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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Pitt-Bradford to Kick Off Spring Spectrum Series with Playwright

Playwright Sam Kelley, author of the nationally acclaimed play “Pill Hill,” will kick off the spring term Spectrum Series at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. Spectrum events are free unless otherwise noted.

Kelley will read from “Pill Hill” and two new works at noon Jan. 12 in the KOA Speer Electronics Lobby of Blaisdell Hall.

“Pill Hill” is a play about African-American steel workers in Chicago, where it has been staged three times, most recently last summer. The visit by Kelley, a distinguished service professor in the departments of Africana Studies and Communication Studies at the State University of New York Cortland, is the first of 10 days of events to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

The King celebration will culminate in “Ain’t Got Long to Stay Here,” a one-man play written and performed by Barry Scott based on the life of Dr. King at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22 in the Bromeley Family Theater in Blaisdell Hall.

During the 90-minute presentation, Scott recreates numerous figures from the Civil Rights era, presenting differing opinions and personalities to capture what King faced.

Scott has performed “Ain’t Got Long to Stay Here” at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Beacon Theater in New York, the Fox Theater in Atlanta and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. A question-and-answer session will follow.

Tickets are $10 for the public; all students are free.

More events for the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at Pitt-Bradford will be announced.

Also in January, the unveiling of Pitt-Bradford’s award-winning student literary magazine, Baily’s Beads, will take place at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20 in the Mukaiyama University Room in the Frame-Westerberg Commons. The annual literary magazine celebration will also feature readings by contributors.

The 2010 magazine is edited by Mandy Colosimo, a writing major from Bradford. The 2007 and 2005 issues of the magazine were each named one of the top 12 student literary magazines in the country by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.

An invitational art exhibit, “The Content of Becoming: Mixed Media Exhibition by Shaqe Kalaj” will open in the KOA Art Gallery in Blaisdell Hall and run through Feb. 26. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays and during evening arts events.

A free gallery talk and opening reception will be held beginning at noon Jan. 22 in the Webb/Bradford Forest Rehearsal Hall in Blaisdell.

The final Marilyn Horne Residency and Recital at Pitt-Bradford will feature contralto Meredith Arwady at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30 in the Bromeley Family Theater. Tickets for the public are $10; students are free.

The national residency series will be moving to new performing space at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

“Although giving young artists the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall should be very exciting for them, we will still miss hosting the residencies and having the opportunity to meet some exceptionally gifted artists,” said Randy L. Mayes, director of arts programming.

Arwady, a native of Michigan, has performed for five summers at the Chautauqua Institution, performing Madame Flora in “The Medium,” Zita in “Gianni Schicchi,” Mrs. Peachum in “Threepenny Opera,” Mother in “L’Enfant et les sortileges” and Madame de Quimper Karadec in La Vie Parisienne.

In February, novelist Sherrie Flick will visit Feb. 23 to read from her works at 7:30 p.m. in the Bromeley Family Theater. A reception will follow. She is the author of the award-winning flash fiction chapbook “I Call This Flirting.”

Her first novel, “Reconsidering Happiness,” was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2009.

At noon, Feb. 25, Ed Epstein will play jazz piano as part of the Noon Tunes series in the KOA Speer Electronics Lobby.

Poet Kate Northrup will read from her work at noon March 2 in the University Room, followed by a reception.

Northrup is an assistant professor of English/creative writing at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Northwest Review, Quarterly West, Black Warrior Review, Rattle and Louisiana Literature.

The Southern Tier Symphony will perform at 3 p.m. March 7 in the Bromeley Family Theater. Tickets are $20 for the public at the door; students are free.

“Music Tells a Story” will be the theme for the pops concert for this regional symphony. Pieces include “The Thrill of the Orchestra” by Russell Peck, “Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham” by Robert Kapilow and “Peter and the Wolf” by Surge Prokofiev.

The Pitt-Bradford Annual Student Art Exhibition will be on display March 19 to April 9 in the KOA Art Gallery with an opening reception at noon March 19 in the KOA Speer Electronics Lobby.

The Spring College-Community Choir Concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. March 24 in Bromeley Family Theater.

The spring Division of Communication and the Arts theater production will be the “Macbeth Project,” adapted from William Shakespeare.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. April 8, 9 and 10 and 2 p.m. April 11 in the Studio Theatre in Blaisdell Hall. Tickets are $6 for the public; $2 for all students.

Shakespeare’s shortest, most intense tragedy gets stripped down even further, then thoroughly imagined and reinvented for the world we find ourselves in now.

The Southern Tier Symphony will perform again at 3 p.m. May 9 in the Bromeley Family Theater. Tickets are $20 for the public; all students are free.

Works with the theme “Fire and Water” will include “The Russian Sailor’s Dance” from “The Red Poppy” by Reinhold Gliere and works by Haydn, Tchaikovsky and Handel.

“Spectrum offers plenty of activities for both campus and community this spring, and I look forward to each event,” Mayes said. “I do not know of any other university close to our size that offers such a series and hope many people take advantage of it.”

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

Season's Greetings from Sen. Young

“Recently, I had the opportunity to ring the bell for the Salvation Army. As passersby dropped money in the kettle, it was a great time to reflect about the wonderful district that I am so fortunate to represent. I passionately believe that our area is the best part of New York State -- we have neighbors who reach out helping hands in times of need, people who work hard everyday, and communities that are wonderful places to raise a family.

The people who live in my district inspire me, and renew my resolve to work to turn our state around. Our focus should be on growing our economy, which in turn will solve the state's fiscal woes, and also will mean more career opportunities so that our families and young people won't have to leave to find jobs. It is going to be a challenging year ahead, but I believe with all my heart that we are worth the fight.
I truly hope that your holiday season is filled with warmth, joy and laughter, and that the new year brings you health and happiness. I value your input, and please keep letting me know what is on your mind and important to you. Happy holidays!”

Pictured, Young accepts a donation from a young constituent while volunteering for the Salvation Army at the Wal-Mart in Dunkirk, NY on December 21, 2009.
(Photo courtesy of Senator Young's office)

13 Graduated from Master of Social Work Program at Pitt-Bradford

Thirteen residents of the region graduated Dec. 12 from the master of social work program at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

Dr. Livingston Alexander, president, greeted the graduates and their guests, recognizing the continued need of master’s-prepared social workers in the area. Similarly, Dr. Larry Davis, dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, congratulated the students on their accomplishments and discussed expanding social problems across the country.

Two graduates, Lacy Thompson of Erie and Cheryl Tingley of Bradford, shared reflections during the ceremony.

During her remarks, Thompson said, “As social workers, we need to be empathetic and patient, be comfortable with ourselves and others, be strengths-based and be an advocate.”

Tingley said, “I encourage all of us to constantly challenge ourselves and not to become complacent with the status quo. Be an advocate for what you believe in and advocate for equal rights for others.”

Stephanie Eckstrom, Pitt-Bradford MSW program coordinator, commented on the students’ commitment to their program, “You succeeded, and in doing so, demonstrated incredible strength and grace. You are an amazing group of women.”

In addition to Thompson and Tingley, those graduated include Kimberly Cain and Michele Nuhfer, both of Bradford; Nicole Drauschak of Port Allegheny; Jessica Eskesen and Natalie Stenhach, both of Coudersport; Frankie Johnson of Warren; Haley Marshall of Brookville; Diane VonArx of DuBois; Donna Gunsolus of Olean, N.Y.; Karen Swartz of Grand Island, N.Y.; and Patrina VanSickle of Portville, N.Y.

Pitt-Bradford is forming a new cohort, or group that completes the program together as a class, for Fall 2010. For more information, contact Eckstrom at 814-362-7527 or via e-mail at

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

Santa Visits ARG

Santa took time out of his very busy schedule to visit his friends at ARG. He wanted to make sure they knew they were on the nice list. (L-R) Susie Lerch, Yvonne Cattoni, Santa Claus, Kay Soble, and Devon Hayden.
(Photo courtesy of American Refining Group)

Wanderers Give Toys to BRMC

Bradford-based motorcycle club The Wanderers made good on its promise for another Christmas holiday by giving presents Wednesday to Bradford Regional Medical Center's Healthy Beginnings Plus at 222 W. Washington St. in Bradford. The club holds fundraisers throughout the year so it can purchase presents. Club members say they've been donating presents to Healthy Beginning Plus for nearly two decades. In the photo, one-year-old Destani Herbstritt holds up her arms in excitement at the vision of the presents and plush toys. Holding her is her father, Robert Herbstritt. With them are club members (standing, from left) David Farr, Steve Hartzell and Rudolph Scholtz.
(Photo courtesy of BRMC)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

No Need to Worry

Even if your children get a little confused when thinking about who runs the North Pole and who runs the Bradford City Police Department, you can tell them they don't need to worry. Santa's helpers at WESB always make sure the letters get to the right place. (Having Santa come to the radio station everyday makes it easy for us ... and pretty much ensures that we won't be getting coal in our stockings.)

I'm Really Going Now

Technically, I've been on vacation since Sunday. But now I'm really going . I'll be back on Tuesday (but a couple of posts might pop up here between now and then).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Last Meeting for Onuffer, Tingley

Bob Onuffer and Bob Tingley attended their last Bradford City Council meeting as councilmen Tuesday.

Mayor Tom Riel, councilmen Rick Benton and Ross Neidich, City Clerk John Peterson and resident Brad Mangel all thanked them for their service to the city.

Peterson said both men have done an exemplary job.

He added that preceding his tenure on council, Onuffer was always concerned about the city's budget.

"For all the years we had to have major tax increases and everything else, it was kind of like water off a duck's back (to other people)," Peterson said.

"(Onuffer) is the only person in the city of Bradford that ever came in to city hall to look at a budget," Peterson said. "I think that speaks volumes of Bob as a person and his commitment to the city."

Neidich said to Onuffer, "You always had the best interests of the city at heart."

Riel said Onuffer is "one of the most active members of council the city has seen in many years. I'm sure everybody in the city of Bradford appreciates that and wishes you well."

Pictured, Tingley, Riel, Onuffer

Tax Hike Not as High as Expected

Another Change in the Police Department

WESB/WBRR News Director

Taxes in the City of Bradford won't be going up as high as officials thought they would two weeks ago, and they say that's because of the cooperation all city departments displayed.

During the first reading of the millage ordinance during the last council meeting, officials announced a .8 increase. Tuesday, they announced that's been reduced to .5. Two weeks ago, Mayor Tom Riel said they would continue to work on the budget and had hoped they would be able to cut expenses even further.

Bob Onuffer, who oversees accounts and finances for the city, read a letter introducing the final reading of the budget.

"The spirit of cooperation that was and still is being exercised went over and above what I expected," he said, adding that with four unions and non-union personnel involved, "the budget process could have been a disaster."

He said the city was looking at millage increase of 4.5 when the budget process started.

"With increases in health care costs and a decrease in timber revenues, this council knew we were faced with a challenge," Onuffer said.

Onuffer addressed his next comments to incoming councilmen Jim Evans and Fred Proper, who were at Tuesday's meeting.

"My hope is that the new councilmen … when they are seated on January 4, 2010, they will continue to work on cutting expenses along with helping our employees by giving them what they need to increase their work safety and efficiency."

"I would like to make a recommendation to every citizen of our great city," Onuffer continued. " When you see any city employee out doing a service for you, please take time to thank them for the sacrifices they've made and the work that they perform to keep you safe and healthy."

As for the tax increase, Riel explained that if you own a $25,000 house your taxes would go up $12.50 a year. Someone who owns a $50,000 house would see an increase of $25.

Riel reiterated that the surprisingly low tax increase is due to the hard work of all city employees, especially City Clerk John Peterson, and he hopes everyone appreciates it.

He also said that, with continued hard work, council hopes to bring back all the employees who were let go for budgetary reasons.

Onuffer added that "office girls" who had the least to give up, gave up the most as far as concessions to keep the tax rate what it is.

"I believe we should be proud of our employees, proud of our city," a tearful Onuffer said.

"Council has taken, I believe, the direction necessary to start to get our fiscal affairs in order," Peterson said.

Peterson also wanted to thank all of the unions and other employees, and especially his staff.

"I have the best staff of people that God ever put breath into," Peterson said, adding that "the citizens of Bradford are very fortunate to have the employees they have."

Along with the change in the millage rate, there was another change to the police department.

Officers will work some 12-hour shifts instead of only 8-hour shifts, which will save a significant amount of overtime. They'll be working 36 hours one week, and 44 hours the next week.

Riel said the idea came from the department, not city council.

"I thank the City of Bradford Police Department for doing this to help us," Riel said.

And, because Officer Jim Erwin is retiring on February 1, only one police officer will have to be let go. Riel explained that it would not make sense to lay an officer off at the end of this month, then bring him back a month later.

As for the fire department, council OK'd the new union contract and the concessions in it.

Councilman Ross Neidich, who oversees the fire department, thanked firefighters for their "willingness to step forward in the budget crunch and bite the bullet with both the wage freeze and healthcare concessions."

Riel also wanted to thank the public "for bearing with us," adding that he's glad "none of us are hanging from a flag pole out front."

Kobis Named BRMC's COO

David Kobis, previously Vice President of Operations at Olean General Hospital in Olean, N.Y., has been named Chief Operating Officer of Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC), announced Timothy J. Finan, President and CEO of Upper Allegheny Health System, the parent company of BRMC and Olean General.

"Given his proven track record at Olean General and elsewhere, David is clearly someone who has both the credentials and experience to assume this important position," Mr. Finan said.

BRMC and Olean General integrated Nov. 5, 2009, under a new parent company, Upper Allegheny Health System, to improve the stability of regional hospital services.

Prior to Mr. Kobis’ post at Olean General, he was the Director of Operations Improvement for ECG, a national healthcare consulting firm based in Seattle. Prior to that, he was Director of Operations for Lakeland Regional Medical Center in Lakeland, Fla.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Richmond in 1988 and his master’s degree in business administration from Ohio State University in 1992.

Hopkins Poems to be Published

Poems by Judy Hopkins, an adjunct writing instructor at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, have been accepted for publication in two literary journals.

Her poem titled “How We Once Moved” appears in the current issue of California Quarterly, a poetry journal sponsored by the California State Poetry Society.

“This poem is a contemporary take on the concept of ekphrasis, or the ‘stilled movement’ of art objects,” Hopkins explained.

The other poem titled “The Over-Ripe Imagination of Buckle-Up Country” will appear in an upcoming issue of Timber Creek Review, a quarterly journal.

“‘Buckle-Up Country’ is a term I made up about this area of the map,” Hopkins said. “It’s not flyover country but not the destination either. It’s about how ‘place’ can spark imagination.”

Hopkins holds a bachelor of arts degree in English from Dickinson College in Carlisle and a master’s degree in English from Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz., where she taught English.

Hopkins has also taught at various colleges in the Los Angeles area and St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y.

Since 2001, she has taught composition at Pitt-Bradford, where she also teaches news writing, news editing and courses in public relations.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Casey Meets With Local Leaders

WESB/WBRR News Director

US Senator Bob Casey says he wants rural northwestern Pennsylvania to get the money it needs to spur economic development and job growth.

“The worst thing we could do is have a recovery and get out of the hole, and move down the road … and then go back into the ditch because we didn't invest, we didn't build a strong foundation or we made other mistakes,” Casey told a panel of local leaders via video conference Monday morning at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

Casey said the main focus of the gathering was to hear the concerns of local industries and governments, but he also wants to see “what’s in the pipeline now that we can move more quickly.”

He said that although Pennsylvania's unemployment rate is improving "numbers don't mean a heck of a lot to real people."

It doesn't matter to unemployed people in Pennsylvania that Michigan's jobless numbers are double what Pennsylvania's are, he said.

But a number he did point to was 5 million. He said that, over a two-year time period, a good job creation tax credit could create that many jobs.

Pitt-Bradford President Dr. Livingston Alexander said he hopes job training becomes important as well.

He noted that people are coming in from Texas and Oklahoma to take Marcellus Shale drilling jobs.

Alexander said he believes that universities are in unique positions to help people get back into the workforce and should be called upon to do that, with financial help from the government.

"It immediately gets workers trained and back into the workforce," he said.

On a related note, American Refining President and COO Harvey Golubock pointed out that ARG is working with both Pitt-Bradford and the Bradford Area School District on petroleum technology programs.

“It’s extremely important that we train our citizens,” Golubock said. “There’s tremendous opportunity in these industries.”

He also said that he thinks some federal money that’s being geared toward alternative energy sources should be channeled toward traditional energy businesses because “that’s where the jobs are now.”

Golubock also noted that the recently lifted moratorium on drilling in the Allegheny National Forest cost this region “a significant amount of jobs.”

Sue Swanson of the Allegheny Hardwood Utilization Group (AHUG) added that the ANF is “critical to our resource basket.”

The region’s economy is tied to the forest, she said.

Cheryl Banco of Warren County represented the dairy industry and said Pennsylvania will probably lose more than 300 farms this year because dairy farmers have not been fairly paid, or helped during the economic downturn.

She did point out that the federal government will be sending out emergency money to farmers next week.

She said most Pennsylvania farms will be getting $6,000 to $10,000, which won't save a farm, she said, but will help them pay some bills. Her farm, which has 100 cows, will get $4,800.

The discussion also hit on more and better ways to get the money to rural areas to attract more business and industry.

County Commissioner Joe DeMott said that larger counties and municipalities are able to respond more quickly, and get a quicker response from the government when it comes to attracting industries.

He pointed to the regional fiber optic system, the idea for which was born in 2008, and is now up and running thanks to a public/private partnership of sorts.

He said the project to expand the network to the larger region – 13 or 14 counties – is taking longer because of the bureaucratic red tape that's involved.

That's "a classic rural counties issue," said Mike Glesk of the Bradford Area Alliance, who facilitated the gathering.

He said that when the idea of the fiber optic network arose, the people behind it were told by national and international companies that it's more economical for them to invest in one block in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia than an entire county in northwestern Pennsylvania.

He said the same problem exists with traditional infrastructure.

"Four-lane highways are just as critical to the economy now as they were when the interstate system was extended almost 50 years ago," he said, adding that the region has two east/west interstates – 80 and 86 – but not a north/south interstate highway.

"We do not have a four-lane highway coming through this area and that affects us significantly on attracting businesses (and) on our local businesses being economically competitive," Glesk said.

Glesk said another critical element is airports, noting that the Bradford and DuBois airports are under the Essential Air Service subsidy program, which he said is "outmoded."

He noted that when Bradford's flights were going to Washington, DC, emplanements tripled. Since EAS switched Bradford from Washington to Cleveland, emplanements are down by two-thirds.

"Cleveland is not where we need to go,” Glesk said, adding that the EAS system does not fairly serve rural airports across the county.

Toward the end of the meeting, Casey pointed to statistics showing that McKean, Cameron, Elk, Cameron, Potter and Warren counties are well below the state average when it comes to the number of people with bachelor's degrees.

Alexander said the statistics don't tell the whole story. He said plenty of people in the region are earning bachelor's degrees – then they're moving out of the area because there are no jobs.

Casey also said he’s not apologetic about going after Congressionally directed money -- earmarks. He said it’s going to go somewhere; it might as well come to Pennsylvania.

He said during Senate debates on the appropriations bill and healthcare, other senators got up and specifically criticized Pennsylvania projects.

"I don't care. In fact, I want them to criticize it," he said. "That means it gets more attention."

"Call me whatever name you want," he said. "I'm going to pursue those dollars for communities in Pennsylvania with a ferocity and focus that people have a right to expect of me."

Pictured, Casey listens to Sue Swanson of AHUG. Also pictured (front row) Golubock, Alexander and Glesk. Second row, Rob Stewart Precision Fabrication and Controls, Bradford Mayor Tom Riel, DeMott, Jeff Miller, president of the North Central PA Building Trades, and Banco.

Rep. Thompson Presents BRMC/VNA USDA Grant Check

Holding the ceremonial grant check are (from left): U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson (PA-5th District); Timothy J. Finan, President and CEO of Upper Allegheny Health System, the parent company of Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC); Robert Schoenfeldt, Area Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development; and Kathy Pascarella, Director of BRMC’s McKean County VNA and Hospice.
(Photo courtesy of BRMC)

Steinberg Named Director of
Environmental Studies at UPB

Dr. Jesse Steinberg, assistant professor of philosophy, has been named the new director of the environmental studies program at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

He takes the place of Dr. Stephen Robar, associate professor of political science, who resigned the post to make more time for his new position as chairman of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

“I am very happy to have Dr. Steinberg accept the leadership role of the environmental studies program,” Robar said. “He has the full confidence and support of the entire environmental studies faculty, and with a growing program Dr. Steinberg will have a good group of students to work with as well. Few first-year faculty members are given such a leadership position.”

Steinberg earned his doctoral degree in philosophy at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Before coming to Pitt-Bradford, he taught at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; University of California, Riverside; Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand; University of California, Los Angeles; and University of California, Santa Barbara.

One of Steinberg’s areas of expertise is moral theory.

“These issues are fascinating and especially challenging,” Steinberg said. “How is one to balance considerations of the obligations one has toward other people with other considerations like one’s right to personal property or one’s interest in having inexpensive utilities and food.

“Although much of my work is theoretical, it has implications on what sorts of policies we, as a society, should try to pursue. I’m especially excited to delve into some of these issues in a class we’re offering this spring, Environmental Ethics.”

The Pitt-Bradford environmental studies program is an interdisciplinary academic program that explores the relationship between humans and the environment, integrating knowledge from natural sciences, social sciences, the arts and humanities.

For more information on the environmental studies program, contact Steinberg at (814)362-7586 or

Holiday Cards Delivered

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

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Book Talk:
Why Dogs Are Better Than Cats

Today is the beginning of a new series: Sunday Book Talk

Our first book is "why dogs are better than cats" by New York Times Best-Selling Author Bradley Trevor Greive, with photographs by Rachael Hale.

Listen here.

Get more information here: