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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Charges Filed Against Father Slocum

A criminal complaint against Father Sam Slocum has been filed with District Judge Rich Luther’s office.

According to online court records, Slocum is charged with interference with custody of children and concealment of whereabouts of a child, both third-degree felonies; corruption of minors; defiant trespassing; and loitering and prowling at night.

State police filed the charges in connection to incidents on January 1.

Mother, Son Facing Drug Charges

A Kill Buck woman and her son have been arrested on drug charges following a yearlong investigation by the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force.

41-year-old Maria Jimerson is charged with criminal possession of heroin. 21-year-old William Rodrieguez is charged with possession of hypodermic instruments and unlawful possession of marijuana.

At the time of arrest, Rodriguez was allegedly found with narcotics and was also charged with criminal possession and sale of a controlled substance.

They were both taken to Cattaraugus County Jail.

On to the Next Contest
Ultimate Fishing Town USA

Now that the Toughest Weather City Tournament is over, it’s time to concentrate on the Ultimate Fishing Town contest.

You can fish anywhere in the area, and still nominate Bradford as the Ultimate Fishing Town. Linda Devlin of the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau explains.

Bradford "is where you come to stay overnight, and buy your fishing gear. This is where you come to tell your fishing stories at the local bar or local restaurant," she said on Thursday's LiveLine.

"You can fish in any of the streams around here," Devlin said, "Potato Creek, Allegany State Park, the Allegheny Reservoir -- and it's just that Bradford would be the Fishing Town." (Listen to Thursday's LiveLine here.)

You don’t even have to fish to submit a nomination. You can just say you see other people fishing and having a good time.

Bill Would Give Voters More Control
Over Property Tax Increases

HARRISBURG – Under current law, school boards cannot raise property taxes to a rate above the inflation index provided in Act 1 of 2006 without approval from local voters at the ballot box. However, school boards may apply to the Department of Education for an exception to this requirement to raise property taxes without voter approval. Sen. Mike Brubaker (R-36) introduced legislation today that would give taxpayers a stronger voice in education funding debates and greater control over excessive property tax increases.

Senate Bill 911 would remove all exceptions that school boards use to raise property taxes beyond the rate allowed by current law without a referendum. Brubaker's bill would ensure that all property tax increases in excess of the Act 1 index would need to be approved by voters, giving taxpayers a greater say in education funding decisions.

"These exemptions allowed by current law essentially remove the taxpayer's voice from the dialogue on burdensome property tax hikes," Brubaker said. "My legislation seeks to create a realignment of education spending and foster a true partnership between school districts and taxpayers."

Senate Bill 911 would require school boards to communicate the need for increased spending directly to taxpayers, giving citizens more input into tax decisions. Brubaker said that giving taxpayers a voice in the process will lead to greater involvement by the public in deciding how tax dollars are spent.

"If there is a demonstrated need for a tax increase in order to improve student achievement or expand educational opportunities for students, school boards will still have an opportunity to make their case to the voters for property tax increases," Brubaker said. "However, if additional funds are needed due to poor management of public dollars or extravagant new construction projects that do not benefit students, taxpayers will have the opportunity to prevent these unnecessary tax increases."

Budget Secretary Charles Zogby and Acting Secretary of Education Ronald Tomalis expressed support for this proposal during the Senate Appropriations Committee's budget hearings this month, and Governor Corbett touted the measure during his budget address.

Brubaker added that Senate Bill 911 would work in conjunction with the comprehensive bipartisan package of legislation introduced last week to suspend or eliminate expensive mandates on school districts. The mandate relief package would give school boards greater flexibility in how education dollars are spent.

"Ensuring greater accountability to taxpayers is just one piece of the larger puzzle to reform the way we fund public education," said Brubaker, who introduced four of the bills in the mandate relief package. "As we work to foster greater cooperation between school boards and taxpayers, it is equally important to give school boards the tools they need to spend taxpayer dollars more efficiently."

Friday, April 1, 2011

'boom' to be Performed at Pitt-Bradford

“boom,” a modern comedy about the trials, tribulations, demise and origins of a species, will be performed next week at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

The Division of Communication and the Arts will present the play at 7:30 p.m. April 7, 8 and 9, and at 2 p.m. April 10 in the Studio Theater of Blaisdell Hall. Cost is $6 for the public and $2 for students. Seating is limited.

In “boom,” a grad student’s personal ad lures a randy journalism coed to his subterranean lab, where he studies fish sleep cycles for signs of the apocalypse. Will their “intensely significant coupling” lead to another big bang, or is mankind’s fate in the hands of someone watching from outside the fishbowl? Peter Sinn Nachtreib wrote the play.

“A couple of years ago it was the most produced play in professional theatres across the U.S., and it’s not hard to see why,” said Dr. Kevin Ewert, associate professor of theater. “I wanted to do it here at the university as soon as I read it.”

Performing in the production are Katherine Yeagle, a broadcast communications major from Newville; Jarret Clarke, a writing major from Bradford; and Romainne Harrod, an English major from Phoenix, Ariz. Yeagle is this year's Robert C. Laing Creative Arts Award in Theatre recipient, and Harrod received last year’s award.

“boom” contains adult language and situations.

For more information, call the Bromeley Family Theater Box Office at (814) 362-5113.

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

Photo courtesy of Pitt-Bradford

UPB Profs to Study PA Wine Industry

Two University of Pittsburgh at Bradford professors have received a $47,400 grant to study the Pennsylvania Wine Industry.

James Dombrosky, assistant professor of hospitality management, and Dr. Shailendra Gajanan, associate professor of economics, received the grant from The Center for Rural Pennsylvania.

The center works with various government groups and organizations to maximize resources for Pennsylvania’s 3.4 million rural residents. In part, it sponsors research projects, collects data on trends in rural Pennsylvania and publishes information and research results about diverse people and communities in rural Pennsylvania.

Unlike other grant-giving organizations, the center does not put out an open call for proposals. Instead, the center chooses topics of importance to the state, then solicits proposals from faculty members at the states’ rural universities. This was the first-time Pitt-Bradford was eligible to submit a proposal.

Dombrosky and Gajanan’s proposal was chosen from among seven applicants to conduct an assessment of the state’s wine industry.

For Dombrosky, the proposal was a natural extension of the doctoral thesis he is writing: “Distribution of Pennsylvania Wine through Restaurants: Barriers and Opportunities.”

But to determine the industry’s current capacity and growth potential, Dombrosky turned to Gajanan.

Both thought that their cross-discipline proposal gave them an edge over other applicants.

“It was a logical partnership,” Dombrosky said.

The pair has just begun its research, which will last a year with the help of an undergraduate research assistant. The project will result in not only an analysis of the wine industry in Pennsylvania, but also identify strategies to grow the industry further, and make policy recommendations to the state government.

“Winemaking is a big industry in Pennsylvania,” said Gajanan, citing a statistic that ranks the state seventh nationally in the production of wine. “The question is, can it get bigger and can the government do something to help it get bigger?”

Dombrosky said that the role of the study in potentially shaping public policy sets it apart from a lot of academic research.

Far from being an excuse to go winery-hopping, Dombrosky’s portion of the research will involve conducting one-on-one and focus group interviews with industry experts, winery operators, grape growers and other stakeholders.

As part of the study, the two professors will compare practices and results in Pennsylvania with those in New York, Ohio, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, Texas, Arizona and Colorado.

Gajanan will look at existing data that can inform policy on production and expansion.

“Are Pennsylvania wineries efficient right now?” he asked. “Is it possible for them to increase production without incurring too much additional cost? Right now nobody knows if there are advantages to greater production.”

Pictured, Flickerwood's Chantilly White. (my favorite)

Avalon, Rydell Coming to Salamanca

SALAMANCA, N.Y. – Seneca Allegany Casino announces a double-header concert of 1960s teen idols at the Seneca Allegany Events Center on Sunday, May 22 at 5 p.m. Frankie Avalon and Bobby Rydell, who each performed in fall 2010 at the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, now travel together to Salamanca for a spectacular evening of entertainment.

Tickets for the show are on sale now and are priced starting at $25. Fans can purchase tickets at all Seneca Casino box offices,, all Ticketmaster locations or by phone at 800-745-3000.

Frankie Avalon’s music became one of the defining sounds of “pre-Beatles” rock ‘n’ roll. In addition, his motion picture career spanned more than 30 films.

Bobby Rydell recorded 34 Top 40 albums, selling more than 25 million records. He also starred in hit films such as Bye, Bye, Birdie and plays such as West Side Story. Avalon and Rydell continue to tour with Fabian for the hit show, The Golden Boys.

Photos courtesy of Tony Astran, Seneca Gaming Corporation

Wagner: Prison Reform Needed

Auditor General Jack Wagner said today that Pennsylvania could save $50 million in the upcoming fiscal year, and $350 million over four years if the state better utilized alternative-sentencing programs and implemented other reforms.

“With Pennsylvania facing its greatest budget crisis since the Great Depression, we must look for sustainable savings in every nook and cranny of state government, and that includes the criminal-justice system, which is one of the three biggest drivers of increased spending over the past decade,” Wagner said.

In 2009, Pennsylvania had the fastest-growing prison population in the nation, adding 2,122 inmates. Florida was second, adding 1,527.

On WESB’s LiveLine today, Senator Joe Scarnati said the state’s prisons have too many people in them who would be better off in drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs or mental health facilities. He said getting those inmates to where they should be would save a significant amount of money.

Graphic from the auditor general's website, where you can also find more information.

Brothers Charged with Illegal Dumping

HARRISBURG – Two Lebanon County men who run a family-operated waste hauling business were charged today with allegedly dumping $500,000 worth of private and commercial waste at local landfill and billing Wyomissing Borough for the trash.

Acting Attorney General Bill Ryan identified the defendants as Joseph Barry, 48, and his brother John Barry, 46, both of Lebanon County. Joseph Barry is the president of Lebanon Farms Disposal, Inc., 230 Obie Road, Newmanstown, Heidelberg Township, Lebanon County.

Evidence and testimony regarding the case was presented to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended the criminal charges being filed today.

Ryan said that Lebanon Farms Disposal provides commercial, private residential and municipal waste collection and disposal throughout Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon, Lancaster, and York counties.

According to the grand jury, from 1992 to 2008, Lebanon Farms was contracted to provide residential trash hauling services to Wyomissing Borough, Berks County. The company was paid an annual fee to collect waste, transport and dump it at a local landfill.

Ryan said that from 2006 to 2009 Wyomissing Borough contracted with the Pioneer Crossing landfill located in Birdsboro, Berks County, for the disposal of all borough residential waste. Under the terms of the contract, Wyomissing Borough was billed monthly for all waste Lebanon Farms dumped at the landfill.

According to the grand jury, John and Joseph Barry organized information contained in drivers’ “route sheets” and for designating specific truck routes or changes to those routes.

The charges state that drivers who operated Lebanon Farms garbage trucks were frequently instructed on their route sheets to pick up commercial waste inside Wyomissing Borough and residential and community waste outside of Wyomissing Borough.

The grand jury found that Lebanon Farms garbage trucks routinely picked up waste from at least 71 different locations, including commercial and other residential areas, commingled it with Wyomissing Borough residential waste and dumped the loads at the Pioneer Crossing landfill.

Agents estimate that from 2006 through 2008 Lebanon Farms dumped an average of 6,000 tons and averaged 496 deliveries to the landfill. The borough of Wyomissing was billed an average of $361,672 for those deliveries.

Ryan said that after Wyomissing Borough changed waste companies their yearly waste bill dropped to approximately $200,000 for 270 deliveries of 3,268 tons of garbage.

Ryan thanked the Department of Environmental Protection for their assistance with the investigation

The case will be prosecuted in Lebanon County by Chief Deputy Attorney General Glenn Parno of the Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Section.

Below is a complete list of the defendants and the charges against them.

- Joseph G. Barry, 48, 320 Obie Road, Newmanstown, Lebanon County is charged with two counts of theft by deception, two counts of receiving stolen property, one count of tampering with public records and one count of criminal conspiracy.

- John D. Barry, 46, 135 Springhaven Road, Newmanstown, Lebanon County, is charged with two counts of theft by deception, two counts of receiving stolen property, one count of tampering with public records and one count of criminal conspiracy.

Commonwealth Media Service

Goats Die in Clearfield Barn Fire

More than two dozen goats died in a fire this morning in Clearfield County.

State Police fire marshal Greg Agosti says in a news release that he and the Lawrence Township Fire Department are investigating the cause of the fire, but it has not been determined yet.

The fire started at about 8:30 in a wood-frame barn owned by Clifford Simcox of Clearfield. The barn was destroyed. Damage is estimated at $50,000.

27 South African Boer goats died in the fire.

Port Allegany Woman is State Trooper

A Port Allegany woman graduated today from the State Police Academy in Hershey.

Noelle Schad has been assigned to Troop E, Erie County.

Also assigned to Troop E is Joshua White of Ridgway.

Bryan Uhl of Kersey has been assigned to Troop F, Montoursville, Lycoming County.

Following is the news release from Commonwealth Media Services:

Harrisburg – Governor Tom Corbett announced that 131 men and women joined the ranks of the Pennsylvania State Police following their graduation today from the State Police Academy in Hershey.

“In years to come, you will look back on this day as the moment you became something bigger than yourselves,” Corbett said. “You join a force with more than a century of history. I salute your willingness to take on this calling. You are that part of government we want.”

Corbett spoke at the ceremony, which was held at Central Dauphin High School. Pennsylvania Superior Court President Judge Correale F. Stevens was the principal speaker and Commissioner Frank Noonan offered remarks. Cadet Mark J. Hydock, of Beaver Meadows, Carbon County, spoke on behalf of the cadet class.

Cadet Robert D. Richter Jr., of Holland, Bucks County, was named the outstanding cadet by his classmates and instructors, receiving the American Legion Award.

Also receiving awards were:

* Cadet Jeffrey A. Vitek, of Franklin, Venango County – Daniel F. Dunn High Scholastic Award;
* Cadet Gregory A. Murphy, of Corry, Erie County – Charles B. Gesford High Pistol Award;
* Cadet Aaron A. Davis, of Hershey, Dauphin County – Col. Paul J. Chylak Memorial Driver Proficiency Award; and
* Cadet Salvatore M. Alaimo Jr., of Pittston Township, Luzerne County – John K. Schafer Memorial Physical Fitness Award.

Major John W. Laufer III, director of the state police Bureau of Training and Education, supervised the training of the class, which was the 131st class to graduate from the State Police Academy in Hershey since it opened in 1960.

The graduates have been assigned to stations within nine troop areas across the state and will report to their stations on April 11.

For more information, visit or call 717-783-5556.

Media Contacts:
Jack J. Lewis or Lt. Myra A. Taylor, PSP; 717-783-5556
Janet Kelley, Governor’s Office; 717-783-1116

Editor’s Note: A list of graduates and their home towns, arranged by the location of their troop assignment, follows:

Troop E, Erie, Erie County

Tate M. Allison of Limestone, Clarion County
Justin R. Carman of Tarentum, Allegheny County
Jason L. Domenick of New Castle, Lawrence County
Robert V. Gambone Jr. of Meadville, Crawford County
Edwin J. Machacek of Waterford, Erie County
Scott C. McClain of Cochranton, Crawford County
Timothy J. McConnell of Hermitage, Mercer County
Gregory A. Murphy of Corry, Erie County
Vaughn R. Norbert of Rimersburg, Clarion County
Mark D. Olowin of Harborcreek, Erie County
Elijah L. Pardee of Erie, Erie County
Noelle K. Schad of Port Allegheny, McKean County
Stephen L. Shurgott of New Eagle, Washington County
Joshua G. White of Ridgway, Elk County

Troop F, Montoursville, Lycoming County

Johnathan B. Buynak of Muncy, Lycoming County
Trevor D. Danko of Philipsburg, Centre County
Daniel J. DeNucci of East Stroudsburg, Monroe County
Robert Evanchick of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County
Christine M. Fye of Mill Hall, Clinton County
Jonathan W. Houseknecht of Montoursville, Lycoming County
Michael G. Meko of Punxsutawney, Jefferson County
Aaron M. Messner of Munch, Lycoming County
Daniel J. Spath of Kingston, Luzerne County
Travis M. Trimbur of Chicora, Butler County
Bryan T. Uhl of Kersey, Elk County
Michael J. Zulkowski of Shenandoah, Schuylkill County

Troop G, Hollidaysburg, Blair County

Ryan C. Bickel of Morrisdale, Clearfield County
Jason I. Claar of Ebensburg, Cambria County
James D. Gority Jr. of Altoona, Blair County
Bradley C. Poole of Greensburg, Westmoreland County
Scott J. Wagner of Westover, Clearfield County

Troop H, Harrisburg, Dauphin County

Ty C. Ammerman of Snow Shoe, Centre County
Michael D. App of Kreamer, Snyder County
Gregory M. Bacher Jr. of Houtzdale, Clearfield County
Jeffrey A. Baney of Gettysburg, Adams County
Brent L. Boggess of Carlisle, Cumberland County
Michael F. Brooks of Red Lion, York County
Noah D. Bungard of Shippensburg, Cumberland County
Trisha A. Campbell of Newport, Perry County
Anthony S. Chomiszewski III of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County
Jonathan R. Confer of Danville, Montour County
Ruben D. DeLosSantos of Red Lion, York County
Chad B. Ehresman of Belleville, Mifflin County
Adam M. Fairchild of Berwick, Columbia County
Matthew R. Gray of West Decatur, Clearfield County
Justin W. Handlin of Greensburg, Westmoreland County
Quincy T. Heller-Dutrow of Chambersburg, Franklin County
Mateo E. Herrera of Finleyville, Washington County
Donald J. Hoffman of New Baltimore, Somerset County
Brian M. Hupe of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County
Ronald A. Jarvie of Elmora, Cambria County
Thomas J. Kapolka of Perryopolis, Fayette County
Thomas J. Karlo of Tarentum, Allegheny County
Travis S. Kauffman of Lebanon, Lebanon County
Glen W. Knudsen of Mount Gretna, Lebanon County
Joseph M. Lauricia of Jeannette, Westmoreland County
Clint R. Long of Middletown, Dauphin County
Matthew D. Long of Osterburg, Bedford County
Tobi M. Odom of Erie, Erie County
Marc D. Packrall of Fredericktown, Washington County
Shawn D. Panchik of Lower Burrell, Westmoreland County
Jon J. Paone of Throop, Lackawanna County
Mitchell R. Penrose of Hanover, York County
William R. Petras of North Huntingdon, Westmoreland County
Sean M. Polcha of Allison Park, Allegheny County
Keith A. Rudy of Jonestown, Lebanon County
Audra L. Schmidt of Sheppton, Schuylkill County
David W. Shero Jr. of Export, Westmoreland County
Jonathan J. Simmons of Carnegie, Allegheny County
Keith J. Sobecki of New Kensington, Westmoreland County
Jordan A. Starliper of Harrisburg, Dauphin County
Eric W. Stuby of Reynoldsville, Jefferson County
David A. Taylor II of Natrona Heights, Allegheny County
Michael J. Trotta of Exeter, Luzerne County
Anthony L. Vaccaro of Gibsonia, Allegheny County
Jeffrey A. Vitek of Franklin, Venango County
Kory A. Wardrop of Carlisle, Cumberland County
Jerry W. Zundel of West Mifflin, Allegheny County

Troop J, Lancaster, Lancaster County

Andi I. Avdulla of Lansdowne, Delaware County
Brian D. Borowicz of Olyphant, Lackawanna County
Chad T. Burgwald of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County
Gregory D. Butler of Broomall, Delaware County
Elizabeth R. Clatch of Drums, Luzerne County
Nicholas J. Cortese III of Hazle Township, Luzerne County
Suzanne E. Creelman of Honey Brook, Chester County
Aaron A. Davis of Hershey, Dauphin County
Joseph B. Dunsmore of Reading, Berks County
Waleska Gonzalez of Norristown, Montgomery County
Dennis M. Harding of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County
Justin M. Heisler of Walnutport, Northampton County
Andrew F. Helms of Drexel Hill, Delaware County
Travis K. Hill of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County
James J. Hoban Jr. of Auburn, Schuylkill County
Marc S. Hunsberger of Wyomissing, Berks County
Thomas C. Keegan of Mayfield, Lackawanna County
Brian B. Kundick of Hawthorn, Clarion County
John P. Marsteller of Orefield, Lehigh County
Curtis L. Matthews of Canonsburg, Washington County
Samantha L. Minnucci of Ridley Park, Delaware County
Timothy J. O’Connor Jr. of West Chester, Chester County
Brian A. Olszewski of Millersville, Lancaster County
Anthony M. Reppert of Easton, Northampton County
Alan J. Zulick of Saint Clair, Schuylkill County

Troop K, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County

Sergio L. Colon of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County
William J. Crowley III of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County
Derik W. Frymire of Yardley, Bucks County
Edmund R. Homa Jr. of Media, Delaware County
Christian M. Keller of Bethlehem, Northampton County
Jonathan C. Meister of Aldan, Delaware County
Michele L. Naab of Schwenksville, Montgomery County
George A. Near of Bethlehem, Lehigh County
Trenton Q. Odhner of Huntingdon Valley, Montgomery County
Justin D. Serratore of Folcroft, Delaware County
Saimir Shehu of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County

Troop L, Reading, Berks County

Vincent A. LaSelva Jr. of Pottsville, Schuylkill County

Troop M, Bethlehem, Northampton County

Salvatore M. Alaimo Jr. of Pittston Township, Luzerne County
Christopher J. Bohenek of Jessup, Lackawanna County
Scott D. Cabets of Archbald, Lackawanna County
Daniel Domanski of Easton, Northampton County
Robert E. Eck of Easton, Northampton County
Michael C. Felsman of Prompton, Wayne County
Thomas D. Geerlof of Portland, Northampton County
Brandon J. Horlacher of Hazleton, Luzerne County
Mark J. Hydock of Beaver Meadows, Carbon County
Robert D. Richter Jr. of Holland, Bucks County
Thomas Rummerfield of Dunmore, Lackawanna County
Christopher C. Smith Jr. of Allentown, Lehigh County
Matthew J. Thom of Media, Delaware County
Matthew T. Villano of Easton, Northampton County
Thomas J. Zarcufsky of Shenandoah, Schuylkill County

Troop N, Hazleton, Luzerne County

Sean Munley of Dalton, Lackawanna County

Arrest Made in Dunkirk Murder

An arrest has been made in the fatal shooting in Dunkirk Wednesday night.

Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano says 22-year-old David Corsi of Dunkirk has been charged with second-degree murder for the death of 20-year-old Ricardo Vasquez of Silver Creek.

Vasquez died Thursday at ECMC.

Ortolano says Corsi was arrested late Thursday night following an investigation that included every law enforcement agency in Chautauqua County.

Scarnati Talks About Marcellus Shale,
Education Funding, Visitors Center

Listen here.

BonaResponds Gets New Trailer

BonaResponds, St. Bonaventure University’s volunteer disaster-relief organization, is usually the one riding to the rescue of people in need.

But on Wednesday, James Mahar Jr., associate professor of finance at St. Bonaventure and founder of BonaResponds, found his group on the receiving end, taking delivery of a new, light-weight, aluminum flatbed trailer won in a national contest – a contest Mahar didn’t even know his group was entered in.

The chain of events began last fall when Olean pharmacist Vic Vena, a longtime friend of the university, went online to register for a warranty for a Featherlite trailer he had just bought from a Rochester-area dealership. While he was filling in the form online, a pop-up promotion offered the chance to enter Featherlite’s national “Win 1, Give 1” trailer contest. “So I clicked on it,” said Vena.

He was asked to nominate a non-profit organization that could use a Featherlite trailer. Vena thought immediately of BonaResponds.

BonaResponds was formed in 2006 when nearly 300 St. Bonaventure and community volunteers went to the Gulf Coast to help recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina. It was the largest service trip in the history of the university. The organization has since made repeated return trips to the Gulf and has answered calls for assistance from Buffalo to Alabama, and all across Western New York.

Vena had spearheaded his own hurricane relief effort to aid employees of a sister pharmacy in the New Orleans area who had lost their homes, and he was familiar with the work of BonaResponds through his good friend and retired St. Bonaventure University accounting professor Larry Orisini, who has been active with the group since its formation.

“Larry would often say to me, ‘Man, we could get so much more done if we only had a trailer,’” said Vena.

So in his nominating essay, Vena described BonaResponds’ long record of service and the commitment of students who sacrifice their breaks and vacations to go on relief missions, then noted that the group is “rich in spirit, but poor in resources,” and could “really, really, really use a trailer.”

Mahar only learned about the contest when Vena called him just before Christmas to tell him that BonaResponds had won. Mahar and student volunteers were on hand Wednesday to accept delivery of the trailer from Dean Davis of Davis Trailer World near Rochester, a Featherlite dealer.

“This is going to make such a difference,” said Mahar, noting transportation is one of the group’s biggest challenges. “Sometimes we have to decide between taking people or supplies to a job site, and now we can take both. This is exactly what we needed.”

St. Bonaventure senior Rob Ryer, a senior physical education major from Lockport who has made eight service trips with BonaResponds, said the trailer is more than a vehicle for hauling goods to job sites.

Said Ryer, “This new trailer will not only help transport the tools needed to change the lives of the individuals and families we touch, but will also help transport those we touch into the next chapter of their lives, a better chapter.”

Pictured, Olean pharmacist Vic Vena and his wife, Bonnie, stand next to the trailer won for BonaResponds. On the trailer (from left) are Dean Davis of Davis Trailer World; SBU students Rob Ryer and Phil Penepent; and Dr. James Mahar Jr., finance professor and BonaResponds founder.

Medicine Man Coming to St. Bonaventure

A Native American who began learning about traditional Iroquois medicine when he was only a young boy will discuss his career as a medicine man at St. Bonaventure University.

The presentation by Edward Gray, “Traditional Iroquois Healing: A Medicine Man’s Insight,” will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, April 8, in the amphitheater of the William F. Walsh Science Center on campus. The program is free and open to the public.

Gray, the second youngest of seven children, was born on a farm in Akwesasne, in upstate New York.

He began his career as a medicine man at a young age by observing many of the elders within his community. Meeting in the local barbershop, Gray listened and learned as his relatives and friends discussed herbs and treatments of various ailments. Between the ages of 8 and 9, he began following a local medicine man on walks through the woods. Year after year, Gray followed and learned what plants were useful, how they were useful, and when to harvest them.

He spent time as both a mine and ironworker in New York City before returning to Mohawk territory to become their medicine man. The Mohawk tribe is among the five original Native American nations that make up the Iroquois Confederacy.

Gray is one of only three medicine men among the Mohawk Nation of upstate New York and southern Ontario and has worked for the past 14 years in a traditional medicine clinic in St. Regis, Ontario. He is widely respected among his people and is known for his healing abilities throughout the U.S. and Canada. There are currently no trained medicine men among the Seneca Nation of Indians Allegany territory and only a very small number among the whole Iroquois Confederacy.

Gray’s presentation complements a course being offered this semester as part of the university’s core curriculum (Clare College). The focus of instructor Dr. David Hilmey’s World Views class is Native American health and medicine. In addition to their classroom discussions, with the support of St. Bonaventure’s Center for Community Engagement, Hilmey and his students have had continuing discussions with the Seneca Faithkeepers’ school, founded by Lehman “Dar” and Sandy Dowdy, and will present their work to students in the Salamanca City schools.

Sheffield Teacher Dies in Crash

A Sheffield Area Middle High School teacher is dead following a two-vehicle crash Thursday morning on Route 6 in Wetmore Township.

33-year-old Lindy Lydic was pronounced dead at the scene by McKean County Deputy Coroner Sam Cummings.

Police say Lydic was driving west on Route 6 at about 7:30 a.m. when her SUV went out of control on a slushy part of the road. The SUV started spinning and crossing into the oncoming lane, where it was hit by a truck driven by 38-year-old Jason Barner of Kane.

Barner and two passengers, a 12-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy, were taken to Kane Community Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Casey Statement on Jobs Report

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement after the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ March jobs report showing that the unemployment rate ticked down to 8.8 percent and 216,000 total nonfarm jobs were added:

“This is the 13th month in a row of private sector job gains. We’ve added almost half a million private sector jobs in the past two months -- a particularly encouraging sign.

“Again this month, we saw broad-based job gains with employment gains in manufacturing, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality. The number of unemployed workers has dropped by more than two million since peaking in October 2009. While we’ve made considerable progress, we’ll need to continue the recent job growth to bring the unemployment rate down further.

“The private sector is a key to continued progress. In the weeks ahead, I look forward to hearing from private sector leaders about additional ideas they have to spur job creation and strengthen our recovery.”

Bradford Comes Up Just Short

Bradford didn't win The Weather Channel's Toughest Weather City Tournament but, as Mayor Tom Riel just told us, we are the Toughest Weather City east of the Mississippi.

Even The Weather Channel said we're overachievers because they never expected us to go anywhere in the tournament. The final vote count was 29,837 for Fargo and 25,575 for Bradford. Respectable, considering Fargo's population is 105,000 and Bradford's is about 9,000.

The Weather Channel says, "The championship was really Fargo's only stern test." They got 54 percent of the vote against Bradford, but steamrolled their other competition by between 74 and 91 percent.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pitt-Bradford Rallies to 'Stand with Pitt'

Dozens of University of Pittsburgh at Bradford students, joined by staff and faculty, gathered in the cold Bromeley Quadrangle Thursday afternoon for “Stand with Pitt: Rally to Restore the Budget.”

The purpose of the rally was to raise awareness of the university’s plight in light of Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget, which would cut the state’s contributions to the University of Pittsburgh by 52 percent.

Dr. Livingston Alexander, president, spoke at the rally, assuring students that the Pitt system will not close regional campuses and that Pitt-Bradford will not eliminate majors.

“We are very optimistic that things will change” during the budget process, he said, but warned that tuition increases are “inevitable” and an attempt will be made to keep increases at a minimum.

Alexander and others speaking at the rally also urged those gathered to take their concerns to their legislators through letters, voting and attending Pitt in Harrisburg Day April 5. Pitt-Bradford will be taking a full bus of students to the capital next week to meet with members of the legislature, who will have to amend and approve the final budget.

“We’ve entered challenging times, but that does not make higher education less important,” said Jasmine Iddings, a public relations major from Locust Gap who was one of the student speakers at the rally organized by the Student Government Association.

Iddings, a junior, said that her brother will start college at Pitt-Bradford in the fall, giving her parents two children in college.

“If these budget cuts go through, the sad truth is that neither of us would be able to continue our education because we couldn’t afford it,” she said.

Dr. Greg Page, associate professor of psychology and president of the Pitt-Bradford Faculty Senate, spoke on behalf of the faculty.

Page said that most members of the faculty are not afraid for themselves, but for tuition increases that could be faced by their students.

While retiring faculty are being replaced, searches for some new faculty positions have been put on hold. Faculty who are already teaching an overload of courses may not be able to continue teaching courses that have few students, he said.

He urged students to continue their fight, as did Erik Austin, a broadcast communications major from Duke Center and one of the rally’s organizers.

“The student response to this matter has been astonishing,” he said. “We need to stay strong and stay involved.”

In addition to the rally and Pitt in Harrisburg, lobbying day, Austin, freshman Daniel Robinson, a nursing major from Smethport, and members of student government organized a letter-writing day last week that yielded 135 letters to representatives.

They are also working on a DVD to take to legislators next week and a call-in day, when they will ask students, alumni and friends of the university to call their representatives.

Alexander praised student leaders for their organizing efforts.

Alexander said he has always considered Pitt-Bradford students the best in the commonwealth.

“Now I tell legislators how worried our students are,” he said.

Photos by Amanda Kleps

Bradford Priest Being Investigated

Bradford-area priest Father Sam Slocum is the center of an investigation by the McKean County District Attorney's office.

Sources tell WESB and The HERO that Our Mother of Perpetual Help Church in Lewis Run and St. Francis of Assisi Church in Bradford were searched Wednesday by State Police.

A home in Cyclone, which is owned by Father Sam, has been searched too.

A sign posted at St. Francis Church says there are no Masses today or tomorrow, but there is no explanation.

A call to District Judge Dominic Cercone's office referred us to State Police, where a trooper said even if he knew anything about the investigation, he couldn't tell us.

Overheated Outlet Caused Fatal Fire

An overheated electrical outlet is being blamed for the fire that led to the death of Ridgway man.

A state police fire marshal said today that the March 19 fire started because of the outlet in a second-floor apartment of the three-story building.

45-year-old Timothy Keyser died of blunt force trauma to his abdomen and chest when he fell from the window of his apartment, where he had been trapped by the fire.

La Herradura Owner Pleads Guilty

The former owner of La Herradura Restaurant in Bradford has pleaded guilty to harboring illegal aliens who worked at 7 of his restaurants.

50-year-old Simon Banda-Mireles, who now lives in Depew, was arrested by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in April of 2008.

Banda-Mireles pleaded guilty to a felony, admitting that he employed and harbored up to 100 illegal aliens at his restaurants in Bradford, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties and in West Virginia.

He’s scheduled for sentencing July 14 in federal court in Buffalo.

Arrests Made for Rolling Meth Lab

Four Ripley, New York, residents are facing charges in Pennsylvania for allegedly running a rolling meth lab that was discovered during a traffic stop near Erie.

Acting attorney general Bill Ryan says 42-year-old James Fuhus, 38-year-old Marie Kopta, 18-year-old Alexandria Gibbs and 20-year-old John Gibbs used a “one pot” method to manufacture meth while driving back and forth between Erie and Ripley after buying supplies.

Waste products generated during the production of meth, including flammable and caustic chemicals, were allegedly placed in plastic soda bottles and thrown from the moving car as the defendants traveled along Interstate 90 and other roads in northwestern Pennsylvania.

All four defendants were arrested today Chautauqua County sheriff’s deputies. They are currently being held in Chautauqua County pending extradition to Pennsylvania.

Changing the Direction of New York State

By Senator Cathy Young
57th Senate District
Ranking Member of the
NYS Senate’s Agriculture Committee

The recently approved State budget illustrates the new way New York State government is getting positive results. Having joined with Governor Cuomo, and hardworking taxpayers from across our State, I am proud to say that this year the Senate stopped the vicious cycle of raising taxes to pay for unrestrained spending.

Doing more with less, tightening belts and cutting wasteful spending is what many families throughout New York have had to do during these challenging economic times. At last, this common sense approach has been used when it comes to State government.

The new budget, which I worked hard to ensure was passed on time this year, includes a number of important reforms that reflect major changes. Perhaps most importantly, I believe this fiscally-responsible plan keeps a commitment I made to you last year – no new taxes, cutting government waste, and reducing spending.

Among the key components are:

A Balanced Budget – Without Tax Increases: The new State budget eliminated a $10 billion deficit without new tax increases.

A Budget That Will Help To Create Private-Sector Jobs: The budget phases out a multi-billion tax that previously was imposed on thousands of small businesses across the State. This tax relief will strengthen the economy and create new jobs in our community.

A Budget That Ensures A Fair Share For Our Local Schools: To make sure that regions did not get shortchanged, the Senate led a successful fight to deliver millions of dollars in additional funding for our local schools.

A Budget That Protects Property Taxpayers: The Senate successfully eliminated a number of proposed cost shifts that would have placed significant new burdens on local property taxpayers throughout the State. I will continue to work on a comprehensive mandate relief bill to help other levels of government reduce their costs and protect local taxpayers. In addition, I will work with the Assembly to help them pass the historic property tax cap – a measure already approved in the Senate.

A Budget That Controls Spending: By reforming New York’s costly Medicaid system, and restraining growth in many government agencies and programs, this year’s State budget will keep overall spending growth below the rate of inflation. In fact, for the first time in more than 15 years, the new State budget will actually spend less than the previous year.

This budget is a big step forward toward getting people back to work, reducing out-of-control taxes and spending, and developing career opportunities to that our young people don’t have to leave after they graduate. I will continue to do all I can to turn our State around so we have a brighter future.

Getting the budget done is the first milestone in making government work for you. During the remainder of the Legislative Session, I will continue to address the issues that matter most to our communities – property tax relief, new jobs, and a stronger economy.

Make Bradford the Ultimate Fishing Town

You can help make Bradford an Ultimate Fishing Town simply by telling people why you like living here.

Listen to today's LiveLine with ANFVB Director Linda Devlin here, then go here to submit your nomination.

Tom Riel on Fargo TV Show

Watch here.

Since the show aired, mayors Tom Riel and Dennis Walaker have talked – and no matter which city wins the tournament, both mayors are going to be winners.

Walaker will get a Zippo lighter, and Riel will get some of Fargo’s famous chocolate covered potato chips.

The winner will be announced live tomorrow morning on The Weather Channel.

Six Sentenced for Welfare Fraud

A Mount Jewett woman and several Elk County residents have pleaded guilty to welfare fraud, and have been sentenced.

The state inspector general’s office say 32-year-old Anita Arthurs received more than $6,200 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Arthurs was sentenced to 23-and-a-half months probation and 80 hours of community service.

36-year-old Linette Hall of Ridgway received more than $3,350 in SNAP benefits, and was sentenced to seven years’ probation.

38-year-old Christine Kennedy and 30-year-old David Kennedy, both of Ridgway, received more than $5,800 in cash assistance and SNAP benefits. Both were sentenced to seven years probation.

29-year-old Jeffrey Penfield, Jr. of Wilcox received more than $5,300 in cash assistance. Penfield was sentenced to seven years probation.

All six have also been ordered to pay full restitution and costs

Vote for Bradford!

This would be pretty -- if it was the beginning of winter instead of the beginning of spring.

Go here to vote in The Weather Channel's Toughest Weather City Tournament.

Pascarella Picked for Big 30 Team

The names of six more players who have accepted invitations to play in the 38th annual Big 30 Don Raabe Charities Classic are:

Nick Cappelletti
Offensive Tackle/Defensive Tackle
Cuba-Rushford Central School
Height: 6’2” Weight: 260 lbs.

Nick will attend SUNY Brockport in the fall and major in history. He is an Olean Times Herald Big 30 All Star and has been a Livingston County All Star for three years. He was named his teams’ most valuable player for 2010. He lists his biggest thrill as the intensity and competitiveness of the game. When asked why he wants to play in the Big 30 Game he replied, “…it’s a great honor and privilege to play in the Big 30 Game!” Nick also participates in track & field at Cube/Rushford and enjoys playing guitar during his free time. His favorite NFL team and player are the Steelers and Troy Polamalu.

Clark Gregory
Center/Defensive End
Frewsburg Central School
Height: 6’2” Weight: 255 lbs.

Clark plans to study exercise science at S.U.N.Y. Cortland and play football. He the league’s Defensive Player of the year, was 2nd team All State and all Western New York. He was a Jamestown Post Journal Player of the Year for 3 years. Beating Maple Grove his junior year was his biggest thrill in sports. He sees the Raabe Big 30 Game as the opportunity to compete in a very prestigious event. In his leisure hours he enjoys weight lifting, sailing and mock trial events. The new Orleans Saints and Scott Fujita are his favorite team and player.

Justin Funcell
Wide Receiver/Linebacker
Southwestern Central School
Height: 5’ 11” Weight 175 lbs.

Justin will pursue a degree in finance at either Slippery Rock or St John Fisher. Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans is the player he most admires and playing under the lights is his greatest thrill. He was first team All-League and holds the school record for interceptions returned for touchdowns. He enjoys hanging out with friends and looks forward to playing one more last game.

Pat Pascarella
Running Back/Safety
Bradford Area High School
Height: 6’0” Weight: 205 lbs.

After graduation Pat plans to work in the oil fields for Keane and Sons Drilling. He was a 4 yr. letter winner in Baseball at Bradford Area and a 3 yr. letterman in football. Twice named to the Olean Times Herald Big 30 Team and Big 30 Player of the Year for 2010, Pat was “Player of the Game” in the Olean-Bradford Game three times. He wants to play in the Big 30 Game to have fun and hit people. He enjoys hunting and fishing in his free time. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Rashard Mendenhall are his favorite team and player.

Skyler Blumer
Offensive Tackle/Defensive End
Coudersport High School
Height: 5’9” Weight: 160 lbs.

A fan of the Green Bay Packers and A.J. Hawk, Skyler was an AML All Star and the Falcons’ Lineman of the Year. His best memory was going to the District 9 Championship in 2009, his junior year. He is excited about the Raabe Classic because his senior season was cut short by an injury and would love a chance to play another game, especially in a competitive setting like this. Skyler’s free time is spent in the weight room, jamming and hanging out with friends.

Ricky Pearsall
Running Back/Safety
Elk County Catholic High School
Height: 5’11” Weight: 165 lbs.

Ricky was selected to the Olean Times Herald Big 30 All Star team both in 2009 and 2010 and is a two time Allegany Mountain League All Star. He played on the State Champion 15/16 year old Little League team and made the all star team as well as the District 9 Champion and made that all star team. Ricky is listed in “Who’s Who Among American Scholars” and he is a member of the 2010-11 Elk County Catholic Basketball Team. Ricky wants to play in the Big 30 Game to try to be a good representative for his coaches and his school. His biggest football thrill was setting Elk County Catholics’ school rushing record with 3,608 career yards. In his leisure time he enjoys fishing and billiards. He is a fan of the Oakland Raiders.

The game will be played Saturday, August 6, 2011, at Parkway Field in Bradford, PA, and on 1490 WESB, 100.1 The HERO and online at

The first 37 games have produced nearly 1.4 million dollars which have been given to numerous charities and personal causes throughout the Twin Tiers.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sorg Joins Staff at Charles Cole Memorial

Amy Sorg, CRNP, has joined the staff at Charles Cole Memorial Hospital and will care for patients at the Eldred Health Center. Appointments can be made by calling 814/225-4241.

Sorg earned associate’s and bachelor’s degrees at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford and Pennsylvania State University. She earned a master’s degree in the family nurse practitioner program at the University of South Alabama. Most recently, she worked as an emergency room nurse at Elk Regional Health Center. She is a member of the American Society of Pain Management Nurses and American Nurses Association.

Report: PA Has Country's Worst Bridges

Pennsylvania has the highest number of structurally deficient bridges in the country, according to a report released today by Washington DC-based Transportation for America.

The report says more than 26 percent of bridges in Pennsylvania are structurally deficient, giving the state both the highest percentage and greatest number of deficient bridges in the country.

The report goes on to say that 5,906 of Pennsylvania's 22,271 bridges were rated by inspectors as poor in at least one of three areas -- superstructure, substructure or deck.

Special Olympians Compete in Pittsburgh

Eight bowlers from McKean County Special Olympics were among over 300 special athletes who competed at the Western Pennsylvania Special Olympics Bowling Tournament held in Pittsburgh recently.

Tom Day and George Burton won gold medals. Their names will go into the competition pool and be considered for selection to the Pennsylvania Summer Games at Penn State in June.

Silver medalists included Renee Chittester, Jackie Wolfe and Glenn Lee, while Janet Pressler and Donna Dallary won bronze medals. Randy Johnson won a fourth place ribbon.

McKean County Special Olympics is a year-round program of sports training and competition for individuals with disabilities. In addition to bowling, programs are offered in swimming, track and field, basketball, golf, skiing and softball.

Study Ranks Health of Counties

A new report looks at county health rankings nationwide, and considers a number of health factors including risk behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and the physical environment of a county. McKean County ranks 44th out of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. Cameron County is 61st; Elk County 60th, Jefferson, 45th, Potter 29th, and Warren 23rd.

In New York, Chautauqua County ranked 46 out of 62 counties, and Cattaraugus ranked 54th.

For more information:

Man Pleads Guilty in Son's Death

A Jamestown man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter for killing his 2-year-old son in 2009.

32-year-old Agustin Morales was charged after his son Auston died on October 17 at Women and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, a day after he was found unresponsive at his home.

Morales was scheduled for a jury trial May 3, but pleaded guilty to the charge Tuesday. He will be sentenced June 6.

Morales also pleaded guilty to attempting to make terroristic threats for incidents occurring on June 15 and Aug. 3, 2010, at the Chautauqua County Department of Social Services offices in Jamestown.

Work on I-86 Starts Monday

The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) has announced that construction is scheduled to resume on Interstate 86, in the towns of Randolph and Cold Spring, Cattaraugus County. As a result, several travel restrictions will go into effect.

Beginning Monday, April 4, Interstate 86 between Exit 16 and Exit 17, in the town of Randolph, will be reduced to one lane in both the eastbound and westbound directions. These lane closures will be in effect for the duration of the construction season.

Also, beginning Monday, April 4, the Interstate 86 bridge over Main Street, in the village of Randolph, will be closed in the westbound direction. Traffic will be directed to use Exit 16 (Main Street), and then re-enter Interstate 86 using the on-ramp at Main Street. A new temporary traffic signal will be installed at this intersection to direct all traffic. The bridge is expected to remain closed to westbound traffic for approximately three months.

This work is weather sensitive and may be delayed in the event of inclement weather.

Motorists are reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone. In accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s driver’s license.

For real-time travel information, call 511 or visit Find NYSDOT on the web at .

SUV Hits Street Sweeper; 3 People Hurt

Three people were hurt when an SUV hit a highway department street sweeper in the Town of French Creek this afternoon.

Sheriff’s deputies say 45-year-old Loye Albright was operating the street sweeper on Redding Road when the speeding SUV driven by 35-year-old Julia Miller of Clymer hit the sweeper, causing it to leave the road and tip over into a ditch.

Albright was taken to UPMC Hamot for treatment of his injuries. Miller and her passenger were taken to Westfield Memorial Hospital.

Deputies say charges are pending.

Bradford Going for Championship

Watch for Mayor Tom Riel and BACC Director Ron Orris on Fargo's Valley News Live at 7 a.m. Thursday (via Skype).


Both Bradford, Pa. and Fargo, N.D. steamrolled through their "Final Four" opponents in impressive fashion to set up a cold-weather championship showdown.

Bradford got 14,126 votes; New Orleans got 7,065. Fargo got 17,084 votes; Juneau got 5,018 votes.

Voting for America's Toughest Weather City "National Champion" will begin at noon today, continuing through early Friday morning.

We will reveal the "National Champion" Friday morning live on Your Weather Today (7-10am EDT).

Here are some interesting facts about the movie "Fargo" from

~~ The region was experiencing its second-warmest winter in 100 years. Filming of outdoor scenes had to be moved all over Minnesota, North Dakota, and Canada.

~~ None of the movie scenes, either exterior or interior, were actually filmed in Fargo.

Remember, a vote for Bradford is a vote for all of McKean County -- where we have floods, Lake Effect snow and tornadoes that knock down our tourist attractions.