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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bradford Regional Little League Sign-Ups

Saturday Feb. 20th – 12pm-3pm
Sunday Feb. 21st – 12pm-3pm
Saturday Mar 13th - 12pm-3pm
Sunday Mar 14th - 12-pm-3pm

Bradford Family YMCA Teen Center
59 Boylston St.
Bradford, Pa

$30 per child ages 5-12
$40 per child ages 13-16
($20 for each additional child within the same household)

Please bring a birth certificate with you to the registration.

Anyone signing up after March 31st will be charged an additional $10 per child

Top Teams Routed in Round 11

In round eleven within the varsity division of the chess league at School Street Elementary, Dr. Laroche trounced Wal-Mart allowing Dexter’s Service Center to advance to tie for first. There is now a three-way tie for second: the Pharmacy at Union Square, Parkview Super Market, and Smith’s Fine Jewelry. Tamara Ferguson (captain for Smith’s) and Greg Henry (captain of the Pharmacy) drew their match advancing Mike Jones to top individual.

In the JV section, long time league leader Lang Surveying lost its match to fall back to fourth place. Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair and Tasta Pizza advanced to tie for first team. Drs. Rhinehart Team is only a point behind in second, with Edmond Chevrolet and Lang Surveying just half a point behind. Brent Kennedy (captain for Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair) leads the pack for top individual followed by Mitchell Forbes, captain for Hamlin Bank, in second. Jessica Yost (member of Drs. Rhinehart team) and Nate Evan, a member of the Edmond Chevrolet Team, are tied for third place.

Results and Standings after round 11:

Varsity Division

Smith’s Fine Jewelry defeated the Pharmacy at Union Square, 1.5-0.5; Bradford Window Co. won its first match of the season against Dr. Gonzalez; Dexter’s Service Center finished even with Parkview Super Market, 1-1; and Dr. Laroche upset Wal-Mart.

Dexter’s Service Center


Parkview Super Market

Pharmacy at Union Square

Smith’s Fine Jewelry

Dr. Laroche

Dr. Gonzalez

Bradford Window Co.

Junior Varsity Division

In the junior varsity section, the victorious teams were Tasta Pizza, Hamlin Bank, Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair, and Northwest Savings Bank.

Smith’s Watch & Clock Repair


Tasta Pizza

Drs. Rhinehart

Edmond Chevrolet

Lang Surveying

Hayden Auto Detailing

Dragonfly Guitar Studio

Hamlin Bank

Northwest Savings Bank

Ed Shults Toyota

Bowman Health Center Reopens Tuesday

Charles Cole Memorial Hospital will reopen the Bowman Health Center on Tuesday at its original location, 83 S. Marvin St., Smethport. The office’s phone number will remain the same, 887-5395.

An official dedication and open house will be held at a later date.

The Bowman Health Center, which originally opened in the 1990s, will adjoin the Smethport Wellness Center and Physical Therapy. Part of the building is also occupied by the Guidance Center. In 2005, the health center moved to 17129 Route 6 and operated as Misty Valley Health Center. CCMH reopened the Bowman Health Center in honor of Douglas Bowman, MD, following his untimely death in November 2008.

Scoring, Bragging at KOTS

The 2010 Kinzua Outdoor and Travel Show offers two exciting features for the public to actively participate in the event.

For the seventh year, the Bragging Wall, a freestanding structure with surrounding area for floor or table display, will host many private entries. Hunting and fishing aficionados are encouraged to display their trophy mounts and share their stories about those that “didn’t get away!”

Prizes will be awarded in five categories: big game, white tail, furbearer, foul, and fish. Each entry will be numbered and displayed with the entrant’s name and a brief description. Each entrant will receive one free admission to the event.

Winners are determined by the people’s choice. Ballots will be done using money cans. Proceeds from the Bragging Wall voting will be donated to Hunt of a Lifetime, a non-profit organization with a mission to grant hunting and fishing adventures and dreams for children 21 and under, who have been diagnosed with life threatening illnesses

The Bragging Wall area is monitored to protect the entries yet enable the visitors a clear view.

Any legally obtained white-tailed deer mount head, antlers with the skull plate intact, or black bear can be submitted for FREE Pope and Young scoring on Saturday from 10am - 3 pm.

To have your trophy mount or catch displayed at the Kinzua Outdoor and Travel Show in the Bragging Wall area or to register for scoring, contact the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce, 814-368-7115 or Pre-registration is preferred to participate in either or both features.

Presented by the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce, the ninth annual Kinzua Outdoor & Travel Show celebrates the abundant outdoor beauty and recreational activities in the Pennsylvania Wilds and Twin Tier Region. The show is open Friday, February 26, 4 to 9 pm, and Saturday, February 27, 10 am to 6 pm at the Bradford Mall, 1001 East Main Street. Nominal admission over 10 years of age. Free parking.

Serious Injuries in Snowmobile Crash

A Panama, New York, man has been charged with snowmobiling while intoxicated following an accident that left him seriously injured this morning.

At 1:47 this morning 37-year-old Ernie Bender's snowmobile went out of control at the junction of trails S48 and C4 off Route 430 in the Town of Chautauqua. Sheriff's deputies say the snowmobile flew into a patch of trees and Bender was thrown from the machine. He was first taken to Westfield Hospital then transferred to Hamot Medical Center.

Deputies say additional charges are expected.

High School Student Charged with Assault

A Franklinville High School student is in jail after being accused of beating another student with a pipe.

Police say 16-year-old Mario Castro beat a 17-year-old student with a metal pipe they believe was taken from the school's weight room. Police say the attack escalated from a disagreement between the students.

The victim suffered head and neck injuries.

Castro is charged with felony assault.

Coudersport Man Facing Charges

A Coudersport man is facing charges after getting into a snowmobile accident then falling asleep in someone else's house.

Police say after the accident, 28-year-old Dustin Butler entered the home of Heather Empson of Ulysses. Nobody was home at the time and Butler was discovered sleeping inside the home the next morning.

He was taken to Charles Cole Memorial Hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in the accident, then charged with criminal trespass and criminal mischief.

Fatal Crash in Warren

A Russell man is dead following a crash Friday afternoon on Market Street in Warren.

Police say a car driven by 60-year-old Stephen Kobojek of 111 Main Street went through the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Market, where it hit a vehicle driven by 59-year-old James Reitz of Warren. Kobojeck's car then hit a pickup truck driven by 65-year-old Richard Laird of Pittsfield and another pickup driven by 20-year-old Brandan Bosko, also of Pittsfield.

Kobojek died at the scene. Bosko was flown by medical helicopter to an out-of-town hospital. A passenger in Bosko's vehicle was also taken to the hospital with unspecified injuries.

Murder Suspect Indicted

A man has been indicted on charges that he murdered an elderly man in his Delevan Terrace apartment in December.

42-year-old Melvin Stephenson is charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of 80-year-old Wilbur Norton.

Stephenson is also charged with first-degree manslaughter, burglary and robbery. He's being held in Attica Prison. He's scheduled for arraignment on March 1.

Norton's body was discovered by a Meals on Wheels volunteer on December 1.

Cattaraugus County Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb says Stephenson, who lives in the same apartment building, became a person of interest shortly after an autopsy revealed that Norton's death was a homicide. He was picked up on a parole violation and was in custody during the investigation into Norton's death.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Scarnati: Proposed Budget Spending is a Major Concern

WARREN - Since Governor Ed Rendell announced his proposed 2010/2011 state budget on Tuesday, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati has been and is still examining the merits of the product. Clearly, his first concern was the level of overall spending.

“At first glance, during this severe economic downturn, I have a real problem with increasing our spending level by over 4.1%,” Scarnati stated. “While working families and job creators are struggling with their own budgets, I find it irresponsible that the Commonwealth would even consider such a dramatic increase, much less pass it as a final budget.”

Scarnati mentioned that from his perspective, this year’s thought process will be much the same as it was last year. The budget must reflect the fiscal realities of the Pennsylvania family, it must not contain a broad-based tax increase, and it must be sustainable.

“Moving forward, it is my sincere hope that as we begin the 2010/2011 budget negotiations, all parties involved will come to the table with an understanding of the aforementioned principles,” Scarnati added. “If that is the case, then I am confident we can get a practical, sensible budget completed on time.”

“Recently the Governor has provided the General Assembly with his proposals and now it is vital that we examine each in a thoughtful, diligent manner,” Scarnati said. “However, after quick analysis of the Governor’s spending levels, tax increases, and his new sales tax plan, I would be remiss if I didn’t note genuine concern with the initial product. Now is the time to show the citizens of the Commonwealth that we recognize their concerns with out of control spending and unnecessary tax increases.”

“With that said, I look forward to further evaluating the Governor’s proposals, and working with the members of the Legislature and the Administration to bring about a final 2010/2011 state budget,” Scarnati concluded.

from Scarnati's office

Long Term Care Residents
Receive Valetine's Day Cards

Representatives from the Cameron County Family Center’s Share the Love program visited Charles Cole Memorial Hospital’s Long Term Care residents to deliver Valentine’s Day 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 Calvin Kennedy, Sissy Miller, Peggy Russell and Ruth Lentz.

(Photo courtesy of Charles Cole Memorial Hospital)

ANF Drillers Accused of Violating
Federal Safe Drinking Water Act

Two men who drilled for oil in the Allegheny National Forest have been charged with improperly injecting brine water into wells in violation of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

John Morgan and Michael Evans of Swamp Angel Energy each face one felony count for incidents that happened at two well sites in McKean County between April of 2007 and January of 2008.

Court records say the men did not have the permits required to inject brine into the wells.

Morgan, who lives in Sheffield, and Evans, who lives in the state of California, are expected to plead guilty Tuesday in federal court in Erie.

Violating the Safe Drinking Water Act carries a penalty of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Very Cool Weather Video

Dan Griffin pointed me to this time lapse video of the blizzard in Washington, DC. Watch it a few times to see all the things the snow does.

Final Test of Engines at Methane-Electric
Plant in Chautauqua County Takes Place

Mayville, NY -- Chautauqua County Executive Gregory J. Edwards was on hand as the engines inside the County's Methane-Electric Plant underwent their first, full capacity test today.

"Today is an important milestone for Chautauqua County," Edwards proclaimed. "We are generating electricity utilizing a process that will improve our environment and selling that electricity at a profit. This is truly an accomplishment and I am proud to be part of this occasion."

Edwards said that after today's tests are completed, the Methane-Electric Plant will be permitted to connect to National Grid’s service lines.

Edwards said that the electricity that is produced by the plant is estimated to profit Chautauqua County to the tune of $2 million per year. "When I became County Executive, the methane gas generated by our own landfill waste was the largest unutilized source of energy in the county," Edwards said. "Now we're using this renewable source to run generators, resulting in green electricity."

"What sets us apart is that we are the only county in New York State to own, operate and sell electricity produced by using methane from a county owned landfill,” Edwards said. "We are producing electricity through a method that delivers on the agendas of New York Governor David Paterson and President Barack Obama, who have made it clear that Green Energy is a priority for not only New York State, but the Nation as well.

"I am now taking this successful effort and using it to attract green industries to Chautauqua County by demonstrating our commitment to the environment and green growth," Edwards said.

Edwards thanked Senator Charles Schumer, Representative Brian Higgins, Dennis Elsenbeck, lead official with National Grid, Peter Zeliff, CEO of Innovative Energy Systems (IES), and the members of the leadership team of County Department professionals for making this day possible.

Pictured, Edwards and Landfill Director Pantelis Panteli
(Photo courtesy of Joel Keefer)

Bradford Man Facing Federal Charges

A repeat sex offender from Bradford has been charged with using a cell phone and MySpace e-mails to entice a 14-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity.

33-year-old Michael Begin is also accused of using a cell phone to send pictures of his genitals to the teen.

He was arrested Thursday after an FBI agent posing as the teen used e-mail messages to arrange a meeting with Begin at a Bradford restaurant.

The FBI said a search conducted in connection with the arrest revealed that Begin possessed a knife, handcuffs and a condom. He told authorities he planned to take the girl to his residence in a Bradford hotel and engage in sexual activity.

Authorities say the girl's mother found sexually explicit messages from Begin on her daughter's MySpace page, saved them and reported it to Bradford City Police.

Assistant US Attorney Marshall Piccinini said the attentiveness of the mother along with the quick actions of the FBI and Bradford police stopped something bad from happening.

Teens Found Guilty of Murder

Two Marienville residents have been found guilty of murdering an Elk County man in August of 2008.

19-year-old Raymond "RJ" Lambert was convicted of first-degree murder for shooting 50-year-old Timothy Finucan at his Milestone Township home. 18-year-old Stephen Hall was convicted of second-degree murder as an accomplice.

The two were attempting to steal drugs from Finucan when Lambert shot and killed him with Hall's gun.

The jury deliberated for six hours. Lambert and Hall remain in jail without bail while awaiting sentencing.

Two Hurt When Car Hits Snowplow

Two men are hospitalized after their car hit a snowplow head-on this morning on Route 46 in Keating Township.

Police say a car driven by 24-year-old Randy McCaslin of Rew hit the PennDOT plow. He and his passenger, 21-year-old Jacob Niklas of Kane, were both seriously injured and were flown to Hamot Medical Center in Erie.

The snowplow driver, 57-year-old Joseph Irons of Smethport, was not hurt.

Guilty Plea to Child Sex Charges

A Warren man has pleaded guilty in federal court to charges related to sexual exploitation of children.

37-year-old Phillip Regner Jr. received 20 movies depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, according to court records.

Regner faces up to 20 years in prison when he's sentenced June 7.

Three FCI-McKean Inmates Indicted

Two inmates at FCI-McKean have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Erie on charges of escape from custody.

20-year-old Antonio Mills and 28-year-old Yasser Souhouba are accused of leaving the grounds of the prison camp at FCI McKean.

They face a total of five additional years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.

Another FCI-McKean inmate has been indicted on a charge of possession of contraband in prison.

30-year-old Rodney Saunders allegedly had a five-inch piece of plastic sharpened to a point with a white cloth wrapped around the opposite end for a handle. The alleged incident happened on Christmas Day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

This Week's Big 30 Selections:


Jake Damon, St. Marys Area High School

5’11” 235lbs. Offensive Guard / Defensive End / Tackle

Jake plans on attending a four year college majoring in Forensic Science. He would also like to continue his football career. Jakes honors include being a member of the National Honor Society. Jake was asked why he wants to play in the Big 30 game and he said. “I would like to play in this game because this game is one of the highest honors in this area. Playing in this game means that people noticed you during the regular season and that you have worked hard and gave it your all.” Jakes biggest thrill in football was being able to play with his friends.

Lucas Kline, Port Allegany High School

6’ 170lbs. Wide Receiver / Defensive End

Lucas plans on becoming a Pennsylvania State Trooper. Lucas’s honors include; Allegany Mountain League All-Star and All-State Honorable mention for wide receiver. Lucas was asked why he would like to play in the Big 30 game and he said “When I was a Junior High School player my goal was to play in the Big 30 game. It’s an honor to be chosen to play.” Lucas biggest thrill while playing is making big game plays.

Craig Fitch, Sheffield Area High School

6’2” 180lbs. Quarterback / Linebacker

Craig plans on attending Slippery Rock University and major in Physical Therapy. Craig’s honors include being selected to the Allegany Mountain League All-Star team in 2008 and 2009. Craig was ask why he wants to play in the game and he said, “because of the honor of being chosen as one of the top players in the league. Craig’s biggest thrill is being able to create great memories and also being able to represent my community. His hobbies include hunting, fishing, and camping.

New York

Avery Chase, Ellicottville Central School

6’2” 245lbs. Center, Guard / Tackle, Nose Guard

Avery plans to attend Alfred University to play NCAA Division III football and major in Mechanical Engineering. Avery was selected to the Cattaraugus County Defensive All-Stars and is a member of the National Honor Society. Avery’s biggest thrill while playing was the thrill of playing under the lights and just being able to be on the field doing what I love. When not playing football Avery enjoys trap shooting, four wheeling and snow boarding with his friends.

Nate Woodin, Franklinville Central School

5’11” 220lbs. Guard / Defensive Tackle

Nate will attend Alfred State majoring in Automotive Technology. Nates honors include; Outstanding Male in a field event for track, Haey Kattwitz Outstanding Lineman, 2005 Midget Football Defensive Player of the Year. Nate said his biggest thrill in football was when he was pulling guard and hitting the defensive end unexpectedly. In Nates off time he enjoys fixing cars, reading, playing video games, and he also enjoys just hanging out with friends.

Connor King, Allegany-Limestone Central School

6’4” 225lbs. Quarterback

Connor plans to attend college and earn a degree in Sports Management, as well as play football. Connor’s honors include being selected to the 2029 1st Team All-Conference, 2008 2nd Team Class C All-Stars, Currently holds school records for touchdown passes and passing yards in a season. Connor was asked why he would like to play in the Big 30 game and he said, “I consider it an honor to play with the best, against the best. His biggest thrill came winning our first playoff game in years against Akron.

The 36th annual “Big 30 Don Raabe charities Classic” will be played Saturday August 7, 2010 at Parkway Field, Bradford, PA. The first 36 games produced over 1,350,000 dollars donated to numerous charities and personal causes throughout the twin –tiers.

The kick-off time has been changed to 7 PM for this year’s game.

Teams consist of graduated seniors from 29 high schools in New York and Pennsylvania that make up the Big 30 area.

You can hear the game on 1490 WESB, 100.1 The HERO and online at

Young: Raiding of Snowmobile Fund is
'Pure Money Grab'

ALBANY – Senator Catharine Young (R,I,C – Olean) today called on Gov. David Paterson to stop a raid into the state’s dedicated snowmobile fund.

In his state budget proposal, the Governor has directed a $1 million sweep from the Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund into the State’s General Fund, along with an additional plan to change the Fund’s scope and purpose.

“The Governor made a promise in 2008 to keep his hands out of the cookie jar and use this fund solely for promoting and improving snowmobiling in this state,” Sen. Young added. “Sadly, the Governor has broken that promise and sees this dedicated fund as just one more source of income to fill budget holes.”

“Snowmobile registration fees are supposed to be dedicated toward trail maintenance and development, which in turn boosts our economy,” said Sen. Young. “Snowmobiling is a big business because it attracts so many visitors who stay in our hotels, eat at our restaurants, shop in our stores and buy our gas.”

“There have been improvements and increases in funding for the trails over the last few years, but only because snowmobilers agreed to have their registration fees increased with the expectation that the funds be used solely for the benefit of the industry,” said Sen. Young. “This is a pure money grab that will further cripples upstate’s economic recovery.”

In addition to the raid, the Governor would allow the Division of Budget to access 30% of the remaining Fund’s balance and expand its purpose from exclusively maintaining and developing snowmobile trails, to support any other “recreational” activity on state land. This would include funding to be used for maintenance or development of hiking trails, tennis courts, snowplowing equipment, road re-pavement, or any State park facility used to supplement recreational activity.

Steve Smith, Vice President of the Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club, said “It takes a lot to maintain these trails and keep them safe. Our registration fees go to everything from grooming trails and fixing broken bridges, to offering safety courses and buying new and improved equipment. Clubs throughout this state have worked hard to keep this Fund credible and it should not be used to help offset New York’s budget crisis.”

According to the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Snowmobile industry contributes more than $875 million to the state economy each year. New York has more than 11,000 miles of groomed trails for snowmobile use which are maintained by 237 local clubs through the Snowmobile Fund.

“Too many people in Albany underestimate how popular, how well-organized, and how economically important the snowmobiling community is in upstate New York. Our snowmobilers bring much needed dollars into our local economy. I am seriously concerned that a raid on the trail fund will hinder the ability to adequately maintain the trail system and jeopardize our small businesses,” said Sen. Young.

There are over 121,000 registered snowmobiles registered in New York State. The registration fee for snowmobiles is $45 if you are a member of a NAYS Snowmobile Association (NYSSA) club. If you are not a NYSSA member, the registration fee is $100.

Sen. Young will be attending the Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club’s “All-Club Ride-In” on Sunday, February 14 at 2 p.m.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Murder Case in Hands of Grand Jury

A Chautauqua County grand jury is now considering the case of a man accused of beating an stabbing an elderly woman last week.

37-year-old Jason Wells is accused of killing 81-year-old Ruth Fisk. Her body was found inside her One Temple Square Apartment in Fredonia on Friday.

Authorities haven't discussed a possible motive.

I-80 Crash Victim Identified

Two pileups on Interstate 80 involving about 50 vehicles left an Illinois man dead and 18 people injured.

Police say the first crash started after two tractor-trailers jackknifed around 9 a.m. on the eastbound lanes in Clearfield County, causing at least 12 more trucks and three cars to collide.

The second crash happened two miles back about half an hour later as traffic slowed down for the first wreck.

Several trucks collided, and a car ran into the side of one of the trucks.

Authorities say the driver of the car, 57-year-old Steven Samuelson, of Orangeville, Ill., died in the crash.

One Fatality in I-80 Pileup

At least one person died and more than a dozen others were hurt in a massive pileup on Interstate 80 this morning.

Thirty tractor-trailers and 20 cars were involved in the crash in the eastbound lanes, shutting down a stretch of the highway between Penfield and Clearfield.

PennDOT expects the road to be closed at least until 8 o'clock tonight.

Video from CNN

SUV Slides Under Truck's Trailer

An SUV found itself under the back end of a tractor trailer on Route 219 in Ridgway Township Tuesday.

State police say the driver of the SUV, who they didn't identify, was attempting to pass the tractor-trailer, when the SUV went out of control on the snow-covered road, and went underneath the trailer.

Both vehicles were able to stop and no one was hurt.

Police have charged the SUV operator with driving too fast for conditions.

ASP Bridge Closed for Repairs

A small bridge on Allegany State Park Route 2A has been closed due to structural deficiencies identified during a routine inspection by the Department of Transportation.

The bridge is on the south side of Red House Lake near the bike path covered bridge where Red House Brook enters the lake.

Repairs are expected to be made to the bridge later this year. Motorists can still use ASP routes 1 and 2.

Pitt-Bradford to Celebrate Darwin Day

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford will mark Darwin Day, a celebration of science and scientific discovery, on Friday, February 12, in the Mukaiyama University Room in the Frame-Westerberg Commons.

Pitt-Bradford’s celebration is one of hundreds across the United States and the globe marking the 201st anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, the man who famously described biological evolution via natural selection.

The Pitt-Bradford celebration will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a birthday cake being served at noon. There will be a “Winter Walk” along McDowell Trail at 1:00, beginning in the Mukaiyama University Room, led by naturalist Linda Ordiway. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

Displays will include a “cabinet of curiosities” modeled after those of the Victorian age, featuring seahorses, gemstones and birds’ nests. Human and animal skulls, skeletons and fossil replicas will represent anthropology.

Students will make poster presentations on their research ranging from racial stereotypes to whether the Maya really predicted a 2012 disaster.

Other display will be presented by faculty members and student clubs on paleontology, anthropology, criminology, biology, environmental studies, evolution and literature, mathematics, physics and astronomy.

A display in Hanley Library will showcase biographies of Darwin, and also “2010: International Year of Biodiversity.”

The theory of evolution was controversial in Darwin’s time and remains controversial in the United States today, although it is accepted by the majority of all scientists from many disciplines around the world.

Started by the Albany, N.Y.-based Institute for Humanist Studies in 1995, Darwin Day is now celebrated in 850 locations worldwide and has expanded to be a celebration of all the sciences and of the techniques of scientific discovery.

Part of I-80 Remains Closed

Clearfield – Both eastbound lanes of I-80 in Clearfield County remain closed at this hour between exit 111 at Penfield and exit 120 at Clearfield. The closure is due to a crash involving multiple vehicles.

Eastbound motorists are being detoured from I-80 at the 111 exit, using the blue detour. The detour follows Route 153 south to Route 322 east to Route 879 east and back to I-80 eastbound at the 120 interchange. Information on the closure and detour is available on the Highway Advisory Radio System at 1640 on the AM dial.

Motorists should be alert for slowed or stopped traffic along I-80 and along the detour route.

PennDOT does not expect to re-open the road until after 8pm today.

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


According to our news partner CNN, the crash involves 50 vehicles -- 30 tractor trailers and 20 cars.

Major Roads Close Due to Weather

Harrisburg – With travel conditions worsening dramatically in southeast Pennsylvania, Governor Edward G. Rendell said the non-toll portions of four interstates closed at 2 p.m. today.

The Governor said the affected highways include the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76), I-476, I-176, and I-676.

“Other than emergency responders, no one should be driving on Pennsylvania’s highways today,” Governor Rendell said. “This is a serious storm that will jeopardize the safety of anyone who attempts to travel.”

Earlier today, the Governor announced the closure of I-81 from the Maryland border to I-80, and all of interstates 83 and 78. In addition, PA 581 has been closed in both directions.

It is important that people only call 911 in an emergency. Do not call for any other reason.

The Governor said PennDOT crews are continuing to treat roadways to keep them passable for emergency crews only. The agency will continue to treat roadways throughout the storm until precipitation stops and roads are clear.

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency reminds you that downloadable materials, including home and car emergency kit checklists and emergency plan templates, are available at or by calling 1-888-9-READYPA.

CCMH Announces Financial Plan

Charles Cole Memorial Hospital announced a financial turnaround plan today in reaction to a continued decline in the economy and to ensure its long term viability.

Like many hospitals across the nation, Charles Cole has experienced larger than expected financial losses. Rising unemployment rates and a stagnant economy have resulted in patients going without insurance or relying on government-sponsored insurance such as Medicare and Medicaid, rather than employer-provided insurance, all of which impacts reimbursements.

“For us, this pattern started over eight years ago. We have made ongoing adjustments to our budgets each year and have worked diligently with our lawmakers to help provide appropriate funding to economically depressed areas such as Potter County,” said Ed Pitchford, president and chief executive officer. “For example, in 2007, Charles Cole enrolled with Medicare as a critical access hospital which improved reimbursements by approximately $2 million per year. We have also been fortunate to have the support of our regional state legislators to include supplemental Medicaid payments for critical access hospitals throughout the state.”

To date, after six months into the current fiscal year, Charles Cole has experienced a $1.3 million operating deficit, when it was anticipated that the hospital would break even from operations. The state recently announced a $161 million budget cut which is expected to impact CCMH’s budget by an additional $500,000 between January and June, Pitchford said.

“Because of the cumulative effect of several years of deficits, our current financial results and the looming state budget cuts, we must react to protect the ongoing financial viability of the hospital. This has caused us to make some difficult decisions to best serve our patients and communities,” Pitchford said. He explained that various options have been explored to cut costs while causing the least disruption to services and staff.

The hospital has outlined a plan that will result in cost savings and, at the same time, preserve as many jobs as possible. In order to minimize layoffs, salaried and hourly employees will see a reduction in wages. In addition, the hospital will examine positions closely; staff reductions will occur due to position eliminations, attrition, retirements and job reassignments. The hospital will also move forward with certain program expansions and growth, vendor negotiations and the reduction of agency staff.

“We are attempting to achieve the necessary expense reductions in a way which minimizes the impact on employees and the local economy to the greatest extent possible. It is our hope and aim that the result of these changes will position the organization to achieve the financial results that it needs to continue to benefit our workforce, our patients and the communities we serve,” Pitchford said.

“These are difficult decisions that we believe were made with great care and empathy for all involved. We appreciate the impact they will have both professionally and personally upon our dedicated staff,” he said.

“We are committed to our vision that we will continue to be an excellent health system and employer through the continued pursuit of excellence,” Pitchford said. “There are great things happening here each and every day and we are working on projects that will keep us at the forefront as a modern, relevant rural health system. But we earn the trust and loyalty of our patients with each and every encounter. So, while none of this news and these actions are pleasant for any of us, we must move forward with enthusiasm and dedication to preserve this organization as we know it today for the continued benefit of ourselves and our community.”

Man Pleads Guilty to Drug Charge

An Olean man has pleaded guilty to drug charges in Cattaraugus County Court.

District Attorney Lori Pettit Rieman says on December 16, in Olean, Joseph Dempsey Jr. attempted to possess crack cocaine.

He'll be sentenced May 3.

Pitt-Bradford Students to Help Residents Prepare Taxes Free of Charge

For the 20th consecutive year, accounting students at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford will offer free income tax preparation for low- to moderate-income individuals and families.

Residents can receive assistance through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, also known as VITA, from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, in Room 158 of the Pitt-Bradford Sport and Fitness Center. There will also be sessions from noon to 5 p.m. on Feb.27 and March 20.

Students from the Pitt-Bradford Students in Free Enterprise Club who have been certified by the IRS will prepare 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ and Pennsylvania state returns for individuals.

Families and individuals interested in participating in the program are asked to bring the 2009 tax package and label (if mailed to them), proof of identity, Social Security cards for themselves and any dependents, their 2008 tax return, hard copies of 2009 W-2 and 1099 forms, and proof of account (such as a voided check) for direct deposit of refunds if desired.

Residents who have significant income and expenses from their own businesses or people with a lot of investment activity should seek the assistance of a professional tax preparer.

Residents will be helped on a first-come, first-served basis, with a daily limit for the number of returns to be prepared. A signup sheet will be available to keep waiting to a minimum.

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

Mayor Witte Unveils Proposed Budget

Mayor Linda Witte asked the Olean Common Council Tuesday to begin reviewing the numbers contained in her $15,925,177 budget proposal for 2010-2011.

“We’re trying to keep the tax rate flat this year or up only slightly,” said Mayor Witte, referring to the tax rate of $14.24 per $1,000 of assessed valuation that is projected in the draft.

Under this plan, homeowners of properties assessed at the citywide average of $60,000 could expect to receive a tax bill of about $854.40.

“Increases in our projected spending with my plan total $425,765, and that’s a modest 2.7 percent hike over the 2009-2010 level of appropriations,” she added, pointing to the $281,595 increase, or 4.25 percent, in the property tax levy, which totals $6,902,949.

Mayor Witte said that she slashed the spending increase from the 15.17 percent increase tallied in the first round of departmental budget requests. But she said she expects the city’s aldermen will make further changes to the plan in the coming weeks and those numbers could be revised downward.

The plan will generate a $1,385,607 fund balance at the end of the year, reflecting the city’s continuing position of financial stability, and will also provide a contingency account equal to 4.76 percent of operating costs, to be ready in case of unforeseen emergencies.

The draft was distributed a week before the Feb. 15 deadline, the President’s Day holiday in which the Municipal Building will be closed. A final budget must be in place by April 15 for the 2010-2011 fiscal year beginning June 1.

The $14.24 per $1,000 is the first double-digit tax rate for property owners in about seven years. Last summer a citywide revaluation was completed, and it brought all property assessments which had been calculated based on 1962 values to 100 percent. Currently, the 2009-2010 rate is $170.98 per $1,000 of assessed value based on a 7.95 percent equalization rate.

Mayor Witte also pointed out that the city will enjoy a smaller-than-expected cut in AIM, or state aid to municipalities. The most recent information received in the mayor’s office projects the city will lose only one percent of its aid, or $23,581, based on the city’s heavier reliance on AIM funding for 10 percent of its budget.

The water and sewer funds will operate in the black with the proposed plan. If adopted, the water rates of $58 per 1,000 cubic feet will not change, and the sewer rate hike is one of the lowest in recent years. The proposed sewer rent of $55.15 is an increase of $4.65 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Mother, Son Charged with Growing Pot

A mother and son from Chautauqua have been charged with growing cannabis, that sheriff's deputies say they found while investigating a missing person report.

45-year-old Robin Hume and 24-year-old Scott Hume are both charged with "unlawfully growing the plant known as cannabis."

Deputies say they were checking a house just outside of Mayville for a missing youth when they saw several marijuana plants growing in the house.

The Humes will appear in court at a later date.

Deputies are continuing their investigation.

Randolph Man Charged with Arson

A Randolph man has been charged with arson in connection to mobile home fires last month in the Town of Napoli.

Cattaraugus County Sheriff's deputies say 19-year-old Benjamin Finch started a fire in his neighbor's home on January 5 and again on January 7.

They say in the early morning hours of January 5 David Workman, the resident of the home, awoke to the sound of a smoke alarm. He was able to put the fire out himself after fighting it for about an hour. On January 7 when the other fire was started, Workman called the East Randolph Fire Department.

Finch was charged with second- and third-degree arson and released on his own recognizance.

Eastbound I-80 Closed from Penfield to
Clearfield Due to Multi-Vehicle Crash

Both eastbound lanes of Interstate 80 in Clearfield County are closed at this hour between exit 111 at Penfield and exit 120 at Clearfield due to a crash involving multiple vehicles.

Eastbound motorists are being detoured from I-80 at the 111 exit, using the blue detour. The detour will follow Route 153 south to Route 322 east to Route 879 east and back to I-80 eastbound at the 120 interchange. Information on the closure and detour is available on the Highway Advisory Radio System at 1640 on the AM dial.

Motorists should be alert for slowed or stopped traffic along I-80 and along the detour route.

PennDOT expects the roadway to reopen by 6pm today.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Rendell Proposes Lowering Sales Tax,
But Taxing More Items -- Like Toothpaste

Governor Ed Rendell has presented lawmakers with a $29 billion spending plan that would give more money to schools while taxing the sale of many services and goods for the first time.

Although Rendell's proposal would extend the sales tax to services and items that are currently exempt, the sales tax would be reduced from 6 percent to 4 percent.

The proposed budget would increase spending by $1.1 billion, or 4 percent, for the 2010-11 fiscal year that begins July 1, and about one-third of that increase would go to public school instruction.

Although Rendell said he isn't proposing a tax increase, some of the tax exemptions he's proposed lifting include personal hygiene items like toothpaste, as well as candy, gum and cigars.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati says people see through that.

"An increase is an increase," Scarnati said. "I don't think the general public can withstand it, nor can we provide it."

Rendell also said he doesn't want anything like the 101-day budget impasse of last year.

"Ladies and gentlemen," he said to the joint session of the Legislature this morning, "we can disagree on what's in the budget but let's agree today that we will get on with the budget and get it done on time for the people of Pennsylvania."

Both sides of the aisle agreed on that. The budget hasn't been passed by the Constitutional deadline of June 30 since Rendell has been in office.

Update on Proposed 'Green' Fire Station

Bradford City firefighters are still hoping for a federal grant to help pay for the $6.4 million "green" fire station they want to build.

During a work session prior to Tuesday's Bradford City Council meeting coucnilman Ross Neidich, who oversees the fire department, fire chief Boo Coder and firefighter Matt Rettger, who writes grant applications for the department, said they intend to ask council for permission to submit more grant applications.

They also updated council on their grant application and what possible avenues they can take to secure more grant money. Although the proposal wasn't approved by the Department of Homeland Security, Rettger said there's "still $130 million hanging out there."

Rettger said they've been looking into the Kresge Foundation's "Challenge Program" as a possible source for the $750,000 to $1 million for a "green" roof. He added that green grants are available at the state level for the $750,000 to $1 million for the geo-thermal heating system.

Having a green roof involves replacing or supplementing traditional roofing material with vegetation, which prevents rain from quickly running down the roof surface and off site. Water instead percolates through soil and feeds plants in the process. Rettger and Coder said the department would also be able to recycle the water for cleaning of apparatus.

"The last place I saw a sod roof was when I watched 'Dances with Wolves' a couple weeks ago," said Mayor Tom Riel

As for the geo-thermal heating, ground is drilled down to where the temperature is 55 degrees, then it's extracted with a heat pump. Depending on the needs, the temperature would be raised or lowered using supplemental sources.

The Bradford Ranger Station in Marshburg uses geo-thermal heating, Rettger said.

Coder said if they're able to build the proposed station it will be the first of its kind on the East Coast.

"We gave them (Homeland Security) the greenest building you can build," Coder said, adding that that's why costs were driven up.

Although a standard building without environmentally friendly features would cost about $4.9 million, Neidich said the grant applications "steered you in (a green) direction ... The more you did in terms of green, the more points you earned toward the possible getting of the grant."

He added that they thought the greener they went, the better their chances were of getting the Homeland Security grant.

They've also considered working with the Green Building Alliance of Pittsburgh to help secure funding. There is no fee to apply for any of the grants the department is looking into.

Council and Coder agreed that a loan, which the Department of Agriculture is offering, are out of the question.

"We need grant funds," Coder said.

The Department of Agriculture could, however, provide matching grants funds required for some of the other grants.

The deadline for the Department of Homeland Security to make the final grant announcements is September 1.

"I'm optimistic," Coder said. "I think we're going to get it."

Future of Street Dreams Car Show
Discussed at City Council Meeting

WESB/WBRR News Director

A fork in the road to the next Street Dreams Car Show may have been straightened out.

Gary Hoy, president of the Street Dreams Car Club, had said that the club would take the show elsewhere in protest of the City of Bradford's new $25 fee to hold an event downtown.

Additional costs would be incurred if an organization needs services from the city, including having barricades delivered and set up for street closings, delivery and/or pickup of trash receptacles, and electricity.

"Your fees are preposterous to us," Hoy told Bradford City Council Tuesday night. "We, as a group, refuse to pay this."

Mayor Tom Riel explained that the city raised fees for various services in the city, not just for organizations holding events downtown.

"Because we have such budgetary problems, and because we're having trouble making ends meet, we've taken away people's jobs," Riel said. "We've forced people to pay double and triple for their health care. The vast majority of the the city workers received no pay increase this year."

Calling the fees very small and modest Riel added that they "don't come close to covering the cost the city incurs for some of these events, but they help cover a small fraction to offset that."

Councilman Jim Evans, who was not a member of council when the board approved the fee structure in December, said that he has a great appreciation for the financial difficulties the city is in.

"If we don't work together as a team to try to solve some of these problems, we're going to have more major ones," Evans said.

"We're going to have to look for every possible source of revenue," he said.

Riel also pointed out that the Downtown Bradford Revitalization Corporation has agreed to pay the fees to keep the car show going.

OECD Executive Director, who is also treasurer of the DBRC, told Hoy that proceeds from the car show (which are donated to the Downtown Bradford Business District Authority) help to fund other underfunded events such as Lunch in the Square and the Main Street Moviehouse.

"We want to work with you," Andrews told Hoy.

Hoy said he will talk with members of the club about the offer.

"We will not call this a dead issue at this point," Hoy said.

In other matters, council gave approval to submit a fiscal year 2011 appropriations request for $2 million for a Local Roadways Resurfacing Project. The request will be submitted to Senator Bob Casey and, if necessary or required, to Senator Arlen Specter and/or Congressman Glenn Thompson.

Also Tuesday, council accepted a $6,874 quote from 6-V Excavation to demolish 31-39 School Street.

The cost will be paid from the city's Elm Street and 2010 Community Development Block Grant programs.

Councilman Ross Neidich joked that he is going to contact the former residents who lived across the street and thought that property would never be torn down.

Council also authorized city engineer Roy Pedersen to prepare specifications and bid documents relative to a roofing repair/replacement project at the Department of Public Works facility on Holley Avenue.

Area Students Enjoy CSI Live at UPB

A thousand children from Bradford Area Christian Academy, Fretz Middle School, Intermediate Unit 9, Johnsonburg Area School District, School Street Elementary School and The Learning Center attended two sold-out shows by CSI: Live on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford on Friday. More students will have a chance to see the science-based entertainment from the Mad Science production company when it returns to Pitt-Bradford Thursday. Students from Fretz Middle School, Otto-Eldred Area School District, Port Allegany School District, Ridgway Area School District and St. Bernard Elementary School. During the show, students have a chance to help investigators Sydney Mathis and David Hart solve a crime committed during a magic show. Pictured, investigator David Hart is helped by a student from School Street.

(Photos courtesy of Pitt-Bradford)

UAHS Names Senior Leadership Team

The senior management team has been named for Upper Allegheny Health System (UAHS), the newly formed parent company of Bradford Regional Medical Center and Olean General Hospital.

“We’ve taken significant efforts to assemble an experienced and talented management team to lead Upper Allegheny Health System and its two member hospitals. This senior-level team has an ability to lead in challenging environments,” said UAHS President and CEO Timothy J. Finan.

“Equally important, UAHS leadership will work tirelessly to improve the ability of the hospitals to recruit physicians and other clinical professionals, manage healthcare costs and to develop programs and services that respond to regional healthcare needs,” he said.

The newly named UAHS team includes:

Richard Braun has been appointed as UAHS Senior Vice President of Finance/Chief Financial Officer. In his new position, he will oversee the entire financial function of UAHS’ member hospitals, including revenue management and supply-cycle functions. Most recently, Mr. Braun was the Interim Chief Financial Officer for Amsterdam Memorial Healthcare in Amsterdam, N.Y., where he directed its due diligence and merger process with St. Mary's Hospital. Prior to that, Mr. Braun served as Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer of Brooklyn Hospital Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Senior Vice President/CFO of Kaleida Health System in Buffalo. He is a certified public accountant and a graduate of Canisius College. Additionally, he is a past president of the Healthcare Financial Management Association/Buffalo chapter;

Timothy McNamara has been appointed UAHS Senior Vice President of Human Resources. In his new position, he will oversee the Human Resources functions of both Bradford Regional and Olean General. Prior to joining UAHS, Mr. McNamara was Vice President of Human Resources at Univera Healthcare in Buffalo. He earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Niagara University and a master’s degree in human resource management from the State University of New York at Fredonia;

William Mills, M.D., has been appointed UAHS Senior Vice President of Quality and Professional Affairs. In his new position, he will be responsible for the oversight of quality programs, and process improvements and initiatives for the health system. Additionally, he will oversee the hospital medical staffs. Dr. Mills is also a Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Previously, Dr. Mills was Vice President of Medical Affairs for Olean General. He earned his medical degree from the Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and received a master’s degree in medical management from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. He was a practicing physician for more than 20 years;

Jason Yaworsky has been appointed the new Senior Vice President of Information Technology. He will be responsible for overseeing the information technology and telecommunications of both Bradford Regional and Olean General. Previously, he was the Manager of Information Systems at Olean General. He earned both a bachelor’s degree in clinical laboratory science and a master’s degree in medical technology from the State University of New York at Buffalo;

Marta Shultz has been appointed the new UAHS Vice President of Quality. In her position, she will oversee the quality and performance improvement functions and initiatives of UAHS’ two member hospitals. She comes to UAHS from Beacon Health Informatics, where she was Vice President for Customer Service. She also previously served as Performance Improvement Coordinator for Craven Regional Medical Center in North Carolina. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the State University of New York at Geneseo. Ms. Shultz passed the national certification examination in healthcare quality sponsored by the Healthcare Quality Forum;

Joe Gervase has been appointed the new UAHS Corporate Director of Materials Management. In this post, Mr. Gervase will oversee the system's supply-chain function, including purchasing, receiving, stores, contract management and couriers. He has significant hospital management experience, having served in a number of key administrative positions at Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo where he had responsibility for Materials Management and Information and Support Services. He is a past president of both the Western New York Society of Hospital Materials Management and the Western New York Regional Purchasing Cooperative. Mr. Gervase received a master’s degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo. His undergraduate degree is from Canisius College; and

John Policastro has been appointed Director of Communications and Marketing for UAHS. In his new role, Mr. Policastro will oversee all marketing and public relations initiatives for the health system. Previously, he was Director of Community Relations at Olean General. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English from St. Bonaventure University.

Kushequa Avenue House Destroyed

Fire destroyed a Kushequa Avenue house early this morning.

Mount Jewett Volunteer Fire Department First Assistant Chief Ed Fisher said flames were showing "big time" when they arrived, and the house was "well-involved" in fire. He added that electric lines were knocked down and arcing, and Allegheny Power had to be called in to turn off the electricity.

Fisher said the house was owned by Jerod Duchi, but was unoccupied at the time of the fire. Firefighters were called out at 2:33 a.m. and were on the scene until 7:10 a.m.

30 to 35 firefighters from Mount Jewett, Kane, Hamlin Township and Smethport responded to the scene. Clermont was on standby.

Fisher said they are waiting for a state police fire marshal to investigate and determine the cause of the fire.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bradford School District Buying Former
Crosby Mart, House on Interstate Parkway

WESB/WBRR News Director

The Bradford Area School District is buying the former Crosby's on Interstate Parkway and the house next door for a total of $254,000.

The $169,000 to Reid Petroleum for the Crosby's property includes the removal of the gas tanks and the understanding the parcel be "environmentally clean" before the sale is finalized.

During Monday's Bradford Area School Board meeting, district business manager Kathy Kelly said Reid wants to get it finished "as quickly as they can."

Board member Joe Troutman said he believes the prices are "a little high," but on the other hand the properties are "like gold to us" because they're adjacent to school property.

Board member Keith Hatch added that part of the board's long range goal is to pick up properties near the schools for possible future expansion.

The money for the purchase of the two properties will come from the general fund budget. Kelly said the money is there because she budgeted conservatively in consideration of the economic climate, but the district received more in real estate taxes than she anticipated.

"Will it put us into a deficit?" asked board president Tim Bean.

"No it will not, sir," Kelly said, adding with a smile, "You know I will never have a deficit, Mr. Bean."

"I had to ask," Bean said.

Board member Dave Feely voted against the sales. Board member Helen Cummiskey was absent.

Also Monday, the board voted to enter into an agreement with Clear Choice Energy for a conservation program, where electricity consumers get paid to reduce their electric usage during emergencies on the electric grid in order to prevent a blackout in the area.

The first year payment to the district is expected to be $17,578.

Kelly explained that even if Clear Choice asks the district to close buildings early, the district has the option to say they can't do it at all, or could only do it for part of a day.

She said the last time the district was asked to cut back to help prevent a blackout was in 2007.

In other matters, the board approved its share of the Intermediate Unit Nine operating budget for 2010-11.

The $87,060 is the same as last year.

Bean, who is also a member of the IU9 board, said school district superintendents in the area said they would not accept an increase in the IU9 budget.

Also, Superintendent Sandra Romanowski noted that the Go Green Committee is still working hard on "making the Bradford Area School District a greener place for all."

They're currently having a contest between the elementary schools and the secondary schools to see who can reduce consumption the most. During the first month, she said, the elementary schools won by a landslide, saving 54,000 kilowatts. Last month, the elementary schools still won, but by a much smaller margin.

She said the secondary school students are taking it very seriously now.

Romanowski said one high school student told her, "Those elementary kids toasted us, and they're not going to keep doing it."

She said the goal of the committee is two-fold: to recycle plastic bottles and paper, and to reduce energy consumption.

Also Monday, assistant superintendent Katy Pude said the re-introduction of geography and spelling bees at School Street Elementary have been very successful. She also wanted to give recognition to the district's career and technical instructors, who also take an active role in making sure students take their other classes seriously.

Pude also noted that PSSAs start on April 7 and end on April 30.

The board also approved the school calendar for 2010-11, with the first day of school on August 30.

Casey Statement on Murtha's Passing

“Congressman Murtha's death is a great loss for our country and our Commonwealth.

“He was a decorated Marine who served his country during the Korean War and volunteered for combat in Vietnam. He never forgot about our veterans, our troops or their families.

“He was a strong fighter for Johnstown, Cambria County and all of the 12th District.

“On a personal note, he was a good friend to me and my family for years. I am grateful for the support he gave to Governor Casey and to me in many campaigns over the last 25 years.

“Terese and I will keep Joyce and their family in our thoughts and prayers.”

~~ US Senator Bob Casey

Sestak Comments on John Murtha

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the Murtha family at this very difficult time. His service to our nation in Congress reflected an unyielding commitment to his constituents, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and our nation.

However, he holds my greatest respect for the courage he showed in serving as a United States Marine and subsequently becoming the first Vietnam combat veteran elected to Congress. In doing so, he gave a voice to millions of men and women who fought in an unpopular war and were not afforded the respect and care they earned and deserved.

It was a privilege to work with him on a number of issues, and I am especially appreciative of the help he gave me as a mentor, whether it was on an approach within the halls of Congress, specific legislative items, or coming to my District to assist at key events. We should all be grateful for his commitment to public service for his District, Pennsylvania and this nation.”

~~ Congressman Joe Sestak

Rendell: Pennsylvanians Mourn Loss of
Murtha; Flags to be Flown at Half-Staff

Harrisburg – Noting the passing today of U.S. Rep. John “Jack” Murtha, Governor Edward G. Rendell today said all Pennsylvanians should be sad at the loss of this “uber-congressman.”

“Pennsylvania has lost one of its greatest citizens,” Governor Rendell said. “Congressman Murtha impacted the entire state, not just his congressional district, in ways that almost no individual has. He did so much for so many of us throughout the commonwealth.

“He was also the best friend and supporter of our military and the men and women who risk their lives for our country. He worked tirelessly to ensure that our military had the resources it needed to do its job effectively and that our service men and women had every piece of equipment necessary to protect them. He had the courage and integrity to make sure the military was on the right track and he was not afraid to raise questions.

“He will be sorely missed by every citizen of the commonwealth,” the Governor said. “Midge and I extend our deepest sympathy and support to the Murtha family.”

Governor Rendell ordered all Pennsylvania and U.S. flags across the commonwealth to be flown at half-staff in memory of the late congressman.

“This is fitting because Jack Murtha was not just a wonderful congressman for his district, but for all of Pennsylvania,” said Governor Rendell. “No matter what the issue was, Jack and Jack’s office was the first call we would make. No matter where you were in Pennsylvania, and certainly for anyone sitting in this chair, he was the go-to guy. He will be missed in countless ways.”

Flags will remain at half-staff through interment.

Gates Statement on Murtha's Death

I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Jack Murtha. America has lost a true patriot who served his country faithfully first in uniform as a decorated combat Marine, and then as an elected representative.

I've known Jack and worked with him for more than two decades, starting back in the Reagan administration when I was at CIA. I will always remember and be grateful for Congressman Murtha's personal efforts on behalf of the Afghan resistance fighting the Soviets - efforts that helped bring about the end of the Cold War.

In our dealings over the years, Jack and I did not always agree, but I always respected his candor, and knew that he cared deeply about the men and women of America's military and intelligence community. My condolences to Joyce and the rest of the Murtha family.

~~ Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

Obama Statement on John Murtha

Michelle and I were deeply saddened today to hear about the passing of Congressman John Murtha.

Jack was a devoted husband, a loving father and a steadfast advocate for the people of Pennsylvania for nearly 40 years. His passion for service was born during his decorated career in the United States Marine Corps, and he went on to earn the distinction of being the first Vietnam War combat veteran elected to Congress.

Jack’s tough-as-nails reputation carried over to Congress, where he became a respected voice on issues of national security.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife of nearly 55 years, Joyce, their three children, and the entire Murtha family.

~~ President Barack Obama
From The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Hotel Custodian Going to Prison

A former custodian at the Warren Holiday Inn will spend the next 12 to 24 months in state prison for stealing from customers' rooms.

22-year-old Angel Phelps of Clarendon took $6,400 that was in a briefcase left in a room in November. She also removed a pair of diamond earrings and a diamond necklace from a guest's duffel bag between October 5 and November 5.

Police say Phelps gave away $1,500 and spent all but $1,700 of the remaining money.

Afternoon Blaze Destroys Garage

Bradford Township firefighters responded to a blaze in a garage at 219 Rutherford Run this afternoon.

Although the garage was 15 feet from the house, the fire did extend to the house, where it damaged one room, the attic and part of the exterior, according to Fire Chief Dan Burkhouse.

He said the garage and its contents were a total loss.

Firefighters were called out at 12:13 p.m. and returned to the station at 4 p.m.

26 men and three engines from Bradford Township responded, along with a tanker and three men from Lewis Run. Bradford City and Corydon Township firefighters were on standby.

You can see pictures at the Bradford Township Volunteer Fire Department's Web site.

Life for Immigrants at Center of
'America Amerique' at Pitt-Bradford

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford will present the national tour of “America Amerique,” a documentary play about American immigrants and the United States, for one performance only at 7 p.m. Feb. 15.

Jena Company of New York will perform the show in the Bromeley Family Theater in Blaisdell Hall. Cost is $15 for the public and free for all students.

Seven actors will combine period music and contemporary anecdotes along with eyewitness accounts of striking events and people. The play is made up of 20 scenes based on newspaper accounts, letters, journals and court documents.

“Immigration has always been a hot-button issue,” said Randy Mayes, director of arts programming at Pitt-Bradford. “Political parties like the American Party and the Know Nothing Party exploited immigration issues, and this play shows some of that as well.

“Continuing on to the present day and dealing with some of our current immigration issues definitely makes this play unique, although it certainly sounds like many of the issues we worry about today haven’t really changed as much as we think they have.”

Mayes calls the play a “real eye-opener” since it will “bring smiles to people’s faces but will also make them think.”

“There are nostalgic parts, but there is also a realistic component,” Mayes said. “Many of our ancestors did not have an easy time immigrating here, and the play shows the sacrifices they made so we can reap the benefits today.”

The play tackles difficult material, including the following episodes in American history:

• One million Irish men and women brutalized by famine left their homes in the first major migration of any ethnic group to America in 1845-46.

• Russian Jews were virtually imprisoned in the overcrowded and impoverished region known as the Pale. The targets of persecution and annihilating attacks by the Czar’s troops, half the population fled Russia, with many coming to America in 1882.

• The state of Massachusetts electrocuted two of the most famous immigrants in American history, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, in 1927. These Italian workmen – who were also committed anarchists – had been convicted for the murder of two payroll guards. The conduct of the trial – and the facts of the case – remain controversial and in deep doubt.

“America Amerique” premiered at California University of Pennsylvania with a well-received performance, and Mayes said he hopes for the same at Pitt-Bradford.

Alex Levy, a 10-time winner of Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Awards for Excellence in Theatre, is the director, and historian Thomas Jessen Adams, an instructor at Tulane University in New Orleans, conducted research for the historical framework.

Additional information is available by contacting the Bromeley Family Theater box office at (814) 362-5113.

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

You can hear more about “America Amerique” on Thursday's LiveLine at 12:30 p.m. on 1490 WESB and online at

Mellow Comments on Murtha Passing

“John Murtha may have represented Western Pennsylvania, but he was the voice of hard-working Democrats across the Commonwealth. Representative Murtha's service to his country and the strength of his convictions made him a powerful force to be reckoned with on Capitol Hill. His career took him from Parris Island to Vietnam, from Harrisburg to Washington, D.C. He was a leader until the end, fighting for American values and middle class ideals.

He stood up for veterans and stood firm in his beliefs, not caring as much about political expediency as what he thought to be in the best interest of his constituents and his country.

I am deeply saddened by the passing of Congressman Murtha and extend my deepest condolences to his family.

~~ State Senate Minority Leader Robert Mellow

Specter Comments on Murtha's Passing

“I am deeply saddened to lose my dear friend and colleague Jack Murtha. He was a public servant in every sense of the word and his passing is a great loss to all of Pennsylvania. Joan and my thoughts are with his wife, Joyce, and their children.”

~~ US Senator Arlen Specter

State Senate Honors Boy Scouts

The Senate today adopted a Senate Resolution introduced by Senator Bob Robbins (R-Crawford) marking the centennial anniversary of the Boys Scouts of America.

Senate Resolution 230 honors the Boys Scouts for its 100 years of service while creating a strong foundation of leadership, service, and community for millions of America's youth

'When we think about the basic principles promoted by the Boys Scouts, we can see that positive morals and self-responsibility have not disappeared," Senator Robbins said. "The young men in Scouting prove that they can avoid the negative influences of society, but also that they have the mettle within themselves to be positive role models for their peers.

"Scouting is about teamwork and self-reliance," Senator Robbins continued. "It is about bold confidence, backed by knowledge. And, of course, Scouting is about planning and preparedness. Those six qualities – teamwork, self-reliance, confidence, knowledge, planning and preparedness – have enabled men to reach the far ends of the planet, and beyond."

Thompson Statement on Murtha's Passing

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jack's wife and family.

This was a man who learned the lessons of service to country first as an Eagle Scout and then in service as a U.S. Marine. He continued that tradition as the longest serving U.S. Representative from the State of Pennsylvania. Sadly, I believe he approached that mark this week.

He will be mourned and his expertise will be missed in the Commonwealth."

~~ Congressman Glenn "GT" Thompson

Breaking News from CNN:
Rep. John Murtha has Died

Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania has died at the age of 77, according to his office.

Murtha, a Democrat, had represented Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives since 1974. The district stretches southwest from Johnstown.

A former Marine Corps officer, Murtha was the first Vietnam War veteran elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday Book Talk:
The Ultimate Beer Lover's Cookbook

Normally Sunday Book Talk is a Web extra, but today it's an encore presentation of LiveLine.

John Schlimm II was my guest on Thursday's LiveLine to talk about his book as well as his appearance Tuesday at Pitt-Bradford.

You can listen here and find even more information here.