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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Parking Meters to be Re-Installed

Parking meters in the 500 block of North Union Street in Olean are expected to be re-installed by the end of February.

The meters were taken out on the west side of the street during construction on the Total Senior Care building.

According to a resolution on Olean Common Council's agenda for Tuesday, the meters are to be re-installed no later than February 25.

Olean to Award Sewer Project Contract

The City of Olean is expected to award the contract for the East Olean Sewer Project during its meeting on Tuesday.

According to the Common Council agenda, the $1.8 million contract will go to Kandey Company of West Seneca if approved by aldermen.

The project includes replacing about 1.5 miles of cracked sewer lines in East Olean that have allowed raw sewage and debris to flood basements during heavy rain. Also, a new pump station will be built near Olean Creek to prevent backups in the new lines.

Some of the cost of cost will be from grant money from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Small Cities Block Grant Program if the project is finished, or almost finished, by June.

Jamestown Man Jailed

A Jamestown man is in jail after police say they found a quarter of a pound of marijuana in his vehicle during a traffic stop.

Sheriff's deputies say they stopped 38-year-old Deshon Cook Sr. because his vehicle wasn't inspected. During the stop they noticed the smell of burnt marijuana coming from the vehicle. They searched the vehicle, found the marijuana and took Cook to Chautauqua County Jail.

Cook was also charged for driving with a suspended driver's license.

State Budget Battle Lines Drawn

By ANNE HOLLIDAY
WESB/WBRR News Directr


Governor Ed Rendell isn't scheduled to give his budget address until next month, but the battle lines have already been drawn.

"If the governor continues to rattle his sabre as he is -- that he wants another personal income tax increase -- it's going to be another long budget year," Lt. Governor/Senator Joe Scarnati told WESB and The HERO on Thursday.

"We continue to be plagued and faced with a shortfall in revenues moving into the budget for 2010-2011," he said.

Rendell says there are fixed-cost growths such as pensions, corrections and public welfare. Scarnati says some elected officials argue that nothing can be done about those costs. He doesn't agree with that.

"If we do not begin to control spending in corrections, public welfare and pensions we can not ever be able to sustain and contain spending in our state budget," he said.

You can't grow a state budget every year at 3 1/2 to 4 percent when revenues are only growing at 1 or 2 percent," Scarnati said. "It just doesn't work."

"We (Senate Republicans) believe we have to begin to control these costs because it's just decimating our tax base here in Pennsylvania," he said.

Scarnati talked about the report by Auditor General Jack Wagner that said the state could save about $300 million by reforming the state Department of Public Welfare.

"The governor and the House Democrats absolutely refused ... to incorporate any of those savings into the state budget," he said.

He added that his Senate Bill 9 has been passed out of the Senate twice, but the House refuses to move that bill.

The bill would require that anyone receiving public benefits prove he/she is a legal US citizen. He says it could save upwards of $300 million a year.

"There are plenty of people ... that certainly could be eligible for public benefits (and) can't get them. There isn't enough money out there for everybody to have it and we have the illegal aliens here in Pennsylvania sucking up these benefits. It's criminal. It is absolutely criminal," he said.

"The next governor, whoever the next governor is, had better know right up front that that is one of Joe Scarnati's main agendas. We have to end the corruption. We have to end the fraud and the abuse in this public welfare system," he said.

While saying he knows that some people legitimately need public assistance, Scarnati added that everybody knows people who are getting public welfare and don't work because they don't want to work.

"We know these people; they live in our communities," he said. "We have to end this welfare train. We can't continue down this road."

Scarnati also talked about Rendell putting $161 million worth of line items into budgetary reserve.

The only problem with what the governor does when he picks these lines items -- he picks the line items that very much affect rural Pennsylvanians the most," he said, giving examples of funding for the powdered metal industry, agriculture and higher education councils.

"We're back into, I guess, hand-to-hand combat with the governor," he said.

"Certainly, we agree that when revenues aren't meeting expenditures there has to be some sort of change to the budget," he said, "but it needs to be across the board. It needs to be fair and equitable. To completely cut out high ed councils, which is a very important part of our fabric for higher education here in rural Pennsylvania, is completely unfair."

"It really doesn't matter to (Rendell) who he zeroes out just so it's not from Philadelphia and not from his real constituency," Scarnati said.

Scarnati said he believes part of Rendell's strategy is to take items out of the budget that Scarnati worked to get put in.

"I think he believes by doing so, he can force us (Senate Republicans) into a position to vote for a major tax increase," Scarnati said.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Red Sky at Night, Sailor's Delight ...

This is more pink than red but, still, tomorrow is supposed to be sunny with a high nearing 40. So is the saying "Red sky at night sailor's delight; red sky in morning, sailor's warning" true?

According to the Library of Congress, within limits, it is.

NY Farm Labor Bill Goes to Committee

ALBANY – In a surprising turn of events on Thursday, a farm labor bill designed to collapse upstate’s farming industry was rerouted to the Senate’s Agriculture committee where it will be fully reviewed by the farming community, according to the committee’s ranking member Senator Catharine Young (R,I,C – Olean).

The bill cleared the Senate Labor Committee earlier in the week and was fast tracked to be voted on by the full senate. It wasn’t scheduled for an Agriculture Committee review until Senator Young and several of her colleagues intervened and demanded the bill be referred.

“This bill will change the very face of agricultural as we know it. It clearly falls under the jurisdiction of this committee and should of been referred from the onset. New York City politicians and special interest groups have been trying to force through would be the most restrictive farm labor laws in the country,” said Sen. Young.

“This bill will destroy livelihoods and upstate’s economy along with it and I intend to make sure that members of this committee have the ability to weigh in,” Sen. Young added.

“Lawmakers in New York should be taking steps to reduce the cost of doing business, not adding to it. This bill would further imperil the viability and survival of New York's farms, which are already struggling to stay afloat.”

“It’s another attack on our farmers who already are heavily-regulated and inspected by over a dozen federal, state and local governmental regulatory agencies," Sen. Young said.

“This bill will put farms out of business for good and thousands of jobs at farms, small businesses, and food processors would be lost,” Sen. Young added.

Update on Route 219 Closure

The road re-opened completely at 5:30 p.m.

~~~~~

Route 219 in Ridgway is now open for one lane of travel.

Travel flow north and south is being alternated by PennDOT.

Police say travel will be limited for several more hours until debris is removed.

Former Foreign Service Official to
Discuss Afghan War February 3 at SBU

A former State Department official who became the first U.S. official known to resign in protest over our country’s strategic policy and goals in Afghanistan will discuss the Afghan war during a talk Wednesday, Feb. 3, at St. Bonaventure University.

Matthew Hoh will speak on “Efforts at a Political Resolution: Finding a Lasting Settlement to Afghanistan’s Civil War” during the 4 p.m. presentation in Dresser Auditorium of the John J. Murphy Professional Building.

Hoh gained national attention when he resigned from his post in Afghanistan last September over U.S. strategic policy and goals. His resignation letter has been cited as an Essential Document by the Council on Foreign Relations.

Prior to his assignment in Afghanistan, Hoh served in Iraq; first in 2004-2005 in Salah ad Din Province with a State Department reconstruction and governance team and then in 2006-2007 in Anbar Province as a Marine Corps company commander.

When not deployed, Hoh worked on Afghanistan and Iraq policy and operations issues at the Pentagon and State Department from 2002-2008.

In his four-page resignation letter, Hoh wrote: “I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan. I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end.”

Hoh is a frequent guest on CNN and MSNBC, and has written for the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.

He was recently named the recipient of the 2010 Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling, presented to a citizen, corporate or government whistleblower, investigative journalist, or organization for bringing a specific issue of social importance to the public’s attention.

Hoh’s visit to St. Bonaventure is hosted by Fr. Michael Calabria, O.F.M., lecturer in Arabic and Islamic Studies, and sponsored by the Franciscan Center for Social Concern and Clare College.

Pitt Football Coach Dave Wannstedt to
Speak at Pitt-Bradford Commencement

Dave Wannstedt, former National Football League coach and head football coach for the University of Pittsburgh, will speak to the graduating class of 2010 at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

Wannstedt, who has led the Panthers to back-to-back bowl games, will deliver the keynote address during commencement exercises at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 2, in the KOA Arena of the Sport and Fitness Center at Pitt-Bradford.

“I am excited about Coach Wannstedt being our graduation speaker,” said Kayla Bourgeouis, a sports medicine major from Meadville who sat on the committee to choose a commencement speaker. “Coach Wannstedt demonstrates great leadership and is well-respected by the community.”

Student Government Association president Tim Woughter, a criminal justice major from Gillett, said, “The students who sat on the committee felt that he would be a great motivational speaker for graduating seniors. Also, we were looking for someone that has Pitt pride as well, and I think Coach Wannstedt has a great amount of it.”

A Western Pennsylvania native and graduate of Pitt-Oakland in 1974, Wannstedt is the hard-working son of a steelworker whose reputation for hard work and football smarts served him well from playing in the prestigious Pennsylvania-Ohio Big 33 Football Classic to the start of his coaching career.

As a left tackle at Pitt, Wannstedt was part of the 1973 team that earned a berth in the Fiesta Bowl and began a run for the Panthers that included a national championship and five bowl games in six years.

Wannstedt would take part in those highly successful winning seasons as a coach as well as a player. While earning his master’s degree at Pitt in 1976, Wannstedt began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under head coach John Majors in 1975 and 1976.

When Majors left following Pitt’s 1976 undefeated national title season, Wannstedt stayed on to coach receivers and special teams during the 1977 and 1978 seasons under Jackie Sherrill. While at Pitt, he met Jimmy Johnson, who made Wannstedt part of his coaching teams for Oklahoma State, the University of Miami, the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins.

During his career, Wannstedt also served as defensive line coach for the University of Southern California from 1983 to 1985. From 1993 to 1998, he was head coach of the Chicago Bears, finishing as the third-winningest coach in Bears’ history and selected 1994 National Football Conference Coach of the year by United Press International and Football News.

In all, he spent 16 years coaching in the NFL, 11 of those as head coach – six with the Bears and five with the Miami Dolphins.

After nearly three decades away from Pittsburgh, Wannstedt was named head football coach of his alma mater in December 2004.

In 2006, Wannstedt and his wife, Jan, gave a $250,000 gift to the university to endow a football scholarship.

At the time, Wannstedt said they made the gift because of the “life-changing opportunity” he was afforded to attend Pitt on a football scholarship.

“We want to be able to help provide those same opportunities for both current and future generations of student-athletes,” said Wannstedt, who has also said that his first goal as a coach is to see his players earn their degrees.

Art Exhibit Opens Today at UPB

An art exhibit highlighting present-day issues will open today at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

Shaqe Kalaj's “The Content of Becoming: Mixed Media Exhibition” will be showcased in the KOA Art Gallery in Blaisdell Hall until Feb. 26. A gallery talk will be held at noon today in the Webb/Bradford Forest Rehearsal Hall, and an opening reception will follow at 12:30 p.m. in the KOA Speer Electronics Lobby. The Spectrum Series event is free and open to the public.

“Shaqe Kalaj’s mixed media work is inspiring, especially in term of content,” said Kong Ho, associate professor of art and director of interdisciplinary arts and art programs at Pitt-Bradford. “I know she is a very responsible teaching artist and productive studio artist.”

The exhibit is more than meets the eye. The installation spans eating disorders, child abuse, racial stereotypes, religion and health, the farm and drug industries, and the general sterility of suburban American life. Six series of media will be used –– woodcut print, oil, acrylic, ink and photographic.

Ho said he has known Kalaj for almost two years, having worked together during the 2008-09 VSA arts Teaching Artist Fellows, which is a fellowship for teaching artists with disabilities. They have also worked together on other projects.

“As an artist with a disability, I have used my mood disorder as the force behind my work,” Kalaj says in her VSA arts biography. “Being bipolar means that you have within your experience many variations of emotions, and I have learned the terrain of my illness and use it through my art to explore deep and gripping issues.”

The Albanian-American-born artist earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting and graphic design from Wayne State University in Detroit and received a teaching certificate from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. She also serves as creative coach, teaching artist and visual arts coordinator for VSA arts of Detroit. She is an advocate for the disabled and coordinates tours for emerging artists, Ho said.

The art gallery is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 to 4:30 p.m. Friday. The gallery is closed on Saturdays and Sundays. The exhibition contains nudity.

For disability-related needs, contact the Office of Disability Resources and Services at 814-362-7609 or arj4@pitt.edu.

Traffic Pattern Change in Cameron County

PennDOT has made traffic pattern changes to a Cameron County bridge on Route 4004 (Ridge Valley Road). Effective today, the Bobby’s Run Bridge in Shippen Township will feature a single-lane traffic pattern with a self-regulating stop sign. This change will require motorists to take turns crossing the bridge. The change allows PennDOT to remove the weight posting it put into place last week.

The bridge is located on Route 4004 near the Lewis and Hockenberry sawmill. The Bobby’s Run Bridge was built in 1944; is 33 feet long and carries an average of 1,037 vehicles per day. The stop condition for the bridge will remain in place until repairs can be made later this year.

PennDOT reminds motorists they can log on to 511pa.com or call 511 from any phone to check traffic conditions before heading out.

HazMat Spill Closes Route 219

No one was hurt, but hazardous material spilled, in an accident involving two Mack trucks at about 6:30 this morning on Route 219 about a quarter of a mile south of California Road in Ridgway Township.

State police say a Mack truck driven by 30-year-old Jaron Cook Sr. of Baltimore, Md., went out of control and began to fishtail on the icy road. 37-year-old George Machcoviak of Johsonburg attempted to avoid a collsion by driving his Mack truck into the opposite lane but hit Cook's truck causing it to jackknife and slide off the road. Machcoviak's truck spun around and turned over.

The tanker trailer of Mackcoviak's truck was damaged causing aluminum sulfate to leak.

A HazMat crew, the Ridgway Township and Horton Township fire departments and Elk County EMS were on the scene, and the road was closed.

Both vehicles had to be towed from the scene.

Part of Route 219 Closed -UPDATE

As of 11:22 a.m., Route 219 from Toby Road to Route 948 remains closed. State police expect it to re-open at around 3 p.m.


~~~~
Route 219 from Toby Road to Route 948 in Elk County is closed.

State police say they will notify us when the road is re-opened, and why it's closed.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Young Vows to Fight Farm Labor Bill

ALBANY - Senator Cathy Young (R,I,C) has vowed to fight the farm labor bill that advanced through the Senate Labor Committee yesterday because "it would destroy our farms and kill Upstate's economy," she said.

Sen. Young has signed a letter to Senate Democrat Leader John Sampson, requesting the legislation to be referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee, since that committee should have jurisdiction over farming issues.

"They are trying to avoid having it sent to the Ag Committee. That's plain wrong. Under the new Senate reforms that we fought for last summer, a committee can ask to have particular bills sent to them for review. We need a full airing about this bill's impact. We'll see if the New York City-controlled Senate Majority follows the rules," she said.

Sen. Young said this issue is a matter of life or death for the state's farming industry.

"Not only would this legislation put farms out of business for good, we could lose thousands of jobs at our 21,745 processing plants statewide, and shut the doors of small businesses such as farm equipment dealers, feed suppliers and hardwares.

"We depend on these jobs. For example, our regions’ biggest companies like Cliffstar, Fieldbrook Farms, Friendship Dairies, Empire Cheese, and Carriage House employ thousands of people. These food processors use farm products that are produced locally," she said.

"Farming pumps several billion dollars into New York's economy every year. Those dollars roll over at least three times. It's hard to believe, but during this time of recession, massive job losses and the state's budget crisis, New York City politicians and special interest groups are pushing this legislation that's a disaster for our state's largest industry. Upstate will never recover.

"Agriculture is unique. That's why the federal government exempted agricultural workers from the National Labor Relations and Taft-Hartley Acts. Now, Albany is trying to force through the most restrictive farm labor laws in the country. It's ridiculous, because our farms already are heavily-regulated and inspected by the feds and the state.," Sen. Young said.

"Actually, this bill doesn't help farm workers at all, because when the farms go out of business, they will lose their jobs," she added.
"Right now, farm laborers receive benefits that other workers do not get, such as free housing, utilities, transportation, and child care. According to Farm Credit, for every $100 of production sold, New York farmers paid $13.82 to farm workers, compared to the national average of $8.88. That means that our state's agriculture already is spending about 56 percent more on labor than the rest of the country.

"Farmers would be forced to pay overtime after 55 hours, making New York State's overtime law the most oppressive in the country. California has overtime that begins after 60 hours, but they have huge farms and a year-round growing season. We can't compete.

"Wisconsin, another dairy state, had an overtime law that they repealed in 2003 because it was driving farms out of business," she said.

"Imagine farm workers being able to strike in the middle of harvest time. The crops would rot in the fields, cows wouldn't get milked, and the farmers would never recover financially.

"The bill's sponsors say that the collective bargaining piece only would affect four percent of our farms, but that is not true. It would hurt the little guys who milk around 100 cows, which is the average size of a dairy farm in New York. Unfortunately, the people pushing this legislation have done absolutely no analysis and have no facts about its impact, and they refuse to listen to the agriculture community," Sen. Young said.

"It's crazy, but this legislation also would force farmers to pay higher unemployment insurance costs for seasonal workers who never work long enough to even qualify for unemployment benefits.

"When you add New York's suffocating tax burden and regulations to the consequences of this bill, it spells disaster," she added.

"It couldn't come at a worse time for farmers. The dairy industry is suffering severely because of extraordinarily low milk prices, and all of the commodities have been hit by the recession and a couple of years of bad weather. For example, our grape crop in Chautauqua County suffered big losses because of hard freezes and hailstorms," Sen. Young said.

"Last year, in many cases, farm workers made more than the farmers themselves, who lost money.

"In fact, things are so bad that the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health, and Cornell University's NY FarmNet assistance hotline told me they are alarmed at the skyrocketing number of farmer bankruptcies, divorces, utility company shutoffs, mental breakdowns and suicides. It's heartbreaking," she said.

"We should be focusing on strengthening our farming industry and turning our economy around, instead of putting in place destructive laws," she said.

Inge Morath Photos on View at SBU

Eighteen photographs by the late photojournalist Inge Morath are on view through Feb. 14 at St. Bonaventure University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. The photographs are on loan from a private collection.

The Austrian-born Morath, a gifted writer, discovered her talents as a photographer almost by accident. In 1949, she joined the newly founded Magnum Photos as an editor and became fascinated with the art of photography. She began photographing independently in London in 1951 and was asked to join Magnum as a photographer in 1953. She would stay with the agency for 50 years.

Morath traveled extensively for Magnum, covering assignments in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the United States and South America. She also worked as a still photographer on numerous motion picture sets and her portraits of Marilyn Monroe, although not in this exhibition, are among the most graceful images of the late actress.

Morath married American playwright Arthur Miller in 1964 and they settled in New York and Connecticut. Most of the photographs in the Quick Center’s exhibition were taken by Morath in the small Connecticut town where they raised a family in the 1960s and 1970s.

Some of Morath’s greatest achievements are in portraiture, including celebrities and anonymous people. She continued to travel and publish photographic essays until her death in 2002 at the age of 79. She was considered a visual anthropologist and documented subjects ranging from politics and religion to work and business.

Morath devoted much of her energy to encouraging women photographers. The Inge Morath Foundation, established in 2003 to facilitate the study and appreciation of Morath’s contribution to photography, annually presents the Inge Morath Award to a female documentary photographer or photojournalist under the age of 30.

The Quick Center is open to the public at no charge. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Bridge Posting Removed in Potter County

PennDOT has removed weight postings on the Oswayo Creek Bridge on Route 4017 (Sunnyside Road) in Shinglehouse Borough. In late May of 2009, PennDOT posted the bridge for a 19-ton weight limit for single vehicles and a 35-ton weight limit for combination vehicles. With bridge repairs complete, PennDOT has been able to remove the weight restriction posting.

The Oswayo Creek Bridge was built in 1938, is 12 feet long and carries an average of 385 vehicles per day.

PennDOT reminds motorists they can log on to 511pa.com or call 511 from any phone to check traffic conditions before heading out.

Saint-Gobain Reaches Settlement with
Federal Government to Reduce Emissions

Saint-Gobain Containers has reached a settlement with the federal government to install pollution control equipment at all of its plants, including the one in Port Allegany.

The cost to reduce emissions in all the plants will be about $112 million. Cynthia Giles of the US EPA says the emissions will be reduced by 50 percent.

Saint-Gobain has agreed to implement pollution controls, including the installation of the first-ever selective catalytic reduction system at a container glass plant in the U.S. Saint-Gobain will also install continuous emission monitoring systems at all of their glass plants.

Also as part of the settlement, Saint-Gobain has agreed to pay a $2.25 million civil penalty to resolve its alleged violations of the Clean Air Act’s new source review regulations. Of the $2.25 million civil penalty, Saint-Gobain will pay $1.15 million to the United States and $1.1 million to the 10 states and two local regulatory agencies that joined the case.

The EPA and US Department of Justice announced the settlement in a conference call with reporters this afternoon.

Group Wants Bat Caves Closed

The Center for Biological Diversity has asked the US Department of Interior to close all bat caves and mines on federal land because of the large number of bats dying from white-nose syndrome.

The center made the request in a petition today to Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar. The center also asked that the Eastern small-footed bat and the Northern long-eared bat be put on the endangered species list because they've been hit hard by white-nose syndrome.

White-nose syndrome has killed more than a million bats in nine Eastern states since it was first noticed in New York in 2006.

Many government agencies have already closed caves in hopes of checking the spread of white-nose syndrome.

To report sick or dead bats this winter in Pennsylvania, call the nearest Game Commission regional office or use the "Report Sick Bat" form online at PGC.STATE.PA.US.

Photo provided by Al Hicks, New York Department of Environmental Conservation

AAA Highlights its Legislative Priorities

As state legislatures convene across the country for their 2010 sessions, AAA looks to build on a relatively successful campaign of traffic safety law improvements last year.

“Pennsylvania legislators have made some great strides to making our highways safer over the past decade with Graduated Driver Licensing, Child Passenger Safety revisions, and others,” said Brian Newbacher, director of public affairs, AAA East Central. “However, we can not rest on our laurels…there is still much work to be completed.”

AAA is working with legislators and other safety advocates in statehouses across the country to draft and pass legislation in 2010 that will make roads safer.

On a state level, AAA is advocating the passage of House Bill 2070, legislation that would prohibit texting while driving; and House Bill 67, which would impose a passenger limit for teen drivers, and prohibit the use of interactive wireless communication devices including cell phones for teen drivers holding a driver’s permit or junior license.

Studies have shown texting while driving to be an extremely dangerous distraction for drivers due to the extended time drivers spend not looking at the road, an average of 4.6 seconds. Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of teenage deaths. More than 5,000 U.S. teenagers die in vehicle accidents every year.

Nationally, AAA continues to focus on a variety of safety issues. “Traffic safety improvements should generate special interest in states facing budget challenges,” Newbacher stated. “These laws reduce governments’ medical and emergency response costs by preventing crashes, injuries and deaths. Some states could receive millions of dollars in financial incentives for passing some of these laws.”

AAA’s national traffic safety priorities in the states include:

· Texting while driving bans: AAA last year launched a national campaign to pass laws in all 50 states to ban text messaging while driving. With a dozen states having enacted these laws in 2009, there are now 19 states with laws prohibiting drivers of all ages from texting. AAA expects nearly every remaining state will consider this legislation in 2010.

· Teen driver safety: Although every state has some form of graduated driver licensing for new teen drivers, nearly every state still has opportunities to improve these lifesaving laws, according to AAA. States such as Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, New York, Oklahoma and West Virginia made significant improvements in 2009, such as increasing the age and requirements for getting a license and adding or improving limits on teen passengers and nighttime driving for newly licensed teens. Just six states (Delaware, Indiana, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma and West Virginia) have graduated driver licensing systems that meet AAA’s guidelines for nighttime limits, passenger limits, and practice requirements.

· Booster seat laws: Three states (Arizona, Florida and South Dakota) lack booster seat requirements, which have been shown to improve safety for young passengers. Five states (Alaska, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island and Texas) enacted laws in 2009 requiring booster seats for children under age 8. Despite this progress, booster seat laws in 24 states fall short of including all children under age 8.

· Primary seat belt laws: After a record setting year in 2009 in which four states (Arkansas, Florida, Minnesota and Wisconsin) improved their seat belt laws to allow primary enforcement by police, AAA and other safety advocates will continue to work to improve laws in the remaining 20 states without a primary belt law. Primary seat belt laws have repeatedly been shown as a low cost way for states to quickly increase belt use, reduce traffic deaths, and lower the cost of crashes.

· Move over laws: Nearly every state (47 states) has a law that requires drivers to slow down and, if safe, “move over” when passing an emergency vehicle that is actively working on a roadway. Six states (Alabama, Delaware, Ohio, Oregon, Nebraska and Nevada) improved their laws in 2009 to include tow trucks and other road service vehicles, increasing the number of states with these more comprehensive laws to 38. AAA will continue to promote these laws that have been shown to improve safety for police, tow truck operators, and others who work on our roadways.

Hospice Volunteer Training at BRMC

Starting in February, McKean County VNA & Hospice will sponsor a free four-week hospice volunteer training course in the Ground Floor Assembly Room at Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC), said officials.

Classes for the hospice volunteer course will be held Feb. 17 and 24, and March 3 and 10 from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. The training will focus on bereavement and grief, medical aspects of pain and symptom management, and spiritual concerns.

The purpose of the hospice training course is to recruit and train potential volunteers to work in the program. Anyone interested in learning about the concept of hospice is welcome.

Hospice is an alternative for the terminally ill who elect to spend the remainder of their lives at home to be cared for by their loved ones in a comfortable, familiar environment.

McKean County VNA & Hospice is BRMC’s home health agency.

For more information or to register for the course, please call Stacy Williams, BRMC’s director of Volunteer Services, at 362-8288.

Longtime Pitt-Bradford Professor Retires

Dr. Samuel Fohr, professor of philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, retired during 2009 after 37 years of service.

Fohr taught Introduction to Philosophy, History of Ancient Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Introduction to Logic, Philosophy and Literature, Philosophy in Public Issues, Ethics of Health Care, Eastern Philosophy, Religion and the Modern World and Nietzsche.

Fohr began teaching at Pitt-Bradford when classes were still held downtown in the former Emery Hardware building on Main Street. The last four years, he served as the chairman of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Fohr began reading philosophy on his own when he started as a student at Brooklyn College when he was 16 years old. He didn’t take his first course in philosophy until he was in his fourth term of college. Mentored by his first philosophy professor, he changed his major from chemistry to philosophy, where he felt he could make a greater contribution.

After earning a bachelor of arts from Brooklyn College, he went on to earn his master of arts and doctoral degrees in philosophy from the University of Michigan.

In his own teaching, Fohr said he took an approach of applying philosophy to real life, developing courses such as Ethics in Business and Government and Philosophy in Public Issues, which tackled questions such as, “Is torture ever permissible?” “Should President Truman have used the atomic bomb?” and “When is war morally acceptable?”

The benefits of studying philosophy, however, are often more indirect, he said.

“Taking a philosophy course can teach a student how to think well, how to develop an inquiring mind and a critical mind. It helps students look deeper at life.”

Among his favorite teaching experiences were collaborating with other faculty members to create team-taught classes, such as “The Next American Dream,” which he taught with Dr. Stephen Robar, associate professor of political science, and classes in medical ethics, which he team taught with Dr. Lisa Fiorentino, assistant professor of nursing, for 17 years.

“When you share an interest with another professor, it enriches a class to have someone approach a subject from another perspective than yours.”

He’s also enjoyed seeing the physical growth of the college.

“It’s more fun now to see the campus be a really beautiful campus,” he said.

Fohr also served on several campus committees, including the general education curriculum committee and the presidential search committee. He was also a former president of the Faculty Senate.

“I think I’ve always tried to support high standards and a strong general education curriculum,” he said. “I’ve tried to give good advice.”

He and his wife, Rena, have relocated to Gouldsboro, Pa., in the Pocono Mountain region to be closer to their native New York City.

“I’m looking forward to not having to be at a certain place at a certain time on a certain day. And I have about a thousand books I want to read.”

Self-improvement is something Fohr believes strongly in, and something he tried to instill in his students.

“I’ve always tried to leave my students better off than when they came to me – to give them something to make them better, living better lives.”

Mattice is First Female Member of
NYS Police to Die in the Line of Duty

A New York Stae Trooper died Wednesday when her cruiser hit a tractor trailer in Otsego County.

Police say 31-year-old Trooper Jill Mattice was pronounced dead at the scene.

New York Governor David Paterson released the following statement:

"It was with great sadness that I learned today of the death of Trooper Jill E. Mattice, a nearly seven-year veteran of the New York State Police who was killed this afternoon in a vehicular accident in Otsego County.

"Trooper Mattice was assigned to the State Police Duty Station in Oneonta and served as a School Resource Officer at Unadilla Valley High School and Franklin Central Schools. Her community was enhanced by her service; her State is humbled by her sacrifice.

"Trooper Mattice is the first female member of the New York State Police to be killed in the line of duty. On behalf of all New Yorkers, it is with profound gratitude for her service that I offer my deepest condolences to her family, friends and colleagues."

Bradford Ranger District Office
Scheduled to Re-Open February 1

The Allegheny National Forest announced the re-opening of its Bradford Ranger District Office located at the intersection of Rts. 59 and 321 in McKean County.

The Bradford Office has been closed for renovations since last February. Improvements to the office include the replacement of the heating and air conditioning systems, construction of a new roof, and other health and safety features. Employees returned to work at the Rt. 59 location this week and are preparing for the re-opening of the office to the public on February 1st.

Bradford District Ranger Tony Scardina said “We are very excited to be back in our office and we appreciate the patience the public has shown throughout this closure.”

Services available at the Bradford Office when it re-opens on February 1st include the sale of maps, books, annual firewood permits, annual and daily ATV trail passes, annual day-use passes, and annual and senior Interagency passes. If you have any questions on any of these programs or need other information, you can contact the office by phone at (814) 363-6000.

Today on the LiveLine ...

Lt. Governor Joe Scarnati. 12:30 p.m. on 1490 WESB and online at WESB.com.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bucky Phillips' Argument Heard in Court

The convicted cop-killer claims his lawyer at the time of his plea was ineffective. Phillips maintains he should have been permitted to withdraw his plea immediately before he was sentenced.

Read the full story at The Ithaca Journal.

Another OB/GYN Coming to BRMC

Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC) is continuing to expand women’s healthcare by adding an obstetrician/gynecologist to its medical staff.

Starting Feb. 1, Alexander Batchev, D.O., will be accepting patients at his office, located in Suite 32 of BRMC’s Outpatient Services Center.

Dr. Batchev is board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology by the American Board of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and also Family Practice by the American Board of Family Practice.

“We’re thrilled to announce Dr. Batchev has joined our medical staff, enabling the hospital to expand its healthcare services for women throughout the region,” said Rhonda Chilson, BRMC’s Director of Practice Management.

Before coming to BRMC, Dr. Batchev had a practice in Trenton, Mich., for medical and surgical care of women since 2000. Prior to that, he was an attending physician in the OB/GYN Department of Oakwood Southshore Medical Center in Dearborn, Mich., from 1997-99. He also served as Vice Chairman of the OB/GYN Department at Oakwood Southshore Medical Center.

From 2005 to now, Dr. Batchev served on both the Credentials Committee and the Bylaws Committee at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital in Wyandotte, Mich.

After graduating in 1990 from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in Old Westbury, N.Y., Dr. Batchev completed his residencies at Sisters of Charity Hospital in Buffalo and Richland Memorial Hospital in Columbia, S.C.

“Dr. Batchev’s wealth of experience and credentials are what impressed BRMC. He will clearly have a great impact on women’s healthcare,” Mrs. Chilson said.

Additionally, he has a juris doctorate in 2003 from Wayne State University Law School and is licensed to practice law in Michigan and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Lawsuits Filed Against Fundraisers

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has filed lawsuits to shut down four professional fundraising companies that he says lie, manipulate, and deceive to get charitable donations.

The lawsuits have been filed against Caring People Enterprises, Inc., Marketing Squad, Inc., Stage Door Music Productions, Inc., and Suffolk Productions, Inc. Cumoo says over the past three years, these companies have collectively reported raising $16 million. On average, they keep 76 percent of the funds raised.

He says during telemarketing calls, these four companies consistently violated New York laws by disguising their status as paid professional fundraisers and lying about the programs that the donations would support.

Trying to Collect Taxes -- Again

New York State is going to try again to collect taxes on cigarettes sold by Indian retailers to non-Indian customers.

New York Governor David Paterson has ordered the state tax department to put regulations in place to enforce a 2008 law intended to stop wholesalers from selling unstamped cigarettes to tribes, although he says he would prefer to settle the dispute through negotiations with Indian leaders.

He says it's a matter of being fair to non-Indian retailers who, if a proposal in his new budget is approved, would have to add another dollar a pack onto the price of cigarettes. That would raise the tax to $3.75 a pack. Paterson says the tax on on cigarettes sold by Indians to non-Indians would also bring in millions of dollars for the state.

Seneca Nation President Barry Snyder Sr. said in a statement, "We will not be the State’s tax collectors and we will defend our freedom regardless of the cost."

Governor Signs Execution Warrants

Harrisburg – Governor Ed Rendell today signed execution warrants for Richard Scott Baumhammers, 44, and Angel Luis Reyes, 64.

On April 28, 2000, Baumhammers murdered five people during a two-hour hate crime rampage throughout the Pittsburgh region. He specifically targeted victims who were Jewish, Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese, and African-American. He was found guilty of the five first-degree murder charges in May 2001.

Baumhammers is incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Greene.

Reyes was sentenced to death in January 1994 for drowning his 4-year-old daughter, Marcia Reyes in November 1993. He is an inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford.

Reyes’ execution by lethal injection is set for Tuesday, March 16. Baumhammers’ is set for Thursday, March 18.

With the warrants signed today, Governor Rendell has now signed 101 execution warrants.

Today on the LiveLine ...

reports on the devastation and recovery efforts in Haiti. 12:30 p.m. on 1490 WESB and streaming online at WESB.com.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

LaHood: Decision on I-80 Coming Soon

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today told four members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation that the Transportation Department had been reviewing PennDOT and the Pennyslvania Turnpike Commission’s application for federal tolling authority of Interstate 80 and will “be making a decision very soon.”

The meeting, held in U.S. Representative Glenn `GT’ Thompson’s office on Capitol Hill, included the Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez and Dana Gresham, Assistant Secretary for Government Affairs at the Department. Representatives Kathy Dahlkemper, D-Erie, Chris Carney, D-Dimock , and Paul Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke, were also in the meeting.

“The tolling threat alone has cast a cloud over future economic decisions by business and industry for our area,” Thompson told LaHood. “If you approve the tolling of I-80, already turned down twice, you will effectively reroute prosperity around Pennsylvania.”

Dahlkemper reminded the Secretary of a meeting with Pennsylvania state legislators who told stories of their constituents afraid to move forward until the tolling decision is made. “Our rural area can’t handle another blow to the economy,” said Dahlkemper.

Thompson also reminded the Secretary that this decision could double the scope and size of the corruption laden Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

LaHood said he had talked to Kanjorski a while back at a chance meeting in an airport and that the Representative had told him how important this decision was and had made a strong case.

None of the other representatives from the Department spoke in the meeting. Although the Members were assured that they would get a “heads up” before the decision comes out.

Sentencing, Plea in Cattaraugus County

One person was sentenced on drug charges and another pleaded guilty to forging a prescription today in Cattaraugus County Court.

Kenneth Wilson of Great Valley will spend the next 5 years on probation and must do 200 hours of community service for attempting to sell crack cocaine on February 9, 2008, in Salamanca.

Isiah Jones of Salamanca pleaded guilty to forgery for presenting a forged prescription for hydrocodone to a Salamanca pharmacy on May 25, 2009.

He'll be sentenced April 19.

Paterson Unveils Budget Proposal;
Young Says He Broke His Promise

New York Governor David Paterson has released his 2010-11 state budget proposal

He’s asking for a 5 percent cut in school aid as well as a $1 billion cut in health care spending.

Paterson is also proposing $1 billion in new fees and taxes on items such as sugary drinks and cigarettes.

State Senator Cathy Young says she agrees with Paterson on property tax relief and the spending cap, "but he falls woefully short on job creation."

"I oppose his nearly $1 billion in tax hikes," she said in a news release. "He broke his promise on no new taxes."

She added that the $5 billion increase in spending is the wrong way to go.

"The best way to solve the budget crisis is to rein in spending and give tax relief to small businesses and manufacturers so we can grow the economy," she said.

"We have to get people get back to work, and we have to have career opportunities for our young people so they don’t have to leave," Young added.

Gailey Introduced as Bills Head Coach

The Buffalo Bills have hired Chan Gailey as their new head coach.

In introducing Gailey during a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Bills General Manager Buddy Nix said, "This guy is the guy to get us back to winning and get us back to where we want to go."

"I understand the challenge that's ahead of us," Gailey said. "The challenge to get the Buffalo Bills to a winning franchise on a consistent basis. And that is the plan."

Both Nix and Gailey addressed the quarterback position.

Gailey said he couldn't make a decision until he evaulates Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

"Until I get in there and watch film, and evaluate it's unfair for me to sit here and say what's going to happen," Gailey said. "That's not fair. That would be talking off the cuff and that's the quickest way to get in trouble."

Nix did say he wanted his new coach to be "offensive minded" and "somebody who had developed quarterbacks."

"The folks with good quarterbacks are winning," Nix said. "The folks with bad ones are losing. It's not that hard a game."

Nix also said he was looking for a head coach who had previous success in the league because he didn't want to go through the "learning curve" that would be involved in hiring someone new to the head coaching job.

"There is no school for it. There is no internship," Nix said of NFL head coaching. "I don't care how long you've been an assistant. The day you become a head coach, you start learning how to be one."

In 1998, Gailey was hired to take over the then-struggling Dallas Cowboys. He took them to the playoffs both years he was head coach.

Rising Opera Star Who Will be at Quick
Center to be Featured in PBS Documentary

Amber Wagner, who will perform at St. Bonaventure University during the 2010-2011 season, will be prominently featured Wednesday in the PBS documentary “The Audition.”

The film, which airs at 9 p.m. on WPSX-TV (Channel 3 in Bradford) and WNED-TV (channel 13 in Olean), follows a group of young singers through the tense preparations leading up the Metropolitan Opera national auditions.

On Saturday, Wagner emerged from a field of 287 contestants to win first prize at the 2010 Liederkranz Competition in New York City. She was also awarded the Quick Center for the Arts Performance Prize. Wagner sang arias from the operas “Ernani” and “Cavalleria Rusticana.”

Wagner lives near Chicago and studies and performs at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. A date has not been set for her appearance at the Quick Center.

Joseph A. LoSchiavo, associate vice president and executive director of the Quick Center, served as a finalist judge and Ludwig Brunner, Quick Center director of programming, was a judge for the preliminaries and finals.

DEP Fines M.R. Dirt Inc. $6,000 for
Clinton Co. Residual Waste Sludge Spill

WILLIAMSPORT -- The Department of Environmental Protection has fined M.R. Dirt Inc. of Towanda, Bradford County, $6,000 for a residual waste sludge spill last September at the Avis exit of U.S. Route 220 in Pine Creek Township, Clinton County.

"M.R. Dirt was clearly negligent because a company employee drove away even though he observed that the seven tons of gas well drilling wastewater sludge had spilled from his vehicle,” said DEP Northcentral Regional Director Robert Yowell.

A nearby PennDOT work crew witnessed the incident, contacted the county emergency management agency that, in turn, notified DEP.

After investigating the spill, DEP requested M.R. Dirt to hire a cleanup contractor and the company complied.

The fine was paid to the Solid Waste Abatement Fund that is used to pay for cleanups across the state.

Today on the LiveLine ...

Grizzly Gary Wert will be talking about the Warren County Winterfest at 12:30 p.m. on 1490 WESB and online at WESB.com.

Bills Going with Chan Gailey

The Buffalo Bills are expected to introduce former Dallas Cowboys and Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey as their head coach at a 2 p.m. news conference today at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Obama to Announce Plans for
'Race to the Top' Expansion

WASHINGTON, DC -- President Obama will visit Graham Road Elementary tomorrow in Fairfax County where he will announce his plans to continue the Race to the Top challenge, requesting $1.35 billion for the program in his FY 2011 budget.

As the first deadline approaches for states to apply for the challenge, the President’s plan will support further incentives for states to revise, strengthen and implement their plans for education reform in order to qualify for an award under the program. This plan will also invigorate district-level reform by expanding the Race to the Top beyond just states but to school districts ready to embark on system-wide improvement of their educations policies and practices.

The continuation of the Race to the Top, which is one of the largest investments in education reform in history, is just one part of a larger education reform agenda that the Administration will unveil in the coming weeks, including continuation of the Race to the Top’s companion program, the Invest in Innovation Fund.

“We want to challenge everyone -- parents, teachers, school administrators -- to raise standards, by having the best teachers and principals, by tying student achievement to assessments of teachers, by making sure that there's a focus on low-performing schools, by making sure our students are prepared for success in a competitive 21st century economy and workplace,” said President Obama.

“This competition has generated an overwhelming response from over 30 states in just the first round of funding. By continuing, we have an opportunity to create incentives for far-reaching improvement in our nation's schools,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

The Race to the Top emphasizes the following reform areas:

• Designing and implementing rigorous standards and high-quality assessments, by encouraging states to work jointly toward a system of common academic standards that builds toward college and career readiness, and that includes improved assessments designed to measure critical knowledge and higher-order thinking skills.

• Attracting and keeping great teachers and leaders in America’s classrooms, by expanding effective support to teachers and principals; reforming and improving teacher preparation; revising teacher evaluation, compensation, and retention policies to encourage and reward effectiveness and increase the number of effective teachers in our schools; and ensuring that our most talented teachers are placed in the schools and subjects where they are needed the most.

• Using data to inform decisions and improve instruction, by fully implementing a statewide longitudinal data system, training and supporting educators to use data to improve instruction, and making information more accessible to parents, teachers and other key stakeholders.

• Using innovation and effective approaches to turn-around struggling schools, by asking states to prioritize and transform persistently low-performing schools.

• Demonstrating and sustaining education reform, by promoting collaborations among business leaders, educators, and other stakeholders to raise student achievement and close achievement gaps, and by expanding support for high-performing public charter schools, reinvigorating math and science education, and promoting other conditions favorable to innovation and reform.

The Bradford Area School District has applied for inclusion in the Race to the Top challenge.

Lewis Run Woman Dies in Crash

A Lewis Run woman died in a one vehicle accident Monday afternoon on Barnum Road in the Town of Olean.

46 year-old Tekla Hallock, a passenger in a pickup truck driven by 46 year-old Bruce Hallock, was pronounced dead upon arrival at Olean General Hospital.

Cattaraugus County Sheriff Deputies say the truck went off the road, down an embankment and struck a tree. Bruce Hallock was transported to Olean General Hospital for treatment of injuries.

An accident reconstruction team was called in to investigate the crash.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Former Bradford Woman Attempts Suicide
in Buffalo's Erie County Holding Center

A former Bradford woman accused of trying to suffocate her infant daughter is hospitalized in critical condition after trying to kill herself at the Erie County Holding Center in Buffalo.

29-year-old Marcia Mitchell apparently swallowed a bottle of aspirin that she somehow got her hands on. Officials say the aspirin attacked her organs.

Mitchell, who had been living in Batavia, is accused of trying to suffocate her infant daughter in a Buffalo hospital room in May of 2008. After she was indicted in December 2008, her attorney said she was deteriorating physically and emotionally in the holding center because she misses her children.

She hasn't been able to post bail.

Emporium Man Hurt in Crash

An Emporum man suffered moderate injuries in an accident at 11:45 this morning on Route 120 just west of Beechwood road in Shippen Township.

Police say a pickup truck driven by 77-year-old Robert Jenkins went out of control while rounding a curve, spun around and rolled over an embankment.

Jenkins was taken to Elk Regional Health Center for treatment of his injuries.
Police say charges are pending.

Fatal Accident in Cattaraugus County

A Pennsylvania resident has died in an accident in Cattaraugus County.

At around 1:35 this afternoon, emergency crews were sent to Barnum Road and Route 346 to stop all northbound traffic from going toward Olean.

We'll pass along more information when we get official word from law enforcement officials.

Man Jailed for Screwdriver Attack

A Tioga County man is in jail for allegedly stabbing another man in the chest with a screwdriver.

Police say 23-year-old Scott Abbott of Sabinsville stabbed 22-year-old Joshua Martin with a Phillips head screwdriver during a fight Saturday night.

Police say Martin is recovering from his injuries.

Abbott has been charged with assault and reckless endangerment.

Today on the LiveLine ...

Barry Scott will talk about "Ain't Got Long to Stay Here," a one-man play based on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. The play will take place at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22 in the Bromeley Family Theater. Tickets are $10 for the public and free for all students, faculty and staff.

The LiveLine airs at 12:30 p.m. on 1490 WESB and online at WESB.com.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Book Talk:
The Italian Slow Cooker

Michele Sciolone, best-selling author of The Sopranos Family Cookbook and an Italian food expert, demonstrates how to re-create the traditional flavors of great Italian food in your slow cooker.

Listen here.

For more information, go to Michele Sciolone.com.

Zippo Story in Pittsburgh Newspaper

Nearly 80 years later, the flame of Western Pennsylvania pride burns a little bit brighter with each flip of the cap.

To read the story by Mike Mackin, History Center communications manager, go to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Play on Life of MLK at Pitt-Bradford


The final event in the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford will be “Ain’t Got Long to Stay Here,” a one-man play written and acted by Barry Scott and based on the life of King. The show will take place at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22 in the Bromeley Family Theater. Tickets are $10 for the public and free for all students, faculty and staff.

During the 90-minute presentation, Scott recreates numerous figures from the Civil Rights era, presenting differing opinions and personalities. The performance is followed by a question-and-answer session.

Scott is the founder and producing artistic director of the American Negro Playwright Theater at Tennessee State University and has acting credits nationwide, including on television’s “I’ll Fly Away” and “In the Heat of the Night.”

Scott is so convincing in his portrayal of King that Coretta Scott King once complimented him on his realistic and honest depiction of her late husband.

He has performed excerpts of King’s speeches for the Humanitarian Awards Ceremony honoring President Jimmy Carter and was recorded on the “March On” album benefitting the National Civil Rights Museum.

Scott will also be speaking to students in one of the classes of Dr. Tony Gaskew, assistant professor of criminal justice and chairman of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day committee.

A brief video created by Pitt-Bradford broadcast communication students will be shown before Scott’s performance. The video shows members of the campus community talking about what King’s legacy means to them.

In addition the Pitt Improvers and Diamond Steppers, Pitt-Bradford student groups, will perform before Scott’s presentation.

For disability-related needs, contact the Office of Disability Resources and Services at 814-362-7609 or arj4@pitt.edu.

Barry Scott will be my guest on Monday's LiveLine on 1490 WESB and online at WESB.com at 12:30 p.m. Monday.