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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Outhouse Race Winners:

Team Skid Mark from Burritt Appliance Center won the annual outhouse races at Stinkfest on Saturday afternoon in East Bradford.

Rolling Thunder, the team from the US Army National Guard came in second. T 'n' T from Togi's took third place.

BRMC Co-Sponsors
Patient Appreciation Picnic

Eyad Al-Hattab (center), M.D., medical director of Oncology/Hematology at The Cancer Care Center in Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC), is shown talking to cancer patient Julia Moore and her husband, Jim, of Bradford during Saturday’s second annual Patient Appreciation Picnic. It was held at the Bradford Township Lions Club on Irving Lane. The picnic was co-sponsored by BRMC’s Cancer Care Center, a regional clinical network member of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and Bradford Manor. The purpose of the event was to celebrate the patients and their families in the fight against cancer, said Dr. Al-Hattab. He credited BRMC’s Cancer Care Center secretary Kimberly Hatch and hospital volunteer Larry Saar with doing so much work to organize the event and solicit donations. More than 200 donations were given by local businesses for the picnic that has grown in attendance each year. It offered patients and their family members gift certificates, cash and also prizes to winners of various games held at the picnic. Additionally, there was a raffle for a gas grill. Dr. Al-Hattab said it was very heartening to see so many people attend the picnic. “It shows we’re all in this together,” he said. BRMC’s Cancer Care Center offers the region cancer care and hematology services to patients, up-to-date evaluation and treatment, chemotherapy, blood transfusions and bone marrow biopsies. For more information about BRMC’s Cancer Care Center, call 814-362-8425 or go online at
(Photo courtesy of BRMC)

Paterson Supports Catskills Casino

Governor David Paterson has sent a letter to Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, urging him to reverse a Bush Administration policy that, in effect, would keep the Seneca Nation from building a casino/hotel complex in the Catskills.

A memorandum issued on January 3, 2008, by former Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, restricted Indian tribes from taking off-reservation land into trust for gaming purposes.

The Sullivan County, NY, Legislature has approved the Seneca's proposal.

Paterson says the county's "extremely depressed economy desperately needs this kind of economic development, which will create jobs and additional investment associated with the kind of tourism industry that this policy change would create.”

For more information, go to the governor's Web site.

Monster Machines in Kane

On Sunday, May 24, from 1-5 p.m. on Highland Road behind Kane High School, kids of all ages will have the opportunity to enjoy a quarter mile of Big machines up close and personal.

Among the featured machines are skid steers, backhoes, log trucks, bulldozers, dump trucks and fire trucks. The “Jaws of Life” are expected to be demonstrated as well as demonstrations of backhoes and log trucks.

In addition to the big machine show and demonstrations, there will be an abundance of food, games, prizes, and raffles. The “Friday Niters” will provide music from 1-3 p.m.

At least eleven Kane Area Relay for Life teams will be providing special activities and food to entertain and amaze while raising funds for a cancer cure and for local patient services for those who hear the words “You have cancer.” Forty percent of the money raised goes toward cancer research and the other 60% for patient care, assistance or services.

The community is invited to attend this special event. There is a $1 admission charge per person, with children 2 and under admitted free.

Those attending are asked to park at the Kane Area High School parking lot. Highland Road will be blocked to traffic and must be kept clear so that fire trucks and other rescue vehicles participating may exit swiftly if needed in an emergency.

Big Machines owned by Steve Chittester Excavating, Steve Dyne Excavating, Mealy Excavating, Rich Peterson, the Kane Volunteer Fire Department, Norm Asel Enterprises, and Jerry Milliron Contracting and Landscaping are among those to be seen, heard and demonstrated.

Julia Carlson Anderson and her father, waterman Dave Carlson have created this highly anticipated event. Come, bring the whole family and support a great cause.

The many teams of the Kane Area Relay for Life work all year long to “Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back!” by raising money through a year of fundraisers, dinners, bake sales, yard sales, product sales, collection canisters, dime bottles, bottle recycling,

Candy sales, raffles, auctions. Several teams raise large amounts from families and friends across the county online.

In 2008, the Kane Area Relay raised over $62,000 dollars. The 2009 collection of teams hopes to top that mark.

The 9th Annual Kane Area Relay for Life will culminate in a 24-hour event on July 10 and 11 from noon to noon at the Kane Area High School Track. Each team will have tent set up with food and entertainment for participants. That 24 hours is filled with events to honor survivors, remember those living with and lost to cancer through a moving luminary ceremony, and so much more. There will be special events and entertainment throughout the day and night while team members walk the track.

The public is highly encouraged to participate in the celebration and opening event Friday, July 10 and the parade to rally the community to the event on Thursday evening, July 9 at 6 p.m. in uptown Kane.

Pitt-Bradford to Host Variety of Camps and Events This Summer

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford will play host to more than a dozen camps, gatherings and other events this summer.

The camps will take place between May and August and are open to the public. The summer will end with the Heart of the Alleghenies Music Festival from Aug. 7-9.

The summer season begins with two sessions of the Kinzua Fly Fishing School May 1-3 and May 16-17.

Beginning and intermediate fly fishers, male and female, age 12 to adult, are welcome to come learn fly tying, fly casting and fly-fishing techniques with nymphs, wet flies, streamers and dry flies. For more information, visit or e-mail Steve Skvarka at

Pitt-Bradford’s Science in Motion Camp will hold two sessions this year. The first session will take place from 8:30 a.m. to noon June 8-12 and is for students who have completed first, second or third grade. Students will participate in science labs pertaining to biology, the environment, physical science and chemistry. Special guests will help the children with fun labs such as papermaking, discovering our bodies, I Spy biodiversity and discovery bottles.

A second week of camp for children who have completed fourth, fifth or sixth grade will be held from 8:30 a.m. to noon June 22-26.

Children in this camp will visit Pitt-Bradford’s Crime Scene Investigation House with a guest professor and become CSI investigators by conducting different science labs such as a blood spatter, fiber and hair analysis, blood typing, fingerprinting and fuming, DNA profiling and bone identification.

The fee for each of the camps is $75 for one child and a $50 fee for each additional child in the family to attend. The fee includes a T-shirt. Registration and fees for the first camp need to be submitted by May 22, for the second camp by June 5. For more information or to register, call (814)362-7570 or e-mail

Young swimmers will be able to develop and improve skills in all four swimming styles at the Swimming Clinics held by Head Swimming Coach Ed Bahan from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. June 8-12 and June 15-19 for the day camps; June 22-26 for the overnight camp. Day camp is for children 8 and older; overnight camp for children 11 and older.

Bahan was the 2009 Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year, coaching both the men’s and women’s AMCC swimmer of the year.

The cost of the day camp is $125 for each week. The overnight camp is $375 for those in 8th grade or younger, $410 for those who are older. For more information or to register, contact Bahan at (814)362-5034 or

On June 13, Head Men’s Basketball Coach Andy Moore will hold a one-day College Basketball Prospect Camp for boys in grades 10 through 12 with the desire and potential to play college basketball. The camp will take place from 1 to 8 p.m. and include a camp jersey, a college practice, offensive-skill development, competitive games and situations, and information about college recruiting and admissions. Cost is $60.

Moore will hold three additional basketball camps in July.

The week of July 6-10 is Co-Ed Basketball Day Camp for ages 8 to 17 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The camp will teach the fundamentals of basketball to campers through individual and group instruction and provide competitive game situations to practice individual skills.

The Boys’ Basketball Camp will follow the same format and take place from July 20-24. Cost for the co-ed and boys’ camps is $125 and includes a T-shirt. There is a $10 discount for siblings.

Moore even has camp for the youngest players. Gym Rats Basketball Camp for children age 4 to 8 takes place from 9 to 11:30 a.m. July 27-30. The cost is $60 and includes T-shirt and daily snack.

Moore has been head basketball coach at Pitt-Bradford for 16 years and has a career record of 253-177. For more information on basketball camps, contact Moore at (814)362-5276 or or visit the Pitt-Bradford athletics Web site to download a brochure and application:

On June 18-20, the 12th Penn’s Woods Jeep Jamboree rolls onto campus. The Jamboree is an off-road adventure weekend that brings together the outdoors, down-to-earth people and their Jeep 4x4s. Participants will travel through the Allegheny Highlands on trails that rarely see visitors. All ages are welcome, but drivers must have a valid license to drive Jeeps. For more information, visit

The Friends of the Hanley Library will sponsor an exhibit of Bradford native Roger Hane’s illustrations from June 18 through July 10 in the KOA Art Gallery in Blaisdell Hall. Best known as the illustrator of C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia series, Hane also illustrated album covers and magazine illustrations and worked with advertising agencies and industry.

The exhibition will open with a presentation by R.C. Hunsicker, who has written a biography of Hane called “Roger Hane: Art Times and Tragedy,” at 7 p.m. June 18 in the gallery. The exhibit, which goes by the same name as the biography, will be open to the public during regular gallery hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health Center for Public Health Preparedness will present School Nurse Summer Trainings June 22-24. This training is for school nurses, crisis response team members, administrators or rural responders who have the responsibility to plan, respond or help with recovery in the event of a school or community disaster. For more information, visit or call Laurie Dennis at (800)872-1787 or (814)362-5078.

Sixty community children will take to the Bromeley Family Theater stage the week of June 22-27 with Missoula Children’s Theatre, a theater workshop for children who are entering grades 1 through 12 sponsored by the Bradford Creative and Performing Arts Center. After just one week of practice, the children will present “The Little Mermaid” at 2 p.m. June 27 in the Bromeley Family Theater in Blaisdell Hall.

The cost of the workshop is $100. Applications will be available May 1 and spots are available on a first-come basis. For more information, visit or call (814)362-2522.

Autism Network International will bring its Autreat to Pitt-Bradford for the second year from June 29-July 3. Autreat is a retreat-style conference run by autistic people for autistic people and friends. It is an opportunity for autistic people and those with developmental differences and their friends and supporters to come together to discover and explore autistic connections and develop advocacy skills in an autistic-friendly environment. Family members and professionals are welcome to attend. For more information, visit

In July, Pitt-Bradford will host the Embraceable Ewe Knitting Camp from July 10-14. Beginners, intermediates and experts are welcome to work on a knitting project, learn techniques and share ideas and tips with other knitters. For more information or to register, call (716)646-6674.

During the week of July 13-17, students from Floyd C. Fretz Middle School in Bradford can explore careers at Camp Compass, which is sponsored by the TRiO Educational Talent Search office at Pitt-Bradford. The free day camp will take place offers career and college games and activities such as art projects, computer activities and a science lab experiment. Students will also hear presentations on topics such as “Careers in Law Enforcement,” “Working with Animals” and “Careers in Sports.” For more information or to register, call the TRiO Educational Talent Search office at (814)362-5115.

High school students from the Intermediate Unit 9 can spend the week of July 19-25 at Seneca Highlands Summer Academy exploring criminal justice and forensic science, entrepreneurship and technology, or drama and communications. Students should contact their guidance counselors for more information.

Pitt-Bradford Head Men’s Soccer Coach Darek Panol will hold two Soccer Camps in July. Overnight camp for children age 13 to 18 will take place July 23-26. The day camp for children age 6 to 12 will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 27-31. For more information or to register, contact Panol at (814)362-7537 or

Also in July, the National Cheerleaders Association Cheer Camp comes to Pitt-Bradford from July 26-29 for children in grades 6-12. Resident camps are run by trained staff members from colleges and universities who teach stunts, new material and encourage team bonding. For more information or to register, go to or call 1-800-622-2946.

Finally, the season will wind down with the Sixth Annual Heart of the Alleghenies Music Festival from Aug. 7-9

Festival attendees will have an opportunity to attend instructional workshops, dances and open jam sessions featuring old time, bluegrass, dulcimer, autoharp, French-Canadian, Scottish and world folk music in an informal setting. An instrument exchange gives festival attendees an opportunity to buy, sell or swap used instruments. Spontaneous and open jam sessions will be capped off with a Saturday night concert headlined by Claudia Schmidt and Celticladda. For more information, visit

(Photos courtesy of Pitt-Bradford)

E85 is Here

The Foster Brook Crosby's re-opened its fuel tanks on Friday -- including the first E85 tank in McKean County, and north of Interstate 80. The official ribbon cutting ceremony at the new dispenser will be May 15. Scott Douglas will be doing a live broadcast from Crosby's/Tim Horton's on May 16 on 100.1 The HERO, The Rock Station of the Twin Tiers. E85 is an alternative fuel that shows superior performance characteristics and burns cleaner than gasoline. It's also renewable and domestically produced.

Hydroxycut Products Recalled

Williamsville, NY –As part of a manufacturer's recall, Tops Friendly Markets have removed from shelves several Hydroxycut products. The Food and Drug Administration is urging consumers to discontinue the use of Hydroxycut products as they have been associated with a number of serious liver injuries. The maker of the dietary supplement has announced a voluntary recall for all code dates for the following products that Tops carries:
· Hydroxycut Complete 7-day cap, UPC #63165660161
· Hydroxycut Weight Loss Caplets, UPC #63165660047
The FDA said it has received 23 reports of serious liver injuries linked to Hydroxycut products, which are also used as energy enhancers and as fat burners
Customers should check their cupboards for this product and return to the store for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Hydroxycut at 1-877-468-2835.

School District Science Fair

The Bradford Area School District held its annual Science Fair Friday night at Fretz Middle School. Here are just a few of the exhibits. I wish I could post pictures of all of them!

This is the fifth year of the Science Fair, started by teacher Jan Russell. School District Superintendent Sandra Romanowski said during the first year, they didn't have enough exhibits to fill one side of the Large Group Instruction Room. This year, the LGI Room was full, and there were also exhibits in the hallways and the gym.

"We'll have it every year and it'll get better and better," she said, also noting that people who don't even have children in the school district were among the hundreds and hundreds of people who attended.

The event was partially funded by the Oil 150 Committee.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Bemus Point Swine Flu Update

Schools in Bemus Point could be closed anywhere from 5 to 14 days because a student tested "probable" for swine flu..

Friday morning Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was recommending that schools affected by swine flu be closed for 14 days.

During a briefing Friday afternoon, New York Health Commissioner Dr. Richard Daines told Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards that's not set in stone.

"That 14-day guideline may change," Daine said. "I've been in touch with (County Health Director Christine Schuyler) directly there. ... When the school's closed, we're certainly going to have it closed for five days. It gives time to work out the details on this."

The Bemus Point Central School District cancelled school today and all extracurricular activities through the weekend.

Governor David Paterson said officials should know before Monday when the schools can be re-opened.

Anniversary in Salamanca

Seneca Nation President Barry Snyder Sr. was among the dignitaries on hand to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel in Salamanca today.

During the ceremonies, Seneca Gaming Corporation Chairman Cochise Redeye said one of the new initiatives this year will be an employee bonus policy.

He said the reason for instating the bonus policy is a renewed commitment to improve employee culture.

Sheriff Howard to Speak During
Police Memorial Day at UPB

Erie County (N.Y.) Sheriff Tim Howard will speak at the Police Memorial Day service at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford May 15.

The service, which is co-sponsored by the Bucktail Lodge #96 and the William Hanley Sr. Lodge #67 of the Fraternal Order of Police, will take place at 1 p.m. in the Bromeley Family Theater in Blaisdell Hall.

The service is open to the public and will feature a color guard; Howard and other speakers, including Dr. Livingston Alexander, president of Pitt-Bradford, and members of the clergy; a video tribute to officers who died in the line of duty in Pennsylvania in the last year; and a 21-gun salute.

As part of the service, wreaths will be laid at a plaque commemorating three local officers who have died in the line of duty in the past 22 years – Sgt. David Distrola, Bradford; Patrolman Steven Jerman, Kane; and Patrolman Carl Whippo, Johnsonburg.

A luncheon will follow in the KOA Dining Hall in the Frame-Westerberg Commons.

Howard is a 37-year veteran of law enforcement and has been sheriff of Erie County since 2005. Previously he served as the undersheriff of Erie County and for 24 years with the New York State Police, rising through the ranks of trooper, sergeant, investigator, lieutenant, captain, major and inspector.

He holds a master’s degree in criminal justice and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Howard is a recipient of the Brummer Award, the highest award for heroism given by the New York State Police, as a result of his actions during a 1982 domestic dispute in which his partner, Trooper Gary Kubasiak, was shot and killed.

He has served in various assignments across the state, including Buffalo, Long Island, the Adirondacks and the Southern Tier.

In 1998, Howard was the recipient of the Erie County Law Enforcement Award. He received a New York State Legislative Proclamation for his work with school violence and also received the NYSP Superintendent’s Unit Citation for his leadership role in the search for a missing girl, Sara Ann Wood, in the Adirondacks. He has taught extensively at the State Police Academy in Albany and in the Criminal Justice Program at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

BRMC's Radiography Students
Receive Scholarships

Shown at Friday’s scholarship awards ceremony for Bradford Regional Medical Center’s School of Radiography students are (from left): Jeanne Burritt, the school’s acting program director; Emily Rieder of St. Marys, a recipient of the Clinical Excellence Scholarship; Virginia Hauser, executive director of the Bradford Hospital Auxiliary; and Ricky Bee of Olean, N.Y., a recipient of the New Professional Scholarship.
(Photo courtesy of BRMC)

Two second-year students from Bradford Regional Medical Center’s (BRMC) School of Radiography have been awarded annual Bradford Hospital Auxiliary scholarships.

Ricky Bee of Olean, N.Y., received the New Professional Scholarship and Emily Rieder of St. Marys was presented with the Clinical Excellence Scholarship during an awards ceremony Friday at BRMC. Each scholarship is worth $750.

“The New Professional Scholarship was developed to recognize a student for outstanding work ethic, professionalism, compassion, attitude and competency,” said Virginia Hauser, the Auxiliary’s executive director. The scholarship was first awarded in 2004.

Both students will complete the 24-month program at BRMC’s School of Radiography later this year.

Mr. Bee will also earn a bachelor’s degree in radiologic science from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford at the end of this year. He already has a full-time job at Charles Cole Memorial Hospital, which is one of the clinical affiliates of BRMC’s School of Radiography. Ms. Reider earned her bachelor’s degree in radiologic science from Pitt-Bradford during graduation ceremonies in mid-April. Her future plans include relocating to Las Vegas.

Radiography School Clinical Coordinator Scott Gregoire said the highly coveted scholarship Ms. Reider received is awarded each year to the student rated the highest by staff radiographers from BRMC and clinical affiliate sites in Warren, St. Marys, Coudersport, Kane and Olean.

“It is always an honor and a privilege to present these awards from the Auxiliary to two students in this highly respected program. The School of Radiography program at BRMC is one of the best in the region, and our award recipients are the two of the best among the best. The strength of these two recipients is directly related to the strength and commitment of every student in this program, the quality of the facilities and the expertise of the faculty and clinical staff,” said Dr. Holly Spittler, a member of the Auxiliary’s Scholarship Committee.

Officials at BRMC’s School of Radiography developed a collaborative agreement with Pitt-Bradford in 2001 that allows students to transfer credits toward a four-year degree, according to Jeanne Burritt, the School of Radiography’s acting program director.

Students spend approximately four semesters at Pitt-Bradford and two full years in the School of Radiography if they choose to pursue the professional bachelor’s degree. Since 1978 the School of Radiography has been offered on-site at BRMC, a 24-month program which prepares students for careers as highly trained allied health professionals who perform diagnostic imaging examinations.

After successfully completing the program, students receive a diploma and are eligible to take an examination conducted by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. This certification is nationally and internationally recognized as the “gold standard” of quality in medical imaging.

The school is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. This national organization is dedicated to establishing benchmarks to maintain the highest quality of education and ensure patient safety and quality care.
For more information about the program, contact BRMC's School of Radiography at 814-362-8292 or go online at

Church Donates to Warming House

When Fr. James Vacco, O.F.M., learned of the need for more meat products at the Warming House soup kitchen in Olean, he turned to parishioners at St. John’s Church.

They responded with donations totaling $2,500, enough to put meat on the Warming House table for the next four or five months.

“Their generosity is overwhelming, it’s a dream come true,” said Trevor Thompson, director of the Warming House, which has operated as an outreach/service ministry of St. Bonaventure University since 1974 and is believed to be the oldest student-run soup kitchen in the nation.

Fr. James, an instructor in St. Bonaventure’s Clare College and administrator of St. John’s Parish, asked parishioners to donate to the meat fund as a Lenten sacrificial offering. Some 100 “Meat The Need” envelopes were picked up by parishioners.

“Perhaps they gave up purchasing a cup of coffee at work and placed that money in the ‘Meat The Need’ envelope instead,” said Fr. James. “It all adds up.”

But no one expected it to add up to so much.

“When the secretary at the church counted the returned envelopes on the Monday of Holy Week I was elated,” said Fr. James.

Most donations to the Warming House are canned or non-perishable food items, said Thompson, estimating it costs anywhere from $25 to $40 per day to put meat on the table.

He attended Masses at St. John’s last weekend to thank the parishioners.

Paladino to Speak at SBU

Carl Paladino, CEO of Buffalo’s Ellicott Development Company, will speak at 4 p.m. Monday, May 4, in the amphitheater of St. Bonaventure University’s William F. Walsh Science Center.

The talk is part of the Entrepreneur in Residence lecture series sponsored by the School of Business.

Paladino will present an overview of his family enterprise with a concentration on strategy and execution, said Dr. Carol Wittmeyer, assistant professor of management sciences at SBU. The program is open to the public and a hallway reception will follow the talk.

A 1968 graduate of St. Bonaventure and a former member of the university’s Board of Trustees, Paladino founded Ellicott Development Company in 1973. The property management, leasing and development firm owns Buffalo’s Ellicott Square and manages over 4.5 million square feet of office, retail and residential space, making the company the largest private landlord in downtown Buffalo.

School of Business faculty and students will mark the occasion of Paladino’s visit to announce creation of a fund in honor of his son Patrick, who died tragically in an automobile accident on March 30. In the fall of 2009, Patrick Paladino, an employee of his father’s firm, worked with university professors to create a case study of the Paladino family enterprise. Patrick, like his father, uncle and brother, attended St. Bonaventure.

The Patrick Paladino Fund for St. Bonaventure University Student Family Enterprise Programming will help students study and work with family operated businesses, and fund creation of a family business club at St. Bonaventure.

Establishment of the fund will be announced Monday by Peter M. Certo, a graduating St. Bonaventure senior who is about to become a fourth-generation member of his family’s business, Certo Brothers, Inc., Buffalo’s largest beer distributor. Certo and his family helped start the fund in Patrick Paladino’s honor.

Carl Paladino, a life-long advocate of the city of Buffalo, is a risk-taker who consistently invests in Western New York. He has pioneered strategic retail developments in the most economically depressed areas of Buffalo, Syracuse and Albany.

Paladino earned a law degree from Syracuse University College of Law in 1971, then traveled to Fort Bliss, Texas, to serve in the U.S. Army. He returned to Buffalo to practice law, eventually undertaking the management role for the New York City-based owners of Ellicott Square and establishing the law firm of Paladino, Caan and Quinlivan.

Paladino is director of Buffalo Place, Inc.; a former trustee of Bishop Timon/St. Jude High School; a director of Buffalo Civic Auto Ramps; and a former director of the Horizons Waterfront Commission. He is a member of the executive board of the Niagara Frontier Council of Boy Scouts of America, and the advisory boards of Erie Community College and D’Youville College.

As a St. Bonaventure trustee, he chaired the Buildings and Grounds Committee, presiding over the planning and construction of many of the physical improvements and renovations seen on campus today.

Paladino was Buffalonian of the Year in 1991 and was named Alumnus of the Year at St. Bonaventure in 1993. Most recently, Leadership Buffalo honored him with the Leadership Impact Award for his efforts to remove Thruway tollbooths.

Paladino is married to Mary Catherine Hannon. In addition to his son Patrick, he has a son William and daughters Danielle and Sarah.

PennDOT Starts ARRA Projects

CLEARFIELD – PennDOT announced today that work has started on the first three projects in the nine-county District 2 area that are financed with federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

“Construction activity on these three projects began in April and they signify the beginning of the District’s 14 economic stimulus transportation projects that will help stimulate job creation and provide much-needed transportation improvements in our region,” PennDOT District Executive Kevin Kline said.

The remaining 11 projects will move into construction at various times over the next five to six months.

PennDOT awarded Glenn O. Hawbaker, Inc. of State College a $2,784,026 contract to mill, resurface and widen 4.8-miles of Routes 26 and 64 near Pleasant Gap in Centre County, and a $1,744,319 contract to mill and overlay a 1.5-mile portion of Route 6 in the Coudersport area of Potter County. New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co. Inc. of New Enterprise, Bedford County, was awarded a $3,039,234 contract for surface improvements and drainage updates along a 5-mile stretch of U.S. Route 219 in the Luthersburg area of Clearfield County.

Within District 2’s nine-counties, PennDOT will invest more than $66 million of federal economic recovery funds on 14 transportation projects, which include roadway restoration and improvements, and bridge preservation and replacement.

On Routes 26 and 64 construction crews will widen the lanes and shoulders along with milling and resurfacing the road. Crews will also make drainage improvements, build-up curbs, paint new pavement markings and install new guide rail. The work zone stretches from the Route 26/Route 144 intersection near Pleasant Gap north along Routes 26 and 64 and almost to the Route 550 intersection.

Along Route 6, construction crews will mill and overlay the road and add drainage updates and improvements. The work zone runs from Eulalia Township to the intersection at the Sheetz convenience store in Coudersport. The U.S. Route 219 project will bring tree trimming, milling and paving, guide rail updates and drainage improvements. The work zone stretches from the village of Luthersburg, south to the village of Chestnut Grove.

All three projects will be complete in fall of 2009.

Alleged 'Traveling' Predator
From Texas Arrested

HARRISBURG - Attorney General Tom Corbett on Thursday announced that agents from the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit have arrested a Texas man accused of using Internet chat rooms to sexually proposition what he believed was a 13-year old girl, as well as flying from Texas to Pittsburgh to meet and have sex with the girl. The "girl" was actually an undercover agent from the Child Predator Unit using the online profile of a child.

Corbett identified the defendant as Billy Elvin Clark, 62, 1411 South 11th St., Merkel, Texas.

"With summer vacation season quickly approaching, it is important for parents to understand how quickly online predators will attempt to arrange meetings with children," Corbett said. "As this case demonstrates, some predators will travel great distances if they believe they have found a vulnerable child."

Corbett said that Clark allegedly used an Internet chat room in late March to make contact with an undercover agent. Clark initially asked the girl about school and friends, but later allegedly told her that he was looking for a "young girlfriend" and discussed traveling to Pittsburgh to meet her - offering to buy her a digital camera and sexy underwear and expressing a desire to "teach" her about sex.

Cancer Victims Honored Creatively

EMPORIUM, Pa. – Family members and friends will be able to memorialize cancer victims by decorating bags for the American Cancer Society's Creating A Cure event on May 30.

Those bags will be set up as a maze for the program's 10 a.m. opening ceremonies at Sizerville State Park, along Route 155, six miles north of Emporium.

Creating A Cure, which replaces the Relay for Life, has a goal of raising $30,000 for cancer research, education, advocacy and patient services.

Unlike luminaries, the yellow, orange, green and hot pink paper bags will not be lit by candles but filled and adorned with memories.

"I think it's important to express the way you feel about the person that you lost," said Creating A Cure member Karen Hutton. "It's a way of honoring them."

The bags along with forms are available for a donation of any amount at Olivett's Shurfine Foodmart, Reid's Hometown Emporium and the Cameron County Chamber of Commerce/Artisan Center in Emporium.

Mail them to: American Cancer Society, 300 Chestnut St., Emporium, Pa. 15834 by Monday, May 25, to ensure being listed in the program.

For more information, call Hutton at (814) 486-1706.

Pictured, Marcie Gummo of Emporium admires a bag filled with memories of her son, Josh, who died of cancer more than a decade ago. Bags like this one will be set up as a maze at Sizerville State Park during the American Cancer Society's Creating A Cure event on May 30.
(Photo provided by Alex Davis Media)

CCMH Announces Informational Swine Flu Hotline

Charles Cole Memorial Hospital has established a Swine Flu informational hotline. The prerecorded message can be heard by calling 814/260-5279. As the status of this situation changes, the message will be updated as needed.

Due to the recent confirmed cases of Swine Influenza A (swH1N1) in Mexico and the United States, CCMH will continue its efforts to protect patients and staff. While CCMH has been preparing for the potential of an avian flu pandemic for quite some time, the hospital is following recommendations from local emergency management officials, the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization.

"We want the public to know that, if the swine flu affects our local community, Charles Cole will be prepared," said Lonnie Bunch, CCMH safety officer.

Symptoms of swine flu are similar to the seasonal flu and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, and coughing. While there is currently no vaccine available, the swine flu can be treated with certain antiviral drugs. Call your medical provider if you think you have the flu.

Steps people can take to avoid spreading the flu include:

stay home if you are sick
cough/sneeze into the arm/elbow or a tissue
wash hands frequently with warm soap/water or use an antibacterial gel
wash hands before touching eyes, nose, mouth
drink plenty of fluids
eat a balanced diet
get plenty of rest and exercise

For more information, visit or

BRMC Advises Preventative Measures in Light of Outbreak

By George Nianiatus
Senior Writer
Communications Department

As reports have risen about confirmed swine flu cases internationally and in 11 U.S. states, Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC) officials say they are fully prepared and trained for any future contingency which could occur.

"We drill and practice for these events throughout the year. We are well prepared and ready to respond, if necessary," says Deborah Price, BRMC's senior vice president of Patient Care Services.

BRMC Pathologist Syed Ally, M.D., F.C.A.P, F.A.S.C.P., and medical chairman of the hospital's Infection Control Committee, says he feels "confident in our Emergency Preparedness plan at the federal, state and local levels. The hospitals across our region also plan on an ongoing basis for situations like this." Both hospital officials reported there were adequate medical supplies available for patients as stockpiles are being released from Washington. "Our government is well prepared," Mrs. Price notes.

Currently, there are no confirmed cases of the H1N1 influenza A virus in Pennsylvania, according to information from the state Health Department. In neighboring New York state, though, there were 50 confirmed swine flu cases, say officials at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A key to avoiding the spread of swine flu or other sickness is ensuring those who may feel ill stay home from work or school, BRMC and other health officials say. Several safeguard measures are under way at the Medical Center to ensure public health. "Signs are being posted at all entrances and in areas with outpatient traffic to direct the patients to ask for a mask if they have symptoms of influenza, which include high fever, body aches, cough or sore throat," Mrs. Price says. The public is asked to exercise caution when visiting patients.

"Signs are also being hung throughout the hospital to encourage frequent hand hygiene, either with soap and water or using an alcohol-based sanitizer," Mrs. Price says.

In the spring of 2008, BRMC installed 20 hand sanitizers in high-traffic locations. They were placed at the Emergency Department waiting room, lobbies and at elevators and outside the cafeteria so visitors and hospital staff can disinfect their hands whenever they want.

All of these measures are being taken to reduce the incidence of spreading any illness within the hospital, the hospital official explains. So far, BRMC's Emergency Department has seen no suspected cases of swine flu, Mrs. Price says.

The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have also reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. Health officials from BRMC, the Pennsylvania Health Department and the CDC are offering advice on what people need to know to stay healthy to lessen their chance of getting with swine flu or other similar illnesses.

Their advice includes:
-- Stay home when you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others;
-- Cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow or a tissue and dispose of used tissues;
-- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
-- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
-- Stay healthy by eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and getting adequate rest and exercise; and
-- Seek care if you have influenza-like illness.
"To avoid spreading any flu-like illness, people need to constantly practice good respiratory etiquette. This means sneezing or coughing into your elbow, a tissue or with your head turned away," says Terri O'Brien, RN, BRMC's infection control practitioner.

"I also can't emphasize enough how important it is for people to properly wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer," Mrs. O'Brien says. "The spread of many flu-like illnesses could be prevented by just following these simple steps."

To date, the CDC has reported 91 human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection and the first death identified in the U.S. as of this Thursday. In addition, the World Health Organization has elevated the world pandemic level from a Phase 4 to a Phase 5 alert, the second highest level, meaning that it believes a global outbreak of the disease is imminent. A phase 5 alert means there is sustained transmission among people in at least two countries. The CDC also has activated its Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the agency's response to this emerging health threat.

For more information about the swine flu and updates, go online for the "H1N1 Flu" link at or the Pennsylvania Health Department at

Project Pride, Main Street Clean Up; Tire Amnesty Day on Saturday

Project Pride, Bradford’s designated Elm Street Neighborhood and Main Street seek volunteers for 3rd Annual Clean Up as part of the Great Pennsylvania Cleanup, on May 2nd from 10AM until 2PM.

Project Pride and The Main Street program will be hitting the streets to remove litter and scrap tires from the downtown area. Volunteers will be gathering at Grace Lutheran Community Life Center to sign in and pick up their gloves, vests, and trash bags.

Last year’s event was a huge success we had over 80 volunteers for the cleanup. Our volunteers picked up over 2,000 pounds of trash and removed over 600 tires. This year we hope to have even more volunteers and remove a larger amount of litter. The Safe, Clean & Green committee of the Elm Street program has been working very hard to get the word out to everyone in the neighborhood by distributing door hangers and recruiting volunteers. “This is a great opportunity for community groups to come together and help us take pride in our Main Street historic district and the Elm Street program,” Anita Dolan, Main Street Manager.

As part of the 3rd Annual Project Pride Clean Up effort we will be collecting tires from Bradford City residents. Members from the City of Bradford Police Department will be stationed at Grace Lutheran Parking lot to collect tires from city residents. You must show a valid drivers license to verify that you reside in the city. Each city of Bradford resident will be able to dispose of a maximum of 10 tires without rims. Tires will only be accepted from private individuals; no businesses. Additionally City of Bradford residents are reminded that the citywide spring clean up will be held the week of May 4th. Residents are asked to place items at the curb for pickup; no white goods, tires or hazardous items will be accepted.

“I would like to encourage the downtown businesses to join us by cleaning up the areas around their storefronts. If every business would sweep their sidewalks and pick up trash on a regular basis, it would be a tremendous help to our downtown area. This is especially important if there is an empty storefront close by,” added Dolan.

The Great Pennsylvania Cleanup is a statewide cleanup campaign involving local and state government, businesses, waste haulers, and environmental and civic groups. The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of Transportation (Penn DOT), in cooperation with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, Inc. are sponsoring the Great Pennsylvania Cleanup.

“People in the community have been tremendously supportive of our programs,” said Lisa Campogiani, Elm Street Manager. “It is wonderful to see so many people work together to make a difference in our community. We hope to see this participation continue and foster more pride in our downtown."

It's Motorcycle Awareness Month

HARRISBURG – May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month by proclamation of Governor Edward G. Rendell, and the Department of Transportation is reminding motorcyclists to fine-tune their skills through free motorcycle safety courses.

“Motorcycling requires continued skill-building and practice to ensure safety on the roadways,” said PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E. “These courses offer all riders the opportunity to learn or review valuable safety techniques, which may help decrease their chances of becoming involved in otherwise avoidable crashes.”

Through a contract with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, PennDOT has operated the Motorcycle Safety Program since 1984. Pennsylvania riders who hold a Class M (motorcycle) permit or license can take either the Basic Rider Course (BRC) or Experienced Rider Course (ERC). Courses are run from March through October at 70 sites across the state. Motorcycle permit holders who successfully complete the course will be issued a motorcycle license.

The BRC is a 15-hour course consisting of five hours of in-class instruction and 10 hours of practical riding experience on a riding range under the watchful eyes of certified rider coaches. This comprehensive safety and skills overview provides valuable training for new riders and gives experienced riders who have not ridden for some time the opportunity to polish their skills. Motorcycles and helmets are provided for students taking the basic course.

The ERC is a 6-hour course offering the experienced rider a chance to refresh their safety knowledge and hone their skills on a riding range under the guidance of certified rider coaches. Students taking the ERC must provide their own motorcycle and helmet.

Visit for more information on the Motorcycle Safety Program and to enroll in a course. Information about obtaining a motorcycle license and motorcycle safety tips, are available under the Motorcycle Information Center on PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services Web site at

Video: Capitol Press Conference to Release PBPC Severance Tax Paper

By Christopher Lilienthal
Communications Director

HARRISBURG, PA (April 30, 2009) – A well-structured severance tax on natural gas production will protect Pennsylvania taxpayers from shouldering the public costs that come with increased drilling, according to a report released this week by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.

“Natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale has substantial risks and substantial costs that have not yet been fully explored in the rush to drill,” said Sharon Ward, Director of the non-partisan policy research center. “A severance tax is a well-tested mechanism to shift these costs back to producers, where they belong.”

The report, “Responsible Growth: Protecting the Public Interest with a Natural Gas Severance Tax,” examines the potential costs of increased natural gas drilling on taxpayers and the environment, how severance taxes are structured in other states, and what lessons Pennsylvania can learn from them.

Interest in the severance tax has been stirred by increased natural gas production in the Marcellus Shale, a deep geologic formation that underlies 54 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. New drilling techniques and rising natural gas prices have made it economically feasible and profitable to exploit the vast gas reserves.

The Center’s report recommends that Pennsylvania assess a natural gas severance tax at the state level and that local governments’ authority to assess property taxes on gas and oil interests – a practice banned by a state court ruling in 2002 – be restored. Ward said the court treats the oil and gas industry differently from other mineral industries and from other businesses, whose production is a factor in local property tax assessments.

“School districts, municipalities, and counties have lost millions of dollars because of this court case,” said Dan Fisher, Superintendent of the Bald Eagle Area School District. “The legislature should have corrected this oversight in 2003, but six years later we are waiting for action.”

Severance Tax Can Offset Environmental, Other Public Costs

Natural gas drilling has an unavoidable impact on the environment, and the waste water generated during the drilling process in the Marcellus Shale poses particular concerns. According to a marketing manager at GE Water & Processes Technologies, which develops filtering technologies used to clean the water, “the Marcellus water is the worst water on the planet.”

Even with adequate environmental monitoring, increased drilling in the Marcellus Shale could cause water contamination, soil erosion, disturbance to natural environments, and noise and air pollution, said Michael Wood, the Center’s Research Director and lead author of the report.

A severance tax is one way to ensure that taxpayers aren’t asked to pay those environmental costs, the report found. It also will compensate Pennsylvanians for the removal of a non-renewable resource and offset the costs of new roads and bridges, public safety, building, and emergency response needs that accompany growth in natural gas drilling.

“What will our great grandchildren be left with when the last gas well is exhausted? A severance tax reinvested in Pennsylvania’s natural resources and communities will help balance the damages caused by drilling operations and pipelines,” said Andy Loza, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association.

Most Energy-Producing States Assess a Severance Tax

Severance taxes are common across the United States as a way to cover the public costs created by resource extraction. Nationally, 35 states levy the tax on a wide range of renewable and non-renewable resources ranging from coal to timber. All of the 14 states with greater natural gas production than Pennsylvania levy a severance tax or a conservation fee.

Severance tax revenue is used for a number of different purposes in other states, including environmental monitoring, public education, and reinvestment in a fund for future environmental needs. Some states share revenue with local governments.

The Center recommends that some of the revenue from the tax be set aside for future environmental cleanup and for a “permanent fund,” which would generate revenue and help communities transition once the resource boom is over.

“The natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation holds both tremendous opportunity and tremendous risk for Pennsylvania,” said Steve Stroman, Policy Director for Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture). “A modest and reasonable severance tax, consistent with other states, will help address the risks to our environment and our communities while providing a lasting investment in the Commonwealth’s natural heritage.”

The severance tax is an important new revenue source for state and local governments, although the decline in energy prices has slowed well production. Still, experience from Arkansas and Texas, whose gas booms began when prices were comparable to today’s market price, suggests that well development can proceed very rapidly.

“During this recession, even small amounts of new revenue can help avert cuts to agriculture programs, education, health care and public safety, and prevent increases in property taxes at the local level,” Ward said.

The report recommends that the tax be set up as simply as possible, with no deductions or exemptions, to make administration easier and to prevent producers from finding loopholes in the law.

Severance Taxation Will Have Little Impact on Gas Production.

In the lucrative northeastern market, natural gas produced in Pennsylvania – with or without a severance tax – will be an attractive alternative to natural gas imported from western energy-producing states because of transportation costs.

“Transportation costs account for nearly half the price of natural gas, so gas produced in Pennsylvania will have a natural price advantage in the northeastern market,” Wood said.

Severance taxes in Texas, Wyoming, and West Virginia have not deterred resource exploration or production, or the growth of related employment, in those states, the report found. Several studies have confirmed little impact on supply, demand, or commodity prices from raising severance taxes, which many states have done in recent years. A Wyoming study found that a 2% reduction in the 5.7% severance tax would increase production by only 0.7% over 60 years.

The market price for natural gas – along with other business factors – will have a much bigger impact on the development of the Marcellus Shale, Wood said.

Video: Capitol Press Conference to Release PBPC Severance Tax Paper

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

I'll Save You a Trip ...

I'm going home sick in about 12 minutes (after the noon news), so don't expect any more updates here today. But please listen to WESB and The HERO for Stefan and the news.

Crash Victim Identified

The man who died in the fiery three-vehicle crash on Interstate 90 in Erie Tuesday morning has been identified as 58-year-old Samuel Thomas Sr. of Warren.

Police say Thomas was trying to pass another car when he lost control of his car and it hit the back of a car driven by Jennifer Britt of North East. Eventually, his car went across the median and got lodged under the trailer of a truck and was dragged about 300 feet before the vehicles stopped and caught on fire.

Britt was treated for minor injuries. The truck driver was not hurt.

Part of Interstate 90 was closed until Wednesday morning.

One OK for Catskills Casino

The Sullivan County Legislature has approved an agreement with the Seneca Nation to build a casino just off Route 17 in Bridgeville, New York.

The proposed complex would feature a two million square-foot casino, with 6,000 slot machines, 120 game tables and 30 poker tables. It would also include a 1,500-room hotel and spa, 12 restaurants, high-end retail space, and a 5,000-seat arena.

The plan still has to be approved by the US Department of Interior before the Senecas can move forward.

New D-O-I Secretary Ken Salazar has not indicated whether he supports off-reservation casinos.

National Fuel Lowers Rate

National Fuel is lowering its rates again.

The 7.8 percent decrease means the bill of a typical residential customer would go from $127 a month to $117.

Nancy Taylor of National Fuels says the decrease is a direct result of the continuing decline in the market price of natural gas.

The company's next rate adjustment comes August 1.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Attitudes Changing for the Better

WESB/WBRR News Director

During the first public meeting of the Bradford Master Plan team about two years ago, members of the team said one of the toughest obstacles to overcome would be attitude.

Wednesday night, during a presentation of the plan to the planning boards of the local municipalities, Albert Filoni of MacLachlan, Cornelius and Filoni Architects Inc. of Pittsburgh said attitudes are starting to change.

"The first year of our interviews were a little depressing," Filoni said. "We heard nothing but what a mess it was; how dead Main Street was; how all the young people were leaving. Negative. Negative. Negative."

"We kept looking around and looking at things and we couldn't find all that negativity in what we were seeing," he said.

"I think as we've been working together for two years, we've seen that attitude start to change," he said.

He said one thing area residents have to remember is that people already know about Bradford. Now, the city and surrounding communities have to capitalize on that.

"Bradford has an identity," he said, "and that's a big plus when you're trying to make things turn around and grow and get better because that's something that's already there to work with."

Another thing that's already here to work with is the recreational opportunities, which Filoni said could make the area really stand out.

"Recreation and tourism certainly is a big, big advantage to your whole community here. You can play a major role in Pennsylvania with that," he said.

Filoni stressed that implementation of the plan is vital. Without that, the plan is just a book on a shelf, he said.

He also said, "Like everything that gets some funding from the government – they review all of this. So far, the feedback has been very, very good. They think it's a bold plan with innovative ideas … that has more of that kind of thinking than other plans they've seen."

To download a copy of the plan, go to

You can listen to Wednesday's presentation by clicking HERE.

Swine Flu Concerns at The Rock

22 Slippery Rock University students who returned from Mexico City Tuesday may not be able to graduate with their class on Saturday.

The students were student teaching in Mexico and, although none of them is currently has swine flu symptoms, the commencement ceremony falls in the middle of the incubation period when people may be contagious but not showing signs of the illness.

The Centers for Disease Control advises that people who may have be exposed to swine flu limit their contact with others.

The university is expected to make a decision Thursday.

For more information, go to Slippery Rock's Web site.

Thanks to ...

Luca, Eric, Tom and Tom for a delightful afternoon.

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WESB News Review for April 29, 2009

Thompson: Cap and Tax Will
Devastate Small Businesses

Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, a member of the House Small Business Committee, participated in a hearing this afternoon that focused on the impact of cap-and-trade legislation on small business and family farms. Cap-and-trade is a policy that limits the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere. In the words of Congressman John Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan and Chairman Emeritus of the Energy and Commerce Committee, “Cap-and-trade is a tax and it’s a great big one.”

“Cap-and-trade, or as I call it, cap-and-tax, will devastate small businesses and family farms,” said Thompson. “As Chairman Dingell pointed out last week, this proposal is a great big tax on energy consumption that will increase the cost of just about every processed, manufactured, and transported good we consume or use in our daily life.”

Fossil fuels account for 85 percent of America’s energy consumption – and are also a feedstock in many every day products. Natural gas and petroleum are used in the processing and manufacturing of medicine, plastic, rubber, clothing, steel, composite materials, glass, building materials, fertilizer, chemicals, paint, and just about every other product you can think of – including solar panels and wind mills, which are both used for energy production.

“The fact that small businesses and family farms are struggling to make ends meet already, this proposal, if enacted, will kill the very segment of the economy best equipped to get this country back on track. And with agriculture being the largest contributor to Pennsylvania’s economy, farmers will not only have to shell out additional dollars for fertilizer, fuel, and electricity, they will also suffer a competitive disadvantage when competing in the global economy.”

Thompson is referring to the fact that many industrialized and developing nations that American businesses compete with, do not have cap-and-tax or carbon restriction policy on their books. So the cost of this legislation, which has been estimated anywhere from $646 billion to nearly $2 trillion dollars over ten years, will significantly hamper economic growth here at home and force employers to move overseas in order to remain competitive.

“Congress should focus on job creation and preservation – not enacting the radical policies that Speaker Pelosi and her leadership team have proposed with cap-and-tax.”

House ANF Hearing in Warren

The regional economic effects of the imposition of new gas and oil drilling regulations by the US Forest Service in the Allegheny National Forest will be the topic of a public hearing Friday in Warren. Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren, Forest & McKean), who will chair the hearing of the House Republican Policy Committee, said many citizens from the area around the national forest are deeply concerned that business, jobs and the local economy will be negatively affected by these federal regulations.

"There's been a lot of concern in the district about the proposed regulations on our oil production, our natural gas exploration, recreation and what kind of economic impact these regulations will have," Rapp said. "We're going to be hearing from experts in the oil and gas industry, from the Allegheny National Forest people, from Congressman Glenn Thompson, and their views and their opinions on how these new NEPA regulations will impact the economy in Warren, Forest and McKean County."

State Representative Marty Causer will be co-hosting the event.

"It really is a crucial issue for us in regards to economic activity in our area. As many people know, drilling activity has been halted in the national forest because of some of the lawsuits that have been filed," Causer said. "And the US Forest Service unilaterally has held up drilling activities in the forest, and it really is causing a major problem economically for our region. And we're looking forward to taking testimony from a number of individuals to focus on how this is affecting our local economy and I think it's really going to highlight this crucial issue."

Representative Matt Gabler will be co-hosting as well.

"We're going to be specifically talking about resource development issues on the Allegheny National Forest. We're talking about oil and gas development. And it's been a real concern because there have been some proposed environmental regulations that will make it a lot more strict and a lot more difficult to develop these areas," Gabler said. "And I think it's extremely important, especially with an area where the unemployment rate is in some cases over 13%. We need to stand up for our local jobs. And so by bringing light to these issues we're going to do a big service to our local economy and to the people of Clearfield and Elk Counties."

The public hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at the Warren Holiday Inn on Ludlow Street.

Seneca Gaming Reports Losses

Seneca Gaming has released its second quarter operating results, and the figures don't look good.

Gaming revenues and slot revenues are both down more than 8 percent from a year ago.

Income from operations is $27.3 million, but still a decrease of nearly 11 percent over last year.

Cathy Walker, Chief Operating Officer and acting principal executive officer of Seneca Gaming says the results reflect the ongoing challenges faced by Seneca Gaming, and the gaming industry, in this unfavorable economic environment.

To see the report, go HERE.

Wagner Finds PLCB in Compliance

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 29, 2009-- Auditor General Jack Wagner said today that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board did not violate state law but that it did exercise poor judgment in awarding a $173,820 employee training contract to the husband of a PLCB regional manager, creating the appearance of a conflict of interest.

“In awarding a contract to the spouse of one of its regional managers, the PLCB should have anticipated the reasonable public questioning that would result over a potential conflict of interest, regardless of whether that conflict was an actual conflict or the appearance of a conflict,” Wagner said.

Because of the appearance of a potential conflict and other red flags, such as the wide disparity in cost proposals submitted by prospective vendors, the PLCB should have seriously reconsidered its decision to award the contract at all and done the training in house, or rejected all proposals and started over, Wagner said.

The Department of the Auditor General conducted the examination at the request of the PLCB, after concerns were raised about a potential conflict of interest in the awarding of the retail staff professional development program contract to Solutions 21, a Pittsburgh consulting firm.

Wagner commended the PLCB for recognizing the value of an independent review of the procurement process and for its cooperation in the examination, including providing immediate and complete access to all of the relevant documents and personnel, which enabled the Department of Auditor General to complete the examination in fewer than five weeks.

Investigators found no evidence that the Western regional director used the authority of her employment or confidential information to assist her husband’s business in obtaining the contract, Wagner said.

In her interview, the Western regional director said that her husband established his business, Solutions 21, prior to their marriage; she does not have any financial interest in the company; and that she was aware her husband’s company was going to submit a proposal in response to the RFP issued by the PLCB but she and her husband had agreed not to discuss it.

Wagner said his department’s review of Solutions 21’s corporate documents and the Western regional director’s statements of financial interest found no evidence to contradict her statements. The report notes that the investigators’ ability to determine the substance of communications between a married couple is obviously limited.

Although the PLCB followed the law in awarding the contract, Wagner said, red flags throughout the process should have caused the PLCB to rebid the contract or consider not awarding it at all.

One of the unsuccessful vendors, Alutiiq Business Services LLC, submitted a proposal listing a current PLCB employee, not the Western regional director, as the on-site staff person required under the contract. The PLCB’s chief counsel became aware that the employee was listed on the proposal and recommended that, due to a potential violation of state law, Alutiiq replace the PLCB employee with another individual, which it did, before the proposals were scored.

Wagner said his investigators could not determine if the PLCB employee provided Alutiiq with confidential information that could have assisted it in preparing its proposal.

Of additional concern, Wagner said, is that one of the members of the evaluating committee stated that she had adjusted her scores to ensure that her top three choices moved forward in the contracting process, even though it did not appear to affect the overall outcome.

“Although this contract was awarded according to the letter of the law, there are several incidents that occurred that raise serious concerns and put the PLCB’s procurement procedures in question,” Wagner said.

Wagner said the examination uncovered several internal control deficiencies within PLCB. His report made five recommendations to improve the PLCB’s management controls, procurement policy and operational procedures, and three recommendations related to the prevention of conflicts of interest. He said the PLCB should:

Develop written policies for areas of the procurement process not adequately addressed in the Procurement Handbook issued by the state Department of General Services.

Conduct a pre-proposal conference for every request for proposals (RFP) issued, or formally document why one is not necessary.

Adhere to the suggested 30-day minimum time period between the issuance of the RFP and the due date for the vendor proposed as suggested by the Procurement Handbook, or formally document why the time period was adjusted.

Provide written instructions for members of future evaluation committees to complete the detailed scoring sheets.

Formally document all evaluation committee meetings and all decisions made by the executive committee and legal counsel within the contract procurement file.

Exercise good judgment when awarding contracts to avoid even perceived conflicts of interest.

Ensure that management and employees understand and comply with laws and policies pertaining to conflicts of interest.

Require the members of future evaluation committees to properly document changes on their individual scoring sheets.

BRMC Observes Walk @ Lunch Day

Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC) employees and members of the community are shown Tuesday afternoon taking part in the National Walk @ Lunch Day, an event hosted locally by the hospital’s Employee Wellness Committee. Following the mile-long walk to Callahan Park and back to BRMC, employees and local residents also got a chance to see the hospital’s new $1.7 million Open-Bore High-Field MAGNETOM Espree MRI during an open house and reception in Imaging Services. Physician-led walks were also held at 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. for employees and the community. An estimated 100 people took part in the three walks.

(Photo courtesy of BRMC)

Thompson Urges Common-Sense Precautions Against Swine Flu

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Howard, was briefed today on the swine flu by members of the President’s Cabinet and officials from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“Government officials are monitoring this very carefully and implementing a number of strategic plans,” said Thompson. “They include releasing supplies of Tamiflu and related anti-viral drugs from the strategic stockpile. These drugs have been shown to be effective against the swine flu if used within two days of experiencing symptoms.”

According to the experts, the symptoms of swine flu are very similar to other cases of the flu. They include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu.

“While named the swine flu, the H1N1 virus has nothing to do with food-borne illness,” Thompson explained. “You cannot get swine flu from eating pork or pork products.”

The Congressman said that so far there have been no cases of the H1N1 virus reported in Pennsylvania. “We want to keep it that way and the best way to do that is to take common-sense precautions,” said Thompson.

The steps outlined by the CDC to protect your health and the health of others, include:

· Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and dispose of the tissue.

· Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also are effective.

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

· Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

· If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

The following website from Penn State University contains a great deal of the same information Thompson received in the briefing and includes information from the CDC: The CDC website is:

Rendell Statement on Arlen Specter

HARRISBURG – Governor Edward G. Rendell today issued the following statement in response to U.S. Senator Arlen Specter’s announcement that he has joined the Democratic Party:

“I welcome Senator Specter to the Democratic Party. He is a strong leader who has done great work on behalf of the people of Pennsylvania regardless of their political affiliation.

“Arlen Specter did not leave the Republican Party – the Republican Party left him. Today’s Pennsylvania Republican party is a far cry from the party of John Heinz, Hugh Scott and Governors Bill Scranton and Tom Ridge.”

First-Ever Derby Gala is May 2

Kristin Asinger, left, and Flora Cohen display a few of the items that will be auctioned off at the Derby Gala on Saturday at the Bradford Club. All proceeds from the gala, which will be held from 4 to 8 p.m., will benefit the Bradford Area Public Library’s endowment fund. Tickets are still available at the library and the Bradford Club.

Photo provided by the Derby Gala Committee

Bill to Legalize Marijuana is in
PA State House

A bill to legalize the use of medical marijuana is now being considered in the state House.

Representative Mark Cohen of Philadelphia says people should not be forced to choose between moving out of state or buying drugs from criminals to treat certain conditions.

Legal medical marijuana is a pain management medication that is known to be effective in relieving pain and is not physically addictive for most people.

So far, the bill has only six co-sponsors. Cohen, however, says he's optimistic that more lawmakers will sign on after the bill gets public support.

"Patients are asking for this bill," Cohen said.

For more information, go to Cohen's Web site.

Sgt. Lawson to be Parade Marshal

A Duke Center native and Iraq war veteran will serve as parade marshal for the Bradford Memorial Day parade on May 25.

Sgt. Tim Lawson, a 2003 Otto Eldred graduate, and two-time tour of duty serviceman in Iraq, currently lives in Bradford.

Lawson will be honorably discharged in May from the Army.

We were at Bradford Regional Airport last summer when Lawson came home on leave. You can check out the pictures HERE.

Petition Drive to Restore
STAR Rebate Checks

By Dan Toomey
ALBANY - Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I – Olean) has launched a statewide petition drive to restore the STAR rebate checks to homeowners. The effort is designed to pressure Governor Paterson and lawmakers to re-establish the rebate checks they eliminated as part of the recently-enacted State budget. The multifaceted petition drive will utilize email and social networking sites such as Facebook, along with creation of a new on-line petition. “Every fall, households across the state have come to rely on STAR rebate checks for things like school clothes, groceries and other necessities,” said Sen. Young. “What was once needed property tax relief has now been taken away. This petition drive is an opportunity for the public to tell Albany that the STAR rebate checks are important to their families.” Sen. Young pushed to initiate the STAR rebate check program in 2006, which provided a yearly check mailed directly to homeowners to help ease the burden of skyrocketing property taxes. Sen. Young said by eliminating the program, $1.6 billion will be lost to property owners statewide including: $4.2 million in relief for homeowners in Allegany County; $6.1 million in Cattaraugus County; $11.3 million in Chautauqua County; and $5.5 million for Livingston County. The average check per household in her district would have totaled $403. As part of the petition drive, a new on-line petition has been created that can be accessed by visiting Copies of the petition and a district-by-district breakdown of how much taxpayers from their STAR rebate checks are available. Sen. Young said hard copies of the petition also can be signed or obtained by visiting her district offices in Jamestown and Olean. More information can also be obtained by calling the Senator’s toll-free phone number at 1-800-707-0058. Sen. Young said she fought on the Senate floor to stop this year’s disastrous tax and spend budget, but Senate Democrats forced it through. “It would have taken just one Senator to cross party lines and vote against these budget measures and support rebate checks for our families and seniors,” said Sen. Young. “People raising their voices by signing the petition will help us in our efforts, and I encourage everyone to participate,” said Sen. Young.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ANF Officials at Pitt-Bradford

A supplemental environmental impact statement on oil and gas drilling in the Allegheny National Forest will focus on six significant issues. Forest Supervisor Leanne Marten along with district rangers Tony Scardina and Rob Fallon talked about the issues during a public meeting Tuesday at Pitt-Bradford. The issues are water quality, visual resources, hours of operation, drilling in the Marcellus Shale, restoration and reclamation and fragmentation that affects habitat. The supplemental environmental impact statement is expected to be finished by the end of the year.

Andrew Horton Pleads Guilty

Andrew Horton has pleaded guilty to conspiring with his son to intentionally spill more than 42,000 gallons of oil onto the Allegheny National Forest in August of last year.

He admitted in McKean County Court on Tuesday that he and his son, Christopher, planned to vandalize the tanks owned by Snyder Brothers, their former employer. But he said he didn't realize the amount of damage releasing the oil would cause.

The spill killed nearly 4,000 fish and other aquatic life, and caused about half a million dollars in damage to Snyder Brothers property.

Andrew Horton will be sentenced July 1. District Attorney John Pavlock says Horton could be called to testify in his son's criminal trial. No date has been scheduled for the trial yet.

Projects Moving Forward

WESB/WBRR News Director

The streetscape and gateway projects have taken one more step toward reality.

Bradford City Council on Tuesday authorized the OECD to advertise for bids on the streetscape project.

OECD Executive Director Sara Andrews said the project includes Kennedy Street from Forman to Main, and Boylston Street from the East Washington Street Bridge to Kennedy Street. Kennedy to Davis Street may be done as well.

Funding is coming from the city's 2007 and 2008 Community Development Block Grant Programs.

As for the gateway project, Councilman Bob Tingley asked why the city was eligible for a $25,000 grant through the Pennsylvania Route 6 Heritage Corporation when the city is miles from Route 6.

Andrews said although Route 6 doesn't run through the city Bradford is considered part of the Route 6 Heritage Region.

She went on to explain that the project will include new signs near the Elm Street exit of Route 219, a decorative retaining wall and landscaping.

She said they're also working on getting a right-of-way from Bradford Pipe and Supply to improve the area.

Andrews added that they're hoping to extend the gateway project down Davis Street "just to improve the appearance of our community."

She said they're also working on a possible similar project for Forman Street

"I think it's a good thing," Mayor Tom Riel said. "I think it looks like Cold War Russia there."

He added that even a few plants and flowers and a nice sign would make the area look more welcoming to visitors.

Also Tuesday, Councilman Ross Neidich, who took a vacation to Hawaii last week, said he noticed a problem there that used to be a big problem in Bradford.

"One problem that I really noticed next to all these fancy resorts was people and their shopping carts," he said. "The community was overrun with shopping carts and rusted out old cars in their backyards."

Neidich suggested council send Bradford's shopping cart ordinance to the Hawaiian community,

Also, Bradford resident Helen Burfield extolled the virtues of police and fire departments and other parts of the community.

"I'll let you know, Tom," she said to Riel, "you do got a beautiful city here."

"If it's so beautiful, why would you contemplate leaving us," Riel asked.

"You do move on," she said. "But it seems like we're not going to be moving on if they keeping having floods and hurricanes and tornadoes and all that. … And then this flu going around – everybody's a-scared of that. But I'm not afraid of it because I'm a good, religious person."

Scarnati: Balanced Budget,
Not Higher Office, is Top Priority

Although Pat Toomey and Peg Luksik have already announced their intentions to run in the Republican primary for Arlen Specter's senate seat, other names are still being mentioned.

One of those names is Senator Joe Scarnati.

"I think there's a huge field out there waiting to get in. There have been names mentioned – in and out – for some time, but I think this opens up a vast field for a Republican primary, " he said Tuesday. "I think it will be interesting to see who steps up to the plate."

Scarnati says his first priority right now is producing a balanced budget with no tax increase and he won't be thinking about running for US Senate – or governor – until after the budget is passed.

Tanker Truck Crashes on Route 62

A PennDOT tanker truck crashed on Route 62 just south of Route 6 in Warren County this morning causing a minor diesel spill on the road.

The cargo tank did not spill fuel, but the road was closed while PennDOT cleared the scene. The diesel fuel came from the saddle tanks and stayed on the road.

Police say James Wolford of Warren lost control of the vehicle, which traveled up an embankment, hit some rocks and rolled onto its side.

Wolford was taken to Warren General Hospital for treatment of moderate injuries.

Warren County HAZMAT and members of the Fish and Boat Commission were on the scene.

Fatal Crash in Ellery, NY

A Florida woman is dead after a driver fell asleep at the wheel and eventually hit a utility pole and a group of trees in the Town of Ellery Tuesday evening.

Chautauqua County Sheriff's Deputies say 78-year-old Ron Manchester of North Fort Myers, Florida, fell asleep on Route 430. His vehicle left the road, hit a mailbox and a driveway culvert, then went airborne and hit a large sign, the utility pole and the trees.

His passenger, June Manchester, died at the scene.

Ron Manchester had to be extricated from the vehicle by volunteer firefighters. He was taken WCA Hospital in Jamestown for treatment of his injuries.

No charges are pending.

Reality at City Council

During Tuesday's Bradford City Council meeting Mayor Tom Riel said he wanted to clear up a couple of misconceptions about the pilot for the reality show that's being filmed in the city this week. "It's not costing the City of Bradford taxpayers one red cent," Riel said. "They're not soliciting investors; this is being done at the expense of a couple of production companies. It's not comparable to other ventures that were proposed in the area." Riel went on to say, "They're filming a pilot for a reality to show to promote Bradford. It's not a comedy, or anything like that, like some things that have happened in the past." He added that if people want to share their thoughts --- good or bad -- with producer Luca Palanca and director of photography Eric Pickett they're more than welcome to do that.

Pictured, Eric Pickett films Mayor Tom Riel following Tuesday's Bradford City Council meeting. Also pictured are Councilman Bob Onuffer, Deputy City Clerk Teri Cannon and Fire Chief Boo Coder. Barely visible wearing the Hawaiin print shirt is Councilman Ross Neidich.