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Saturday, May 9, 2009

NY Senator Stripped of Leadership Positions After Alleged Assault

A state senator from Brooklyn has been stripped of his leadership positions following allegations that he assaulted a newspaper's photographer.

Democrat Kevin Parker was arrested Friday night on a charge of criminal mischief after the incident outside his parents' home.

Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith released a statement Saturday afternoon saying he considered the charges serious and had stripped Parker of his positions as Majority Whip and chairman of the energy committee effective immediately.

Smith also said payment of the stipend for Parker's leadership position has been suspended.

The photographer says Parker chased him, damaged his camera and ripped a panel off his car door.

Anne is in Love ...

... with this dog. But, due to circumstances beyond my control, I can't adopt her. Her name is Flower and she's SO sweet! Go to the SPCA's Open House that's going on until 4 p.m. today and see for yourself. (Or, if you can't make it today, call Rhonda -- also pictured -- and she'll introduce you to Flower at a time that's convenient for you.) They have plenty of other dogs and cats looking for good homes, too.

Even if you already have a dog -- and you want to give him or her a treat -- the SPCA has something for you: Pupcakes!

And they also had something special for WESB and The Bradford Era today. We got plaques "In grateful appreciationi of (our) constant support to the McKean County SPCA."

Speaking on behalf of everyone here at WESB ... It's our pleasure!

Man Admits to Helping Tubbs

A Warren man has pleaded guilty to helping a man get away from police before he was fatally shot on April 1.

Fred Kearney admitted to lying to police in regard to the whereabouts of Charles Tubbs.

When police found Tubbs and attempted to serve him with a warrant on a simple assault charge, he took them on a high-speed chase. After wrecking his car, he fired a rifle at Police Officer Brian Gulnac.

Gulnac fired back and hit Tubbs, who died at Warren General Hospital.

Jason Baribeau and Brian Emerson of Warren and Lawanda Collins-Haines of Youngsville are also charged with helping Tubbs avoid police.

Accused Bomb Makers Sentenced

Two Warren men arrested last August for a bomb-making operation have been sentenced.

Justin Steinman will serve 27 months to six years in state prison. He pleaded no contest to two counts of causing or risking a catastrophe.

Ricky Allen Barr was sentenced to three months to two years in Warren County Jail on a prohibited weapons charge.

According to court records, Robert Edwards of Warren helped Steinman make the bombs in Edwards' basement.

Bombs were detonated in the Point Park and Washington Park areas.

According to experts, some of the explosive devices qualified as weapons of mass destruction.

Roulette Man Facing Charges

A Roulette man is facing charges after his truck hit a utility pole in Roulette Township.

Police say 58-year-old Randy Cornelius was towing a large garage on a lowboy when it hit a utility pole, cable wire, a fence and a street sign on Third Street. He kept going and turned onto Burelson Avenue.

The incident happened April 29. Summary charges were filed on Friday.

Illegal Immigrant in Dunkirk

Chautauqua County Sheriff's deputies picked up an illegal immigrant Friday evening in Dunkirk.

They say 25-year-old Alejandro Luna was standing on the side of the road when they learned he had been in the United State illegally.

He was detained, then turned over to the US Border Patrol.

Homicide in Tidioute

A Tidioute man has been charged with homicide following an incident at about 2:30 this morning in the borough of Tidioute.

25-year-old Brandyn Bynum is in Warren County Jail without bail.

Police say he and the 37-year-old male victim, and some other people, were on the sidewalk on Main Street outside a local establishment they had both just left.

Bynum and the victim got into a fight and Bynum allegedly punched the victim in the face causing him to fall to the street. He suffered a fractured skull and died at the scene.

Police didn't release the victim's name.

Kane's Chuck Daly has Died

Legendary NBA Coach Chuck Daly died this morning in Florida after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

He was 78.

Daly coached the first Dream Team to Olympic Gold in 1992 after leading the Detroit Pistons to back-to-back NBA championshiops.

Daly was voted one of the 10 greatest coaches of the NBA's first half-century in 1996, two years after being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. He was the first coach to win both an NBA title and Olympic gold.

Daly was born in St. Marys, and grew up in Kane. He played college basketball at St. Bonaventure and Bloomsburg State universities. He coached eight seasons at Punxsutawney High School.

Daly is survived by his wife, Terry, as well as daughter Cydney and grandchildren Sebrina and Connor.

For more on this story, go to the Detroit Free Press.

Derby Gala Surpasses Goal

Madeline Miles, a member of the Bradford Area Public Library Board of Trustees; Keith Hatch, president of the board; and Linda Newman, library director; look at some of the $47,500 that was raised during the first-ever Derby Gala on May 2 at the Bradford Club. That total raised surpassed the $35,000 goal, which was set by gala organizers, by $12,500. The newly raised dollars will be added to the library’s endowment fund, whose income funded 20 percent of the library’s expenses last year. Next year’s gala will be held on May 1.
(Photo provided by the Derby Gala Committee)

I'm sorry I forgot to post this here yesterday! At least I got it to though.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Did You Miss the 6 O'Clock News?

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Banding Together at BRMC

By George Nianiatus, senior writer
Communications Department

Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC) on Monday will institute an added safety measure of using new color-coded patient wristbands as visual alerts to nurses and other hospital staff. After a year of preparation, research and staff training, BRMC will be using color-coded wristbands with snap-on colors that are designed to quickly and easily let staff know of a patient’s unique clinical needs, say hospital officials.

“We’re going to use standardized colored wristbands to further support patient safety,” says Deborah Price, BRMC’s senior vice president of Patient Care Services. “We know this is the right thing to do because a color-coded wristband is one of those critical communication points between patients and hospital staff,” Mrs. Price says. The new wristbands with snap-on color tags replace what patients previously received, Mrs. Price says.

Patients’ previous wristbands were color-coded as well but the colors were not standardized with specific meanings that were agreed upon by a consortium of state and national hospitals. “The new color-coded wristband will be applied to a patient’s arm to alert hospital staff of a specific medical intervention a patient requires,” explains Ann Newcombe, RN, a manager of Patient Safety/Nursing Quality in Risk Management.

“Patients could have multiple snap-on colors on their wristbands, depending on their individual clinical needs,” Mrs. Newcombe adds. Here’s what the new wristband’s snap-on colors will indicate:

Red - Allergy. Patients wearing this wristband have alerted staff to known allergies such as food, medicine, dust, animals or other substances;

Green - Latex allergy. Patients have known latex allergies and staff must use appropriate precautions;

Yellow - Fall risk. This wristband alerts staff that the patient needs to be assisted when getting up or walking;

Purple - Do not resuscitate. Some patients ask that certain measures to extend life, such as resuscitation, not be performed. When a patient is wearing this wristband, hospital staff must check the medical record for important information about the patient’s wishes if death is imminent; and

Pink - Restricted extremity. Patients with this wristband alert staff to avoid using a designated limb for blood draws, intravenous insertions and other medical procedures.

“Throughout this entire safety initiative, color-coded wristbands can only be applied or removed by a nurse or designated staff employee conducting a patient assessment,” Mrs. Newcombe says, adding, “These wristbands are designed to only serve as a visual alert to staff and caregivers. It will not replace verification of information in the patient’s medical record.”

Furthermore, any transferred patients wearing colored wristbands from other hospitals will have them removed to avoid confusion when admitted to BRMC, says Mrs. Newcombe. These transferred patients will then have BRMC’s color-coded wristbands applied.

No matter what the situation, “These wristbands will only be applied or removed by a nurse or designated staff employee conducting a patient assessment - or when a patient is discharged,” Mrs. Newcombe says.

Also, any “social cause” wristbands will be removed or covered to eliminate the possibility of confusion, Mrs. Price adds. For example, Lance Armstrong’s “Live Strong” yellow wristband or the pink breast cancer awareness wristbands on patients would be removed or covered.

As a visual reminder, patients’ rooms will have notices placed on bulletin boards about the adoption of color-coded wristbands at BRMC, Mrs. Newcombe says.

“We’ve been working on this initiative for the past year,” Mrs. Price says. “Our Patient Safety Committee approved this measure that will help ensure patient safety,” notes Mrs. Price.

BRMC is among a handful of hospitals in Pennsylvania that’s volunteered to participate in this patient safety initiative aimed at reducing risks, Mrs. Price says.

“Banding Together for Patient Safety” is the name of the initiative spawned by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, which was formed in 2002. The independent state agency’s goal is to help reduce and eliminate medical errors by identifying problems and recommending solutions that promote patient safety.

Mrs. Newcombe helped formulate BRMC’s guidelines for the color-coded wristbands with assistance from a 20-member Patient Safety Committee that also includes two individuals from the community.

Pictured, Becky Tyler, RN, BSN, CCRN, nurse manager of Bradford Regional Medical Center’s Critical Care Unit, on her upper arm shows the new patient wristband with snap-on colors that will be used starting Monday. Patients’ previous wristbands, displayed on her lower arm, were color-coded as well but the colors were not standardized with specific meanings by a consortium of state and national hospitals.
(Photo courtesy of BRMC)

ECCHS on Lockdown This Morning

Elk County Catholic High School was on lockdown this morning after police received a report of a juvenile walking toward the school carrying two rifles.

Police found 22-year-old Joshua Hakes in a nearby house where he was temporarily living, and learned that he was taking the guns to that house from another house and there was no violation.

Hakes was, however, charged with a secondary violation as a result of the investigation.

Johnsonburg, Ridgway and state police, along with the Elk County Sheriff's Department assisted St. Marys police during the incident.

Deadline Nears for Hanging Baskets

The deadline is fast approaching for businesses, individuals and organizations to financially support the purchase of hanging baskets for the downtown Main Street area.

“As in previous years, we are looking for donations to purchase the baskets,” said Main Street Manager, Anita Dolan. “People in the community are tremendously supportive of our events and programs, and this program is such a valuable asset to the appearance of Main Street.” Dolan added.

A long time sponsor, the Betty Jane Monjar Garden Society is again willing to help financially with the event. They are providing a financial matching program where they will match any funds raised up to $1,000. “The Garden Society has always been very supportive and helpful with this program,” said Dolan. “The matching funds program will significantly help us reach our fundraising goals. Any donation amount will be appreciated.”

Additionally, baskets can be purchased in honor or in memory of a loved one. Each donor will be recognized with a certificate of appreciation and a listing in promotional materials.

The hanging baskets are part of a Main Street clean up and beautification effort planned throughout this spring. The Great Main Street clean up brought many volunteers to Main Street on May 2nd when sidewalks were hosed down and trash was picked up.

The Main Street benches and trash receptacles’ are also getting the benefit of a facelift with the help of Scott Oxley’s carpentry class at the Bradford Area High School.

“It is wonderful to see so many people work together to make a difference in our Historic District, and their help is very much appreciated,” said Dolan.

People or groups interested in more information about the Betty Jane Monjar Garden Society’s Matching Fund Program can contact the Main Street Manager’s office at 598-3865. The deadline is Monday, May 18.

Lawmakers Hear Testimony on Blight Legislation

HARRISBURG – The Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, chaired by Senator Gene Yaw (R-23) and Vice-Chair Senator David Argall (R-29) met Tuesday to hear testimony on blighted property and the Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act.

Senate Bill 900, sponsored by Senator Argall, would hold property owners accountable for the costs to secure, remediate or demolish blighted structures. The bill would also expedite the process of prosecuting owners of blighted properties and give municipalities the authority to go after the financial assets of negligent owners.

"Blighted property is not just an urban problem," said Yaw. "This legislation is designed to prevent a growing threat plaguing communities all across Pennsylvania,"

Senate Bill 900 would expand the ability of redevelopment authorities to assist municipalities with blight remediation. The bill also takes steps to prevent foreclosed and bank-owned properties from becoming blighted by requiring mortgage lenders to maintain properties where a default occurs until there is a new owner.

In addition, the bill would mandate that property owners bring any property they own that has serious code violations into code compliance before obtaining any municipal or state permits or approvals for any other property they own in the Commonwealth. The legislation would create a code violations registry to allow municipalities to determine if an applicant has any pending code violations in other parts of the state.

"We must continue to fight to see this legislation pass the Senate and the House and be signed into law," Argall said. "This was the dream of the late Senator James Rhoades when he first introduced this legislation last session, as well as the goal of the Blight Task Force which he created."

Those presenting testimony at today's hearing included the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, Pennsylvania Housing Alliance, Pennsylvania Apartment Association, Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, Pennsylvania Realtors Association and Pennsylvania Bankers Association.

The Committee will be holding a public hearing on Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 10 a.m. at the Pottsville City Hall Building to hear testimony on community revitalization efforts during times of budgetary stress.

Committee Looks at Impact of Tax-Exempt Property on Municipalities

Harrisburg – The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, chaired by Sen. John Pippy (R-37), gathered experts Wednesday to discuss the impact tax-exempt properties have on the fiscal status of Pennsylvania municipalities.

The committee presented details of a previously released report entitled "Tax-Exempt Property and Municipal Fiscal Status," and heard reaction from a panel of municipal and nonprofit organizations.

"As the former Chairman of the Senate Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, I’ve heard many concerns from cities and urban areas about tax-exempt properties and their impact on tax revenue and long-term growth," said Pippy. "The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee has produced a report detailing the issue. Today we begin the process of developing an approach that strikes a better balance between the benefits of making certain community properties tax-exempt with the costs of such designations."

The panel heard from LBFC Project Manager Maryann Nardone, who discussed the report; James Redmond of the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania; Paul Supowitz of the University of Pittsburgh; and Rick Vilello of the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities. It also received written testimony from David Ross of the Pennsylvania association of nonprofit organizations.

In Pennsylvania, counties are responsible for real property assessments. Since they do not have standard ways in which they define and record tax-exempt property, it is not possible to assign a value to tax-exempt properties in Pennsylvania.

However, in all but one of the 11 Pennsylvania fiscally distressed municipalities reviewed in the LBFC report, local governments (county, municipal, and public schools) accounted for the largest share of tax-exempt property. After local government structures, churches tend to account for the next highest share of tax-exempt property.

Senator Pippy noted that many tax-exempt properties, such as the University of Pittsburgh, make voluntary payments to communities in lieu of taxes.

"While we recognize there is no uniformity when it comes to these payments, we also recognize that not all nonprofits are alike," the Senator said. "These tax-exempt entities provide a valuable service and economic engine for growth and development in the Commonwealth. While finding a solution for our distressed municipalities is essential, any decision impacting tax exempt entities has to be reviewed."

The Senator noted that the issue will be the subject of future hearings.

Pitt-Bradford Psychology Professor Serves on Two Task Forces

Dr. Warren Fass, director of the psychology program at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, was chosen to serve on two presidential task forces for Society for Teaching Psychology committees.

Fass served on the STP Presidential Task Force on Interdivisional Relationships and the STP Task Force on Targeted Member Recruitment based on his experience and expertise.

The purpose and responsibility of the Task Force on Interdivisional Relationships was to assess the nature of STP’s relationship with other American Psychological Association divisions and identify ways in which these relationships may be strengthened.

While serving on the Targeted Member Recruitment Task Force, Fass reviewed membership trends over the last several years to ascertain which membership category would be best suited for a targeted recruitment effort, working collaboratively with the chairperson of the Recruitment, Retention and Public Relations Committee to develop strategies to pursue members in this category.

The Society for the Teaching of Psychology advances understanding of the discipline by promoting excellence in the teaching and learning of psychology. The society provides resources and services, access to a collaborative community and opportunities for professional development. The society also strives to advance the scholarship of teaching and learning, advocate for the needs of teachers of psychology, foster partnerships across academic settings and increase recognition of the value of the teaching profession.

Partnership with Hamot Brings Telemedicine to Charles Cole

Patients from the area often travel to larger cities for their specialty care. However, thanks to modern technology, area patients may now be spared what is typically a four-hour drive.

Charles Cole Memorial Hospital, in collaboration with Hamot Medical Center, added prominent specialists Dr. Steven Herrmann and Dr. James DeMatteis to CCMH’s medical staff earlier this year. This partnership also includes the addition of telemedicine technology, in which patients at CCMH interact with Hamot physicians via live, interactive videoconferencing with specially designed medical devices. A telemedicine evaluation is similar to a regular office visit except the specialists are in Erie and the patient can remain close to home. Health care professionals at CCMH assist the patient and the consulting physician during the evaluation and act as advocates for the patient, according to Val Jackson, telemedicine program director and regional director, Hamot Heart Institute.

Clinicians at CCMH can use the technology, which includes a large, high definition screen, with clinical accessories including a stethoscope and video camera for real time assessment. The provider at Hamot is able to discuss a patient’s clinical history and presenting health issues as well as see and hear everything that is happening in the patient room in Coudersport.

An example of the benefit of telemedicine is the follow up appointment after cardiac bypass surgery. An individual would be expected to return to Hamot for a follow up surgical visit in four to six weeks. That means a total of five or six hours in the car for a 15 minute examination. The long distance travel, coupled with unpredictable winter conditions, can cause a significant hardship for patients. Telemedicine can accomplish the same high level, quality care with significantly reduced travel, financial investment, time commitment and reliance on friends and family, Jackson said.

As an enhancement to health care, telemedicine has been used nationally with accuracy and convenience. For rural areas, where patients would typically travel great distances to see a specialist, telemedicine provides a great service to patients in our local community, said Netra Baker, director of staff development and professional enrichment at CCMH.

Nancy Lamb of Coudersport was the first patient to use telemedicine at CCMH. She has traveled to Erie to see Dr. DeMatteis in the past but was extremely pleased with having the option of seeing him in Coudersport using telemedicine. Traveling out of town to see a specialist is a strain due to her medical condition. Therefore a five minute drive to CCMH versus three hours was appealing. “My experience was excellent,” she said. “It was just like a face-to-face office visit. The technology is excellent.”

Initially, Dr. DeMatteis, a neurologist, will use the technology to see his current patients for follow up appointments. CCMH plans to expand telemedicine to other clinical areas including cardiology, emergency department, and even continuing education for doctors and nurses.

Telemedicine can be used as an educational tool for physicians, allied health staff and the community. Continuing education is an application that is of great need for all hospitals; sending staff to a conference creates a financial hardship and manpower issue. With this technology in place, Hamot can share educational programs with Charles Cole staff at no additional cost, Jackson said.

“Telemedicine was started at Hamot in 2006 as an avenue to provide access to specialty care and services that might not be provided in rural communities. It is another way to keep with Hamot’s mission of leading the way to better health,” Jackson said.

Charles Cole Memorial Hospital is a full service, comprehensive health system based in Coudersport with service throughout north central Pennsylvania. In addition to the hospital’s main campus in Coudersport, CCMH provides primary health care, including wellness and physical therapy, to surrounding communities in four counties at rural health centers in Galeton, Ulysses, Westfield, Shinglehouse, Port Allegany, Eldred, Smethport, and Emporium. For additional information on the hospital’s services and medical providers, visit

Pictured, Leo Sillick, PA-C, listens to Mark Close’s heart, which is also seen and heard on the laptop and monitor and also at Hamot in Erie, and Mark Close communicates with a provider at Hamot in Erie.
(Photos courtesy of Charles Cole Memorial Hospital)

Zippo on TV & Locks of Love

Chelsey Colosimo just passed along a Zippo sighting. She says Zippo was the answer to a question on a recent episode of The Discovery Channel's Cash Cab.

Chelsey was just here with Katie Zapel taping an upcoming LiveLine about the 3rd annual Locks of Love being held May 18 in Room 236 at Bradford High from 2:30 to 6 p.m. If you'd like to make an appointment (walk-ins are welcome, too) or you're a stylist who'd like to help, call Chelsey at 331-1145. For more information on Locks of Love, you can visit Locks of Love.

Did You Miss the Noon News?

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Did You Miss the 6 O'Clock News?

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Troops Should be Home by Fall

The commander of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard's 56th Stryker Brigade says the troops are still on target to be home in September.

About 4,000 soldiers – including members of Charlie Company from the Bradford Armory – started their deployment at Camp Taji, Iraq, in February.

During a conference call from Iraq, Colonel Marc Ferraro said despite an uptick in violence over the last couple of weeks, incidents are down considerably compared to a year ago.

He said the Iraqi people do not support the insurgent groups and give information to the Army's tiplines.

Ferraro said the U.S. soldiers have been working closely with the Iraqi Army and police, and that the army sometimes conducts operations independently of the American forces.

The Iraqi police, on the other hand, still need help from the US soldiers, who are acting as police officers in many cases. He says they are teaching the Iraqis how to search vehicles, conduct traffic stops and do other police work.

Among the other accomplishments are opening a new power plant, building new schools and constructing water treatment plants.

Kane Man Jailed in Warren

A Kane man has been charged with attempting to elude law enforcement following an incident on April 25 on the Allegheny National Forest.

Forest Service law enforcement says 31-year-old Todd Rockwell was in the Kane Experimental Forest Area operating a non-street legal dirt bike. An officer attempted to stop the vehicle, but Rockwell passed a truck and fled at a high rate of speed. Rockwell stopped after about a mile.

After police took him into custody, they learned his driver's license had been suspended for DUI and he was on probation in Forest County.

Rockwell was turned over to Forest County Probation for violating the terms of his release and was then sent to Warren County Jail.

Obama Picks New USFS Head

President Obama on Tuesday nominated a Mississippi state conservationsit as undersecretary of Agriculture, which means he would be in charge of the US Forest Service.

Homer Lee Wilkes is a 28-year veteran of the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service

Mike Anderson, a senior resource analyst with the Wilderness Society, says people shouldn't be concerned with Wilkes' lack of forestry experience.

He says a number of undersecretaries have not had forestry backgrounds and have done an adequate job.

Pictures Tell A Thousand Words

The latest addition to the Outpatient Services Center lobby at Bradford Regional Medical Center tells the story of nearly two years of effort, say hospital officials. On Thursday (May 7), the installation of BRMC's new Mission/Vision/Values statement was completed by Dan Stutzman (on ladder) and Shane Lather of FASTSIGNS®, Erie. Set just inside the main door, the art and words represent the Medical Center's new mission statement as adopted by BRMC's Board of Directors in 2007, along with detailed vision and values concepts, designed by a multidisciplinary hospital committee. The installation was completed during National Nurses Week, May 6-12.
(Photo provided by BRMC)

Limit on Genesee River Bridge

On Monday, May 11, PennDOT will post weight limit restrictions on the Genesee River Bridge on Route 449 in the village of Genesee, Potter County.

Effective Monday, PennDOT will post the bridge for a 30-ton weight limit for single vehicles and a 40-ton weight limit for combination vehicles. The Genesee River Bridge spans the west branch of the Genesee River along Route 449, near the New York state line. Vehicles that exceed the posting limit will need to use an alternate route.

The decision to restrict the weight limit of the bridge was the result of a recent inspection. The Genesee River Bridge was built in 1924, is 71 feet long and carries an average of 2,020 vehicles per day. The posting will remain in place until repairs can be made.

Young Statement on MTA Bailout

Once again, Upstate New York is taking it on the chin. The Governor and legislative leaders, all from New York City, came up with this scheme that bails out the New York City subway system to the tune of billions of dollars, but fails to fund our five-year capital plan for upstate roads and bridges. These issues always were coupled together in the past to ensure equity and fairness between upstate and downstate. We need our highways and bridges fixed because of the impact on our economy and quality of life.

I voted against the MTA bailout because it is another assault on our economic recovery. Like the disastrous state budget, the MTA deal was negotiated in secret by three men from New York City. Property and utility taxes are killing small businesses and the cost of living is making it unbearable for families throughout upstate communities. We need open, accountable government that will focus on revitalizing all of our state, not just one region.

~~Senator Cathy Young

Senator Specter to Chair Crime and Drugs Subcommittee on Judiciary

Washington, D.C. – Senator Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), who has served on the Senate Judiciary Committee since he was elected in 1980, will receive the gavel to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs from Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

“I am pleased to serve as Chairman of the Crime and Drugs Subcommittee and I thank my colleagues, Assistant Majority Leader Durbin and Judiciary Chairman Leahy and Majority Leader Reid in particular, for the opportunity,” Senator Specter said. “My commitment to the issues of criminal justice, my lengthy experience on the Judiciary Committee, and my background as District Attorney of Philadelphia make me prepared for the hard work ahead on this active subcommittee. Among other things, I look forward to tackling issues of jail sentences for white collar crime like Medicare and Medicaid fraud, the crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparities, tough sentencing for career criminals and realistic rehabilitation for inmates who will be returning to society.”

“Senator Reid, Senator Leahy, Senator Specter and I have had a number of conversations about ways to best utilize Senator Specter’s talents and experience in our Caucus,” said Senator Durbin. “Senator Specter has been a leader on criminal justice issues for decades, and I am pleased to pass the gavel to him.”

Senator Specter has a long record on the issues of criminal justice, dating back to his service as District Attorney of Philadelphia in 1965. Senator Specter authored the Armed Career Criminal Act and co-authored the Second Chance Act. More recently, Senator Specter cosponsored legislation with Senator Jim Webb (D-Va.) to create a blue-ribbon commission charged with conducting an 18-month, top-to-bottom review of the nation’s entire criminal justice system and offering concrete recommendations for reform.

The Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs has jurisdiction over many areas, including the Department of Justice, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, federal programs under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, criminal justice and victim's rights legislation, and oversight of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. Secret Service.

More Emergency Funding Available

McKean County has been awarded $15,156 in federal funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). This award will supplement emergency food and shelter programs in McKean County.

The selection was made by a National Board that is chaired by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and is comprised of representatives from health and human service agencies across the country. The United States Congress appropriates funds annually to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas nationally.

The local board, made up of representatives from McKean County, will determine how the additional funds will be distributed. Local agency representation includes The Salvation Army, McKean/Potter Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross, United Way of the Bradford Area, Catholic Charities, Ministerial Association and the YWCA of Bradford.

Under the terms of the grant from the National Board, local organizations chosen to receive the funds must: 1) be private, voluntary non-profit organizations or units of government, 2) be eligible to receive federal funds, 3) have an accounting system, 4) practice non-discrimination, 5) have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs and 6) must have a voluntary board (if they are a private, voluntary organization). Qualifying organizations are urged to apply.

Public or private voluntary organizations interested in applying for EFSP funds must contact the United Way of the Bradford Area at 368-6181 or The deadline for applications is Monday, May 18, 2009

For more information, please contact the Mandi Wilton Davis at the United Way.

Bradford Bypass Update

CLEARFIELD – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT/District 2) issues the following update for the Route 219, McKean County/Bradford Bypass project. This update is for the week of May 11.

Contractor on the $28.1 million project is Glenn O. Hawbaker, Inc. The project extends from just north of the city of Bradford in Pennsylvania to the New York State line.

All work is weather and schedule dependent and can be subject to change. The following work schedule is for the week of May 11:

· Northbound and southbound traffic are traveling in the northbound lanes, separated by concrete barrier from Forman Street to north of Hillside Drive.
· Southbound ramps at the Foster Brook interchange are closed. Traffic is to follow the posted detour.
· Contractor is working on southbound reconstruction by removing existing roadway from the New York state line heading south.
· Contractor is working on southbound bridges. Work includes expansion dam replacements, steel retrofits and deck repairs.
· Starting Tuesday, May 12, Tuna Crossroads will be closed for bridge demolition. Traffic is to follow the posted detour.
· Starting Tuesday, May 12, the Tuna Valley Trail access at Bolivar Drive will be closed due to bridge work. Trail access is still available at Crook Farms and the Seward Avenue side of Tuna Crossroads (Township Route 369)
· Access at Hillside Drive is restricted from Route 219 north to Hillside Drive and from Hillside Drive to Route 219 south. Traffic is to follow the posted detour.
· Drivers should use extra caution while entering the construction area from the on-ramp areas. Be aware of approaching traffic speeds and restricted lanes at ramps.
· Motorists need to watch for slow moving and stopped vehicles through the entire work zone.
· Please obey posted speed limits and remember to always buckle up.

Gabler Endorses Energize PA Plan

HARRISBURG - State Rep. Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk) has endorsed the Energize PA energy plan, a product of the House Republican Policy Committee, over Gov. Ed Rendell's proposal to add a new severance tax to natural gas drilling operations in Pennsylvania. Gabler feels a new tax would make it less attractive for natural gas drilling companies to expand their operations in the commonwealth, leading to fewer job opportunities for Pennsylvania workers.

"Instead of slapping new taxes on a potential new industry and Pennsylvania consumers as the Governor proposes, the Energize PA plan promotes energy production, economic development, and lower home heating costs for Pennsylvanians," said Gabler. "It would allow the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to lease out 390,000 acres of state forest land over three years to private companies for Marcellus Shale natural gas exploration. The plan only opens state forest lands to potential drilling, not state game lands and not state parks. Drilling has occurred on state forest lands for over 50 years."

The Energize PA plan is projected to generate $260 million in new revenues during the first year alone, which would be shared by the state with local counties and municipalities. The governor estimates that his tax will raise only $107 million during the first year, with that money targeted for the state level on his pet programs.

Contrary to assertions that revenues under Energize PA would fall off after three years of leases, Gabler counters that the most substantial revenues would actually result from royalty payments collected in future years. In total, he estimates the Energize PA plan will provide an estimated $5.7 billion in new state revenues over the next ten years. As is the case with wells on private lands, the royalty payments continue for the life of the well.

Gabler says experts indicate that Marcellus Shale development could create over 107,000 new private-sector jobs during the next decade. The Governor's tax not only discourages new investment in the region, but it will also put existing small natural gas producers out of business. The family-owned companies that operate small shallow wells will be crippled by a new tax. In fact, estimates show that Rendell's severance tax proposal is likely to cost Pennsylvania 53,000 jobs during the next five years.

"Pennsylvania stands at a crossroads," Gabler added. "Either we facilitate and foster new economic development, local energy production and job growth in Pennsylvania, or we close our doors to the natural gas industry by taxing these job creators out of business or sending them out of our area.

"I stand ready to move our area's economy forward by supporting this plan, which will create local jobs and get our citizens back on their feet."

ANFVB to Celebrate Tourism Week

BRADFORD, Pa. – Allegheny National Forest Bradford District Ranger Anthony Scardina will be the featured speaker at the buffet breakfast hosted by the Allegheny National Forest Vacation Bureau to commemorate National Tourism Week. The event will start at 8 a.m. May 14 at the Barrel House Restaurant & Tavern in Lantz Corners at the intersection of U.S. Route 219 and U.S. Route 6.
Scardina will talk about recreation and tourism possibilities on the Allegheny National Forest.

“This is a chance for all of us to celebrate what we have here and what we can offer people who travel from outside McKean County,” Executive Director Linda Devlin said.

Tourism is the second largest industry in Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania is the fourth most visited state in the country. The Allegheny National Forest Vacation Bureau promotes tourism within McKean County and the Pennsylvania Wilds.

In addition to the breakfast, there will be a “brochure swap” where current members, and potential members of the Vacation Bureau, can bring their brochures and pamphlets to share with other tourism partners. The breakfast is open to all who are interested in learning more about travel and tourism within McKean County and networking with other tourism and local business owners.

There is a cost to attend; either call 1-800-473-9370 or e-mail to make reservations by May 12.

The breakfast is only one of the ways the Vacation Bureau is commemorating the occasion.

On Monday, Sandra Rhodes, visitor & member services, will be on LiveLine on 1490 WESB radio.

She will talk with Anne Holliday about tourism in McKean County and the Pennsylvania Wilds as well as the projects the bureau is currently working on.

Then on Tuesday, Devlin will be attending National Tourism Day in Harrisburg on Tuesday, meeting with legislators regarding the importance of promoting rural Pennsylvania as a tourism destination.

Beautiful Blooms at BRMC

Everything was coming up roses - and other potted plants - at Bradford Regional Medical Center Thursday during a special Mothers' Day sale. Making a selection is BRMC Respiratory Therapist Larry Barrile, with Bradford Hospital Auxiliary Executive Director Virginia Hauser. Proceeds from the annual flower sale benefit Bradford Hospital Foundation's Ruth Barrus Prince Memorial Rose Fund, a fund established in memory of the mother of Coleen Farr of BRMC's Surgical Services Department. For more information on Foundation funds, log onto
(Photo provided by BRMC)

Tom Ridge Won't Run in 2010

Former Pennsylvania Governor and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has decided he won't run for senate next year.

Ridge's statement says he is enormously grateful for the confidence my party expressed in me, the encouragement and kindness of my fellow citizens in Pennsylvania and the valuable counsel I received from so many of my party colleagues."

Ridge also said, "To those who believe that the Republican Party is facing challenges, they are right. To those who believe the Democratic Party is without its own difficulties, they are wrong. No one party has a monopoly on all of the answers."

Quinnipiac University pollster Clay Richards recently said Ridge is probably the only Republican who could give new Democrat Arlen Specter a run for his money.

To read Ridge's statement, go to

OIL150 Celebration -
Memorabilia Show at Pitt-Bradford

Thanks to Kristina Luzzi for passing this along. And, I agree, Kelly Platko did a wonderful job organizing this exhibit.

Danny Ozark Dies at Age 85

Former Philadelphia Phillies manager Danny Ozark, who led the team to three consecutive National League East titles in the late 1970s, has died at his home in Florida. He was 85.
He was named manager of the Phillies on November 1, 1972, and was named Associated Press Manager of the Year in 1976 after leading the Phillies to a 101-61 record.
Ozark had a 594-510 record in seven seasons in Philadelphia.

For more on this story, go to

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

KCH Celebrates Nurse’s Week

National Nurse’s Week is May 6-12 each year. It ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Many consider Nightingale the founder of modern nursing.

The theme for Nurse’s Week this year is “Nurses: Building a Healthy America.” This theme reflects the commitment nurses make every day for their patients, their communities and their country in building a healthy America for the public they serve.

There are nearly 2.4 million registered nurses in the United States. According to projections released from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Registered Nurses will experience the largest projected job growth in the years 2002 through 2012. There are also 531 million licensed practical & vocational nurses.

Often described as an art and a science, nursing is a profession that embraces dedicated people with varied interests, strengths and passions because of the many opportunities the profession offers.

Pam Bray, RN, Senior Leader of Patient Care/Director of Nursing at Kane Community Hospital noted “Today’s nurses must have the strength to care for patients during times of disaster and crisis; the commitment to remain involved in continuing education throughout their careers; and the compassion to provide hands-on patient care at the bedside—as they have done throughout the centuries.”

“Nurses Week provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the spirit of nursing and acknowledge the tireless efforts of these vital health professionals. It is also important to take time out during National Nurse’s Week to thank nurses for what they do and remind the public just how vital our nation’s nurses are to patients, their family and society.”

Nurses are found in many areas of healthcare….hospitals, surgical centers, long term care, personal care homes, physician offices, public health systems, school systems and in occupational medicine. Many have furthered their education and established themselves in advanced roles of certified nurse anesthetists or nurse practitioners. Opportunities in the nursing field are many and many more nurses are needed.

“I would like to publicly recognize our nurses for the important role they play in the lives of so many,” stated Bray, “from the nurses who work in our physician offices, to those who work in Case Management, those employed in our Cardiopulmonary department, those in our Surgical Services department, those who care for our patients in the Emergency Room, Med/Surg Unit, and ICU, those who hold leadership positions and to our Home Health nurses who provide care to patients in their home. My sincere appreciation goes out to all our nurses, not just during this week, but throughout the year. Each of them is a unique, skilled and caring individual whose kindness, dedication and love of nursing is portrayed in the quality care they give to their patients.”

“As we celebrate National Nurse’s Week, I hope all nurses will take the time to reflect on how rewarding a nursing career can be and to share your passion for nursing with others. This week is an opportunity to take stock, and take pride in what you accomplish as nurses, and hopefully to inspire others to choose this challenging and fulfilling profession," Bray concluded.

Pictured l-r at the kickoff of Nurse's Week Celebration are: Pam Bray, RN, Senior Leader of Patient Care/Director of Nursing; Amy Peterson, LPN, Employee Health and Infection Control; Colleen Long, RN; Jill Whittemore, RN, Med/Surg Leader; Angela Iozzo, LPN. This reception kicks off the week of food, trinkets, free lunches from leadership, free subscriptions to a nursing magazine, and lots of gifts and sweet treats around the clock.
(Photo provided by Kane Community Hospital)

Did You Miss the 6 O'Clock News?

Listen now:
WESB News Review for May 6, 2009

Trekking the Tuna Trails

The Tuna Valley Trail Association hopes to have another trail added to the system by the end of the summer.

Rick Esch of the Trail Association was on Wednesday's LiveLine talking about the South Trail that runs from Owens Way to Lewis Run.

He says the trail will use the abandoned Erie Railroad grade that was "kindly provided by to the Trail Association by Minard Run Oil."

The association received a grant to build the trail and it should go to for bid shortly. They hope to have it finished this summer.

Esch said, complimentary to that will be a trailhead at the Penn Brad Oil Museum on South Avenue.

That project is getting ready to out to bid, he said.

The association hopes the trailhead will be under construction by late summer or early fall.

If you haven't trekked all the trails yet – you can do that and help the local chapter of the Red Cross at the same time.

Trekking the Tuna Trails starts May 15 and runs through August 15. For more information on that, go to or

Special Olympics Track Meet

More than 250 athletes competed in the 34th annual McKean County Zippo/Special Olympics Track Meet Wednesday at Kane Area High School.

This event is the qualifier for the state games being held June 4, 5 and 6 in State College.

The athletes will learn later this month who will participate in the state competition.

To listen to a report from Correspondent Mike Walter, click HERE.

Bill Would Prohibit Use of Welfare, Child Support to Buy Booze

The House today approved a welfare reform bill sponsored by Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana) that would prohibit the use of welfare and child support payments to purchase alcohol.

“Welfare dollars should not be used to purchase alcohol,” Reed said. “We always have to remember, one person’s welfare dollar started out as another person’s tax dollar. That taxpayer deserves to know that they didn’t go to work and pay their taxes so that a welfare recipient could go out and buy a bottle of alcohol.”

Reed’s legislation – House Bill 74 – would prevent state liquor stores and beer distributorships from accepting electronic benefit cards (EBTs), which are part of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s (DPW) cash assistance and food stamp programs.

“Every welfare dollar that is used to purchase alcohol is another dollar that isn’t available to help someone truly in need,” Reed said. “Welfare programs should be aimed at providing basic necessities, such as food and clothing, for people who are down on their luck. It shouldn’t be a taxpayer subsidy to pay for a welfare recipient’s drinking habit.”

In addition, Reed’s bill would prohibit the acceptance of EPPICards – debit cards issued in lieu of child support payments by the domestic relation sections of county courts of common pleas – from being used to purchase alcohol.

“Since children aren’t old enough to consume alcohol, there’s absolutely no reason why child support payments should be used to purchase booze,” Reed said. “That money is supposed to be used to benefit the child. The parent making the payments deserves to know that the money is being used to feed and clothe their child – not for a six pack of beer for the other parent.”

Reed’s bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

“I urge my colleagues in the Senate to take swift action to pass this bill,” Reed said. “Pennsylvania taxpayers and child support payers deserve to know their dollars are being used for their intended purposes. This is a common sense bill to protect taxpayers and children.”

Thompson Criticizes Cap & Trade

U.S. Representative Glenn `GT’ Thompson on Tuesday joined his colleagues in the American Energy Solutions Group in a public summit to oppose what he called "the Democrat’s misguided national energy tax," called Cap and Trade.

“The truth behind the cap and tax plan is that it will lead to more taxes, fewer jobs, and more government intrusion,” said Thompson. “It won’t just raise the price of gas at the pumps and increase our home heating and cooling bills—but it will increase the cost of every product and service on which we rely.”

Testifying at the summit, Dr. Gabriel Calzada Alvarez of King Juan Carlos University in Madrid, Spain, denied that green jobs in his country had been a success story as President Obama has suggested. Calzada said that 2.2 jobs were lost for every one green job created. The price of energy in his country has gone up 31 percent and the system has been unreliable with blackouts leading some producers to move their plants to other countries. Spain’s jobless rate hit 17.4% in March, double last year’s figure.

Calzada said that last week British Petroleum closed two solar plants in Spain and said the wind and solar industries are losing thousands of jobs.

“In this country, the President’s energy plan is a $646 billion tax that will hit almost every American family, small business and family farm,” explained Thompson. “This makes no sense considering the current economic crisis in which we find ourselves.”

The public summit held by the Republican American Energy Solutions Group included witnesses from the National Association of Manufacturers and policy analysts from The Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. The summit in Washington is the kickoff of a series of summits throughout the country, including one in Pittsburgh on May 26th.

Added to Thompson’s concern over cap and tax is an administration decision to overturn an existing rule in order to require all federal agencies to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on any action that could potentially harm a species under the Endangered Species Act. “This could be used to challenge domestic energy development and job creation across the country, including in the Allegheny National Forest,” said Thompson.

Because it has been determined that climate change endangers the habitat of the polar bear, any activity that increases greenhouse gas emissions could be challenged under the ESA under the new rule.

Senate Approves Budget Proposal By a Vote of 30-20

HARRISBURG -- The State Senate today approved a fiscally responsible budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2009-10 that cuts spending and includes no new taxes, according to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Senator Jake Corman (R-34).

Corman said Senate Bill 850, which now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration, reflects the serious economic challenges Pennsylvania faces – rather than putting off difficult decisions that could only further exacerbate the fiscal crisis.

"As we work to adopt a state budget, we must do the very same thing that families and businesses do during tough economic times – prioritize our spending and make difficult but necessary cuts," Corman said. "With revenues expected to come in nearly $3 billion below projections for this year, the prudent course is to plan for similar conditions next year. We all certainly hope the economy will turn around, but it is fiscally irresponsible to consider any spending plan that relies on unrealistic or improbable revenue estimates."

The $27.3 billion budget proposal cuts spending just over 1 percent from the current year and includes no new taxes.

"Tax hikes are not a way to get the economy back on track. Forcing workers and job creators to take more money out of their pockets at a time when they can least afford to pay will only further delay our economic recovery," Corman said. "We learned in the early 1990s that you can't tax and borrow your way out of a fiscal hole – you have to cut spending."

Unlike the governor's proposed spending plan, the Senate-passed budget proposal would not drain the state's Rainy Day Fund. Corman said that raiding the fund is not necessary because the state is receiving federal stimulus money. It also continues support for core government programs, particularly education.

"This budget allocates more than $728 million in stimulus funds for basic education, and another $720 million in stimulus funds will go directly to Pennsylvania school districts through existing funding streams," Corman said. "While some groups criticize this budget for cutting education this budget -- including state and federal stimulus dollars – would increase education funding."

Corman said the Senate-passed budget proposal represents a strong starting point for controlling spending, avoiding tax hikes, and positioning Pennsylvania for economic recovery.

"We can take this as an opportunity to prioritize spending and make government work better for the people of Pennsylvania," he said. "This budget represents a strong starting point for controlling spending and avoiding tax hikes."

Health Dept. Briefs Lawamkers on
State's Swine Flu Response

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Department of Health today briefed members of the General Assembly on the state’s response to the outbreak of 2009 Novel A/H1N1 flu and emphasized the need for the public to continue to take steps to prevent its spread.

“In addition to the state’s first confirmed case that was reported on Sunday, there are now 18 probable cases in 11 Pennsylvania counties – a number that is certain to change,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Everette James. “While this is not cause for alarm, it is a reminder that we must continue to be watchful and prepared.”

James noted that the Department of Health is being equipped to perform the same tests that are run by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will enhance the state’s ability to more quickly confirm new cases.

The department has also received its portion of the national anti-viral strategic stockpile, but it will be kept in reserve until it is needed, James added.

“The stockpile will be distributed only where there is no available commercial supply or where probable or confirmed cases do not have access to medication,” James said. “We are strongly recommending that people resist the urge to either hoard antiviral drugs or take them as a precaution because we need to ensure that we have an ample supply of antivirals should the disease become more widespread than it is today.”

Symptoms of novel flu in people are similar to those of regular or seasonal flu and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some with this type of flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Although winter is over, there is still a low level of seasonal influenza occurring in Pennsylvania.

There is no vaccine available at this time. It is important for people to take the following steps to prevent spreading the virus to others:

• Stay home when you are sick to avoid infecting others;

• Cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow or a tissue and properly 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 plenty of rest and exercise; and

• Seek care if you have influenza-like illness.

The Department of Health Web site is being updated daily with the most recent Pennsylvania-specific swine flu information, including links to CDC recommendations and other swine flu information. For more information, visit

Garage Sale Deadline Friday

The deadline to register for the Bradford Area Town Wide Garage Sale is Friday, May 8th.

Registration forms for the event are available at the Main Street Mercantile, Main Street, Bradford, for individuals and groups who wish to be a part of the event.

There is a fee to participate. Participants will receive a yard sign and will be included in the map that will be distributed throughout the area during the week of the event.

In the past, more that 50 locations have participated. The deadline to register is Friday, May 8. The event is organized by the Bradford Main Street Program and the Downtown Bradford Business District Authority.

Track & Field Event in Smethport

The annual North Tier League Championships in Track & Field will be held Friday at Smethport High School. The event starts at 4 p.m. and will go until about 9:30 p.m.

Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for students.

Schools competing will be Smethport, Port Allegany, Otto-Eldred, Coudersport, Cameron County, Northern Potter, Oswayo Valley and Sheffield.

WPC Receives Highest Rating

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) received a four-star rating (out of a possible four stars) for sound fiscal management from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent evaluator of charities.

This rating, the second four-star rating in a row for WPC, was based on the Conservancy’s demonstrated ability to efficiently manage and grow its finances. “Only 19% of the charities we rate have received at least two consecutive four-star evaluations, indicating that the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way, and outperforms most other charities in America,” said Ken Berger, President and Chief Executive Officer of Charity Navigator.

“This ‘exceptional’ designation from Charity Navigator differentiates the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust,” Berger said.

Charity Navigator applies data-driven analysis to the charitable sector, using a method that has been profiled in Forbes, Business Week and Kiplinger’s Financial Magazine. It evaluates ten times more charities than its nearest competitor, making it the nation’s leading charity evaluator.

“We work hard to ensure that we maximize the benefit of every donor dollar as we carry out our mission of conserving the region’s most exceptional places,” said Tom Saunders, President and CEO of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. “This rating from Charity Navigator provides validation to our members and supporters that they can count on WPC to produce meaningful results as cost-effectively as possible.” .

Specter Statement on Assignments

Washington, D.C. – Senator Arlen Specter today issued the following statement regarding Committee Assignments:

“Senator Reid assured me that I would keep my committee assignments and that I would have the same seniority as if I had been elected as a Democrat in 1980. It was understood that the issue of subcommittee chairmanships would not be decided until after the 2010 election. Some members of the caucus have raised concerns about my seniority, so the caucus will vote on my seniority at the same time subcommittee chairmanships are confirmed after the 2010 election. I am confident my seniority will be maintained under the arrangement I worked out with Senator Reid. I am eager to continue my work with my colleagues on the various committees on which I serve and will continue to be a staunch and effective advocate for Pennsylvania’s and the Nation’s priorities.”

Cops: School Locked Down
When Man Threatens Neighbors

A Ripley, New York, man is accused of threatening his neighbors with a loaded shotgun, which prompted the lockdown of Ripley Central School.

Chautauqua County Sheriff's Deputies say 52-year-old George Bazzle was working outside at his home and got angry because of ongoing disputes with neighbors.

His wife brought him his loaded gun then he allegedly walked around the sidewalk with the gun screaming profanities.

Bazzle was arrested without incident and taken to Chautauqua County Jail on $1,000 bond.

Suit Filed Over Credit Card Scheme

State Attorney General Tom Corbett has filed a consumer protection lawsuit against an Erie man whose business allegedly deceived consumers about guaranteed credit card offers that would help people who have bad credit.

Richard Wood, doing business as New Card Services placed ads in newspapers across the state offering credit cards with a $7,500 limit, adding that approval was guaranteed and bad credit was OK.

According to the lawsuit, consumers who sent order forms to the company did not receive credit cards. They were sent a list of banks and businesses that issue cards. They were also told that no refunds would be issued unless all the companies on the list rejected them. But the refund requests had to be submitted within 30 days, which gave consumers little chance of qualifying for the refund.

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

Man Pleads Guilty to Robbery

A Bradford man has pleaded guilty to robbing the Sugar Creek store in Olean in September of last year.

Kyle Grandinetti supplied an unloaded .357 Magnum to a co-defendant who displayed the weapon during the robbery.

Grandinetti will be sentenced July 20.

His co-defendants are James Baribeau, and Benjamen Trumbull

Not Guilty Plea in Murder Case

A Chautauqua County man accused of killing his stepfather has pleaded not guilty.

20-year-old Daniel Hyers is charged with second-degree murder for allegedly killing 51-year-old Dean Nagel on September 9 in Nagel's home.

Nagel was shot in the head multiple times.

After a day-long search in Chautauqua and Erie counties, Sheriff Joe Gerace spotted Hyers walking down the street and arrested him.

Hyers is in Chautauqua County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.

Man Dies After Sheffield Crash

A Johnstown man has died from injuries he suffered in a crash Saturday night in Sheffield.

Russ Gore was a passenger in a pickup truck driven by Ronald Gore of Belleville. The vehicle was hit by an SUV driven by a 17-year-old boy from Warren.

The truck spun around, hit a utility pole and flipped onto his side. Russ Gore was trapped inside the truck and had to be freed using the Jaws of Life.

He was taken to Hamot Medical Center, where he died.

Neither driver was hurt. Police did not release the name of the 17-year-old. An investigation is continuing.

Plant Temporarily Closes

The economic situation in Elk County keeps getting worse.

C.G. Electrodes has temporarily shut down. The plant closed in late April, but is expected to reopen in July.

The company makes electrodes used during the steel-making process.

Elk County's unemployment rate is nearly 14 percent. Only Cameron County's unemployment rate is higher in the state.

The downturn in the auto industry has hit the counties hard because the powdered metal and steel industries -- prevalent in Elk County -- are closely related to the auto industry.

Bradford's Oil 150 Events Start

From left is Kristina Luzzi of American Refining Group, Shane Oschman, president of the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce, and Kelly Platko of Roseart look over one of the pieces that are part of the Oil 150 display at KOA Speer art gallery at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Tuesday. Luzzi and Platko, who organized the show which was comprised of oil memorabilia, are members of Bradford's Oil 150 committee. This was one of the first major events to kick off the 150th anniversary of the discovery of oil. This was also the Business After Hours event sponsored by the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce. Luzzi and Platko will be on the LiveLine on May 12 to talk about this and other Oil 150 events.
(Photo by Sandra Rhodes, ANFVB)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Did You Miss the 6 O'Clock News?

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Live Wires Pulled Onto House

An oversized load on Route 6 pulled live power lines onto a house and the road between Port Allegany and Smethport at around 3:40 this afternoon.

The house is near the Jehovah's Witness Hall.

Traffic in the area was being re-routed.

Stimulus Money to Fix Area Roads

$2.5 million dollars of federal stimulus money will go toward fixing I-86 between Randolph and Cold Spring.

Another $1.4 million dollars will go toward resurfacing Route 219 from Seneca Junction to the Salamanca City line, and Broad and Clinton streets in Salamanca from Route 353 to Wildwood Avenue.

The projects are expected to be finished this summer.

Bemus Point Schools Re-Open

Schools in the Bemus Point district reopened today after being closed Friday and Monday because a male student at the junior-senior high school had swine flu.

The Centers for Disease Control did confirm that the boy had swine flu.

The schools and all the school buses in the district have been disinfected.

One of the student's parents was also tested for swine flu, but the test came back negative. Eleven other people who had contact with the family did not get sick.

Volunteers Needed for Unwanted Medication Collection Program

PA CleanWays will hold the first Unwanted Medication Collection Program at the Bradford Regional Medical Center on Saturday, May 16th, 2009 from 8AM to Noon. Residents of McKean and neighboring counties are asked to empty their medicine cabinets and submit all their unwanted medications to the North Bennett Street or the new entrance of the Bradford Hospital. This is an excellent opportunity to dispose of these materials safely, protecting our water resources and our young people.

Volunteers are also still needed to help out with this event. If you are interested in volunteering please contact Heather McKean at the McKean County Conservation District at 814-887-4003 or Jim Clark at the Penn State Extension Office at 814-887-5613 to sign up.

Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce.

Young: Budget Bill Says Upstate New York is Closed for Business

Albany is telegraphing a message to potential investors that Upstate New York is now closed for business. We’ve kept and added thousands of new jobs in my Senate district through the Empire Zones program. Now is not the time to use our employers as pawns to fill budget loopholes.

This budget plan is the worst fiscal disaster in our state’s history and does nothing to stimulate the economy or grow more jobs in upstate New York.

We need to invest and build upon the success of the Empire Zone program which has generated billions of dollars in new investment and created thousands of new jobs for our region. I urge the Governor and lawmakers to do the right thing and rectify this problem before it is too late and businesses close up shop for good.

You can read a letter to Governor David Paterson from Young and other Senate Republicans HERE. (PDF)

Committee Approves Budget Bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee today approved Senate Bill 850, a $27.3 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2009-10, according to Committee Chairman Senator Jake Corman (R-34).

"Senate Bill 850 reflects and responds to Pennsylvania's tough economic climate. The fact that state revenues came in nearly $1 billion below estimate in April shows that Pennsylvania's economy hasn't improved and that we are facing a potential total shortfall of $2.9 billion or higher by the end of the current fiscal year," Senator Corman said. "Taking that into account, we developed a budget for Fiscal Year 2009-10 that looks to the long-term future of Pennsylvania and considers the Commonwealth's economic vitality in 2015 and 2020, not just 2010."

During a milder recession in the early 1990s, Pennsylvania experienced a similar catastrophic revenue shortfall when the Commonwealth amassed a billion dollar deficit and, in response, raised taxes by $3 billion. That response devastated the Commonwealth's economic climate and reduced its competitiveness with other states.

"Unlike in 1991, Senate Bill 850 takes a different tack by making painful but necessary cuts and reductions in spending now as a way to hasten the revitalization of Pennsylvania's economy, which is ultimately the most effective remedy for the Commonwealth's budgetary woes," Senator Corman said. "We are working to position Pennsylvania for the future by making tough decisions today. The Legislature will be called on to share its burden of cuts as well – and we are committed to doing that. The General Assembly's operating line items are reduced by about 10 percent. In addition, we are proposing that $100 million of the General Assembly's reserves be redistributed into the General Fund."

SB 850 recognizes the key role of education at all levels in shaping Pennsylvania's future. By allocating more than $728 million in federal stimulus funds for basic education, this budget staves off a reduction in support for Pennsylvania's school districts and maintains funding at the current year level.

"In addition, $720 million in federal stimulus money goes directly to Pennsylvania school districts through existing funding streams. When considering the Commonwealth's funding for basic and special education, the new money represents a significant increase over the current fiscal year," Senator Corman said.

Bottled Water Ban in NY

New York Governor David Paterson has issued an executive order banning state agencies from buying bottled water.

Speaking to a group of environmentalists in Albany, Paterson said while the water in the bottles is pure, the bottles are no friend to the environment.

The ban applies only to single-serve water bottles used by agencies within the executive branch of government. Employees in the legislative and judicial branches and the state university system can still drink water out of anything they want to.

Read Paterson's executive order HERE.

Bond Set for Baby-Swinging Mom

A judge has set bond for the Erie woman in prison for swinging her infant at her boyfriend during a fight in 2006.

29-year-old Chytoria Graham was sentenced in 2007 to 5 to 10 years in state prison. Today, the judge set bond at $20,000.

Her family says they will try to raise the money so Graham will be free while she appeals her conviction and sentence to state superior court.

The bond request came after the judge's decision on bond in the case of Teri Rhodes, the former Mercyhurst College student sentenced to 9 to 18 years in state prison for suffocating her newborn daughter. She's free on $25,000 cash bond as she appeals her sentence.

Man Jailed After Threats, Chase

A Chautauqua County man is in jail after taking sheriff's deputies on a chase and threatening them early this morning.

23-year-old Christopher Perina of Forestville had been threatening to harm himself when police found him at around 4:15 a.m. They talked with him by way of cell phone until around 8 a.m., during which time he threatened to harm officers and himself if anyone got near him.

He then drove his vehicle through a field and a yard to get around a police perimeter and led police on a 10-minute chase through area roads. The chase ended in a grape vineyard.

He was charged with unlawful fleeing a police officer, reckless endangerment and numerous other charges. He was arraigned on these and unanswered charges from a prior similar incident and sent to jail on $50,000 bail.

PA Could Have Official State Reptile

State Rep. Lawrence Curry, D-Montgomery/Phila., welcomes fourth graders from Glenside Elementary School and their teachers to the state Capitol May 5 to witness the House of Representatives pass H.B. 621, which would designate the Eastern Box Turtle as Pennsylvania's official reptile. The students originally proposed the legislation as a class project aimed at saving the species, whose numbers are declining in Pennsylvania. The bill now moves on to the state senate.
(Photo provided by House Democratic Communications)

Rapp Amendment Shields PA
Timber Products from Being Axed

HARRISBURG-Two days before co-chairing a House Republican Policy Committee hearing focusing on protecting private property rights of oil producers and other job-creating industries located in Allegheny National Forest, Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Forest/McKean) successfully amended legislation (House Bill 689), which provides incentives for school districts to construct cleaner and more energy-efficient buildings, to ensure that all Pennsylvania wood products are eligible for tax credits and other exemptions under the Green Building Standard.

"It is counter-productive for government to adopt any rating system promoting environmentally friendly building that openly discriminates against Pennsylvania wood products, which are arguably the greenest, least environmentally harmful and most renewable natural resources available," said Rapp. "Without this amendment, wood products produced by Pennsylvania timber companies independently certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program standard or the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) would be ineligible for any tax credits or other green building for school incentives provided by House Bill 689. As these are the two largest sustainable forest management systems in the United States, House Bill 689 as originally written would have effectively banned Pennsylvania's approximately 143,154 acres of timber certified by the SFI program and another 285, 523 acres certified under the ATFS system from the 21st century green building marketplace."

Approved on April 29, Rapp's amendment removes all references to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDS) ratings system from House Bill 689 and replaces them with references to the "Green Building Standard." This is to ensure that multiple green standards such as LEEDS and Green Globes, which are currently recognized for additional construction reimbursements under the Pennsylvania Public School Code, are also included in the proposed green building construction cost exemption provided by House Bill 689.

The Legislation is currently before the full Pennsylvania House awaiting consideration.

"I sponsored this amendment not just to protect the best interests of Northwestern Pennsylvania timber industries, but all Pennsylvania employers who produce pulp, paper, packaging and countless other everyday wood products," said Rapp. "Pennsylvania's forest-related manufacturers boast an annual payroll of more than $3 million and account for $185 million of state and local tax dollars. It makes absolutely no sense for government to impose another competitive disadvantage on an industry that contributes so much to our state and local economies by excluding most wood products from new school construction or any other Green Building Standard construction project."

'Intern Steph' Receives Award

BRADFORD, Pa. – Two students from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford have received the James D. Guelfi Award in Communications for their work in broadcast communication and public relations.

This year’s recipients are Alex Davis, a sophomore public relations major from Emporium, and Stephanie Petchel, a senior broadcast communication major from Beaver Meadows. They were honored at a reception held last month

Davis was nominated for the public relations award by Tim Ziaukas, associate professor of public relations, for his work with The Source as editor.

“Alex has brought a professionalism and a commitment to his work on the school newspaper that has begun a transformation of The Source. He is a great editor, a leader and a worthy Guelfi scholar,” Ziaukas said.

Jeff Guterman, chairman of the Division of Communication and the Arts and director of the broadcast communications program, selected Petchel for her excellent senior leadership and scholarship in the communications program.

“Stephanie is an outstanding student who is already making her mark in the broadcasting profession,” said Guterman. “Her voiceover work can be heard throughout the region in radio commercials and other programs. She loves working in radio, and it certainly shows.”

The James D. Guelfi Award in Communications was established in 2002 to honor Guelfi, a Bradford community leader, a champion of the arts and a friend of the university.

Pictured are Davis with Ziaukas and Intern Steph with Guterman. Photos courtesy of Pitt-Bradford.

Case Will Be New UWBA Director

Aside from honoring this year's Red Feather recipients, the United Way of the Bradford Area also introduced its new executive director this morning.Board president Dan Manion made the announcement that longtime United Way volunteer, and former Red Feather recipient Kelly Case will take over on June 1. Current executive director Kris Luther announced her resignation earlier this year. Bob and Mary Galey, and the associates of the Bradford Tops Market received Red Feather awards during this morning's breakfast. United Way to Go awards were presented to Jerry Johnson Jr. and, well, me.

Pictured, former United Way board president Bob Marasco accepts the Red Feather Award on behalf of his stepfather and mother, Bob and Mary Galey, while Kelly Case looks on.
In the photo provided by the United Way of the Bradford Area (L-R) are Joy Brocious (Tops), Michele Gangloff (Tops), Mandi Davis (United Way), Bob Marasco (Galey family), Mike Kearns (Tops) and Mark Davis (Tops).

Monday, May 4, 2009

Christopher Horton Pleads Guilty

Christopher Horton has pleaded guilty to opening valves on oil tanks and allowing more than 42,000 gallons of oil spill onto the Allegheny National Forest.

In McKean County Court on Monday Horton said his father Andrew dropped him off near Snyder Brothers leases last August. He rode an ATV to the leases, where he opened the valves and smashed equipment.

Thousands of fish and other aquatic life died because of the spill. About half a million dollars worth of damage was done to Snyder Brothers property.

No sentencing date has been set for Christopher Horton. Andrew Horton will be sentenced July 1.

The U.S. Attorney’s office is preparing to file charges against Christopher Horton in federal court.

Mall, Flu, More Discussed in FT

WESB/WBRR News Director

The Bradford Mall, swine flu and the Derrick City reunion were among the topics discussed during a lengthy Foster Township supervisors meeting Monday night.

Seaward Avenue resident Tom Perry asked if anything could be done with the mall to push the owners into doing something.

Township solicitor Dick Mutzabaugh said if codes are being violated the owners could be cited, and he could give further advice when and if that happens.

Township resident Jim Connolly mentioned the Bradford Master Plan, which calls for "cutting the building, more or less, in half" with the stream running between the two halves of the building.

He said if the Office of Economic and Community Development could come up with grant money, and go to the owners saying they and the township want to work with them "and hand them some free money, maybe it would give them some incentive to get the mall … going."

"Isn't the Bradford Mall the most valuable piece of real estate in McKean County?" Connolly asked.

"If we can move a whole mountain for Wal-Mart I don't know why we can't do anything with that Bradford Mall," he said.

Supervisors said the mall owners are not the easiest people to work with, or communicate with but they and the OECD have been attempting to work with them.

In further discussion on the Master Plan, township residents said they're not keen on the idea of their tax dollars going to help the city.

"I can see the point, if you build up Bradford … it's going to help the townships," said supervisor Chris Wolcott, adding that the plans don't have a good economic plan to as how to bring more industry to the area.

"If you don't have people coming in here to work, it doesn't matter how pretty the city is," he said, "there's not going to be anybody to pay for it and enjoy it."

He urged residents to either stop by the municipal building to look at the plan or go to to see it, and then go to him with comments.

Township resident Linda Marcella has already formed an opinion.

"I think it's stupid," she said.

In other matters, Supervisor Chairman Bob Slike suggested that the township form a municipal board of health

He said in June of last year municipal leaders and healthcare professionals from McKean, Warren, Forest, Cameron and Elk counties were involved in a conference concerning infectious diseases.

During the gathering, Judge John Cleland talked about the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, and the scores of people who died during that outbreak.

Slike said lawmakers in Washington and Harrisburg have already said it would be up to municipal governments to handle a situation like that themselves

"I don't think anybody really took it too seriously that night (a year ago)," he said. "They thought 'Yeah, it happened. It may happen again.'"

Now, with the swine flu scare, he said, people are taking it seriously.

Slike said his daughter (Dr. Jill Owens) and another doctor have expressed interest in sitting on the board.

"It would behoove us, I think, to do this and have it in order should this ever happen," Slike said.

Supervisors did agree to look into forming a board of health.

Also Monday, Connolly commended township residents Pam Fredeen, Kim Graham and Pete Gardner for the Derrick City Reunion they organize every few years, and suggested that it could be turned into an event similar to Otto Township's Old Home Days that may be able to help the Derrick City Volunteer Fire Department.


~~ Slike mentioned that Betty Cochran had to leave her job with the OECD. She's been battling cancer.
~~ Kaber said grant money will be used to install LED traffic lights in all of McKean County's municipalities and in Jones Township in Elk County.
~~ Slike expressed regret about Firestone closing, but congratulated Crosby's on the re-opening of its service island and wished them continued success
~~ Wolcott noted that BRMC is holding an unwanted household medicines drop-off day from 8 a.m. to noon on May 16.

Kaber Gives Tour of New DJ Offices

Foster Township Supervisor Cary Kaber gave a few township residents a tour of District Judge Rich Luther's new offices and courtroom in the township municipal building. For the past several months – including Monday night – the bid process for the work has been the topic of heated discussions during supervisors' meetings. On Monday, township solicitor Dick Mutzabaugh gave his opinion, which was reinforced by attorney George Atman III, that the renovations and improvements performed by township employees (including Kaber) are not subject to the competitive bidding requirement under the township code. Mutzabaugh said anyone who doesn't agree can have his/her lawyer contact him. The new offices are on the opposite side of the building from Luther's current offices and courtroom. Part of the township's rental agreement with the county for the offices includes the renovation work.

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Team Effort to Clean Up Downtown

Nearly sixty volunteers came out to pick up litter and participate in the third annual Project Pride Clean up.

Neighborhood residents, members of Bradford City police, fire and public works departments, the Parks Department and City Council all worked side by side cleaning up Bradford’s Project Pride Neighborhood and the Historic District.

A citywide tire collection was also part of this year’s event. The tire crew was able to collect one thousand tires, saving residents $5,000.00. Enough tires were collected to fill an entire tractor trailer supplied by Buffalo Fuel Corp in conjunction with Lakin Tire and Firestone. This is the third year that tires have been disposed of free of charge and it proved to be the largest net to date. This service is provided by national sponsors of Keep America Beautiful in an ongoing effort to remove and recycle discarded tires in communities across the country.

“Each year we find more and more tires as part of our effort. It is amazing to see the numbers of discarded tires polluting our landscape. The amount of litter collected has steadily decreased each year, but the number of tires is still climbing. Mayor Riel decided to make this a citywide initiative in an effort to deal with another quality of life issue for residents,” said Lisa Campogiani, City of Bradford Elm Street Manager. “This year also had a special emphasis on cleaning up Main Street as well as a separate clean up with School Street Elementary students on Friday. It is very exciting to see this effort growing and spinning off additional clean up efforts.” Campogiani added.

(Photos courtesy of Lisa Campogiani)

CEC Directors Go to Harrisburg

From the Potter County Education Council:

The Executive Director from the Potter County Education Council and other Community Education Council Directors received a warm reception from their legislators in Harrisburg April 28-29, but the state’s revenue shortfall continues to cast concern over CEC funding for 2009-10.

“Our legislators firmly believe in the need to continue delivering education and training opportunities to rural Pennsylvania, but it remains to be seen whether that need will carry the day when the final budget decisions are being made,” said Helene Nawrocki, executive director of the Potter County Education Council.

The CEC executive directors first met collectively with 10 state representatives, including Rep. Paul Clymer of Bucks County, minority Republican chairman of the House Education Committee who chaired the meeting. The CEC directors then met with eight state senators and staff members for two additional senators, in a meeting coordinated by Senator Joe Scarnati.

In attendance, were Senator Jeffrey Piccola of Dauphin and York counties, who is chairman of the Senate Education Committee, and Senator Andrew Dinniman of Chester and Montgomery counties, minority chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

Scarnati, a Republican from Brockway, is president pro tem of the Senate, a position that provides him with significant input into the Senate’s version of the budget that is expected to be unveiled in the near future. Senator Scarnati clearly appreciates the significant outcomes of the CEC’s.

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, however, is expected to respond with a budget that mirrors that of fellow Democratic Gov. Edward Rendell. Rendell has proposed eliminating funding for the CECs in the 2009-10 budget, in the face of an estimated $2-3 billion fiscal year-end shortfall. House Republicans, many who consider themselves “budget hawks” may be reluctant to be seen as “putting anything back in the budget.”

That would set up negotiations between the Senate, House and Rendell Administration for the final budget. While a final budget by law is supposed to be enacted by July 1, there is talk that this year’s negotiations could become more contentious than usual and go far beyond the July 1 deadline.

Scarnati said he was pleased with the turnout of senators and staff to the meeting, but in describing the budget situation told the CEC directors that restoration of funding would be a “daunting task.”

House members, at the earlier meeting, including Rep. Marty Causer, who represents the Potter County Education Council, were asked by the CEC directors to tell their legislative leaders that the CECs deserve to be on the “short list” of line items that should be restored.

The CEC directors reminded the House and Senate members that Rendell himself publicly touts the importance of higher education, the need for greater access to higher education and for an educated and trained workforce. Also shared by the CEC directors were comments by the Secretary of Education, Dr. Zahorchak, who as recent as December 11, 2008 (PDE newsroom) noted Pennsylvania workers need access to post secondary education and training so they can better compete in the high-skills economy but many Pennsylvanians live in places without access to a community college or other quality affordable institutions where they can receive an associate degree or industry certification.

Nawrocki said. “There’s a huge disconnect between what the Governor and his Secretary of Education are saying and what they are doing. The Governor zeroes out the only entities providing post-secondary services and the Secretary testifies ,after the CEC directors, at the House Education Committee hearing on April 1, 2009 that the CEC’s are no longer needed.”

“In essence, they are telling rural Pennsylvanians that we’re not worthy of educational opportunities, that it’s not important whether we’re part of the eventual economic recovery,” Nawrocki continued. “In my mind this is not just about the CEC’s but the rural regions being equally recognized and served by the Commonwealth. After all, we pay taxes too.”

Nawrocki said the legislators who met with the CECs understand the issues. The question that remains is whether in this difficult economic environment they are able to restore some or all of the nearly $2.2 million that funds the nine CECs.