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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Both Lanes of I-90 Open

After being closed most of Friday because of poor driving conditions related to the weather, Interstate 90 is opened in both directions in New York and Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania lanes reopened Friday afternoon. The New York lanes opened late Friday night.

Authorities say the road is clear and dry.

Men Indicted for Stealing $30

Two Olean men have been indicted by a Cattaraugus County grand jury on multiple charges relating to the theft of $30.

20-year-old Jamie Crawford and 23-year-old and Joshua Slawson were each charged with robbery, assault and grand larceny.

They are accused of attacking a man November 14 behind a convenience store, then stealing $30 from him.

Delevan Man Dies in Crash

A Delevan man is dead following an accident on Route 16 in the Town of Sardinia Friday evening.

New York State Police say 26-year-old Erik Goodheart was traveling north when his vehicle went out of control and slid into oncoming traffic and hit a US Mail delivery truck.

Police say the force of the accident caused Goodheart's truck to split in two and threw him from the vehicle.

He was taken to Bertrand-Chaffee Hospital in Springville, where he died.

The driver of the mail truck was not seriously hurt.

Police say weather conditions contributed to the accident.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gov. Rendell's Hanukkah Message

Harrisburg – Governor Edward G. Rendell today expressed his gratitude and appreciation in marking the observance of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, which will be celebrated starting tonight.

“Americans of all faiths are fortunate to have the freedoms that we enjoy today. First and foremost, I’d like to recognize our military heroes for ensuring that we remain protected,” said Governor Rendell. “I also want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all the emergency personnel, here in Pennsylvania and throughout our great nation, for keeping us safe.”

In Harrisburg, Hanukkah will be celebrated at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 13, at the War Veterans memorial Fountain on the Capitol East Wing Plaza. Sponsored by the organization Chabad-Lubavitch, the event will feature live music, dancing, clowns, balloons, Hanukkah gifts, and latkes, a traditional Chanukah delicacy.

Hanukkah, which lasts eight days, commemorates the establishment of Freedom of Religion for Israelites. It contains a universal message for all faiths: that good will overpower evil, freedom will win over oppression, and light will prevail over darkness.

Happy Hanukkah



The Philadelphia Inquirer has an interesting story on menorahs here.

First Breath Ventilator Arrives



By George Nianiatus, senior writer/media manager
Communications and Marketing Department
Upper Allegheny Health System


From a young mind sprang an ambitious goal to help others in true need by raising funds which ultimately led to purchasing a ventilator for Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC).

Two years ago Jenna Gorrell, then a Bradford Area High School junior, developed the idea for “First Breath,” a fundraising walk-a-thon for the ventilator.

Through her idea - and several other subsequent fundraising activities - just over $23,000 was raised to buy a ventilator that will be able to treat and save hundreds of lives at BRMC.

A high school student’s lofty aspiration became reality when an Evita XL ventilator was rolled into the main lobby and presented to Penny Oyler, BRMC’s director of Cardiopulmonary Services.

The Evita XL is designed for patients of all ages and health levels. It’s produced by Drager Medical of Telford, Pa., which is a subsidiary of Drager & Siemens Co.

“I’m very excited at the lives this state-of-the-art ventilator will be able to touch positively,” said Ms. Oyler.

With the addition of the Evita, BRMC now has five ventilators, she noted.

“The Evita ventilator will enhance current patient services being provided. This equipment will provide ventilatory assistance or life support not only to infants, but also pediatrics and adults. This piece of equipment will impact the quality of life and positive outcomes of over 1,200 patients in the next five years,” Ms. Oyler said.

“The Evita is designed for anyone of any age and level of sickness,” said Steve Burrell, an account executive for Drager Medical.

A notable feature is the Evita has an automated weaning process. “This automated system, called Smart Care, enables patients to get off the ventilator quicker and reduces their length of stay,” Mr. Burrell said.

Another benefit is having one ventilator for all ages reduces staff training and increases flexibility through versatility of the unit, Ms. Oyler noted.

How the ventilator made its way to BRMC was from a purchasing method considered among the most unique the company has ever seen, Mr. Burrell said.

Shortly after being contacted two years ago about the fundraising method to buy the ventilator, Drager Medical quickly embraced the project. The company invited Ms. Gorrell, Ms. Oyler, Bradford Area High School guidance counselor Steve Mongillo, and Nellie Wallace, who at the time was Bradford Hospital Foundation’s director of Annual Giving but is currently BRMC’s physician and professional recruiter, for a red-carpet plant tour to get a closer look at how the ventilator is made.

“Since then, this was a project everyone fully supported, “Mr. Burrell said.

Others in the Bradford community came to the project’s aid as well to benefit BRMC.

A portion of the proceeds from The Kids and Cancer Motorcycle Dice Run held in 2008 and 2009 were donated to the Bradford Hospital Foundation/Bradford Area High School’s First Breath campaign. For over 15 years the Kids and Cancer event has made contributions to financially support BRMC.

“All I can say is this has been a very rewarding experience for everyone involved with this project,” Mr. Burrell said.

Bradford Regional and Olean General Hospital are members of Upper Allegheny Health System. For more information about Bradford Regional, Olean General or Upper Allegheny, go online at www.brmc.com, www.ogh.org or www.uahs.org.

Shown with the new Evita XL ventilator at Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC) are (from left) Penny Oyler, BRMC’s director of Cardiopulmonary Services, Bradford Area High School guidance counselor Steve Mongillo, and Steve Burrell, account executive for Drager Medical.
(Photo courtesy of BRMC)

General Surgeon Joins CCMH staff

Charles Cole Memorial Hospital has announced the addition of Moheb Mohareb, M.D., to its medical staff.

Dr. Mohareb earned a medical degree at Cairo University and completed a surgical residency at the University of Illinois, Metropolitan Group Hospitals. He is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and is an American College of Surgeons fellow. He most recently served as chief of surgery at Wetzel County Hospital in West Virginia where his practice included gastrointestinal, endoscopic, laparoscopic, colorectal, and breast surgery.

Dr. Mohareb and Dr. Frank Horn will see patients in the hospital’s general surgery suite at the Irwin Medical Arts Center. Appointments may be scheduled by calling 814/274-7474.

Specter Urges Vilsack to Release
Payments to Dairy Farmers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) called on the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to release the $290 million in direct payments to dairy farmers by the year’s end. The funding to increase government purchases of surplus dairy products was approved by Congress on October 8th, but the Department of Agriculture has yet to move on distributing the much-needed aid.

Senator Specter cosponsored the amendment providing financial relief for dairy producers, introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), which was adopted as part of the Fiscal Year 2010 Department of Agriculture Appropriations Act.

“The approximately 7,600 dairy farms in my state of Pennsylvania support over 55,000 non-farm jobs in the hauling, distribution and processing industries,” Senator Specter wrote. “The loss of a dairy farm has repercussions far beyond the individual farm and impacts entire communities. With an unemployment rate of 8.8%, my state cannot accept the loss of more dairy farms. I know that you need not be reminded of the urgency of this situation, but I must nevertheless ask that you ensure the distribution of these direct milk payments to dairy farmers prior to December 25, 2009.”

The price farmers receive for their milk has bottomed out over the last year, at times plummeting 41 percent to $11.30 per hundredweight. It costs farmers approximately $18 per hundredweight to produce milk.

Senator Specter has been working with his colleagues to address the challenges facing the dairy industry. Momentum for the milk payments grew, in part, during a roundtable that Senator Specter hosted in Washington, D.C. in July with stakeholders from Pennsylvania and USDA Undersecretary Jim Miller.

Money for Local Railroad Projects

D & I Silica will be receiving $700,000 in state money to build two new transloading facilities and improve the functionality of two existing facilities for transloading of silica sand from rail cars to trucks for local gas-well production in McKean, Cameron, Tioga and Luzerne counties.

The money is part of a $24.5 million state investment from PennDOT’s Rail Freight Capital Budget/Transportation Assistance and Rail Freight Assistance Programs, Governor Ed Rendell announced today.

“Upgrading and expanding our freight rail lines helps maintain service and also opens the door to greater business opportunities,” Rendell said. “These investments will help meet growing demand for freight rail service and also help ease highway congestion by reducing the number of trucks on our roadways.”

The Buffalo Pittsburgh Railroad in Elk County will receive $1.7 million to construct a siding and reactivate a bridge over the Clarion River to connect to another railroad.

I-90 Closing Update

From the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department:

I90 both EB & WB are still closed between the Dunkirk Exchange and the PA State line. WB on I90 in PA is open now but EB in PA is still closed per PASP. There is still a winter weather travel advisory on I90 between Dunkirk Exchange and the Buffalo Exchanges.

I-86 Open in Chautauqua Co.

From the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department:

I86 (Rt17) both EB & WB is back open in Chautauqua County. PSP inform us that I86 is open in PA now too. Please drive carefully and expect winter weather driving conditions.

Bradford Airport Getting Money

Bradford Regional Airport will be receiving $900,000 to build a hangar facility within a Keystone Opportunity Zone on airport property.

Eight other airports across the state will also be receiving from PennDOT’s Aviation Capital Budget/Transportation Assistance Program, Governor Ed Rendell announced today.

The program is funded through state capital bond dollars in the General Fund budget. The grants, which are authorized by the General Assembly, are administered by PennDOT’s Bureau of Aviation.

Erie Outing Club President
Wins Award from FAW


Dianne Stanton, president of the Erie Outing Club, recently won an award from the Warren-based non-profit organization Friends of Allegheny Wilderness for choosing a new name for the organization's quarterly newsletter. Her winning entry was "FAWN."

Dianne is pictured holding her award at a recent FAW event at the Warren Public Library along with her husband Gary, who helped her choose the newsletter name. The award is a professionally matted and framed photograph of Nelse Run, taken by FAW executive director Kirk Johnson within the proposed Tracy Ridge Wilderness Area in the Allegheny National Forest. The photo was framed by Kinzua Country Frameworks in North Warren.

More information about FAW can be found online at www.pawild.org


(Photo courtesy of FAW)

Road Closing Update

From the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department:

I-86 (Rt17) both EB and WB from Stow, exit 8, to the PA State line, exit 4, is closed due to detiorating road, driving and weather conditions.

Update on I-90, I-86 Closing

From the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department:

At this time I-90 is still closed from the Dunkirk Thruway Exchange to the PA State line in NYS. Heavier than normal traffic flow on Rt 5 and on Rt20 at this time due to that.

In Pennsylvania I90 is still closed from the State line all the way to Erie, PA. Also I-86 (Rt17) in Pennsylvania is closed from I-90 to exit 3 (Rt89). It is extreme winter weather driving conditions out there in the NW corner of the County at this time.

Fireman Hurt, Cat Dies in Fires at Two Congress Street Homes

One cat died and a firefighter was injured as a result of fires at two Congress Street homes this morning.

Bradford City Fire Department Captain Dave Paul said that, as of 11:15 a.m., one firefighter was being treated for a back injury at BRMC.

Firefighters were called to a duplex at 279 Congress at 6:10 a.m. When they arrived, they found flames coming from the left side of the duplex and saw that the fire had already jumped to the house four feet away at 277 Congress and extended into the attic. They called in a second alarm at 6:15 a.m.

"Both crews had a fairly quick initial knockdown," Paul said. But he added that because of the wood shingles at 279, they had to cut the roof away so the fire didn't burn more of the building.

He said there was heavy fire damage to attic, but minimal damage to the rest of the house. As for 279, there was heavy fire and smoke damage to the left side of the duplex, but it did not extend to the right side.

Firefighters have not been able to locate the owner and occupant of 277 Congress, John Van Bergen.

Dan and Debra Teeter are the occupants of the left side of 279 Congress, where the fire started in the dining area. Paul said the Teeters woke up and discovered the fire burning in the next room. Edna Hallock owns the building.

John Cole Jr., Sharon Nofsker and 9-year-old Allison Nofsker are the occupants of the right side of the duplex.

State police fire marshal Greg Agosti has already been on the scene and determined that the fire was accidental. He said total damage to both buildings is estimated at $150,000.

Firefighters were on the scene for four hours with all of their equipment. Bradford Township firefighters were on standby at the Bradford station.

The Red Cross assisted the families.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Marker Has Bradford Connection

Titusville has another state historical marker, and this time it has a Bradford connection.

The marker honors Byron Benson, who oversaw the completion of the first long-distance pipeline, which ran 109 miles from the Bradford oil fields to Williamsport.

Benson worked in Pennsylvania's oil region from 1865 through 1888 and was a founder of the Tidewater Pipe Company.

More Sites Agree to Use e-STOP

13 more social networking sites, including those owned by Google, Yahoo! and AOL, have agreed to remove New York sex offenders from their sites.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says that as of Thursday, 15 major social networking companies have agreed to use the state's Electronic Securing and Targeting of Online Predators Act.

Last week, Facebook and MySpace removed more than 3,500 sex offenders from their networks.

http://www.oag.state.ny.us/media_center/2009/dec/dec10a_09.html

No Charges in Fatal Shooting

A bear hunter who shot and killed a man near Punxsutawney won't be charged.

State police say the November 24 shooting of 63-year-old Frank Shaffer was justified.

They say Shaffer confronted five hunters on property he owns in Summerville and ordered them off his land. The hunters left, but a short time later, Shaffer confronted three of them again in another area and shot 23-year-old Paul Plyler, of Summerville, in the hand.

Shaffer shot three more times, striking Plyler in the back. Plyler then fired back, hitting Shaffer once.

Bruno Quits Consulting Job

Former New York State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno has quit his consulting job following his conviction on two corruption counts in federal court.

The 80 year-old former lawmaker plans to appeal the fraud convictions under the "honest services"' statute.

Bruno was acquitted on five counts with the jury divided on a sixth.

One Hurt in Route 66 Crash

A Kane man suffered minor injuries in an accident at about 12:15 today on Route 66, about half a mile south of Laurel Avenue in Wetmore Township.

Police say a pickup truck driven by 18-year-old Nathaniel Koza went out of control on the snow- and slush-covered road, traveled off the road and rolled onto its roof.

The truck had to be towed from the scene.

Roswell Park Receives ACS Grant
to Support Young Scientific Talent

BUFFALO, NY – Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) announced an Institutional Research Grant (IRG) for $180,000 from the American Cancer Society to provide pilot funding for junior-level investigators. Andrei Gudkov, PhD, Senior Vice President Basic Science and Garman Family Chair in Cell Stress Biology is the principal investigator.

The IRG funding stimulates a mini-internal grant program within RPCI. These grants allow young investigators an opportunity to seek mentorship, develop pilot data and gain confidence in submitting grant applications for peer-reviewed funding mechanisms. The focus on cancer research allows the scientists to take their first step in a career to advance cancer treatments and diagnostic tools. The scientists are given an opportunity to test their ideas and translate the ideas into meaningful results.

“By providing seed-funding to the young investigators, we are encouraging the exploration of new ideas which can potentially lead to new therapies or prevention techniques,” said Dr. Gudkov.

The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service. For more information, visit the ACS website at http://www.cancer.org.

The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. RPCI, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit RPCI’s website at http://www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org.

ANF Prepares for Snowmobilers

Warren, Pa. – The Allegheny National Forest announced today that final preparations for the opening of the Allegheny Snowmobile Loop (ASL) for the winter snowmobile season are nearing completion.

According to Bradford District Ranger Tony Scardina, “We are pleased to announce that all trail access issues have been resolved and the entire length of the ASL will be open when the season officially begins on December 20th.”

The ASL is a 159-mile system of snowmobile trails in portions of Warren, Forest, Elk and McKean Counties. Including connector trails and the Rocky Gap and Timberline ATV trails (dual use snowmobile/ATV trails), the entire ASL system covers over 350 miles.

The trail could open as early as December 20th if weather conditions remain favorable. Snowmobile riders interested in trail conditions can contact either the Supervisor’s Office at (814) 723-5150 or the Marienville Ranger District at (814) 927-6628. Trail conditions are also updated regularly throughout the season on the Forest website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/allegheny/.

Thompson to Ray LaHood:
Reject I-80 Tolling Plan

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Representative Glenn `GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, today reiterated his opposition to tolling Interstate 80 in a letter to Ray LaHood, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. He strongly protested Pennsylvania’s application to implement tolls on Interstate 80, and urged the Secretary to reject the application.

Thompson reminded the Secretary: “Tolling existing Interstate capacity will do nothing more than cripple an already ailing economy. This is why I was so pleased to learn that during your Senate Confirmation hearing on January 21st, 2009, you expressed similar reservations to tolling existing interstate capacity.”

Thompson explains in the letter that the law governing the Interstate Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Pilot Program (ISRRPP) stipulates that tolling can only be used as a last resort for a state.

“However, between 2004 and 2007, $412 million in federal funding was diverted to mass transit and other accounts for use outside of building and maintaining the Commonwealth’s roads and bridges. Furthermore, a 2007 memo from FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) cited PennDOT’s lengthy history of transferring Interstate Maintenance (IM) funds to other Federal-aid programs, rescinding IM funds, and maintaining a balance of $312 million in unobligated IM funds, which could have otherwise been utilized for operations and maintenance of I-80.”

In explaining the letter Thompson said, “It’s clear that the application review must take into account the fact that at the time of Act 44’s passage, the state had about six times the annual cost for operations and maintenance funds for I-80 on hand. From the beginning the tolling scheme has been about funding other projects, not I-80’s needs. Secretary LaHood should take this into account and not allow the Turnpike Commission to continue to bankrupt the state and con their way into a program they clearly do not qualify for. I’ve urged the Secretary to follow the law as Congress intended – as a last resort – and deny the tolling application and put an end to further attempts.”

Thompson drew attention to the investigations that have been focused on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC). “One of the figures, a Pennsylvania General Assembly Senator, who played a key role in developing Act 44, has since been convicted and sentenced to prison. Additionally, the same investigation forced the firing of the PTC Chairman and resulted in his wife’s conviction on 45 counts of corruption for which she is currently serving a prison term. In Pennsylvania’s case, the I-80 tolling proposal served as a means of preventing the accountability and review that potential private investment in the Pennsylvania Turnpike would have required.

“Most recently, the PTC has been under investigation by the FBI regarding a highway widening project that came in $91 million over the original project bid. It has also been reported throughout the state that the PTC currently is being investigated by the Pennsylvania Attorney General for links between political donations and turnpike contracts.”

Thompson questioned the PTC decision to hire a former healthcare company, Provident Healthcare Coalition of Baton Rouge, LA, to perform the financial valuation for the submission to toll I-80. He asked, “Why did the PTC choose Provident Capital Advisors given their lack of credibility and no history of dealing with transportation infrastructure finance, when there are clearly a number of qualified firms that handle market-based analysis on a regular basis?”

The letter concludes: “The purpose of programs such as the ISRRPP is not to enable transportation officials to create questionable financial models under questionable circumstances, which result in increased debt and higher costs for the residents of Pennsylvania and those traveling within and through the state.”

Thompson then urged LaHood to reject the application, citing the two previous rejections, and to use his discretion as Secretary to deny any further applications.

Attempt to Advance Funding for
State-Related Universities Thwarted

HARRISBURG - In an effort to secure the academic future of thousands of college students across Pennsylvania, state Rep. Kathy Watson (R-Bucks/144th) called for the release of nearly $700 million in state funding for Pennsylvania's four state-related universities. Legislative use of the House Rules was subverted late Wednesday night by the House Democrat Leader, who called on his membership to oppose doing the right thing by college students and their families.

On Wednesday evening, Watson invoked House Rule No. 17 to call special orders of business to consider the legislation that provides funding for Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln - as well as the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine. Funding for these four universities, termed non-preferreds, was included as part of the General Fund state budget, but each is voted on separately.

On Thursday, after a promise to consider the funding right after table games legislation was voted, House Democrat Leaders - who resorted to the questionable parliamentary maneuvers Wednesday night in order to push through the legislation this week - adjourned session, in spite of the fact that the bills were noticed to be voted today.

"Since October's budget passage, this funding has been delayed until a deal on table games legislation could be reached and passed, and now, students and their families face increased tuition as a result of this inaction," Watson said. "Students and families have waited long enough for funding. For the House Majority Leadership to put gambling ahead of education is a shameful show of where their priorities lie."

Watson's special orders of business were voted down, largely along party lines. Opponents claimed that Senate Bill 711 - the table games legislation - was necessary before releasing the funding, contrary to reports by the House Appropriations Committee that the funding is already available. Instead, House Democrat Leadership is intent on pushing through the table games proposal and resorting to backroom-style trickery to force a vote on legislation that is not even agreed to by Senate leaders.

"It is a disgrace to yet again hold students and their families hostage while negotiating a major piece of public policy, especially one that is as flawed as Senate Bill 711," Watson said. "There are numerous questions about the bill in its current form, as well as the many amendments, and the impact this legislation will have on the integrity of the industry and the impact upon the state budget and property tax relief. These questions must be answered.

"Supplemental tuition bills for these universities may be sent out shortly, and would reflect a substantial increase due to the delay in state funding, that the students and their families would have to bear," she explained. "There is no reason to put any more financial strain on families, especially at the holidays and with sufficient funding available and earmarked."

If Watson's initiative had been successful, these five Senate bills would have been able to go directly to the governor for his signature. Even Gov. Ed Rendell, who hailed education to be his top priority in this fiscal year's budget, has demanded table games legislation in order to transfer the money to the educational institutions.

Pictured in the photo courtesy of Watson's office are Watson pointing out on the official House calendar legislation to be considered Thursday to release state funding for the four state-related universities. Also pictured are Minority Whip Mike Turzai (orange tie) and Minority Leader Sam Smith (red tie).

Media Shield Bill Clears Committee

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the media shield bill cleared an important hurdle in passing a key Senate Committee. The Free Flow of Information Act, sponsored U.S. Senators Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee 14 to 5. The revised version of the bill, unveiled October 30th, has received backing from the White House and over 70 media organizations. The bill includes provisions to protect national security interests while providing legal protection for journalists guarding the anonymity of their sources.

“Today has been a long time coming. The bill creates a fair standard to protect the public interest, journalists, the news media, bloggers, prosecutors and litigants,” Specter said. “This marks a major improvement over current procedures where journalists have been threatened, fined and jailed for appropriately protecting sources. White House negotiators for President Obama played a decisive role in working out this compromise and I thank the news media who have kept up the pressure for years to produce this compromise. Finally, Chairman Leahy has been dogged in advancing the bill while respecting minority rights.”

“This is a big breakthrough that paves the way for a vote by the full Senate on this important proposal,” Schumer said. “After months of talks, we’ve struck the right balance between the national security concerns and the public’s right to know. This bill will ensure a free press, which is a cornerstone of our democracy. It deserves to be considered on the Senate floor as quickly as possible.”

“The Free Flow of Information Act strikes the right balance among the important objectives of protecting our nation, enforcing our criminal laws and ensuring freedom of expression,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy. “After years of debate and countless cases of reporters being held in contempt, fined and even jailed for honoring their professional commitment not to publicly reveal their sources, the time has come to enact a balanced Federal shield law.”

The bill emerged from Committee today after hours of debate, a marathon of amendments and being listed on the executive committee calendar on 18 separate occasions. Specter and Schumer’s bill, in its previous form, earned committee approval by a 15-4 margin in 2007 but was filibustered on the floor.

The bipartisan proposal is co-sponsored by Chairman Leahy, as well as Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.). It has also been endorsed by 42 state attorneys general and over 70 media organizations, including The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Washington Times, the Associated Press, and Gannett Newspapers.

Currently, 49 states, plus the District of Columbia, provide some measure of legal protection to reporters who decline, even under the threat of being held in contempt of court, to disclose the identity of confidential sources. However, no federally recognized protection exists. The Free Flow of Information Act seeks to change that by establishing a qualified privilege for reporters to withhold confidential source information obtained or created under a promise of confidentiality. The legislation has always accounted for the fact that, in certain instances, the public’s interest in national security, law enforcement and fair trials outweighs the public’s First Amendment interest in permitting reporters to protect the identify of sources.

The bill:

in cases where the government is attempting to compel the disclosure of information, continues to require a demonstration that the information is "essential" to the
prosecution or defense in criminal cases;

preserves a public interest balancing test for criminal and civil cases and in most leak cases (other than leaks with the potential for prospective harms);

and revisits the change made to the definition of journalist in the September 24 Manager’s Amendment by removing the requirement that the journalist be a salaried employee or independent contractor for a media organization. This should permit freelance authors to be covered, and it also provides the potential for journalists publishing on blogs to be covered as well.

Pitchford Named NRHA Fellow

Ed Pitchford, president and chief executive officer at Charles Cole Memorial Hospital, has been selected as a 2010 National Rural Health Association Rural Health Fellow.

Seven fellows were chosen based on their educational background, commitment to rural health care issues, and geographic and professional diversity. The year long program is designed to develop, educate, and inspire rural health leaders across the country. The new class of fellows will meet in person and via conference calls throughout the year to discuss leadership, advocacy, regulatory, policy, strategic planning, and legislative issues.

“We are very pleased to announce this new class of fellows as this program enters its fourth year. Once again, this class represents various levels of rural health care expertise,” said Alan Morgan, NRHA CEO. “With the successes achieved by the previous three classes, we look forward to continuing the tradition of building rural health care leaders through this valuable program.”

Pitchford was elected to the Pennsylvania Rural Health Association board of directors last June and serves on the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania Public Policy Committee and Council of Small Hospitals. Over the past year, he was instrumental in working with state legislators to secure $11 million in additional funding for critical access hospitals in Pennsylvania and to introduce widely endorsed legislation to make this funding permanent. He testified before the Pennsylvania Public Health and Welfare Committee and worked with the Senate republican leadership in crafting proposed legislation to enhance access to primary care throughout Pennsylvania. Most recently, his hospital hosted 13 Republican State Representatives for a forum on rural health issues and innovations in rural emergency medicine.

Pitchford’s career in health care spans 30 years, including being associated with Charles Cole periodically since 1979, serving first as the hospital’s independent auditor, its chief financial officer, and currently its president and CEO. He also worked for 14 years as an executive at the Borgess Health Alliance, Kalmazoo, Mich.

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

Three-Way Tie in Chess League

After the fourth round of play at School Street Elementary, there is a three-way tie for first place among the varsity teams: The Pharmacy at Union Square, Wal-Mart, and Dexter’s Service Center. Five out of the eight team captains in the varsity remain with perfect scores.

In the JV section, Brent Kennedy (captain for Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair) lost to Justin Wedge (captain for Northwest Savings Bank) to be bumped from first place. Jessica Yost (member of Drs. Rhinehart team) has now taken the lead followed by Nate Evan, a member of the Edmond Chevrolet Team, and Brent Kennedy who are tied for second. The top JV team at the end of round 4 is Lang Surveying followed closely by Hayden Auto Detailing.

Matches will continue on Wednesday, December 16. For additional information about the league, email execdir@amchess.org or visit www.bradfordchessclub.com.

Results and Standings after round 4:



Varsity Division
Dr. Gonzalez defeated Bradford Window Company by ½ a point; Smith’s Fine Jewelry tied with the Pharmacy at Union Square; Wal-Mart overwhelmed Dr. Laroche by a score of 1.5-0.5; and Parkview Super Market managed a win over Dexter’s Service Center by ½ point.

Dexter’s Service Center 5.0

Pharmacy at Union Square 5.0

Wal-Mart
5.0

Dr. Gonzalez
4.0

Dr. Laroche
4.0

Parkview Super Market
4.0

Smith’s Fine Jewelry
4.0

Bradford Window Co.
2.0

Junior Varsity Division

Northwest Savings Bank tied with Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair; Dragonfly Guitar Studio defeated Tasta Pizza by one game; Hamlin Bank won over Hayden Auto Detailing by one; Lang Surveying overpowered Edmond Chevrolet 3-1; and Drs. Rhinehart out distanced Ed Shults Toyota by a score of 3-1.


Lang Surveying
11.5

Hayden Auto Detailing
10.0

Dragonfly Guitar Studio
9.5

Drs. Rhinehart
9.5

Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair
9.0

Edmond Chevrolet
8.5

Hamlin Bank
8.0

Northwest Savings Bank
8.0

Tasta Pizza
7.5

Ed Shults Toyota
5.5

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kindergartners Visit Santa at BRMC

George G. Blaisdell Elementary School kindergartners in Bradford had a chance to visit with Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus (left) and a very animated Elf at Bradford Regional Medical Center on Wednesday. In return, the young children filled the hallways with Christmas carols.
(Photo courtesy of BRMC)

UWBA 'Wrap-Up' Event Friday

The United Way of the Bradford Area is holding a "wrap-up" event from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday in conjunction with Downtown Bradford's Old Fashioned Christmas festivities.

People are invited to drop off their purchases at the United Way office at the corner of Main and Davis streets, and the United Way crew will wrap everything.

The cost is $1 to $5 depending on the gift and all wrapping materials are provided.

The United Way is also encouraging people to use their parking lot Friday during Old Fashioned Christmas.

Holiday Valley Opening Thursday

Holiday Valley will be opening three quad lifts and up to 10 slopes on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., General Manager Dennis Eshbaugh announced today in a news release.

He says conditions have been excellent for snowmaking since last Friday, and they've been making snow 24 hours a day since then.

Ski School West, Mardi Gras, Yodeler, Candy Cane, Laurel, Punchbowl, and Sugar Plum will be open. Independence, Lower Crystal, and Edelweiss will be added in a day or two.

58 Students to be Honored at Graduation Reception Sunday

Fifty-eight students expected to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford this month will be recognized with a reception on Sunday, Dec. 13.

Students will be honored during an informal event beginning at 2:30 p.m. in the Mukaiyama University Room of the Frame-Westerberg Commons.

Dr. Livingston Alexander, president; Dr. Steve Hardin, dean of academic affairs; and Dr. K. James Evans, dean of student affairs, will speak. Refreshments will be served afterward.

The reception is held for students graduating at the end of the fall term who may not be able to return for the April commencement.

Those expected to graduate with an associate’s degree are Cindy M. Cavallero, a liberal studies major from Bradford; petroleum technology majors Kelley Moyer of Warren, Pamela J. Eschrich of Mount Jewett and Nathan Carmichael of Rimersburg; and information systems majors Richard P. Blackman of Duke Center and Kurt Covert of Smethport.

Those from Bradford expected to graduate with bachelor’s degrees are: Valerie Soriano, an accounting major; Matthew D. Daugherty, an accounting and business management major; Amy Pierce, an accounting and business management major; Carly Rose Ambuske, a biology major; Ashley M. Shade, a criminal justice major; Jessica Nicole Boardman, an English and English education 7-12 major; Stephanie Ann Cottillion, a health and physical education major; Jennifer Kay Bradish, a sports medicine major; and Shawn Spindler, a sports medicine major;

Other students anticipated to graduate are Adair Rohr, a nursing major from Ridgway; Wesley D. Harshbarger, an elementary education major from Kersey; Dana Katheryn Ahlberg, a business management major from Wilcox; Danielle Marie Salsgiver, a biology and biology education 7-12 major from Clarendon; Audrey M. Darling, an elementary education major from Russell; Katherine Pitner, a criminal justice major from Sugar Grove; Claudia Bernat, an applied mathematics and mathematics education 7-12 major from Tidioute;

Erin L. Baxter, an environmental studies major; Sara Hennessy and Rachel A. Thayer, both social sciences majors from Warren; Misty Kay McCann, an applied mathematics and mathematics education 7-12 major from Duke Center;

Stacy A. Postlewait, a sociology major from Kane; Leo E. Carpenter, a computer science major from Shinglehouse; Amanda Michelle Santaniello, a radiological science major from Brockway;

Tiffany J. Kibble, an elementary education major; Marie Lyn Tarbox, an elementary education major; Danielle Dodge, a mathematics education 7-12 major; Ricky A. Bee, a radiological science major, and Tracy Lynn Tanner, a social sciences major, all from Smethport;

Brittany L. Linderman, a public relations major from Allegany, N.Y.; Laura Dawn Reed, a radiological science major from Wellsville, N.Y.; Amanda Marie Shaw, an athletic training major from Warsaw, N.Y.; Cynthia Centola and Michelle L. Centola, both biology majors from Rochester, N.Y.;

Matthew Glover, a biology major from New Brighton; Michelle Ann Kushner, an accounting and business management major from McKees Rocks; April M. Geiselman, an environmental studies major from Turtle Creek; Brittany Jean Barnes, a chemistry major from Butler; Andrew Charles Finzel, an elementary education major from Sharon; Nathan P. Carmichael, an environmental studies major from Rimersburg;

Renae Bowens and Ian T. Long, both business management majors from Titusville; Sara R. Snyder, a business management major from Centerville; Gregory Cook, a sport and recreation management major from North East; Samantha R. Hockenberry, a biology major from Spring Run; Stefanie Corcoran, a chemistry education 7-12 major from Elysburg;

Crystal Ziegenfus, a broadcast communications major from Palmerton; Stephanie Nicole Petchel, a broadcast communications major from Beaver Meadows; Jordan Ercolani, an athletic training major from Larksville; Ross Sharkey, a writing major from Downingtown; Erikah Eileen James, a biology major from Baltimore, Md.; Kristin E. Gutowski, an elementary education major from Little Genesee, N.Y.; and Brandyn M. Austin, a sports medicine major from Elmira, N.Y.

Crash Leads to Altercation

No one was hurt in an accident on Bordell Road about a mile west of Route 446 in Keating Township this afternoon.

State police say a pickup truck driven 19-year-old Nathaniel Okerlund of Smethport crossed into the path of a car driven by 47-year-old David Shaw of Smethport and the vehicles collided.

The drivers then got into a fight and Shaw allegedly hit Okerlund. Neither man was hurt in the crash, but police say Okerlund has a minor visible injury from the altercation.

Police say Okerlund will be cited as a result of the crash. Shaw will be cited for harassment as a result of the physical altercation.

Richman Resigns State Post to be
HUD Chief Operating Officer

Harrisburg – Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced the resignation of Public Welfare Secretary Estelle B. Richman, effective Dec. 31. Richman has served as secretary since the beginning of Governor Rendell’s administration in 2003.

"Secretary Richman served during one of the most challenging periods in modern Pennsylvania history for human services, and she met that challenge in a way few others could have done," Governor Rendell said. "The recession increased demands on social services just as public money became scarce, yet she improved the quality of DPW programs while still managing the department with heightened efficiency.

"Since 2003, Secretary Richman has been a champion for vulnerable children and their families in every corner of Pennsylvania," the Governor added. "Low-income families are stronger, healthier and on the road to self-sufficiency because of her passion for their well-being. We are delighted that Estelle will now focus that same energy on national housing issues in her role as Chief Operating Officer at HUD."

The Governor has nominated Harriet Dichter of Philadelphia to succeed Richman as secretary. Her nomination is subject to Senate confirmation.

At DPW, Richman oversaw an agency with more than 19,000 employees, providing services and support to low-income, elderly and disabled Pennsylvanians, including children.

Through Richman’s leadership, Pennsylvania now provides health care through Medical Assistance for more than two million Pennsylvanians while improving health outcomes with pay-for-performance initiatives. Through better disease management and coordination of care initiatives, Richman reduced the severity of illness for more than half of those enrolled in the Medical Assistance program.

With family roots in education, Richman recognized early learning and development of young children as foundational to their school achievement and lifetime economic contribution. Partnering with the Department of Education, Richman built a nationally recognized early care and education program that unifies Pennsylvania’s early childhood programs and improves service quality.

Pennsylvania’s commitment to a continuum of early childhood programs has provided more than 170,000 children with quality childcare programs through Keystone STARS, with nearly 80 percent of centers participating. More importantly, approximately 70 percent of children receiving child care assistance are now using regulated care, through Child Care Works, a 38 percent increase from 2006-07.

Richman was committed to remaining a good steward of taxpayer dollars. She achieved savings -- without cuts -- by revamping the department’s pharmacy operations and holding Medical Assistance Managed Care costs down, all while reducing the overall agency staff by nearly 3,000 employees since 2003 – a 13 percent reduction in the department’s workforce.

Richman has spearheaded initiatives to move people to home and community based living to reduce dependence on institutional care, mainly through the successful closures of Harrisburg and Mayview State Hospitals and the Altoona Center. She focused on implementing major initiatives to reduce the waiting list for mental retardation services, with more than 2,000 people with disabilities removed from the list over the past two years.

At DPW, Richman supported a culture of employment and productivity for the most vulnerable citizens, recognizing that jobs for the lowest-income families are critical to the economic vitality of the state. Specifically, under Richman’s guidance, Pennsylvania reduced the TANF caseload by over 25 percent and successfully turned the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program into a national model.

"Secretary Richman has compiled an incredible record of accomplishment," Governor Rendell said. "Her ability to do so in a climate where the legislature is often under pressure to cut rather than support social services is another testament to her remarkable strength and her dedication to the mission of her department."

Richman’s accomplishments are evidenced through accolades the department has received from the federal government including three performance awards from the U.S. Health and Human Services worth over $13.4 million for accuracy in the SNAP program, marking Pennsylvania as a model among large states. Richman also worked with staff to increase the amount of child support distributed to families by $129 million, earning five national awards since 2005.

Harriet Dichter, the Governor’s nominee to succeed Richman, currently serves as Deputy Secretary, Office of Child Development and Early Learning for the departments of Public Welfare and Education. She leads state efforts to bolster early education and care for Pennsylvania children, overseeing planning, program and policy development and implementation for a total investment of $1.3 billion.

Inmate at McKean County Jail Dies

State police are investigating the death of an inmate at the McKean County Jail.

20-year-old Robert Hearst V died sometime between 1:20 and 5:08 this morning. A corrections officer discovered him while making rounds.

Police say their initial investigation revealed no signs of foul play, but an autopsy is scheduled.

Police were assisted by McKean County Coroner Mike Cahill, the McKean County Sheriff's Department and Priority Care EMS.

Young Cancer Patients Join
Rendells to Light Christmas Tree

Ten-year-old Becky Boucher, of Hatboro, Montgomery Co., joins Governor Edward G. Rendell as guest of honor in the lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree in Harrisburg. She and her mother, Wendy Boucher, were joined via satellite by First Lady Judge Marjorie O. Rendell and pediatric cancer patients at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital to lead the countdown to light the tree. Becky is a fifth-grade student at Upper Moreland Intermediate School. In 2007, Becky was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a common type of bone cancer. She is currently an outpatient in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

"The First Lady and I always look forward to this special time of year when we all come together to celebrate the magic of the season," Governor Rendell said. "While it is a time of much joy and celebration, it can be a difficult time for many families. I ask all Pennsylvanians to take a moment to remember the true meaning of Christmas and keep in mind those less fortunate than ourselves."

Pictured left to right are James P. Creedon, Secretary of the Dept. of General Services, Governor Edward G. Rendell, Becky Boucher, Wendy Boucher and Keith McCall, Speaker of the PA House of Representatives.
(Photo courtesy of Commonwealth Media Services)

Severe Thunderstorm Warning

Severe Thunderstorm Warning for...
McKean County in north central Pennsylvania...
southeastern Warren County in north central Pennsylvania...
Elk County in north central Pennsylvania...

* until 230 PM EST

* at 125 PM EST National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated a line of severe thunderstorms capable of producing penny size hail... and damaging winds in excess of 60 mph. These severe storms extended from Chapman State Park to Summerville... and were moving northeast at 45 mph.

* Severe thunderstorms will be near...
Sheffield around 140 PM...
Ludlow around 145 PM...
Portland Mills around 150 PM...
James City and Brockport around 155 PM...
Marshburg and Ridgway around 200 PM...
Wilcox and Johnsonburg around 205 PM...

This will impact the following major roads... Route 6... Route 219...
State Road 46... State Road 59... State Road 66... State Road 120...
State Road 255... State Road 446.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

This line of severe thunderstorms has a history of producing wind damage in Venango County. Take shelter now inside a sturdy building... and stay away from windows!

Causer, Rapp Argue Against
Wood-Fired Boiler Restrictions

Reps. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Forest/McKean) and Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) were among several Republican members of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee who signed a letter sent to Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary John Hanger today to officially register their opposition to recently proposed regulations that would place significant restrictions on the use of outdoor wood-fired boilers in Pennsylvania.

“At a time when almost all Pennsylvanians are struggling with higher energy bills and the harmful effects of the international economic recession, I have heard from far too many of my constituents that these new regulations have little to do with environmental protection and will amount to nothing more than kicking hard-working people while they’re down,” said Rapp.

“In terms of economic recovery and achieving Pennsylvania’s energy independence from non-renewable foreign imports, by making it more expensive and difficult to use outdoor wood-fired boilers, these proposed regulations will lead to even more lost jobs throughout Forest, Warren and McKean counties because even less Pennsylvania residents will rely on clean burning and renewable Northwestern Pennsylvania-grown lumber to heat their homes.”

“Local governments are already empowered to regulate these boilers, if and when it is necessary. We do not need the state to step in with some overly strict, one-size-fits all regulations – this is clearly a local issue,” Causer said. “To give people in our area the opportunity to voice their opinions, DEP has agreed to hold another public hearing on this issue in Coudersport in January. I hope people will take advantage of the opportunity to share their opinions on the issue.”

Under the DEP’s proposed regulations:
New boilers must be installed a minimum of 150 feet from the nearest property line.

New and existing boilers must have a permanently attached stack that is at least 10 feet above ground and extend at least two feet above the highest peak of the highest residence. For new boilers, the regulation applies to residences within 150 feet.

For existing boilers, it applies to residences within 500 feet.

A person may not purchase, sell, offer for sale, distribute or install a boiler unless it meets Phase 2 standards for efficiency.

Only clean wood, wood pellets made from clean wood and certain home heating oil, natural gas or propane fuels can be used in the boilers.

DEP is also considering a seasonal prohibition on the use of outdoor wood-fired boilers, which could have serious consequences for consumers who use the boilers to supply hot water to their homes and for milk house cleaning and use.

These regulations are currently open for public comment. Written comments must be received by the DEP Environmental Quality Board by Jan. 4, 2010. For more information on the proposed regulations and submitting public comments visit or RepRapp.com or RepCauser.com.

Red Cross Looking for Holiday Help

The American Red Cross is looking for people willing to share their Christmas dinners with Meals on Wheels recipients in the Bradford area who will not be able to join their families for dinner.

Anyone who's interested would pick up containers at the chapterhouse on Congress Street before December 23; place a portion of their Christmas dinner in the containers; then deliver the meal to the Meals on Wheels client.

Anyone interested in sharing a meal, or who wants more information, may contact the McKean-Potter Counties American Red Cross at 368-6197

Boy Facing Charges for Sexting

A 17-year-old Mayville boy is facing charges for allegedly sexting with 12-year-old girl.

Chautauqua County Sheriff's deputies say the boy, whose name they didn't release, sent pictures and text messages of an explicit nature to the girl.

He's charged with endangering the welfare of a child and will appear in court at a later date.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

City Residents to See Tax Increase

By ANNE HOLLIDAY
WESB/WBRR News Director


Taxes are going up in the City of Bradford, but not as much as city officials originally thought they would.

The millage rate has gone up by 8/10 of a mil, which means a person with a home assessed at $25,000 would see a tax increase of $20. Someone with a $50,000 home would see an increase of $40.

"That's a far cry from what we were looking at a few months ago," said Mayor Tom Riel.

He said several months ago the city was looking at a millage increase of close to 4.5.

"Through the diligent efforts of the department heads, employees and city council members and (City Clerk) John Peterson who labored tirelessly on this we were able to reduce that by hundreds of thousands of dollars," Riel said.

The millage ordinance still has to be read a second time, on December 22, before it's final. It can and may change, Riel said, adding that if it does change it could go either up or down.

That millage increase is far less than most people were expecting," he said.

Council also approved, on first reading, the wage ordinance that includes the laying off of two police officers and two workers from the refuse department.

Riel said council did not take the decision lightly.

"We don't take any joy or pleasure in having to do these unpleasant things," Riel said. "It's no joy to know that you're telling somebody that they're no longer going to have a job or they won't have healthcare for their wives and their children."

"But council feels that they had their backs up against the wall," Riel said. "We couldn't place the entire financial shortcomings just on the taxpayer. We had to go to the employees and ask the employees to try to help us out … through wage freezes and through helping us out with healthcare. That was met with mixed results."

Council did, however, apply for a grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency that, if approved, would bring the two police officers back.

The grants are awarded in March.

In a short and subdued meeting, council also approved on first reading an amendment to the solid waste ordinance.

The amendment states that a fee of $10 per item shall be charged for all white goods and appliances, and must be pre-paid before pickup.

A fee of $5 per item shall be charged for the disposal of large furniture items, including couches, mattresses and/or box springs and swing sets.

The fee for all residential housing for one weekly pickup of an average of four bags is set at $20. An excess bag fee of $1 per bag will be charged on accounts that continually exceed the four-bag average.

Commercial accounts for one weekly pickup of an average of four bags will pay $20. Two pickups is $40; three pickups, $60; four pickups, $80; and five pickups, $100.

In other matters, Councilman Bob Onuffer announced that the city's workman's compensation insurance premium decreased from $270,509 to $236, 469 – a reduction of $34,040.

He said this is due to the establishment of the Certified Safety Committee, which gives the city a 5 percent premium credit.

Onuffer wanted to thank employees for "an excellent year," and especially note that in October there were no reported injuries or accidents. This is the first time that's happened in six years, he said.

"I really appreciate the work and effort that's been put into this," Onuffer said.

He noted that former Councilman Dan Costello got it started and Onuffer decided to keep it going.

"It really did work," he said, "and it's going to work even better."

Also Tuesday, council appointed Michael Campogiani to the position of probationary firefighter effective Wednesday.

This is not a new hire. He replaces Cory Migliaccio, who resigned.

Dispatch Moving to Smethport

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, dispatch duties for the Bradford City Police Department will be assumed by the McKean County 911 Center after all.

During Tuesday's Bradford City Council meeting, council voted unanimously to transfer the dispatch duties to Smethport.

On November 10, council voted 3-2 to keep the Bradford station manned 24/7.

At that time, Mayor Tom Riel and Councilman Rick Benton voted to move the dispatch duties to Smethport. Councilmen Ross Neidich, Bob Onuffer and Bob Tingley voted to keep it the way it is.

The duties are expected are to switch next month.

BACC Extending Holiday Hours

Due to the overwhelming popularity of the Bradford Gift certificate program, the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce is extending holiday office hours. The office at 121 Main Street will be open from 10 am to 4:30pm Monday thru Friday and 10am - 2pm on Christmas Eve, and resume regular office hours Monday, December 28.

Tables will also be manned at local, downtown banks for sale of Gift Certificates on Thursday, December 17 from 11:30am - 1:30pm.

The Bradford Gift Certificate Program is in conjunction with over 325 BACC members and can be used at over 115 area locations. Call the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce for more information 814.368.7115.

Gabler Joins Call to Abolish
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

HARRISBURG - State Rep. Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk) stood with House Republican colleagues Tuesday at a news conference calling for the abolishment of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. The event was held to introduce legislation authored by Rep. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery).

"In our search for funding sources to support Pennsylvania's transportation needs, my opinion from day one has been to explore and exhaust all possibilities for streamlining and saving as opposed to automatically tapping taxpayers, as tolling Interstate 80 does," Gabler said. "The dissolution of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission not only falls in line with my pursuit of more accountable and efficient state government, but does away with an agency that has been shrouded in controversy and a drag on the public trust."

Gabler cited the recent FBI investigation as another reason to do away with the turnpike commission.

"Even before taking office, I had heard of the Turnpike Commission's reputation for practicing political patronage," he mentioned. "If possible, the image of this agency has gotten worse with the state grand jury investigation into how they award contracts, along with allegations of unprofessional conduct and 'pay-to-play' in a Valley Forge construction project that has gone over budget."

House Bill 2134 would roll responsibilities for managing and maintaining the turnpike into a newly-created deputy secretary position with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

"The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission's set-up and operating procedures are symbolic of the waste that bogs down government and belies the public trust," added Gabler. "They employ more executives than PennDOT does, while managing significantly fewer miles of highway and utilizing costly contract lobbyists to interact with the General Assembly. The savings in taxpayer dollars alone is reason enough to do away with the commission."

Gabler says abolishing the turnpike commission should also hit home with Clearfield and Elk County residents who oppose tolling of Interstate 80.

"It is my understanding that tolling of I-80 under Act 44 can take place only through an application submitted by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission," Gabler commented. "Doing away with the commission ties the hands of the Federal Highway Administration and prevents the institution of tolls. In the interim, we can hopefully find even more efficient ways to fund our state's transportation needs."

In applauding the Vereb legislation, Gabler stressed the need for relationships like these that cross county lines.

"Part of effective state government is building coalitions and reaching beyond the boundaries of your district," he said. "A significant part of this is a member from southeastern Pennsylvania reaching out to representatives from the I-80 corridor to achieve savings for taxpayers and trim the fat in Harrisburg."

Thompson Questions FCC Chairman Genachowski on Broadband Plan

Washington, D.C. — Co-Vice Chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Rural Caucus, U.S. Representative Glenn `GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, today had an opportunity to meet with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski on the National Broadband Plan and how it can benefit rural communities.

The Congressional Rural Caucus requested the meeting with the FCC Chairman because of the expressed concerns in a June 26th letter to the FCC regarding the creation of a National Broadband Plan. The commission had been tasked with creating the plan through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by February 17, 2010. The plan is to propose how to ensure every American has access to broadband.

“Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional district is the most rural in the Commonwealth and just larger than the state of New Jersey,” Thompson told the Chairman. “There is much of my district where connectivity is limited—to say the least. The lack of broadband access for private and public sectors has far reaching consequences. It limits our opportunities for employment, reduces our quality of life, and stifles our potential for economic development.”

“New technologies in electronic medical records have the potential to make specialized medical care needs in rural America more accessible, regardless of geographical location, but these areas need to be wired first” added Thompson, a 28-year health care professional.

The June 26th letter to the FCC states “that basic broadband service is no longer a luxury, but a necessity and a national broadband plan should reflect this transformation as fundamentally important as electricity and water.”

The Chairman told the Congressional Rural Caucus that he very much compares the need for broadband deployment to the electrification of America and that the FCC will continue outreach with the Caucus and its members as the National Broadband Plan is implemented over the coming months.

Pictured in the photos provided by Thompson's office are (top) FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski talking to Thompson after the meeting and Thompson, far left, at Rural Caucus meeting with FCC Chairman Genachowski, far right.

Christmas Cantata at
First Baptist Church on Dec. 15

On Tuesday, December 15 at 7:00 p.m. Faith Baptist Church of Bradford will be hosting the choir and drama group from Five Mile Baptist Church in Allegany, NY.

The group will be presenting the Christmas musical, Goodwill to Men. This musical was written by Ron and Shelly Hamilton and the drama was written by David Burke.

The setting for the musical and drama takes place on Christmas Eve at the Goodwill Store in a rural town in South Georgia. The drama explains that at Christmas time, there are basically two kinds of people: “those who need to love more, and those who need more love.”

Pastor Bill Raymond stated that this musical if for all ages and families are invited to attend. Following the service there will be a time for snacks and fellowship. The church is located at 498 Seaward Avenue.

First Night Buttons on Sale 12/18

First Night Bradford event buttons will be available for purchase beginning Friday, December 18th.

The First Night Bradford event, which is in its 12th year, will again host favorite ‘First’ activities such as the first movie, first trail hike, first bowling, first swim and first ice skating, along with an art show, musical entertainment, Brad’s Bounce-a-lot, First Night’s Got Talent and a country music performance by Nashville recording artist Robert Allen.

Button sale locations include: Top’s Friendly Markets, The Grocery Stretcher, Parkview Supermarket, the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce and Tina’s Hallmark.
For a complete schedule of events visit www.firstnightbradford.com

Nolder's CDE Status Renewed

Stacia Nolder, RN, CDE, CPT, the program coordinator of the Center for Diabetes. & Nutrition Education at Bradford Regional Medical Center, has renewed her certified diabetes educator (CDE) status by successfully completing the continuing education process with the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators.

Individuals must meet rigorous requirements to be eligible for certification, said certification board officials. Achieving the CDE credential demonstrates a specialized knowledge to promote quality care for people with diabetes. Currently, there are approximately 16,600 diabetes educators who hold this certification.
The Center for Diabetes provides diabetes self-management training, insulin pump education, medication training and medical nutrition therapy. The program is staffed with nurses and dietitians. For more information, call the Center for Diabetes at 814-362-8717 or go online at www.brmc.com. The program is accredited by the American Diabetes Association.

Bradford Regional and Olean General Hospital are members of Upper Allegheny Health System. For more information about Upper Allegheny, go online at www.uahs.org.

The National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators was established to develop and administer a certification program for healthcare professionals who teach individuals with diabetes how to manage their disease. More information about the board can be accessed at www.ncbde.org.

(Photo provided by BRMC)

No Table Games Vote

The state House is finished with its voting session for the day, and did not vote on Senate Bill 711 -- the table games bill.

The bill would provide funding for the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State, Temple and Lincoln as well as some hospitals and museums.

Car Hits Building in Dunkirk

A Fredonia woman suffered a facial injury when her car hit a building this afternoon in Dunkirk.

Chautauqua County Sheriff's deputies say 86-year-old Barbara Szocki was in Aldi's parking lot on Vineyard Drive when she accelerated the vehicle by mistake and hit an outside wall of the store..

She was taken to Brooks Memorial Hospital for treatment. No charges were filed.

Drugs Stolen from Pharmacy

A large quantity of narcotic drugs has been stolen from a pharmacy in Sherman, New York.

Chautauqua County Sheriff's deputies say the burglary happened in the overnight hours between Thursday and Friday when the Sherman Pharmacy on Main Street was closed.

Authorities didn't specify what the drugs were because it might hinder the ongoing investigation.

Deer Jackers Targeted in New York

More than 100 people have been charged with more than 250 offenses related to illegal deer hunting in New York.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis announced today that Operation Jackhammer focused on the illegal taking of deer by using artificial light -- a practice commonly known as "deer jacking."

"Taking of Deer with the Aid of an Artificial Light" is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $250 to $2,000 and/or up to a year in jail.

You can read the full story here.

Table Games Vote Could Come Soon

A bill that would finally give the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State the funding they've been waiting for is getting closer to a vote in the state House.

A vote on the bill to legalize table games could happen today. If that happens the final vote in the House would likely be tomorrow. The bill would still need Senate approval before becoming law. The Senate is scheduled to be back in session December 15.

The gambling expansion was part of a final budget agreement in October to provide than $300 million in tax revenue to the state in the next two years.

Ohio Man Executed

The man who killed and dismembered a woman and scattered her body parts in Ohio and Pennsylvania has been executed through the first U.S. lethal injection using just one drug, not the conventional three drugs.

The execution of Kenneth Biros originally scheduled for 10 a.m., was delayed about an hour while he waited for word from the U.S. Supreme Court on a last emergency appeal. The court turned down the appeal just before 10 a.m.

Biros had argued the state's new method would be painful.

In 1991, Biros killed 22-year-old Tami Engstrom near Warren, Ohio, after offering to drive her home from a bar. After dismembering her, he scattered her body parts in Ohio as well as Butler and Venango counties in Pennsylvania.

Storm Watch Now a Warning

The National Weather Service in State College has issued a Winter Storm Warning for significant snow then ice accumulation... which is in effect from 7 PM this evening to 11 am EST Wednesday. The Winter Storm Watch is no longer in effect.

Developing low pressure over the Southern Plains will track northeast into the Great Lakes tonight and Wednesday. This system will spread snow into the area this evening... and the snow will fall heavy at times for several hours. A changeover to sleet and freezing rain will occur late tonight.

3 to 6 inches of snow and sleet will fall... and be topped by a layer of freezing rain around one quarter of an inch thick.

The precipitation will taper to periods of light rain... or freezing drizzle by late Wednesday morning.

Hunter Who Got Largest Bear
in PA to be Charged with Poaching

from the Pennsylvania Game Commission:

HARRISBURG – When is the largest bear killed in Pennsylvania’s bear season not the largest bear harvested? When it is the largest bear killed over bait, which equals poaching. That’s what happened when Charles W. Olsen Jr., of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, decided that it’d be easier to kill a bear over a pile of pastries, rather than the method used by ethical hunters.

Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer (WCO) Cory Bentzoni became suspicious when he saw a truck loaded with pastries from a local store driving along Route 309 in Dallas, Luzerne County.

“As we were about one week away from the opening of the statewide bear season, I thought that something illegal might be underway,” WCO Bentzoni said. “Being that we were so close to bear season, seeing that person drive by with an unusual amount of pastries was like watching an individual go down a row of parked vehicles testing each handle to see if it were open. Something just didn’t seem right.”

Bentzoni wrote down the vehicle license plate of the truck and found that it was registered to Olsen. He then instructed all Game Commission personnel operating bear check stations throughout the region to notify him if Olsen brought a bear into any one of the check stations.

Sure enough, on Nov. 25, Olsen brought a bear with an estimated live weight of 707-pound into the bear check station at the Northeast Region Office in Dallas, Luzerne County. Wyoming County WCO Vic Rosa was immediately contacted by the Northeast Region Office, since Olsen reportedly harvested the bear in Noxen Township, Wyoming County.

Northeast Region Land Management Supervisor Peter Sussenbach, who also was aware of the tip provided by WCO Bentzoni, approached Olsen and said “there might be a problem with this bear.” At that point, Olsen confessed that he had killed the bear over a bait pile.

“What is most unfortunate is that law-abiding bear hunters in the area were robbed of the opportunity to legally harvest truly a trophy bear by fair chase means,” said Northeast Region Law Enforcement Supervisor Dan Figured. “It was thanks to the quick thinking of an observant Wildlife Conservation Officer, and some basic investigative work, that helped resolve this case.”

WCO Rosa plans to file charges of illegally killing a bear over bait later this week. If found guilty, Olsen faces fines and penalties of between $500 and $1,500, as well as the loss of hunting/trapping privileges for at least three years. In addition to criminal fines in this case, the Game Commission intends to request from the judge restitution for this trophy-class bear, which could amount to $5,000. The enhanced restitution was adopted into regulations by the Board of Game Commissioners last year as another tool to deter those who would steal Pennsylvania’s wildlife.

Man Pleads Guilty to Indecent
Contact with Autistic Teenager

The Port Allegany man originally charged with rape, involuntarily sexual intercourse and sexual intercourse with an animal has pleaded guilty to having inappropriate contact with a minor.

42-year-old Eddie Graham admitted in McKean County Court to having indecent contact with a 16-year-old autistic boy without his consent.

The other charges -- including committing sex acts on miniature horses -- were dropped as part of a plea agreement.

Graham is scheduled for sentencing in January.

Error in The Era

Several of the Bradford City Department heads 2009 salaries which are listed in today’s Bradford Era are incorrect; they are actually their 2008 salaries.

Bradford City Clerk John Peterson tells us that all department heads salaries are being frozen for 2010 except Bradford City Police Chief Mike Close, whose salary rises due to state law, because his officer’s salaries are increasing.

The 2010 salaries for Director of Public Works Gary Alcock and Parks Director Chip Comilla have been frozen at their 2009 salaries.

Several Pets Die in Fire

Bradford City Firefighters responded to a house fire Monday evening at 177 Davis Street in Bradford. They say when they arrived there was heavy smoke billowing from the house. The home, owned by Christa Lightner, was moderately damaged. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation. Several cats and a dog died in the fire.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Kids Treated to 'A Christmas Carol'

More than 500 students from Bradford, Otto-Eldred, Port Allegany, Smethport and Johnsonburg school districts attended the Kaleidoscope children’s matinee of " Christmas Carol" on Monday.

The Nebraska Caravan Theatre performed the musical version of the Dickens’ classic, complete with snow, smoke and ghostly apparitions. The photos here show Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Past as well as scenes from Scrooge’s past Christmases.





(Photos courtesy of Pitt-Bradford)

Winter Storm Watch in Effect

The National Weather Service in State College has issued a Winter Storm Watch for McKean County from Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning.

Up to several inches of snow is possible... followed by the potential for significant ice accumulation in excess of one quarter of an inch of freezing rain.

The wintry mix of precipitation will diminish to drizzle or freezing drizzle later Wednesday morning.

A storm watch means there is the potential for significant accumulation.

Bruno Found Guilty on 2 Counts

Former New York State Senate leader Joseph Bruno was found guilty today on two of eight counts of corruption for using his powerful position for personal gain.

Bruno was accused by federal prosecutors of bringing in more than $3 million through his consulting firm that worked with companies and unions with business before the state.

Sentencing is set for March 31, and Bruno faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

Bruno says he'll appeal.

Part of I-86 Closed

UPDATE: Cleanup between Seneca Junction and Allegany is expected to take about 4 hours (10 p.m.).


Interstate 86 is closed down at Exit 24 because of a multi-vehicle accident that happened at around 4 p.m. between Seneca Junction and the rest area. Traffic is also being re-routed at Exit 21 eastbound for another accident.

Several minor accidents have also been reported.

Motorists are being advised to use caution on the slippery roads.

Ohio Man Facing Execution

An Ohio man who killed a woman then scattered her body parts in Ohio and Pennsylvania is scheduled to be executed tomorrow.

51-year-old Kenneth Biros will be the first person executed in Ohio since the state switched from using three drugs to one.

In 1991, Biros killed 22-year-old Tami Engstrom near Warren, Ohio, after offering to drive her home from a bar. After dismembering her, he scattered her body parts in Ohio as well as Butler and Venango counties in Pennsylvania.

The execution is schedule for 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.

Biros has ordered as his last meal a cheese pizza with extra cheese, onions, mushrooms, and green peppers; deep-fried onion rings and mushrooms with ketchup; Doritos with French onion dip; cherry pie; blueberry ice cream; and Dr. Pepper.

Man Sentenced in Catt County

A former Bradford man who was originally charged with abusing a 7-year-old girl on Halloween in 2008 has been sentenced to a year in Cattaraugus County Jail.

25-year-old Jeffrey Lee Campbell Jr. was sentenced Monday on a charge of endangering the welfare of a child.

The incident happened in the Town of Carrollton.

Kane Women Hurt When Car Collides with FedEx Tractor-Trailer

Two Kane women are in Hamot Medical Center in Erie after their car slid under the rear axle of a FedEx tractor-trailer near Clarendon at about 11:45 this morning.

State Police say 73-year-old Judy Renzi was driving her car on Route 6 when it went out of control on the icy road, began to fishtail and eventually hit the truck.

The trailer slid sideways across the road and hit an embankment.

Renzi and her passenger, 43-year-old Kellee Fergus, suffered what police described as serious injuries.

The driver of the FedEx truck, Timothy Skelton of Edinboro, was not hurt.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

PA Flags at Half-Staff Monday

Harrisburg – Governor Edward G. Rendell ordered U.S. and state flags at commonwealth facilities to be flown at half-staff on Monday, Dec. 7, in honor of all who died on Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor Day, as well as all the military heroes who have given their lives to ensure the protection and safety of our nation and its citizens.

“On behalf of all Pennsylvanians, we pay tribute to our fallen service members who fought so courageously during the attack of Pearl Harbor and we thank them with our deepest gratitude,” Governor Rendell said. “We also take this time to honor all of our military heroes, throughout the history of our great nation, for their ultimate sacrifice to ensure that our nation remains safe. We are forever indebted to them.”

The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor killed 2,403 Americans and led the United States to enter World War II. The U.S.S. Pennsylvania, in drydock at Pearl Harbor, was among the first ships to return fire on Japanese warplanes.