Showing posts from July 4, 2010

Monday Marks Sad Anniversay for
Joey Lynn Offutt's Family

WESB/WBRR News Director

Monday marks the three-year anniversary of the house fire that led authorities to the remains of a 6-week-old boy and to the fact that his mother, Joey Lynn Offutt, was missing.

In the early morning hours of July 12, 2007, firefighters went to a fire at Offutt’s Sykesville home. After the fire was put out, the baby’s remains were discovered, but Offutt and her car were missing.

Police found Offutt’s car – a red Saturn with Virginia license plates – four days later in State College, parked at the Nittany Gardens apartment complex, where Offutt had previously lived.

After three years and multiple airings on “America’s Most Wanted,” state police investigators still have had no substantial and credible leads.

Her family has no idea where she could be, and they simply want closure.

Family spokesman Jason Hungerford tells WESB and The HERO the family believes “she was a victim of some crime and we believe – it’s sad to say – in all likelihood she’s probably…

Woman Allegedly Hit Child, His Father

A Sheridan, New York, woman is facing charges for attacking her child’s father in a swimming pool.

Sheriff’s deputies say 23-year-old Christine Harding jumped into a swimming pool with her clothes on and punched the man in the head and back while he was holding their four-year-old and, at one point, hit the boy in the face. She grabbed the child from his father’s arms, jumped out of the pool and left the arrear.

When deputies found Harding, they charged her with endangering the welfare of a child and harassment. Deputies also contacted Child Protective Services.

High School Student Sent to Prison

A Franklinville high school student who used a barbell to attack another student has been sentenced in Cattaraugus County Court to serve up to three years in prison.

17-year-old Mario Castro pleaded guilty to attempted assault in connection with the attack on February 8.

Police say the attack escalated from a disagreement between the students, and Castro got the barbell from the school’s weight room.

The victim suffered head and neck injuries.

Tuition Hike at Penn State

Tuition at Penn State will be going up by more than $800 a year in the fall, as part of a new rate schedul approved Friday by the university’s board of trustees, which held a meeting at its DuBois campus.

At University Park, where nearly half of Penn State's 94,000 students are enrolled, Friday's vote means in-state freshmen and sophomores will pay $14,412 annually, not counting room, board and other mandatory fees. Out-of-state students will now pay a base undergraduate tuition of $26,276 a year to attend University Park.

The increase at the Erie and Altoona campuses will be $470 and year. DuBois tuition will be $450 a year for in-state students.

The State System of Higher Education's board of governors plans to set rates for the 14 state-owned universities, including California, Clarion, Edinboro, Indiana and Slippery Rock later this month.

The University of Pittsburgh hasn’t set a date yet to approve fall tuition.

Reward Offered for Railroad Incident

The FBI is now offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for an act of vandalism on the CSX railroad tracks which run through the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation.

Two railroad ties were placed across the tracks sometime before 8:45 Monday morning, about 200 yards from a bridge spanning Cattaraugus Creek. The Amtrak passenger train hit the ties, which flew up and damage its air lines. The train stayed on the tracks and no one was hurt.

Authorities believe the incident may be linked to an ongoing dispute over the sale of mail order cigarettes because signs reading “No Mail – No Rail” were placed near the scene.

The signs have since been removed by order of Seneca Nation President Barry Snyder, who issued a statement that said the Senecas would never condone putting innocent workers and passengers in danger as a result of differences of opinion over the PACT Act.

Snyder Angry Over Railroad Incident

Seneca Nation of Indians President Barry E. Snyder, Sr., today expressed anger and disappointment over recent incident where railroad ties were purposely placed on CSX railroad tracks near the Cattaraugus Creek Railroad Bridge, resulting in damage to an Amtrak passenger train.

“This was an extremely irresponsible and dangerous act that could have resulted in harm to Amtrak passengers and crew members, and other railroad personnel who utilize this rail corridor,” President Snyder said in a news release.

“While the Seneca Nation is at odds with the federal government over the PACT Act and the State of New York regarding planned collection of sales tax on cigarettes, we would never condone putting innocent railroad workers and passengers in danger as a result of those differences of opinion.”

On July 5, an Amtrak train sustained damage to its air lines when it struck railroad ties lying across the tracks approximately 200 yards east of the Cattaraugus Creek Bridge. There were no injuries …

Bob Casey Visits Iraq, Discusses Security

During a trip to the Middle East, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, met with Vice President Biden at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to discuss the security situation in the country as well as the ongoing negotiations over the Iraqi government formation. He later met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Iyad Allawi, the heads of the leading blocs. Earlier in the day, he traveled to a U.S. military base in Salah ad Din to discuss political and security developments in the Kurdish region of the country, where he met with U.S. troops, including Captain Philip Balliet from Allentown.
Photos provided by Casey's office

Wellsville Woman Wins Statewide Contest

ALBANY, NY -- The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced June 29 that Joe Chille of Lancaster and Margaret Van Etten of Wellsville are winners of a statewide contest to show how to save a lot of energy by switching light bulbs.

The Shining Example contest, which invited New Yorkers to submit videos and essays describing how they cut their energy use by switching to ENERGY STAR® qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), is part of a campaign to save more than one million megawatt hours of electricity - enough electricity to power more than 165,000 homes for a year - by installing 16.9 million light bulbs.

"It is amazing to realize how dramatically we could cut our energy if every New Yorker switched to CFLs," said Francis J. Murray, president and CEO of NYSERDA. "The winners of this contest demonstrate how the simple act of switching to CFLs could save New Yorkers millions of dollars in energy costs while improving our environm…

22 Cats Found at Cattaraugus Home

A Cattaraugus County woman is facing charges after police found 22 cats in a house they say is uninhabitable.

Police say they ran a driver’s license check on 39-year-old Jennifer Beck of the Village of Cattaraugus. While they were at her house on Washington Street, they noticed a number of cats in the yard and seven kittens in a cage.

Police contacted the SPCA, the code enforcement officer and Beck’s landlord. The cats were removed and the building was deemed dangerous and uninhabitable until it’s cleaned up. Utilities had been off for several weeks.

Beck will be in New Albion Court later this month to answer the charges.

Route 219 Bradford Bypass Update

Short version: No changes

Long version:

PennDOT issues the following travel update for the Route 219
Bradford Bypass project in McKean County. This update is for the week of July 12. 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. 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.
· Contractor will continue to truck materials for sub-base and paving operations and will be pulling into the closed “dead lane” from the northbound “live lane”. Traffic may be slow moving on Route 219 as this work takes place.
· Northbound ramps at Foster Brook Interchange are closed. Traffic is to follow the posted detours.
· The Tuna Valley Trail…

Chautauqua County Holding Household
Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Day Saturday

MAYVILLE, NY -- Chautauqua County Executive Gregory J. Edwards has announced that the first Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Day of 2010 will be held this Saturday, July 10th in the Village of Mayville.

The event is being hosted by Chautauqua County's Division of Solid Waste, and will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Town of Chautauqua Highway Garage located on Patterson Street in Mayville.

Edwards said thousands of pounds of hazardous materials have been dropped off by County residents over the years during prior events.

Among some of the items that will be accepted are varnishes, pool chemicals, alkaline batteries, and obsolete or damaged household electronics.

Waste motor oil will not be accepted, and should be disposed of at any facility performing oil changes. Also, latex paint will not be taken, and should be dried by mixing it with kitty litter or paint drying crystals and disposed of with household garbage.

“Each year, this free disposal day has been an overwhelming su…

UPB Scholarship to Benefit Elk Co. Students

A new scholarship at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford will benefit business students from Elk County.

Ward and Lori Garner of Cranberry, a suburb of Pittsburgh, have pledged $5,000 for the creation of the Ward and Lori Garner/PBAA Scholarship. The Garners’ gift will be matched by the Agnes L. and Lewis Lyle Thomas Scholarship Challenge.

Ward Garner graduated in 1989 from Pitt-Bradford, where he majored in business management.

“I believe that much of my success is due to the education I received at Pitt-Bradford, and I want to give back and help one or two others achieve some success, as I have,” Garner said. “The key to solving social problems is education, and that’s what drives me.”

He graduated from St. Marys Area High School and served five years in the U.S. Air Force before enrolling at Pitt-Bradford.

Garner dabbled in entrepreneurship as a disc jockey from 1985 until 1998.

Last fall, Garner received the Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association Distinguished Volunteer Award for his wo…

Police Look Into Assault, MVA

A possible violation of the drug act on Bushnell Street, an assault on Congress Street and a motor vehicle accident on Main Street were among the incidents Bradford City Police responded to Wednesday and Thursday, according to the complaint report and request sheet faxed to WESB and The HERO by the police department.

Officers also received reports of harassment on East Main and Rochester streets, and threats on East Main Street. They looked into a report of an erratic driver on Barbour Street and a neighbor dispute on South Avenue. They also assisted code enforcement on Walker Avenue.

Train Hits Railroad Ties Placed on Tracks

An Amtrak passenger train hit railroad ties that had been placed on the tracks on the Seneca Nation’s Cattaraugus Reservation in Irving.

State police say there are signs on the reservation saying "No Mail-No Rail," in reference to the PACT Act, that prohibits cigarette sellers from shipping tobacco products through the mail.

A federal judge is allowing 140 Seneca Indian-owned businesses to ignore the law until at least the end of the month as they challenge it in federal court.

As for Monday's incident on the railroad tracks, troopers say no one was hurt when the train splintered the ties, but the train’s air lines were damaged.

Jefferson County Doctor Killed in Crash

A prominent Jefferson County doctor is dead after his bicycle collided with a car Thursday morning in Sandy Township.

Police say Dr. Albert Varacallo, Jr. of DuBois was wearing a helmet when his bike was hit by a car driven by 28-year-old Scott Sago of Kersey.

Varacallo was thrown from the bike. He was flown to Altoona Hospital, where he later died.

He operated a family practice in Reynoldsville for many years.

Police say they aren't sure whether charges will be filed.

Photo from DuBois Regional Medical Center

A Break from the Heat Today

Mike Cejka says we get some relief from the heat today. Listen to his forecast here.

Woman Hurt in Frewsburg Crash

A New Jersey woman is hospitalized after a crash early this morning in Frewsburg.

Sheriff’s deputies say at just before 4 a.m. a car driven by 25-year-old Catherine Uram of Red Bank was speeding on Main Street, failed to negotiate a curve and hit a concrete wall.

Uram is being treated at Hamot Medical Center for serious but not life-threatening injuries. A passenger, 28-year-old Patrick Smith of Redbank, sustained minor injuries but refused medical treatment. Two dogs in the car were not hurt.

Uram was ticketed for driving at a speed not reasonable and prudent and for moving from a lane unsafely. She’s scheduled to appear in Town of Carroll Court later this month.

Sentencing for Ex-Cop Delayed

A former Gowanda police officer accused of fixing a traffic ticket in exchange for free pizza will wait three more months before learning whether he will be sent to jail.

36-year-old Jason Miller was scheduled to be sentenced Thursday, but that’s been moved to October 13 to give the Erie County Probation Department time to conduct a pre-sentencing investigation and issue a report.

Miller admitted in June that he lied two years ago when he said he was shot by a gunman when he actually hung his bulletproof vest from a tree at shot at it himself. He didn’t say why he did that.

He pleaded guilty to official misconduct in the pizza case.

Two Incidents at Sunset Bay

Sheriff’s deputies responded to couple of incidents at Sunset Bay over the last couple of days.

At about 9:30 last night they received a report saying a man was lying in the road with a knife that he displayed when he was being removed from a bar.

Police did find 29-year-old Jesse Graser of East Otto in the road and took him into custody. He’s in jail in lieu of bail.

At 2:45 Thursday afternoon deputies were called to Sunset Bay Beach for a report that a 16-year-old girl grabbed another female by the back of the head and repeatedly dunked her head under the water.

The 16-year-old is scheduled to appear in court at a later date.

Bradford Man Hurt in Crash

A Bradford man was hurt in an accident Monday morning at the intersection of routes 770 and 59.

State police say a motorcycle operated 52-year-old Ralph Carr of Bradford was at a stop sign on 770 when a pickup truck driven by 47-year-old Jeffrey Switzer of Rew was turning onto 770 and hit the motorcycle, throwing Carr to the ground.

Police described Carr’s injuries as moderate.

Smethport Men Arrested on Drug Charges

Two Smethport men have been arrested for allegedly supplying drugs in McKean County.

28-year-old Zachary Nelson and 45-year-old Todd Ladlee were arrested Thursday by the McKean County Drug Task Force following a yearlong investigation.

Nelson is accused of selling cocaine to a confidential informant on a number of occasions and Ladlee is accused of selling Vicodin pills.

Both men are in McKean County Jail in lieu of bail with preliminary hearings tentatively scheduled for Monday in Smethport.

Association Awards Scholarship

The Cattaraugus County Sheriff Benevolent Association has presented its annual scholarship to Hope E. Ruth of Randolph. She receives $500. The annual scholarship recipient is voted on by members and donated to a graduating senior who intends to pursue a career in criminal justice or police science. Hope is a graduate of Randolph Central School and intends to major in criminal justice at Monroe Community College. Hope is the daughter of Brian and Cheryl Ruth. Association President Ronald C. Lott Jr. presented the check.
Photo courtesy of the Benevolent Association

Cliffstar Being Sold to Soda Maker

Dunkirk juice manufacturer Cliffstar Corp. is being sold to Canadian soda maker Cott in a $500 million cash deal.

Cliffstar is the largest apple juice producer in the United States and one of the nation's leading private-label juice manufacturers and generates more than $650 million in sales a year.

Cliffstar’s chairman Stanley Starr says they don’t expect to cut their 1,200 employees across the county, including hundreds at its facilities in Dunkirk, Fredonia and Brocton.

The companies expect their integration to be finished by early next year.

PA Lottery System Operating Again

Middletown – Pennsylvania Lottery officials said that its statewide computer network that sells terminal-based games and validates winning tickets was again operational as of 11:42 a.m.

Pennsylvania Lottery officials had been working with its vendor, Scientific Games International, since 6 a.m., when the system normally comes online to start sales.

Lottery officials will conduct the mid-day drawings for The Daily Number, Big 4, Quinto and Treasure Hunt as planned.

“We thank our players and retailers for their patience as we worked to resolve this issue,” said Lottery Executive Director Ed Trees.

Heroin, Cocaine Seller Sentenced

An Olean man has been sentenced to 4 years in prison for selling heroin and cocaine.

48-year-old Michael P.Kelley was sentenced as a repeat felon to four years in prison for his guilty plea to third-degree attempted criminal possession of heroin on March 28, 2009, in Olean.

Kelly also was sentenced to serve a concurrent term of three years for his guilty plea to third-degree attempted criminal sale cocaine in October of 2008 in Olean.

Fire on Minard Run Road

includes update and correction

The cause of a fire that damaged a Minard Run home is still under investigation.

State police fire marshal Greg Agosti, along with Bradford Township police and fire departments are looking into the cause of the blaze that damaged the home of 69-year-old Ray Rink. The fire started just before 9 o’clock Wednesday night.

Agosti says Rink was home at the time of the fire but was not hurt.

One firefighter was taken to Bradford Regional Medical Center for a heat-related condition. Three other firefighters were treated by EMS personnel at the scene.

Damage to the house is estimated at $300,000.

Retailers Can Still Sell Cignarettes By Mail

Seneca Indian Nation cigarette sellers can send mail orders in New York, while a federal judge in Buffalo considers whether a law banning the practice is unconstitutional.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara extended a temporary restraining order that allows 141 members of the Seneca Free Trade Association and another Seneca businessman to continue to operate without having to comply with the "PACT" Act.

The Senecas can continue shipping cigarettes in the mail until July 30.

Water Authority Gets $5 Million Grant

The Bradford City Water Authority has been awarded a $5.2 million H20 PA Grant to rehabilitate a high dam that spans Gilbert Run in Bradford Township, according to Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25). Scarnati said the grant was approved today by the state’s Commonwealth Financing Authority – paving the way for improvements to begin.

Originally constructed in 1886 and modified in 1914, Bradford Dam No. 2 is 44 feet tall, 850 feet long and impounds a 30-acre lake used as a water supply.

Scarnati said the spillway will be repaired, its current width will be maintained and its downstream slope will be flattened and reinforced with Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) overtopping protection.

“This reinforcement is crucial because it will prevent damage and the possible breaching of the embankment if there is a large storm that exceeds the capacity of the spillway and runs over the dam,” Scarnati said. “Approximately 1,200 residents and 40 businesses would be impacted if the Brad…

Man Pleads Not Guilty to Stealing Smokes

A Bradford man accused of breaking into a truck loaded with cigarettes has pleaded not guilty in Cattaraugus County Court, according to a fax sent to WESB and The HERO by the district attorneys office.

27-year-old Phillip Haight is accused of using bolt cutters to break into a truck owned by Al Harris Associates in Salamanca. The value of the cigarettes is more than $4,100, according to the District Attorney's office.

Haight is charged with third-degree burglary, third-degree grand larceny and possession of burglar’s tools.

The matter has been adjourned for motions.

Bob MacFarlane to Coach SBU Cross Country

St. Bonaventure associate athletic director Steve Campbell announced the addition of Bob Macfarlane to the department of athletics staff as the head men’s and women’s cross country coach on Wednesday.

“We are excited to have Bob take over the reins of our cross country program. He was very successful at Bradford High School for the past several years and we look forward to Coach Macfarlane’s impact on the St. Bonaventure program,” said Campbell. “He is a very knowledgeable in distance running and we are confident that his success at Bradford High along with his enthusiasm will enhance our recruiting efforts. Bob is an excellent addition to our staff and to the greater St. Bonaventure community.”

Prior to coming to St. Bonaventure, he served as the head varsity girls cross country coach at Bradford Area School District for the past seven years. He led the cross country team to a 66-4 dual meet record as well as five Pennsylvania District IX AAA titles and coached four i…

SBU Adds Assistant Basketball Coach

St. Bonaventure men’s basketball head coach Mark Schmidt announced Wednesday that Stephen Curran has been hired as an assistant coach.

Curran formerly was an assistant coach at Central Connecticut State, and he worked as an assistant under Schmidt at Robert Morris from 2001-04.

“I’m excited to welcome Steve into the St. Bonaventure basketball family,” said Schmidt. “I am very familiar with Steve from our time together at Robert Morris and have followed his success from afar over the last several seasons. He will be a great addition to our program and will do a tremendous job representing the Bonnies.”

During Curran’s five seasons at CCSU, the Blue Devils posted a Northeast Conference record of 56-34 and went 46-22 at home, including 33-12 in home regular season NEC action. In 2006-07, Curran helped the Blue Devils post a memorable run, winning 16 of 18 NEC games and three straight games in the NEC Tournament to advance to their third NCAA Tournament since 2000.

During his time at CCS…

Salamanca Man Dies in Crash

A Salamanca man is dead after his motorcycle crashed into the back of a tractor-trailer at 8:18 Tuesday night on Route 219 in the Town of Great Valley.

In an e-mail sent to WESB and THe HERO, Sheriff’s deputies say 53-year-old Timothy Wick was pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner Kevin O’Rourke.

The tractor trailer was driven by 37-year-old Tidings Sibotshiwe of Indianapolis, Indiana. He wasn’t hurt.

No charges have been filed.

Griffis Memorial Service This Afternoon

A memorial service for arts educator Simon P. Griffis is scheduled for 4 p. m. today in Christ the King Chapel at Canisius College.

Griffis died in a hiking accident June 28 in Zoar Valley.

To read Griffis' obituary, go to The Buffalo News.

Thanks to Stony for passing that along.

Details Released on I-80 Fatal Crash

A Gettysburg man is dead following a crash early Tuesday evening on Interstate 80 near the DuBois-Penfield Exit.

State Police say 56-year-old Spencer Chapman of Sandy Lake was driving a tractor-trailer that hit a car that had stopped for road construction and pushing into a flatbed truck.

The driver of the car, 26-year-old Katheryn Sneeringer of Gettysburg, and one of her passengers suffered serious injuries and were flown to Altoona Hospital. Another passenger 57-year old David Cook, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the flatbed, 61-year-old David Kaschak Erie, was not hurt.

Charges are pending against Chapman, who suffered moderate injuries and was taken to the DuBois Regional Medical Center.

That section of I-80 was closed for about 4 hours while investigators were on the scene.

Rainbows Heading Out

Besides the interception of a large shipment of marijuana that was on its way to the Rainbow Family gathering, officials say there weren’t any major problems among the 900 incidents they dealt with.

The Rainbows have started heading home, although about 100 of them are staying behind to clean up the area of the Allegheny National Forest where they gathered.

Forest Service officials say that between the end of June and Tuesday about half of the incidents were drug-related and one-third were traffic-related.

Some of the citations issued were for public nudity. Officials say nudity isn’t a problem in the middle of the forest, but it is a concern when people are nude along roads or closer to the general public.

For many more pictures of the Rainbow Gathering, go to Allegheny Outdoor Adventures.

Photos courtesy of John Stoneman

Roulette Woman Facing Charges

A Roulette woman is facing charges after driving with a man on the hood of her car during a domestic incident Monday night.

State Police say 53-year-old Joni Peer hit a 59-year-old Olean man with her car in the front yard of her house on Laniger Creek Road. She then drove on nearby roads with the man on the hood of the car.

Police say Peer will be charged with simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and harassment.

Fatal Crash on Interstate 80

A fatal crash on Interstate 80 near DuBois tied up traffic for more than three hours Tuesday night.

State police say a tractor-trailer slammed into the back of a car, hit an embankment, went airborne and rolled onto its side. The car was pushed into the back of a flatbed truck and was totaled.

The Clearfield County coroner pronounced a man inside the car dead at the scene. Three other people were taken to local hospitals.

Police haven’t released the names of the victims yet.

Peace and Love for Ringo

Ringo Starr turns 70 today, and all he wants is peace and love.


Olean Woman Hurt in Allegany Crash

An Olean woman is hospitalized after an accident early Tuesday morning on Buffalo Road in Allegany.

In an e-mail sent to WESB and The HERO, Sheriff’s deputies say a vehicle driven by 40-year-old Sonya Williams traveled over the fog line and almost hit a guard rail. When Williams overcorrected, the vehicle went across both lanes of travel and hit the steel retaining wall on the east side of the road.

Williams was first taken to Olean General Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, and then was transferred to ECMC in Buffalo.

Williams is facing several charges including driving while intoxicated.

Cops: Man Tried Stealing Boat

A Buffalo man is facing charges for trying to steal a boat that was anchored at Sunset Bay and getting into a fight with its owner.

In an e-mail sent to WESB and The HERO, Sheriff’s deputies say 23-year-old Brandon Birdwell swam out to the unmanned boat, boarded it and tried to steal it. The owner of the boat was having dinner at a restaurant in Sunset Bay and was made aware of the situation.

He and his friends went to the boat, and Birdwell got into a fight with them as they tried to keep him from stealing the vessel.

Birdwell is charged with grand larceny, assault and criminal mischief. He’s in Chautauqua County Jail with no bail and will appear in Town of Hanover Court at a later date.

Fatal Crash in Great Valley

A motorcyclist is dead after hitting a tractor-trailer on Route 219 in Great Valley Tuesday night.

Sheriff’s deputies say the truck slowed down while traveling through the underpass, but the motorcycle didn’t slow down and ran into the back of the truck.

Deputies haven’t released the victim’s name yet.

Fire Cause Under Investigation

The cause of a fire that destroyed a Crosby house on Tuesday is under investigation.

In a fax sent to WESB and the HERO, State Police say Fire Marshal Greg Agosti and Norwich Township Fire Chief Bill Gallup conducted an investigation into the blaze at the home of James Angell at 78 White Hollow Road, but are still asking for more information.

No one was home at the time of the fire, which started at just after 11 a.m. There were no injuries. Damage is estimated at $150,000.

Norwich Township firefighters were assisted by companies from Smethport, Port Allegany, Roulette, Bradford Township, Emporium and Clermont.

Accused Killer Picked Up at Peace Bridge

BUFFALO, N.Y.– U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Field Operations announced the arrest of a citizen of Albania wanted in Illinois for attempted first degree murder.

On July 6, CBP officers received notification from Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) that 37-year-old Ifriam Luzaj, a citizen of Albania with lawful U.S. Resident status, was being deported from Canada and returned to the United States. Canadian authorities received information that the subject was living illegally in Canada, and was subsequently arrested by the Toronto Police Fugitive Squad. Record checks by Canadian authorities revealed the possibility of active warrants in the United States. Mr. Luzaj was deported from Canada by CBSA and returned to the United States via the Peace Bridge border crossing in Buffalo, N.Y.

Upon his return to the United States, CBP officers performed record checks that verified the validity of the nation-wide felony warrant and confirmed the extradition. The warrant was issued …

Changes to Bradford Farmers' Market

Bradford Farmers' Market to join forces with Pitt-Bradford's Center for Rural Health Practice, Canticle Farm

The Center for Rural Health Practice at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, is joining forces with the Bradford Farmers’ Market and Canticle Farm to bring locally-grown produce to downtown Bradford.

The Bradford Farmers’ Market will operate from 8 a.m. until noon on the second and fourth Saturday of each month, beginning July 10, in the parking lot of Old City Hall on Boylston Street in Bradford.

The Bradford Farmers’ Market is sponsored by Bradford’s Downtown Bradford Business District Authority. Initially started more than 15 years ago, the market has struggled in the last few years to attract produce vendors at its location in Veterans Square.

The change of location will provide vendors with a better area in which to set up their wares, said Anita Dolan, Main Street Manager, and a safer, less-trafficked location for customers. The help of the Center for Rural Healt…

Governor Rendell Signs Budget

Mechanicsburg – Governor Edward G. Rendell today signed a $28 billion General Fund budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year that holds down spending as the state strives to live within its means using existing resources.

While not increasing taxes, the budget makes substantial new investments in education and job creation programs that are critical to Pennsylvania’s ongoing efforts to recover from the national recession.

Hampered by a U.S. economy that is still struggling to grow, Governor Rendell had to trim $1 billion from the proposed budget that he presented five months ago. In spite of these cuts, the budget absorbs cost increases mandated by law, over which the state has no control, which total more than $650 million for line items that fund Medical Assistance for the poor, prisons, debt service and school employees’ Social Security.

To offset those rising and unavoidable costs, most other agencies of state government had to absorb deep cuts, as budget negotiators fought to contain spend…

Burglary Reported in Cyclone

State police are looking into a burglary that happened between May 31 and Saturday on Pithole Road in Cyclone.

49-year-old Kelly Wilson says someone went onto her property, entered a locked shed and removed a Craftsman riding mower, Craftsman push mower and a Stihl chainsaw. The person then took a picnic table from the backyard of the vacant residence.

Anyone with pertinent information is asked to contact Kane-based state police.

Ten Fatalities During Holiday Weekend

10 people died and 361 others were hurt in 712 crashes investigated by Pennsylvania State Police over the four-day holiday weekend.

That compares with nine fatalities and 206 injuries in 447 crashes during last year's holiday period, which was a day shorter.

Seven of the people killed this year were not wearing seat belts, according to state police Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski. Seventy-two of the crashes were alcohol-related, including three of the fatal crashes.

During the period that covered Friday through Monday, troopers arrested 339 people for driving under the influence, issued 7,877 speeding citations, cited 723 for failing to wear seat belts, and issued 129 citations for not securing children in safety seats.

The statistics include only incidents state police responded to, and not those handled by local law enforcement agencies.

Rendell in Towanda Today

Governor Edward G. Rendell will sign the fiscal code, a part of the 2010-11 state budget, at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, July 6, at the Bradford County Courthouse, 301 Main St., Towanda, Bradford County.

He will also outline his plans to work with the General Assembly to develop a fair natural gas extraction tax by Oct. 1, another key component of the budget agreement. Details, including rates and structure, will be worked out over the summer.

Cops: Man Hit Woman with Skillet

A Maryland man accused of hitting a woman in the head with a cast iron skillet and assaulting two other people Saturday in Harrison Township is in Potter County Jail.

Police say 24-year-old Joshua Franklin was intoxicated when he got into an argument with a 32-year-old woman and hit her repeatedly in the face and head. When she was on the ground, he grabbed her by the hair, dragged her around the home and hit her with the skillet. She was able to break free and lock herself in the bathroom, but Franklin kicked door in, pulled her out by her hair and continued hitting her in the face and head.

A 55-year-old woman tried stopping the incident, but she received an injury to her forehead. A 58-year-old man was able to subdue Franklin and get him out of the house, but Franklin is accused of biting his bicep.

Franklin is charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and harassment.

Variety of Police Calls Sunday, Monday

Bradford City Police answered a variety of calls on July 4th and 5th, according to the complaint report and request sheet faxed to WESB and The HERO by the police department. Officers looked into criminal mischief on South Avenue and Davis Street, a disturbance on Congress Street and a neighbor dispute on Jackson Avenue.

Police also received reports of a couple of alarms going off, got several requests to speak with an officer and responded to some domestic incidents.

Officers investigated a hit and run on East Main Street, a theft on South Center Street, a stolen flower on Barbour Street and, of course, a fireworks complaint, this time on West Washington Street.

Six Rescued from North Country Trail

Rescue crews spent about an hour early this morning looking for two adults and four Boys Scouts on the North Country Trail in Cherry Grove Township.

One of the adults was suffering from dehydration, and crews used GPS to find them. The call came in at around midnight. Crews found them at around 1 a.m.

Emergency medical personnel took care of the dehydrated man.

18-Year-Old Charged with Rape

An 18-year-old from Coudersport is in jail after being accused of raping a 10-year-old girl Saturday.

Police say Matthew Allen Lawton had inappropriate contact with the victim, whose 8-year-old brother witnessed several of the sexual acts and was allegedly told by Lawton not to tell anyone about what he saw.

Lawton is charged with 3 counts each of rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse; 4 counts of aggravated indecent assault; 7 counts of indecent assault; and 2 counts of corruption of minors.

Lawton’s bail is set at $85,000.

How Hot Was It?

Pretty darn hot at between 2:30 and 3 p.m. when these pictures were taken:

East Main Street

Mechanic Street

Take your pick on this one, I guess. It's opposite sides of the same thermometer on Bolivar Drive.

Interstate Parkway

Hazy, Hot and Humid

News 4 Meteorologist Mike Cejka says it'll be hazy, hot and humid for a couple more days. You can listen to his forecast here.

For some tips on how to stay safe during a heat wave, go to the McKean-Potter Counties American Red Cross website.

Donate to Taylor, Rhonda and
The Brinker Family

If you'd like updates on Taylor Brinker (the young man who was badly injured in an accident early Saturday morning) and/or you'd like to help his family with expenses -- you can "like" this Facebook page: Donate to Taylor, Rhonda and the Brinker Family

Jewelry Stolen from Duke Center Home

Police are investigating a burglary in Duke Center on Friday.

Thomas Frederick tells police that someone pried open an outside door to the house that led to his bedroom. Once inside the person stole a jewelry box that contained several gold necklaces, diamond pendants and other charms; several gold and diamond rings; a diamond tennis bracelet; and several sets of gold earrings.

The estimated value of the stolen items is $5,100.

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

Casey Visits Troops on July 4th

During a trip to the Middle East, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, spent July 4th with Pennsylvania troops based at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait where they are working on an effort to refurbish equipment coming out of Iraq for return back to the U.S. or to use in Afghanistan.
Photo courtesy of Senator Casey's office

Westfield Teen Accused of Shooting
Bottle Rockets in Crowd of People

A Westfield, New York, teenager is facing charges for shooting bottle rockets in a crowd of people.

Sheriff’s deputies say 17-year-old Samaira Dros was with a group of other teens walking on the sidewalk of Morris Street in Fredonia at 9:35 Saturday night when they were shooting the bottle rockets.

When the teens were stopped and interviewed, deputies found Dros with a quantity of bottle rockets in her pocket. She was charged with unlawful dealing with fire works and is scheduled to appear in court at a later date.

Road Rage Leads to Criminal Mischief

A case of possible road rage led to criminal mischief charges for two Elk County residents.

State police say 38-year-old John Pierce of St. Marys and 18-year-old Brandon Sheeley of Kersey got into an argument at 12:15 Sunday morning after Pierce was following Sheeley too closely when Sheeley pulled out onto Old Kersey Road in front of Pierce.

Pierce is accused of hitting the back of Sheeley’s SUV with a wooden club. Sheeley then allegedly punched and broke a window of Pierce’s Porsche.

Brockport Boy Hurt in ATV Crash

A 12-year-old Brockport boy was hurt during an ATV accident Sunday afternoon in Horton Township.

Police say the boy was driving the ATV from an unmarked ATV trail on the west berm of Shawmut Road and when he tried crossing the road he traveled into the path of another ATV driven y 53-year-old Stephen Schatz of Brockport.

The 12-year-old sustained moderate injuries when the vehicles collided and was taken by ambulance to DuBois Regional Medical Center. No one else was hurt.

Man Dies in Fall at Letchworth

An Amherst man is dead after falling 300 feet into the gorge at Letchworth State Park.

19-year-old Andrew Brinkman was with three friends when he fell into the Genesee River Gorge at around 9:30 Saturday morning.

Police say Brinkman stepped over a stone retaining wall and was walking along a dirt ledge when he slipped.

Just last week, Simon Griffis of Buffalo died after falling into the gorge at Zoar Valley.

Dayton Fire Chief Arrested

The Town of Dayton fire chief has been arrested for assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

Richard Ulmer Jr. of Fredonia was arrested Saturday in connection with a domestic incident. He was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to appear in court on July 15.

Police didn’t release any further details.

Sunday Book Talk:
The Cool Woman

Listen to my interview with author John Aubrey Anderson here.

For more information, go here.
Happy Indpendence Day!

Happy Birthday to

Bob Onuffer!