the safety and well-being of criminal offenders. Officers supervise the movement and activities of inmates, make periodic rounds of assigned areas, conduct searches for contraband, maintain order within the facility, and prepare reports as necessary. Officers advise inmates on the rules and regulations governing the operation of the facility and assist them in resolving problems. They have a high degree of responsibility for their actions and decisions and …

Murder Charges Bound to Court

Murder charges against three people in connection with the death of a Tionesta man last month have been bound to Warren County Court.

Cory Altman, Susan Yeager and Robert Pessia are all charged with murdering Shawn Yeager on December 5.

Police say Altman is the one who shot Shawn Yeager with a hunting rifle, but Susan Yeager, the victim's estranged wife, actually hatched the plot.

Susan Yeager and Robert Pessia were originally charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, but District Attorney Ross McKiernan added the murder charge earlier this month.

Authorities believe Susan Yeager came up with the plan because she wasn't getting as much time with her sons as she thought she should. Her sons, ages 12 and 15, found their father's body on the deck of his house.

PSU Releases '09 Football Schedule

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., - Penn State football fans will be treated to a 2009 home schedule that includes visits by three Big Ten bowl teams, a pair of old rivals and Beaver Stadium's 300th game.

The 300th game to be played in Beaver Stadium will take place on Nov. 7, when rival Ohio State visits for the 25th meeting between the squads (series tied, 12-12). The Nittany Lions have an impressive 236-57 (80.5) record in the nation's largest stadium (107,282), earning a 26-2 home record since the Michigan State game in 2004.

For the full story, and schedule, go to the Penn State Football web site.

Causer Reminds Emergency
Responders of State Tax Credit

Active volunteer emergency responders in Cameron, Potter and McKean counties may be eligible for a tax credit worth up to $100 on their 2008 state income tax return, Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) said today.

"Emergency responders provide a great service to our communities each and every day," Causer said. "The tax credit is a small token of appreciation for a job well done."

Under Act 66 of 2008, active members of a volunteer ambulance service or fire ore rescue company can receive a credit of up to $100 against their state personal income tax liability.

Eligibility is based upon how active an individual is within his or her company. Points are awarded to volunteers based on activities such as obtaining certifications, attending training courses and organizational meetings, and through response rates, sleep-in and standby times, holding elected and/or appointed positions, lifetime membership, military leave, and other related administrative and support activi…

Roe Delivers Annual PCG Report

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe today presented the agency’s annual report to the General Assembly, and delivered testimony before the House Game and Fisheries Committee. To view a copy of the agency’s annual report, go HERE.

More Pennsylvanians are Uninsured

HARRISBURG – The commonwealth’s latest statewide survey on uninsured rates shows that more than one million Pennsylvanians lack health insurance coverage – an increase from a similar study in 2004, Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario said today.

“Overall, the study showed that increases in uninsured numbers were seen in almost every category; including adults, children, certain ethnic groups and most geographic areas,” Ario said. “Adults are more likely than children to be uninsured, and this shows up in the fast-growing waiting list for our adultBasic program, which provides subsidized health coverage to adults who have been uninsured for at least six months.

“The waiting list stands at more than 183,000 individuals this week and is projected to grow to 282,000 by the end of June,” said Ario. “This compares to a projected enrollment of more than 41,000; meaning that the waiting list may soon be seven times the number of enrollments unless the General Assembly addresses the problem. Some …

Drug Discount Card Settlement

HARRISBURG - Attorney General Tom Corbett today announced that the Attorney General's Health Care Section has reached a $230,000 consumer settlement with a Chester County company accused of misleading older consumers by falsely implying that its discount drug cards and other products were government-endorsed insurance plans that offered "members" significant savings on prescription drugs or medical treatment.

The consent judgment, filed in Commonwealth Court, requires Frazer-based Peoples Benefit Services Inc. to pay restitution to consumers who file valid refund claims with the Attorney General's Health Care Section by March 24th. The judgment also includes civil penalties and investigative costs, which will be used to support future public protection programs and investigations by the Attorney General's Office.

Corbett said the agreement resolves complaints that were raised in a 2005 lawsuit against Peoples Benefit Services, which was accused of using misleadin…

LiveLine with Gov. Ed Rendell

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Topics we discussed are:
~~ possible furloughs of state workers
~~ local grant money
~~ Dan Surra/Pennsylvania Wilds
~~ Lt. Gov. Joe Scarnati
~~ Super Bowl score prediction

Listen HERE.

Costa Reports on PA Job Ranking

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HARRISBURG, January 29, 2009 – While suffering a net loss of jobs during the national economic crisis, Pennsylvania’s rate of employment change was better than 30 other states in 2008, state Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) said today, citing data released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

From the end of December 2007 until the final day of 2008, total non-farm jobs in Pennsylvania declined by 76,200, from about 5.808 million to 5.732 million. The change of minus-1.31 percent was the 20th best among the 50 states. Only eight states gained jobs in 2008, led by Wyoming’s 2.22 growth rate. Of the 42 that lost jobs, Rhode Island showed the largest rate of decline at minus-4.48 percent.

A closer look at monthly job numbers illustrates just how much Pennsylvania has been impacted by the sudden downturn of the economy that began in late summer and fall. Of the 76,000-plus jobs lost during the year, 75,000 of them disappeared since July.

“We have softened the blow to the…

CDC Recognizes Kane Hospital

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently recognized Kane Community Hospital for its 2008 participation in the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). NHSN is an internet-based surveillance system that tracts all healthcare-acquired Infections (HAI).

NHSN is the primary framework for hospitals nationwide to report health-care acquired infections.

Infections reported to the NHSN are automatically forwarded to the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH), Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4), and the Patient Safety Authority. Reporting to NHSN began February 14, 2008.

The purpose of NHSN is to collect data from a sample of US healthcare facilities to permit valid estimation of the magnitude of adverse events among patients and healthcare personnel. NHSN then analyzes and reports collected data to permit recognition of trends, and to provide facilities with risk-adjusted data that can be used for inter-facility comparisons and local quality improvement activities.

Pictured…

Colegrove Found Guilty

The man accused of killing his parents and brother in Bradford County has been convicted of first-degree murder.

A jury in Towanda reached its verdict Wednesday evening after more than six hours of deliberation in the case of 32-year-old Steven Colegrove.

In August of 2007, he shot his parents and brother. Prosecutors say he was having money problems and wanted an inheritance.

Auditor General Says PA Overpaid
Medicaid by More Than $3 Million

HARRISBURG, Jan. 28, 2009 – Auditor General Jack Wagner said today that the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, through its county assistance offices, failed to make proper Medicaid eligibility determinations on more than 1,600 Medicaid applicants between January 2005 and March 2008, resulting in $3.3 million in improper payments made on behalf of ineligible recipients.

“A dollar wasted is a dollar that could have gone to help a truly needy person receive the medical assistance he or she deserves,” Wagner said. “With the commonwealth facing widening budget deficits, the Department of Public Welfare must do all that it can to monitor the state’s Medicaid program, to make sure all funds are being spent efficiently, effectively, and for their intended purpose. I strongly urge DPW to take immediate steps to tighten its administration and oversight of this vitally important program to ensure that people who are eligible for Medicaid benefits will be able to receive every dollar they…

PA Marine Dies in Afghanistan

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two Marines who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

The following Marines died Jan. 27 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan:

Sgt. David W. Wallace III, 25, of Sharpsville, Pa.

Sgt. Trevor J. Johnson, 23, of Forsyth, Mont.

The Marines were assigned to the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Thompson Votes 'No' on Stimulus

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Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Howard, today voted in opposition to a massive $1.1 trillion spending package crafted by Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats that will do little to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

“There is no question our economy is in dire straits”, said Thompson, a Member of the House Small Business Committee. “But as I have stated throughout this process, throwing money at the problem will not offer the ‘stimulus’ that I agree must occur. Look no further than the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), known as the Wall Street bailout, where the federal government squandered over $350 billion as evidence of a big government solution, and its ill-effect on the economy.”

Thompson, who supported an alternative measure that focused on small business and middle class tax relief, housing and unemployment assistance, remains committed to working with his colleagues across the aisle in advocating for smart government solutions to the many …

Jury Has Triple Murder Case

A jury now has the case of a man accused of killing his parents and brother near Towanda.

32-year-old Steven Colegrove is accused of killing his family members to get an inheritance, but his lawyer told the jury that Colegrove's surviving brother and sister-in-law might have killed the victims.

But District Attorney Daniel Barrett says he has a "rock solid" case, and that the blood of one of the victims was found on a shotgun in Deposit, New York, where Steven Colegrove lived.

Barrett is seeking the death penalty.

The victims of the August 8, 2007, murders are Colegrove's father, Joseph; his mother, Marlene, and his brother Michael.

Rapp: Abolish 'Capital Punishment'
to Spur Job Creation in the State

Eight days before the governor’s annual budget address, State Representative Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Forest/McKean) joined with State Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) and more than a dozen other fiscally conservative House Republicans in the state Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday to offer several government-limiting solutions that are designed to put Pennsylvania Taxpayers First.

Citing Pennsylvania’s near-bottom-of-the –barrel national rankings in job growth, personal income growth, and population growth, Rapp called for the immediate “abolishment” for some of the Keystone State’s highest business tax rates or “capital punishments” to spur job creation.

“In short, increasing business taxes or regulatory fees to pay for fiscally-irresponsible General Fund spending and borrowing is a formula for government-assisted, economic suicide,” said Rapp. “The simple fact remains that whenever businesses are paying more money on taxes, mandatory employee training and unnecessary legal or regula…

Gov. Rendell on Thursday's LiveLine

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State legislators have started working on the budget earlier than usual because of the looming deficit for this year and the implications that has for next year.

But they're also working in a spirit of bipartisanship. Senator Mike Stack talked about that today on the Senate floor.

Tomorrow on the LiveLine, I'll be talking with Governor Ed Rendell about what the budget crisis means for McKean County.

Sen. Stack's remarks

'Steelers R Good'

If you've heard the song on WESB -- or you've heard of the song ... Now you can listen to it anytime you want by going to the Smokin' Section web site and clicking on "Play List." By the way, Chuck Sirko is the Chuck of Mick 'n' Chuck and he'll be talking with Frank Williams later this week about some big Super Bowl plans.

Big thanks to Kristina for letting us know about the song!

Casey Statement on Climate Change

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement at today’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing addressing Global Climate Change: The Road to Copenhagen where former Vice-President Al Gore testified.

“Mr. Chairman, thank you for calling today’s hearing on a very important issue facing our nation and the world today. The threat of catastrophic global warming may seem to be a second priority after fixing our current economic crisis, but I believe that we if we do not address both simultaneously we are setting ourselves up for another crisis in the future that will have untold consequences on the world’s economy and population. We must work aggressively to fix our immediate problems while ensuring our long-term security and prosperity.

“The solution to global warming is a puzzle with two interlocking pieces. One is our role as part of a global solution. The other is our domestic policy that will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions so that we me…

Two Crash Victims Discharged

Two of four Drexel University students who survived Sunday's early-morning double-fatal crash on Route 15 near here were discharged Tuesday from Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, a nursing supervisor said.

Andrew F. Cardamone, 19, of Philadelphia and a passenger in his 2002 Chevy Trailblazer, Kevin MacDonald, 18, also of Philadelphia were discharged from the hospital while another passenger, Eric S. Rayburn, 18, of Quakertown, remained in fair condition at Geisinger. A third passenger, Adam D. Marsh, 20, of Collegeville now is reported in fair condition at Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre

For the full story, go to the Williamsport SunGazette.

'This Chicken Needs to Go'

We all know that mayors get phone calls about snow removal, blighted properties, crime, etc. But Mayor Tom Riel is dealing with a problem Mayor Michael Nutter in Philadelphia and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl in Pittsburgh probably don't have to deal with.

Listen to a complaint HERE.

Riel says there is an ordinance regulating pet chickens, but this is a stray chicken.

UPB Honored for Work with CARE

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The National Association of Division III Athletics Administrators has honored the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford for its work with McKean County CARE for Children.

The Pitt-Bradford department of athletics was selected as an honorable mention award winner of the NADIIIAA/Jostens Community Service Awards for its ongoing projects during the 2007-08 academic year.

The award was presented to Lori Mazza, director of athletics and recreational sports, at the NCAA convention in Washington, D.C., earlier this month.

Pitt-Bradford’s athletic department has made available to CARE the time and expertise of its coaches and athletes as well as its facilities, making possible mini-camps and programs for children with physical and developmental disabilities.

CARE for Children provides pediatric health and therapy services, early childhood education programs, and community outreach programs for children of all abilities in McKean County and the surrou…

Hall of Fame '09 Class Announced

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. - Jim Baron `77, Anna Belliveau `99, Jean Pascal Gingras `98, and Father Gerald T. McCaffrey O.F.M. `54 will represent the St. Bonaventure's Athletics Hall Of Fame Class of 2009, released by the athletic department on Tuesday morning.

Baron served as both a player and a coach for the men's basketball team, Belliveau was one of the most dominate female swimmers in school history, Gingras was a standout tennis player and McCaffrey was a team chaplain and moderator for the athletic department.

For the full story, go to go bonnies.com.

Teenager Loses Hand, Leg
After Lighting Firecracker

A 17-year-old youth has admitted to Latrobe police he was playing with a powerful firecracker inside his grandmother's home when it exploded in his lap, causing him to lose his right hand and leg on Jan. 10.

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

Settlement With Countrywide

HARRISBURG - Attorney General Tom Corbett today announced that the Attorney General's Office has reached a more than $150 million settlement with Countrywide Financial Corporation to obtain mortgage relief and cash assistance for thousands of Pennsylvania residents with loans through Countrywide.

Corbett said his office has been investigating Countrywide for several months and the investigation has centered on the subprime mortgages that were sold through Countrywide.

"Thanks to this agreement, Pennsylvania homeowners will now receive direct relief that will make a real difference, helping consumers caught in the subprime lending crisis," Corbett said. "We allege that Countrywide's practices misled many Pennsylvanians and encouraged them to take out loans they did not understand and ultimately could not afford."

More than 10,000 Pennsylvania homeowners may be eligible for loan modification, relocation assistance and mortgage foreclosure relief as part of the n…

3 Arrested in Stolen Ticket Scheme

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Attorney General Tom Corbett today announced that agents from the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation have arrested three Allegheny County residents accused of conspiring to steal and resell tickets to popular concerts at the Benedum Center, in Pittsburgh, as well as using stolen credit card information to purchase tickets for later sale.

Corbett identified the defendants as Anthony Vaughn Davis, 50, and Madge L. Hayes, 47, both of 4422 Sweetbay St., Pittsburgh, and Robert Patrick Conderato, 38, 3326 Cambria St., Munhall.

Corbett said that Davis allegedly used his position as a call center employee at the Benedum Center to intercept tickets that had been purchased for popular shows such as the Lion King, Australian Pink Floyd and Dolly Patron. The tickets were sold for cash using Internet classified ads on the Craigslist website, with the assistance of Davis’ fiancĂ©, Hayes, who allegedly used home and work computers to communicate with potential buyers.

According to th…

Ex-Soul Manager Suing Bon Jovi

The former sales manager for the Philadelphia Soul arena football team is suing club owner Jon Bon Jovi and his partners over nearly $125,000 he says he's owed.

For the full story, go to philly.com.

Tough Times in PA
But Most States Have it Worse

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Op-Ed by state Sen. John N. Wozniak, D-Cambria, Clearfield, Centre, Somerset, Clinton

A survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures found that by last December, 41 states faced budget deficits totaling a cumulative $137 billion over the next year and a half. Compared with the enormous shortfalls in other states, even some with smaller budgets than ours, Pennsylvania’s $2-to-$4 billion financial hole leaves us better off than most.

That is not much consolation to Pennsylvanians – either taxpayers or public officials -- as we wrestle here at home with the pain of the worst nationwide financial crisis since the Great Depression. It doesn’t make the laid off worker or the owner of a shuttered small business feel much better. But it does help us understand our current situation, and puts it in some perspective.

Governors and lawmakers in 41 states, who had previously been balancing their budgets regularly for years, did not suddenly become irresponsible sp…