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Saturday, February 7, 2009

CNN: A-Rod Tests Positive

From CNN's Breaking News: Baseball star Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in 2003, sources tell Sports Illustratd.

For more, go to SI.com.

Happy Birthday to ..

Jim Pasinski

Forest Ministry Needs Help

That bump in the road didn't stop Allegheny Forest Ministries, which found another property for its Kinzua Youth Retreat House. But now the Christian ministry is struggling to avoid a financial pothole.

Although based in McKean County, the ministry's board also has representatives from Erie, Potter and Warren counties.

For the full story, go to the Erie Times-News.

Searching for Isa

As you may have heard on Ad Line and read on Talk About Bradford, Isa, a yorkie-poo mix dog has been on the run for nearly 2 months.

She's been sighted all around Bradford – most recently in the Euclid and Homestead avenue area yesterday afternoon.

Today, several concerned people have organized a search party to help find Isa. If you're interested in helping, meet at the Dresser's parking lot on Euclid Avenue at 2 p.m. today.

~~~

In a related story ...

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A golden retriever named Buck that darted from his owners last summer after being spooked by a train whistle and went missing for six months is back home in Washington state, thanks to several residents of rural north-central Montana.

For the full story, go to The Associated Press.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Scarnati's Toll-Free Number Misprinted in Coudy Phone Book

The toll-free phone number for Senator Joe Scarnati's (R-Jefferson) district office was misprinted recently in the Coudersport phone directory. The correct number is 877-787-7084.

Scarnati urged residents to make a note of the proper number in case they need to access information available in his district offices.

"My district offices can provide residents with a wide range of information on programs and services available to individuals and families in our area," Scarnati said. "I would urge Coudersport residents and those in surrounding communities to ensure they have the proper number listed to reach me if they have any concerns or problems with state agencies."

Healthy Heart Walks at BRMC

Getting fit and healthier gained heightened focus Friday at Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC) for employees and members of the community who took time to exercise their hearts. More than 140 BRMC employees and community residents participated in one of three “Healthy Heart Walks” held inside the hospital. As part of National Wear Red Day, designed to promote awareness of heart disease and stroke in women, BRMC physicians led walkers on a quarter-mile loop which took about 10 minutes to complete. The walks were held at 7 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. Leading the lunchtime walk were (from left) Mark J. Welch, M.D., Jill Owens, M.D., and Steven C. Herrmann, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.S.E., director of Cardiovascular Services at BRMC’s Heart Center. All of those participating got a free T-shirt donated by the Bradford HealthWorks Project, a health initiative of BRMC, the Center for Rural Health Practice at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, Zippo Manufacturing Co., and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. Some hardy individuals followed David K. Godfrey, M.D., on a snowshoe trek along Pitt-Bradford’s Richard E. McDowell Community Trail. The snowshoes and red scarves for the oudoor participants were provided by Susan Godfrey of The Fran Charles Shop in Bradford. The Healthy Heart Walks were sponsored by BRMC’s Employee Wellness Committee.
(Photo courtesy of BRMC)

UPB to Celebrate Darwin Day

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford will celebrate the bicentennial of the birth of Charles Darwin with a musical performance and lecture by a noted Darwin scholar and impersonator, scientific displays and a nature hike.

All events are free and open to the public.

The celebration will begin at 9 a.m. with demonstrations and displays until 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, in the Mukaiyama University Room of the Frame-Westerberg Commons. A birthday cake for Darwin will be served at 11:30 a.m.

At noon, Richard Milner, author of the forthcoming “Darwin’s Universe: Evolution from A to Z” with a foreword by Stephen Jay Gould, will give the lecture “Charles Darwin: Evolution of a Naturalist,” which promises to expound on Darwin’s adventures with dinosaur diggers, slave owners, flower-breeders and coral reefs. The lecture will also take place in the University Room.

Isabelle Champlin, assistant professor of anthropology and Darwin Day organizer, said Milner’s afternoon lecture will provide his audience with some little-known facts and information about the personal life of the influential scientist.

At 2 p.m., Dr. Dessie Severson, retired professor of biology, will lead a nature walk along the Richard E. McDowell Community Trail. Hikers should assemble at the University Room in the Commons. Hot cocoa will be available upon their return.

At 7:30 p.m., Milner will take on the persona of Darwin to present “Charles Darwin: Live & in Concert,” a one-man musical, at 7:30 p.m. in the Studio Theater in Blaisdell Hall.

Darwin was the author of “On the Origin of Species,” which was the first publication to present the scientific theory that populations evolve over generations through natural selection. This year also marks the 150th anniversary of the book, first published in 1859.

The theory of evolution was controversial in Darwin’s time and remains controversial in the United States today, although it is accepted by the majority of scientists from many disciplines around the world, and also by the majority of Christians, according to Champlin.

“I think it’s extraordinary that Pitt-Bradford has him for Darwin Day itself – he was in demand in London and Miami. We’re extremely fortunate to have him.”

The evening performance will be a one-man musical in which Milner portrays Darwin singing “very funny songs,” Champlin said. “They’re very clever.”

Milner’s songs from the show have been featured on National Public Radio and The Wall Street Journal. He has appeared on Nova TV programs and on Discovery, History and Animal Planet channels, and his show has been performed in England, Germany, Australia, Scotland and on board a cruise ship in the Galapagos Islands.

The musical includes a cast of historical figures, including zoologist Thomas Henry Huxley; high school teacher John T. Scopes, who was tried for teaching evolution; romantic French singer Maurice Chevalier (singing the evolutionary love song “When You Were a Tadpole (and I Was a Fish)”; and renowned Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould.

When he’s not portraying Darwin on the road, Milner is an anthropologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. He is the author of “The Encyclopedia of Evolution” as well as many articles in Scientific American and Natural History Magazine.

Darwin Day was started by the Albany, N.Y.-based Institute for Humanist Studies in 1995, and this year will be celebrated in 38 countries. It is the third year Pitt-Bradford has participated in this “celebration of science and scientific discoveries.”

Photo of Richard Milner as Charles Darwin courtesy of Pitt-Bradford

Disney Creates Pausch Fellowship

The Walt Disney Company has donated money for two three-year fellowships at Carnegie Mellon University in honor of Randy Pausch the inspirational professor who died of pancreatic cancer in July.

The Disney Memorial Pausch Fellowships will go to a fine arts student and one in computer science.

Pausch became famous for "The Last Lecture," a best-selling inspirational book that grew out of a lecture about dealing with his illness that became famous as an online video.

Man Trying to do Good Deed
Sets Fire to His House

A man who was trying to do something nice for a neighbor this afternoon ended up setting fire to part of his house.

Bradford City firefighters say David Nichols of 159 South Avenue told them an extremely large icicle forms on his house every year and, every year, falls and damages the neighbors' siding.

He was trying to thaw the icicle with a 20-pound propane tank and hand torch, when the eaves on his house caught on fire. The fire spread to the attic, but firefighters were able to contain it.

Firefighters say quite a bit of damage was done to the roof, but that's because shingles had to be removed to make sure there was no fire underneath them.

12 firefighters were on the scene for about 2 hours. The Nichols house is insured.

Scarnati Bill Would Return Funds From Legislative Accounts

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) is preparing to introduce legislation that would transfer a significant portion of surplus funds from legislative accounts to the General Fund.

Senate Bill 10 would leave sufficient funds in legislative accounts to continue operations for up to four months in the event of an emergency or budget impasse. The bill would require that all funds in excess of this reserve be returned to the General Fund after each fiscal year.

"It is critical for state government to tighten its belt during this recession, and we must look for every possible avenue to help taxpayers," Scarnati said. "This funding would provide a much-needed boost to the General Fund without compromising the General Assembly's ability to operate in a crisis or an impasse."

It is estimated that Scarnati's legislation will return over $100 million to the General Fund this year to help balance the budget. "These funds will aid us in eliminating the Commonwealth's current budget deficit without raising taxes on hardworking Pennsylvanians or businesses," said Scarnati.

Scarnati has been a leader in promoting efficiency in state government. Since 2006, the yearly appropriation to the Senate has dropped six percent, and the number of employees in the Senate Republican Caucus has been reduced approximately 9 percent.

Bradford Man Among Latest
Child Predator Unit Arrests

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Tom Corbett today announced that agents from the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit have made a series of recent arrests, including men from Lehigh, Erie and McKean counties who are all accused of sending sexually explicit webcam videos to what they believed were children. Agents have also filed new criminal charges, related to illegal child pornography, against a Lehigh County man who was arrested in September 2008 after allegedly using the Internet to sexually proposition a child.

Corbett identified the defendants as:

· William C. Moyer, 43, 1854 Siegfriedale Road, Breinigsville, Lehigh County.

· Christopher A. Sims, 25, 6510 East Lake Road, Erie.

· Jonathan E. Farnham, 25, 2 Bushnell St., Bradford.

· Paul A. Marmon, 62, 1897 Molinaro Drive, Allentown.



“Over the past four years the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit has arrested 189 men who have tried to use the Internet to sexually proposition children,” Corbett said. “Especially now, when winter weather has children spending more time indoors and online, it is vital for parents to regularly discuss computer safety with their children, and urge kids to immediately report anyone who sends them sexually explicit messages, photos or videos.”

William C. Moyer

Corbett said that Moyer is accused of using Instant Message programs and email to send a series of nude photos to an undercover agent who was using the online profile of a 13-year-old girl. The first photos were allegedly sent during their initial online chat.

According to the criminal charges, Moyer instructed the girl to quickly dispose of the nude pictures, telling her, “just remember to delete them so your parents don’t find them and you don’t get in trouble.”

Moyer was arrested on February 4th by agents from the Child Predator Unit, assisted by Pennsylvania State Police.

Moyer is charged with two 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.

Moyer was preliminarily arraigned on February 4th and lodged in the Lehigh County Prison in lieu of $75,000 straight bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for February 11th, at 1:30 p.m., before Allentown Magisterial District Judge Charles L. Crawford.

Moyer will be prosecuted in Lehigh County by Deputy Attorney General Michael A. Sprow of the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit.

Christopher A. Sims

Corbett said that Sims allegedly used an Internet chat room to sexually proposition what he believed was a 13-year-old girl, sending her at least six nude webcam videos.

According to the criminal complaint, Sims also proposed to meet the girl and described in graphic detail the sex acts he wished to perform with her.

Sims was arrested on February 4th by agents from the Child Predator Unit, assisted by Pennsylvania State Police.

Sims 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.

Sims was preliminarily arraigned on February 4th and lodged in the Erie County Jail in lieu of $150,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for February 13th, at 9 a.m., before Erie Magisterial District Judge Mark R. Krahe.
Sims will be prosecuted in Erie County by Deputy Attorney General Michael A. Sprow of the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit.



Jonathan E. Farnham

Corbett said that Farnham is accused of sexually propositioning an undercover agent who was using the profile of a 13-year-old girl.

According to the criminal complaint, Farnham sent the girl three different webcam videos, all showing him nude and performing sex acts in front of his computer. He also repeatedly expressed a desire to meet the girl for sex, describing in graphic detail the acts he wished to perform with her.

Farnham was arrested on February 5th by agents from the child predator unit, assisted by officers from the Bradford Police Department.

Farnham is charged with three 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.

Farnham was preliminarily arraigned on February 5th and lodged in the McKean County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for February 25th, at 9 a.m., before Bradford Magisterial District Judge Dominic A. Cercone Jr.

Paul A. Marmon

Agents from the Child Predator Unit have filed 66 new criminal charges against Paul A. Marmon, from Allentown, all related to suspected child pornography that was discovered on Marmon’s computer following his arrest by the Attorney General’s Office in September 2008.

Corbett said the photos and videos were identified following an analysis of Marmon’s computer by the Attorney General’s Computer Forensics Unit. The images all allegedly depict children under the age of 18 engaging in various sex acts.

Marmon was initially arrested on September 2, 2008, after allegedly using the Internet to sexually proposition a 15-year old girl from Montgomery County.

Marmon has waived his preliminary hearing on all charges and is awaiting formal arraignment in Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.

Corbett thanked the Pennsylvania State Police, Fogelsville and Erie Barracks, along with the Bradford Police Department, for their cooperation and assistance with these investigations.

Idling Law in Effect Today

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvanians — particularly those vulnerable to air pollution such as children and the elderly — will breathe easier, thanks to a new measure taking effect today that limits engine idling by heavy-duty diesel vehicles. Governor Edward G. Rendell signed the Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicle Idling Act (Act 124) on Oct. 9.

The law restricts heavy-duty diesel vehicles from idling more than five minutes per hour. Truck and bus drivers often idle their engines during rest periods to heat or cool their sleeper compartment, to keep the engine warm during cold weather, and to provide electrical power for their appliances. Acting Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger added that the new restrictions will save the owners of these vehicles billions of dollars a year while also reducing Pennsylvania’s dependence on foreign oil.

“Idling of these heavy-duty engines produces large quantities of dangerous air pollutants that can be particularly harmful to young children, the elderly and people with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis,” said Hanger. “Across the nation, these vehicles consume 1 billion gallons of fuel annually by idling their engines. This new law will protect the health of our citizens, reduce our reliance on imported oil, and drive the adoption of new technologies to meet our nation’s transportation needs.”

Each year, heavy-duty trucks in Pennsylvania emit about 3,200 tons of nitrogen oxides, a pre-cursor of smog and ground-level ozone; 210,000 tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas linked to climate change; and 65 tons of fine particulate matter by burning diesel fuel while idling. Act 124 applies to diesel-powered motor vehicles engaged in commerce with a gross weight of 10,001 pounds or more that are not specifically exempted. Most trucks and buses are subject to the act, though farm-related equipment and vehicles are exempt. Trucks with sleeper berths are exempted during times of low and high temperatures until May 1, 2010, providing a reasonable amount of time for truckers to make alternative arrangements for sleeping, such as using an electrified truck-stop parking space or buying equipment that provides power without idling.

“There are affordable alternatives to idling, and I encourage all vehicle operators to take advantage of them to help Pennsylvanians breather easier and to save themselves money, too,” Hanger said. “At current prices, drivers are spending $2.4 billion a year nationally on fuel just for idling. In May, when diesel prices hit record highs, that figure would have been almost $5 billion.”

The simplest way to reduce idling is to turn off the vehicle. Modern diesel engines do not require long warm-up or cool-down periods or constant idling in order to operate efficiently. The most common alternatives to idling are auxiliary power systems and stationary idle reduction technologies. Auxiliary power systems are devices installed on vehicles to provide electric power. Stationary idle reduction technology provides some type of plug-in system at locations where vehicles park.

The DEP’s Small Business Advantage Grant program has invested more than $1 million on top of the nearly $2 million truck owners and operators have spent to purchase 238 auxiliary power systems.

Casey Named Subcommittee Chair

WASHINGTON, DC- In his third year in the Senate, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has been named the Chairman the Senate Foreign Relations Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs Subcommittee. The Subcommittee will play a key role in the foreign policy debates in the critical regions of the Middle East and South Asia.

“I am pleased and honored to serve as the Chairman of such a critical Subcommittee. Many of today’s most important foreign policy challenges facing the United States fall under the jurisdiction of this Subcommittee. I look forward to working with Chairman Kerry as we address such topics as responsibly drawing down our combat forces in Iraq, reversing a sharply deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, halting Iran’s rapid progress in its nuclear program and revitalizing the moribund Middle East peace process.”

This Subcommittee deals with the geographical region spanning from Israel to India, with Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan in between. Its geographic responsibilities also encompass U.S. relations with the so-called “Stans” of Central Asia, corresponding to the jurisdiction of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs in the Department of State.

This Subcommittee's responsibilities include all matters within the geographic region relating to: (1) terrorism and non-proliferation; (2) crime and illicit narcotics; (3) U.S. foreign assistance programs and (4) the promotion of U.S. trade and exports.

Senator Casey will also serve on the European Affairs Subcommittee, the International Development and Foreign Assistance Subcommittee and the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee.

Specter, Others Introduce
Health Reform Bill

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa) joined with Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Bob Bennett (R-Utah) and a bipartisan coalition of Senators today in offering the Healthy Americans Act (S.391), legislation that seeks to guarantee that every American has quality, affordable health care. The Healthy Americans Act introduced today improves on the version first offered in the 110th Congress with the inclusion of several innovative additions developed and agreed upon by the bill’s sponsors. The list of co-sponsors includes returning sponsors: U.S Senators Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Mary Landrieu (D-La), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), as well as new co-sponsors: U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Lindsey Graham (R- S.C.).

“We have long struggled to adequately cover all Americans with health insurance, and I believe the Healthy Americans Act provides a strong basis for moving forward on this important subject,” Specter said. “I am pleased to cosponsor this legislation which enacts reforms that enhance our current market-based health care system.”

“After decades of debate, our effort is proof that Democrats and Republicans are not only capable of putting partisanship aside, they are ready to work together to finally create a health care system that works for all Americans,” said Wyden. “We look forward to working closely with Chairmen Baucus and Kennedy as well as Republican ranking members Grassley and Enzi to bring the Senate together to finally enact meaningful health reform.”

“Change is the buzz word in Washington today, and the cosponsors of the Healthy Americans Act are working to ensure that we will see positive change for every American when it comes to our health care system,” said Bennett. “Reforming health care has long been viewed as too partisan to touch, but Congress can no longer ignore the bloated spending on a broken health care system, especially at a time when our national deficit has climbed to $1.2 trillion and health care costs are growing at an unsustainable rate.”

In addition to guaranteeing that every American can afford quality, private health insurance, the Healthy Americans Act would: give Americans choice in where they get their health care; modernize the employer-employee relationship by making health care portable from job to job (and continue if you lose your job); promote personal responsibility and preventive medicine, and reform the insurance market so that insurers are forced to compete on price, benefits and quality. The legislation mirrors many of the ideas put forward by President Obama in that it guarantees coverage for all Americans, allows those who are happy with their current health care coverage to keep it and does not burden middle-income Americans with new taxes on their health benefits.

The Healthy Americans Act pays for itself by eliminating administrative costs and changing the outdated tax code which currently gives businesses write offs for even the most lavish designer health plans. The Healthy Americans Act would implement a standard health tax deduction that averages $17,000 for a family of four and provides subsidies so that all Americans can afford quality health coverage. Last year, after analyzing the Healthy Americans Act, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation released a report that found that HAA would be roughly budget neutral in 2014 and would – in subsequent years – generate surpluses. An independent analysis of the Healthy Americans Act was also conducted by the non-partisan Lewin Group, which estimates that -- even with covering all Americans – the Healthy Americans Act could save nearly $1.5 trillion in health care spending over the next 10 years.

In the Senate, the Healthy Americans Act is awaiting action by the Finance Committee. Senators Crapo, Stabenow, Cantwell, Nelson and Wyden are members of the Committee.

To learn more about S.334 please visit http://wyden.senate.gov/haa

Bradford Man to be Sentenced
May 18 for Crash that Killed Wife

The Bradford man who pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter in the death of his wife will be sentenced May 18.

56-year-old Lanny Holly was driving while intoxicated on November 9, 2007, in the Town of Carrollton, when his vehicle went off the road, hit a tree and burst into flames.

He was able to get out of the vehicle but his wife, 53-year-old Carol Holly, was trapped inside the vehicle and died.

Charges Dropped in Case of
'Ham Sandwich Stabbing'

Charges have been dropped against an Erie woman who had been accused of stabbing her longtime companion in the stomach, then making herself a ham sandwich.

The District Attorney's office dropped the charges against 48-year-old Tammy Yeaney after the man who was stabbed – 58-year-old Ralph Clark – told prosecutors it was an accident.

Yeaney's lawyer says the stabbing didn't happen during a fight on December 26. Yeaney was washing dishes when Clark came in to make himself a sandwich. As he was approaching, she turned with a 7-inch knife in her hand and the two collided.

Yeaney's lawyer added that his client doesn't even eat ham.

Man Sentenced for Stealing Bell

A Randolph man has been sentenced to a year in jail for stealing a 500-pound brass bell from a Girl Scout camp.

20-year-old Travis Lundberg took the bell from Camp Timbercrest. It was sold as scrap and destroyed.

Lundberg pleaded guilty to burglary and criminal possession of stolen property.

Rendell Set to Testify Monday

...on Monday Gov. Rendell is scheduled to take the stand, possibly to be followed by (former Sen. Vincent)Fumo.

Rendell is expected to say Fumo and his aides were well-known in Harrisburg for their long work hours. Defense lawyers hope the governor's testimony will help rebut the prosecution allegation that the senator shortchanged taxpayers by having his staff do personal and political work on state time.

For the full story, go to philly.com.

Specter's Save Our Small and
Seasonal Business Act of 2009

U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) today introduced the Save Our Small and Seasonal Business Act of 2009, legislation that will protect small and seasonal businesses from a devastating cut to their workforce by providing an exemption for returning seasonal workers.

“This bill protects our borders, protects American jobs, and rewards people who play by the rules,” Senator Mikulski said. “Without these seasonal workers, many businesses will not survive—they’ll be forced to limit services, lay off permanent U.S. workers or, worse yet, close their doors. As our nation confronts the most severe economic problems in generations, it is critically important that our government take bold steps to protect American jobs and small businesses. My bill does just that.”

“In times of economic turmoil, it is important to address the needs of the small businesses that constitute the backbone of our national economy,” Senator Specter said. “This bill will provide businesses with the resources necessary for continued growth and expansion. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate on this important legislation.”

The Save Our Small and Seasonal Business Act of 2009 will:

· Extend the H2B Returning Worker Exemption that expired on September 20, 2007 for an additional three years;

· Revise the “three year qualifying period” to include H2R worker, in addition to H2B workers. H2R visas are issued to workers who have possessed an H2B visa for the previous three fiscal years, and are returning to the United States to work and;

· Firmly cap the program based on the economic needs of the United States, guaranteeing that employers can only fill the positions with H2B and H2R workers only when no American workers are available to fill them.

Seasonal workers are crucial for the success of many small and seasonal businesses in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Without seasonal workers during peak cycles, many businesses cannot afford to employ American workers the rest of the year. Over the past several years, the seasonal worker visa program has come under increasing stress with the number of applicants reaching statutory caps earlier in the year. This year, the cap was reached on January 7th. Because of this, businesses whose peak seasons come later in the year may be unable to get the workers they need to keep their businesses going.

Senator Mikulski first introduced the Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act in 2004 to address this problem. It was signed into law by President Bush in May 2005, making significant changes to the federal H2B visa program, including: exempting returning seasonal workers from counting against the national cap of 66,000 visas; creating new anti-fraud provisions; and ensuring a fair allocation of H2B visas among spring and summer employees.

Exhibit of WWII Posters at Bona's

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y., Feb. 6, 2009 — An extensive collection of World War II posters is getting its first public showing in years at St. Bonaventure University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

The 62 posters, on loan from Olean Public Library, were produced in the early 1940s by a government information machine trying to rally a nation behind the war effort.

The posters are a fervent call to patriotism, reminding citizens that the success of Allied forces overseas depends on the support and sacrifices of Americans back home. They implore the citizenry to buy war bonds, step up production in the work place, walk instead of drive to conserve gasoline, and to collect for the war effort everything from tin cans to cooking fat.

That the posters exist at all is due to equal doses of foresight and serendipity.

Produced by the Office of War Information and other government agencies, the posters were distributed to libraries, post offices, schools, factories and other public places, said Evelyn Penman, director of museum education at the Quick Center. “These posters were definitely used,” said Penman. “You can see the holes the tacks left in the corners.”

But whereas most of the distributed posters were likely put up on bulletin boards then later torn down and discarded, these came to the library under the watchful eye of the late Maude Brooks, longtime Olean librarian and city historian who died in 1960.

Brooks would take down the posters, fold them, return them to their envelopes, and file them away. They were discovered in a drawer of a case that was to be auctioned off along with other furnishings after the library moved from the old Carnegie building downtown to its present location on North Second Street in the city in 1973.

Robert Taylor, art director at the library, was a new employee at the time. “I had been around museums enough to know that we should hang onto these,” he said.

He also knew how fortunate the library was to still have them.

“The paper they’re printed on doesn’t appear to be much better than newsprint,” he said. “I don’t think they were ever intended to last beyond the war years.”

As money allowed, the posters were matted and framed. It wasn’t until the early 1980s that they would begin to be displayed at the library, but lack of space made it difficult to exhibit the entire collection.

Lance Chaffee, library director, doesn’t remember a time in his 27-year tenure when all the posters were displayed at once.

“That’s what’s neat about the exhibition at the Quick Center,” said Chaffee, “It’s probably the first chance for someone to see them all.”

The collection includes “The Four Freedoms” series, each illustrated with a Norman Rockwell painting, and “The Five Sullivan Brothers,” a poster paying tribute to five Iowa siblings who were killed in the sinking of the USS Juneau in 1942.

“For me, that poster of the Sullivan brothers – George, Frank, ‘Red,’ Matt and Al – says everything,” said Taylor. “I remember hearing of the loss of the five brothers when I was a child. It’s been the most displayed poster since we’ve been in the present library building.”

To view photos of the posters, go to the Olean Public Library Web site at www.oleanlibrary.org and click on “catalogs,” then “art prints.”

The exhibition at the Quick Center runs through April 5. The galleries are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

This Week's Chess League Results

Round 8 chess league action at School Street Elementary on Wednesday, February 4 saw more upsets in both divisions. Justin Wedge, captain of the Northwest Savings Bank Team, defeated Leah Swineford, captain for the Tasta Pizza Team. Although Swineford’s team eked out a narrow victory over Northwest, Leah spoiled her perfect record. Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair held Lang Surveying to a draw. Team Edmond Chevrolet triumphed in its match against the Domino’s Pizza Team. And the Hamlin Bank Team foreclosed on the Drs. Rhinehart Team to maintain the lead.

In the JV division, only Mitchell Forbes, captain for Hamlin Bank, remains with a perfect record in league competition.

In the varsity section, Team Pharmacy at Union Square outscored Team Dr. Laroche. The Bradford Window Co. Team prevailed in its match against the Dexter’s Service Center Team. Team Ed Shults Toyota lost a close one against Dr. Gonzalez Team. And Smith’s Fine Jewelry Team won a slim victory over the Parkview Super Market Team.

Only three individuals in the varsity division remain with a perfect score: Mike Jones, captain of the Dr. Gonzalez team; 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 8:

Junior Varsity Division
Team Score
Hamlin Bank
25.5

Tasta Pizza
23.0

Lang Surveying
21.0

Northwest Savings Bank
18.5

Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair
16.5

Edmond Chevrolet
16.5

Domino’s Pizza
14.5

Drs. Rhinehart
9.5



Varsity Division
Team
Score
Bradford Window Co.
11.5

Dr. Gonzalez
11.5

Ed Shults Toyota
10.0

Smith’s Fine Jewelry
10.0

Parkview Super Market
10.0

Dexter’s Service Center
9.5

Dr. Laroche
9.0

Pharmacy at Union Square
6.5

Get Well Soon ...

Mike Cejka!


As some of you may know, Mike fell on some ice Tuesday morning, broke his ankle in three places and had to have surgery. He won't be on TV for a while.

But, don't fret. Those of you in McKean and Cattaraugus counties can still hear his forecasts for your areas on 1490 WESB and 100.1 The HERO Monday through Friday.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Rendell Rumors in Washington

University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato says he'd be surprised if President Obama picked Rendell (for Health and Human Services Secretary). “That would turn the governorship over to a Republican,” he said.

“I suppose if Scarnati agrees not to run in 2010, and agrees not to reverse Rendell’s policies or fire his appointees, it is possible,” Sabato says.

For the full story, go to the Forty-Fourth Estate.

Specter, Casey, Schumer, Others
Introduce Stimulus Amendment

WASHINGTON, DC- U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Arlen Specter (R-PA), Pat Leahy (D-VT), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Charles Schumer (D-NY) and John Kerry (D-MA) introduced a bipartisan amendment to provide state and local governments with more flexibility in using funds allocated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP).

“A disturbing byproduct of the increased rates of foreclosures is that entire communities are being affected and local economies are being dragged down,” said Senator Casey. “We have to get these neighborhoods stabilized efficiently and quickly and we must give the states the flexibility to allocate the funds so that more families and communities don’t suffer.”

“Halting the wave of foreclosures is critical to sparking an economic recovery,” Senator Specter said. “This amendment includes key provisions of a bill I introduced last year to ensure that more attention, counseling and resources are directed toward preventing foreclosures, stabilizing the housing market and getting the economy back on track.”

“Addressing the housing crisis is a vital step in moving the country toward economic recovery. This amendment will give states tools they need to rehabilitate or redevelop homes in order to stabilize neighborhoods. That will help communities in Vermont and around the country address the issues brought on by increased foreclosures,” said Senator Leahy.

“Foreclosures tear apart families, destroy communities and contribute to our economy’s downward spiral,” said Dodd. “We created the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to give communities resources to combat the effects of the rising tide of foreclosures. Today’s bill and amendment would further enhance communities’ efforts by boosting funding, giving local governments the freedom to direct these funds to the communities who need them most, and providing legal and other assistance to families facing foreclosure. Unless we act now to deal with the effects of foreclosures, the hemorrhaging will get worse – layoffs will increase, more businesses will shutter their doors, and more American families will suffer.”

"A foreclosure isn't just a tragedy for the family that loses its home -- it is also a drag on the property values of every other home in that neighborhood. This measure will provide communities with critical resources to stay strong and vibrant in the face of this ongoing housing crisis," Senator Schumer.

“Mayors know their communities better than anyone and they are demanding that Washington do more to end the foreclosure crisis devastating our cities,” said Senator Kerry. “Giving our mayors more flexibility to fight foreclosures is the right thing to do and I’m glad Bob Casey and I have teamed up on this amendment.”

In July 2008, Congress passed and President Bush signed into law the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA). The Neighborhood Stabilization Program was included as part of that bill to provide emergency assistance to state and local governments to acquire and redevelop foreclosed properties that might otherwise become sources of abandonment and blight within their communities. The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) provides grants to every state and certain local communities to purchase foreclosed or abandoned homes and to rehabilitate, resell, or redevelop these homes in order to stabilize neighborhoods and stem the decline of house values of neighboring homes.

Title III of HERA allocated $4 billion in emergency assistance to state and local governments to use for the rehabilitation of abandoned and foreclosed properties in their jurisdictions. These funds were crucial to assist states and municipalities in acquiring and redeveloping abandoned and foreclosed properties that caused neighborhood blight, increased crime, and lost tax revenue.

“People who lose their homes can hardly be expected to help stimulate the economy to a recovery. And the mortgage relief provisions won't work well without availability of legal advice to mortgage holders,” said Thomas M. Susman, Director, Governmental Affairs Office American Bar Association.

This amendment will allow grantees more flexibility in using the funds by:

Permitting up to 10% of funds to be used for foreclosure prevention activities, to be defined by HUD

Allowing states receiving the minimum allocation under NSP to use the funds to address statewide concerns

Setting aside $30 million for legal assistance for low- and moderate-income homeowners or tenants related to homeownership preservation, home foreclosure prevention, and tenancy associated with home foreclosure.

'Losing' a Shackled Prisoner -- Twice

A prison transportation company has apparently lost an inmate being taken to Philadelphia.

Authorities say 33-year-old Sylvester Mitchell was being moved from Florida to face attempted murder charges in Pennsylvania. He was gone when the van arrived in Philadelphia today.

Police aren't sure how or where Mitchell got away. They say he was held in shackles.

There was a similar case in September when a shackled man escaped from a guard at the Philadelphia airport. He was captured a week later.

The company in both cases was Tennessee-based Prisoner Transportation Services of America.

Man Indicted on Firearms Charges

A Clarion County man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for violating federal firearms laws.

64-year-old Morgan Jones of Lucinda is accused of selling firearms without a license fro about 2 years. On September 29, 2007, he allegedly provide.50-caliber armor-piercing incendiary tracer ammunition to a convicted felon.

If convicted, Jones faces 20 years in prison, fines of $750,000 or both.

DEP Appeals Mercury Ruling

Environmental Protection acting Secretary John Hanger said today the commonwealth has filed an appeal with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court seeking to overturn a recent state court opinion that declared Pennsylvania’s Mercury Rule “unlawful, invalid and unenforceable.”

The Commonwealth Court’s Jan. 31 order blocks the Department of Environmental Protection from continued implementation and enforcement of the state-specific mercury rule.

“The Pennsylvania Mercury Rule is a well-crafted, cost-effective program designed to protect our citizens from exposure to mercury emitted by coal-fired power plants,” said Hanger. “Our rule accelerates adoption of proven technologies that would protect public health and the environment.”

Governor Edward G. Rendell’s administration developed the state-specific mercury rule in 2006 following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s adoption of a less protective regulation and emission guidelines that allowed the interstate trading of mercury emissions. Pennsylvania's Mercury Rule, which prohibits mercury emissions trading in order to prevent toxic “hotspots,” achieves at least 90 percent mercury reduction at coal-fired power plants by 2015. The DEP has already approved a number of applications for the installation of controls pursuant to the Pennsylvania Mercury Rule that reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants, as well as approving a number of mercury monitoring plans for these facilities. By appealing the lower court’s decision, Hanger said the state seeks to keep these important controls and monitoring plans in place and provide certainty for power plants that will invest in technologies that protect the public health and the environment.

Heroin Arrest Made in Williamsport

HARRISBURG - A Williamsport man accused of selling heroin in the Williamsport area, was arrested today by agents from the Attorney General's Office and Williamsport Police.

Attorney General Tom Corbett identified the defendant as Nigel Jackson, 35, 2517 West Fourth St., Williamsport.

Corbett said that agents made several heroin purchases from Jackson's residence over the course of the investigation. A search warrant was executed on the home Feb. 3, 2009, resulting in the seizure of 31.5 grams of heroin with an estimated street value of more than $19,000.

Corbett said that the heroin was packaged into 788 small packets, which were allegedly ready for street resale.

Agents also seized a .380 semi-auto handgun with an obliterated serial number and $2,910 in cash.

Jackson is charged with four counts of possession with the intent to deliver heroin, three counts of delivery of heroin, three counts of criminal use of a communications facility, one count of persons not to possess a firearm and one count of possession of a firearm with an altered serial number.

He was arraigned before Williamsport Magisterial District Judge Kenneth Schriner and lodged in the Lycoming County Prison in lieu of $75,000 bail.

Corbett thanked the Williamsport Police Departments Special Emergency Response Team for their assistance with the investigation.

The Attorney General's Lycoming County Drug Task Force is a cooperative drug unit that all municipal police departments in Lycoming County participate in. To report any drug information or drug related activity contact the Lycoming County Drug Task Force hotline at 1-866-688-TIPS (8477). All information received is kept confidential.

Stack: Challenging Path to Budget

HARRISBURG — The current dismal national economic and a projected $2.3 billion deficit in Pennsylvania has put the commonwealth on a challenging path to a balanced budget — a path that includes numerous cuts and a reliance on a proposed federal economic stimulus package.

But today’s budget proposal for the 2009-10 fiscal year is a first step toward addressing those challenges, state Sen. Mike Stack said today.

“This is going to be an extremely difficult year, and we knew this prior to today’s budget proposal because of the worsening economic forecasts,” said Stack. “To say that we’re going to have to roll up our sleeves is an understatement; however, I am committed to working with my colleagues to produce a balanced budget that still invests in education, affordable health care and infrastructure projects.”

Specifically, the senator is encouraged by the budget’s focus on higher education. The budget proposal calls for enacting the Pennsylvania Tuition Relief Act, which would provide public or community college tuition assistance to qualified families earning less than $100,000 a year. There would also be an increase in Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) tuition grants, including funding dedicated to helping community college students.

“Tuition relief is needed now more than ever,” Stack said. “Middle-class families are struggling to send their children to college and unemployed adults are looking to learn new skills or improve their education. If we invest in education, we are investing in a brighter future for Pennsylvania and its citizens.

“I’m pleased that there is a focus on community college aid,” said Stack, whose Senatorial district includes a Community College of Philadelphia satellite campus. “As enrollment in community colleges increases, we need to ensure that these students can afford this quality, affordable education.”

The budget proposal also expands health care coverage to those who need it most by offering more uninsured Pennsylvanians access to the adultBasic program, which provides affordable basic coverage to individuals who can’t afford it. The expansion would be funded by existing state tobacco and community health investment funds, as well as matching federal funding.

“Right now, there are 183,000 people on the adultBasic waiting list, which is nearly double the number compared to last year, and that number will continue to rise if we don’t expand coverage,” Stack said. “Many of these people are employed but have been forced to choose to pay their utility bills and buy groceries over doctor’s visits. By giving uninsured Pennsylvanians better access to health care, we can reduce the cost burden on hospitals and taxpayers.”

The state’s Cover All Kids program would also see increased funding, which would cover an additional 23,000 children.

“No parent should have to choose between feeding their children and providing them with health coverage, so it’s critical that we continue to provide parents with access to health care for their children,” Stack said.

This is Stack’s first budget season as the Democratic vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which develops the state budget.

“It will be a challenging and even painful budget season, but I look forward to working with the other committee leaders to make the best decisions that benefit Pennsylvania,” Stack said. “We have the opportunity to wipe out our deficit and protect our spending for the upcoming fiscal years, so we need to start today to ensure that tomorrow is a better day.”

State Paying for Steelers Parade

The Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl victory parade cost $79,500 --- and the state is paying for it.

City officials say the cost of Tuesday's parade was far less than the $500,000 the city spent for police to patrol several neighborhoods on Sunday to keep rowdy fans under control. That cost will also be covered by a state grant earmarked for regional events.

City officials say no one was arrested at the parade, which about 350,000 people attended.

The Steelers didn't contribute money to defray the costs

Gabler Criticizes Rendell's Budget

HARRISBURG - State Rep. Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk) issued the following statement in reaction to today's budget address from Gov. Ed Rendell:

"As someone who ran for office armed with a desire to effect the real change that voters desired from their elected leaders, I find no good reason to support the spending plan laid out today. The administration's strategy for next year's budget exemplifies the same pattern of spending behavior that has contributed to the state of disorder we now find ourselves in.

"Today we witnessed is nothing less than economic sleight of hand from the administration. The proposal is being portrayed as a spending decrease is in fact just the opposite to the tune of a $705 million increase. This request to spend more comes at a time when our constituents are in many instances being forced to spend less, thereby exhibiting more of the undisciplined habits that have been the hallmark of our governor's time in office.

"This budget relies too heavily on the expected Federal stimulus plan and too little on reigning in our state's past practices with regard to spending. We have no idea what will be coming our way from Washington, D.C., and therefore, we cannot rely heavily on a definitive amount of support. Conversely, $281 million in new taxes plus the continued pattern of borrowing makes it look as though our state's leaders have not learned a lesson from the bad habits that contributed to this crisis.

"We are tasked with serving as stewards of the taxpayers' hard-earned dollars. We must also be examples of good business practices. If the families in our legislative districts ran their households in the manner that we are being asked to run our House (and Senate), they would putting themselves on a certain path to financial hardship. While our constituents make personal sacrifices, we in turn must do more with less and not sacrifice future generations by saddling them with the inevitable debt and tax increases that come with this spending plan.

"We can and must do better than a strategy that imposes $281 million in new taxes. The people of Pennsylvania have been taxed to the limit and deserve a more responsible business model in Harrisburg. This responsibility must start with a refocusing of state funding onto programs that are most effective in assisting those most in need, and a reduction in programs that have been less effective in serving our fellow citizens. My hope is we can find a solution to our budget crisis that more exemplifies state government working hard to give its citizens what they deserve."

A Special Happy Birthday to ..


Dorie Meabon!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Rep. Glenn Thompson Appointed to
Education and Labor Committee

U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, was informed by the House Republican Leader this afternoon that he has been appointed to the House Education and Labor Committee. This appointment is in addition to the Thompson’s seat on the Agriculture and Small Business Committees.

“I’m delighted to accept this additional assignment and look forward to serving on the Education and Labor Committee,” said Thompson. “The Fifth District is home to 52 school districts and a host of post secondary institutions that provide critical services to our communities and training to our students. This appointment will ensure that their voices continue to be heard and concerns addressed when Congress debates the No Child Left Behind reauthorization later this session. ”

The Education and Labor Committee's purpose is to ensure that Americans' needs are addressed so that students and workers can move forward in the competitive global economy. The Committee and its five Subcommittees oversee education and workforce programs that affect all Americans, from early learning through secondary education, from job training through retirement.

“Congressman Thompson is a tremendous addition to the Education and Labor Committee. He will be a powerful advocate for education reform and a strong American workforce, and I know he will provide outstanding leadership on these issues for Pennsylvanians and for all Americans,” said Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), the top Republican on the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee.

Congressman Thompson also voiced his strong commitment to expanding technical education and job training opportunities within the Fifth District. “Career and Technical Education is critically important to meeting the needs of the 21st century workforce. With our natural gas boom in Pennsylvania, a skilled workforce will be needed to meet these new demands. This is an exciting opportunity and I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that we meet those needs.”

Thompson was appointed by Ranking Member McKeon to serve on the Higher Education, Lifelong Learning and Competiveness Subcommittee and the Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities.

Boscola: Phase-In of Higher,
Deregulated Rates Will Help

HARRISBURG (FEB 4, 2009) – Hard economic times will make it harder to balance this year’s state budget.

But, a phase-in of higher, deregulated electric rates will help millions of Pennsylvanians stretch their family budgets a little bit further during the current recession, according to State Senator Lisa M. Boscola.

During his annual budget address to a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives today, Governor Ed Rendell specifically called for a mandated phase-in of deregulated electric rates “to help families weather these tough times.”

Beginning next year, 85 percent of electric customers throughout Pennsylvania will be charged fully deregulated prices, which means some customers will see their monthly bills double in size, Boscola said.

“For the Governor to make rate mitigation part of his state budget address shows that it’s a top priority,” she said. “I commend him for standing up for working families that are hurting right now. Even in good economic times, people would be struggling to pay any bill that suddenly increased by 50 or 60 percent. And right now we are about as far from good economic times as we can get.”

Specifically, Governor Rendell said the following today during his budget address to the Joint Session of the legislature:

“One of the highest priorities in this regard must be to help working families confront the impact of expiring caps on electricity rates.

“At some point in the next 24 months, most Pennsylvania families will experience sticker shock when they open their electric bills.

“Even though some electricity rate increases may be lower than projected, these increases will arrive in the midst of the recession, and make no mistake: they will swamp families that are already having a very hard time keeping their heads above water.

“For this reason, we must work together to mandate a phase-in of the rate increases over three or four years, so that Pennsylvania ratepayers don't get hit with the full cost of these increases all at once.”

Boscola, who serves at the Minority Chair of the Senate Consumer Protection Committee, worked closely with the Governor last year to enact sweeping legislation dealing with least-cost procurement of power, energy conservation, and smart-meter technology.

That new law is expected to save Pennsylvania electric customers over $500 million a year once all of its provisions are implemented.

“When the Governor came to my district to sign that historic bill into law, he said that we’d be working together on rate mitigation next,” she said. “He’s a man of his word and I know for a fact that he is personally committed to making rate mitigation a top priority in the months ahead.”

Boscola said that phasing-in higher electric rates over three or four years makes sense at a time when unemployment rates are swelling and working families are struggling to make ends meet.

“You wouldn’t increase taxes on people by 50 percent during a bad economy like this,” she said. “So we shouldn’t allow power companies to raise electric rates by 50 percent, either. At a time when small businesses are really having a hard time surviving and are already having to lay-off workers, doubling their monthly electric bill is the surest and quickest way to put them out of business. We need to do everything we can to preserve jobs and put people back to work who lost their jobs because of this financial crisis – and that includes keeping the price of electricity affordable in Pennsylvania.”

In addition to gradually phasing-in the projected rate increases over three or four years, Boscola also expressed her support for giving ratepayers a cash rebate or “Deregulation Dividend.”

“Pennsylvania electric customers paid $12 billion to relieve utility companies of their stranded costs,” she said. “We put down a huge down-payment on the promise of a competitive market that would offer customers more choices and lower electric bills. In reality, we all paid for something that the power companies never delivered. I don’t think that’s right.”

Casey Applauds CHIP Bill Signing

WASHINGTON, DC- Following President Barack Obama signing into law the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) bill, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) issued the following statement:

“After two years and two Bush vetoes, we will finally provide health care coverage to more than 10.5 million American children.

“Thankfully, for the more than four million children and their families who will join the more than six million children currently covered, we have a new president and another example of change that has come to Washington.

“When we speak of families and children's health insurance we speak and we think mostly about parents and the relationship they have to their children and what they want for their children. They, of course, want their children to succeed in life. They have hopes and dreams for their children. But, of course, for a parent, and especially for a mother, who is often providing most of the care for a child, her initial hopes, her initial fears, her concerns at the beginning of that child's life are very basic: Will that child be born healthy? Will that child grow and develop as he or she should?

“This legislation will help ensure that the parents of ten million children have one less thing to keep them up at night.

“After this victory, we have much more work to do to improve the quality and affordability of health care for all Americans. As a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee I look forward to being at the center of that debate and to represent the interests of my constituents.”

Scarnati: Tough Choices Ahead

While he is pleased that Governor Ed Rendell took his advice and did not include any large-scale tax increases on working families and job creators in his proposed state budget, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) said the legislature must look carefully at every area of spending and craft a fiscally responsible spending plan.

“We have to put the taxpayers first, particularly in these tough economic times when many families are having difficulties making ends meet,” Scarnati said. “This is the time to closely examine and limit our spending, not to increase taxes or create expensive new programs.”

Scarnati said Senate Republicans will carefully study the $28.9 billion general fund budget for Fiscal Year 2009-10 unveiled by Governor Rendell today.

Scarnati, who lead the fight against tax increases in previous budgets, said that he was disappointed to see that the Governor had proposed an increase in the cigarette tax as well as a new tax on smokeless tobacco and cigars. “I remain opposed to tax increases, such as these, which will have a negative effect on Pennsylvania businesses and cost the state jobs,” Scarnati stated.

He also raised concerns about the way the state will spend federal economic stimulus money, noting that “it’s not going to be around forever so we can’t become reliant on it,” Scarnati said.

Governor Rendell’s proposed budget represents a $1.26 billion increase in spending from last year’s budget. “This type of excessive government spending cannot continue,” Scarnati said. “Just like families and businesses, we must prioritize our spending and live within our means.”

Causer: Spending is Irresponsible

HARRISBURG - Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) said he is deeply concerned by the $28.9 billion budget proposed by Gov. Ed Rendell on Wednesday. The proposal represents a $705 million increase in spending over the current year's enacted budget.

"I seriously question the wisdom of an overall spending increase in this economic climate," Causer said. "The governor's words over the last few weeks - and even today during his speech - do not reflect his actions at all."

In the weeks leading up to the budget address, the governor warned of state employee layoffs and "painful" cuts in spending. In his speech Wednesday, he referred to the nation's economic climate as "the worst economic crisis of our lifetime" and the "worst recession since the great depression." He acknowledged that the proposed federal stimulus package, assuming it passes, is only a temporary solution.

"The governor's actions speak louder than his words," Causer said. "The bottom line is we are expecting ZERO growth in state revenues in the next fiscal year, and we are STILL spending more than this year. It simply makes no sense."

Causer noted that while the spending difference between last year's enacted budget and this year's proposal is $705 million, the governor's decision to freeze more than $550 million in state spending in the current year's plan means the actual projected spending for this fiscal year is $27.7 billion. So the proposed $28.9 billion in spending for next year actually represents a $1.2 billion increase.

Facing a $2.3 billion shortfall in revenue collections for this year's budget, the governor is relying on, among other things, $1 billion in funding from the federal economic stimulus plan and $250 million from the state's Rainy Day fund to balance the current budget.

To boost revenue collections next year, he is proposing more than $280 million in new taxes, including a tax on natural gas harvested from the Marcellus Shale, an increased cigarette tax and a new tax on smokeless tobacco. In addition, he's counting on nearly $2.5 billion in funding from the federal government and $370 million from the state's Rainy Day fund.

"Even if the federal government does follow through on its proposed stimulus plan, what happens when the federal money dries up in two years? While we all hope and expect the economy to be in better shape at that time, there are no guarantees," Causer said.

"Of all the taxes proposed by the governor, I am particularly concerned about the proposed tax on the Marcellus Shale. This resource holds great potential to boost the state's energy supply and create much-needed jobs," Causer continued. "This is simply not the time to enact any new or increased taxes. We need to allow people to keep their hard-earned money so they can spend it and stimulate the economy, rather than hand it over to some government program."

The lawmaker is hopeful a more sensible budget will result from the coming months of negotiations. A 2009-2010 state spending plan is due to be adopted by June 30 of this year.

PSBA Comments on Rendell Budget

The Pennsylvania School Boards Association today commended Gov. Edward Rendell on the proposed $300 million increase for public education. The increase comes despite the size of the state’s budget deficit, deep cuts in other areas of the budget and decreases in education spending in other states.

“We had been anticipating the appropriation levels identified by the governor in his six-year funding plan laid out in 2008; however, we realize the dire financial straits facing state government,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, PSBA’s executive director. “In light of that, the addition of $300 million to the basic subsidy is particularly commendable since it will help to close the adequacy gaps for the commonwealth’s school districts and contain pressure on school property taxes. It is our sincere hope we can return to the governor’s original funding schedule as soon as practical.”

Last year, Rendell laid out a six-year plan to fully fund the adequacy gaps that were identified in the state’s costing-out study that examined the needs and current spending levels of school districts. That plan resulted in a $360 million increase in education funding for the current year and would have increased that to $418 million in 2009-10.

The association remains concerned with the lack of growth in the special education funding line item. “Increases in costs for special education services continue to impact school district budgets,” said Gentzel. “Every time the state fails to increase this line item, school districts have to raise property taxes, cut other programs or reduce nonprofessional staff, all decisions that no school board wants to make.” Gentzel noted that other line items that had received significant increases would have less of an immediate impact on school district budgets.

Rendell also called for the formation of a legislative commission to study the issue of school consolidation and report back with recommendation in one year. The governor added that consolidation can generate a major new source of funding that would benefit students and taxpayers across the state.

Gentzel noted there is no evidence that forced consolidation of school districts would save money or improve student achievement. “Larger school districts mean larger bureaucracies,” he said. “We have serious concerns about such an approach but will be pleased to participate in any discussions on the subject.”

He urged the legislature instead to look at ways in which it could provide incentives for districts that are considering the idea of merging on a voluntary basis. These could include dollars for start-up costs, including feasibility and economic studies and providing ways that districts could draw upon the expertise of others who have already gone through the process.

Gentzel expressed disappointment that the governor did not call on the legislature to examine other ways to help school districts operate more efficiently.

“Several recommendations made by the governor’s own Task Force on School Cost Reduction and his School Construction Task Force have not yet been adopted, and the savings that school districts could realize from the repeal of, or changes to, the many mandates that are imposed on districts by the state also can be redirected to the classroom,” he said. “Mandate relief is one of PSBA’s top legislative priorities for the spring.”

Rendell also called on measures that direct school boards to use their valuable volunteer time to wisely guide district improvement and called for discussions on school accountability, governance and student outcomes. Gentzel pointed out that the association had created a list of six governance standards, including indicators and benchmarks, and a Code of Conduct for school boards to consider. Thus far, more than 400 school boards have adopted these best practices, and that number continues to grow.

“We always welcome opportunities to discuss school governance and look forward to constructive dialogue with the governor and others on that subject,” Gentzel said.

The Pennsylvania School Boards Association is a nonprofit statewide association of public school boards, pledged to the highest ideals of local lay leadership for the public schools of the commonwealth. Founded in 1895, PSBA was the first school boards association established in the United States.

Wear Red, Walk on Friday

As part of National Wear Red Day, Bradford Regional Medical Center’s (BRMC) employees and local residents are being encouraged to participate in one of three “Healthy Heart Walks” set for Friday, Feb. 6, inside the hospital.

Starting in front of HeartStrings Gift Shop in BRMC’s new Outpatient Services Center, employees and those from the community can join the indoor walks that will begin at 7 a.m., noon and 3 p.m., say BRMC officials.

Participants will be led by BRMC physicians on a quarter-mile loop which takes 10 minutes to complete. Those participating will be given a T-shirt donated by the Bradford HealthWorks Project, a health initiative of BRMC, the Center for Rural Health Practice at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, Zippo Manufacturing Co., and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.

“The walk is part of National Wear Red Day when people wear red to show their support for women’s heart disease awareness,” says Beth Price, RN, chairman of BRMC’s Employee Wellness Committee that’s sponsoring the health walk. She also is the Human Resource Center’s education coordinator and the Eployee/Occupational Health Department’s manager.

“We’re welcoming employees and the public to participate -- and to wear red. This walk is to promote women’s heart health,” she notes. “It’s a coordinated effort to create excitement and awareness and to get people healthy,” says Mariann Kahle, a Wellness Committee member who’s also director of BRMC’s Food & Nutrition Services. “”We also hope BRMC employees will remember this path and can walk it on a regular basis to promote fitness,” Mrs. Kahle adds.

The Employee Wellness Committee on Jan. 19 also kicked off a 12-week-long “Biggest Loser” weight-loss contest for BRMC employees as a way to encourage healthy lifestyles and good nutritional habits.

The Heart Truth, a national awareness campaign for women about heart disease, created and introduced the Red Dress in 2002 as the national symbol for women and heart disease symptoms. National Wear Red Day provides an opportunity for everyone to unite in this life-saving awareness movement by showing off a favorite red dress, shirt or tie, or by wearing a Red Dress pin.

In Case You Missed It ...

02/02/09 - Fatal Snowmobile Accident in Limestone
A man died in a snowmobile accident Saturday on Nichols Run Road in Limestone. NY State Police say that 47 year-old Jeffrey Lattery was pronounced dead at a local hospital. State Police say that Lattery was traveling east on Nichols Run Road’s shoulder, and was struck head on by a vehicle.


02/02/09 - Emporium Man Dies in Snowmobile Crash

An Emporium man was killed Saturday in a snowmobile accident in Portage Township. Pennsylvania State Police say that 41 year-old James “Nick” Guisto died following a crash off Crooked Run Road. The State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is in charge of the investigation indicating that the accident was on state park land.

02/02/09 - Infant Dies of Meningitis
A 1-year-old has died in Cattaraugus County of meningitis. The infant, from the western part of the county was not identified. Cattaraugus County Health Department Medical Director Dr. Gilbert Witte says the child had not been vaccinated for the disease, which is spread by mucus or droplets from the nose and throat of an infected person.

02/03/09 - January 2009 One of the Coldest, Snowiest
The month of January 2009 will go down as one of the snowiest and coldest on record. The National Weather Service says the average temperature for the Bradford area was 17 degrees. Only January 1994 and January 1977 were colder on average. The weather service says only January 1977 was snowier. Only three days had no snow this January.

01/30/09 - Bfd Man Pleads to Sex With 9 Year-old
A Bradford man has pleaded guilty to a charge of improper contact with a child. McKean County Court records show that 27 year-old Michael Fanning had been charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a nine year-old female. Fanning will be sentenced on April 16.

Dead Farm Animals in Charlotte

A 48-year-old woman and her 16-year-old son have been charged with 31 counts of failure to provide proper sustenance after investigators found dead and starving animals at their home in Charlotte.

Sheriff's deputies found several cows, goats and sheep in the road that appeared to be malnourished. While clearing the road of the animals, deputies found several dead and frozen animals on Anne Mosier's property.

The Chautauqua County Humane Society was called to the scene to check the well-being of the animals. During the investigation, officials found 18 dead and frozen sheep, goats, rabbits, chickens and game hens buried in snow. Twelve other farm animals and six pets were seized by the Humane Society.

Wednesday, Thursday LiveLines

In case you missed today's LiveLine with David Laskin, author of "The Children's Blizzard," you can listen to it HERE.

My guest on Thursday's LiveLine is McKean County District Attorney John Pavlock, who will be talking about his new "Safe Choices" program.

Smith: Rendell Spends Too Much

House Republicans say Gov. Ed Rendell’s proposed $29 billion general fund budget and his entire spending plan for fiscal year 2009-10 spends too much money as the economy continues to spiral downward, according to Rep. Sam Smith (R-Jefferson County), the Republican Leader, and Rep. Mario Civera (R-Delaware County), the Republican Appropriations Committee Chairman.

The budget unveiled by the governor during a joint session of the General Assembly today includes a spending increase of at least $705 million over this year’s enacted budget. The budget supports the operations of state agencies and state programs.

“Like working families across the state, we must find a way to make government live within its means, especially as we face a $2.3 billion deficit. This is not a year to fund new programs or new spending,” Smith said. “This is gut-check time, and we in Harrisburg must make fundamental changes in our thinking about budgeting. It’s truly a time to find savings and get more value out of each tax dollar.”

According to Civera, Rendell is once again proposing to cut certain effective programs, while also proposing more than $1 billion in new and increased spending.

“Why would the governor increase spending and NOT decrease spending,” Civera said. “We need to look seriously at the various state programs to see what works and what doesn’t in order to prioritize funding.”

According to the legislative leaders, House Republicans recognize the serious budget crisis Pennsylvania is facing and organized six task forces under the House Republican Policy Committee to develop comprehensive strategies that will redesign and refocus the state’s efforts to strengthen the economy and create family-sustaining jobs without depleting dedicated one-time funding sources and raising taxes. The task forces are focusing on six key areas: budget and economic policy, education and job training, energy, health care, transportation and infrastructure, and reforming state government.

“In a year when everyone is tightening their belts, why did the governor let a few loops out?” Smith said. “Today, the governor, speaking of the anticipated federal funding, said ‘These funds do nothing to allay the certain disaster that awaits us in the future if we fail to take the necessary steps to close the revenue gap that exists in the state budget today....the money just puts off the day of reckoning. And the longer we wait to put our own house in order, the greater the deficit will grow...’ And he is absolutely correct, but his words don’t match his actions.

“If the governor was truly interested in ‘putting our house in order,’ he'd have actually cut spending from the bottom line, not hiked it up.”

Civera said he expects the budget hearings this year to take on an added significance because of the state of the economy. There are spending issues to be reviewed, including the need to cut waste, such as the 14 percent of ineligible recipients identified by the Auditor General in the Medicaid program.

The House Appropriations Committee budget hearings are set to be held between Feb. 17 and March 3.

As part of his budget proposal, the governor proposed to create a new tax on the state’s expanding natural gas industry. Smith said the governor should not penalize one of the few bright spots in Pennsylvania’s economic future.

“The Marcellus gas play is a great opportunity for Pennsylvania. It’s going to create jobs and wealth within Pennsylvania, and we should be viewing it as an emerging industry where we could be providing incentives,” Smith said. “Clearly a tax is counterproductive and I think it would be the wrong direction for this state to go.”

According to Smith, if any other industry or business would be coming into Pennsylvania planning to create thousands of jobs and create millions of dollars of wealth over the next few years, state government would be bending over backwards to provide them with financial help. The Marcellus Shale gas industry has the potential to produce wealth and jobs for the people of Pennsylvania. State government should work with the industry and communities to ensure the production is done in an environmentally safe way.

UWBA Getting Closer to Goal

Although continuing to make strides and coming closer to the $375,000 goal, representatives with the United Way of the Bradford Area are asking the local community for continued support.

“We are at 76% of the monetary goal as of right now,” says Assistant Director Mandi Wilton Davis, “but there are still quite a few outstanding pledges we are hoping to include in a final total.”

In an effort to relay the importance of the annual campaign and the agencies and programs which stand to benefit from it, Davis tells a story of a local boy in need of food.

“I came across this young man at the YWCA Food Pantry this summer, and was drawn to him immediately because of his age – I’d say he was five or six years old.

“At one point I glanced at him and noticed he was crying. I heard him turn to the woman with whom he was standing and say that they were too far back in the line and he was afraid they weren’t going to be able to get their food baskets.”

The YWCA Food Pantry is just one of several agencies and programs which receive funding from the annual United Way campaign, all of which benefit local community members.

“I’m sure many people don’t realize how great the needs are,” says Davis, “but, unfortunately, we do have children who go to bed at night worrying about where they’ll place in a food distribution line.

“It’s for that little boy, and for anyone in the community that has found themselves in need of a service provided by one of the funded agencies, that I ask that, if you haven’t made a pledge to the current campaign, you please consider doing so.”

In making the appeal for continued financial support, the United Way is also acknowledging the success they’ve had thus far within the community.

“We’re very thankful to those who have made the choice to give something,” says Executive Director Kristen Luther. “We’re currently at 76% of a substantial monetary goal, and we’re appreciative of every penny that has come in.”

UWBA Board President Dan Manion echoed those remarks, saying that it is clear that the local community is committed to the cause and can make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

“In these difficult economic times, we are encouraged by the support received thus far,” says Manion. “While we have not reached goal to date, there is still time to contribute.”

For more information on the United Way of the Bradford Area or its funded agencies, contact the office or visit the website at www.uwbanews.org.

Senate GOP Responds to Budget

Senate Republicans will carefully study the $28.9 billion general fund budget for Fiscal Year 2009-10 unveiled by Governor Rendell today. The proposal includes a $1.26 billion (4.6 percent) increase in spending.

With January's revenues collections at $261.7 million below projections for the month, year-to-date revenues stand at $13.3 billion with a cumulative collections shortfall of about $1.08 billion (7.5 percent). The Governor is now projecting a $2.3 billion shortfall, and that is just over 8 percent of the total revenues that Pennsylvania had expected to take in during the current fiscal year.

The budget proposal anticipates additional revenues from:

A 10 cent-per-pack increase in Pennsylvania's cigarette tax, to a proposed total of $1.45 per-pack.
A new tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco.
A new tax on extraction from the state's Marcellus Shale natural gas reserves.
A proposal to use $250 million from the Rainy Day Fund in Fiscal Year 2008-09 and $375 million in Fiscal Year 2009-10.
Revenues generated from video poker machines in establishments holding liquor licenses.
Anticipation of $2.4 billion in federal relief funding.
The proposed budget includes the elimination of 101 line items and reductions in 346 other line items. Funding for the Scotland School for Veterans Children, the Scranton School for the Deaf, New Choices/New Options program, and the Civil Air Patrol has been eliminated.

Several grant programs, municipal and community assistance services are proposed for elimination as part of $216.7 million in reductions in the Department of Community and Economic Development budget.

The proposed budget includes a $300 million (5.4 percent) increase in Basic Education Subsidies for Pennsylvania's public schools for a proposed total of $5.86 billion. Special Education funding would remain at the current level of $1.02 billion.

Funding for State System of Higher Education universities would also remain at its current level of $498.5 million. Community colleges would see a $5 million (2 percent) increase for a total of $241.2 million. State-related universities are facing a 6 percent reduction in funding and state-aided schools face a 10 percent decrease in funding.

The Senate's review of the budget will formally begin on February 23 with two weeks of hearings conducted by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The state's current fiscal year ends on June 30.



Pictured, Lt. Governor Joe Scarnati speaks with the media following the governor's budget address. You can hear Scarnati's comments HERE and HERE.

Thanks to Senate Republican Communications for everything!

Gov. Rendell's Budget Address

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell outlined a $29 billion budget Wednesday that would expand spending on education, prisons and health coverage while drawing from federal aid and state surpluses, increasing some taxes and cutting other programs.

The plan is a 2.5 percent increase from what was originally approved for the 2008-09 budget, and would also would withdraw hundreds of millions of dollars from the state's "rainy day" contingency fund without draining it completely.

It does not call for increasing any broad-based tax.

To read the goveror's budget address go HERE (PDF)

To read about the budget in brief, go HERE (PDF)

Senator Young Responds
to 'Wretched Wine' Comment

Albany, N.Y., -- Two upstate Senate Republicans are calling for a leading Senate Democrat, Senator Diane Savino of Staten Island, to apologize for comments she made earlier today that were critical of New York's wine industry.

State Senator George Winner (R-C-I, Elmira), who represents a prominent wine-producing district in the Finger Lakes, and Senator Cathy Young (R,I,C-Olean), ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, said that Savino's comments to the New York Daily News "were uncalled for and surprisingly disrespectful to a leading state industry."

An entry on today's Daily News blog, "The Daily Politics," reports that Savino, who unexpectedly attended a Senate Republican Campaign Committee (SRCC) fundraiser in Albany last night, told the News' Elizabeth Benjamin, "I ate their salami. . . and I drank their wine; it was wretched."

Winner said that the wine served at last night's SRCC fundraiser came from an award-winning Finger Lakes winery, Glenora Wine Cellars, located in Dundee (Yates County).

Winner and Young released the following, joint statement:

"Senator Savino's comments were uncalled for and surprisingly disrespectful to a leading state industry and one of New York's many fantastic wineries.

"The rise of New York’s wine industry is one of our state’s most remarkable success stories, and the men and women responsible for that success deserve better than to have a leading state senator disparage their life's work.

"Our wineries support a statewide industry that generates billions of dollars in economic activity, accounts for thousands of meaningful livelihoods, forms the backbone of tourism from Long Island to the Hudson Valley to the Finger Lakes and across upstate, and brings national and international acclaim to New York.

"We won't pass judgment on Senator Savino's taste in wine, but her comments were tasteless.

"We think Glenora and all New York winemakers deserve an apology, and we hope that Senator Savino quickly gains a better understanding and appreciation of this mainstay of New York State's culture and economy."

New York is now America’s third-largest wine producing state, with more than 250 wineries statewide. The industry employs 18,000 workers and annually generates $3.4 billion for the state economy. Over three million people visit the state’s wineries every year. One-third of these visitors come from out of state.

Beacon Light Announces Lay Offs

Beacon Light has announced a reorganizational plan that includes laying off 25 employees.

About 50 positions are being cut, but some of them have been removed by not filling vacancies.

CEO Rick Seager says the downturn in the stock market has affected the endowment fund, while rates from payers have not gone up and health insurance costs have.

Seager says Beacon Light is developing more community-based services to supplement the decrease in residential care.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What's Black & Gold & Red All Over?

QUESTION: How would a person go virtually unnoticed while attempting to rob a bank?

ANSWER: Wear a Steelers' jacket during the Pittsburgh Steelers' Super Bowl victory parade.

Police say a man wearing a Steelers jacket, and claiming to have a gun, walked into a Huntingdon Bank branch during the parade and demanded money.

A teller gave him a bag of cash containing a red dye pack, which exploded after he left the bank. Police say he tossed the stained money aside and it was all recovered.

Police say they've got a good image of the man from surveillance video and his black and gold jacket is now stained red.

Specter Wants More NIH Funding

Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), along with Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), introduced an amendment to the stimulus package to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $6.5 billion.

The Specter-Durbin Amendment provides an additional $6.5 billion for the NIH - bringing the total to $10 billion over two years - and is completely offset by funds from the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund. The additional dollars would be distributed to each of the Institutes and Centers in amounts proportional to their funding level in Fiscal Year 2008. Economists estimate that the $10 billion provided to NIH could result in the creation of over 70,000 jobs in the health industry over the next two years.

“Including funding for the NIH in the bill will provide needed economic stimulus, enable long-term economic growth and save lives,” Specter said. “The National Institutes of Health have been starved recently. This increase in funding will enable the National Institutes of Health to continue to produce remarkable achievements in scientific advances.”

Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who is offering a second-degree amendment to the Specter-Durbin Amendment which includes no offset, said: “To fix and modernize our economy we need to do the same with our health care system. This investment will allow the NIH to continue to be the premier biomedical research agency in the world. It is vital for the Congress to support our scientists as they search for treatments and cures that could provide hope to millions of Americans.”

Healthcare is currently 16% of the U.S. economy and predicted to reach a total cost of $4.2 trillion within ten years. The NIH is part of the solution to the long-term problems of healthcare costs. Economists have estimated that NIH funds have a two-and-a-half times multiplier effect on the economy and each grant supports an average of seven jobs.