The 1490 NewsBlog

powered by NewsRadio 1490 WESB

brought to you, in part, by

Saturday, November 28, 2009

More Help for the SPCA

Local photographer and artist Francie Long of Long Art Compay is running a special this Christmas season called “Pet Portraits are Special”.

Schedule a photo session at the studio between now and December 15th and half of the profits will be donated to the McKean County SPCA.

For more information, follow the link:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cooking for a Cure

Cooking for a Cure", a collection of more than 300 recipes gathered by team members of the Kane Area Relay For Life, is now available for holiday gift giving. Many of the recipes were shared in honor or memory of loved ones.

The cook book is dedicated to all those who have heard the words, "You have cancer". Those of us who Relay are humbled by what we have learned from all who have lived with cancer.

With the courage of survivors, we will find a cure. Every day, all across the country, people are proving that many forms of cancer can be beat. Tremendous strides have been made in prevention, care, and the treatment of cancer. Today, more than ever, we can fight cancer and win!

In 2010, the Kane Area Relay will celebrate its 10th Anniversary. "Cooking for a Cure" was created in recognition of a 10-year partnership between the Kane Area and the American Cancer Society and in appreciation to the residents of the Kane Area who over the first nine years have been so generous in fundraising efforts. It takes a community. And the Kane Area has truly stepped it up, raising more than a half million dollars toward a cure.

One hundred percent of the proceeds from "Cooking for a Cure" go toward the 2010 Kane Area Relay for Life goal. Forty percent of the money raised goes toward cancer research. The other 60% stays local to help ensure that those fighting or living with cancer in our communities have access to quality care and services through the American Cancer Society.

The cook books are available from any participating Relay team for $10 each or anywhere a team might be fundraising. For more information, contact Kane Area Relay Co-Chair at

Pavilion Visitors Rerouted

A concrete walkway replacement project in front of The Pavilion at BRMC, set to begin Tuesday, Dec. 1, will temporarily reroute Pavilion visitors to Bradford Regional Medical Center's (BRMC's) main entrance.

"The project will completely replace the concrete walkway under The Pavilion's overhang," said Jeff Gabel, BRMC's Plant Services director.

"I anticipate the project will take two weeks. We will replace one section at a time," he said, noting, "The new concrete will be stamped and dyed to resemble flagstone."

During the replacement project, "I would ask Pavilion visitors to enter through the hospital's main entrance, located off North Bennett Street," Mr. Gabel said.

The construction project also means a temporary loss of six to eight handicapped parking spaces under The Pavilion's overhang. "These handicapped parking spaces will be relocated to the island parking area located in front of the hospital's main entrance," Mr. Gabel said.

The Pavilion is a 95-bed facility which provides long-term care to residents and also short-term restorative care to post-surgical patients. For more information, call The Pavilion at 362-8293 or go online at

3 Teens Hurt in Elk County Crash

Three teenagers were hurt in an accident on Route 153 in Fox Township, Elk County Thursday night.

Police say at about 10:15 p.m. a car driven by a 16-year-old girl from Brockport went out of control, traveled off the road, hit a guardrail, then hit several trees and rolled over in a wooded area.

The driver and her 18-year-old passenger, Dalton Dickey of DuBois, were flown to Altoona Hospital for treatment. Another passenger, a 13-year-old girl from Falls Creek, was was taken to DuBois Regional Medical Center for treatment of her injuries.

Police say the driver was cited for careless driving.

A Sweet Chalet at
Hershey's Chocolate World

There's a new house in Hershey. Take a look:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

WESB Web Extra:

While I would prefer that everyone do all of their holiday shopping locally, I know that some people prefer the Internet. Others may just be looking for some new ideas. So, earlier this week I spoke with gift expert Robyn Spizman about

You can listen by clicking here.

I'm Thankful for ...

~~ doctors, physicians assistants, RNs, LPNs, receptionists, lab technicians, Great Lakes Home Health Care, DaVita, the folks at Ott & McHenry and Bradford Pharmacy, BRMC volunteers, people who offered prayers, and anyone else I may have forgotten, for getting my Mom and me through this year

~~ co-workers who are patient, accommodating, helpful, talented and fun

~~ e-mail

~~ Facebook and all my Facebook friends

~~ The United Way of the Bradford Area and all of its funded agencies

~~ Pitt-Bradford

~~ St. Bonaventure

~~ all of our listeners and sponsors

~~ people who try to make a difference even when they know they'll get more negative than positive responses

~~ people who make me laugh – intentionally and non-intentionally

~~ people who value truth over lies, misinformation, rumors and innuendo

~~ people who say "I heard on the radio ..."

~~ everyone and everything I was thankful for in 2007 and last year.

~~ Bret Michaels for not doing Rock of Love 4

~~ the St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns for reminding me it could be worse.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Remember the Petition!

Bradford resident Chris Lucco has started a petition asking lawmakers to rethink House Bill 1858. Here's his letter that accompanies the petition:

I am requesting that you vote to back House Bill 1858. As a tax payer I think it would be beneficial to increase sales tax as it would spread some of the tax burden evenly to all the residents and visitors of the area. It could offer some much needed relief to the property owners and working people of your district.

To sign the petition, or for more information, click on the following link:

What About the Roads?

With municipalities revealing their budgets for next year, many residents are asking if there's any money in those budgets to pave some roads.

On Tuesday, Mayor Tom Riel explained to the Kiwanis Club why Bradford has limited money for paving.

He said the city used to have a line item in the budget, in which they budgeted to do paving every year. In addition to that, they used money from the state's liquid fuels tax fund.

"Over the years, as things went down hill – that line item – they didn't budget for it anymore," Riel said. "They just relied on liquid fuels."

But, he said, "Liquid fuels monies have gone down, but the cost of black top has gone up significantly, and the cost of road salt, which also comes out of liquid fuels, has gone up significantly."

He said the city is doing what it can with the money it has.

Riel said he has spoken to Congressman Glenn Thompson and with Senator Bob Casey's office about finding some money to do the $2 million worth of work that needs to be done.

Long Term Care Residents
Receive Thanksgiving Cards

Representatives from the Cameron County Family Center’s Share the Love program visited Charles Cole Memorial Hospital’s Long Term Care residents to deliver Thanksgiving cards this week. Program organizers Kris Fapore and Sissy Miller deliver holiday cards throughout the year and also visit residents at the Guy and Mary Felt Manor, Grove House, and Elk Regional Medical Center. Pictured are Calvin Kennedy and Sissy Miller.
(Photo courtesy of Charles Cole Memorial Hospital)

A Healthy Learning Experience

Dr. Marlene Wust-Smith of Coudersport and Port Allegany Pediatrics visited Smethport Head Start recently to talk to students and parents about germs and staying healthy during cold and flu season.
(Photo courtesy of Charles Cole Memorial Hospital)

Agreement Allows 'Misled'
Landowners to Renegotiate

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has reached an agreement with Fortuna Energy, Inc. (Fortuna) that will allow customers who were misled and ended up extending their natural gas leases with the company to renegotiate their terms.

The settlement also stops Fortuna from employing industry-prevalent misleading and deceptive tactics to secure leases from New York landowners.

The company also agreed to pay $192,500 to the state in connection with the settlement.

Cuomo says, “Many of these companies use their size and extensive resources to manipulate individual property owners who often cannot afford to hire a private attorney.

Man Killed in Hunting Dispute Had Gun Permit Revoked Before

The 63-year-old man who was shot and killed during an argument with bear hunters he said were trespassing on his land in Jefferson County Tuesday had his concealed weapon permit revoked 3 years ago, then returned.

In 2006, Frank Shaffer of Red Lion was charged with pulling a gun on a trucker on Interstate 83. Shaffer believed the trucker cut him off; the trucker believed it was the other way around.

The charges were dropped when the trucker didn't show up at Shaffer's preliminary hearing.

23-year-old Paul Plyler of Summerville was also shot Tuesday, but his injuries are not considered life-threatening.

Police are still trying to sort out the details of the shooting.

Check Your Flights

If you or your family members are traveling by air for the holiday, you can get "real time" information on departures and arrivals at

They also have a mobile flight tracker, and a tracker just for iPhones.

If you're driving:

In Pennsylvania check out

In New York:

Two-Day Bear Harvest Remains #2

Two days of bear hunting have produced a preliminary harvest of 2,709 bears, according to Pennsylvania Game Commission reports.

Last year, 2,518 bears were brought to Game Commission check stations after two days of hunting. In 2007, 1,638 bears passed through check stations the first two days and, in 2006, biologists inspected 2,185 bears after two days. In 2005, when the state record bear harvest was set, agency personnel processed 2,875 bears through the first two days of season; followed by 2,262 in 2004; 2,299 in 2003; and 2,022 in 2002.

The top 10 bears processed at check stations on the two days all had actual or estimated live weights that exceeded 570 pounds. Terence J. Burkhardt, of Jim Thorpe, harvested the largest bear, which was a male that weighed in at 654 pounds (actual live weight). The bear was taken in Penn Forest Township, Carbon County, at 4:35 p.m. on Nov. 23.

Other large bears included: a 654-pound male (estimated live weight) also taken in Penn Forest Township, Carbon County, by Michael J. Wimmer Jr., of Jim Thorpe, at 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 23; a 644-pound male (actual live weight) taken in Todd Township, Fulton County, by Travis L. Crouse, of Chambersburg, at 9:06 a.m. on Nov. 23; a 610-pound male (actual live weight) taken in Middle Paxton Township, Dauphin County, by David T. Frey, of Harrisburg, at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 23; a 607-pound male (estimated live weight) taken in Lehman Township, Pike County, by Arthur Garris Jr. of Bushkill, at 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 23; a 588-pound male (estimated live weight) taken in Fannett Township, Franklin County, by Arthur G. Clayton, of Amberson, at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 23; a 586-pound male (estimated live weight) taken in Porter Township, Pike County, by John T. Waters Jr., of Spring City, at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 23; a 581-pound male (estimated live weight) taken in McNett Township, Lycoming County, by Matthew J. Wells, of Gillett, at 9 .m. on Nov. 24; a 576-pound male (estimated live weight) taken in Sergeant, McKean County, by Cody C. Cogan, of Weedville, at 2:35 p.m. on Nov. 24; and a 570-pound male (estimated live weight) taken in Larimer Township, Somerset County, by Richard M. Smith, of Meyersdale, at 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 23.

The top bear harvest county in the state after the second day of season was Clinton with 219 (91 in 2008), followed by Lycoming, 201 (195); Tioga, 198 (205); Cameron, 196 (61); and Potter, with 154 (256).

County harvests by region for the first two days, followed by the two-day 2008 preliminary harvests in parentheses, are:

Northwest: Warren, 90 (47); Forest, 53 (53); Jefferson, 52 (48); Clarion, 39 (46); Venango, 27 (52); Butler, 8 (6); Crawford, 7 (29); and Mercer, 3 (4).

Southwest: Somerset, 61 (83); Fayette, 56 (35); Westmoreland, 56 (32); Armstrong, 34 (44); Indiana, 23 (51); and Cambria, 12 (26).

Northcentral: Clinton, 219 (91); Lycoming, 201 (195); Tioga, 198 (205); Cameron, 196 (61); Potter 154 (256); McKean, 124 (126); Clearfield, 119 (98); Elk, 108 (79); Centre, 79 (74); and Union, 23 (36).

Southcentral: Huntingdon, 75 (96); Bedford, 49 (69); Mifflin, 45 (35); Blair, 32 (23); Juniata, 23 (17); Snyder, 15 (24); Fulton, 12 (9); Perry, 7 (11); and Franklin, 3 (0).

Northeast: Pike, 103 (63); Monroe, 70 (48); Carbon, 50 (20); Wayne, 45 (46); Sullivan, 37 (76); Bradford, 36 (49); Luzerne, 31 (35); Lackawanna, 28 (27); Susquehanna, 25 (14); Wyoming, 22 (28); Columbia, 13 (9); and Northumberland, 2 (2).

Southeast: Schuylkill, 21 (21); Dauphin, 10 (7); Berks, 6 (1); Northampton, 4 (2); and Lebanon 3 (0).

Hunters with an unfilled bear license may participate in extended bear seasons that run concurrent with all or portions of the first week of the firearms deer season. For details about those areas open to extended bear hunting and the dates, please see pages 34 and 35 of the 2009-10 Digest. Bear check stations opened during the extended bear seasons can be found on page 36 of the 2009-10 Digest.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Possibility of No Tax Increase for
Bradford Residents After All

WESB/WBRR News Director

Bradford residents might not see a tax increase after all – "might not" being the operative words.

Following Tuesday's City Council meeting, Councilman Bob Onuffer who oversees accounts and finances said, "It looks very, very good" for no tax increase.

"We have a lot of cooperation going now and we're still working," Onuffer said.

During the meeting, council approved the budget ordinance on first reading.

The $8 million proposed budget for next year is about $500,000 over the anticipated general fund expenditures for this year.

The submitted expenditures for accounts and finances for next year is $2.8 million compared to an anticipated $2.37 million this year. Public affairs, public safety and streets and public improvements are about the same for this year and next year at $1.3 million, $1.5 million and $1.79 million respectively. Parks and public property is anticipated at $586,000 this year and $611,000 next year.

As in past years, Mayor Tom Riel said the budget is a work in progress and "it most likely, and very possibly, will change between now and the next reading."

Earlier in the day at the Kiwanis Club meeting, Riel addressed some budget issues as well.

"In four years, I've never seen city council work as hard as they're working this year to try to overcome our money problems," Riel said. "Our employees are working with the city trying to help us out more than they ever have before, and we're making some progress there."

"That's the only way we're going to see ourselves through it," Riel said. "We can't just keep raising property taxes and laying off people. That's not the answer. We have to change the way we run our government."

Riel noted that a couple of weeks ago, Councilman Rick Benton pointed out that the city has the same number of employees and the same size government as it did when Bradford had twice the population it does now.

"I think … everybody will be pleasantly surprised in a few weeks," he said, quickly adding that "no matter what you do, it's a thankless job and no one's ever going to be happy."

Riel also said city council probably won't address participating in the state's Early Intervention or distressed cities programs until after the two new council members are seated. In January, Jim Evans and Fred Proper will replace Onuffer and Coucnilman Bob Tingley.

Also during the council meeting, Rocco Camas said he has a solution to help the city with its recycling program. Camas headed the former Owls/Ramblers recycling program.

"I'm willing to bail you out again to get this program back on," Camas said. "Bradford Township refused it (and) and it's the biggest mistake Bradford Township ever made. Believe me, it's going to come back to haunt them for years."

Camas said he will bring in someone from SDS in Olean to explain the "state-of-the-art" recycling process they're using.

SDS was in Bradford two years ago with a proposal that would have meant a $6.75 fee for city residents, according to City Clerk John Peterson.

Camas said that proposal was based on SDS picking up the recycling themselves. He said, in this case, city workers would still pick up the recyclable items and take them to Olean.

He said he'd present the plan to council after the first of the year when new council members are seated.

Also Tuesday council authorized Riel, on behalf of the city, to sign an agreement accepting funding from PennDOT's Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century,

The $1.3 million in TEA-21 funding will go toward construction of the Community Parks Trail.

In other matters, council authorized the OECD to advertise for bids for the architectural/engineering proposals for Downtown Bradford Gateway Improvement projects and services for Phase III of the Elm Street Neighborhood Streetscape Improvement project.

Council also agreed that John Kohler could get a building permit to alter and renovate 25 Main Street. The improvements include replacing doors and windows, exterior cleaning and painting.

The colors will match the building at 21 Main Street, which Kohler also owns.

And, council agreed to grant free parking in the business district from Friday through December 31.

Jefferson Co. Man Shot to Death in
Confrontation with Bear Hunters

A man was shot to death in a confrontation with a bear hunting party near Punxsutawney Tuesday morning.

State police trooper Bruce Morris says 63-year-old Frank Shaffer of Red Lion was shot during the argument that was over trespassing.

A member of the hunting party, 23-year-old Paul Plyer of Summerville, was also shot. Police say he's expected to survive.

Morris says at least four shots were fired and investigators are trying to determine who fired first.

'A Christmas Carol' to be Presented at Pitt-Bradford December 7

A Broadway-style musical adaption of Charles Dickens’ popular “A Christmas Carol” will be staged on Monday, Dec. 7, at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

The Nebraska Theatre Caravan will present the musical production at 7:30 p.m. in the Bromeley Family Theater of Blaisdell Hall. A part of the Prism series, admission is $34 and $28 for the public and $15 and $12 for all students.

Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future, Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and other characters are the focus of the 19th-century story set in London, England. Twenty-three singer-actors will dress in more than a hundred Victorian–period costumes and sing Christmas carols, including “God Rest Ye’ Merry Gentlemen,” “Wassail, Wassail,” “Good King Wenceslas,” “Greensleeves,” and “Away in a Manager.”

“Having a touring production of this caliber perform here at Pitt-Bradford is definitely a strong addition to our cultural scene,” said Randy Mayes, director of arts programming at Pitt-Bradford. “I hope we can expand in the future with other large-scale Christmas productions like the Nutcracker as well.

The musical version of Dickens’ 1843 novel has been performed by the Nebraska Theatre Caravan for more than three decades in more than 60 cities.

Area schoolchildren will also have a chance to watch “A Christmas Carol” at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 7, in the Bromeley Family Theater, as part of the Kaleidoscope school matinee series, formerly called New Horizons.

A shuttle will take patrons from the Commons to the theater before curtain time.

Tickets are available by calling the Bromeley Family Theater Box Office at (814) 362-5113 from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Reservations for the dinner may be made by calling the same number. The box office will be closed Friday, Nov. 27.

A pre-show dinner featuring salad, sliced beef, roasted fingerling potatoes, carrots vichy, Yorkshire pudding and figgy pudding will be served in the KOA Dining Room of the Frame-Westerberg Commons for $20.

For more information on the show, visit Members of the cast will be on WESB's LiveLine on Wednesday, December 2.

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

Are You in Favor of
County Optional Sales Tax?

One of the issues discussed during last week's Bradford City Council work session on the Early Intervention and distressed cities programs was legislation that would have allowed for county optional sales tax. A Bradford resident has started a petition asking that state lawmakers re-consider the plan.

The letter accompanying the petition states:

"I am requesting that you vote to back House Bill 1858. As a tax payer I think it would be beneficial to increase sales tax as it would spread some of the tax burden evenly to all the residents and visitors of the area. It could offer some much needed relief to the property owners and working people of your district."

For more information go to:

$1 Million Lottery Winner

A Chautauqua County woman is the winner of the New York State lottery's $1 million top prize in the new Super 9s instant game.

45-year-old Sandy Olson of Falconer will receive her payment tin 20 annual payments of $50,000 each.

During a news conference this morning, Olson said she'll spend the money on college for her two teenage sons, pay some bills and fix up her house. But first, she's going on vacation.

Olson bought the ticket at US News on East Second Street in Jamestown.

Homicide Charges Bound to Court

Charges against two double homicide suspects have all been bound to McKean County Court.

Separate hearings for 30-year-old Thomas Haggie and 20-year-old Greggory Theobald were held today in Smethport with District Judge Dom Cercone presiding.

Haggie and Theobald are accused of killing 21 year-old Megan Konopka and her unborn child. Konopka was 8 ½ months pregnant at the time of the murder in September.

She was found dead in a room at the Riddell House with a knife wound to her throat after the suspects sent pictures of the crime scene to another person.

Chatham Baroque to Usher in
Holidays at Quick Center

The period-instrument ensemble Chatham Baroque performs at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, in the fourth concert of the Friends of Good Music season at St. Bonaventure University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

Guest artists joining the ensemble will be soprano Marguerite Krull, Erica March on violin, and chamber organist Adam Pearl.

Chatham Baroque will present a splendid program of holiday music played on authentic instruments. This music was written in the 16th and 17th centuries, when the transcendent story of the birth of Jesus was told through music in the form of songs, motets, oratorios and cantatas. The music could be heard in the palaces and churches of France, Germany, and Italy.

Opening with Scarlatti’s cantata “O, di Betlemme altera,” the ensemble will draw from a broad repertoire that encompasses everything from works by Johann Joseph Fux, Heinz Ignaz Biber and Dietrich Buxtehude to the instrumental version of the popular French songs “A Suite of French Noels” by Charpentier.

Founded in 1990 and based in Pittsburgh, Chatham Baroque has excited local, national, and international audiences with dazzling technique and lively interpretations. The trio of Andrew Fouts, baroque violin, Patricia Halverson, viola da gamba, and Scott Pauley, theorbo, was named “Classical Artists of 1999” by National Public Radio as a result of votes by music consumers worldwide.

Chatham Baroque has toured all over the United States as well as in South America and Mexico, in the Virgin Islands and in Canada. This season, their performances at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., were called “musically impeccable” by the Washington Post.

Heard regularly on many public radio stations, Chatham Baroque has also been heard on CBC Radio in Canada as well as NPR’s “Performance Today” and “Harmonia.” The group has recorded seven CDs on the Dorian label.

This performance is supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts.

Tickets are $20 at full cost, $16 for St. Bonaventure staff and senior citizens, and $5 for students. For tickets and information, call The Quick Center box office at (716) 375-2494.

For each Friends of Good Music performance, The Quick Center will open its galleries one hour before the performance and keep them open throughout the intermission. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Museum admission is free and open to the public year round. For more information, visit

Hearings Being Held Today

Preliminary hearings for two double homicide suspects are being held in Smethport today.

30-year-old Thomas Haggie and 20-year-old Greggory Theobald are accused of killing 21 year-old Megan Konopka and her unborn child. Konopka was 8 ½ months pregnant at the time of the murder in September.

She was found dead in a room at the Riddell House with a knife wound to her throat after the suspects sent pictures of the crime scene to another person.

Bridge Work

DPW crews work on the Davis Street bridge Tuesday morning.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Woman Hurt in Route 246 Crash

A Duke Center woman suffered minor injuries in an accident at 6:40 Monday morning on Route 246, half a mile from Route 646 in Otto Township.

Police say a vehicle driven by 20-year-old Tara Meacham went out of control, traveled off the south berm and into a ditch.

Meacham was treated for her injuries at BRMC.

Police say charges are pending further investigation.

FAW Planning Backpacking Trip
into Proposed Wilderness Area

From Friends of Allegheny Wilderness:

An overnight backpacking trip into the proposed Cornplanter Wilderness Area is being planned for the weekend of December 5 & 6. We are trying to gauge interest to see how many people would like to come along. Though only 3,000 acres, this proposed wilderness has stunning natural beauty and great opportunity for a remote backcountry experience.

The trip will begin at the Webb's Ferry parking area around noon on Saturday. It will be all off trail as there are no trails in the Cornplanter area. We will hike up and over the hill to the south (while on top hikers will be afforded dramatic views of the Allegheny Reservoir), and then continue south and drop down into the Hooks Brook ravine where we will camp for the night. The next day we will loop around and come back to the parking lot via a slightly different route in order to see more of the area. Altogether, we will likely end up hiking more than five miles, but less than 10, over the two days.

Hikers should bring all of their own food and equipment and come prepared for the weather. Also, please bring some blaze orange to wear as it will be deer season. Due to the remote, relatively inaccessible destination, we are unlikely to encounter many, if any, hunters (and there is no hunting on Sunday). However, wearing blaze orange is still a requirement of this hike.

To RSVP, or for more information, contact Friends of Allegheny Wilderness using the below contact info:

Friends of Allegheny Wilderness
220 Center Street
Warren, PA 16365

Plan Would Allow Service Fee on
Tax-Exempt Organization

Senator Fontana and Representative Timothy J. Solobay (D-Washington County) began circulating a co-sponsorship memo today to colleagues urging their support of legislation that would amend the Institutions of Purely Public Charity Act to allow political subdivisions to enact an essential services fee on tax-exempt organizations that own property within the municipality.

While acknowledging that the bill will require considerable amendment before passage, the members intend the bill as a starting point for a dialogue at the state level about the impact of tax-exempt real property on the fiscal health of Pennsylvania municipalities, “There is a delicate balance between addressing the financial concerns of these municipalities with large amounts of tax-exempt properties and not harming those institutions that are often central to our cities’ revitalization,” said Senator Fontana.

“The City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, which I represent, continue to struggle with the issue as do many other municipalities in this Commonwealth. The bill isn’t perfect, but can allow us to debate and discuss this issue with the input of all stakeholders at the state level where it should be happening.”

The measure would allow municipalities the option to continue with existing voluntary agreements, to impose a fee based on total square footage of properties, and to establish a limited real estate tax for properties owned by institutions of purely public charity moving forward.

“It isn’t just big cities affected by tax exempt real estate properties,” said Rep. Solobay. “We have similar issues in the City of Washington and Washington County which I represent as the number of tax exempt properties grows and the burden of paying for services falls on the shoulders of property owners who do pay taxes. The intent of this bill is to help combat this problem by having non-profit/tax exempt entities pay a partial tax.”

Both the City of Pittsburgh and the County of Allegheny recently proposed legislation that would have an impact on non-profits in their community. Pittsburgh’s Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has proposed a 1% levy on post-secondary school tuition. It has been met with great resistance from colleges and universities in the City as well as throughout the Commonwealth. Allegheny County’s Chief Executive Dan Onorato recently vetoed a County Council proposal that would have created a “tax-exempt certification and essential services fee” for certain properties on which nonprofit organizations currently pay no taxes.

Both lawmakers say the legislation is needed to be fair to homeowners who are struggling to pay higher property taxes almost every year while non-profit organizations are tax exempt. They plan to introduce their bills December 7th.

Bradford Man Sentenced in NY

A Bradford man has been sent to jail for his part in an assault and robbery involving the sale of fake crack cocaine in Tompkins County, New York, in February.

24-year-old Ty Pierce pleaded guilty to third-degree robbery.

Court records say that on February 13, 24-year-old Leland Baker, also of Bradford, 18-year-old Joseph White and 32-year-old Karrie Baker sold a man and his girlfriend what they thought was a piece of crack cocaine for $100. When the man discovered he had actually bought a bar of soap, the two Bradford men kicked him, robbed him of about $800 and stole his cell phone.

Leland Baker is charged with two counts of second-degree robbery, and attempted assault. His case is pending in Tompkins County Court.

Missing Hikers Found

Three hikers have been found with no injuries after a daylong search in the Rimrock area.

State police, the US Forest Service, firefighters, tracking dogs and a helicopter were involved in the search.

Police say a vehicle belonging to a Corry couple was found at a parking area near the entrance to the Morrison Trail. The couple and their 9-year-old son were last heard from at around 2 p.m. Sunday. Family members contacted police when they didn't return home Sunday.

Police said the three were found walking at about 1:45 p.m. Monday, were checked out by emergency medical personnel and had no injuries.

Burglary in St. Marys

A St. Marys man is in jail on burglary charges after an incident early Sunday morning in St. Marys.

Police charged 22-year-old Alex Schatz with burglary, criminal trespass, theft, receiving stolen property and possession of drug paraphernalia after an incident in a house at 491 Washington Street.

Schatz was sent to jail on $10,000 bond.

PA Has New State Troopers

87 men and women have graduated from the State Police Academy in Hershey.

Among them are Carl Lewis of Sheffield, who has been assigned to Troop E in Erie County and Thomas Gornati Jr. of Kersey, who has been assigned to Troop H in Dauphin County.

Dennis Peters of Clearfield County received the American Legion Award after being named outstanding cadet by his classmates and instructors.

Kelly's Wins Contest

The winner of the first Downtown Bradford Holiday Pole Decorating contest is Kelly’s Main Street Restaurant, located at 27 Main Street, Bradford. The poles were judged by a panel following the “Cruisin’ Into Christmas Parade” held on Friday.

Other entries included the First United Methodist Church, Ott & McHenry Pharmacy, Tut Holdings, Inc., the McKean County SPCA and the Red Hat Society.

“This is the first year for the contest and the groups that entered did a wonderful job,” said Main Street Manager, Anita Dolan. “It is a great opportunity for the community to take some pride in our historic downtown and help us to decorate it,” Dolan added.

The decorated poles will be on display until the first week in January.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gas Prices

As if Bradford motorists don't think about gas prices enough, here's a little more food (or gas) for thought.



Bradford is $2.68, by the way.