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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Derby Day on Dorothy Lane

There was some clowning around ...

and some serious racing ...

at the 3rd Annual Bradford Mastercraft All-American Soap Box Derby Saturday on Dorothy Lane.

Hot dogs and meatball sandwiches were popular with some fans, while others preferred candy from the clown. This young lady can't believe he wants to charge $3 for Airheads. One of the young men reminded her, though, "He's kidding. He's a clown."

On to the racing, and the prizes.

Some people think it's not racing if there's not a wreck. Luckily, no one got hurt in this one.

And the winners ...

Mckenzie Smith, stock
Janelle Housler, super stock

'Rainbows' Returning to ANF

For the third time since 1972, the national Rainbow Gathering will be held in the Allegheny National Forest.

More than 15,000 people are expected to be in the forest from July 1-7. They haven’t decided yet exactly where they will gather.

The gathering was held in Allegheny National Forest in 1986 and 1999. In 1999, they stayed in the Marienville area. In 1986, they were closer to Warren.

The Rainbow Gathering of Living Light is a freeform celebration of Spirit and community that is open to all peaceful peoples and devoid from commercial interests, according to their website.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Emporium Man Charged with Homicide

An Emporium man has been charged with killing a Jefferson County couple in their home in April.

45-year-old Steven Rebert is charged with two counts each of criminal homicide and aggravated assault and one count of burglary.

James and Vicky Shugar were found shot to death in their home just south of Brockway on April 12.

Rebert is jailed without bail. State police and Jefferson County District Attorney Jeff Burkett held a news conference Friday evening to announce Rebert’s arrest.

Police say the Shugars' neighbors provided key pieces of evidence that led to Rebert's arrest.

One woman reported a suspicious vehicle to them March 3. A man saw a man parked in a car in the area. He wrote down the license number and said the man had a bolt-action rifle with him and knives in his belt. The license number belonged to Rebert's car. Two other residents also saw a car with one person in it parked along the road about 100 yards from the Shugars' home on March 3.

Police said Rebert's name kept coming up through the course of the investigation.

DNA samples of blood found on a pair of work boots in Rebert's possession were sent to the state police crime lab in Greensburg. The blood matched Wayne Shugar’s.

Police say information they obtained during their investigation was turned over to police in New York State, who are investigating murders in Genesee and Orleans counties in 2005 and 2007.

The Shugars were both 61 years old and had been married for 42 years. Wayne Shugar was a retired foreman at Owens-Brockway Glass. Vicky Shugar was the owner of the Flowers & More shop on Main Street in Brockway.

Sestak: PA Should Take a Pause

WESB/WBRR News Director

Second in a series

Pennsylvania should take a pause in its Marcellus Shale drilling activity until it gets all its ducks in a row, according to Congressman Joe Sestak.

Sestak believes more environmental safeguards have to be put into place, more Pennsylvanians should be trained to work on Marcellus Shale wells and the state should impose an excise tax on drilling companies.

"We want it to be jobs that are created for Pennsylvanians. We want it be environmentally sound so we don’t have higher costs for our children and grandchildren to pay. And, we want to make sure an excise tax is placed upon these oil companies so Pennsylvanians reap the bounty, or part of the bounty, from their ownership of the Marcellus Shale," he told WESB and The HERO Friday afternoon.

“Let’s do this smart,” Sestak said. “Far too often government lets a crisis happen before they act.”

Sestak is a co-sponsor of the House version of the FRAC (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals) Act that he says will overturn the “Halliburton Loophole” which, in 2005, exempted hydraulic fracturing activities from the Clean Drinking Water Act. Currently, drilling companies don’t have to tell the Environmental Protection Agency what chemicals they’re using in fracking.

Until it’s fixed legislatively, he said, EPA and the state Department of Environmental Protection need to find other ways to regulate the drilling.

“We have had actual explosions. We have had actual fires occur because of the contamination that fracking has done to our water,” he said.

The explosion happened on New Year’s Day in 2008 in Norma Fiorentino's backyard well in Dimock, Susquehanna County. The explosion shattered an 8-foot concrete slab and threw the pieces onto her lawn.

DEP said drilling activities by Texas-based Cabot Oil & Gas caused methane gas to seep into the aquifer. DEP fined Cabot and temporarily halted their activities, but the company is drilling again.

The most recent incident in Clearfield County on June 3 and 4 wasn’t an explosion, but a blowout. When the natural gas started coming out of the well, workers couldn’t get it under control. The gas and frac water spewed into the air and on the ground for 16 hours until “well blowout experts” could cap it.

A water source near the Punxsutawney Hunt Club now reportedly has eight times the salt concentration it had before the blowout, meaning frac water probably penetrated to that level. Investigators are still doing tests, and waiting for the results, to see what, if any, other chemicals have seeped into the water.

Do we need the jobs and money Marcellus Shale drilling could bring to Pennsylvania? Absolutely, Sestak said.

“But we have to do it wisely, safely and with environmental soundness for the safety and the health of our children,” he said.

He noted the problems caused by coal mining in its heyday that didn’t have proper oversight. He said 2,500 miles of tributaries and 250,000 acres of land are contaminated. It will take $15 billion to make them usable again for fishing and for construction, he said.

He reiterated that Pennsylvania has to be smart.

We want to create jobs, but now almost all of the people in the Marcellus Shale drilling industry come from outside Pennsylvania. Colleges should be “gearing up to train Pennsylvanians to do this as we take a pause and make sure the right environmental oversight is given," he said.

“Even New York State paused,” Sestak said.

New York State has enacted a moratorium restricting the use of horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing. The moratorium will remain in effect while the Department of Environmental Conservation develops new regulations regarding these drilling practices for inclusion in the state's generic environmental impact statement and permit process.

"Gasland" refers to the award-winning film by Josh Fox. The film is winner of The Special Jury Prize for documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. For more on the movie -- including video -- go to Gasland the The movie debuts on HBO at 9 p.m. June 21.

Snyder Urges Paterson to Keep Promise

CATTARAUGUS TERRITORY, N.Y.(news release) -- Seneca Nation of Indians President Barry E. Snyder Sr. today urged Governor Paterson to keep his promise to the Nation regarding rational dialogue on any and all proposals on taxing of Native American tobacco products.

"In light of today's report, which calls for collection of sales tax on our products, we want to remind the governor of his pledge for an ongoing, rational dialogue on this critical issue," President Snyder said. "This, and prior governors, have shown consistency in honoring our sovereign treaty rights despite continued outside pressures to dishonor our unique status. We commend that and have every hope there is no change in that stance."

The NYS State Senate Committee on Investigations and Government Operations today issued a report titled "Executive Refusal: Why the State Has Failed to Collect Cigarette Taxes on Native American Reservations." The report is critical of Governor Paterson for failure to aggressively pursue collection of taxes on sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products sold by the Seneca Nation, independent Seneca businesses, and other Native Americans in New York.

The report follows a series of public hearings, including an October 2009 session where the Nation provided detailed testimony and extensive documentation on its sovereign rights and economic contributions to New York State. The nation, which directly employs more than 3,000 non-Senecas, pumps more than $1 billion annually into the state economy through salaries, vendor payments and taxes on spin-off spending.

Its gaming compact with New York State has generated more than $475 million in exclusivity fees since 2002.

Seneca Tribal Council President Richard E. Nephew joined with Snyder in urging the governor to hold his ground on tax collection, saying the just-issued report reaches conclusions similar to prior State Legislature reports.

"It comes down to lawmakers spending a lot of time and money to say once again that the state is in desperate need of new revenue sources and we are targeted as a source. There's nothing new there. We continue to agree to disagree," Nephew said. "On our side, treaty rights remain as strong as ever and we remain a sovereign nation."

The Seneca leader expressed frustration with the committee's recommendation that the state usurp federal treaty rights.

"They cite self-serving legal precedent to justify having an subservient government collect taxes," he said.

He also labeled the committee's call for the state to revoke recognition of the Poospatuck Tribe, of Long Island, as "hateful and ignorant."

"It's an extreme stretch, to in essence, terminate a tribe's existence to solve a problem. It's illegal and immoral," Nephew said.

Nephew did, however, commend the Senate panel on its recommendation that the Legislature establish a "Native American Affairs Committee" to address a wide range of issues involving the state and sovereign nations within its borders. He also applauded another recommendation that the governor should appoint a Deputy Secretary for Native American Affairs.

"We are very encouraged by what appear to be genuine attempts to open the door to meaningful research, discussion and conversation between our nations and state government. This is something we welcome and embrace," Nephew said.

AAUW Announces New Officers

The Bradford Branch of the American Association of University Women has announced its elected officers for 2010. From left to right: Terri Smith Leven, Treasurer; Sandra Rhodes, Program Co-chair; Marlene Walb, Co-President; Stephanie Seagren, Co-President; Sharie Radzavich, Program Co-Chair; and Pam Morrison, Secretary. Since 1881, AAUW has worked to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. The Bradford Branch of AAUW was established in 1921.
Photo courtesy of Holly Spittler

State Troopers Honored for Actions in Warren, Monroe, Cambria Counties

Hershey - State Police Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski today presented three troopers who risked their lives in separate incidents in Monroe, Warren and Cambria counties with the State Police Medal of Honor - the department's highest award. Pawlowski said fellow troopers lost their lives in two of the incidents.

The medals were presented during an awards ceremony at the State Police Academy in Hershey to Tpr. Robert J. Lombardo, 36, of Troop N, Swiftwater, Monroe County; Andrew G. Goss, 30, of Troop E, Warren, Warren County; and Tpr. Brian N. Lampel, 37, of Troop A, Ebensburg, Cambria County.

"Each of these troopers put his life on the line to protect the citizens of Pennsylvania," Pawlowski said. "They are courageous and dedicated individuals whose heroic actions reflect the high standards of the Pennsylvania State Police."

Lombardo was shot in an incident that claimed the life of Tpr. Joshua D. Miller, 34, of Troop N, Swiftwater, on June 7, 2009.

Lombardo and Miller were involved in a 40-mile pursuit of a man who threatened his estranged wife with a gun and abducted their son. The fleeing vehicle was brought to a stop in Coolbaugh Township, Monroe County. As troopers approached the car, shots were exchanged, with bullets striking Miller, Lombardo and the suspect. The suspect was killed, but his son was rescued unharmed from the car. Miller was flown from the scene to the Lehigh Valley Hospital, where he died of his wounds.

"Despite being shot himself, Tpr. Lombardo did not seek medical attention until he helped bring the incident to a close," Pawlowski said.

Goss responded to Route 6 in Conewago Township, Warren County, around 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 24, 2009, for a report of pickup truck being driven erratically. When he was notified that the pickup was traveling east in the westbound lanes, Goss activated the emergency lighting of his unmarked patrol car and passed a Jeep Cherokee that was the lead vehicle in a line of westbound traffic.

As the eastbound pickup approached, Goss maneuvered his patrol car in front of the Jeep Cherokee and angled the passenger side of the car towards the oncoming vehicle. The pickup struck the right rear of the patrol car at about 60 miles per hour.

"Without reservation or regard for his own safety, Tpr. Goss put himself at grave risk to prevent a head-on crash between the pickup and the Jeep Cherokee," Pawlowski said. "Four members of an Erie family were riding in the Jeep. Who can say how many lives were saved by the trooper's action?"

Following the crash, Goss checked on the occupants of the Jeep Cherokee, who were uninjured. He and another trooper then removed the uninjured driver from the pickup, who was charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving and other counts.

Lampel and Tpr. Joseph J. Sepp were among state and municipal officers responding to a pursuit of a suspected drunk driver who fled from a traffic stop in Summerhill Township, Cambria County, on Nov. 9, 2002.

The fleeing vehicle hit a utility pole in Ebensburg and came to a stop as Lampel and Sepp, who was driving, arrived at the scene. Lampel got out of the patrol car and ordered the suspect to show his hands. The suspect exited his vehicle with a gun in each hand and immediately began firing at the troopers. Lampel, Sepp and four municipal officers returned fire. Two of Lampel’s shots hit the suspect.

Sepp was hit by one of the suspect's shots and died the following day. The suspect recovered from his wounds and was convicted of first-degree murder.

"Tpr. Lampel exhibited proper restraint in ordering the suspect to surrender," Pawlowski said. "He then risked injury or death by maintaining his position and returning fire."

Lombardo, who lives with his wife in Pittston, Luzerne County, enlisted in the state police in 2003. He received a Medal of Honor in 2005 for his efforts in attempting to rescue two children trapped in a fire in Monroe County in December 2004.

Goss, of Youngsville, Warren County, enlisted in June 2008. He and his wife have two daughters.

Lampel enlisted in September 1995. He lives in Windber, Somerset County, and has two daughters and a son.

State police have presented 55 Medals of Honor since the award was created in 1970.

Photo of Goss, Lampel and Lombardo provided by state police.

Fish and Boat Commission Wants
Marcellus Shale Severence Tax

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission repeated the need today to pass a Marcellus shale severance tax and dedicate a portion of its revenues to make sure that natural gas is developed with as little impact as possible to fish, reptiles, amphibians, and other aquatic organisms and the habitats upon which they depend.

The Commission wants to help the industry protect Pennsylvania waters and habitats and comply with the environmental laws that the General Assembly promulgates. Executive Director John Arway said, “We understand the realities of today’s natural gas rush and recognize the importance of Marcellus gas to fueling our national energy needs; however, this cannot be at the expense of our natural resources, since we have lived the story and have seen what happened to our waters when Pennsylvania coal was extracted from our mountains almost a century ago. We cannot, in good conscience, let that happen again.”

Unfortunately, the Commission does not have the resources (staff and funding) to adequately and proactively assist the industry, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Delaware and Susquehanna River Basin Commissions, and other agencies with addressing Marcellus development. Mr. Arway went on to point out that, “Many people do not realize that the Commission relies almost entirely on fishing license sales, boat registrations, and federal funding tied to fishing and boating to support everything we do, including trying to keep pace and stay ahead of the curve on the current and projected impacts of energy development to fishing, boating, and the resources we are entrusted to protect.”

If the Commission received a portion of a severance tax, it could take a collaborative approach with the industry and other agencies to review, advise, and consult in the field to ensure aquatic resources are protected as well sites and associated infrastructure are built and maintained. Mr. Arway observed, “I truly believe that the public expect that service from us, and the resources under our jurisdiction depend upon it to survive.”

A link to Mr. Arway’s recent testimony to the House of Representatives Finance Committee explaining the Commission’s role with Marcellus shale and the need for dedicated severance tax revenues may be found on the front page of the Commission’s website at

Seven Welfare Fraud Arrests in Catt Co.

Seven people have been arrested for welfare fraud in Cattaraugus County, and 11 people have been disqualified from future cash and food stamp benefits, according to an e-mail sent to WESB and The HERO from the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office.

29-year-old Brandie Buchanan of Olean is accused of receiving more than $41,000 in food stamps and cash and not reporting long term disability payments she was receiving from September of 2003 to May of 2008.

30-year-old Stacy Nichols of Conewango is accused of receiving more than $3,700 in food stamps and not reporting Pennsylvania unemployment from September of 2009 to March of this year.

39-year-ld Renee Preston of Filmore is accused of receiving $1,460 in food stamps and not reporting that she was disqualified from receiving benefits in Allegany County from October of 2008 to January of this year.

43-year-old Martha Gomez of Delevan received $2,000 in food stamps and didn’t report her job from March of 2007 to January of 2008.

38-year-old Gary Stanton of Olean is accused of receiving more than $4,700 is food stamps and not reporting his workmen’s compensaton from July of 2003 to September of 2009.

They’re all charged with offering a false instrument for filing, grand larceny and welfare fraud.

46-year-old Pamela Robinson of Kennedy does not owe any money, but failed to report that she owned her own business in Jamestown from June of 2007 to March of this year.

39-year-old Amy Houghtaling does not owe any money, but failed to report her boyfriend living in hr house from November 2008 to March of 2009.

They’re both charged with offering a false instrument for filing and welfare fraud.

All seven are scheduled to appear in court on June 29.

Sheriff’s deputies say many of the investigations were initiated by telephone tips from concerned citizens with reliable information. Their investigation was done in conjunction with the district attorney’s office and the Department of Social Services.

Police to Release Information
Related to Shugar Homicides

State Police and the Jefferson County district attorney are holding a news conference this evening to release information related to the homicide investigation into the deaths of James and Vicky Shugar.

They say they’re not releasing any further information until the 6 p.m. news conference.

The Shugars’ bodies were found in their home just south of Brockway on April 12. Wayne Shugar died of gunshot wounds to the neck and torso. Vicky Shugar died of a gunshot wound to the torso.

Late last week, police executed a search warrant in the 400 block of Broad Street in Emporium. State police in DuBois didn’t release any further information about the search or the warrant.

Many Requests to Speak with an Officer

Bradford City Police had many requests to speak with an officer and checked on the welfare of a few people, according to the complaint report and request sheet faxed to WESB and The HERO by the police department.

Officers also looked into reports of harassment on Congress and Main streets and a theft in Union Square. They received parking complaints from Main and Congress streets and Belleview Avenue and initiated a traffic stop at the intersection of Williams Street and Rosedale Avenue.

They were called to a vehicle lockout in a store parking lot, where the child was inside the vehicle, and also were asked to check on – you guessed it – a suspicious person, this time on Mechanic Street.

EOG Resumes Work at Punxsy Hunt Club

A week after a well blowout spewed natural gas onto the ground and into the air for more than 16 hours EOG Resources has been authorized to resume work at two other wells near the Punxsutawney Hunt Club.

DEP says those two wells have no environmental or operational violations. Work will not resume at the blown-out well while an investigation continues, and dozens of the company's other wells remain idle.

The well blowout happened at about 8 p.m. June 3 and was capped at around noon on June 4.

PCO in Ridgway Honored by State Police

A communications operator with Ridgway-based state police has received the Police Communications Operator of the Year Award.

59-year-old Jeffrey Knapp of Brockway was presented with the award today during a ceremony at the State Police Academy in Hershey.

State Police Commissioner Frank Pawlowski says Knapp’s “work performance and volunteer spirit reflect well on the Pennsylvania State Police.” He describes Knapp as a diligent worker who deals efficiently with his daily works tasks.

Knapp serves as a member of the board and volunteer for the Troop C Camp Cadet Program and helps Trooper Bruce Morris with Project Gifts for Elk County, a program that collects toys for distribution to Elk County children.

He is a long-time member of the Brockway Volunteer Hose Company, where he serves as president and fund-raising chairman. He served for more than 10 years as an emergency medical technician with the Brockway Ambulance Service, and is a former state EMT instructor.

Knapp and his wife, Deborah, have two daughters, Kristen and Chelsie, and two grandsons, Caleb and Landen.

Photo provided by Pennsylvania State Police

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Expect More Traffic Tie-Ups

Get used to the traffic delays on Bolivar Drive and East Main Street.

PennDOT says work will continue next week on Bolivar Drive with flaggers present and drivers should expect alternating traffic patterns and travel-time delays.

Some motorists told us they were stopped for about 15 minutes on Thursday. Traffic was bumper-to-bumper from Bolivar Drive to South Kendall Avenue many times during the day.


PennDOT issues the following travel update for the Route 219/Bradford Bypass project in McKean County. This update is for the week of June 14. All work is weather and schedule dependent. Glenn O. Hawbaker, Inc. of State College is the contractor on this $28 million job.

· Work on the Route 219 southbound ON-ramp at Elm Street continues. Traffic is using the existing shoulder. Contractor crew will be working close to the roadway, placing concrete for a new barrier wall. Expect delays during work hours.
· Northbound traffic is sharing a lane with southbound traffic, separated by temporary concrete barrier from Mill Street to north of Hillside Drive.
· Northbound ramps at Foster Brook Interchange are closed. Traffic is to follow the posted detours.
· The Tuna Valley Trail access at Bolivar Drive is closed due to bridgework. Trail access is still available at Crook Farms and Seward Avenue side of Tuna Crossroads.
· Northbound access at Kendall Avenue remains open.
· Access at Hillside Drive is restricted from Route 219 south to Hillside Drive and from Hillside Drive to Route 219 south. Traffic is to follow the posted detours.
· Work will continue on Bolivar Drive/State Route 346, with flaggers present. Drivers should expect alternating traffic pattern and travel-time delays.
· The contractor continues to excavate existing roadway, place sub-base, and perform bridge repairs.
· Drivers should use extra caution while entering the construction area from the on-ramp areas. Watch for slow moving and stopped vehicles through the entire work zone and obey posted speed limits.

Beer Fest at the Pennhills Club

The Pennhills Club is hosting a beer festival starting at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Music will be provided by 3 Guys Drinking Beer.

More than 30 varieties of beer will be available, as well as hors d'oeuvres, sausage, wings and pizza.

The beer festival is sponsored by Bradford City Beers and Glenwood Distributing.

Admission is $25 per person, and you must be at least 21 years old to attend.

Win a Lobster and Clam Bake!

Go here for the details.

Cuomo to Sue

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has served the social networking site with notice that’s he’s going to sue them for not protecting children from being exposed to child pornography.

Cuomo says a three-month undercover investigation revealed significant lapses in Tagged’s response to user reports of graphic images of children being sexually abused, inappropriate sexual communications between adults and minors, and content that advocates pedophilia.

One example Cuomo gave is a a user profile with a slideshow of children, some of whom appear to be younger than five years of age, in sexually explicit poses, exposing their genitals, and engaged in sex acts with other children.

Committee OKs Legislation to Reduce
Burden of Mandates on School Districts

HARRISBURG – The Senate Education Committee approved legislation this week sponsored by Sen. Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) to extend a provision of the state's Empowerment Act that allows school districts to apply for waivers from certain mandates.

Under Senate Bill 250, the sunset date for the Mandate Waiver Program will be removed, allowing the program to continue past the scheduled ending date of June 30, 2010.

"Mandate waivers have proven a successful means to give school districts more flexibility to operate effectively," said Corman. "The program is worth continuing and provides a significant costs savings to both school districts and taxpayers."

The Mandate Waiver Program allows school districts, intermediate units and vocational-technical schools to apply for waivers from certain requirements in the Public School Code. To be eligible for a waiver, school entities must have their application approved by the Department of Education and show the waiver will allow them to improve their instructional programs or operate in a more efficient or economical manner.

Senate Bill 250 also allows the department to grant a waiver in cases where the school district intends to solicit multiple prime and single prime construction bids and award the contract to the lowest responsible bidder.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Nordenberg Presents Affirmative Action
Award to Pitt-Bradford Admissions Office

University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg presented the 2010 Chancellor’s Affirmative Action Award on Wednesday to the Admissions Office of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

“I’m pleased that Chancellor Nordenberg and the selection committee saw fit to acknowledge the work and success of Alex Nazemetz and our admissions staff,” said Dr. Livingston Alexander, president of Pitt-Bradford.

“The colleagues who make up the staff are deeply dedicated and committed to the principles of affirmative action, and they are truly deserving of this special recognition.”

From Fall 2006 to Fall 2009, the number of minority students on campus increased 143 percent. Minority students are now 11.2 percent of the overall full-time student population of 1,453.

Nazemetz said that diversity plays an important part in overall recruitment and in maintaining a steady population of 1,500 full-time-equivalent students.

“All of our students blend together to create a fantastic place to live and learn, which makes Pitt-Bradford the great place that it is,” he said.

Dr. K. James Evans, vice president and dean of student affairs who oversees the Office of Admissions, said, “The vast majority of these students have been recruited from distant locations, with the result that most live on campus and help to create a campus atmosphere where diversity is seen and celebrated.”

Nazemetz said, “The entire admissions staff plays a big part in this award for their long hours, thousands of road miles and relentless recruitment. Their dedication is incredible, and I am happy to work with them.”

In his nomination, Evans added that minority students are more likely to live on campus and make an even more significant portion of students living on campus. That has led to the formation of both the African American Student Union and the Asian Student Alliance on campus.

In a congratulatory letter to Nazemetz, Nordenberg said, “The (selection) Committee was deeply impressed by the team effort the Office of Admissions employed to develop a program that would create a culturally diverse and inclusive campus and community.

“The Committee emphasized that the Office of Admissions, as a whole, realized that diversifying the campus went beyond the number of students enrolled, but included cultural diversity through recruitment of out-of-state students from regions as far away as Florida and Arizona.

“Moreover, the Committee noted the positive impact that these efforts have had not only on the Bradford Campus, but on the surrounding community.”

The Affirmative Action Award is presented annually to an “outstanding University program area or individual that has made a significant contribution in Affirmative Action.”

Alexander said that the diversification of the student body is part of a broader goal of diversity on campus: “We’ve made tremendous progress at the student level and are beginning to see progress at the faculty and staff levels as well. Shining the spotlight on the work of our admissions team will stimulate even more progress in this critically important area.”

In addition to Nazemetz of Allegany, N.Y., members of the admissions staff are Stacey Colosimo of Bradford, administrative assistant; Bob Dilks Jr. of Warren, director of transfer and nontraditional student recruitment; Tad Haight of Bradford, assistant director of admissions; Cindy Nowacki of Warren, transfer and nontraditional student counselor; Vicky Pingie of Bradford, associate director of admissions; Gerry Vogt of St. Marys, coordinator of off-campus programs; and counselors Shawn Manning and Adrianne Dias, both of Bradford; and Bret Butler of Bradford.

Pictured, members of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford admissions staff were honored by University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg Wednesday for their accomplishments in affirmative action. Shown here is the admissions staff. Front row, from left, Gerry Vogt, coordinator of off-campus programs; Vicky Pingie, associate director of admissions; Stacey Colosimo, administrative assistant; middle row, Shawn Manning, counselor; Cindy Nowacki, transfer and nontraditional student counselor; Alex Nazemetz, director; back row, Tad Haight, assistant director of admissions; Adrianne Dias, counselor; Bob Dilks Jr., director of transfer and nontraditional student recruitment; and Bret Butler, counselor.
Photo courtesy of Pitt-Bradford

Karen Whitney New President at Clarion

The State System of Higher Education board has approved the hiring of Karen Whitney as the next president of Clarion University.

Whitney is a former vice chancellor at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis.

Two interim presidents also have been selected: David Werner at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Barbara Dixon at Lock Haven University.

The board also extended the contracts of presidents at Bloomsburg, California , Cheyney, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Kutztown, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester through June 2013.

Strawberries on Wheels

Remember the Red Cross Strawberry Shortcake Drive-Thru from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Friday in the First Presbyterian Church parking lot off Congress Street. Proceeds benefit the Red Cross Meals on Wheels program.

Woman Dies in Salamanca Crash

A Cattaraugus, NY, woman is dead after a dump truck landed on top of her van in a crash this morning on Central Avenue in Salamanca.

Cattaraugus County Sheriff's deputies say it appears the van went through a stop sign and was broadsided by the truck.

The truck then pushed the van onto the front yard of a home and turned over on top of the van, trapping the woman inside.

Deputies haven’t released the woman’s name yet, but sources tell WESB and The HERO that the woman's husband had just been taken by ambulance to a hospital and she was on her way to be with him.

Scarnati Appreciative of Baker's Efforts

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati expressed extreme gratitude to Representative Matt Baker for his efforts to amend the language currently in Senate Bill 9 into an illegal workers bill in the House of Representatives. The amendment failed mostly down party lines with a few Republican Representatives also voting “no.”

Senate Bill 9 and the language in Representative Baker’s amendment would prohibit illegal aliens living in Pennsylvania from receiving public benefits, such as Medicaid, welfare, or in-state tuition.

“I am grateful to Representative Baker for attempting to place this common sense language into a House Bill,” Scarnati stated. “Clearly, Representative Baker recognizes that Pennsylvania citizens should not have to sacrifice their hard-earned dollars for individuals living in this country illegally.”

Scarnati also mentioned that Senate Bill 9 has overwhelmingly been passed in the Senate the past two legislative sessions.

“Without question, we have too many illegal aliens living in this country and it is costing our citizens a tremendous amount of tax dollars,” Scarnati added. “This bill and the language in the amendment act to discourage illegal aliens from coming to Pennsylvania and placing our citizens in greater financial jeopardy.”

Tops Names Brocato Director of
Community Relations, Special Events

WILLIAMSVILLE, NY – Tops Friendly Markets today announced the promotion of Andrew Brocato to director of community relations and special events.

In his new, expanded role, Brocato will oversee all community relations activities for the company as well as manage all charitable donations under Tops’ “Living here, Giving here” commitment to local, non-profit organizations.

“Andy brings to Tops over 20 years of experience in the field of community relations and his hard work and tireless dedication to the communities we serve is the reason he was chosen for this much-deserved promotion,” said Diane Colgan, Tops Markets vice president of sales and marketing. “Andy manages over $10 million annually in charitable donations from Tops to the hundreds of deserving organizations we partner with,” said Colgan.

Brocato has been a part of the Tops team for 13 years in various capacities, including senior manager of community relations, manager of promotions/sports marketing, and media communications coordinator. Prior to joining Tops Markets, he served as director of marketing for Martin’s Fantasy Island in Grand Island, N.Y. and prior to that, held the position of public relations director/development officer for the Buffalo Zoological Gardens in Buffalo, N.Y. He was also an adjunct professor at Medaille College.

A native of Buffalo, NY, Brocato earned a bachelor’s of science in media communications from Medaille College in Buffalo, NY. He has been active in various organizations including the Advertising Club of Buffalo, Junior Achievement, United Way, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Grand Island School Business Alliance, Leukemia Society, and Medaille College Alumni Board. He currently resides in The Town of Lancaster and serves on the Board of Directors for March of Dimes, the Medaille College Media Communications Advisory Board, is a committee member for Safe Place and is on the Festival of Trees Committee for the Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo.

Brocato was recently awarded with Tops’ “Castellani Award,” named after one of Tops’ founders, Armand Castellani. This award is highly regarded as one of the most prestigious honors a Tops associate can receive.

Just Ducky -- Again

"Our" ducks are back. Dan Griffin/Igor tried feeding them some bread to get them to come closer but, for some reason, they didn't want it. My theory is that they knew we had donuts inside and thought we were holding out on them.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Change in 'Bootjack' Detour

Due to weather and schedule changes, a detour around Route 219 “Bootjack” roadwork near Ridgway has been delayed until Monday, June 14. This detour will route northbound traffic down the “truck bypass” to Route 120 and back to Route 219. Signs will be in place directing motorists through the detour. The detour is expected to be in place for about 15 days. Southbound traffic will follow the normal route.

The activation of the detour on Monday marks the start of Phase 2 on the project. Phase 2 stretches northbound from the truck bypass to the intersection of Main and Depot Streets in Ridgway.

Along with the detour, motorists should be alert for:

· Channelizing devices will be in place at both ends of the project to guide traffic.
· Flaggers will be present to direct traffic as necessary.
· Southbound lanes will experience lane shifts as construction progresses.
· Southbound traffic will be one lane only during construction.
· No restrictions will be in place for oversized loads.
· Minor delays are possible but not anticipated.
· Most delays will occur during peak traffic periods between 7am and 9am and between 2 pm and 4 pm.

Overall work includes guide rail updates, barrel replacement on the emergency truck runoffs, signage and roadway resurfacing. H.R.I. Inc. of State College is the contractor on this $920,000 job. PennDOT expects all work to be complete in July.

Motorists are also reminded that a Route 120 detour, west of Ridgway will also be in effect for four weeks, starting June 16.

263rd Arrest by Child Predator Unit

HARRISBURG - Agents from the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit have arrested a Lancaster County man accused of sending nude photos and webcam videos to what he believed was a 14-year old girl. The "girl" was actually an undercover agent who was using the online profile of a young teen.

Attorney General Tom Corbett identified the defendant as Eric Lee Werner, age 25, of 191 Falmouth Road, Bainbridge.

Corbett said that Werner allegedly used an Internet chat room to approach the undercover agent, asking if she was a virgin. During their first online chat Werner allegedly proposed sending some nude photos of himself to the girl, but cautioned her to keep the activity secret, adding, "if your mom or dad see me giving you naked pics that would be bad."

According to the criminal complaint, allegedly Werner engaged in a series of sexually explicit online chats over the next several months, sending nude photos and graphic webcam videos. Additionally, Werner proposed meeting the girl for sex - suggesting that she wear a "school girl outfit" so that they could "be naughty."

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 18th, at 9:30 a.m.

Three Arrested Following Search of
Suspected Lock Haven Meth Lab

HARRISBURG -- Agents from the Attorney General's Bureau of Narcotics Investigation along with local police officers from the Attorney General's Meth Task Force have arrested three people in connection with the search of a suspected meth lab, located in a Lock Haven hotel room.

Attorney General Tom Corbett identified the defendants as Meloney Confer, 38, William Confer, 40 and Billie Jo Laubach, 37 all of Lock Haven, Clinton County.

Corbett said the arrests were based on information about the defendants' alleged use of methamphetamine at the Fallon Hotel, 131 East Water St., Lock Haven.

Agents executed a series of four search warrants on June 8, 2010, including Room 112 at the Fallon Hotel, the Confer's apartment, as well as Laubach's apartment, which had allegedly been used as the site for a meth lab.

Nearly a gallon of liquid chemical meth or "meth oil" was seized from Laubach's residence.

Corbett said that the meth oil could have been converted to more than 100 grams of methamphetamine worth approximately $10,000 on the street.

Poll Shows Strong Public Support for
Merit Selection of Appellate Court Judges

Harrisburg – Governor Edward G. Rendell today heralded the release of a new public opinion poll showing 93 percent of Pennsylvanians want the opportunity to vote on whether to change the way appellate court judges are selected.

Governor Rendell was joined for the poll’s release by former Pennsylvania governors Dick Thornburgh, Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker – all Republicans. Governors Thornburgh and Ridge participated in the event by telephone.

“Merit selection is a bipartisan issue, and a long overdue reform,” said Governor Rendell. “There are many reasons why Pennsylvania needs to make this change, and the bottom line is that if we embrace merit selection, we will get the most qualified, fair and impartial judges to serve our residents. The people understand this, which is why they overwhelmingly want the right to vote on a new way to select judges.”

The poll, conducted recently for Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts and its lobbying affiliate, PMCAction, found 73 percent do not believe that the most qualified candidates win elections, and 76 percent believe campaign contributions influence judicial decision-making.

Considered together, reform advocates said those two findings indicate public frustration with the electoral system and justify a desire to find a better way to choose judges for the Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth Courts.

The poll found that 62 percent of respondents favor replacing the current appellate judicial election system with merit selection, a hybrid system that combines elements of appointive and electoral systems, with a citizens nominating commission that screens candidates and recommends the most highly qualified for possible nomination.

The full poll and results are online at:

The Cherry on the Sundae

Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding and Alternate PA Dairy Princess Karla Stolzfus of Bedford County place a cherry on the top of a giant sundae created on the steps of the capitol building. The sundae was created to celebrate Dairy Month during June.
Photo courtesy of Commonwealth Media Services

Sen. Casey Amendment Would
Reinstate COBRA Premium Assistance

WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) were joined by fourteen other senators today in introducing an amendment to the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010 that would reinstate the expired COBRA health care premium assistance for laid off workers.

"Millions of Americans have been hard hit by the recession and lost their jobs through no fault of their own," said Senator Casey. "Unfortunately, some people in Washington want to pull up the ladder and take away help for these struggling families. Not extending COBRA premium assistance will hurt hundreds of thousands of people in Pennsylvania and across the country and it will add further strain on our recovering economy."

“We need to prevent unemployed workers for joining the rolls of the uninsured,” Brown said. “When there are few jobs to be had, the inability to afford COBRA premiums becomes an even more acute problem. I’ve received letters and emails from Ohioans who describe how COBRA is more expensive than rent or food. That’s why we need to extend this subsidy for workers who have recently lost their jobs.”

The COBRA assistance expired on May 31st. The Casey-Brown amendment would extend the program through November 30, 2010.

The amendment to extend COBRA premium assistance is also cosponsored by Senators Pat Leahy (D-VT), Carl Levin (D-MI), John Kerry (D-MA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Jack Reed (D-RI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mark Begich (D-AK), Roland Burris (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and AL Franken (D-MN).

In addition, Senators Casey and Brown also sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) urging support for an extension of COBRA premium assistance. This letter was also signed by Senators Leahy, Levin, Chris Dodd (D-CT), Arlen Specter (D-PA), Kerry, Harkin, Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Akaka, Wyden, Reed, Stabenow, Lautenberg, Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Whitehouse, Ted Kaufman (D-DE), Gillibrand, Begich, Franken and Burris.

Without the extension of the COBRA Premium Assistance Program a report from the National Employment Law Projects predicts as many as 150,000 Americans each month will lose out on the subsidies necessary to afford quality healthcare.

A study by Families USA shows that 4 million Americans, including 98,500 Pennsylvanians lost their employer-based coverage due to job loss in 2009.

The average cost of COBRA family coverage is three-quarters of monthly unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania and 40 other states. In some states, health premiums actually cost more than monthly unemployment benefits, slowly driving families further into debt.

e-mail from Casey's office

Rep. Thompson Website Revamped

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, today announced his official website has been revamped and improved for better access and readability.

“It is my hope that the new site will be easier to navigate and more user friendly, as well as being more attractive than the old site,” said Thompson. Please go to to explore the site. The address for the site is the same as the old address, only the content and layout have changed.

“We have listened to comments on the old website and hope that the new one corrects problems and oversights,” said Thompson. “In this age of instant information, it is crucial to bring you the most up-to-date site that we can. This new site contains an issues page and real-time multi-media access to things like Facebook and Twitter.”

The previous site was a standard house–issued website. Many Members pay outside organizations for redesign. But the Thompson office took advantage of the design team working in House Administration to put together a new site without additional cost to the office.

The website will include a blog by Thompson as well as YouTube videos. It includes the ability to fill out some applications on line as well—such as those to the U.S. Military Academies.

Group Supports Wilderness Proposal

WARREN -- The Clarion University Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society (CU-TWS) has formally added its support to the Citizens¹ Wilderness Proposal for Pennsylvania¹s Allegheny National Forest, produced by the Warren-based non-profit organization Friends of Allegheny Wilderness (FAW).

CU-TWS is a chapter of the international Wildlife Society, and promotes many of the same values and principles embodied in the Citizens¹ Wilderness Proposal. Some of CU-TWS¹s goals, also inherent in the proposal, are to augment educational opportunities for students in natural resources, provide and conserve high quality habitat for native wildlife, and build the active support of an informed citizenry.

"Setting aside the tracts of land delineated in the Citizens¹ Wilderness Proposal will provide open space and a natural environment in which members of The Wildlife Society can enjoy the peace, serenity, and healing qualities of a wilderness area," said Luke Bobnar, president of CU-TWS. "This is especially important as oil and gas well drilling is increasing in our national forests."

Copies of the formal CU-TWS endorsement letter for the Citizens¹ Wilderness Proposal are being sent to the offices of Congressman Glenn Thompson, Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper, Senator Robert Casey, and Senator Arlen Specter. An act of the U.S. Congress is required to add qualifying portions of federal public land to America¹s National Wilderness Preservation System.

The Wildlife Society was founded in 1937, and is committed to a world where humans and wildlife co-exist. Members are active across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The society¹s mission is to represent and serve the professional community of scientists, managers, educators, technicians, planners, and others who work actively to study, manage, and conserve wildlife and its habitats worldwide.

FAW published their Citizens¹ Wilderness Proposal for Pennsylvania¹s Allegheny National Forest in 2003. The ubiquitously supported FAW proposal identifies eight areas totaling 54,460 acres as qualifying for permanent protections under the Wilderness Act of 1964. During the recently completed ANF Forest Plan revision, more than 6,800 of 8,200 public comments received by the agency specifically advocated for FAW and the Citizens¹ Wilderness Proposal.

In addition to formally endorsing the Citizens¹ Wilderness Proposal, CU-TWS also gathered the signatures of more than 100 Clarion University students, and other interested citizens at an Earth Day event in April on the Clarion University campus. Twenty-two of these signatures were from student and faculty members of CU-TWS.

To date 45 local, state, and national organizations (whose memberships total more than 400,000 people), and 117 businesses from throughout the region have endorsed the Citizens¹ Wilderness Proposal. In addition, 67 scientists with Ph.D.¹s in the fields of ecology, biology, economics, and other related sciences have signed onto a letter formally asking the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation to support legislatively the areas carefully delineated in the Citizens¹ Wilderness Proposal.

Finally, FAW has recently joined with five other conservation organizations to form the Pennsylvania Wilderness Coalition in a concerted effort to compel Congress to designate more of the ANF as wilderness. Member organizations are FAW; The Sierra Club, Pennsylvania Chapter; Pennsylvania Division, Izaak Walton League of America; Pennsylvania Trout Unlimited; The Wilderness Society; and the Campaign for America¹s Wilderness. This coalition supports the Citizens¹ Wilderness Proposal.

The Wildlife Society online:

Friends of Allegheny Wilderness online:

Pictured, members of the Clarion University Chapter of The Wildlife Society and Friends of Allegheny Wilderness during a March, 2010 backpacking trip through the interior of the Hickory Creek Wilderness Area in the Allegheny National Forest.
Photo courtesy of Luke Bobnar, president of the Clarion University Chapter of The Wildlife Society

Trooper Who Prevented Head-On Crash
to be Honored at State Police Academy

A state trooper who helped prevent a head-on crash on Route 6 on Christmas Eve by putting his own life in danger is one of several troopers who will be honored during a ceremony Friday at the State Police Academy in Hershey.

A drunk driver was speeding eastbound in the westbound lanes of Route 6 near Irvine when Trooper Andrew Goss passed the front car in a line of westbound motorists and blocked both lanes of traffic with his cruiser.

The truck driven by 27-year-old Nash Edward Harvey of Titusville crashed into the passenger side of the cruiser, then hit the front car in line.

Goss simply said there was no other decision to make.

On Monday, Harvey pleaded guilty in Warren County Court to DUI, having a blood alcohol content more than twice the legal limit and four counts of recklessly endangering another person.

Scarnati: Public Should be Informed About
Convicts Being Released to Their Area

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) amended Senate Bill 1161 to require public hearings to be held in communities where convicted murderers are being released into group homes. The Board of Probation and Parole will be responsible for holding the aforementioned public hearings.

“This amendment is simply a public safety measure in order to inform and alert the communities when a convicted murderer will be released to a group home in their area,” Scarnati stated. “Citizens should also have the right to express themselves in a public forum on the circumstances surrounding the location of the individual.”

Scarnati mentioned that this amendment was prompted by the lack of public information given to the residents in the Jefferson County area when a convicted murderer was to be placed in a local group home.

In 1993, Ernie Simmons was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1992 beating and strangulation of 80-year-old Anna Knaze of Johnstown. But a federal judge ruled in 2005 that prosecutors withheld some evidence that could have helped Simmons' defense, and the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision by ordering a new trial.

Late last year, Simmons pleaded no contest to third-degree murder, which resulted in a shorter prison sentence. When he was released, he was sent to the Just for Jesus Shelter, just south of Brockway.

“I have stated time and time again, government has the responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our residents,” Scarnati added. “Quite frankly, this is a common sense amendment that received the support of every member of the Senate.”

The process by which the public hearing takes place requires that the group-based home provider shall explain their operations and allow the public to comment on this site and their actual procedures. In addition, notice of the public hearing shall be put in newspapers on two different dates prior to the hearing.

“Again, it goes without saying that the public should be notified and given the ability to gain answers as to why a convicted murderer is being located in their neighborhoods,” Scarnati concluded. “When these individuals are being placed in group homes near our families, friends and children, it is vital that all the facts are being relayed to the concerned members of that respective community.”

Listen here.

Erie Nurse Accused of Falsifying Records
Was Used for Cases in McKean County

An Erie County sexual assault nurse examiner accused of falsifying reports has worked on some sexual assault cases in McKean County, and the district attorney’s office is now reviewing all cases she was involved in.

Authorities in Erie say they found erroneous information in 11 cases handled by former St. Vincent Forensic Nurse Rhonda Henderson.

McKean County District Attorney Ray Lean says, in a news release, that Henderson has been used in “some sexual assault cases by our office over the last fews years” and they understand the seriousness of the allegations. His office is now reviewing all cses she was involved in to determined what effect, if any, these inconsistences may have on the integrity of the criminanl justice system in McKean County.

Learn says once this determination has been made victims, defense attorneys and/or defendants will be notified of any case in which they are affected. His office has also contacted McKean County Children and Youth Services, though solicitor Daniel Wertz, to make them aware of the situation. Wertz has indicated that his agency will be conducting its own case review.

Learn says his office “is working diligently to complete this process in an accurate and expeditious manner. As always, the duty of the McKean County District Attorney’s Office is to see that the interests of justice are met and that the integrity of the criminal justice system is preserved.”

Company Ordered to Suspend Post-Hydraulic Fracturing Activites

HARRISBURG -- The Department of Environmental Protection today ordered C.C. Forbes, of Washington, PA, to suspend all post-hydraulic fracturing activities on Marcellus Shale wells in the state immediately as it continues its investigation into a June 3 well blowout in Clearfield County.

DEP Secretary John Hanger said EOG Resources -- the company that owned the well in Lawrence Township -— hired C.C. Forbes as a contractor to provide post-hydrofracturing services at the site.

Hanger said DEP’s order also requires C.C. Forbes to provide site and equipment records specific to the well, including any written, photographic and video documentation.

The company must also furnish the names of its employees who were working at the site or have knowledge of the equipment used there. The secretary said those employees must be made available to the department for questioning.

“We need to fully investigate the equipment used by this company to ensure that other sites in Pennsylvania are not in danger of experiencing similar blowouts that could place the public or our environment at risk,” said Hanger. “This was a serious incident that could have resulted in the loss of life or significant damage to our natural resources and the department is prepared to use all means necessary to find the cause of the blowout.

“It is imperative that C.C. Forbes provide all records related to the equipment it used, as well as access to its employees that were present when the incident occurred.”

The order requires C.C. Forbes to cease its operations until receiving DEP’s written consent to resume.

The Punxsutawney Hunting Club 36H well, owned by EOG Resources Inc., began leaking Thursday evening, June 3, when employees at the site lost control of it while preparing to extract gas after fracking the shale. As a result, natural gas and flowback frac fluid was released uncontrollably onto the ground and 75 feet into the air. The well was capped at around noon on June 4.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Yet Another Suspcious Person

Bradford City Police on Tuesday got yet another report of a suspicious person. This time on Forman Street, according to the complaint report and request sheet faxed to WESB and The HERO by the police department. Officers also investigated thefts on Pike and Davis streets, a retail theft at a downtown store and a motor vehicle accident on Pleasant Street.

The were called to hit and runs on Congress Street and in a Main Street parking lot, a disturbance on Brookline Court, harassment on South Center Street and criminal mischief on Birch Street. Police also received a report of public intoxication on Main Street and got animal complaints from Rockland Avenue and Mechanic Street.

Some Say It's Not-So-Pretty in Pink

WESB/WBRR News Director

There is something several people in Bradford don’t think is pretty in pink. The Riddell House.

Sam Sylvester of the Historical Architectural Review Board said he was asked to attend Tuesday’s council meeting to talk about "the appropriateness of the recent pink job at the Riddell House.”

“Joe (Troutman) is a friend of mine and I appreciate (that) he’s doing what he’s doing. But if the HARB is to be effective, we need to see the request first. We have not seen the request," Sylvester said.

He said there are several other incidents in town where people have done work without contacting HARB, but he was just at the meeting to talk about the Riddell House.

City Clerk John Peterson said the city received several complaints, so he contacted commercial building inspector Mark Grassi. Grassi was told Tuesday morning the building was being repainted the same colors it had previously been painted.

“Photographs from Google Earth show that not to be the case,” Peterson said, adding that Grassi may revisit and take whatever action needs to be taken.

Peterson said, judging from the pictures, it appears the building was cream and green.

“I see nothing pink, at least in these photographs that I have,” Peterson said.

“As you know,” Troutman said. “I’ve worked very hard to try to clean the Riddell House up. Now, if you would all have went down and walked around the building and spent a little less time on Google, maybe, you would have seen the color is the same. It happens to be 20 years newer paint.”

He did say one spot in front was painted green, but that was before he was there.

“All I know is that I’m going to clean it up, and it’s going to be the colors I want,” Troutman said, “ which is the exact colors that are on there. I had them matched. So, if you have a problem with that, you better find somebody else to b***ch at. I’ve worked too hard to listen to this b*****t.”

Sylvester said he’s just doing his job and it’s not a vendetta against Troutman.

“Hopefully we can get it resolved,” Mayor Tom Riel said.

Also Tuesday, Bradford businessman John Kohler wanted to follow up on the questions he had at the last council meeting concerning code enforcement.

Councilman Ross Neidich, who oversees the code enforcement department, said pending hearings involving $14,000 worth of fines have been postponed until later this month.

Kohler said he spoke earlier on Tuesday with District Judge Dom Cercone, who told him a deal had been made to drop all the charges but one, provided the landlord (Edna Hallock) show some documentation.

If that were the case, the fines would be dropped from $14,000 to $500. He said to pay for 28 inspections, which she is being taken to court for, would cost $700.

“So I might as well not take care of my properties or call code (enforcement) if it’s cheaper for me not to do it,” Kohler said, adding that it’s the ordinance he’s concerned about. “What’s the motivation for me to abide by the law and take care of my properties? It makes no sense.”

Neidich said he knows she is being pursued through the board of health for stiffer penalties, and he doesn’t know if that had anything to do with the deal. Neidich also said he would need to know what’s meant by the “necessary paperwork,” and other particulars of the situation before he could answer any further questions about it.

“If it’s something of that significance,” asked OECD Executive Director Sara Andrews, “shouldn’t, at least, the department head be aware of the deal that’s being made?”

She wanted to know if someone on council should be informed of the decision being made as to “the amount of money, basically, being left on the table.”

Fire Chief Boo Coder said, before anyone speculates the deal, they should talk with Code Enforcement Officer George Corignani and ask what happened at the hearing.

Also Tuesday, council approved a special events waiver to Players Downtown to hold a benefit for Kids and Cancer on Mechanic Street from Main Street to West Washington Street and on Barbour Street from Mechanic to Bushnell Street.

The benefit will be from 3 to 8 p.m. on July 17.

And, for your listening pleasure:

Tragedy at the Bingo Hall.

Sweets and Spaghetti

Shirley Barrett serves dessert to Joe Hinaman at the Red Cross Spaghetti Dinner at Evans Memorial United Methodist Church in Lewis Run, PA. The McKean-Potter Counties American Red Cross partnered with the church to hold a benefit dinner last Friday evening to honor local Emergency Services personnel and also to raise funds for disaster victims. Barrett, who co-chaired the event, hand made over 850 of her special meatballs for the event. The Red Cross thanks all of those who supported the event and attended the dinner.
Photo courtesy of the Red Cross

City to Apply for Early Intervention

WESB/WBRR News Director

Bradford City Council has taken a tremendous step in the right direction toward rectifying the city’s financial problems, according to Mayor Tom Riel.

During its meeting Tuesday, council agreed to take any and all actions necessary to initiate the application process for the state’s Early Intervention Program.

The program, administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development, was designed to help municipalities that are financially troubled, but not yet formally distressed. The Early Intervention Program supports municipalities by offering grants that can be used to pay costs associated with hiring an independent financial consultant to prepare a three- to five-year financial plan and management review of the municipality.

“This is probably one of the biggest steps the City of Bradford can possibly take to try to rectify our financial problems,” Riel said. “It’s probably overdue, but I think … it’s going to work for us and it’s a tremendous step in the right direction.”

Councilman Jim Evans said he has been in favor of the program since last fall when a DCED representative was in Bradford to explain it.

“It’s a win-win situation,” Evans said.

Councilman Rick Benton said, because of the magnitude of the city’s financial problem, they need to find – through cuts or “revenue enhancement” – money equal to 15 percent of the budget, which equals $1 million.

He said that’s necessary to accomplish everything council wants to accomplish.

“The only way we’ve balanced the budget in the last X number of years is by nickel and dimeing,” Benton said. “ We don’t put a penny beyond what we absolutely have to into buildings. Any of you who have driven on a street know we have not paved any streets with our own money. The amount of money we could just spend on that is phenomenal.”

“If we don’t get this thing under control the streets, just to use that particular example – it’s going to be like a Wild West rut,” he said.

Riel noted that other municipalities in the state are worse off than Bradford, but getting into the program now is “a wise decision.”

Serious Shortage of 'Type O' Blood

The blood supply has been declining since Memorial Day weekend, but this past weekend had a sudden increase in the use of type O blood, according to the Community Blood Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania.

Type O negative is critically low. O negative is the "universal donor," meaning any patient regardless of their blood type can receive it. O negative is typically used in emergencies and traumas.

The Community Blood Bank in Bradford is open from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in Union Square. No appointment is needed.

"There has just been a constant drain of type O blood, but the other types aren't doing too well either," says Dan Desrochers, director of marketing at the CBB. "We've just seen a sudden spike in the use of type O negative in the past few days and we need it to safeguard local patient safety."

We Can Lead

Here's a quick interview with Cory Matchett of We Can Lead, a group of business leaders in support of comprehensive, forward-looking energy and climate policies.

Listen here.

OGH to Build Ambulatory Surgery Center

Olean General Hospital has announced plans to build a free-standing outpatient ambulatory surgery center on the hospital campus at 500 Main St. in Olean.

An ambulatory surgery center is a medical facility in which surgical procedures not requiring an overnight hospital stay are performed.

Olean General Hospital’s new 22,000-square-foot ambulatory surgical structure will include four operating suites and three endoscopic suites, and will also include pre-operative and post-operative recovery areas, waiting rooms, consultation areas, and support space. The hospital currently performs over 7,600 ambulatory surgical procedures each year.

“Because free-standing ambulatory surgery centers have become the standard of care for outpatient surgery, we want area patients to have access to this type of surgical facility,” said Timothy J. Finan, president and CEO of Olean General Hospital and Upper Allegheny Health System, the parent company of Olean General and Bradford Regional Medical Center.

“This new ambulatory surgery center will allow patients to park right next to the facility, walk in, receive their outpatient surgical procedure, and return home the same day. There will no longer be any need for these patients to have to enter the main hospital building,” Mr. Finan said. “Additionally, and very importantly, we believe this project will be very helpful in terms of our ability to recruit new surgeons to the Olean area. During our conversations with potential surgical recruits there are always inquiries about the availability of an ambulatory surgical center at the hospital.”

Regulatory approval for the project was recently received from the New York State Department of Health. The project will “break ground” in late September. Currently, detailed design work is under way. The project will cost $10.3 million and construction will take approximately one year to complete.

Artwork courtesy of Olean General

Monday, June 7, 2010

Chief Wolbert Hoping to Retire

WESB/WBRR News Director

Foster Township Police Chief Jeff Wolbert is hoping to retire next year.

Wolbert made the unofficial announcement during Monday’s Foster Township supervisors meeting after a question by Interstate Parkway resident Joe Piganelli.

Piganelli said, because they know he attends the township meetings, several people asked if he knew anything about Wolbert retiring.

Wolbert said he hopes to retire in January. He’ll be retirement age in November.

Piganelli then asked if the supervisors had a plan to name a new police chief.

“We’ve had some discussions” supervisor Chris Wolcott said.

Piganelli asked if the discussions would be just among the supervisors, or if the public would be involved.

“I don’t see that the public needs to be necessarily involved at this stage,” Wolcott said, adding that the supervisors are willing to take comments and suggestions.

“We don’t even have a plan right at the moment,” Wolcott said. “We’ve had some discussions but, actually Jeff’s never really indicated that he’s going to retire until just now.”

Also during Monday’s meeting, Wolcott talked about FEMA’s new flood insurance maps, which are supposed to show a more accurate flood zone.

He said the biggest thing he’d like to impress upon residents is that their house may not have been in a flood plain before, but it may be in one according to the new map.

He said that’s important as far as flood insurance goes because $100,000 coverage on a house not in a flood plain is $264; in a flood plain it’s $3,000.

Wolcott said it’s his understanding that if people take out flood insurance before the new maps takes effect, they will be grandfathered in at the lower rate. He said it will be several more months before the new maps go into effect, so people have time to find out if they will be in a flood plain or not.

In another matter, Wolcott said, “You probably noticed the purple boxes in the trees again.”

He explained that they are emerald ash borer traps that the US Department of Agriculture and DCNR use to track the destructive beetle, which has destroyed more than 70 million trees in the United States.

Wolcott also talked about the US Census, noting that the township’s participation rate is 84 percent, the same as in 2000.

Supervisor Chairman Bob Slike asked Wolbert if there were any problems with last week’s Bradford Mall Spring Carnival.

“It was probably the best one we’ve ever had,” Wolbert said. “No complaints. Everybody said it was nice and clean.”

He added that some of the businesses said the carnival workers bought “a lot of stuff from them. It brought some business in.”

Woman's Purse Stolen from House

Someone entered a woman’s house early Sunday morning and stole her purse.

23-year-old Jessica Lou Ann Prescott of Eldred tells police the incident happened at about 3:30 a.m. at her Main Street home.

The purse contained a Hamlin Bank debit card and checkbook, various prescription medications, an Old Navy credit card, AAA card and a hemp necklace.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact Kane-based state police at 778-5555.

Resident: South Kendall Avenue
Looks Like Junkyard City

WESB/WBRR News Director

A South Kendall Avenue resident says her street looks like Junkyard City, and she doesn’t want Foster Township to have the code enforcement problems the City of Bradford has.

Barb Price told Foster Township Supervisors during their meeting Monday night she’s ashamed to live in the township because of the condition of at least 10 properties on South Kendall.

She said the city’s code enforcement problems are getting most of the attention lately but “Foster Township sure as hell isn’t much better than the city. So I think we better start working together to get this township the way it should be.”

Price said she’s been told that the township’s code enforcement program is complaint driven.

“I don’t know how much complaining this one person has to do,” she said.

Price said she’s not going up and down the street trying to find houses that are in deplorable condition or junkyards on properties. She’s just complaining about the properties she sees on her way to her house and back.

“If you go out in Derrick City you don’t see the junkyards on the main road,” she said. “Take a ride out South Kendall. Just take a ride out South Kendall. It looks like Junkyard City.”

She mentioned one house that has broken windows and no electricity, but people are still living in it and it’s not condemned.

“What in God’s name do we have to do in the township to make things look better?” she asked.

Code enforcement officer John Place was asked if, in fact, code enforcement is complaint driven or if he could be proactive.

“I could be proactive if there were 80 hours in a week and I had three other people working with me,” Place said. “You’re talking about it being a 24-hour-a-day job, eight days a week.”

"Code enforcement, for all practical purposes, is complaint driven,” Place added.

Price encouraged people to “start complaining. That’s the only way we’re going to get it look halfway decent. I’m sure that we don’t want to have the problem the city has.”

Place did say if people have a complaint they should file it, and he’ll act on it.

A person having more than one junk car on his property is also a concern.

Place said a lot of people in the township are involved in stock car racing so, over the years a policy has developed that if a person has a stock car, the township “backs off a little bit on it.”

He also mentioned cases in which he’s taken a case to the district judge, who has fined the person and the fine gets ignored.

“I don’t know where we go from there,” Place said.

MVAs, Theft and Noise in Bradford

Bradford City Police on Monday investigated motor vehicle accidents at the intersection of Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, and on Congress Street, and a retail theft at a downtown business, according to the complaint report and request sheet faxed to WESB and The HERO from the police department.

Officers also got reports of a power line down on East Main Street, noise on Hill Street and an erratic driver on East Main Street. They also received several requests to speak with an officer.

Twin Tiers Theater Festival Brings
Broadway Summer Stock to WNY

By Eva B. Potter

OLEAN, N.Y. – For an inexpensive getaway weekend with a sophisticated metropolitan feel, visit Olean, N.Y., this summer as the Twin Tiers Theater Festival (TTTF) launches its inaugural season of Broadway summer stock theater.

New York City organizers Amy Kyzer, an actress and small theater company owner, and Rohit Kapoor, a professional production and set designer, scoped out the area last year. After conversations with Leslie and Nick Patrone, owners of the Olean Theatre Workshop (Washington Street Theatre), and former Olean Mayor David Carucci, the pair took the concept of a summer stock festival back to New York City.

For many of their show business friends, who had spent summers performing in and producing shows at other summer stock festivals like Williamstown and the Berkshires, the idea of escaping to Olean’s welcoming grass- and tree-filled landscape provided instant appeal. All agreed a theater festival in Olean would be a perfect fit.

Kyzer, bubbling with enthusiasm, said, “In a time of recession in this country, where arts programs are the first to go and a Broadway ticket can cost you $200, we have been given this amazing opportunity to bring the magic of New York City to Olean, N.Y.”

This summer’s lineup of eight crowd-pleasing shows serves up a heaping plate of exciting live performances including high drama, gut-splitting comedy, a nail-biting suspense thriller, intoxicating musical theater, an adventurous children’s play, and one original play to debut annually at TTTF (to be announced). It’s a variety sure to please every palate.

The festival will run six performances of each show on a Thursday-through-Sunday schedule, with two shows on Thursdays and Saturdays. Single-event tickets range from $20 to $28 and can be purchased on TTTF’s website. Money-saving season passes are also available.

Most performances will take place inside the newly-remodeled Washington Street Theatre in the city’s historic district. The musical, accompanied by the Southern Tier Symphony, will be presented at nearby Oak Hill Park’s outdoor venue.

“We’re actually building a stage and a whole lighting truss in Oak Hill Park, so it’s going to be a whole outdoor performance venue for the summers,” said Kyzer.

Renovations to modernize the space were completed by company members, community volunteers and area students. The result is an off-Broadway-quality house, which will be used for TTTF’s performances, as well as the Olean Theatre Workshop and community groups for the remainder of the year.

“The idea of beautifying the neighborhood and getting the community involved in the revitalization of the theater—and making it a destination spot much like Niagara-on-the-Lake and places like that—has really gotten everyone on board very quickly,” said Kapoor. “Olean has a great infrastructure to handle this type of festival.”

Kyser said, “The beauty of the area and the unbelievable support from local patrons and sponsors has been overwhelming.”

“I just think that it’s great timing and I think Olean is ready for it,” commented current Olean Mayor Linda Witte. “I wholeheartedly support it.”

Performers from Los Angeles, New York City, the United Kingdom, and the Southern Tier region will fill the theater stage, while professional set and costume designers, producers and directors from New York City work behind the scenes.

London actress Hannah Scott, who plays Little Red Riding Hood in “Into the Woods,” has extended her visa in order to remain in the U.S. to perform for TTTF.

“I think we will be unapologetically entertaining. I don’t think you will fall asleep watching,” said Kapoor.

The Cattaraugus County Arts Council (CCAC) is assisting TTTF’s start-up efforts. Anne Conroy-Baiter, executive director of CCAC said, “Bringing a summer theater festival to this area, which celebrates summer so wonderfully, seemed like a no-brainer for the arts council. Visitors coming in to see the shows will find numerous hotels, restaurants, and attractions to round out their experience.”

Within a short driving radius of Olean, you and your family can take a nature-filled field trip to Allegany State Park, make a stop at the Seneca-Allegany Casino (not for children), or hike among the super-sized boulders at Rock City Park, just to mention a few. After a fun-filled day of exploration, satisfy your hunger with a meal at one of the area’s varied restaurants before heading to the theater.

You won’t regret setting aside some time on your weekend calendar to take in one of TTTF’s incredible performances.

Tractor-Trailer, Pickup Truck Collide

A pickup truck and a tractor-trailer collided at the intersection of Route 6 and Telescope Road in Ulysses Township at 5:30 this morning.

In a fax sent to WESB and The HERO, State police say 34-year-old John Simons of Genesee fell asleep at the wheel of the pickup. 46-year-old Timothy Portzline of Mount Pleasant Mills was just started to go through the intersection when Simons woke up, but his truck hit the rear axle of the trailer. The pickup spun around before coming to rest.

Charges of careless driving and not using seatbelt will be filed against Simons. He suffered minor injuries. Portzline wasn’t hurt.

The pickup had major damage. The tractor-trailer had disabling damage.

School Bus Crash at Fretz

Bradford City Firefighter Greg Lewis tends to people injured when their car hit a school bus in the Fretz Middle School parking lot Monday afternoon. The crash jammed the front door of the bus. Also pictured, in the third photo, is Bradford Area School District director of transportation Barry Bryan.

While emergency crews were still on the scene of this "accident," at about 5:45 p.m., they got a report of another accident at the intersection of Jackson and Davis streets.

P.S. The crash at Fretz was only a drill.

I would love it if, during real accidents, Boo Coder told me to get closer to get a better picture ~~ A

Sestak: More Well Oversight Needed

Following a blowout at a Pennsylvania natural gas well, Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Congressman Joe Sestak called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today to increase its oversight of Marcellus Shale development.

The blowout at the natural gas well in Clearfield County last week, apparently caused by a failed blowout preventer, spewed polluted drilling water and natural gas 75 feet in the air and on the ground before being capped 16 hours later. The drilling liquid from the well’s hydraulic fracturing activities, whereby the liquids are shot underground at high pressure to break up shale and release its natural gas, flowed off the site and toward tributaries to Little Laurel Run.

While the situation was eventually contained, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said the accident could have resulted in a “catastrophic incident that endangered life and property.”

The circumstances of the accident are similar to those that led to the BP oil rig explosion in April at the Deepwater Horizon Rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Joe wrote a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson to ask that the Marcellus Shale development be monitored by the EPA to ensure that drilling does not harm Pennsylvania’s water resources.

“This accident highlights the significant dangers of these drilling operations, which are expanding in Pennsylvania at an unprecedented rate and scale,” wrote Sestak, noting that American Rivers has declared the Upper Delaware River the most endangered in the country due to Marcellus Shale development. “Proper regulations are not in place to manage them and protect the public.”

Sestak asked Jackson to increase EPA’s authority “to the maximum extent possible” to oversee the development of the Marcellus Shale as he and Sen. Bob Casey work on efforts to protect Pennsylvania’s natural resources. For example, Pennsylvania must have proper investigation and testing of groundwater and air contamination and the EPA has the technical expertise to help put the safest possible procedures in place.

Sestak has co-sponsored the FRAC Act, a companion to a Casey-sponsored Senate bill, that would repeal the “Halliburton Loophole,” a Bush-era special-interest deal that allows drillers to skirt the Safe Drinking Water Act.

“It is critical that the EPA play a role in assessing and minimizing industrial risk so that our citizens do not sacrifice their health, safety, livelihoods, and environment to irresponsible development of our nation’s vast natural wealth,” Sestak said. “Development of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale can be a boon for ailing local economies, but we must be vigilant in taking all necessary steps to protect our commonwealth’s precious natural resources.”