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Friday, September 4, 2009

Federal Aid for Flood Victims

More federal aid is on the way to Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Erie counties.

This time, it's going to homeowners, renters and small business owners to help them clean up after flooding early last month.

Earlier this week, FEMA approved aid to local governments to help them pay for costs related to response and cleanup.

Farmer's Market on Saturday

The Downtown Bradford Farmer’s Market will be held Saturday in Veterans’ Square from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The weekly event is sponsored by Coleen Christy/GMAC Real Estate. Free parking is available in the Seneca Building parking lot.

Items this week include fresh eggs, blueberries, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, corn, peaches, plants, honey and honey products, baked goods, sugar free pies, cheesecakes, freshly made fudge, fresh baked breads, pickles and preserves. There will also be hand crafted items, bird houses and Avon products.

The Farmer’s Market welcomes new vendors. For more information contact the Main Street Manager’s office.

Pleas for More FEMA Money

ALBANY - After the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) granted aid in the form of public assistance to counties affected by the August floods, Senator Catharine Young (R,I,C – Olean) today was joined by flood victims, and state, local and town officials in Silver Creek to urge FEMA to issue individual assistance to affected areas to help cover the extensive damage and to aid those who lost their homes.

“We appreciate FEMA’s quick response in calling for the limited emergency declaration, but people who have been flooded out of their homes or business have nowhere else to go and need additional support to meet their basic needs,” said Sen. Young. “It is critical that FEMA coordinates with federal and state agencies to assess the urgency of additional funding to assist in the ongoing response and repair efforts for everyone who was affected by this devastation.”

After the President declares a disaster area, aid from FEMA comes in two parts, although they typically are approved simultaneously. Public Assistance provides aid to state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency work, but FEMA has yet to deliver Individual Assistance directly to the homes and businesses that were damaged in the storms.

"I was very discouraged that the declaration signed by the President only authorized the public assistance side, which is municipal damage," County Executive Greg Edwards said. "I continue to receive calls on a daily basis from residents who are in desperate need of relief only the Federal government can provide. We have individuals in need of hot water heaters, furnaces and other repairs and I will continue to work with our elected officials continue to push for the full declaration to be issued immediately."

According to the latest information from the Chautauqua County Office of Emergency Services, over 250 homes in Chautauqua County have sustained major or minor damage as a result of the storms, including 39 homes that were completely destroyed.

Suzanne Grabowski is the Property Manager for the Silver Village Mobil Home Park in Silver Creek who said all 35 mobile homes in the park were completely destroyed.

“Silver Village was devastated by the raging waters of the creek. The residents here lost everything - their homes, possessions, vehicles and each other. After working day after day with the village officials and seeing each resident retrieve as much as they could from their homes, it’s hard to believe that the government is sitting on the fence as to whether or not to help these residents. As a community we are asking that you please help these people, as they did not have a lot before, and now they have nothing,” said Ms. Grabowski.

emailed from Cathy Young's office

Thursday, September 3, 2009

BRMC Gets Federal Grant Money

Washington, D.C.—A Department of Health and Human Services grant of $94,050 has been awarded to Bradford Regional Medical Center through the Health Resources and Services Administration, according to U.S. Representative Glenn `GT’ Thompson, R-Howard.

“These grants are discretionary and can be used for the health care needs of the facility,” said Thompson. “It gives the hospital the opportunity to address pressing needs for the medical care of the community.”

George Leonhardt, administrator of the Bradford Center said, “We will be purchasing two pieces of patient care equipment: an intra-aortic balloon pump to be used for cardiac patients and a mobile x-ray system to be used at the bedside. We are fortunate to have access to funding opportunities such as this to support out continued provision of the highest quality of care to our patients.”

emailed from Tina Kreisher, Glenn Thompson's office

Rapp: 'Tax Me More Express' is
Cause of De-Railed State Budget

After signing a stop-gap state budget last month to pay state employees, Gov. Ed Rendell is back on the road again, making his case for higher taxes and higher spending...and predicting dire consequences if his demands are not met.

In addition to hundreds of unemployed state workers, the governor's individual executive decisions are having dire consequences right now because he alone chose to blue line or eliminate funding in the stop-gap budget to hold dozens of vital programs and community services hostage to up the ante on his bid for increased taxes.

For example, many child care providers serving low- and moderate-income families across the state are at risk to shut down due to the lack of state support.

As a result, parents who can't find alternatives may be forced to quit their jobs and collect unemployment or even welfare to care for their children.

Students heading off to Penn State, Pitt, other state-affiliated colleges or state-owned universities, and community colleges have no idea how much grant funding they will get from the state, or even when or if they'll get that money.

Senior citizens, veterans, children and others who rely on county-based programs such as Meals on Wheels could see services reduced or suspended due to lack of funds.

In short, the governor, who personally made sure to preserve the executive branch line item that funds both his salary and those of his entire cabinet, has chosen to line-item veto funding for child services, agriculture, as well as county programs, school districts, veterans services, libraries and more--solely for increased leverage in his fight for more spending and higher taxes.

It doesn't have to be this way. House Republicans have offered and voted for several balanced state budget proposals which would have increased education funding and kept essential state and county government services operating-with no broad-based tax increases.

In sharp contrast, House Democrat leaders sat on a pro-taxpayer budget bill for more than two months, conspiring with the governor to create the current "recurring revenue crisis" they hope will generate enough votes to support their appetite for higher spending and higher taxes-including a never completely off the table, 16 percent personal income tax increase.

Since the budget process began, House Republicans have been guided by the same principles to deliver a commonsense, realistic budget agreement:

· The state budget must reflect our financial situation and the current economic crisis;

· It must maintain funding for essential services like public education, higher education and public safety;

· It must identify a sustainable source of revenue to pay for the spending it proposes; and

· It must do it without increasing taxes on Pennsylvania families.

Pennsylvania is now facing the inescapable task of balancing the unprecedented $3.25 billion Rendell budget deficit which means now is the time for all branches of state government to live within their means. Any other course of action will result in a massive tax increase that Pennsylvania families and job-creating employers simply cannot afford.

Regardless of the final document that is signed into law, never forget that the Rendell Tax Me More Express is the runaway train responsible for derailing the 2009-10 state budget process and single-handedly putting the well-being of Pennsylvania's children and our most vulnerable citizens in jeopardy.

Just as I have done with my past four state budget votes, it is my job as your State Representative to support only those budget proposals that adequately fund the Commonwealth's fiscal obligations without raising taxes on any hard-working Pennsylvania citizen.

WNY Gets $27.2 in Grant Money

Governor David Paterson today announced the awarding of $27.2 million for Western New York as part of the third round of Restore NY grant program.

The Village of Gowanda will receive $600,000 to restore the Hollywood Theater, which officials believe is a catalyst for economic redevelopment in the business district.

Jamestown will receive $1 million for the Jamestown Connector Stabilization Project, which includes demolition of a number of blighted and vacant manufacturing buildings.

Dunkirk will get $2.5 million to the Progress Park redevelopment project, which is aimed at developing new and expanded manufacturing and commercial facilities.

from the NY governor's Web site

BRMC Has Flu Preparedness Plan

By George Nianiatus, senior writer
Communications Department


A comprehensive flu preparedness plan by Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC) has been instituted to ready itself and the community for the traditional flu season which now brings the added concern of the novel H1N1 virus.

BRMC’s healthcare officials say they have been diligently meeting for several months to formulate a thorough plan which includes holding seasonal flu clinics for the public and staff, monitoring patient traffic in the Emergency Department, and waging a public awareness campaign which emphasizes good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.

Although in previous years BRMC’s McKean County VNA & Hospice coordinated the community flu clinics, this year the vaccines will be administered at the hospital. The public will be notified of the dates via local media.

To help combat the dual risk of the seasonal flu and the H1N1 flu, BRMC officials are urging individuals - and particularly those in high-risk categories - to get fully vaccinated. Also, individuals who suffer flu-like symptoms should remain home until symptoms subside to avoid spreading the virus. If symptoms persist or worsen, they should see their physician or come to BRMC’s Emergency Department.

Healthcare officials say high-risk categories for the seasonal flu are the elderly, children age 5 and under and those with chronic medical conditions. Those considered in the high-risk category for getting the H1N1 flu are those between 2 months and age 24.

“We’ve developed a flu preparedness plan because we thought it’s so important to keep the community educated and to maintain calmness,” says Deborah Price, BRMC’s senior vice president of Patient Care Services.

BRMC has had “a large team of healthcare providers working since spring on this flu preparedness plan, including input from McKean County’s Emergency Medical Services in Smethport,” Mrs. Price notes.

“There are two different flu viruses this year - the traditional seasonal flu and also the novel H1N1 virus that surfaced in the spring,” explains Richard Freeman, M.D., director of BRMC’s Occupational and Employee Health.

To combat the seasonal flu this fall, a one-shot vaccine will once again be available to battle three virus strains, says Dr. Freeman.

As in past years, seasonal flu vaccines will be offered in early October. There will be one key change, though. “We’ll have seasonal flu vaccine clinics just at BRMC’s Outpatient Services Center,” Mrs. Price says.

“The seasonal one-shot flu vaccine will be available in a few weeks,” Dr. Freeman says, noting there’s an ample supply for the community.

By mid- to late October, the two-shot H1N1 flu vaccine will begin to become available, Dr. Freeman explains. “This will involve an initial shot and then three weeks later a booster shot will have to be administered,” he says.

Because the H1N1 flu was unexpected, manufacturers could not produce the vaccine quickly enough to have a full supply by mid-October. “More supplies of the H1N1 flu vaccine will become available in increments through October, November and early December,” the physician explains.

“The H1N1 flu vaccine will be obtained for us by the Pennsylvania Department of Health,” Dr. Freeman says.

Once the first H1N1 vaccination is given, the individual will get a card specifying when to return for the second shot.

Those age 24 and under are considered to be particularly susceptible to the H1N1 flu, say officials from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The World Health Organization predicts a third of the world’s population will eventually be infected by the H1N1 flu. The virus is still circulating and most health experts predict a resurgence in the autumn as temperatures cool and schools, traditional breeding grounds for infection, re-open after summer holidays.

Meanwhile, BRMC has adopted several unique measures for flu prevention.

“For the first time, BRMC employees will be required to get the seasonal flu vaccine” to prevent the spread of the virus to patients, visitors or fellow employees, says Dr. Freeman.

“Those employees who don’t get vaccinated will be required to wear masks when they’re within five to 10 feet of patients,” says Terrie O’Brien, RN, BRMC’s infection control practitioner.

“If for some reason BRMC employees are unable to be vaccinated for the seasonal flu, they will have to wear a mask when caring for patients during the flu season,” Mrs. Price notes.

Additionally, BRMC visitors are already greeted at entrances with signs that encourage them to use good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Also, if visitors have flu-like symptoms or coughs when entering the hospital, “Please ask for a mask to avoid spreading viruses,” Mrs. O’Brien says.

“People need to remember that viruses can spread if they cough or sneeze,” Mrs. O’Brien says. “Droplets from a cough or sneeze can easily travel 3 to 6 feet.”
If someone must cough or sneeze, “Please do it into your elbow,” Mrs. O’Brien says.

“It’s also important to practice good hand hygiene wherever you are by washing frequently with soap and water,” Mrs. O’Brien reminds.

During the spring of 2008, BRMC installed 20 hand sanitizers in high-traffic locations in waiting rooms, lobbies and near elevators. “We put hand sanitizers in these public areas to encourage staff and hospital visitors to use them as they are leaving or returning to patient care areas,” Mrs. O’Brien says.

Another flu prevention measure could be adopted soon at BRMC. “We’re looking at spatially separating the Emergency Department waiting room so those with flu-like symptoms will not be in close contact with others,” says Mrs. O’Brien.

Ideally, those with flu-like symptoms should remain home. “My best advice is to not go to work or school if you have flu-like symptoms. Stay home until you are free of symptoms for at least 24 hours,” Dr. Freeman says.

“People with prolonged or worsening flu symptoms should see their physician or come to BRMC’s Emergency Department. We’ll always be here to provide care,” Mrs. Price says.

Both the seasonal flu and the H1N1 virus display similar symptoms of fever, chills, nausea, muscle aches and diarrhea, says Mrs O’Brien.

Health officials say these categories are considered to have a particularly high risk for seasonal flu complications: children between 6 months and age 5; those age 6 months to 18 on long-term aspirin treatment because they could develop Reye’s Syndrome if they get the flu; pregnant women; people 50 years of age and older; people of any age with certain medical conditions such as heart or lung disease, asthma, kidney disease, metabolic disease such as diabetes, anemia and other blood disorders; those with a weakened immune system from HIV/AIDS; long-term treatment with drugs or steroids; and people who live in nursing homes and other long-term facilities.

The H1N1 flu, however, disproportionately affects younger people between 2 months and 24 years of age. Others considered high-risk categories for the H1N1 flu include pregnant mothers, adults under age 65 with medical conditions, healthcare workers and emergency medical service personnel.
On average in the U.S., more than 220,000 are hospitalized every year because of the seasonal flu and 36,000 die, according to CDC officials. However, those numbers are expected to rise with the arrival of the H1N1 flu.

For more information about the flu or other health matters, go to www.brmc.com and click on the Medline Plus icon, or visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Web site at www.health.state.pa.us.

School Districts Show Improvement

Nearly 80 percent of Pennsylvania’s public schools met the required academic goals of the federal No Child Left Behind law for 2009.

The Bradford Area School District made what's known as "adequate yearly progress," according to figures released today by the state education department. PSSA test results were released today as well.

School district officials are expected to discuss the figures during the next school board meeting.

You can find PSSA scores HERE (PDF -- pages 77 and 78) and the AYP status report HERE (PDF)

Paterson Wants More FEMA Money

Governor David Paterson is urging FEMA to authorize individual assistance for the Western New York communities affected by flooding early last month, and has called on the state Congressional delegation to work toward the same goal.

On Tuesday, President Obama declared Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Erie counties eligible for federal disaster assistance for emergency work, repairs and replacements to the flood-damaged roads, bridges, and other public properties.

Paterson is asking that FEMA approve assistance to homeowners, renters and small businesses in those areas.

from the NY governor's Web site

'Unstoppable' Hotel Renovations

The effects of the filming of the movie "Unstoppable" in the region are already being felt.

To accommodate some crew members, the movie's production company is footing part of the bill for renovations at the DeSoto Holiday House on South Avenue.

Tarport Properties is planning to refurbish the entire facility.

As for the movie, the pre-production crew has been in Bradford for several weeks spending money at a number of businesses. Star Denzel Washington and Director Tony Scott have also been staying in the area.

The action movie is being filmed in Cameron County, which is also getting a much-need economic boost.

This Dumpster behind the hotel caught on fire at about 4 o'clock this moring. It's holding old carpeting from the hotel, as well as other construction materials. Bradford Township firefighters were on the scene for about 2 hours.

Meet the Owls


Our own Frank Williams -- Voice of the Owls -- was the master of ceremonies for Wednesday's Meet the Owls Night at Parkway Field. All of the high school and middle school fall sports teams, along with the cheerleaders and band were introduced. The band and cheerleaders performed.






(Photos by Frank Williams and Sam Johnson)

Dumpster Fire at Holiday House

Bradford Township firefighters responded to a fire in a Dumpster this morning behind the Holiday House on South Avenue.

The fire was contained to the Dumpster. The fire call came in at around 4 a.m.

from firefighters at the scene

Two Hurt in Head-On Crash

Two people were hurt in a head-on crash this morning in the Town of Portland when the sun got in the eyes of one of the drivers.

Sheriff's deputies say that at about 7:50 this morning a vehicle driven by 64-year-old Rose Giambra swerved into the opposite lane of travel and hit a vehicle driven by 34-year-old Brenda Lewis. The vehicles came to rest after hitting a group of trees.

Lewis was taken to Brooks Memorial Hospital. Giambra was taken to Westfield Memorial Hospital. Deputies say their injuries were non-life threatening.

emailed from Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department

Fatal Farm Accident in Portland, NY

A Portland, New York, man is dead after a farm accident this morning.

Sheriff's deputies say 37-year-old Michael Cettell was filling a tire with air when the tire ruptured. The tire rim hit Cettell in the head.

The county coroner pronounced him dead at the scene.

emailed from Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department

Couple Accused of Taking Snacks,
Taking Police on High-Speed Chase

Two Olean residents were sent to Cattaraugus County Jail this morning after allegedly stealing some snacks then taking police on a chase from Allegany to near the Pennsylvania border.

Sheriff's deputies say 22-year-old Zachary Loop and 22-year-old Danielle Woodridge were taking items from a Frito-Lay truck in Allegany at about 1:30 this morning. When Allegany Police spotted them, the vehicle took off at a high rate of speed.

Allegany, Olean and New York State Police, along with sheriff's deputies, chased them through Olean, onto I-86 back toward Allegany then onto Route 219. The pursuit ended when the vehicle stopped on Route 219 a couple of miles from the Pennsylvania border.

Loop was charged with multiple counts of unlawfully fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, as well as petit larceny and criminal trespass. Woodridge was charged with petit larceny and criminal trespass. They're both due back in court on September 21.

faxed from Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Department

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mother, Daughter Facing Charges

A mother and daughter from Johnsonburg are facing charges after allegedly trying to steal from the St. Marys Walmart and hitting an employee.

Police say 20-year-old Deanna Bellman and 38-year-old Tammy Lytle removed several items from the store without paying for them. After being confronted by Teralynn Snyder from Walmart Security, they both allegedly hit Snyder in attempt to try to get away.

They are both charged with retail theft and harassment. The total value of the items they allegedly tried to steal is $27.

First St. Bonaventure FHCP Student
Begins Medical School in D.C.


By Tom Missel
Director of Media Relations/Marketing


Shawn Sood’s blood still runs brown, but he was thrilled to don a white coat at his new home in the nation’s capital.

Sood, class of 2009, is the first Franciscan Health Care Professions graduate to move on to medical school at George Washington University. He earned a degree in biology and his master’s in business administration.

The dual-degree major from Katy, Texas, was one of 177 members of the class of 2013 to take part in the traditional White Coat Ceremony welcoming first-year students into the George Washington University medical community. During the ceremony, students are presented their white coats, recite an oath and sign an honor code pledge.

“The ceremony definitely crystallized that I could see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Sood said. “The fact that my white coat will say Shawn B. Sood, M.D., four years from now is exciting … but also a little scary.”

A dozen family members attended the Aug. 22 ceremony, which Sood called “a wonderful and exciting experience,” one shaped by his time spent at St. Bonaventure.

“I already have a strong foundation in the sciences thanks to Bona’s … but the biggest thing I gained from going to Bonaventure is the realization that medicine is much more than a science,” Sood said. “Being able to relate to my patients and showing empathy are traits of great physicians and by cultivating these qualities at Bona’s, I feel that I will be able to offer my patients much more than just a diagnosis.”

Sood said classes so far “are a bit overwhelming. Time management and repetition are vital to success in medical school. But the courses are fascinating and pertinent, so it doesn’t make studying too bad.”

He urged students in the pre-health programs at Bonaventure to cherish their time as an undergraduate.

“It’s important that you take advantage of everything Bona’s has to offer,” he said. “Go nuts at a basketball game, spend an evening at Mount Irenaeus, get to know your professors — really take in what great opportunities you have as an undergraduate there because you will definitely miss Bona’s when you leave.”

Under the umbrella of the Franciscan Health Care Professions program, St. Bonaventure has several avenues for students to pursue a medical career: acceptance as freshmen into a combined degree program, the opportunity to apply for early assurance admission to medical schools as sophomores, or as traditional pre-med students who will seek enrollment into doctoral programs after they complete their SBU careers.

The combined degree program grants talented freshmen acceptance into professional school upon entry to St. Bonaventure, which has programs with George Washington University (medicine), Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (medicine and pharmacy), University at Buffalo (dentistry), Daemen College (physical therapy), and SUNY Upstate Medical University (medicine).

Pictured, Shawn Sood (far right) receives his white coat in a ceremony for new med students at George Washington University Medical Center.
(Photo courtesy of St. Bonaventure University)

PGC Rescues Elk Tangled in Swing

By Jerry Feaser
PA Game Commission


Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer (WCO) Doty McDowell, on the morning of Aug. 20, had planned to tackle some routine administrative duties and check on bear traps he had set to address nuisance situations in the area. But, with a call he received at just after 7 a.m., he found that his plans were going to change in a big way, as he was called to rescue a bull elk that had become entangled in a swing on the old school grounds of Benezette, Elk County.

“When I arrived, the bull appeared to be extremely agitated, and was thrashing its head,” WCO McDowell said. “The elk would run in an attempt to escape, but as it reached the end of the swing rope, the elk was picked up off its feet and swung back in the other direction.

“After hitting it with a tranquilizer dart, it took about 10 minutes for the drugs to take effect and the elk to calm down to the point we could approach it.”

McDowell, assisted by Mark Gritzer, Game Commission biologist aide, quickly slipped a blind-fold over its eyes and began to monitor the elk’s vital signs – heart rate, temperature and respiratory rate. The two agency employees then untangled the swing from its antlers. As the right antler had been damaged at the pedicle, Gritzer removed its right antler before injecting it with the reversal drug.

Bob Shank and his son, James, arrived at the scene just as WCO McDowell was tranquilizing the bull.

“We could see that his antlers were hung up in two swings and he was in obvious distress,” said Bob Shank, who has posted a series of photographs of the incident on his website (http://bobshankphotography.wordpress.com/). “What we witnessed was a stressful situation handled with professionalism and obvious expertise.”

This is not the first time that McDowell has been called on to rescue an elk that had become entangled in a variety of materials, and over the years has been involved in removing items ranging from wire fencing.

“Elk are a very majestic and charismatic species that many Pennsylvanians enjoy viewing,” McDowell said. “From time to time, you just never know what kind of circumstance these animals are going to get themselves into.

“The elk around Winslow Hill are wild animals, and people need to enjoy them at a distance. They should never approach or feed them, as both could result in someone being injured, as well as the fact that the feeding activity is illegal.”

Photo courtesy of http://bobshankphotography.wordpress.com/

PGC Holding Public Tours

HARRISBURG – As part of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s efforts to highlight its ongoing habitat improvement initiatives, the public is invited to take part in upcoming tours of several State Game Lands between Sept. 20 and Oct. 18. All tours are free.

“State Game Land tours provide the opportunity for those who enjoy nature to come out and talk with our employees – the people who are directly responsible for managing and protecting these lands,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. “With autumn nearly here, these tours will provide a chance to see some of the best scenery the Commonwealth has to offer. These tours afford hunters and trappers and others who appreciate wildlife the opportunity to see how the Game Commission is spending hunting and furtaker license fees to acquire and to manage these lands for wildlife.”

Roe noted that staff shortages and limited financial resources forced a reduction in the number of State Game Land tours this year.

“Recognizing the benefit of the tours, the agency has maintained some tours,” Roe said. “It was a difficult decision to scale back on the number of tours we offer this year. However, the agency’s current financial situation required that we make tough choices.”

In 1919, the Game Commission was granted authority to purchase lands for the protection, propagation and management of game and wildlife, and to provide areas for public hunting and trapping. Since that time, the Game Commission has acquired more than 1.4 million acres in 65 of the state’s 67 counties (Philadelphia and Delaware counties being the exceptions).

With few exceptions, State Game Lands were purchased using revenues from hunting and furtaker license sales; State Game Lands timber, coal, oil, gas and mineral operation revenues; the state’s share of a federal excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition, known as the Pittman-Robertson Program; from Working Together for Wildlife artwork and patch sales; and from the Pennsylvania Waterfowl Management stamp and print sales.

Information on the various tours is as follows:

Warren County: Sunday, Sept. 20, State Game Land 143, which encompasses 8,261 acres. At 11 a.m., tour participants will meet at Route 27, at the Blue Eye Gate, just east of Garland. This will be a driving tour and will involve stops to view various habitat management practices and projects. Cars will be suitable for this tour.

PennDOT to Launch 511PA

On Friday, Sept. 4, Pennsylvania travelers can take their “Travel Info to Go” as PennDOT officially launches its 511 system — 511PA.

511PA provides free, 24-hour information services including traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, regional tourism information, and links to transit agencies and major airports. The service is available by calling 511 from cellular phones and landlines or through the Internet by visiting www.511PA.com.

“Travelers log nearly 295 million miles on Pennsylvania roads each day and although the resources are simply not available to build our way out of traffic congestion, 511PA offers reliable information to help travelers make smart planning decisions and minimize travel delays,” PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E. said.

Users are also able to register through the Web site to receive personalized traveler alerts, provided through e-mail and text messaging.

The 511PA roadway network includes all 1,759 miles of interstate including the Pennsylvania Turnpike, as well as other major roadways in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Traffic information for the majority of this network includes incident reports such as crashes, construction activities and, starting in November, winter road conditions.

Additionally, average traffic speeds are available for several interstates and other major roadways in urban areas.

To provide the most reliable information, 511PA will be updated as PennDOT verifies that an incident is occurring either through its network of more than 440 traffic cameras or through confirmed reports from state and local police. Crashes and other delays beyond PennDOT’s control, such as vehicle breakdowns, are not available on the system immediately, and travelers may encounter traffic delays before that information is posted on 511PA.

PennDOT encourages motorists to not call 511PA while driving. Callers should safely pull off the road to call the system, or check for travel delays before heading out.
PennDOT will continue to enhance 511PA and travelers are encouraged to provide feedback on the system by visiting www.511PA.com.

The Federal Communications Commission designated 511 as the nationwide three-digit telephone number for traveler information. Pennsylvania joins 35 states that already have established 511 services.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rendell Says 'No' To Extraction Tax

Despite the state's budget problems, Governor Ed Rendell says he will not push for the proposed five percent tax on the extraction of natural gas in Pennsylvania.

He says after meeting with representatives from the drilling industry, he agrees imposing the levy this year would hinder production and profits.

Stephen Rhoads, president of the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Association, says he's surprised but happy about the news.

Some people had estimated the tax could have generated around 100 million dollars this fiscal year.

Pot Plants Found in Charlotte

The Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force found 24 marijuana plants growing in the Town of Charlotte during a flyover Monday.

Authorities say each plant is 5 to 6 feet tall and they're valued at $50,000.

44-year-old Donald VanHouton, who owns the property, has been charged with unlawfully growing and possessing marijuana.

The marijuana plants were destroyed.

Appeal to Feds for Catskills Casino

Federal, New York State, and Sullivan County officials, as well as leaders of the business and labor communities in the Hudson Valley Region have joined together in urging the US Assistant Secretary of the Interior to support the Seneca Nation's plans for gaming facilities in the Catskills.

Rotate Black, a company that manages resort and casino properties around the world, the Senecas and the Seneca Catskills Gaming Corporation are planning to develop a casino in the Town of Thompson in Sullivan County.

Once completed, the Seneca Catskill Mountains Hotel and Casino will include 6,000 slot machines, 120 table games, 30 poker tables, a rare book center, a 1,500-room hotel and spa, 12 restaurants and a 5,000-seat arena, among other amenities.

Federal Disaster Declared

President Obama on Tuesday issued a federal disaster declaration that will allow municipalities in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Erie counties to be reimbursed for response and cleanup efforts related to the flooding caused by storms on August 9 and 10.

The declaration, however, does not include homes and businesses that were damaged.

FEMA does say further declarations that would provide aid to homes and businesses could come in the future.

~~~
Statement from State Senator Cathy Young:

Although we are grateful that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has partially okayed the disaster declaration so that local and state governments have the green light to make much-needed repairs to infrastructure, the federal government’s job is only half done.

Families and senior citizens are suffering because their homes were severely damaged or destroyed. Some folks are homeless and are desperate. Businesses are in danger of closing their doors. They don’t have the money to make repairs. I’m receiving heartbreaking pleas for help. People don’t know where to turn because they are in limbo.

I strongly urge FEMA to finish the job by approving the entire disaster declaration immediately so people can fix their homes and restart their businesses. Everyone needs to get their lives back.

Another Fight Over a New Hotel

By ANNE HOLLIDAY
WESB/WBRR News Director


Get ready to feel a sense of déjà vu.

The Bradford Zoning Hearing Board on Tuesday granted a variance to Tarport Properties LLC for the proposed Holiday Inn Express at the former Micale Construction site, but not before attorney Greg Henry brought up several objections.

Henry represents Bradford Motel Associates (Best Western), which, more than a decade ago, objected to the Comfort Inn moving to the site where it's been for nearly 10 years.

Comfort Inn opened across the street from Best Western in late 1999 after a court battle that lasted about four years and went all the way to the state Supreme Court.

Many of Henry's objections Tuesday night dealt with procedural issues concerning the hearing itself. He pointed out the criteria for the awarding of variances are set forth in the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.

He said the variant applicant must present evidence to satisfy the board, and the board must make findings with respect to the evidence presented.

Henry said the criteria that must be met are that there are unique physical circumstances or conditions that make the variance necessary; because of the unique conditions there is no possibility the property can be developed without a variance; unnecessary hardship has not be created by the applicant; the variance, if granted, would not alter the character of the neighborhood or district nor be detrimental to the public welfare; and the variance would represent the least amount of modification possible.

He said, for example, it's relevant that the applicant knew about the zoning regulations when buying the property.

"Most of this property was purchased in 2003," Henry said, "and, of course, the zoning ordinance was passed in 1964."

"You have to essentially demonstrate that you can not develop the property in accordance with the code," he said, "not that if you grant a variance you could make more money doing something else. That's not good enough."

Neither developer John Stranburg of Tarport Properties nor engineer Jim Hannon spoke during the hearing, but the board did have maps and plans for the proposal.

Following the hearing when asked if one could assume the matter would be going to court, Henry said that would be the assumption.

Also following the hearing, Stranburg said he is not deterred by possible court action and still hopes to start construction on the 72-room hotel this fall.

Stranburg said Tarport Properties also owns the DeSoto Holiday House on South Avenue and plans to refurbish that property.

Together, the projects would create about 50 jobs, he said.

As for the proposed Holiday Inn Express, several variances were considered.

First, the hotel would be four stories and 54 feet tall. The code allows for three stories and a maximum height of 50 feet.

Second, the code calls for parking to be five feet from the property line and some of the 75 spaces would not meet that requirement.

Also, some landscaping requirements could not be met because of the irregularity of the lot.

City Clerk John Peterson said a legal ad about the project ran in the newspaper twice and he received only two calls about it. One was from the media requesting more information; the other was from a person asking if the meeting was open to the public.

Op-Ed:
The Right Budget
for Pennsylvania's Future

By Sen. Joe Scarnati (R-Brockway)
and Rep. Marty Causer (R-Turtlepoint)


As both lawmakers and fathers, we want our children - and all children - to have every opportunity imaginable to succeed in school and in life. That is precisely why our state budget must invest wisely in public education while at the same time being responsible to the taxpayers who foot the bill.

In a recent editorial, area school superintendents complained of the lack of education funding as a result of the budget impasse and what they consider to be inadequate state funding for their schools overall. We share their frustration regarding the lack of a final budget; however, we disagree with their views on the appropriate level of funding in these challenging economic times.

The only way to give the school districts the additional $300 million they want is through a significant tax increase, such as the income tax hike Gov. Ed Rendell has been pushing over the last few months. (Never mind that only half of the money raised from the tax hike would go to schools, and a third of that amount would end up in Philadelphia schools). Some might say they are willing to make that sacrifice in the name of a good education. Unfortunately, job creators won't see it that way, so the kids we educate today will have to leave the state to find jobs, further eroding the tax base and prompting more tax hikes at the state and local levels.

Republican lawmakers have a plan to increase investments in our schools without increasing taxes, yet the superintendents claim our plan actually cuts funding. Apparently, the additional money doesn't count because it comes from the federal government's economic stimulus program rather than from state funds.

The whole idea behind the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is to help states avoid tax increases by offsetting declining revenues and to invest in projects to create jobs and get the economy growing again. In other words, STIMULUS funds were doled out across the country to STIMULATE the economy, the ultimate goal being that when the stimulus funds run out in two years, the economy has RECOVERED and state revenues will be healthy again - healthy enough to replace the federal stimulus funds for education without missing a beat.

If we increase state funding on top of the stimulus money, we are investing in new programs that will have to be funded after the stimulus money runs out. Even if the economy has recovered sufficiently to fund the educational programs we have today, it is downright irresponsible to take on new financial obligations when your income is declining.

Across our region and across the state, people are struggling to make ends meet. Their hours have been cut and others have lost their jobs. They are making sacrifices, cutting back and making do with what they have. We are not asking school districts to cut back. Every school district will get MORE MONEY than they did last year, while most every other function funded in whole or in part by the state is getting LESS.

Increased spending doesn't always equal educational success for our kids, and it sure doesn't equal economic success for our future. The Republican budget proposal provides adequate funding for our schools without placing undue burdens on our citizens during a recession. It's a responsible budget that makes sense for our present and our future.

Obituary:
Mary Louise Bove

Mary Louise Bove, 85, of Chapel Ridge, formerly of Westmont, NJ, passed away Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 at Bradford Regional Medical Center.

Born August 22, 1924, in Bradford, she was a daughter of the late George and Francesca (DiNuzzo) Bove.

Ms. Bove was a 1942 graduate of Bradford High School, and 1945 graduate of the Bradford Hospital School of Nursing, then commenced work at Buffalo General Hospital in Buffalo, NY. On March 20, 1953 she enlisted in the United States Navy. She served in numerous bases around the world. She retired at the rank of Commander from the Philadelphia Naval Hospital on March 31, 1973. She was a member of the Retired Officers Association, the Navy Nurse Corps Association, and a member of St. Bernard Church.

Surviving is a sister, Frances Sweeney, two brothers, John Bove and George Bove all of Bradford, nine nieces and nephews: Mary Ann Bove, Anne Holliday, Theresa Hummel, James Sweeney, Steve Wozniak, Kathleen Belleville, Karen Teribery, Kristine Shonts, and Karla Evers and several grand nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, a sister Elizabeth Wozniak, and a brother James Bove.

Family will be receiving friends on Saturday, September 5, 2009, from 9:30 to 10:30AM in the Hollenbeck-Cahill Funeral Homes, Inc., South Ave., where a prayer service will be held at 10:30AM followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00AM in St. Bernard Church with Rev. Leo Gallina, pastor as Celebrant.

Burial will be in St. Bernard Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to St. Bernard Church, St. Francis Church, or a charity of the donors choice.

On line condolences may be made at hollenbeckcahill.com.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Rolling into Fall in the
Allegheny National Forest

By Sandra Rhodes
Visitor & Member Services
Allegheny National Forest Vacation Bureau


The multitude of outdoor activities in McKean County doesn’t end when summer dues – they only get more colorful.

The bright hues of red, orange and yellow start dotting the hillsides as a true reminder that Fall is Bigger Here.

There’s perhaps no better way to experience the vastness of the area and the kaleidoscope of colors than on a bicycle.

A hub of activity for bicyclist can be found in Smethport, the county seat.

Smethport’s history is rich in lumber and, surprisingly, bicyclists. This stunningly picturesque region is geographically blessed with some of the most advantageous bicycling routes in the nation. The hills that surround this town offer fantastic vistas as well as challenging bike trails.

Those who want to rise to the challenge can take part in A Wheel Around the Hub cycling race on Saturday, Sept. 19.

This race is two-pronged – one is a 53-mile, seven-circuit Gold Watch Race, the other a 15-mile, two circuit fun race.
For more information on the races, log onto smethportpa.org.

There’s something for the leisure bicyclists, too.

Wolfinger Trail System in Smethport offers many loops that meander through wooded land and a chance for the traveler to see the many hues of fall.

The main trailhead is located on Route 46 north, 1.1 miles from the PA 6 intersection.

Big Loop Lodge in Eldred has miles of mountain bike trails that wind through the property. Be on the lookout for some wildlife as The Big Loop provides ideal habitat for the likes of white-tailed deer, black bears, turkeys, grouse and songbirds to name just a few.

For more information on the Big Loop Lodge, call 814-225-4406.

Bettum’s Idlewood Family Campground, located on Big Shanty Road in Lewis Run, also has all-terrain vehicle and mountain bike trails.

There are acres of forest to explore by bike. For more information, call 814-362-1719.

Outside of Bradford, the Indian Pipe Trail, part of the Tuna Valley Trail System, is a multi-use trail that provides opportunities for hikers, bikers and joggers to se a 7.4-mile trail that’s under the stewardship of the Bradford City Water Authority.

The trailhead is located on the right side of PA 346 five miles from Bradford.

The Marienville/Timberline Trail, located in the Allegheny National Forest along Route 66 southwest of Kane, is open to ATVs, trailbikes, horses and mountain bikes and is perfect for those seeking a challenge.
The trail has been divided into a Bike Trail Area and an ATV Trail Area and provides a variety of riding experiences for different types of machines and levels of difficulty. ATVs are permitted on the Bike Trail, and trailbikes are allowed on ATV Trails.
This 23.1 mile loop is rated most difficult and is best suited to trailbikes. The Bike Trail offers a very rocky trail surface that winds and twists through the forest. Trailbikers can finish the trail within a few hours.
The perfect time to explore these trails is during the Tour de Forest from Oct. 2-4 in Marienville.
The Forest Lodge & Campground offers direct trail access and is located on Route 66, six miles north of Marienville, in Pigeon. Reservations can be made at 814-927-8790.
FallFest, an annual celebration of harvest, includes three of the tastiest places in Kane -Flickerwood Wine Cellars, Edgewood Herbs and Rocky Ridge Apple Orchard. It is held Sept. 26-27 at Flickerwood Wine Cellars and offers two days of wine, music, crafts and prizes.

In fact, Kane can serve as your home base as you travel the trails throughout McKean County.

No matter the trail or difficulty level, however, one thing is constant. Fall is Bigger Here and as the wheels of the bikes go swooshing by, so will the vibrant colors that you can only find in McKean County, Pennsylvania.

For more information on this region or for a travel guide, contact the Allegheny National Forest Vacation Bureau at 800-473-9370 or info@visitANF.com.

photos courtesy of the ANFVB

ArtWorks Launches Friday Series

By Ruth Gentilman Peterson
Publicity Chair


ArtWorks Gallery Artist and Kane native Joe Feikls’ works of Wood and Clay will be featured during ArtWorks’ premiere "First Friday" artist reception to be held September 4, 5-7 p.m. at the gallery at the Kane Depot.

The public is cordially invited. Come meet Joe, see a representative sample of his art and a demonstration of a new project.


Joe works to bring out the inherent beauty within each piece of wood and clay from which he creates his art.

During his years in the Kane Area High School art program, he studied art history, theatre history and applied art. From there he continued these pursuits in the apprenticeship program of the Corning Summer Theatre in Corning, New York.

He studied ceramics and trained under local artist John Bloomquist. He has attended many workshops and worked several months at Northwest Potters in Seattle, Washington.

He is a member of the theatrical stage-hand’s Union, IATSE. Joe worked on Broadway and on tours of Tony Award winning shows such as Les Miserables, Mass Appeal, Oklahoma, Seussical, and Phantom of the Opera. Joe also worked on tours of A Chorus Line and Amadeus.

Working for many stars --including Liza Minnelli, Rosie O’Donnell, Frank Langella, Milo O-Shea, and ‘Luke Skywalker” Mark Hamill -- Joe developed a meticulous attention to detail in pursuit of perfection.

Joe is the owner of Joe Props Shop on Wetmore Avenue in Kane. In addition to continuing his props work from Broadway, he creates anything made of wood, all custom millwork, cabinetwork, novelties, and does furniture repairs and furniture restoration. He has had a long career as a Master Carpenter and Master Prop Man.

Joe's work may be seen at Artists' Cooperative Gallery at ArtWorks at the Depot. Joe is juried fine artist of the PA Wilds and at the first three Art in the Wilds fine arts shows at Evergreen Park in Kane the fourth weekend of June.

Joe and his late wife Julie Mertz Feikls and their sons Justin and Johnny returned home to Kane in 2004. Justin begins study at Edinboro this Fall. Johnny attends Chestnut Street Elementary.

Meet us Friday from 5-7 p.m. to celebrate local art and artists. Invite family and friends from the region to this special event. While at the Depot, enjoy the rich history, artifacts of the area, along with the art of a dozen local artists. Enjoy refreshments (drink and appetizer).

After the reception, plan on heading out and "Do Route 6" with dinner at Szymanski's Restaurant and Tavern (129 Fraley Street/Rt. 6) or The Colonial Inn at 2452 Route 6 with a % off coupon (for that night only) from our partners -- just for love of local art and great food. At the reception, there will also be a drawing for a gift certificate to either The Colonial Inn or Szymanski's.

It all starts at ArtWorks and moves to dinner with friends for a great evening out. Join us.

First Friday in October (October 2, 5-7 p.m.) will feature photographer Doug Kunicki and in November (November 6, 5-7 p.m.), mixed media fine artist and ArtWorks Director Merry Ryding’s collage work will be showcased.

ArtWorks at the Depot is located at the light in Kane, 1 South Fraley Street. ArtWorks is open Saturdays & Sundays 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., June-December and for special events such as First Fridays.

Grand Opening for BRMC's New Outpatient Suite on September 16

By George Nianiatus, senior writer
Communications Department




Allegheny Vein & Vascular’s new outpatient suite at Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC), the first of its kind in the region, will be unveiled to the public during a grand opening which begins 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16, on the third floor of the Outpatient Services Center.

Following one hour of tours at the 1,500-square-foot outpatient suite where guests will also be provided hors d’oeuvres and refreshments, a presentation on “Varicose Veins and Treatment” will be given in the main floor lobby at 7 p.m. by Robert W. Tahara, M.D., who heads Allegheny Vein & Vascular. BRMC named Allegheny Vein & Vascular its newest Center of Excellence last fall to enhance focus on the area’s growing need for vein, vascular and endovascular treatment. Dr. Tahara, who’s board-certified by the American Board of Surgery, is also director of BRMC’s Peripheral Interventions Program.

Because seating for Dr. Tahara’s presentation is limited, reservations are appreciated. Those interested in attending should call Dr. Tahara’s office at 1-866-959-VEIN.

Following Dr. Tahara’s talk, free vein screenings and facility tours will be available to guests starting at 7:30 p.m.

“The outpatient suite, which is adjacent to Allegheny Vein & Vascular, was developed as a one-of-a-kind site in the region to more effectively provide non-surgical vein and vascular treatments to patients in the most comfortable and convenient setting possible,” says Dr. Tahara. The project cost is over $170,000 for construction and medical equipment.

With the opening of the outpatient suite that features three specially designed procedure rooms, Dr. Tahara says patients will have a shorter wait time to schedule procedures. “We’ll increase our through-put by 20 to 30 percent so we can treat patients more quickly,” he says.

Also, “The total time a patient will be in the outpatient suite will be cut in half to 45 minutes from the time they walk in the door to when they leave after a procedure,” Dr. Tahara says.

The outpatient suite also has been designed to have a tranquil, spa-like atmosphere with wooden features, color-coordinated earth tones, and several large windows to allow ambient light.

“Building this outpatient suite means we now have a facility that matches the state-of-the-art and nationally recognized service that’s already being delivered,” says BRMC’s President/CEO George E. Leonhardt.

“There are not many places out there specifically designed for this,” Dr. Tahara notes.

Among the many vascular and endovascular surgeries Dr. Tahara performs, he is the regional leader in what’s called the VNUS Closure procedure.

This is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that treats varicose veins and their underlying cause, venous reflux, with little or no pain. VNUS Closure patients can walk away from the vein procedure and be back to everyday activities -- either at home or work -- typically within a day.

“This is being done for a population that clearly has a significant need for these vascular procedures, “ Mr. Leonhardt says.

The VNUS Closure procedure is “a convenient, least-invasive treatment to effectively handle those diseases,” Mr. Leonhardt says, adding, “I hope people will come see the outpatient suite during the grand opening to see what we’ve developed for their healthcare needs.”

The outpatient suite was a year in the planning stages before construction began a few months ago, Mr. Leonhardt says.

Now, “Patients can benefit from a more comfortable and time-efficient suite for these vascular procedures to be performed,” the hospital CEO adds.

“This new suite is a separate area that’s just across the hall from Dr. Tahara’s third-floor office in BRMC’s Outpatient Services Center. The new outpatient suite has been designed to be very private, confidential and also a consumer-driven facility,” notes Deborah Price, BRMC’s senior vice president of Patient Care Services. “We wanted to locate this newly built suite outside his usual office for total efficiency and comfort of patients undergoing vascular procedures.”

The outpatient suite consists of a waiting room, reception area, three spacious procedure rooms, four changing rooms with robes provided to patients, an equipment storage room, and a central charting and work area for staff.


“The large exam rooms will provide the physician, staff and patient with room to move freely during the procedure,” says Jeff Gabel, BRMC’s Plant Services director.

“This was designed by Dr.Tahara to increase through-put, with an eye on quality of care and patient privacy,” Mr. Gabel says.

“We also incorporated 42-inch doors in each procedure room as well as a private side door that can be used by bariatric patients, as well as staff. This also increases the privacy factor for those patients who may feel intimidated with a more traditional office visit,” notes Mr. Gabel.

The suite’s interior has comfortable hardwood flooring, and oak chair rail and wainscot on the walls. The entire color scheme is in earth tones, Mr. Gabel explains.

“We feel that this will provide a comfortable environment, giving patients an impression of quality and professionalism,” Mr. Gabel says.

For the past six years, Dr. Tahara has been bringing revolutionary procedures such as arterial stenting, endovascular aneurysm repair and most recently the VNUS Closure procedure to this region.

Dr. Tahara also has gained national recognition for performing the VNUS Closure procedure. He was selected to the faculty for the national VNUS Total Vein Care Course, where he will instruct other physicians in advanced vein care procedures. Additionally, his office has been chosen as a national on-site training center for the VNUS Closure procedure. BRMC is one of only 34 sites throughout the country to be an on-site training center for this procedure.

“We’re averaging approximately 50 to 75 VNUS Closure procedures per month. This is in the top 1 or 2 percent in the country for a single surgeon - no matter what the hospital size,” Dr. Tahara says.

“We’re really becoming a vascular treatment hub here,” Dr. Tahara says.

For more information about the outpatient suite or Allegheny Vein & Vascular, call Dr. Tahara’s office at 1-866-959-VEIN or 814-368-8490, or go online at www.brmc.com.

St. Bonaventure's CCE Picks Up Where Journey Project Left Off

By Tom Missel
Director of Media Relations


In any given week, St. Bonaventure University students can be found in a number of area non-profit and social service agencies that range from working with children to visiting those who are in prison.

Establishment of the new Center for Community Engagement at St. Bonaventure affirms the university’s commitment to promoting student-centered learning. It also is a natural progression inspired by the Lilly Endowment-funded Journey Project, established in 2003 through a five-year, $2 million grant.

The Journey Project initiative was designed to create a campus culture in which faculty, staff, administrators and students give serious consideration to issues of faith, service and vocation — all in the context of liberal arts education. The initial Lilly Endowment grant expired in 2008, but the university received a $500,000 extension grant that runs through 2011.

The Center for Community Engagement seeks to enhance and broaden the university’s educational mission by leading, coordinating and sustaining a variety of integrative and transformative educational, service and volunteer activities in mentored situations. It also will create standard practices and procedures for all non-academic (and some academic) volunteer projects, service opportunities, internship placements and service trips.

Larry Sorokes, associate vice president for Franciscan Mission and director of the Fr. Mychal Judge Center, is providing leadership for the Center for Community Engagement. Michael Williams, who directed the Journey Project since 2005, has left St. Bonaventure for a new position at Thiel College.

The CCE will have three primary functions:

• Coordination: The center will be the central coordinating office to facilitate student service-learning opportunities and off-campus outreach.

• Communication and Marketing: The center will provide a clear entry point for communication with community partners and university audiences. It also allows for comprehensive and coherent marketing of the university’s commitment to using service as a means toward integrative and transformative educational experiences.

• Formation: The center will provide resources and training for people (faculty, staff, community members and service partners) who are mentoring St. Bonaventure students in the community and in the classroom. This establishes a collectively held understanding of the goals of experiential learning at SBU.

“We want to continue to further enhance and expand the learning through service opportunities that are available to our students,” said Br. F. Edward Coughlin, O.F.M, vice president for Franciscan Mission.

“Volunteer, service and internship opportunities typically have a significant impact on a students. It is important, therefore, that our students are invited to learn from those experiences through integration and reflection opportunities, to be critically conscious of the social, political and economic realities that create and perpetrate social problems through social analysis, and to be encouraged to thoughtfully consider how, for example, the Principles of Catholic Social Teaching might offer an alternative way of thinking about how to transform situations over time,” said Br. Ed.

“We want to invite students to be aware of the social context of their service, to be aware of how people we’re going to visit live. We want students to be attentive to the environment they’re entering.”

Community-Based Learning Fellows

One of the primary goals of the Center for Community Engagement is to support faculty. The effort to institutionalize service and experiential learning requires integration into the academic arena. To encourage and support faculty in this endeavor, the CCE will initiate a two-year Community-Based Learning Fellows program. Faculty will be invited to apply for grants to provide them with the support they might need to create or, in some cases, re-create a course to include a community-based learning component.

An ad hoc selection committee will be formed to review proposals and to select four Community-Based Learning Fellows for the 2009-2010 academic year. Application details and guidelines can be obtained from Br. Edward Coughlin, O.F.M. (coughlin@sbu.edu).

BRMC Offers Wellness Programs

Several public wellness programs focusing on osteoporosis, smoke cessation, eating better, learning relaxation techniques, and diabetes awareness will be held in the coming weeks at Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC).

Also, personal nutrition counseling is offered throughout the year at BRMC.

“We’re excited to again offer these helpful programs to the community,” says Mariann Kahle, who’s BRMC’s worksite wellness coordinator. “I encourage everyone to sign up. The programs are fast-moving, fun and extremely informative.”

The first program, “Highmark Osteoporosis Prevention Education” (HOPE), is a wellness and lifestyle improvement program. It focuses on health choices to improve bone health and prevent or manage osteoporosis. HOPE will be held every Tuesday, Sept. 15 through Oct. 20 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in BRMC’s Ground Floor Assembly Room with instructor Tim Stark, coordinator for cardiac rehabilitation at BRMC’s Upbeat Wellness/Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. There is no fee for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield members but a $100 cost for non-members.

“Clear The Air” is a one-session, two-hour class that participants can attend on either Wednesday, Sept. 16, or Monday, Oct. 21, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Human Resource Center’s Room B with instructor Ron Tanner, a certified smoke cessation specialist at BRMC’s Bradford Recovery Systems. There is no fee for Highmark members but a $30 cost for non-members.

“Eating Well For Life” is held Wednesdays from Oct. 7 to 28 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Ground Floor Assembly Room with Mrs. Kahle, a registered dietitian. It will show how to adopt practices necessary to achieve a balanced lifestyle, long-term weight management, and optimal health and wellness. There is no fee for Highmark members but a $65 fee for non-members.

“Discover Relaxation Within” is held Thursdays from Oct. 22 to Nov. 12 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Ground Floor Assembly Room with instructor Stacy Williams, a certified Reiki practitioner. It will identify and reduce personal stress through practical relaxation techniques, plus offer stress-management strategies. There is no fee for Highmark members but a $65 fee for non-members.

“Diabetes Prevention And Awareness” is held Thursdays from Oct. 1 to 22 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at BRMC’s Center for Diabetes & Nutrition Education, 222 W. Washington St. with instructor Stacia Nolder, RN, CDE, CPT, the program coordinator for the Center for Diabetes. It is designed to increase participants’ awareness about diabetes and help prevent or better manage diabetes and its complications. There is no fee for Highmark members but a $65 fee for non-members.

Finally, “Personal Nutrition Coaching” is offered by appointment on a one-on-one-basis to Highmark members with Mrs. Kahle in her first-floor office near the Interstate Parkway entrance. Highmark members are eligible for seven free sessions annually. For non-members, there is a $60 cost for the initial one-hour session and a $30 fee for each 30-minute, follow-up session.

For more information or to register for any of these classes, please call Mrs. Kahle at BRMC at 362-8383.

Rethmel Has Some Family Time

U.S. Army Specialist Brandon Rethmel, who was critically injured when his base in Afghanistan was attacked in June, got to spend some time with his family at Mologne House at Walter Reed hospital.

Rethmel, who is from Olean, was deployed to Afghanistan on June 8th and assigned to the Army’s 4th Infantry Division. Two weeks later, his base and unit were attacked with a barrage of rockets by enemy forces. He was critically injured during the skirmish and lost a leg below his knee cap. One arm was severely mangled and he suffered extensive wounds to his abdomen.

A benefit for Rethmel and his family will be held at War Vets Park in Olean on September 4th from 4-8 pm. In addition to chicken BBQ, beverages, and live music, a Chinese auction will held.

You can find previous stories HERE and HERE.

Pictured from left are Brandon, his father-in-law Eric Schellhammer of Bradford, Brandon's wife Sylvia and their daughter Mariah.
(Photo courtesy of Marcie Schellhammer)

Teenage Arsonist Pleads Guilty

A 17-year-old boy has pleaded guilty to starting a fire in the Ames Plaza in the Town of Yorkshire on May 30.

Casey Gilcrease and a 14-year-old girl were charged with arson for trespassing inside a vacant store and starting a fire that quickly grew out of control. An 11-year-old boy was also charged in the incident.

The plaza also houses a Save-A-Lot, Dollar General and Valu Home Center.

No one was injured in the fire. The inside of the vacant store including the roof and ceiling were damaged.

Gilcrease will be sentenced November 2 in Cattaraugus County Court.

Police Shoot Leon Man

Jamestown Police shot a Leon man Saturday morning after he allegedly rammed a parked car and then ran into two occupied police cars.

They say 36 year-old Lawrence Ellis was upset that his girlfriend had been at a bar with another man. Ellis allegedly struck and injured the man and then went on a rampage, later striking two Jamestown Police cars.

Police had to shoot Ellis to restrain him as he ran into their police cars repeatedly. Ellis was treated for a gunshot wound to his hand and then charged with with DWI and reckless endangerment.

19 Tombstones Damaged

Someone damaged 19 tombstones in the Lutheran Cemetery on Cemetery Hill Road in the Town of Otto this morning.

Cattaraugus County Sheriff's deputies say some of the stones were destroyed and knocked over.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact the sheriff's office at 716-938-9191.

Governor Rendell Interview

You can listen to my interview with Governor Ed Rendell HERE.

Litter Bug Caught By Photo Bug

By Jerry Feaser
PA Game Commission


Sometimes a Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer (WCO) will be forced to spend days or weeks digging through trash illegally dumped on State Game Lands in attempt to apprehend the person or persons responsible. Sometimes it is the information about a case that can be, literally, dumped in a WCO’s lap that helps solve the crime.

Such was the case recently for Blair County WCO Steve Hanczar, who was presented with a series of photographs clearly showing the faces of those dumping trash on State Game Land 158, just below the Tipton Reservoir, as well as the license plates of the vehicles involved in the incident, earlier this spring.

Based on the information and photographs, WCO Hanczar charged Roger Lee Lonsinger Sr., 49, of Tyrone, for littering. On July 28, he pled guilty, and was ordered to pay a fine and court costs of $259.50. Also charged was Samuel Howard Brisbin, 59, of Tyrone, for assisting in the littering incident. Brisbin also pled guilty on July 28, and was assessed a fine and court costs of $134.50.

On July 11, prior to the guilty plea, Lonsinger and Brisbin cleaned up the dump site, and Lonsinger incurred the cost of the clean up.

While it took WCO Hanczar some time to coordinate a meeting with the two individuals, once he did they were presented the photographic evidence along with the prospect of an eyewitness willing to testify, if necessary. Confronted with this information, Lonsinger and Brisbin were cooperative and also cleaned up the site and disposed of the trash properly.

“I have always been thankful for the great amount of public lands we have been blessed with here in Pennsylvania and have spent countless hours enjoying the many spectacular outdoor recreational opportunities they provide,” said the concerned sportsman. “I was glad to be able to play a small part in helping to protect those resources. Wish more folks would do the same.”

WCO Hanczar agreed on the need for information from the public in order to initiate investigations or solve crimes on State Game Lands or crimes involving wildlife.

“Our State Game Lands are remote and consist of thousands of acres,” WCO Hanczar said. “We need the support and information of concerned, law-abiding citizens in order to be able to properly patrol State Game Lands. Some of these ‘convenient’ illegal dump sites are near waterways and are potential pollution sources to public water supplies for Tyrone and Altoona.

“We encourage residents to contact us as soon as they find something that warrants an investigation. We also need people to be willing to testify about what they see or find to successfully prosecute cases against those who show no regard for our wildlife or their habitats.”

LV Man Accused of Assault, More

A Little Valley man is facing assault and other charges after allegedly attacking a woman this morning.

Police say 27-year-old Erick Allen grabbed the woman by the back of the head and threw her into a garage floor, causing a cut on her head.

Police say the woman called her parents after the incident but Allen forced her to call them back and say she was OK, telling her that if her parents showed up he'd kill all of them.

Allen is facing charges of assault, coercion, unlawful imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a child.

Police: Two Warren State Hospital Patients Assaulted Another Patient

Two patients at Warren State Hospital are facing charges after allegedly assaulting another patient in the hospital courtyard.

Police say 29-year-old Daniel Rogueplot was picking on another patient who had a cast on his leg and was using crutches. They say Rogueplot broke the crutches, then grabbed the victim, threw him off a rail he was sitting on and held him down by the neck.

33-year-old Thomas Keech then ran over and starting punching and kicking the victim, who suffered bruises and cuts on his back, ribs, neck, nose and head.

Police say a female hospital employee was able to stop Rogueplot and Keech from attacking the victim any further.

14-Year-Old Facing Charges

A 14-year-old boy is facing charges after crashing an SUV he was driving into a utility pole in Warren County.

Police haven't released the boy's name, but say he was driving the SUV early Friday morning just north of Route 6 when the vehicle went out of control while he was trying to turn into the Pleasant Valley Trailer Park. The SUV went off the road, hit a drainage pipe and a utility pole, then came to rest in a ditch.

Police say neither the boy nor his 17-year-old passenger was hurt.

Programming Note:

I interviewed Governor Ed Rendell yesterday. We talked about Bradford-specific budget issues, the book he's writing about his 32 years in politics, football (Bills, Steelers, Eagles) and more. Tune to 1490 WESB at 12:40 p.m. today to hear the interview.