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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Kennedy, NY, Man Allegedly
Abused 8-Year-Old Girl

A Kennedy, New York, man is accused of sexually abusing an 8-year-old girl over several months this summer.

28-year-old Dale Johnson has been charged with course of sexual conduct against a child for alleged incidents that happened between June and August.

He's in Chautauqua County Jail pending a court appearance

Emporium Man Accused of Megan's Law Violation, Sent to Jail

An Emporium man has been charged with failing to register his employment under Megan's Law.

56-year-old Ralph Bennett of West Allegany Avenue was charged with failure to comply with registration of sexual offenders requirements.

He was arraigned and sent to Potter County Jail, unable to post bail.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Opening of 3 ATV Trails Delayed

Warren, Pa. – The Allegheny National Forest announced today that the Rocky Gap, Timberline and Marienville ATV trails will remain closed until further notice.

These three trails were scheduled to re-open for the winter season on December 20th; however mild temperatures over the past several months have not allowed portions of the trails to freeze completely. Trail conditions will be re-evaluated after January 1, 2010, to determine whether conditions have improved sufficiently to allow safe operation without risking trail and resource damage.

The Forest encourages all winter-season ATV riders to call one of its offices or check the Forest website prior to riding as trail conditions can change rapidly. Trail conditions can be obtained by calling the Supervisor’s Office in Warren at (814) 723-5150 or the Marienville Ranger District at (814) 927-6628, or by visiting our website at

Arrest in Murder Case 'Imminent'

An arrest in the murder of a Delevan man is imminent, according to the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Department.

In a news releases, Lt. Tom Bradigan said the sheriff's office is still investigating various aspects of the case but is prepared to say that "we are very encouraged and optimistic that an arrest of a person of interest is … forthcoming following the results of forensic evidence testing that is currently underway."

On December 1, 80-year-old Wilbur Norton was found dead in his home at the Delevan Terrace Apartments by a Meals on Wheels worker.

Autopsy reports indicated that Norton's death was a homicide.

Eldred Woman in MSNBC Story

An Eldred woman is featured in an MSNBC story about the cost of "air ambulances." You can read the story here.

NORAD Santa Tracker

With Christmas just a week away, it's time for a reminder about NORAD's Santa Tracker.

Dairy Farmers to Get Federal Money

New York dairy farmers will be getting a Christmas present from the federal government.

Senator Chuck Schumer says the USDA will soon start mailing $40 million in emergency money.

It's part of a bill that passed in October that's providing $290 million in direct relief to the nation's struggling dairy farmers.

Rodent Infestation in Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The cafeteria in Pennsylvania's state Capitol had to be shut down after inspectors found evidence of a rodent infestation.

Get the full story from The Associated Press. (Then come back here and leave your jokes in the comments.)

Poll: Most Pennsylvanians Say
Medical Marijuana is OK

Pennsylvania voters say allowing marijuana to be used for medical purposes is a good idea, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

67 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of independent voters favor the use of medical marijuana. Republicans are pretty much split with 49 percent in favor and 47 percent opposed.

According to the poll, medical marijuana wins support from all age groups, ranging from 62 percent among voters 18 to 34 years old to 56 percent among voters over 55.

State Attorney General Tom Corbett says he opposes a House bill that would legalize marijuana for medical purposes, saying that even limited legalization of marijuana could compound the dangers that drugs present to society.

Men Face Burglary, Other Charges

Two Shinglehouse men are facing charges for stealing from a number of camps in Potter County and one in McKean County.

24-year-old Nicholas Brown and 20-year-old Ethan Turner also allegedly took items from a scrap yard owned by Gas Field Specialist.

Brown is accused of burglarizing 7 camps and conspiring with Turner in 4 of those burglaries as well as the scrap yard theft.

Police say most of the thefts were of gas, scrap metal and tools, but Brown's alleged crimes also included theft of guns and generators.

Turner is free on bail. Brown is in Potter County Jail.

Carjacker Pleads Guilty

The man who carjacked a vehicle from a Barbour Street parking lot in August has pleaded guilty in McKean County Court.

24-year-old Michael Blum took the vehicle from its owner at knifepoint. He was caught in Limestone, New York, the next day after a police chase.

Blum will be sentenced January 13.

Ex-PennDOT Manager Pleads Guilty

A former PennDOT equipment manager has pleaded guilty to stealing from the department.

48-year-old Timothy Brem of St. Marys bought items with state money for his personal use between March of 2004 and April of 2007.

The cost of the items is about $6,000.

Brem will be sentenced in January in Potter County Court.

Snowball Tourney in Olean

OLEAN, NY -- COED 4 A Cause, a private group funding sports-related projects in the area, is looking for softball teams to participate in a 2010 WINTER MUSH BALL SOFTBALL TOURNEY. The tourney, scheduled for Saturday, January 2, at the Forness Fields in Olean, seeks co-ed teams. Team Entry Fee is $150 per team which must be paid before first pitch with all waivers signed. Winners receive Championship shirts and second place gets tourney shirts, which will also be on sale.

Entry rules include rosters with five men and five women with a man and woman as designated hitters for a total of 12 people. Any type of bat is allowed for both men and women. The ball is a mushball, a lot like softball, except the ball is so much softer and larger. There is also an unlimited arc.

Spectators are welcome with coffee, hot cocoa, hamburgers and hot dogs for sale. The cause also seeks tournament sponsors and volunteer umpires. The tourney is being held to purchase a break away fence for Forness 1 for all softball leagues to use next year. For more information or to sign up your team, please call Joe Dupe at 716-307-0699.

Benefit for Area Youth Minister

Chris Abrams is a Limestone resident who volunteers his time with several youth minstries in Bradford. He has served as a volunteer with First Nazarene church's Club Naz, Open Arms Community church's Revolution and Youth for Christ's Campus Life ministries. Chris also spends times with students at Grace Lutheran Church's Community Life Center on a daily basis and has been involved in service trips to Guatemala.

Chris plans to attend Elim Bible Institute in Lima, NY in 2010 in order to further his credentials for working with young people.

A benefit show is planned both to thank Chris for his work in the community and raise funds for his schooling.

"A lot of time, we put on benefit shows for people when something really terrible has happened. We're excited to put this on to help someone do something good!" says Larry Petry, Director of Youth for Christ of the Bradford Area.

The concert will take place Saturday, December 19th at Grace Lutheran's Community Life Center (79 Mechanic Street-behind Country Fair).

The show starts at 6pm and features three local acts: Josh Hatcher (acoustic folk-rock), Who Breaks Darkness (a hardcore band) and Panic Attack (a hip-hop duo).

There will be a small admission charge, with concessions for sale and door prizes for the audience.

For more information about this event, please contact Larry Petry with Youth for Christ, or the Grace Lutheran Community Life Center.

Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association
Awarded Gold Banner

For the 12th consecutive year, the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Alumni Association has earned a Gold Banner Award from the University of Pittsburgh’s Alumni Association.

“A Banner Award at the Gold Level comes with a $500 scholarship, so we are most proud to be able to provide a student with financial assistance in this meaningful way,” said Lindsay Hilton Retchless ’98, director of alumni relations.

The Pitt Alumni Association gives the Gold Banner to constituent alumni groups in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in serving as the link between alumni and the university.

The Association’s Gold Banner Status is the highest level of award and is reserved for those groups demonstrating exceptional performance in alumni communications, student involvement and other partnerships.

Alumnus Christopher Luke, who is the PBAA’s representative to the Pitt Alumni Association, said, “Being a recipient of the Gold Banner Award for the 12th consecutive year is a true testament to the dedication, strength and commitment of the Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association. This is an honor that all 9,000 Pitt-Bradford Alumni can be proud of.”

The PBAA serves alumni through Alumni and Family Weekend, and giving awards for a distinguished alumnus, volunteer and member of the faculty.

The PBAA also helps connect current students with alumni in their field during the Career Networking Luncheon held during Alumni and Family Weekend and the Backpack to Briefcase program held each January and welcomes graduates to its ranks through Graduation Central, a one-stop commencement planning fair, and the graduate dinner for graduates and their families.

For more information or to volunteer, contact the Alumni Relations Office at 814-362-5091 or e-mail

Pictured, top, Lindsay Hilton Retchless ’98, director of alumni relations, and Christopher Luke, the Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association’s representative to the Pitt Alumni Association at an awards gathering at Pitt-Oakland. The second photo shows Luke (center) with Pitt Alumni Association board president F. James McCarl (on the left) and Al Novak, vice chancellor of institutional advancement at Pitt-Oakland.
(Photos courtesy of Pitt-Bradford)

Causer, Others Meet with FHWA

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A dozen members from the Pennsylvania House and Senate who represent districts along the Interstate 80 corridor met with four high-ranking members of the Federal Highway Administration about their concerns regarding the tolling of the highway on Thursday during a meeting on Capitol Hill.

That agency currently is considering an application on behalf of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to toll the 311-mile highway.

The meeting included Reps. Martin Causer (R-McKean/Potter/Cameron), Michele Brooks (R-Crawford/Mercer/Lawrence), Mario Scavello (R-Monroe), Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong), Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk), Brad Roae (R-Crawford), Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Forest/McKean), Dick Stevenson (R-Mercer/Butler), Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango/Butler), Russ Fairchild (R-Union/Snyder), Merle Phillips (R-Northumberland/Snyder), along with Sens. Bob Robbins (R-Mercer) and John Gordner (R-Columbia) and Congressmen Glenn Thompson (R-Centre), Paul Kanjorski (D-Luzerne) and Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Erie). Sen. Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) and Rep. Sam Smith (R-Jefferson) were represented at the meeting by staff members.

"We wanted to present to the FHWA an accurate portrayal of the hardships that are going to be undoubtedly faced by the people most affected by these tolls," the legislators said. "There are going to be real people hurt, real jobs lost and real family-owned businesses and farms devastated by the imposition of tolls. We are here to convey the message from our constituents that tolling I-80 is poor public policy that punishes rural Pennsylvania in favor of more populated areas of the Commonwealth. This is an issue of economic fairness which puts our residents at a significant disadvantage."

The legislators explained to the agency officials three main arguments why I-80 should not be tolled. First, each legislator explained the devastating financial impact tolling will have on their areas and cited numerous companies, manufacturers and industries that would reduce their workforces or close altogether. Transportation estimates range from the tens of thousands of additional dollars per business to upward of $1.2 million.

Those costs would be in addition to the expenses faced by local governments in terms of traffic diversion and the loss of economic activity and economic development opportunities. If I-80 is tolled, one of the corridor's main selling points to new business, industry and expansion is lost.

Second, legislators explained the negative example that would be set if the Turnpike Commission's application were to be approved, especially in light of the controversies, inefficiencies and alleged fraud occurring within the Turnpike Commission. Such an approval would set a dangerous precedent.

Third, members argued that the Turnpike Commission's application does not meet the stringent criteria specifically set forth in federal law. The debt service on such a project would be unmanageable after the first few years and officials with both the Turnpike Commission and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) have publicly admitted that toll revenue would be directed to projects in other areas of the state and for urban mass transit systems. In fact, many of the so-called highway improvements targeted for I-80 and cited by the Turnpike Commission may not even be necessary.

Members requested that the FHWA consider all the facts when determining whether or not the Turnpike Commission's application to toll I-80 meets the strict criteria set forth in the federal government's Interstate System Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Program.

The legislators believe this issue is so important to the residents of their communities that they missed legislative session on Thursday, which included Fairchild, who had a 21-year perfect attendance record.

"It was our goal to have FHWA officials listen carefully to our concerns, and that based on the information presented to them, their decision should be clear cut regarding the lack of merit the I-80 tolling application has," members added. "We again respectfully asked for the application to be denied, and we are hopeful that they recognize how important it is to look at all of the facts presented and make their decision in the fairest way possible."

Thompson to FHWA:
Keep Politics Out of I-80 Decision

U.S. Representative Glenn `GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, today joined 13 members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly for a briefing with the Federal Highway Administration, FHWA, to let them know of their strong opposition to the plan to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s recent application to toll I-80.

“Eleven representatives and two Commonwealth senators made the trip to Washington, despite the fact that they were in session in Harrisburg, in order to let the people who will make the decision on advancing the application for tolling I-80, know just how much this topic means to them and the people they represent,” said Thompson.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Thompson told the Deputy Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, Greg Nadeau, that there are two ways to make this decision. “It can be made under the rule of law, or it can be made based on politics. I hope you follow the intent of the law in your decision.”

On November 19th, Thompson and his House of Representatives colleagues met with FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez to voice their opposition to the tolling plan. Additionally, on December 10th, Thompson wrote to Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood requesting that he reject Pennsylvania’s third attempt at tolling Interstate 80 and to use his discretion to deny subsequent attempts to toll the highway.

Thompson said he thought the meeting was an important and powerful opportunity for the FHWA to hear from 11 state representatives who represent 60,000 people each and the two senators, who represent almost 250,000 people each in the Commonwealth. Joining the delegation from Harrisburg were U.S. Representatives Thompson, Paul Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke, Kathy Dahlkemper, D-Erie.

A separate meeting, set up by FHWA for any elected official, who wanted to voice their opinions on the tolling of I-80. That meeting did not take place because there was no one attended.

Each of the legislators had an opportunity to speak during the more than hour-long session. They addressed varying points, from the current economic constraints along the corridor and how tolling would exacerbate those problems, to the cloud tolling places over future economic development, to the questionable and troublesome history of corruption at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, the lawmakers denounced the efficacy of this current application.

Rep. Matt Gabler, R-Treasure Lake, told the group that businesses in his district have said that if I-80 tolls had been in existence they would never have located in the district. He also expressed deep concern with the integrity of the Turnpike Commission.

Rep. Scott Hutchison, R-Venango, told the FHWA that his area has never recovered from the recession of the 1980s. But he said that the growth that has come has been near the Interstate. “If you take that away, we have almost nothing.”

An aide to Lt. Gov. Joe Scarnatti, R-Brockway, a de facto member of the Turnpike Commission, read a letter objecting to the application to toll I-80.

Nadeau told the lawmakers that the FHWA would complete their review of the application “judiciously and expeditiously.” But he would not provide a timeframe. He said the review was being conducted by a number of offices in his agency and the Department of Transportation.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

FR 123 to Close Temporarily

Forest Road 123 that runs between the Kane Experimental Forest and Twin Lakes Campground near Wilcox will be closed temporarily beginning today.

Officials with the Allegheny National Forest say the road will be closed for two to three months while major road reconstruction and repairs are done.

The project was one of the local projects funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Wal-Mart & Lang Surveying Take Over First Place in Chess League

After the fifth round of play at School Street Elementary, Wal-Mart is in first place. Only half a point behind in second are Pharmacy at Union Square and Dexter’s Service Center. Five of the eight team captains in the varsity remain with perfect scores.

In the JV section, Jessica Yost (member of Drs. Rhinehart team) is in first place. A half point behind in second is Brent Kennedy (captain for Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair). Nate Evan, a member of the Edmond Chevrolet Team, is in third place. The top JV team at the end of round 5 is Lang Surveying followed closely by Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair and Dragonfly Guitar Studio.

There will be no chess club over the holiday break. Matches will continue on Wednesday, January 6. For additional information about the league, email or visit

Results and Standings after round 5:

Varsity Division

Dr. Laroche defeated Bradford Window Company, 1.5-0.5; Parkview Super Market tied with the Pharmacy at Union Square, 1-1; Smith’s Fine Jewelry defeated Dr. Gonzalez, 1.5-0.5; Wal-Mart managed a win over Dexter’s Service Center by ½ point.


Dexter’s Service Center 6.0

Pharmacy at Union Square 6.0

Dr. Laroche

Parkview Super Market

Smith’s Fine Jewelry

Dr. Gonzalez

Bradford Window Co.

Junior Varsity Division

Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair shut out Hamlin Bank, 4-0; Dragonfly Guitar Studio defeated Northwest Savings Bank by two games; Lang Surveying won over Tasta Pizza, 2.5-1.5; Hayden Auto Detailing tied with Drs. Rhinehart, 2-2; Edmond Chevrolet defeated Ed Shults Toyota by 2 points.

Lang Surveying

Dragonfly Guitar Studio

Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair

Edmond Chevrolet

Hayden Auto Detailing

Drs. Rhinehart

Northwest Savings Bank

Tasta Pizza

Hamlin Bank

Ed Shults Toyota

Education Advocates Sue Paterson

A group of teachers and education advocates is suing New York Governor David Paterson over his plan to withhold state aid to schools.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Albany challenges Paterson's ability to delay 10 percent of upcoming aid payments. It claims that Paterson is illegally withholding funds already set aside by the Legislature.

Paterson says holding back $750 million is needed to keep the state from running out of cash

PSP: Remains Found Near Punxsy
Belong to Murdered Woman

Nearly a year after remains were found in the woods south of Punxsutawney investigators have determined they belong to a woman who was murdered 5 to 15 years ago.

Dr. Dennis Dirkmaat of the Applied Forensic Sciences Depart-ment at Mercyhurst College in Erie determined that the victim died from a single gunshot wound to the back of the head. Her body was then dismembered.

State Police say the woman was either black or Hispanic, and likely between the ages of 20 and 50.

The remains were found December 29 by someone walking in the woods in North Mahoning Township.

Tractor-Trailer Crashes on I-86

Two Florida residents suffered minor injuries after a tractor-trailer rolled onto its side this morning in the Town of North Harmony.

Chautauqua County Sheriff's deputies say 23-year-old Everett Halfhill of Hollyhill, Florida, was driving the rig on Interstate 86 at 5:20 when it went out of control, went off the road into a ditch and rolled onto its side.

Halfhill and his passenger, 22-year-old Shannon Dunn, were treated at WCA Hospital in Jamestown.

UPDATE from Sheriff's Department at 11:16 a.m. --

Because of the accident, the westbound lane of I-86 in the Town of North Harmony has been reduced to one lane.

G&B Towing is in the process to remove the overturned tractor-trailer.

Both lanes may be shut down temporarily during the process.

Sewage Sludge to Energy

While you may think some politicians' plans are full of you-know-what, this one really is.

The state House held a hearing Wednesday on using sewage sludge as an energy source.

State Representative Bud George, who chairs the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, says the hearing focused on health concerns related to the plan.

An expert at the hearing testified that drying sludge reduces pathogens and odors and has the potential to reduce disposal costs by 80 percent, provide a cleaner fuel source to power plants, boilers and cement kilns. Methane produced in the drying process also at can be recycled to help power sewage treatment plants.

Man Pleads Guilty in Connection
with Crash that Killed 2 Sisters

A Brockway man has pleaded guilty to homicide by motor vehicle in connection to an accident that killed two sisters and severely injured another.

34-year-old Eric Veltri will be sentenced Monday in Jefferson County Court.

In March of 2008 Veltri was driving under the influence when he crossed the center line of Route 219 in Snyder Township and traveled into the path of a car driven by Delora Burrow-Bradish of Bradford.

Burrow-Bradish was severely injured. Her sisters, Connie Bailey of Brockway and Karen Peters of Newark, Delaware, died in the crash.

Rapp, Gabler Headed to DC

Congressman Glenn Thompson and several of his colleagues have invited their counterparts in the Pennsylvania General Assembly to meet with the Federal Highway Administration today about the proposed tolling of Interstate 80.

Among those attending will be representatives Kathy Rapp and Matt Gabler, and staff members for Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati and House Republican leader Sam Smith.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission's application to toll I-80 is under consideration by the Federal Highway Administration for the third time.

Chautauqua County Offering Free
Computer Training to Seniors

Fredonia, NY -- The Chautauqua County Office for the Aging has announced their office is offering tutorial computer training lessons free of charge to all interested senior citizens (55+ years of age) throughout Chautauqua County. These lessons are funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) through Senior Services of America, Inc.’s Digital Inclusion Program.

Chautauqua County Executive Gregory J. Edwards said the purpose of the Digital Inclusion Program is to bring seniors up to date with current technology.

"The tutorial sessions will teach the seniors basic computer skills using the 'Generations-On-Line' registered software program," Edwards said. "This software was specifically designed to be used by seniors."

The skills include mouse mastery, keyboarding, e-mailing, internet navigation, web searching, and link usage.

Each participant will complete the tutorial sessions at their own pace, utilizing the computer for approximately one hour per session, per week, to be completed in approximately four weeks. A Peer Coach, working in the Senior Aide Employment Program, will be available for training assistance at the site.

Recent statistics indicate that the fastest rising population for computer interest and training is the sixty plus age group. There already is an enthusiastic response from seniors in the community to take this particular training.

Currently, the computer lab at the Fredonia-Pomfret Grape Belt Senior Center at 32 Moore Avenue, Fredonia is open for registration and training sessions. Interested seniors should call Betty Crowell, Coach Coordinator, at (716) 224-0822, to register. The program has initially been scheduled to run now through June, 2010.

The Cattaraugus One Stop Center has also begun to offer classes, and sessions will be available at the Prendergast Library in Jamestown beginning in January, 2010.

Pictured, Back Row: Greg Edwards, Chautauqua County Executive; Linda Spaulding, Coordinator for the Senior Aide Program and Project Director; Jeanine Smith, Fredonia-Pomfret Grape Belt Senior Center Director; Betty Crowell, Digital Inclusion Coordinator; Mary Ann Spanos, Office for the Aging Director. Front Row: Nancy Jager, Computer Trainer; class participants.

(Photo courtesy of Edwards' office)

BRMC Did Not Receive Recalled H1N1 Vaccine for Children

Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC) did not receive any shipments of H1N1 vaccine for children which has been recalled across parts of the country because of some lost strength.

“We want the public to know we did not have any of those lot numbers associated with that recall,” said Gary Malacarne, Pharm.D., the hospital’s pharmacy director.

“The H1N1 vaccines we’ve administered to children were from an entirely different lot number and do not have any lost strength. We want to stress that to parents and family members to ally any concerns,” Dr. Malacarne said.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

AAA Predicts Travel Increase

AAA is projecting 87.7 million Americans will be traveling 50 miles or more away from home during the year-end holidays. This is a 3.8 percent increase from the 84.5 million Americans who traveled during the same Christmas / New Year period one year ago, and is the largest projected increase for any major holiday this year.

The number of travelers by automobile is expected to be 77.7 million in 2009 compared to 74.4 million last year; an increase of 4.4 percent. The number of travelers by air is expected be 4.2 million compared to 4.1 million in 2008; an increase of 2.9 percent. The number of those traveling by “other” means, including, trains, watercraft, buses and multiple-modes of transportation, is expected to be 5.8 million compared to 6.0 million last year, AAA said. Last year, the total number of travelers during the year-end holidays was 84.5 million; a decline of 4.7 percent from 2007.

“An increase in holiday travel signifies that consumers are more optimistic about their personal financial situations,” said AAA East Central’s Jim Lehman, Senior Vice President. “The moderate projected rise in the number of air travelers this holiday period is especially welcome since the airline industry was hit especially hard by the recession.”

AAA’s projections are based on research conducted by IHS Global Insight. The Lexington, Mass.-based economic research and consulting firm teamed with AAA earlier this year as part of an agreement to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. For purposes of this forecast the year-end holidays travel period is defined as trips that include travel of 50 miles or more away from home during the period from Wednesday, Dec. 23 to Sunday, Jan. 3. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight 2009 year-end holidays forecast can be found at

Gasoline prices – while higher – will not deter holiday travelers, AAA says

Eighty-eight percent of year-end vacationers are expected to travel by automobile, while five percent are projected to go by air. In November, the time when most people make decisions in regards to year-end travel, average gasoline prices were over $.50 more expensive per gallon than they were in November 2008. Despite these higher prices, AAA believes the impact of higher fuel costs on year-end travel will be minimal. This is because the average cost of self-serve regular gasoline remains well-below $3 per gallon, and because prices have been fairly stable since mid-October; staying between $2.60 and $2.70 per gallon on a nationwide average basis.

Average spending will be $1,009 and average distance traveled will be 791 miles

Americans are expected to spend approximately $1,009 per household on travel during the Christmas / New Year period. The largest average share of all spending will be on transportation and transportation-related charges. Approximately 11.6 percent of spending will go toward lodging. Dining will account for 17.6 percent of total holiday spend, while shopping will account for 17.6 percent. Entertainment and recreation expenses will account for 13.1 percent of the average travel budget.

Christmas / New Year travelers will average of 791 miles roundtrip this upcoming holiday weekend. An estimated forty percent of travelers will journey more than 700 miles round trip. One-quarter (25 percent) of travelers will log between 251 and 700 miles. More than one-third (35 percent) of travelers will travel 250 miles or less round trip.

Airfare and rental car cost to be slightly higher, lodging expense will be lower

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index - a monitor of pricing in 20 popular cities across the US for hotel and car rentals, car rental rates will increase; up two percent to an average of $50 per day for a mid-size car versus $49 per day last year. Rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to be 10 percent less than last year with travelers spending an average of $119 per night. Travelers planning to stay at AAA Two Diamond lodgings will pay 6 percent less than last year; an average of $86 per night. These are the lowest average lodging rates for this time period since 2004.

Paterson Approval Numbers Up

New York Governor David Paterson's approval rating has gone up.

He still has more people viewing him unfavorably than favorably, but the Quinnipiac Polling Institute says Paterson's tough talk on the budget crisis boosted his number.

The poll shows 38 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of the governor while 44 percent view him unfavorably. 40 percent say they approve of the job Paterson is doing while 49 percent disapprove.

Those are the best numbers for Paterson since February.

Assault at Warren State Hospital

Another assault has been reported at Warren State Hospital.

Police say 32-year-old Buddy Steadman punched 53-year-old Terry Wolfe and 36-year-old Michael Smoot at the hospital.

Wofle and Smoot's injuries required medical attention.

Corry Man Made Child Porn

A Corry man has pleaded guilty to making child pornography and keeping it on his computer.

52-year-old Mark Brecker admitted that he sexually exploited a 1 1/2-year-old child between August and October 2008 and filmed the abuse.

He faces at least 15 years in federal prison when he's sentenced April 9.

Prosecutors traced seven movies depicting the sexual abuse of children to Brecker's computer. When they executed a search warrant at his home they found 180 images of child pornography, as well as movies that depicted Brecker performing sex acts on a child in his home.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

House Passes SB 711

The state House has passed Senate Bill 711, the table games bill.

The Senate still has to act on the measure. The Senate will be back in session in the morning.

DeWeese Resigns as Whip

State Representative Bill DeWeese has just resigned his position as Majority Whip.

DeWeese was charged earlier in the day in connection with the Bonusgate investigation.

State Board Re-elects Pascarella

Kathy Pascarella, director of Bradford Regional Medical Center’s (BRMC’s) McKean County VNA & Hospice, has been re-elected to the Pennsylvania Homecare Association (PHA) Board of Directors for a three-year term.

The PHA board represents the state’s homecare and hospice industry which provides medical, personal and end-of-life care in the homes of approximately 750,000 Pennsylvanians each year.

Mrs. Pascarella also has been appointed chair of the Education Committee which develops educational programming, including continuing education and professional development workshops and PHA’s annual conference. She has also served on the board’s executive committee and PHA Foundation since first being elected in 2006.

“I’m honored to once again have the opportunity to represent my peers in homecare,” Mrs. Pascarella said. “The PHA board brings a collective strength in addressing the issues that impact home health care and challenges me to be a better director and stronger advocate for homecare agencies and patients.”

Mrs. Pascarella has been a registered nurse for 32 years with 25 years of experience in home health and hospice. She has served as director of the VNA for seven years with responsibilities for the operation, planning and coordination of all VNA activities and programs. She previously served the VNA as director of patient services, director of nursing and as a staff RN.

Additionally, Mrs. Pascarella chairs the Homecare Council of Western Pennsylvania and is a member of several committees at the VNA and BRMC.

Owls on the Air and on the 'Net

The Bradford Owls travel to Warren tonight to battle the Dragons in a non league basketball matchup. Owls pregame on the air at 7:20 with Dave Fuhrman’s coaches show on 1490 WESB and on the web at

Warren is 2-0 and the Owls are 1-0.

Voice of the Owls Frank Williams and Tom Bowes will call the game.

ANF Drilling Ban Lifted

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Representative Glenn `GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, today issued the following statement after Judge Sean McLaughlin of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania issued an injunction lifting the ban on drilling permits in the Allegheny National Forest:

“I’ve had confidence all along in the State’s ability to take care of the environment in the Allegheny National Forest—confidence in the local industry and the citizens of the four-county area, who have been exceptional stewards of the environment for decades.

“The local stakeholders have taken care of the Forest for 86 years with the State Department of Environmental Protection providing some of the best enforcement in the Nation. It looks as if the Judge agreed the Commonwealth does not need outside environmental groups to come in and tell them how to do things.

“This ruling allows companies to bring their employees back to work and plan for the future. The decision by the U.S. Forest Service to stop permitting—and, by extension, drilling, for so-called `environmental reasons’ was wrong from the start and did irreversible harm to the local economy.

“This decision is a victory for state’s rights and for local control. It allows drilling to commence and stops the need for those who own drilling rights to prepare a National Environmental Policy Act study as a precondition to the exercise of private oil and gas rights in the ANF.

“This also is a victory for the hard-working people of northwest and north central Pennsylvania, who anxiously have been waiting for the opportunity to go back to work in the Forest they love, and where they have supported their families for several generations.”

McLaughlin held an evidentiary hearing in August in regard to preliminary injunction filed by Minard Run Oil Company, the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Association, the Allegheny Forest Alliance and Warren County.

The parties were seeking the injunction against a settlement in a previous lawsuit that called for the US Forest Service to perform analysis that was in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act before approving future oil and gas development on the forest.

You can see a copy of the judge's ruling here. (PDF)

'Exceptional Value' Waterways

Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger announced today that 265 miles of streams in Pennsylvania will receive increased protection after being designated as “exceptional value” waterways by the Environmental Quality Board

The waterways receiving the new designation include Young Womans Creek in Clinton, Lycoming and Potter counties; and Blue Eye Run and East Hickory Creek in Warren County.

Buliga Promoted to Associate
Professor with Tenure at UPB

Dr. Marius Buliga has been promoted to associate professor of mathematics with tenure at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

“Dr. Buliga is a dedicated and effective teacher,” said Dr. Yong-Zhuo Chen, professor of mathematics and chairman of the Division of Physical and Computational Sciences.

“His research record is of good quality and more than sufficient to support the promotion. He is also a collegial colleague and plays a crucial leadership role by serving as the mathematics program director. I believe he will continue to make valuable contributions to our university in the years ahead.”

Among the classes he has taught since joining the faculty in 2002 are Calculus I and II, Linear Algebra, Operations Research, Abstract Algebra and Numerical Analysis.

Buliga’s area of research includes graph theory and the use of mathematical software and Java applets for teaching math at an undergraduate level.

He is co-author of the book, “The Elementary Catastrophe Theory: A Survey.”

Buliga earned his doctoral degree in mathematics and master of science degree in information science from the University of Pittsburgh in 2002. He also holds a master of science degree in computer science from the West University of Timisoara, Romania, which also granted his bachelor of science degree in computer science.

Before coming to Pitt-Oakland in 1997 for his graduate studies, Buliga worked as an assistant professor and taught programming languages at the Polytechnical University of Timisoara for two years. After finishing his doctorate in Pittsburgh, he came to Pitt-Bradford to work as an assistant professor of mathematics.

United Way at 83 Percent of Goal

You’d think it was the middle of summer on the west coast with as quickly as the United Way of the Bradford Area is heating things up in the local community!

“How is this for an update?” asked Executive Director Kelly Case, announcing that the organization has currently raised 83% of its $325,000 monetary goal. “We’ve raised that thermometer almost thirty percent in a little over a week’s time!”

The annual fundraising drive ended on Tuesday, but officials say that there is still time to submit your pledge.

“We are planning to make an announcement regarding goal status on January 5,” says Executive Director Mandi Wilton Davis. “Obviously any pledges that are sent our way prior to March 31, 2010 will be counted towards this appeal, but we want to be able to say in a few short weeks where we will stand.”

The office is encouraging the local community members and businesses to commit to giving to the 2009 appeal, adding that payments can be received throughout the entire 2010 calendar year.

“All you have to do right now is commit to something,” says Davis, “and we will work with you to make payment arrangements.”

“We are extremely excited and so appreciative of the support we’ve received so far,” added Case, “but we’re not there yet. We still have to raise about $52,000 by January 5th, so we’ll be working diligently in that time to meet that goal.”

The United Way Board of Directors was given the news at the regular monthly meeting Tuesday morning.

“What an impressive feat,” says member Marcia Avey. “This is truly a testament to the hard work and dedication of not only Kelly and Mandi, but the entire board of directors and all of the agency representatives who have been so supportive this year.”

“We are looking forward to the response we get from the Bradford community in the next few weeks,” says board President Dan Manion. “We all walked away from the meeting with an assignment sheet, so we will be working closely with the staff to finalize this appeal.”

In other United Way news, the organization has decided to continue its gift-wrapping effort until December 23rd.

“With permission from the Board of Directors, we have agreed to help out the community and offer this service throughout the remaining days until Christmas,” says Case.

“As was offered last week, you may drop off your purchases to our office at 161 Main Street and we will take care of the wrapping,” added Davis. “The cost will remain $1 - $5, based on the size of the gift, and all materials will be provided for you.”
For more information on the United Way, feel free to contact the office or visit the website.

Pitt-Bradford Students Present at
Undergrad Research Conference

Ten students from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford presented original research about topics ranging from Otavalan textile culture to the impact of technology at the 10th Annual Penn-York Undergraduate Research Association Conference held at Hilbert College in Hamburg, N.Y.

Aimee Appleby, a sociology major from Bradford, presented “Beyond the Stigma of Disabilities.” Her research looked at how non-disabled people alter their behavior when interacting with those who are visibly physically or mentally disabled.

Jennifer Callahan, a sociology major from Bradford, presented “What You See and What You Can Get: Finding Romance on MySpace.” Her research examined the influence of MySpace and other social networking sites on relationships and dating.

Jessica Northeimer, a sociology major from Coudersport, presented “Behavioral Changes Among Correctional Officers.” Northeimer interviewed correctional officers in a local prison to see how working with criminals has affected them.

Jason Nussbaum, a human relations major from Saint Marys, presented “Economic Activities of Children: Children and Labor in Latin America.” Nussbaum gathered data and conducted research for the paper about children’s economic contributions to their families during a trip in summer 2009 to Otavalo, Ecuador, with Dr. Michael Stuckart, professor of anthropology.

Stacy A. Postlewait, a sociology major from Kane, presented “The Effects of Cell Phones on Teenagers, Parents and Education.” Postlewait concluded that “society has not kept up with the pace of technology. We, as a society need to determine what the social values and norms are to be regarding cell phone etiquette, and we need to model these behaviors to our children and students.”

Rachel Thayer, a social sciences major from Warren, presented “Common Challenges Faced by First-generation College Students.” Thayer, a first-generation student herself, interviewed 20 first-generation students and found that they face challenges such as lack of family support, financial difficulties and family obligations.

Mary Tucker, a sociology major from Emporium, presented “Online Social Networking Among Adolescents.” Her research examined the possible positive and negative effects of online socializing among adolescents.

William C. Updegrove, a criminal justice major from Bradford, presented “A New Approach to Drug Prevention.” He discussed the Drug Abuse Research Education program, how it is not working according to scientific standards and how it might be improved.

Jennifer Yohe, a sociology major from Bradford, presented a paper on “Men and Jewelry.” Yohe examined the phenomenon of high-school and college-aged males wearing jewelry such as earrings, bracelets, necklaces and tongue and eyebrow rings.

Kaitlin Zapel, a human relations major from Bradford, presented a paper on “Women and Weaving in Rural Ecuador.” Zapel also gathered her data and conducted research for her paper during a trip to Ecuador with Stuckart.

“One of the goals of the Penn-York Undergraduate Research Association is to provide a nurturing and supportive environment for student researchers, and the conference is a way to showcase their efforts. The event also gives participants an opportunity to interact with faculty and students from other institutions,” said Dr. Edward Pristach, Hilbert associate professor of psychology who is on the conference planning committee.

Other colleges participating were Alfred University, Canisius College, Houghton College, Nazareth College and the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville.

Governor Rendell Takes Steps to
Assure Balanced State Budget

Harrisburg – Governor Edward G. Rendell today said that additional spending cuts are needed to keep the current budget in balance as a result of a continuing decline in state revenues caused by a slow national economic recovery.

Without additional cuts, the administration projects a revenue shortfall of $450 million when the current budget year ends June 30. That amount would represent 1.5 percent of estimated General Fund revenues. The revenue shortfall for the first five months of the fiscal year was $217 million.

To address the projected shortfall, Governor Rendell has directed a freeze of $170 million, which is a less than one percent reduction in state expenditures. The state will also recoup $50 million from prior-year unspent funds and will plan to draw $230 million from a year-end surplus originally projected at $354 million. That will leave $124 million to serve as a cushion against further erosion of finances.

"In developing the current budget, we were very conservative in setting our revenue estimates and our spending levels. The wisdom of that course is now apparent, with the national economic recovery too weak to produce improvement in state revenues," Governor Rendell said. "Pennsylvania will continue to restrain spending in response to economic uncertainty."

State spending in the current budget is $1.9 billion lower than it was in 2008-09. When federal stimulus funds of $2.6 billion are counted, the $27.8 billion budget is still $524 million less than last fiscal year.

During the recent protracted budget debate, proposals surfaced to increase the estimated rate of revenue growth by 0.8 percent, but the administration prudently insisted on assuming no growth. Had the administration not insisted on being conservative in its revenue estimate, the $450 million projected shortfall would have been another $200 million higher.

"When we finalized the budget in October, we were careful not to assume that the economy would climb out of the recession too quickly," Governor Rendell said. "We kept our revenue estimate at last year’s levels and we built a modest surplus into our balance sheet to help cover additional shortfalls."

Although the economy has been stagnant thus far in 2009, some preliminary encouraging signs appeared nationally at the end of November. Retail sales rose more than expected as shoppers headed into the holiday season, a possible sign that consumer spending could be improving. That would be cause for optimism, as the state sales tax is the largest single component of the shortfall. The sales tax (non-motor vehicle) was off by $150.6 million and Personal Income Tax collections were $105.5 million less than anticipated in the first five months of the fiscal year. Corporate taxes and some other tax categories were higher than expected.

These problems appear at a time when the 50 states generally face what the National Governors Association has called "one of the worst, if not the worst, fiscal periods since the Great Depression." States feel increasing budgetary pressure from rising human services demands, growing prison populations and high unemployment at the very time revenues are in decline. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate for October was 8.8 percent – unchanged from September.

While caution is still necessary, a Pew study of the fiscal status of the states found Pennsylvania among the 10 best in financial condition. Pennsylvania ranked seventh in the nation for fiscal stability, and is the only state in the northeast and the only large industrial state to appear in the top 10. Pennsylvania’s revenue decline was only half the national average.

Governor Rendell stressed that the state still needs to enact gaming legislation designed to produce $250 million for the General Fund. Having that money available is a prerequisite to releasing funds for state-related universities and other non-preferred appropriations recipients, in order to have a balanced budget as required by the constitution.

The state also must enact capital debt authorization legislation to pay for previous state commitments toward capital improvement projects. That funding is critical to numerous construction projects that keep workers on the job and produce economic growth. The debt bill is currently before the state Senate, as is a bill that makes changes in the Welfare Code which are necessary to ensure further savings.

In addition to the actions announced today, the Rendell administration continues its ongoing efforts to contain the costs of state government. Since January 2003, the state workforce has declined overall by 4.8 percent – largely through attrition. During fiscal year 2009-10, the state has furloughed 721 employees and eliminated more than 2,000 vacant positions. A freeze on salaries of managers and non-union employees beginning in January 2009 has saved $87.3 million.

The Rendell administration’s commitment to reducing the cost of government produced $1.75 billion in recurring annual management and productivity savings in 2008-09. These include savings through better procurement practices, administrative operations and program efficiencies.

"Even as we take action to balance the budget and meet our financial obligations in the current year, we must look ahead and plan ways to address the enormous strains that Pennsylvania will face in the years to come," Governor Rendell said. "The long-term fiscal challenges that confront us will require difficult choices and political courage. The longer we wait to take them on, the more difficult those problems will be to solve."

DeWeese, Stetler Facing Charges

State House Democratic Whip Bill DeWeese and former state Revenue Secretary Stephen Stetler, who resigned this morning, have been charged in connection with the Bonusgate investigation.

DeWeese is the second former House speaker named in the investigation. Former speaker John Perzel of Philadelphia is among 10 people with ties to House Republicans who have been charged.

25 people connected to the House of Representatives have been charged so far. Thursday, in the first trial stemming from the investigation, former state representative Sean Ramaley was found not guilty of all charges.

For more on this story, including video and the grand jury presentments, you can go to the attorney general's Web site.

OGH Names Kohl as ED Manager

Maureen Kohl has been appointed Olean General Hospital’s Emergency Department Manager, announced Cathleen Wright, the hospital’s Vice President/Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer.

“Maureen brings a wide array of experience to the position, holding staff and management positions in the private and public sectors,” said Ms. Wright.
A graduate of Jamestown Community College’s business administration and nursing programs and also Houghton College’s business program, Ms. Kohl recently served as Emergency Department Manager at WCA Hospital in Jamestown. She also is a certified sexual assault nurse examiner and a former flight nurse and paramedic.
An active member on numerous community services boards and committees, Ms. Kohl also has been recognized for her leadership in domestic violence and sexual assault.

(Photo courtesy of Upper Allegheny Health System.)

Free H1N1 Clinics at BRMC

Four free H1N1 flu clinics for anyone older than six months of age will be held, starting this week, in Bradford Regional Medical Center’s (BRMC’s) main lobby.

First- and second-dose vaccination clinics will be held 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday of this week and also Monday and Tuesday of next week, said BRMC officials. Those being inoculated will first have to register in BRMC’s main lobby, located off North Bennett Street.

Getting the H1N1 vaccination is considered one of the best ways to reduce chances of getting the virus which has caused a global pandemic. Health officials are recommending all individuals to be inoculated.

“This is the perfect time to be immunized during the current downturn before the next H1N1 flu surge occurs,” said Terrie O’Brien, BRMC’s infection control practitioner.

“Ample doses of the vaccine will be available for all four days at BRMC so people should not be concerned about supplies running out during the clinics,” she said.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated the high-risk categories which should get H1N1 flu vaccination are: those between the ages of six months and 24 years; pregnant women; parents, household members or caregivers of children under six months; healthcare providers and emergency services personnel; and individuals younger than age 65 with underlying health conditions including asthma, diabetes, suppressed immune systems, heart disease, kidney disease, and neurocognitive and neuromuscular disorders.

Brian Walters, D.O., BRMC’s Emergency Department chairman, has said other high-risk groups for H1N1 include those with disorders that can compromise respiratory function, immunosuppression caused by medication or by HIV, those under age 19 who are on chronic aspirin therapy, and individuals over age 65.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the H1N1 flu is a new strain that spreads from person-to-person just as the seasonal flu does, and is expected to be widespread this flu season.

More Bonusgate Charges

Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett has scheduled a news conference for 1 p.m. today to announce more charges stemming from the Bonusgate investigation.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hoops on the Air & on the 'Net

You can listen to Lady Owls/Lady Terrors basketball on 1490 WESB and online at at 7:20 tonight. Stefan Arlington and John Marasco will call the game.

BRMC Physicians Strive to
Inform Public About H1N1 Flu

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

The chance of getting the H1N1 flu can be greatly reduced by getting a vaccination, as supplies become available, practicing good hygiene etiquette and making sure those who’ve contracted the flu stay home until their symptoms subside so it’s not spread to others.

Those are just a few of the key points being made by Bradford Regional Medical Center’s (BRMC’s) Brian Walters, D. O., Emergency Department chairman, and Rebecca Truax Miller, M.D., of Pediatric Associates as they strive to inform the public about what should be done as the global pandemic continues to unfold. Dr. Miller also is chairman of Pediatrics and president of BRMC’s Medical Staff.

“Getting the vaccine is the most important prevention measure people can take,” said Dr. Miller.

As more H1N1 vaccine becomes available, BRMC will schedule additional clinics, the physicians said.

The H1N1 vaccine, procured by the U.S. government from four manufacturers, is being offered either as an injection containing an inert virus or a nasal spray with a weakened live virus.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that eventually there will be enough H1N1 vaccine for everyone who wants to receive it, but that may be weeks or months away.

To combat the H1N1 flu, it’s also vital to practice good hygiene etiquette by washing hands frequently with soap and water or using alcohol-based sanitizers, and covering mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing, said Dr. Walters.

“The H1N1 virus can be spread through the droplets of sneezes or coughs, or touching surfaces infected by people with the virus,” noted Dr. Miller.

To protect others, people should use a tissue to cover a sneeze or cough. If that’s not possible, people are urged to sneeze or cough into their elbow and not their hand, said Dr. Walters.

“This method also avoids infecting your hands and keeps germs from spreading to people or surfaces around you,” he noted.

Unlike the seasonal flu which targets the elderly and those with medical conditions, the H1N1 flu particularly strikes children, young adults and those with medical conditions.

“We have more children with the flu for this time of the year,” said Dr. Miller.
The H1N1 flu causes symptoms similar to seasonal flu and can include fever, coughing and/or sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and/or body aches, chills, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea, the physicians said.

“Some of these symptoms can last for seven to 10 days,” Dr. Walters said.

People infected with H1N1 flu are contagious one day before getting sick and up to seven days afterwards, Dr. Walters noted.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated the high-risk categories which should get H1N1 flu vaccination are: those between the ages of six months and 24 years; pregnant women; parents, household members or caregivers of children under six months; healthcare providers and emergency services personnel; and individuals younger than age 65 with underlying health conditions including asthma, diabetes, suppressed immune systems, heart disease, kidney disease, and neurocognitive and neuromuscular disorders.

Dr. Walters said other high-risk groups for H1N1 include those with disorders that can compromise respiratory function, immunosuppression caused by medication or by HIV, those under age 19 who are on chronic aspirin therapy, and individuals over age 65.

In the event a person does become sick, they should stay at home. This step is one of the best ways to keep the H1N1 flu from spreading, the physicians said.

Additionally, individuals must stay at home until at least 24 hours after their fever ends naturally, meaning without the use of fever-reducing medication.

“Those with the flu should avoid contact with others as much as possible,” Dr. Miller said.

Additionally, drink plenty of clear fluids such as water, broth, sports drinks and electrolyte beverages to keep from being dehydrated, Dr. Miller said. “Flu sufferers should get plenty of rest as well.”

Meanwhile, “H1N1 flu sufferers should watch for worsening symptoms which may require emergency care,” said Dr. Walters.

In children, Dr. Walters said the warning signs that emergency medical care is required include: fast breathing or trouble breathing; bluish or gray skin color; not drinking enough fluids; severe or persistent vomiting; not waking up or interacting; being so irritable that the child does not want to be held; flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough; and fever with a rash.

In adults, the emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention are: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath; pain or pressure in the chest of abdomen; sudden dizziness; confusion; severe or persistent vomiting; and flu-like symptoms improve but then return.

“To be safe, individuals in the highest risk categories suffering with severe symptoms should come to the Emergency Department,” Dr. Walters said.

Bradford Regional Medical Center 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, or

To listen to a recent LiveLine with doctors Walters and Miller on this topic, click here.

Safety Program Marks Milestone

ALBANY, NY—The New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) announced today that it has made safe the 700th tractor via its innovative rollover protection system (ROPS) rebate program, the only program of its kind in the United States. Cattaraugus County fruit farmer Dave Wilbur’s International tractor was retrofitted with the assistance of the ROPS program, bringing the program to this significant milestone.

“Agriculture remains one of the most hazardous industries in the U.S., with tractor overturns producing the greatest number of agricultural-related fatalities. Apart from the pain and suffering from the loss of loved ones in fatal incidents, there are many more roll-overs resulting in serious injury that have left farming families in ruin because a member of the family has been permanently maimed. The ROPS rebate program has been an important and proven means of preventing this type of heartbreaking tragedy from happening and I am proud to have worked with our farming community to make this successful program possible and to reach this incredible milestone,” said New York State Senator Catharine M. Young (57th Senate District), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Sen. Young and NYCAMH representatives presented Wilbur with his rebate check to help recognize the success of the ROPS program.

According to NYCAMH, a farmer’s risk of dying on the job is 800 percent higher than that of the average American worker. Tractor overturns are the primary cause of these fatal and permanently crippling injuries. In the event of a rollover, the use of ROPS and a seatbelt reduces the risk of injury by 99 percent. Tractors built after 1985 have built-in rollover protection, but most tractors in use today are older than that.

“Today, we can say unequivocally that the program is a success; the ROPS program has helped protect hundreds of farmers, their family members and workers from serious injury or even death due to a tractor overturn,” said NYCAMH’s Director Dr. John May. “Without the support of the Senate and Assembly Agriculture Committee members, this crucial program would not be possible.”

In working with a farmer, ROPS program staff find the appropriate kit to retrofit the tractor, assist farmers in completing their order and send a check to the farmer after they purchase the ROPS, up to 70% of the cost or a maximum of $765.

Wilbur and wife, Elaine, own Markham Highlands Farm in Markham, New York. They raised longhorn cattle for a number of years and are in the process of transitioning to an orchard. Their farm is 130 acres with some hills, land that years earlier was a part of the original Markham Farmstead where Wilbur’s ancestors, Joshua and Anna Markham, settled in 1858.

Wilbur has known about the ROPS program for several months and intended to purchase one, primarily because his son Kurt is spending more time on the tractor. Then a near-rollover incident this summer provided the impetus for his call to NYCAMH.

“I planned to call and just before I did, I took her up on her side and for a minute I wasn’t sure whether it would fly over,” Wilbur recalls. “So I decided to call. I don’t think that it would have gone over, but it scared me.”

While farming has never been his full-time employment, Wilbur hopes to continue farming as long as he can as his son increases his responsibility and, ultimately, inherits the farm. “The ROPS was simple,” he said. “I installed it myself in less than an hour. I should have done it a long time ago and my wife now sleeps better at night.”

Farmers may call toll free 1-877-ROPS-R4U (or 1-877-767-7748) for more information.

Research Cooperative Receives
Funding for Intervention Study

The Northwest Pennsylvania Adolescent Alcohol Research Cooperative has received a $3.2 million grant from the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism to test an intervention to reduce alcohol use among rural adolescents.

The cooperative is comprised of three University of Pittsburgh Centers: the Center for Rural Health Practice at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, the Pittsburgh Adolescent Alcohol Research Center and the University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Health Care.

“Rural youth are at risk of having more alcohol-related problems and earlier, too,” said Dr. Youmasu Siewe, director of the Center for Rural Health at Pitt-Bradford.

“Because of the bio-psychosocial roles that physicians play in their rural medical practice communities, this study will enhance teen-physician interaction in the clinical setting and allow better assessment of under-age drinking, prevention of related psychosocial problems and fatal motor-vehicle crashes.”

The Center for Rural Health Practice will receive about one-third of the grant money over five years to conduct its portion of the research project.

Dr. Duncan Clark, principal investigator of the project and director of the Pittsburgh Adolescent Research Center at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, said that work on this project began when the NIAAA was looking for plans to engage rural doctors in addressing underage drinking.

In 2006, the Pitt coalition was one of four groups nationwide chosen to receive funding to develop an approach with collaborating primary care practitioners. The Pitt group has now received a five-year grant to test the approach.

Through the Center for Rural Health Practice, primary care physicians in an eight-county region were surveyed. Researchers conducted focus groups of doctors, adolescents (those under 20) and parents to determine the extent of underage drinking.

They also asked the groups whether they would be receptive to using a computer survey to help identify problems with alcohol and use an Internet-based intervention.

The physicians indicated that they realize underage drinking is a problem and would like to perform some sort of intervention, but felt they had neither the time nor the training to do so, Clark said.

He proposed using adolescents’ comfort with technology to allow them to complete an alcohol assessment that would be immediately sent to the physician along with a recommended prevention or treatment plan.

Three practices in Bradford, Warren and Punxsutawney have tested the computer survey and Internet-based intervention.

“About 500 adolescents from these three practices have participated so far,” Clark explained. “A psychiatric diagnosis of alcohol abuse or dependence was unusual in younger adolescents (about 2 percent for ages 12 to 14 years old), but the percentage reached adult levels of 8 or 9 percent among those 15 to 20 years old. These statistics indicate that alcohol problems occur in many teens in our area.”

While patients were in the practices’ waiting rooms, they used a computer to complete the assessment. Physicians use the report generated by the system to discuss any alcohol use or related problems with the patient.

One advantage to the computer-administered assessment, research associate Tony Sowers noted, is that adolescents often feel more comfortable answering sensitive questions this way instead of face-to-face with a physician.

Research associate Nickole Egger, who worked with Warren Pediatric Associates to test its patients, agreed. “Kids are engaged in the process,” she said. “They like that it’s confidential, and some parents said they are glad because someone will talk with their children about alcohol.”

Sowers, who worked with a physician in Punxsutawney, said he also received a lot of positive feedback from parents as well as physicians.

“The practitioners are really welcoming this information,” he said.

After reviewing the assessment, physicians can recommend a confidential, customized Internet-based prevention program that has been successfully used at the high school and university level.

“It’s a modest intervention,” Clark said, “but it is adequate for the vast majority of adolescents.”

Physicians could also recommend traditional addictions treatment for the patient, if needed.

Having tested the method in a small number of rural practices with success, the second phase of the project will involve 2,000 adolescents in 10 practices.

“This project would be impossible without the vital combination of these three centers,” Clark said, noting that the project now involves 37 physicians, a dozen faculty members and a dozen research assistants, including Eggers and Sowers at Pitt-Bradford.

Area Projects Get Federal Dollars

Clarion County will be getting $500,000 in federal funding for a project that will enhance communications during emergency situations.

Clarion County will work in partnership with the Northwest Central Emergency Response Group, which consists of Clarion, McKean, Cameron, Clearfield, Elk and Jefferson counties.

The purpose of the project is promoting seamless interoperability capabilities among counties, hospitals, and regional, state and federal agencies.

Also, the Area Transportation Authority of North Central PA will receive $360,000 to replace public transit vehicles in McKean, Cameron, Clearfield, Elk, Jefferson and Potter counties.

And, Charles Cole Memorial Hospital and Elk Regional Health Center will each receive $100,000 in federal funding.

Charles Cole's money will go toward expansion and renovation of the Emergency Department. Elk Regional's money will go toward buying digital mammography equipment.

The funding was announced today by senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey, and Congressman Glenn Thompson.

From Harrisburg ..

House Democrats have voted down the House Republicans' attempt to interrupt the vote on Senate Bill 711 and immediately vote funding for Penn State, Pitt, Lincoln & Temple.

Thank you, Scott Little!

SBU Alum Wins Award for
Jefferson Davis Film

By Tom Missel
Director of Media Relations/Marketing

A 1993 St. Bonaventure University graduate’s documentary film on the life of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy during the Civil War, has won the coveted 2009 Peter Rollins Film Award for Best Documentary from the American Culture Association.

“Jefferson Davis: An American President” was directed, edited, co-produced and co-written by SBU alumnus Brian Gary, co-founder and CEO of Flying Chaucer Films of Los Angeles, Calif.

Gary isn’t the documentary’s only connection to St. Bonaventure. One of the Civil War scholars interviewed in the film is retired SBU history professor Dr. Edward Eckert, Board of Trustees Professor Emeritus at St. Bonaventure and a former academic dean and vice president.

Additionally, Gary’s SBU classmate and roommate his junior and senior years, New York City-based entertainment attorney David Davoli, is the attorney for Flying Chaucer Films and helped secure the recent nationwide release of the documentary on DVD.

The Davis documentary, which was five years in the making, was born from a bit of serendipity – a meeting between Gary and Percival Beacroft, the owner of Rosemont Plantation in Woodville, Miss., Davis’s boyhood home.

Gary and his wife, Wendi Berman, co-founder of Flying Chaucer Films who is also a co-writer and co-producer of the Davis documentary, met Beacroft while visiting Gary’s family in New Orleans about eight years ago. “Beacroft told me that for the past 15 years he’d been trying to get a feature film made of Jefferson Davis’s life,” said Gary.

Gary suggested instead that they do a documentary. “A feature film is a total crapshoot. All it takes is for it not to do well and you’ve lost everything,” said Gary. A documentary, on the other hand, especially one in the Civil War genre, has staying power. “There are whole sections in bookstores just on the Civil War,” said Gary. “A documentary will sit on bookshelves and in gift shops from now until the end of time.”

He and Berman were surprised to learn that their project would be the first of its kind. “No one had ever done a documentary on Jefferson Davis,” said Gary. “As far as we knew we were the first documentary project on the life of the guy who was the president of the Confederacy, and that just blew us away. We saw the opportunity to make something unique here.”

The filmmakers spent months interviewing subjects, researching records at the Library of Congress and National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and shooting film. In the end they had amassed 110 hours of video and some 6,000 still images. Gary and Berman spent more than two years editing the material, writing the script as they went, all the while juggling an assortment of other Flying Chaucer projects.

Their goal in the documentary was to offer a look at Davis that goes beyond the oversimplified characterizations of Civil War figures one gets from high school textbooks.

“Davis could be painted as a villain if you wanted to just have a very black and white look at history, but once you start peeling back the layers it gets very tricky and complicated,” said Gary. “You’re dealing with a West Point graduate, a Mexican War hero, a U.S. senator and Secretary of War – a patriot who shed blood for his country and yet, at the same time, believed slavery was a proper institution.

“We tried to offer a very balanced look at the guy – not apologize, not blow anything out of proportion, but just kind of lay out this man’s life and let people figure out for themselves what they will about him.”

When Gary was assembling his cast of Civil War experts to serve as his documentary’s “talking heads,” Dr. Eckert’s name was high on the list. Gary had taken two courses from Eckert at St. Bonaventure and knew he had written a book about Davis’ years in prison after the war.

Eckert remembers the phone call from his former student. “It came out of nowhere – totally unexpected,” he said. “I remembered him, but I didn’t know he was in the filmmaking business.”

Gary was one of those students you don’t forget, said Eckert.

“He was an excellent student, an honors student. Not only was he very bright, but he was creative as hell,” said Eckert. “The thing that just blew my mind was his honors project. He wrote, directed, produced and starred in his own play. This kid had such creativity and he kept taking things to new levels.”

Gary was already a budding playwright when he graduated from high school. His father, a theater director and professor in the Pennsylvania State University system, encouraged him to find a college with a strong liberal arts program. “St. Bonaventure gave me the best scholarship,” said Gary.

He majored in journalism and mass communication, a decision that has paid dividends time and time again, said Gary. “My skills as a writer were very well honed at St. Bonaventure. Having that journalism degree was especially helpful in writing the texts and scripts for the Davis documentary. We pored over and over the script, making sure every single word was exactly what we wanted to say. That reduction, which I learned in the journalism department, I found to be invaluable.”

Gary minored in fine arts at St. Bonaventure and after graduation set out for New York, hoping to carve out a career as an actor. Meanwhile, his SBU roommate, Davoli, landed a job as an assistant to actor Alec Baldwin in Los Angeles. Gary followed his friend to L.A. where the two were roommates again. Gary got his Screen Actors Guild card and chased acting parts, landing roles in episodes of TV’s “Coach” and “My So-Called Life,” and small parts in movies, including a role in “The Net.”

Eventually, Davoli went to law school and Gary tired of the acting profession. “You’re just constantly waiting around, waiting for things to happen,” said Gary. “So I really started focusing on directing and a natural evolution out of that was producing, and another natural evolution out of that was editing.”

Gary produced and edited the New York Film Festival award-winning film “Frankie D.” As a producer, his other projects include the independent feature “Local Color” and the upcoming feature film adaptations of Stephen King’s “Bag Of Bones” and James Ellroy’s "Clandestine." Gary has also worked extensively in television, most recently directing and editing the television series “SpeedFreaks” (ESPN and MavTV).

Professor Eckert said the Davis documentary will only enhance the reputation of his former student.

“It’s an excellent documentary he’s put together,” said Eckert. “Brian’s going to be pretty well known by the time he’s done with this career.”

History is an interpretation of events, Eckert continued, and the Davis film “is an excellent interpretation from Jefferson Davis’ point of view. It’s an accurate, but dated interpretation of the causes of the Civil War. It’s not a position the majority of today’s historians would espouse. But it tells the story of Jefferson Davis from his own view of himself as a man, as president of the Confederacy, as a senator, as a legend and so on. I certainly see it being used in college courses on history as a viewpoint of the war and how we got into the war. I think it’s highly accurate, I think it’s entertaining, and the cinematography is excellent.”

It’s also a feather in the cap for St. Bonaventure University, said Eckert. “I think it’s great that coming from Bonaventure is this type of individual who is going out and making a name for himself.”

Gary is also proud of that Bonaventure connection.

“It’s a great campus story,” he said. “You have two students, roommates, who have stayed friends and who work together, and then you also have a student who felt comfortable enough with a former professor that he could call him after eight years – and the professor remembers him and is more than obliging to be part of his project.

“At a larger school or one that doesn’t have that really good personal connection between the students and the faculty, that might not happen. It’s one of the things that makes Bona’s special.”

Relay Night of Celebration and
Remembrance in Kane Sunday

This year's Love Lights, a Kane Area Relay for Life event, will be extended to include a ceremony at Evergreen Park Gazebo, at the point of Birch and Chestnut in Kane, on Sunday, December 20 at 6:30 p.m. It will last approximately one hour. Everyone is invited to attend.

This night of celebration and remembrance will include a reading of the names for whom Love Lights were given, Christmas caroling, and hot chocolate donated by the Kane Quarterback Club.

You may send a gift from the heart along with the name of the individual in whose honor or memory it was made to Shirley Milliron, 5 Easton St., Kane, PA 16735 by December 15 or at the Night of Remembrance to Conni Smith. All love lights previously purchased, and those purchased that night will be included in the reading ceremony.

The Love Lights hang on lighted Christmas trees in uptown Kane (It's Judi's Place and State Farm Insurance) and in Mt. Jewett (Kaffe Sol), where forms may also be completed and a gift made.

This is a Relay event, and your gift to the American Cancer Society made in honor or in memory of a friend or loved one enables much needed research, education, advocacy, and patient service programs which touches so many, and truly saves lives.

In the spirit of the Christmas season and the holidays, we encourage everyone to bring your families and enjoy this night of love, friendship, remembrance, and celebration. We hope to see you there!!

Julia Anderson and Katie Smith are organizing the Night of Celebration and Remembrance.

Pictured, Love Lights a Tree at Judi's Place, one of three Love Light locations in the area this holiday season.

Congrats to Owls Wrestlers

The Bradford Owls won the Hickory Wrestling Tournament over the weekend.

The Owls had two champions with Mark Havers and Jake McMurtrie both going 6-0. Evan Smith placed second with a 6-2 record. Zach Britton placed second with a 7-1 record and Zach Smith placed second with a 7-1 record too.

For details on tournament scoring, click here.

Fugitive Caught in Creek

Chautauqua County Sheriff's deputies have arrested a fugitive on the county's 10 Most Wanted List.

They say a tip led them arrest 20-year-old Glen Hurrel Jr. in Forestville this morning.

Deputies say that around 4 a.m. they received an anonymous tip that Hurrel was staying at a Forestville home. When they checked the home, he ran and deputies chased him into a creek, where he surrendered.

Hurrel was wanted on a probation violation. He was originally arrested three years ago on burglary charges.

Marienville Man Dies in Crash

A Marienville man is dead after an accident Sunday night when he was ejected from his SUV.

54-year-old Gary Stewart was on Route 66 when the vehicle went out of control, hit two ditches and went airborne. When it landed, the vehicle rolled over several times and flipped end over end.

Police say Stewart was found dead at the scene late Sunday night.

The investigation is continuing.

Article Features Judge Cleland

An article in the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader features Judge John Cleland, chairman of the Interbranch Commission on Juvennile Justice.

"Cleland cited his own experience in McKean County, a rural area with few resources for juveniles in the justice system. “Somebody said we were just too far out in the boondocks, and we said, ‘Well, let’s use what the boondocks have to offer.’ ”

Read the full story here.