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Saturday, February 14, 2009

PA Soldier Dies in Afghanistan

The Defense Department says a soldier from Pennsylvania has died in Afghanistan.

29-year-old Staff Sgt. Marc J. Small of Collegeville died Feb. 12. His unit was attacked at Faramuz with a rocket propelled grenade launcher and weapons fire.

Small was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg.

Former Olean Man on Flight 3407

A former Olean resident, whose daughters graduated from St. Bonaventure University, is one of the victims of Flight 3407.

Kevin Johnston, a graduate of Olean High School, worked at Henkel Corporation in Buffalo and was returning from a business trip. The plant was closed Friday in honor of Johnston and Douglas Wielinski, the man killed when the plane crashed into his Long Street home. He worked at Henkel until 2003

Johnston's daughter Melissa is a 2005 graduate of St. Bonaventure. Amanda Johnston graduated last year.

St. Bonaventure President Sister Margaret Carney says the university community is saddened by Johnston's death and offers heartfelt condolences and prayers to his family and friends, as well as the others touched by the tragedy.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Alfieri Throws Hat Into Ring

Smethport attorney Tony Alfieri has become the third person to announce his candidacy for judge of the McKean County Court of Common Pleas.

Alfieri has practiced law in McKean County for 25 years, and is a partner in the law firm of Mattie & Alfieri, which has offices in Smethport and Eldred.

Alfieri has never run for political office before but has served as solicitor for boroughs, townships and authorities in the county.

He intends to cross-file and seek the nomination as both Republican and Democrat.

Current McKean County District Attorney John Pavlock and Kane attorney Erik Ross have also announced their intentions to run for the vacant seat.

Bradford Woman's Cousin on 3407

The cousin of a Bradford woman is one of the people who died in Flight 3407 in Clarence Center Thursday night.

49-year-old David M. Borner, of Pendleton, who worked for Kraft Foods, was returning from a business trip in New Jersey. He had planned to leave for a Florida cruise with his family this morning. He has one child in Starpoint High School and another in Starpoint Middle School.

Borner is the cousin of Patti Arlington.

'We're Staring Down a Gun Barrel'

WESB/WBRR News Director

US Senator Bob Casey says rural Pennsylvanians will make out just well as people in large cities when the federal stimulus money comes into the Commonwealth.

During a conference call with reporters Friday afternoon, Casey also talked about why he feels the urgency of passing the bill.

"We're staring down a gun barrel right now," he said. "A lot of families don't have the luxury of waiting. A lot of state and local governments don’t have the luxury of waiting. They have to make decisions."

Among the items in the package he says will benefit the non-urban areas are increased broadband access, money for Pell Grants and Head Start, and funding for law enforcement agencies at all levels.

The bill includes a total of $27.5 billion for infrastructure improvements and also includes money to help state and local governments get transportation grants. Money will also be invested in air transportation, rail and US Army Corps of Engineers projects. Drinking water infrastructure improvements are also included.

Casey said more than $7 billion is earmarked for broadband access which, he says, "in a state like Pennsylvania is critically important because we have a lot of underserved regions of our state – mostly rural – that were, in essence, promised years ago that they would have more broadband capability and that was never delivered. So this is a commitment, in this bill, to help in those areas of our state."

He said money for Pell Grants will help 7 million students across the country, "which is vitally important right now."

Casey added that he's "glad there is a substantial commitment to Head Start." That program will receive $2 billion.

As for law enforcement, he said "tens of millions of dollars will find its way to Pennsylvania" and that "goes across the board."

He said $1 billion will go toward additional COPS funding, but he doesn't know the exact amount Pennsylvania will receive because the grants are competitive.

"There's a lot in (the bill) that we can be very positive about, and I think we should be," Casey said.

But he did say oversight is important to make sure the money is going where it's supposed to go.

"We have to make sure that, over time, we keep an eye on how money is spent," Casey said, adding that he thinks the numbers should be posted to show "how the money is spent. I think that will increase confidence that people have that these dollars are going to get to the right place."

"It's time to vote," Casey said at about 4 p.m. Friday. "It's time to vote to help President Obama get the economy out of the ditch before the economy goes over the cliff."

"We're in a precarious situation," he said. "We have to get this passed tonight.

Thompson: Bill Would Raise Debt

Washington, DC – With an ailing economy and unemployment on the rise, U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, today reiterated the urgent need for Congress to pass legislation that will stimulate the economy and provide meaningful tax relief to middle class families and small business owners, invests in our nation’s infrastructure, and provide assistance for the unemployed.

“Our economy is struggling and America is looking to Washington for leadership,” said Thompson, a Member of the Small Business Committee. “Congress must act responsibly by crafting legislation that is timely and targeted – not simply throw more money at the problem, as the Federal Government did with the Wall Street bail out, and again today, that will have little effect on getting this economy back on track.”

The American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which passed the House largely along party lines – 246-183 – has a price tag of $789 billion and measures 1,071 pages in length. Thompson voted against this package, which on average, will put $8.00 a week back into the pockets of taxpayers and increases the national debt to a staggering $12.1 trillion.

“Having spent 28 years as a healthcare professional, the first thing I learned was, do no harm. Yet, this massive spending measure, disguised as a stimulus package, will provide little aid to small business owners who serve as the economic engine of our economy and leave further generations with only more debt.”

Thompson supported an alternative economic recovery plan that would create 6.2 million new American jobs over the next two years (according to a methodology used by President Obama’s economic advisors) and will only cost half as much as the package adopted today. This measure focused on immediate tax relief for working families, stabilizing home values, and providing assistance for the unemployed and small business owners.

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, only 11 percent of the total spending in the stimulus package passed today will occur this year with over 50 percent occurring after October 2011. In yet another example of big government verses smart government solutions, this measure also permanently expands 73 federal government programs.

Note: Congressman Thompson has received over 3,000 emails, phone calls and letters from his constituents voicing their strong opposition to this measure and urging him to vote down this measure.

Bill Would Protect 1st Amendment

Washington, D.C. (February 13, 2009) – U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today introduced the following six bills that protect First Amendment rights, the Attorney-Client privilege, and correct inconsistent treatment of tax liabilities related to litigation:

Free Flow of Information Act (the “Media Shield” bill)—Establishes a qualified privilege, like the one that exists in 49 States, for reporters to withhold from Federal courts, prosecutors, and other Federal entities, confidential source information obtained or created under a promise of confidentiality. The bill takes into account that, in certain instances, the public’s interest in national security, law enforcement and fair trials outweighs the public’s First Amendment interest in permitting reporters to protect the identify of sources. The bill includes exceptions to the privilege to protect national security, prevent an act of terrorism, or stop a kidnapping or a crime that could lead to death or physical injury. In addition, under this bill, a journalist who is an eyewitness to, or takes part in, a crime or tort may not withhold information on grounds of the qualified privilege. Federal courts have applied different rules in different jurisdictions, and Congress should provide clarity and uniformity. Cosponsors include: Senators Schumer, Lugar, and Graham.

Free Speech Protection Act (the “Libel Tourism” bill)—Grants federal courts the ability to bar enforcement of foreign libel judgments if the material at issue would not constitute libel under U.S. law. The bill deters “libel tourism” suits filed in foreign courts by permitting American defendants to countersue under certain circumstances.

This bill is being introduced because, despite the protection for free speech under our own law, the rights of the American public, and of American journalists who share information with the public, are being threatened by the forum shopping of libel suits to foreign courts with less robust protections for free speech. Cosponsors include: Senators Lieberman and Schumer.

Attorney-Client Privilege Protection Act—Prohibits federal prosecutors and investigators across the executive branch from requesting or conditioning charging decisions on an organization’s reasonable assertion of attorney-client privilege or decision to pay of attorneys fees for an employee. This bill emphasizes that the right to counsel is chilled unless the confidential communications between attorneys and their clients are protected by from compelled disclosure. The Department of Justice has changed its rules three times in the past few years, and attorneys and clients need clarity and an unchanging rule Cosponsors include: Senators Carper, Cochran, Kerry, Landrieu, and McCaskill.

Legislation to Permit the Televising of Supreme Court Proceedings—Requires the Supreme Court to permit television coverage of its open sessions unless it decides by a majority vote that the coverage would violate the due process rights of any of the parties before the Court. This will allow more Americans to see the process by which the Court reaches critical decisions of law that affect the country. This legislation is identical to bills introduced by Senator Specter and approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in both the 109th and 110th Congresses. Cosponsors include: Senators Grassley, Durbin, Schumer, Feingold, and Cornyn.

Legislation to Amend the Internal Revenue Code to Allow an Above-the-Line Deduction for Attorney Fees and Costs in Connection with Civil Claim Awards—Allows taxpayers to subtract from their taxable gross income the attorneys’ fees and court costs paid in connection with an award or settlement of monetary damages in a civil claim. This corrects an inequity in the tax code that results in the double taxation of attorneys’ fees and costs in certain circumstances. This bill seeks to prevent situations in which plaintiffs incur significant tax liability if they must count as income an amount beyond what they actually receive after winning or settling a case. This bill is cosponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy.

Legislation to Amend the Internal Revenue Code to Allow the Deduction of Attorney-Advanced Expenses and Costs in Contingency Cases—Permits attorneys to deduct expenses and court costs incurred on behalf of contingency fee clients as an ordinary and necessary business expense in the year such expenses are sustained, rather than when the case is resolved. The bill clarifies the law to make certain that attorneys who take on contingency fee cases are able to enjoy the same tax treatment as other small business in the country. Cosponsors include: Senators Leahy, Wyden, Graham, Martinez, Landrieu, and Crapo.

Rollover Crash on W. Washington

A Bradford teenager was hurt in a rollover crash at 4:15 Friday afternoon on West Washington Street.

Bradford Township Police say a car driven by18-year-old Nichole Tyger of Gates Hollow went out of control while rounding a curve on the slushy, snowy berm of the road.

The car went across the road and into the drainage ditch, where it hit a culvert and rolled over, coming to rest in the water-filled ditch.

Tyger was taken to BRMC by Bradford City Ambulance. The Bradford Township Volunteer Fire Department assisted at the scene.

Honoring Officer Steve Jerman

Next Friday will mark 10 years since Kane Borough Police Officer Steve Jerman was shot to death while making a traffic stop just outside the borough. In order to honor Jerman and support his family, a ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. next Friday at the Steve Jerman Memorial Site on Route 6. Organizers are hoping that all local law enforcement departments and citizens of Kane will attended the ceremony.

Read more about Jerman on the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Horton Getting Second Hearing

One of the men accused of intentionally spilling 46,000 gallons of oil onto the Allegheny National Forest will have a second preliminary hearing.

Christopher Horton's lawyer filed a motion challenging the finding of District Judge Rich Luther that there was enough evidence to hold his client for trial.

Judge John Yoder remanded the case back to the preliminary hearing phase. District Judge Michael Kennedy will preside over the hearing March 19, in Bradford.

Horton remains in jail, and is facing charges of causing a catastrophe, risking a catastrophe, two counts of criminal mischief, two counts of conspiracy to commit criminal mischief, seven counts of disturbance of waterways and watersheds, and eight counts of pollution of waters.

On August 17, 2008, Andrew Horton allegedly drove his son Christopher to a Snyder Brothers oil lease and dropped him off. Christopher Horton then allegedly opened valves on tanks releasing the oil into the ground and into Chappel Fork and the Allegheny Reservoir.

254 Students Named to Dean's List

Two hundred and fifty-four full-time students have been named to the dean’s list for the fall 2008 term at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

To qualify for the dean’s list, full-time students must have earned at least a 3.5 grade point average during the fall semester. Additionally, students must have earned all letter grades and not have any temporary grades.

Of those full-time students, 37 have earned a perfect 4.0 grade point averages: Leslie K. Shallop, a freshman pre-veterinary medicine major, Kaitlin M. Zapel, a freshman human relations major, Charlotte J. Corey, a junior nursing major, Ashley Shade, a junior criminal justice major, Jamie Jean Keane, a senior business management major, Stephanie Lynn Pascarella, a senior psychology and sociology major, Juliane Elizabeth Rees, a senior business management and economics major and Ashley D. Whiteman, a senior nursing major, all from Bradford;

Heather Renee Rochford, a senior psychology major from Portville, N.Y.; Andrea M. Fields, a senior elementary education major and Heidi Kathleen Holjencin, a senior elementary education major, both from Emporium; Olivia Mosier, a senior criminal justice major from Kersey; James R. Urmann, a senior petroleum technology major from Ridgway;

Jessica R. Catalano, a freshman pre-ASN major, Ashley R. Neal, a junior sports medicine major, and Dana M. Betzler, a senior English education 7-12 major, all from St. Marys; Jessica M. Hamilton, a junior writing major from Wilcox; Christopher M. Leonard, a freshman information systems major, and Sarah B. Dwyer, a junior business management major, both from Warren.

Dianna L. Wadlow, a senior psychology major from Eldred; Brittany R. Gorrell, a freshman history-political science and social studies education 7-12 major from Gifford; Brittany A. Winner, a senior business management major from Lewis Run; Melissa L. Bartlein, a senior elementary education major from Mt. Jewett;

Jennifer Louise Snyder, a senior social studies education 7-12 major from Rixford; Nicole M. Dipilato, a sophomore pre-ASN major from Roulette; Ali L. Mertsock, a junior elementary education major, Jessica J. Visseau, a junior English education 7-12 major, and Debra J. Bell, a senior history-political science major, all from Shinglehouse; Marie L. Tarbox, a senior elementary education major from Smethport;

Gino A. Macioce, a sophomore criminal justice major from Verona; Rachel A. McMinn, a sophomore pre-occupational therapy major from Falls Creek; Ruth Denae Carr, a senior human relations major, and Amanda Marie Enright, a senior business management major, both from Titusville.

Jessica L. Bogart, a sophomore accounting major from North East; Curtis Grant Pfleegor, a senior applied mathematics, mathematics education 7-12 and engineering science major from Howard; Jessica N. Smith, a freshman pre-medicine major from Lebanon; and Matthew Lee, a junior accounting and business management major from New Albany.

Other students on the dean’s list from Bradford include: Maxwell Wilton, a junior history-political science major; Jessi Combs, a freshman English education 7-12 major; Lewis P. Keller, a freshman undeclared major; Ian J. McDonough, a freshman history-political science major, Ashley L. Mollander, a freshman pre-radiological science major;

Shannon A.Stiver, a freshman pre-ASN major; Jennifer Kay Bradish, a junior sports medicine major; Stefanie M. Herrmann, a junior sports medicine major; David Kemick, a junior computer science major; John S. Lonzi, a junior accounting and business management major; Michael James Marcella, a junior biology major; Katherine M. Pitner, a junior criminal justice major; Hope E. Ruffner, a junior accounting major;

Laura L. Bryant, a sophomore criminal justice major; James J. Pascarella, a sophomore information systems major; Jeremiah P. Stiable, a sophomore computer science major; Carly R. Ambuske, a senior biology major; Rebecca Gleason Confer, a senior social sciences major; Jonathan Robert Hannon, a senior accounting major;

Derilyn Heller, a senior sociology major; James A. Kinney, a senior geology major; Evan Luciano, a senior sports medicine major; Jonathan McCracken, a senior biology and psychology major; Susan G. Niegowski, a senior nursing major; Amy Pierce, a senior business management major; Brent Raabe, a senior elementary education major;

Eric F. Schenfield, a senior sport and recreation management major; John Paul Snyder, a senior computer science major; Michael Allen Steck, a senior elementary education major; Amber Lee Steck, a senior elementary education major; Jess Whelan, a senior athletic training and sports medicine major; Maddi S. Smith, a sophomore English education 7-12 major.

Other students on the dean’s list are Rhonda R. Vought, a senior hospitality management major, Charles E. Holjencin, a freshman pre-dental medicine major, Alex W. Davis, a sophomore public relations major, and Angela K. Moate, a senior computer science major, all from Emporium.

Brian D. McCann, a junior business management major, and Sally J. Severtson, a senior elementary education major, both from Allegany, N.Y.; Shane Phillips, a senior elementary education and writing major from Ellicottville, N.Y.; Heather M. Snider, a sophomore history-political science major, and Eric Hund, a senior public relations major, both from Great Valley, N.Y.

Kelsie R. Griesbaum, a junior hospitality management major from Limestone, N.Y.; Hannah E. Penman, a freshman sport and recreation management major, and Lori Ann Geise, a senior nursing major, both from Olean, N.Y.; Christine J. Bradshaw, a sophomore pre-pharmacy major from Randolph, N.Y.;

Ryan A. Droney, a freshman human relations major, and Kimberly D. Rublee, a senior sport and recreation management major, both from Salamanca, N.Y.; Leah M. Sample, a freshman pre-ASN major, Rebecca M. Mahoney, a junior English education 7-12 major and Andrea Jo Stahli, a senior athletic training major, all from Johnsonburg.

Wesley Dean Harshbarger, a senior sport and recreation management major from Kersey; Zachary R. Gerber, a freshman business management major, Jazmine J. Kunes, a sophomore criminal justice major, and Dale Elizabeth Fox, a senior history-political science major, all from Ridgway.

Marissa T. Housler, a freshman nursing major, Noelle E. Dixon, a junior elementary education major, Jason R. Nussbaum, a sophomore human relations major, Brock R. Wennin, a sophomore elementary education major, and Vanessa Lynn Martini, a senior business management major, all from St. Marys.

Heather Lynne Rulander, a senior nursing major from Russell; Chelsea M. Dunn, a junior chemistry major, Emily S. Fitch, a junior sports medicine major, Jennifer Eck, a senior psychology major, and Leah Michelle Showers, a senior psychology major, all from Sheffield; Jason M. Halle, a junior elementary education major, Amber L. Ostrowski, a junior pre-veterinary medicine major, Marci M. Barker, a senior business education K-12 major, Kathleen J. Moore, a senior accounting and business management major, and Cathie Michelle Vincent, a business education K-12 major, all from Warren.

Laura S. McLeod, a junior computer science major from Austin; Elizabeth A. Fair, a junior business management major from Custer City; Jeremy S. Freer, a freshman broadcast communications major from Cyclone; Melissa A. Hickey, a junior biology major from Derrick City; Saree P. Frederick, a junior elementary education major from Duke Center;

Jacob D. Canaan, a junior history-political science major, and Heather L. Kelley, a sophomore accounting and business management major, both from Eldred; Jillian K. Hamilton, a junior mathematics education 7-12 major from Gifford; John A. Bizzak, a freshman pre-pharmacy major from James City;

Jodie L. Nelson, a freshman chemistry major, Sarah S. Swanson, a junior chemistry major, Keith M. Anderson, a sophomore social studies education 7-12 major; Tyler J. Smith, a sophomore health and physical education major, Kammi Jo Johnson, a senior accounting and business management major, Stacy Postlewait, a senior sociology major, and Harold Allen Yale, a psychology major, all from Kane.

Brandon L. Cook, a junior health and physical education major, Danielle Norgrove, a junior elementary education major, and Michael Paul Sorokes, a senior criminal justice major, all from Lewis Run; Jessica Faes, a senior sports medicine major from Mount Jewett; Meagan M. Culver, a freshman nursing major, Danielle L. Niece, a junior business management major and Melissa Anderson, a senior entrepreneurship major, all from Port Allegany.

Tarra J. James, a junior sport and recreation management major, Ryan R. Milliken, a senior pre-pharmacy major, and Vogue A. Bernard, a sophomore human relations major, all from Shinglehouse; Jacqueline J. Irwin, a junior elementary education major from Clearfield; Alexander Fish, a senior accounting and business management major from Coudersport;

Lauren E. Kinniburgh, a freshman athletic training major, Justin J. Smith, a sophomore engineering major, Ronald C. Tanner, a sophomore business management major, Benjamin F. Babcox, a senior broadcast communications major, and Kelly S. Davis, a senior social sciences major, all from Smethport; Naomi R. Barker, a sophomore accounting major, and Jacqueline Bokan, a senior biology major, both from Genesee;

Tanner L. Bechtel, a senior petroleum technology major from Conneautville; Ashlee R. McQuown, a junior athletic training major from Glasgow; Tiffany A. Robert, a sophomore elementary education major from Athens; Prashant Gabani, a sophomore pre-medicine from Bridgeville; Scott M. Grabowski, a junior accounting major from New Kensington; Brittany Killen, a senior writing major from West Mifflin;

Michelle Ann Kushner, a senior accounting and business management major from McKees Rocks; Megan J. Clyde, a junior sports medicine major from Falls Creek; Sarah D. Devine, a freshman pre-ASN major, Katherine H. Zeh, a freshman pre-pharmacy major, Samuel M. Ficorilli, a freshman computer information systems and technology major, and Maria G. Costanza, a freshman public relations major, all from Pittsburgh.

Brittany Jean Barnes, a senior chemistry major from Butler; Christopher B. Finke, a senior pre-ASN major from Prospect; Elizabeth A. Courson, a junior biology major, and Martin R. Cipriano, a sophomore business management major, both from New Castle; Sarah M. Zilavy, a sophomore pre-ASN major from Fombell; Russ Prada, a junior sports medicine major from Greenville; Andrew C. Finzel, a senior elementary education major, and Matthew F. Niehaus, a senior sports medicine major, both of Sharon.

Shawna L. Hardy, a junior public relations major from Wampum; Mary C. Gross, a freshman athletic training major from Ford City; Geoffrey M. Flowers, a junior business management major, and Brian L. Palm, a senior human relations major, both from Oil City; Harmonie J. Kibbey, a sophomore English education 7-12 major, and Danielle M. Salsgiver, a senior biology and biology education 7-12 major, both from Clarendon;

Jason N. Peters, a junior mathematics education 7-12 major from Conneaut Lake; Paul J. Bourgeois, a freshman computer information systems and technology major from Meadville; Laura L. Long, a freshman athletic training major, and Elizabeth Ann Sands, a senior human relations major, both from Pittsfield; Tina Marie Shetler, a senior business management major from Polk;

Courtney M. Graham, a junior elementary education major, Heidi Louise Gebhardt, a senior business management major, and Megan Kathleen Madden, a senior business management major, all from Titusville; Rebecca J. Ramsey, a junior elementary education major, and Tabitha M. Ryan, a junior athletic training major, both from Albion; Tracy L. Perkins, a junior chemistry major from Bear Lake; Benjamin C. Braswell, a senior human relations major from Corry; Joshua L. Malone, a junior business management major from East Springfield;

Kyle A. Lewis, a sophomore elementary education major from North East; Stacie N. Bova, a junior elementary education major from Spartansburg; Samantha Heather Wolf, a senior nursing major from Springboro; Lauren N. Sipple, a senior elementary education and writing major from Waterford; Tarrah E. Herman, a junior psychology major from Wattsburg;

Jonathan May, a senior sports medicine major, Alyssa M. Smith, a sophomore business management major, Andrew J. Braeger, a junior interdisciplinary arts major, Andrew J. Sarbak, a junior athletic training major, Anthony A. Mazza, a freshman computer information systems and technology major, Sarah H. Lorya, a junior history-political science major, and Ashley A. Bissell, a freshman business management major, all from Erie.

Danielle R. Costley, a sophomore business management major from Elkland; Erin C. Bowen, a junior criminal justice major from Mansfield; Nikki M. Thompson, a freshman undeclared major, and Joshua W. Parslow, a junior applied mathematics and mathematics education 7-12 major, both from Westfield; Dani L.Collins, a freshman pre-pharmacy major from Loysville; Von A. Scheivert, a junior sports medicine major from Mechanicsburg;

Brianna N. Barrick, a freshman pre-ASN major from East Berlin; Isaac G. Smith, a freshman electrical engineering major from Gettysburg; Christina M. McClarren, a freshman psychology major from Red Lion; Aaron P. Owens, a freshman pre-ASN major from York; Jeremiah F. Yang, a sophomore pre-pharmacy major from Akron; Patrick B. Morrison, a junior chemistry major from Williamsport;

John D. Setzer, a freshman accounting major from Hughesville; Sara A. Gligora, a freshman sociology major from Milton; Joshua W. Flowers, a freshman chemistry education 7-12 major, and Ashleigh M. Hauck, a freshman sports medicine major, both from New Columbia; Tuyet A. Le, a freshman pre-pharmacy major from Bethlehem; Thang D. Tran, a freshman pre-pharmacy major from Northampton; Leyla A. Damas, a sophomore business management major from Allentown;

Stephanie N. Petchel, a junior broadcast communications major from Beaver Meadows; Joselynn A. Hackman, a freshman English education 7-12 major from Lehighton; Ankush Verma, a sophomore biology major from Archbald; Paige D. Rockaway, a sophomore business management major from South Abington Township; Christopher Tewksbury, a junior accounting major from Laceyville; Vanessa L. Durland, a sophomore criminal justice major from Meshoppen; Delia A. White, a junior business management major from Mountain Top;

Kyle D. Warner, a freshman sport and recreation management major from Towanda; Immanuel W. Diamant, a sophomore psychology major from New Hope; Shellana Marie Welsh, a senior sports medicine major from Quakertown; Kristine N. Zubler, a freshman nursing major from Churchville; Andrew J. Hwang, a junior business management major from Horsham; Christell Boyd-Abner, a freshman psychology major from Philadelphia;

Rona Nadim, a junior broadcast communications major from Warren, N.J.; Nicholas D. Benedetto, a sophomore civil engineering major from Youngstown, Ohio; John Edward Slackman, a senior economics and sport and recreation management major from South Orange, N.J.; Chioma M. Enechukwu, a sophomore chemistry major from Union, N.J.; Aaron

P. Stang, a junior business management major from Hamburg, N.Y.; Margaux L. Stalker, a junior sport and recreation management major from Orchard Park, N.Y.;

Jolene M.Wulff, a junior sports medicine major from Springville, N.Y.; Brandon S. Skawienski, a sophomore pre-physician's assistant major from Varysburg, N.Y.; Patrick J. McAnaney, a junior criminal justice from Blasdell, N.Y.; Hannah R. Goeggelman, a senior athletic training major from Fairport, N.Y.; Lee M. Sorman, a senior criminal justice major from Pittsford, N.Y.; Amanda M. Shaw, a senior athletic training major from Warsaw, N.Y.;

Jessica L. Clark, a sophomore English education 7-12 major from Rochester, N.Y.; Christopher T. Hammond, a senior health and physical education major from Jamestown, N.Y.; Justin A. Bullard, a sophomore athletic training major from Sinclairville, N.Y.; Brent D. George, a junior history-political science and social studies education 7-12 major from Arkport, N.Y.; John E. Dye, a junior criminal justice major and Megan M. Taft, a sophomore business management major, both from Hornell, N.Y.;

Jillian A. Kreitzer, a junior elementary education major from Horseheads, N.Y.; Daniel P. Heisey, a sophomore accounting major from Rexville, N.Y.; Kody M. Haney, a freshman petroleum technology major from Scio, N.Y.; Donald C. Cox, a freshman sport and recreation management major from Bear, Del.; Krieg A. Rajaram, a freshman undeclared major from Washington, D.C.;

Adam V. Schrot, a freshman computer information systems and technology major from Beltsville, Md.; Daniel J. Rose, a sophomore undeclared major from Geneva, Ohio; Amanda M. Groth, a junior pre-physical therapy major from Macedonia, Ohio; Jacquelyn T. Podrasky, a sophomore sports medicine major from Medina, Ohio; Mi-Sol Kwon, a freshman pre-ASN major from Seoul, South Korea; Kristin E. Gutowski, a senior elementary education major from Little Genese, N.Y.; and Brandyn M. Austin, a senior sports medicine major from Elmira, N.Y.

Woman Accused of Animal Cruelty

Three charges of cruelty to animals have been filed against a Warren County woman.

Dawna Kraker of Lander is accused of mistreating a horse who was malnourished and didn't have available water and shelter. The horse was 300 pounds underweight.

Also, she allegedly tied a Pomeranian outside in frigid temperatures.

Kraker also allegedly had two kittens and three dogs insider her house, and they weren't living in sanitary conditions and didn't have proper veterinary care.

3 Plead Not Guilty to Murder

Three people charged in the first-degree murder of a Tionesta man have pleaded not guilty. Cory J. Altman, 28, of Endeavor; Susan E. Yeager, 33, of Tionesta; and Robert A. Pessia, 26, of Warren, are charged in the December 2008 shooting death of Yeager's husband,

39-year-old Shawn L. Yeager was found dead by his two sons on the back porch of his home. Police say Altman, Shawn Yeager's brother-in-law , pulled the trigger, shooting Yeager once in the back with a rifle.

Susan Yeager, who had been estranged from her husband for three years, is accused of hatching the plot because she was upset that she didn't have the access to her children that she felt she deserved.

Glenn Thompson on PCN Monday

Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, will appear live on the Pennsylvania Cable Network’s (PCN) Call-In Program, Monday, February 16. Congressman Thompson will take viewers’ calls beginning at 7:00 p.m., with a rebroadcast of the program airing Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 9:00 a.m.

Thompson, who was is serving in his first term representing the sprawling Fifth Congressional District, is a Member of the House Agriculture, Education and Labor, and Small Business Committees. Among other topics, Thompson will focus his discussion on the state of the economy and the recently debated economic stimulus package.

“I welcome the opportunity to field questions from my constituents and look forward to discussing a few smart government solutions to aid our ailing economy,” said Thompson. “There is no question our economy is in dire straits – but simply throwing taxpayer money at the problem is not the answer. I look forward to sharing with the citizens of the Commonwealth my ideas that will jump start the economy and put folks back to work.”

Interested parties can talk directly to Congressman Thompson by dialing 1-877-726-5001 on Monday, February 16 beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Jamestown Man Aboard Flight 3407

A Jamestown resident is one of the crew members who died in the crash of Flight 3407 in Clarence Center.

Captain Joseph Zuffoletto was off-duty, but was the fifth employee of Colgan Air on board the flight.

Schmidt Turning Bonnies Around

Go Bonnies!

They've already won four more games than they did last year, having their best season since the 2002-03 campaign.

They have gone from being among the bottom of the barrel in the Atlantic 10 Conference two seasons ago in field goal percentage defense, points allowed and rebounding to ranking among the top three, four or five teams.

Armed with three transfers, a candidate for the A-10 Rookie of the Year, and seven wins already this season on the road, Mark Schmidt could be a candidate for the A-10 Coach of the Year.

For the full story, go to The Sun Chronicle.

Scarnati: Court Election is Vital

UNIVERSITY PARK — Lt. Gov. Joe Scarnati told Centre County Republicans on Thursday that if the Democrats win the state Supreme Court election this year, Pennsylvania’s new election districts after the 2010 census won’t be drawn fairly.

Scarnati, a Jefferson County Republican and president pro tempore of the Senate, spoke before about 200 people at the Centre County Republican Committee’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner.

For the full story, go to the Centre Daily Times.

Paterson Statement on Plane Crash

“Earlier tonight, Continental Airlines Flight 3407, operated by Colgan Air Inc., crashed just miles outside of Buffalo Niagara International Airport after departing from Newark Liberty International Airport. The devastating crash took place at approximately 10:20 p.m.

“Forty-four passengers were killed along with four crew members and at least one person on the ground, according to New York State Police. A team of emergency responders and aviation officials are still evaluating the situation and working to gather as much information as possible. The aircraft involved was a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400.

“As we continue to monitor the situation in the Town of Clarence, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who were on board, and with the people of the Buffalo metropolitan area. We will work closely with law enforcement and aviation officials to give families, loved ones and the public updated information as it becomes available.

“Families and loved ones seeking information should call Continental Airlines' emergency information number at (800) 621-3263.”

Paterson is on his way to Clarence Center as of 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rendell: We Escaped a Disaster

WESB/WBRR News Director

Governor Ed Rendell said today that Pennsylvania will get close to the $5 billion in budget aid that he was counting on to help the state's financial situation.

The $790 billion stimulus plan, on which Rendell made his assumptions, is expected to be ready for votes on Friday.

During a conference call with reporters Thursday evening, Rendell said there will be no need for any more major cuts in his proposed budget, or additional layoffs of state workers.

"That's good news for Pennsylvania," he said.

Rendell also said more than 100,000 jobs will be created because of the stimulus. The White House estimates 143,000 new jobs. Without the money, he said, an additional 1,500 to 1,600 layoffs would have been necessary.

"It would have been a disaster for people and services and for Pennsylvania's jobs," he said.

He added that, without the federal money, the $50 million the state sends to its 67 counties would have been gone, which would have meant layoffs at the county level and "a significant reduction in county services.

Rendell also said there would have been significant cuts to state-related universities, museums and health care institutions, and the basic education subsidy would have been cut.

The commonwealth "pretty much escaped a disaster," he said.

Rendell also addressed Senator Judd Gregg's withdrawal as commerce secretary nominee.

"If it was transportation or energy, I would have felt some mild pangs," he joked, "but even then I would have resisted … the call, which, as I said, is not likely to come from the Obama Administration. Although they're more loosey goosey than I thought, as it turns out, so I maybe I would have fit in."

"Lord willing," he continued, "I'm staying until the third week in January of 2011. I feel a great responsibility to be here … to deal with this financial crisis that Pennsylvania has. … There are plenty of other people out there to be secretary of commerce other than me."

If Rendell did leave, Republican Lt. Governor Joe Scarnati would become governor.

Aide Accused of Giving Nails to
Patient, Who Swallowed Them

A psychiatric aide at Allentown State Hospital is accused of giving nails to a patient who then swallowed them last month.

Police charged 27-year-old Athena Marie Sidlar with aggravated assault and reckless endangerment after four nails were removed from the stomach of an 18-year-old patient.

They say the patient told them Sidlar gave her nails and told her she had swallowed nails herself.

Police say Sidlar was interviewed Jan. 24 at a hospital in Bethlehem where she was being treated for swallowing numerous metal objects, including nails.

Sidlar denies the allegations.

Thompson Speaks Out on Stimulus

Washington, DC – Reaffirming his opposition to the current spending bill making its way through Congress, U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, took to the House floor yesterday to voice his strong opposition to the process by which the legislation was crafted and its potential negative effect on the economy.

Click HERE to see Thompson delivering his floor remarks.

Man Dragged 17 Miles Through NYC

NEW YORK (AP) — A pedestrian was hit by an SUV, then was caught under a van and dragged nearly 17 miles through New York City early Wednesday before the driver realized what had happened, police said.

The mangled body had not been identified. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said investigators were tracing the route searching for remains.

To read the rest of the story, go to The Associated Press.

To view the graphic video:

3 Donations Made for Ventilator

Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC) is several thousand dollars closer toward purchasing an Evita XL ventilator from Draeger Medical Inc. because of three donations made to the Bradford Hospital Foundation. The donations were from Kids & Cancer, $4,000; Dallas-Morris Drilling Inc., $1,000; and Zonta Club, $565. Shown (from left) in the photo are Fran James, Zonta Club president; Bridgette Wells, community affairs coordinator at Dallas-Morris; Elayna Oaks, a Bradford Area High School senior who’s continuing the “First Breath” fundraising campaign to purchase the ventilator for BRMC; and Ken Eddy and Gage Brien, Kids & Cancer committee members. The donations were made Wednesday at The Print Shop on Barbour Street. All totaled, $10,730 has been raised toward purchasing the ventilator. Once the $34,000 ventilator is obtained it will be able to serve 1,200 patients of all ages over a five-year period. Donations to First Breath are being accepted at and at the Bradford Hospital Foundation, 20 School St., Bradford, Pa.
Photo courtesy of BRMC

Two Judges Plead Guilty

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — Two Pennsylvania judges charged with taking more than $2 million in kickbacks to send youth offenders to privately run detention centers pleaded guilty to fraud Thursday in one of the most stunning cases of judicial corruption on record.

For the full story, go to

Woman Charged for Selling
Neighbor's Purebred Dogs

A 27-year-old Columbia, PA, woman is accused of selling her neighbor's purebred dogs for $150.

Brandi Anderson says she found the dogs dirty and without tags. She says she didn't know the owner, so she kept the two dogs for a few days, then sold them so they'd have a good home.

For the full story, go to Lancaster Online.

PNC Chief Flew Jet to Super Bowl

PNC Financial Services Group CEO James Rohr and clients of PNC flew on a corporate jet to the Super Bowl game in Tampa, Fla., a bank spokesman said today.

Rohr was joined by several clients for the trip to the big game on Feb. 1, said spokesman Fred Solomon, who declined to name them.

PNC received $7.6 billion in government aid Dec. 31 when it acquired National City Corp.

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

Sparks Fly in Fumo Trial

Former Senator Vincent Fumo is on the witness stand for a fourth day in his public corruption trial. He's charged with defrauding the state Senate and two nonprofits out of more than $3.5 million.

Fumo concedes that he had senate staffers install a stereo on his boat, work his re-election campaign and keep track of payments for his rental properties. But he says he never "ordered" anyone to perform what he termed favors from friends.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Pease, though, noted that Fumo set the employees' salaries and annual raises.

On the witness stand today, Fumo said "In retrospect, I wish I never got elected to the Senate."

Read more HERE.

From Wednesday:

After establishing that Fumo had served on the Senate Ethics Committee, the prosecutor asked, "So you're interested in ethics, are you?"

Fumo smiled. "Yes. I think everybody's interested in ethics."

For more on the Fumo trial, read Daniel Rubin's column in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Deadline to Apply for Homestead Exclusion is Drawing Near

HARRISBURG - Individuals seeking relief on this year's school property tax bills are being urged to apply for homestead/farmstead exclusions prior to March 1, according to Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint).

Many individuals may have already filed applications for this benefit several years ago when the Homeowner Tax Relief Act was enacted. Applications remain valid for a minimum of three years. Homeowners may want to verify the status of their applications by consulting their county assessment office.

Individuals qualify for a homestead exclusion so long as the property for which they are applying is their primary residence. A farmstead exclusion is also available for buildings and structures that are used for commercial agriculture production on a farm of at least 10 acres. Again, the farm must be the primary residence of the owner to qualify.

If one's application is accepted, a portion of the property's assessed value is exempt from the property tax, thus lowering the overall tax bill. The state is then responsible for the difference between the two amounts, using proceeds from gambling revenue to pay the balance.

Benefits from this program will vary widely depending on the school district in which the individuals resides. The Homeowner Tax Relief Act, which is also known as Act 1, requires that the state distribute a minimum of $400 million in property tax relief.

In McKean County, applications are available from your school district of residence and should be returned to the county assessment office (telephone 814-887-3215). In Cameron County and Potter County, applications are available at the county assessment offices. The Cameron County Assessment Office can be reached at 814-486-0723. The Potter County Assessment Office can be reached at 814-274-0488.

Allegany-Limestone Students
Going to National MATHCOUNTS

Students from Falconer, Allegany-Limestone and Tapestry Charter School advanced to the national MATHCOUNTS competition after competing in the regional phase Feb. 7 at St. Bonaventure University.

Sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students from four area schools participated in the regional MATHCOUNTS competition: Allegany-Limestone Middle School, Cheektowaga Central School, Falconer Central School and Tapestry Charter School from Buffalo.

Results of the competition are:

Top Individuals:

· First-place — Eliza Feero, Tapestry Charter School, Buffalo

· Second-place — Peter Marciano, Allegany-Limestone Central School

· Third-place — Brandon Norris, Falconer Central School

Top Schools:

· First-place — Tapestry Charter School, Buffalo

o Team members: Eliza Feero, Margaret Davis, Anya Schulman, MacKeever Craik

· Second-place — Falconer Central School

o Team members: Weston Young, Brandon Norris, Rebecca Hartling, Joe Hadley

· Third-place — Allegany-Limestone Central School

o Team members: Peter Marciano, Vadim Chochua, TJ McMullen, Ahlam Ally

The top three teams have been invited to the New York state competition to be held March 14 at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute campus in Troy. The top individuals from the state contest will advance to the national competition, which will be May 7-10 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

The contestants worked both individually and in four-person school teams on questions designated by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), the main sponsoring organization. The top school teams and the top individuals received trophies. Other major sponsors for the national competition include CAN Foundation, ConcoPhillips, General Motors Foundation, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrup Grumman Foundation, Raytheon Company, Texas Instruments, 3M Foundation and the National Council if Teachers of Mathematics. Locally, the contest was financially supported by St. Bonaventure and an anonymous grant.

Rick Trietley is Named
Vice Provost for Student Life

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y., Feb. 12, 2009 — Rick Trietley’s job title just got a little shorter; the interim tag no longer applies.

Trietley accepted an offer Wednesday to become vice provost for Student Life at St. Bonaventure University, just three months after agreeing to fill the job on an interim basis when Stephen Pugliese stepped down. Trietley was also serving as director of Campus Safety and Security, a position that will now be filled on an interim basis by Joe Becker, assistant director of Campus Safety and Security.

The Office of Student Life includes residence life; housing; the Center for Activities, Recreation and Leadership; Counseling Center; Damietta Center; Campus Safety and Security; and Health Services.

“To add someone of Rick’s caliber and integrity to our administration is a windfall for this university,” said Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., university president. “He’s clearly demonstrated in his short time as interim vice provost the capacity to lead and inspire people.”

A 1986 St. Bonaventure graduate, Trietley finished a 22-year career with the Army in May when he stepped down as the head of St. Bonaventure’s ROTC program to become director of security at SBU.

“Rick’s presentations during the interview process highlighted not only his devotion to the SBU community, but also the transferability of his experiences in the Army, where he was responsible for the social, intellectual, and leadership development of young cadets and officer-trainees for more than two decades,” said Dr. Michael Fischer, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “He is also committed to continuing professional development in the field of student life.”

Trietley, who was professor of military science at SBU from 2003 to May 2008 and a lieutenant colonel in the Army, is “honored that I was chosen. It was an easy decision to accept,” he said.

“St. Bonaventure is truly about people — students, faculty, staff, friars, and administrators all working together to create a unique and special environment for learning and discovery. I hope I can contribute to that atmosphere in every way possible,” Trietley said.

Trietley was among 19 people honored in March 2008 by the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU) when he was named to the Alumni Hall of Distinction. The honor recognizes New York’s Independent Sector graduates who make contributions to society through their careers and community involvement.

During his time as a U.S. Army infantry officer, Trietley was a leader in organizations as large as 3,200 people both during peacetime and the global war on terror. He managed resources in excess of $5 million. He planned and organized complex, multinational operations of great sensitivity under challenging conditions with strategic national security implications.

After receiving his bachelor of science in education at SBU, Trietley entered the U.S. Army. He was twice selected for Who’s Who of American College Professors. Trietley has also been honored with military awards, including the Combat Infantryman’s Badge for service in Afghanistan and the Bronze Star.

He received his master’s in education from Webster University in 1998.

A 1982 Olean High School graduate, Trietley lives in Allegany with his wife, Michelle, and sons Ricky, 17, and Kyle, 15. Michelle earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at SBU.

Chautauqua County Guide Available

Mayville: -- Chautauqua County Executive Gregory J. Edwards is pleased to announce that over 200,000 copies of the 2009 Chautauqua County Visitors guide are now available.

Both Edwards and CCVB Executive Director Andrew Nixon said the travel guide is used by thousands of area visitors each year to make decisions about visiting Chautauqua County and to learn more about what to see and do while here.

"The Chautauqua County Visitors Guide for 2009 is a must read for everyone in Chautauqua County," Edwards said. "I say that because even though I have lived here my whole life I found new and exciting things in the guide that my family and I will be doing this year. It is also a source that we should be recommending to anyone who is coming to our County or who we meet when visiting Chautauqua County. There is no easier way to assure that people get the most out of their time here than to just say, 'check out the visitors guide available all over the county or on line at'."

"The travel guide & map, as well as CCVB’s website, are the best tools available for local tourism business employees and residents to use in making recommendations about what to see and do in the area," Nixon said.

The 80-page travel guide includes information on dozens of area attractions and comes with a new and informative map. An additional 10,000 stand alone copies of the map are available at the CCVB office at the Main Gate of Chautauqua Institution.

Edwards said the new map offers a new recreation map that includes cycling routes, state lands, primary snowmobile trails and much, much more. The reverse side of the map provides names and locations for lodging, shopping, dining, attractions and wineries, either on a full county map or one of several community maps.

In addition to the printed travel guide, an online version is available through Users can browse travel guide pages and links to websites for specific businesses and attractions found in the guide.

Nixon said the 2009 travel guide features a “leisure learning” theme throughout, as suggested in the Branding and Marketing Action Plan provided to CCVB by tourism marketing consultant firm Destination Development, Inc. The core premise of the plan is that the area should market itself as “The World’s Learning Center.”

Cops: Man Shot Out Taxi Window

Police have charged a Jamestown man with firing a gun out of a taxicab at around 9 o'clock Wednesday night

A taxi driver told police that a customer pulled out a pistol and fired a shot through the cab's windshield while it was traveling on East Second Street. The customer then fled on West Third Street.

Police arrested 29-year-old Kenneth Whitney in a downtown business, and charged him with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and unlawfully discharging a weapon within the city limits.

Pitt Chancellor Honors Baldwin

University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg has selected James L. Baldwin of Bradford as a recipient of the 2009 Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence in Service to the University.

Baldwin is the assistant dean of academic affairs, director of enrollment services and registrar and director of Science in Motion at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

He is one of three staff members university-wide to receive the award, which was created to recognize staff members who make a significant impact on the university through their commitment and performance.

The Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence is the highest honor a staff member can receive. Baldwin and the other recipients will be honored at Pitt’s honors convocation Feb. 27, 2009.

In his letter of congratulations, Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said Baldwin was chosen based on “the number of letters you received as an outpouring of support attesting to the magnitude of the extra time you devote to the University of Pittsburgh; the many ways you volunteer to help others; and your willingness to undertake and create new initiatives at our Bradford campus, such as the College in the High School program and the Women’s Leadership Conference.”

Baldwin’s nomination, which was submitted by both the Pitt-Bradford Staff Association and Dr. Livingston Alexander, president, was supported with letters not only from members of the Pitt-Bradford staff, but also from high-ranking enrollment officers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Oakland campus.

In his recommendation, Alexander wrote, “I regard him as one of the most dedicated and accomplished professionals I know.”

Baldwin has worked at Pitt-Bradford since 2000. As registrar, he created a database to allow prospective transfer students to determine how credits earned at other institutions will transfer to Pitt-Bradford.

He was instrumental in starting Pitt-Bradford’s College in the High School program, which offers college credit for select courses taught in area high schools, and serves as director of the Science in Motion program, which last year served more than 30,000 students in a five-county region.

Last year, Baldwin was the driving force behind the first women’s leadership conference, which was attended by more than 70 Pitt-Bradford faculty, staff, students and high school students from four area high schools.

“I was really surprised and thrilled when I learned that I had been selected as a recipient of the award,” Baldwin said. “I am so honored to have been nominated by the staff association and for all of the wonderful letters of recommendation and support from my colleagues. I wish that all the staff could have been recognized, because I truly believe that Pitt-Bradford’s staff are the hardest working and most dedicated staff throughout the entire university.”

Baldwin earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is currently pursuing a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

He and his wife, Catherine, live in Bradford with their two daughters.

This is the fourth time a Pitt-Bradford employee has been recognized by the chancellor. Last year, Peter J. Buchheit, director of facilities management, received the Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence in Service to the Community, an honor also earned by mail carrier Donald O. Johnson in 2006.

In 2004, Rhett Kennedy, associate dean of student affairs and director of residential life and housing, received the Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence in Service to the University.

Thompson, Others Honor Steelers

Washington, DC – U.S Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, joined his Pennsylvania colleagues and freshman classmate, Representative Tom Rooney, R-Fla., to honor the Pittsburgh Steelers on their sixth National Football League (NFL) Super Bowl Championship. Thompson, who cosponsored H.Res. 110, a resolution congratulating the Steelers on winning Super Bowl XLIII, issued the following statement on the House Floor:

“Growing up in Steeler Country, I have long viewed this franchise as the gold standard of the NFL. Now with their sixth Super Bowl title, the entire world knows what we in Central and Western Pennsylvania have known for some time – the Steelers are the greatest professional football franchise of all-time.

“Form the ownership, to the coaching staff, the players and fans, the Steelers organization continues to impress me both on and off the field. Their commitment to enriching the lives of Western Pennsylvania’s youth and their partnership with the community is as strong today as it was in 1933 when Arthur J. Rooney first founded the team.

“To the Rooney Family and the team, Coach Tomlin who is the youngest head coach in history to win a world championship, my good friend from Florida and classmate, Tom Rooney, on behalf of the Fifth District of Pennsylvania, congratulations, and thank you for everything you do for Central and Western Pennsylvania.”

Following is the text of the Resolution:

111th Congress, 1st Session
H. RES. 110

Congratulating the National Football League champion Pittsburgh Steelers for winning Super Bowl XLIII and becoming the most successful franchise in NFL history with their record 6th Super Bowl title.

Whereas the Pittsburgh Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII by defeating the Arizona Cardinals 27 to 23 in Tampa, Florida, on February 1, 2009, winning their second Super Bowl championship in 4 years;

Whereas with this victory the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise has set a new National Football League standard for most Super Bowl victories with their record 6th Super Bowl championship;

Whereas the Pittsburgh Steelers went 15-4 against the hardest-ranked 2008-2009 schedule in the NFL and defeated the San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, and Arizona Cardinals during their record-setting post season run;

Whereas linebacker James Harrison returned a goal line interception 100 yards for the longest play in Super Bowl history;

Whereas quarterback Ben Roethlisberger went 21-30 for 256 yards and led the team down the field for the 19th and most important 4th quarter comeback of his career;

Whereas wide receiver Santonio Holmes won the Super Bowl MVP award with a 9-catch, 131-yard performance, including the game-winning touchdown in the corner of the endzone with 35 seconds left in the game;

Whereas the Pittsburgh Steelers new `Steel Curtain' defense, including stars James Harrison, Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu, James Farrior, Ike Taylor, Larry Foote, Casey Hampton, LaMarr Woodley, Brett Keisel, Deshea Townsend, and Aaron Smith were ranked first in the NFL in overall team defense for the 2008-2009 season;

Whereas the Pittsburgh Steelers defense during the 2008-2009 season allowed the least points scored, lowest average passing yards per game, and the least overall yards per game in the entire NFL;

Whereas head coach Mike Tomlin is the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl championship and has continued in the legendary tradition of head coaches Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher by bringing a Super Bowl championship to Pittsburgh;

Whereas linebacker James Harrison was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year for the 2008-2009 season;

Whereas team owner Dan Rooney and team President Art Rooney II, the son and grandson, respectively, of Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney, have remarkable loyalty to Steelers fans and the City of Pittsburgh, and have assembled an exceptional team of players, coaches, and staff that made achieving a championship possible;

Whereas the Pittsburgh Steelers fan base, known as `Steeler Nation', was ranked in August 2008 by as the best in the NFL, citing their current streak of 299 consecutive sold out games going back to the 1972 season; and

Whereas, for 76 years, the people of the City of Pittsburgh have seen themselves in the grit, tenacity, and success of the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise, and they proudly join the team in celebrating their NFL record 6th Super Bowl championship: Now therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives congratulates the National Football League Champion Pittsburgh Steelers for winning Super Bowl XLIII and setting a new championship standard for the entire NFL.

Pacitti Taken Out of Idol Top 36

LOS ANGELES, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Controversial "American Idol" contestant and former child star Joanna Pacitti has been booted off the talent show, apparently due to her past in the music business.

Pacitti, 23, was put through to the Top 36 in an episode of the show broadcast on Wednesday, but her name was missing from a Fox television news release late on Wednesday on the Top 36.

"It has been determined that Joanna Pacitti is ineligible to continue in the competition," the statement said, adding that Felicia Barton had taken her place.

For the full story, go to Reuters.

Consumer Lottery Scam

If you received a check from Hanfield Financial Group saying you won a consumer lottery and thought it was too good to be true, you were right.

The Better Business Bureau has received many complaints about Hanfield, which also goes by the name of Starmark and more than a dozen others.

And don't think about calling the company to file a complaint or get more information. This is the only message people ever get.


The person who called to tell us about it was made aware of the scam when his 15-year-old son received a check. He did exactly what the Better Business Bureau says you're supposed to do: Independently verify that the check is drawn on a legitimate financial institution or company, and represents an actual account. The bank he called told him to call his local radio station to get the word out.

Telephone Outage in McKean Co.

The Verizon Wireless Network for McKean and surrounding counties is currently unavailable for any cell phone calls, including emergency calls to 9-1-1. We'll update you when information becomes available.

Elk Test Negative for CWD

HARRISBURG – Samples taken from the 39 hunter-killed elk during the state’s 2008 hunting season have all tested negative for chronic wasting disease (CWD), according to Dr. Walt Cottrell, the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s wildlife veterinarian. Samples also tested negative for brucellosis and tuberculosis.

Cottrell noted that the Game Commission still is awaiting the results of CWD testing for the 4,247 hunter-killed deer samples collected during the 2008 rifle deer season.

“Currently, there are no confirmed or suspected cases of CWD-infected deer or elk in Pennsylvania,” Cottrell said. “Conducting these tests on hunter-killed deer and elk will help to assure us and the general public that it is unlikely that CWD currently is present in wild deer and elk in the state.

“We obviously need to keep a watchful eye on our wild and captive deer and elk. Working closely with the state Department of Agriculture and other agency representatives on the state’s CWD Task Force, we hope to protect our state’s herds from this always-fatal disease.”

CWD tests on the elk samples were conducted by the New Bolton Center, which is the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary diagnostics laboratory. Under a contract with Penn State University, the elk samples also were tested for brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis and found to be free from these diseases. New Bolton Center also is conducting the CWD tests on the deer samples. Results are expected later this spring.

“The test results are good news,” Cottrell said. “Although CWD has not been found in Pennsylvania, we must continue to be vigilant in our CWD monitoring efforts. The surveillance information we are gathering is important for the early detection of CWD, and we already are planning to continue random testing of hunter-killed deer and elk during the 2009-10 seasons.”

Cottrell added that, the Game Commission, with the assistance of the Pennsylvania and U.S. departments of Agriculture, has conducted tests on about 300 elk and more than 94,000 deer killed by hunters in Pennsylvania over the past six years. Since 1998, more than 500 deer that have died of unknown illness or were exhibiting abnormal behavior also have been tested. No evidence of CWD has been found in these samples. The Game Commission will continue to monitor for and collect samples from deer and elk that appear sick or behave abnormally.

First identified in 1967, CWD is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) that affects cervids, including all species of deer, elk and moose. It is a progressive and always fatal disease, which scientists theorize is caused by an agent capable of transforming normal brain proteins into an abnormal form. CWD is present in free-ranging wildlife or captive cervid populations in 14 states and two Canadian provinces.

There currently is no practical way to test live white-tails for CWD, and there is no vaccine to prevent an animal from contracting the disease, nor is there a cure for animals that become infected. Fortunately, there currently is no evidence of CWD being transmissible to humans or to other non-cervid livestock under normal conditions.

Deer harboring CWD may not show any symptoms in the disease’s early stages. The incubation period for CWD is from 12 to 18 months, but animals may show clinical signs or demonstrate behavioral characteristics for two to five years. Commonly observed signs of an infected animal include lowered head and ears, uncoordinated movement, rough-hair coat, weight loss, increased thirst, excessive drooling, and, ultimately, death.

Hunters who see deer behaving oddly, that appear to be sick, or that are dying for unknown reasons are urged to contact the nearest Game Commission Region Office. Hunters should not kill or consume animals that appear to be sick.

“We count on hunters to be our eyes when they head out to hunt deer,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. “With the help of the nearly one million deer hunters who go afield, we can cover a lot of ground.

“Hunters should be mindful of wildlife health issues, but no more so than in recent years. We must keep the threat posed by CWD in perspective; should the disease be introduced into the wild populations of deer and elk, it is unlikely that we will ever eliminate it. At this point, we have no evidence that CWD is in Pennsylvania, or that it poses health problems for humans.”

Not only should hunters shoot only deer that appear to be healthy and behave normally, the Game Commission also recommends that they use rubber gloves for field dressing. These are simple precautions that hunters can follow to ensure their hunt remains a safe and pleasurable experience.

In September of 2005, in order to prepare for a possible CWD occurrence, Gov. Edward G. Rendell and agency representatives of the Pennsylvania CWD task force finalized and signed the state’s response plan, which outlines ways to prevent CWD from entering the state’s borders and, if CWD is in Pennsylvania, how to detect, contain and work to eradicate it. The task force was comprised of representatives from the Governor’s Office, the Game Commission, the state Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the state Department of Health, the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. Also, representatives of important stakeholder groups – including hunters, deer and elk farmers, meat processors and taxidermists – helped shape the final version of the plan. A copy of the final plan, which is updated annually, can be viewed on the Game Commission’s website ( by clicking on “Reports/Minutes” and then selecting “Pennsylvania CWD Response Plan.”

In December of 2005, recognizing the transmissible nature of the disease, the Game Commission issued an order banning the importation of specific carcass parts from states and Canadian provinces where CWD had been identified in free-ranging cervid populations. Hunters traveling to the following states must abide by the importation restrictions: Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York (CWD containment area only), South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia (Hampshire County only), Wisconsin and Wyoming; as well as the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Unfortunately, in spite of extensive efforts of education about the parts ban, there still are worrisome violations reported from all regions of the state.

Specific carcass parts prohibited from being imported into Pennsylvania by hunters are: head (including brain, tonsils, eyes and lymph nodes); spinal cord/backbone; spleen; skull plate with attached antlers, if visible brain or spinal cord material is present; cape, if visible brain or spinal cord material is present; upper canine teeth, if root structure or other soft material is present; any object or article containing visible brain or spinal cord material; and brain-tanned hides.

The order does not limit the importation of the following animal parts originating from any cervid in the quarantined states, provinces or area: meat, without the backbone; skull plate with attached antlers, if no visible brain or spinal cord material is present; tanned hide or raw hide with no visible brain or spinal cord material present; cape, if no visible brain or spinal cord material is present; upper canine teeth, if no root structure or other soft material is present; and taxidermy mounts.

Additionally, the Game Commission conducted an emergency drill in March of 2007 to test its preparedness to respond should CWD be identified within the state’s borders. The decision to hold the drill was a product of two meetings held in 2006 to review and update the state’s response plan, as well as the agency’s internal operational plan.

“Working through the drill enabled us to identify certain equipment, materials and contact information we needed to refine in order to improve our preparedness,” Roe said. “We also were able to better prepare for future meetings of the statewide CWD Task Force, and were able to share what we learned and what we believe needed to be addressed in the overall state response plan.”

Free Tuition for US Vets at RMU

Pittsburgh, Pa., Feb. 12, 2009 – Veterans of the U.S. armed services will be able to earn a degree tuition-free at Robert Morris University (RMU) under the newly created RMU Military Service Award, the university announced today.

To assist veterans in enrolling and earning their degree, the university will open the RMU Veterans Education and Training Services Center (VETS Center), which will provide a host of transitional services to veterans and their families under the direction of retired U.S. Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Dan Rota.

Under the Post-9/11 G.I. bill, veterans and other qualified military personnel will be eligible starting this fall to receive a subsidy for tuition that is equivalent to the highest tuition of any public institution in the state. The RMU Military Service Award will cover the difference between that subsidy and RMU’s tuition for qualified veterans who enroll at the university as a full-time graduate or undergraduate student.

“Since 9/11, thousands of veterans from western Pennsylvania have returned from deployment,” said RMU President Gregory G. Dell’Omo. “In this difficult economy, we want to remove barriers and give our best and brightest opportunities for private education that might not otherwise be available. Our goal is simple: give veterans the opportunity to get a private education and graduate with no debt, so the first paycheck they earn is all theirs.”

Under the award program, half of the difference between RMU’s tuition and the veteran’s subsidy is covered by the university, and the other half will come from the federal government through the Yellow Ribbon G.I. Education Enhancement Program. The spouses and dependents of veterans may also qualify for the RMU Military Service Award.

RMU also announced that it will create the VETS Center to provide transitional services and support to veterans who enroll at the university, as well as to their families. Its first director will be retired Brigadier Gen. Dan Rota, who spent 40 years in the Air National Guard. He is professor emeritus of computer and information systems at RMU.

Transitional services will include academic advising, flexible course scheduling, and counseling. RMU is seeking space near the airport-area military bases to house this new facility.

“Robert Morris University already has 130 veterans in their programs and has a long-standing tradition of serving veterans,” said state Sen. John Pippy, R-Moon.

Pippy, a West Point graduate, previously served with the 99th RRC as company commander of the 332nd Engineer Company on active duty in Iraq and Kuwait. Currently he serves as a major in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

“RMU’s promise to provide free tuition for all qualified veterans is a natural evolution of the great work they have been doing with veterans for many years and a tremendous commitment to our region,” said Pippy.

67 Women, 67 Counties
Coming to Potter County

The Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition (PBCC) is pleased to work with the Potter County Exhibit Committee and Charles Cole Memorial Hospital to bring its traveling photo exhibit “67 Women, 67 Counties: Facing Breast Cancer in Pennsylvania,” to Potter County from March 12 - 23. The photo exhibit will be displayed in the Irwin Medical Arts Center at Charles Cole Memorial Hospital.

An opening reception is scheduled for Thursday, March 12 at 6:00pm. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. To RSVP for the opening reception, please call 1-800-377-8828

This work of art features women from each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, along with a message about how breast cancer has touched their lives. The women reflect the diversity of Pennsylvania, and their stories reflect the impact of breast cancer on themselves, their families and their communities. The exhibit encourages women to learn about early detection and celebrates life, courage, hope and dignity of women and families who have battled breast cancer. “67 Women, 67 Counties: Facing Breast Cancer in Pennsylvania” is sponsored by the PBCC and funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Pat Halpin-Murphy, President and Founder of the PBCC, encourages everyone to visit the exhibit. “Breast cancer is not a rare event separate from the fabrics of our everyday lives. It impacts our mothers, daughters and friends. We must educate ourselves about this disease and fight to find a cure now…so our daughters won’t have to.”

“Charles Cole Memorial Hospital is proud to host this extraordinary exhibit that shares real stories of the brave women who have battled breast cancer throughout Pennsylvania including those from our surrounding communities: Twila Alden from Cameron County, Audrey Beckes from McKean County, Mary Shon from Potter County, and Barb Bailey, Laurie Seip, and Dee Hoffman from Tioga County. We encourage everyone to come and reflect on this exhibit’s touching message,” said Janene Dunn, public relations director at CCMH.

The PBCC, founded in 1993, is a non-profit organization and the only statewide grassroots organization that speaks to and for breast cancer survivors. The PA Breast Cancer Coalition represents, supports and serves breast cancer survivors and their families in Pennsylvania through educational programming, legislative advocacy and breast cancer research grants.

For more information please call 1-800-377-8828 or visit the website at

DEP Reviewing Permit Process

HARRISBURG – Beginning Feb. 14, the public can review and comment on a proposal that will better enable the Department of Environmental Protection to cover the increased costs and staffing needs for overseeing Pennsylvania’s booming natural gas industry.

DEP hopes to replace the $100 flat fee for drilling permits—a fee that has not been increased since 1984—with a sliding scale based on well depth and type. The change will help ensure adequate funding to cover program expenses for permit reviews and well site inspections.

“Pennsylvania’s oil and natural gas industry is booming with a record 7,924 permits issued and nearly 4,200 new wells drilled in the past year, yet the cost of a drilling permit has not changed in a quarter century,” Environmental Protection acting Secretary John Hanger said. “Natural gas exploration, particularly in the Marcellus Shale, promises billions of dollars in investment and economic growth for the commonwealth. This proposed new permit fee structure will allow DEP to hire the staff to help balance this historic opportunity with our responsibility to closely monitor this activity to protect our land and water resources.

“Our goal is to establish a new permit fee that better reflects the true cost of providing timely review of new permits and inspecting well sites and drilling activities.”

The proposed fee structure will be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on Feb. 14, beginning a 30-day public review and comment period. Following review and possible revisions based on comments received by the public, the regulatory proposal will be presented to the Environmental Quality Board for final approval later this year.

On Dec. 16, the Environmental Quality Board approved DEP’s request to impose new fees for Marcellus Shale drilling permits that will replace the flat $100 permit fee with a variable fee structure based on well depth

The proposed fee structure sets the base permit cost for vertical wells up to 2,000 feet deep at $250, with increases of $50 for each 500 feet of depth from 2,000 to 5,000 feet. An additional $100 charge will be levied for each 500 feet of well drilled beyond 5,000 feet. Horizontal wells up to 1,500 feet long would have a base permit cost of $900, with an additional $100 for every 500 feet of well bore drilled past 1,500 feet.

Permit applications for vertical wells with a well bore length of 1,500 feet or less for home use will have a flat cost of $200. The fee increase will also allow the department to hire additional staff in Meadville, Pittsburgh and Williamsport to process permits and monitor drilling activities in the north-central and northeastern regions of Pennsylvania.

The state’s Oil and Gas Act established a $100 permit fee in 1984 and gives the department the authority to increase that fee to cover the cost of regulating the drilling industry.

That proposal is currently before the House and Senate Environmental Resources and Energy committees for review and approval and will be considered by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission at its March 19 meeting.

Possible Gas Pipeline Expansion in Potter, Other Counties

An expansion of a major Texas-to-New England gas pipeline is being proposed to handle a drilling rush on the Marcellus Shale gas formation in northeastern Pennsylvania.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has begun notifying local authorities of its intention to conduct an environmental review of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline's proposed expansion.

El Paso Corp. owns the Tennessee Gas Pipeline.

The Houston-based company wants to expand the pipeline in Pike, Potter, and Susquehanna counties in Pennsylvania, as well as Passaic and Sussex counties in New Jersey.

56th Stryker Brigage in Iraq

Most members of the Army National Guard's 56th Stryker Brigade have arrived in Iraq.

They're stationed about 15 miles north of Baghdad.

A large part of the unit is in the country conducting ride-alongs with the units they will replace.

Communication with the troops is still unstable, and e-mail systems are still being set up.

Web Extra:
Six-Word Memoirs

This is my interview with Rachel Fershleiser and Larry Smith, editors of "Six-Word Memoris on Love & Heartbreak."

Click HERE to hear it.

For more information, visit Smith

Stachowski Praises 'Buy American'

Sen. William Stachowski praised Congress for including Buy American provisions in the final version of the economic recovery package.

“I’m pleased that Congress has included the Buy American provisions in the economic recovery package. Buy American provisions will ensure this recovery package puts thousands of Americans back to work and lays the foundation for a healthy economy over the long term,” Sen.Stachowski said.

Sen. Stachowski (D-Lake View), Chair of the NY Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee, is meeting with the NY congressional delegation in Washington Thursday to discuss funding from the stimulus package and creating as many jobs as possible, as quickly as possible.

“Western New York has the green hydropower and industrial know-how to produce the energy efficient vehicles and renewable energy generating equipment that will move our country and the world forward in the 21st Century. And Western New Yorkers are some of the best workers in the state. We must do everything we can to give them an opportunity to earn a living.”

Sen. Stachowski said Congress must make certain the Administration implements the Buy America provisions in the bill. “I will continue to work with Congress on Buy American plans so that we can successfully rebuild American manufacturing industries for the future,” he said.

“When we use American steel to rebuild our bridges and roads, we create jobs in the steel industry as well as in the construction industry. The impact of every stimulus dollar multiplies when we spend it at home and keep it circulating in our communities.

“America’s economy and America’s middle class have been based on a strong, healthy manufacturing sector. In order to have a long term recovery, we must make goods that we use here at home and we can export to the rest of the world.”

Today on the LiveLine:
The Music of Eugene Chan

At 12:40 p.m. on 1490 WESB we'll be whetting your appetite with the music of baritone Eugene Chan. Keep reading for more about Saturday's concert and this year's Marilyn Horne Foundation recitalist.

Baritone Eugene Chan will sing romantic songs from the worlds of opera and Broadway during a Valentine’s Day concert at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

The Marilyn Horne Foundation Residency/Recital will begin at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 in the Bromeley Family Theater at Blaisdell Hall. The concert is part of the University’s Spectrum Series. Chan will also be in residency with local students throughout the week.

Tickets are $6 for public, $5 for faculty and staff and free for any student with an ID.

“Eugene Chan has embraced the Valentine’s Day concept and has agreed to include Robert Schumann's masterpiece cycle ‘Dichterliebe,’ which describes the poet’s journey through life and love, in addition to other more modern romantic songs from popular Broadway musicals,” said Randy Mayes, director of arts programming at Pitt-Bradford.

Line-up of songs includes Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “I Have Dreamed” from “The King and I” and “Some Enchanted Evening” from “South Pacific”; Jerome Kern’s “The Way You Look Tonight”; and Rodgers and Hart’s “My Funny Valentine.”

John Churchwell, assistant conductor for the Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera, will accompany on the piano.

Among Chan’s performance credits are “The Merry Widow” with the West Bay Opera, “Carmen” with the San Francisco Opera Center and Sacramento Opera, “Don Giovanni” with Sacramento State Opera and “Brahms Requiem” with the Camellia Symphony.

Fresh off a Hollywood debut, Chan performed with little notice for the Los Angeles Philharmonic in “Carmina Burana.” This sparked his performance in China at the Shanghai National Grand Theater.

Chan debuted at Carnegie Hall in January 2008 through the Marilyn Horne Foundation, and in 2006, he appeared in the world premiere of “The Grand Seducers: Giovanni Meets Xi-men Qing” at the San Francisco Chinese Culture Center.

He has also performed as a soloist in the PBS televised performance of the “Charpentier Te Deum” with the San Francisco Boys Chorus and has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, as well as with the San Francisco Symphony.

A pre-show dinner will be held beginning at 5:45 p.m. in the Mukaiyama University Room of the Frame-Westerberg Commons. Cost is $18, and the menu includes London broil with chocolate merlot sauce and New York cheesecake decorated with chocolate hearts.

For disability-related needs, contact the Office of Disability Resources and Services at 814-362-7609 or

Additional information is available by contacting the Bromeley Family Theater box office at (814) 362-5113.

Photo of Horne and Chan courtesy of Pitt-Bradford

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Attempted Beheading in Reading

Listeners to 100.1 The HERO may have heard Igor talk about this story:

Reading, PA - A Muhlenberg Township man tried to cut off a Reading mechanic's head with a circular saw Monday morning after the men fought about a broken-down car, city police said.

For the full story, go to the Reading Eagle.

Fumo: No Firewalls Set Up for Staff

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A former high-ranking Pennsylvania lawmaker admitted at his corruption trial Wednesday that he set up no firewalls to keep his state staff from mixing Senate, campaign and personal work for him.

A courtroom showdown between former Sen. Vincent Fumo and federal prosecutors capped a four-month trial and five-year FBI probe. The long-powerful Philadelphia Democrat is charged with defrauding the senate, a charity and a museum of more than $3.5 million to help fund his lavish lifestyle.

For the full story, go to

Missing Mike Cejka

Remember, you can still hear Mike Monday through Friday on 1490 WESB and 100.1 The HERO (and we're very happy about that!)

New Book Traces History of
Warren G. Harding's Image

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y., Feb. 11, 2009 — A new book by St. Bonaventure University faculty member Dr. Phillip G. Payne explores how Warren G. Harding’s name became synonymous with corruption, cronyism, and incompetence and how it is used to this day as an example of what a president should not be.

Payne’s book, “Dead Last: The Public Memory of Warren G. Harding’s Scandalous Legacy,” was published by Ohio University Press (January 2009).

Payne traces the history of Harding’s image from the election of 1920 to the current debate over George W. Bush’s place in history examining such things as presidential rankings, commemoration and legacy formation, political uses of history and memory, and the role of scandal in popular and political culture.

“Harding is generally considered among the worst of the presidents, typically ranking dead last or as a failure in presidential rankings,” said Payne, associate professor of history at St. Bonaventure.

Ironically, Payne explained, during the 1920 election the Republican campaign carefully crafted an image of Harding as a small-town civic booster. The Harding campaign made effective use of modern techniques to craft Harding’s image that enabled Harding and the Republicans to win a landslide victory. When Harding died in August 1923 he was widely popular. He was commemorated with a memorial, the last significant presidential memorial campaign conducted before the advent of the modern presidential library system.

“However, it was not an image that would last. The revelations of scandals soon ruined Harding’s reputation. Harding would become an icon of presidential failure,” said Payne.

Payne teaches courses in United States and public history at St. Bonaventure. Prior to joining the university faculty in 1998, he worked as the historic site manager at President Warren G. Harding’s Home and Museum in Marion, Ohio.

Payne earned his Ph.D. and master’s degree in history from The Ohio State University. He did his undergraduate work at Marshall University, Huntington, W.Va.

Copies of “Dead Last” are available at and from the publisher at

Area Residents Headed to
Africa on Mission Trip

A handful of area residents bound for Africa next month will repair a deteriorating schoolhouse and share missionary skills with hundreds of pastors.

Six members of Open Arms Community Church of Bradford will spend from March 1 through March 11 in Conakry, Guinea, as part of a missions trip.

During the week and a half long stay, they will lead a pastor's conference, equipping about 200-250 ministers from West Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Cote d' Ivoire.

"Part of our goal in working with these pastors is to help train them to meet the needs in their communities," said Open Arms Multimedia Coordinator Josh Hatcher. "Not just spiritual needs, but physical and social needs as well."

He said he plans to produce a documentary focusing on the daily lives of Sierra Leone refugees, as well as their escape to Guinea.

"They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but video is infinitely more valuable," he said. "I'm very excited to be able to use the talents that I have to do this."

Members will also assist the teachers with children, as well as repair parts of the school building.

Among those making the trip include Open Arms Pastor Mike McAvoy, Shawn Murphy, Dr. Brad MacNeill and his two daughters, Jennifer and Bethany MacNeill and Hatcher.

"All my children have been on mission trips to the Indian/African subcontinents and have told me that I should go, because I'll never be the same," said Dr.MacNeill, a veterinarian from McKean County Animal Hospital. "I know I will be changed forever, but at this point, I just don't know how much and in what direction."

"I've heard people say that we shouldn't be helping people in Africa. We have poor people right here," Hatcher said. "The truth is, the poorest of our poor have food, shelter, education and often cable TV. These kids in Africa have nothing. They live on less than a dollar a day. They don't have access to the basic things they need for survival."

After watching a movie and reading a book detailing the civil war in Sierra Leone, Hatcher said he felt compelled to find a way to help the refugees and victims.

"When I read the story of this young boy who was conscripted to fight in an army, hopped up in drugs, and forced to kill at such a young age, I started to pray for a way to help," he said.

His prayer was answered. Hatcher received an e-mail from David Coker, pastor of New Family Church and Administrator of Gateway International School in Conakry, Guinea, requesting that his church and Open Arms team up.

"I get so many scams in my inbox, that I couldn't believe it," he said. "To get an unsolicited email from the exact people group in the exact city that I was praying for just seemed too strange, but they checked out, and we've been in close communication for a couple years now."

Since then, Hatcher and McAvoy have sent sermon notes, e-mails and money to Coker's church, and they have worked closely with a representative from a humanitarian non-profit organization from Texas called The Baobob Foundation.

More details are available by calling Open Arms at (814) 368-8846 or e-mailing

Photo of Shawn Murphy, Mike McAvoy, Dr. Brad MacNeill and Josh Hatcher by Ariel Campbell
Additional Photos: Children from New Family Church in Conakry Guniea, and Members of New Family Church at a river baptism service

To listen to McAvoy and Hatcher talk about the trip on LiveLine, click HERE.