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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Former CNN Sportscaster Passes Away

(CNN) -- Nick Charles, who started off as a taxi driver and later became the first sports anchor at CNN, died Saturday after battling bladder cancer since 2009.

He was 64.

For the full story go to CNN.com.







Police Answer Nuisance Calls

Bradford City Police answered the usual nuisance calls on Friday, according to the complaint report and request sheet. They got calls about harassment on South Avenue, a disturbance on Walker Avenue and a fight on Main Street.

Officers also got calls about noise on Elm Street, a barking dog on North Center Street and a suspicious person on Hilton Street.


Buffalo Bills Unveil New Uniforms

The Buffalo Bills unveiled their new uniforms last night at Ralph Wilson stadium. Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly says he likes them because they're similar to the uniforms the team wore when he played. He said he especially likes the fact that they kept the charging buffalo on the helmets.

For more on this story, go to BuffaloBills.com

And remember, 100.1 The HERO is your home for the Buffalo Bills in the Twin Tiers.

Pictured, Bills Alumni and local military prepare for Uniform Launch Event. Standing (L to R) – Steve Tasker, Charlie Ferguson, Greg Price, Nick Stone, Anthony Kuhn, Russ Brandon, James McLendon, Booker Edgerson, Jim Kelly. Kneeling (L to R) – Robert Smith and Kevin Reynolds.
Provided by the Buffalo Bills


Friday, June 24, 2011

Local Attraction Gets National Attention


By SANDRA RHODES
Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau


A local tourist attraction is getting attention nationwide by way of an article in USA Today.

The Longhouse National Scenic Drive was recently listed in the nationwide newspaper as one of the “51 Great Scenic Drives.” The list includes one drive in each state plus the District of Columbia to promote summer road tripping in the U.S. Local experts in each state were asked to nominate their favorite scenic drive.

The byway is a 36-mile loop that circles the Kinzua Creek Arm of the Allegheny Reservoir and takes people some of the most beautiful scenery in the Allegheny National Forest.

The drive “offers breathtaking views of the hardwood forests and water from the high plateau. Don't miss Rimrock, a rock outcrop and overlook above the Kinzua Creek Arm of the Allegheny Reservoir,” wrote Cara O’Donnell, a consultant with the Pennsylvania Tourism Office, who recommended the drive.

People throughout the United States have taken notice.

“Our phone started ringing before we even knew we were mentioned,” said Linda Devlin, executive director of the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau, the tourist promotion agency for McKean County. The visitors bureau’s contact information is listed in the article. “This only reinforces what we already knew – we have a spectacular scenic byway right in our backyard.”

This jaunt, which takes place on route 59 and 321 as well as Forest Road 62, also has plenty to offer in addition to the scenery. There’s camping, hiking, boating, swimming picnicking and fishing opportunities, too.

"Longhouse" refers to the large, communal log dwellings that housed the area's Seneca Indians centuries ago ‑ what they called "kanohsaas." It also stands symbolically for the alliance of the Six Nations of the Iroquois. The Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Tuscarora, and Seneca tribes were collectively the "people of the longhouse," with the Senecas being keepers of the west gate. The byway received its “national scenic” distinction in 1990.

Jake’s Rocks is a must-see spot while on the byway.

Earthen footpaths fan to picnic tables, while a narrow, paved footpath explores the brink of the rim to snare two vantages: North Overlook and South Overlook. South Overlook peers out toward Kinzua Dam; North Overlook has views of the reservoir.

Another must-see sight is another rock formation.

Rimrock Overlook is a natural rock outcrop explored by divided and winding stone stairways; it overlooks the Kinzua Creek arm of Allegheny Reservoir.

Between the two viewing platforms, you may choose to take the spiral, pinched stairway that descends a fissure to the base of the cliff. While making your descent, watch both your head and your footing. At the base of the 100-foot cliff, you can admire the sheer face of the outcrop and discover a spring.

The North Country National Scenic Trail, the longest scenic trail in the U.S. and the longest trail in the Allegheny National Forest, winds through this area for those who want to get out and stretch their legs. This is one of three designated National Scenic Trails in the state and provides vistas of the reservoir.

Camping opportunities can be found at the Dewdrop Recreation Area, Kiasutha Recreation Area and Red Bridge Campground. Red Bridge Campground, which occupies the site of a former Civilian Conservation Corps camp and later, a World War II German prisoner-of-war camp. Today, this reservoir-side campground draws only willing prisoners, and the sentence is relaxation.

There’s also plenty of boating opportunities off the byway, including the Elijah Run Boat Launch, with bank fishing, a paved shoreline trail, pier, and public dock.

“People sometimes forget that the state records for walleye and northern pike are held at the Allegheny Reservoir,” Devlin said. “There’s great fishing here.”

Trophy size muskellunge fish are also caught here.

Be sure to check out the flora and fauna while you are there.

Mountain Laurel should be at its peak this week, according to a spokesperson from the Allegheny National Forest.

According to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, there is a persistent myth that the designation of State flower affords mountain laurel a protected status. This is not true. However, no one may remove any plant from public or private land without the landowner's or land manager's permission. But there are no legal restrictions on the cultivation of mountain laurel.

Pictured, Rimrock Overlook provides great views of the Allegheny Reservoir and is located on the Longhouse National Scenic Byway.
Photos courtesy of the ANFVB

USA Today article.

Salamanca Pow Wow Set for July 30, 31

SALAMANCA, NY – Seneca Allegany Casino will host this year’s annual Seneca Allegany Casino Veterans Pow Wow on Saturday, July 30, and Sunday, July 31, 2011. The event, which begins each day at 10 a.m., celebrates the culture and heritage of the Seneca Nation and features dance and drum competitions, arts and crafts, and food.

The Seneca Allegany Casino Veterans Pow Wow is an alcohol-free event and is open to all ages. Admission prices are $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 5 to 17 and for elders 60 years and older, and free for children ages 4 and younger. Veterans and active service members with identification will receive free admission.

Hundreds of participants from throughout the country will vie for prize money during dance, smoke dance, and drum competitions. For more information, visit www.senecapowwow.org or call 716-945-1254.

Photos courtesy of Seneca Gaming and Entertainment



Sabres Sign Purchase Agreement with
Rochester Americans Hockey Club

The Buffalo Sabres have signed a purchase agreement with the Rochester Americans hockey club.

The AHL Board of Governors unanimously approved the transaction, Friday, according to the Sabres website.

The Sabres also announced their affiliation agreement with the Portland Pirates has ended.

The Sabres expect to hold a news conference in Rochester next week to talk about their plans for the franchise.

TV's 'Columbo' Has Passed Away

Emmy- and Tony-winning actor Peter Falk, best-known for his role as Lt. Columbo on the TV show "Columbo," has passed away.

He was 83.

Falk had been suffering from Alzheimer's since at least 2007. He died Thursday in his Beverly Hills home.

Falk won five Emmy Awards, four for Columbo, and was also nominated for two Oscars.


For more go to CNN.com.



Corbett Signs Youth Hunting Bill

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe today praised Gov. Tom Corbett for signing into law a bill that allows adult mentors to transfer one antlerless deer license per license year to a youth participating in the Mentored Youth Hunting Program.

The bill sponsored by Senator Richard Alloway II, was unanimously approved by the Senate on May 2, and was unanimously approved in the House on June 15.

“This new opportunity will expand an already popular program, which was created by legislation authored by Senator Bob Robbins, back in 2006,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. “We also want to offer our thanks to Senator Alloway for championing this bill, as well as House Game and Fisheries Committee Chairman John Evans for guiding this measure through the House.”

"Pennsylvania has a rich hunting tradition, and this legislation will make it easier for experienced sportsmen to pass down their knowledge to the next generation of hunters," said Alloway, who chairs the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee. "The program will ensure that young hunters have additional opportunities to learn how to be safe, responsible and successful in the field."

The legislation would also reduce the age requirement for an individual to receive a falconry permit from 16 to 12 years of age.

Police Receive Calls About Harassment

Bradford City Police on Thursday dealt with several people harassing each other. They received calls about harassment from High Street, Williams Street and South Avenue, according to the complaint report and request sheet.

Officers also looked into reports of criminal mischief on Pike Street and an erratic driver at Mechanic and East Washington streets. They were also called to complaints about an animal and open lewdness, both on East Main Street.


Farmers Market on Saturday

The Downtown Bradford Farmer’s Market will be held on Saturday from 8 a.m. to Noon in the Old City Hall parking lot located on Boylston Street in Bradford.

The Farmer’s Market will be held every Saturday through mid-October.

Items this week include locally grown fresh produce from Canticle Farms in Allegany, NY, vegetable plants, herbs, trees, shrubs, flowers, baked goods (awesome pies!), canned goods, honey, honey products. Other vendors include Herbalife Distributors.

New vendors are welcome. Vendor set up will be from 7 – 7:45 a.m. Reservations are not required. For more information contact the Main Street Manager at 598-3865.

'Look Out for Child Abuse'

The new website Look Out for Child Abuse is designed to be a one stop resource for completing Pennsylvania’s official form for reporting suspected abuse ... and more.

RadioPA's Cathy Clark reports at PAMatters.com.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Seneca-Hosted Meeting Focused on
Economic Development, Tourism

McKean County’s Economic Development Director says a daylong meeting hosted by the Seneca Nation could be the beginning of looking at this part of the Twin Tiers as a “Mega Region.”

Mike Roche and Commissioner Joe DeMott represented McKean County. Other counties represented were Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Warren, Erie (New York), Allegany and Niagara.

Roche said the representatives gave a 20-minute overview of their county. He and DeMott focused on how McKean County’s partnerships are essential to the success of economic development. He mentioned the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce, various municipalities and other entities.

“Today was about those partnerships and how they yield the best possible outcomes for the future of our county and region,” Roche said in an e-mail. “It was nice to tear down the borders and talk about the difficulties in attracting new business as well as the difficulties in growing our existing industries. “

He added that the problems McKean County is having are not exclusive to Pennsylvania.

“It was interesting to have the opportunity to cross the border and see the similarities and differences between PA and New York,” Roche said.

He said everyone made reference to the importance of tourism and how it is important to look at the area as a “Mega Region.”

He said there are 22 million people within a 5-hour travel period and it’s the job of economic developers to figure out how to attract them to the area.

Roche said it was a great meeting that offered opportunities for growth and continued collaboration. He said he also appreciates the Seneca Nation’s willingness to partner with McKean County and the others.

Feds to Study Fracking in 3 PA Counties

Three Pennsylvania counties will be part of a federal study looking into the impact of fracking on drinking water.

The Environmental Protection Agency has chosen Bradford, Susquehanna and Washington counties in Pennsylvania, as well as sites in Louisiana, North Dakota, Texas and Colorado.

All three Pennsylvania counties are in the Marcellus Shale region.
The congressionally mandated study will start this summer.

For more information go to the EPA's website

From Senator Bob Casey's office:


WASHINGTON, DC— Following a request by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today chose several sites in Pennsylvania to examine as part of an assessment of potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water.

“These studies will help provide the science needed to assure that natural gas drilling is conducted in a safe and responsible manner,” said Senator Casey. “Natural gas drilling offers Pennsylvania tremendous economic opportunities if we do it right. However, we must protect against potential repercussions that could harm the environment, put people at risk and ultimately hurt businesses and Pennsylvania’s economy.”

The sites chosen to be examined in Pennsylvania are part of a congressionally directed study which will examine seven sites around the country.

A site in Washington County will be studied before any drilling occurs in order to gather data on all aspects of hydraulic fracturing throughout the lifecycle of the well.

Sites in Bradford, Washington and Susquehanna Counties where hydraulic fracturing has already taken place were selected as retrospective case studies to be assessed for any impacts on drinking water resources.

Senator Casey has introduced three fracking-related bills to protect Pennsylvanians and promote jobs for Pennsylvanians. The Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act would repeal a Bush administration exemption provided for the oil and gas industry and would require companies to disclose the chemicals they use in their hydraulic fracturing processes.

Senator Casey’s Marcellus Shale On-the-Job Training Act would authorize grants to strengthen the On-the-Job Training programs to help ensure natural gas drilling jobs go to Pennsylvanians and not workers from out-of-state, and his Faster Action Safety Team Emergency Response (FASTER) Act provides the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with the ability to enhance emergency response procedures at oil and gas wells.


Upper Kinzua Project Decision Released

WARREN – The Allegheny National Forest announces the Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact for the Upper Kinzua project. On June 17, 2011, Deputy District Ranger Anthony C. Martoglio signed the Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact to implement Alternative 2 of the Upper Kinzua Environmental Assessment.

The selected alternative will implement improvements to 9 access points along Kinzua Creek, as well as, rehabilitating 11 existing sites. Two Campsites will be hardened. Thirty acres and 27 miles of stream water quality improvements will be implemented within the project area.

A variety of tree harvesting techniques will also be implemented on 2,212 acres with associated reforestation treatments. Also, treatments to be implemented will include 30 acres of invasive plant treatments and restoration, 1,280 acres of wildlife habitat improvements, 0.3 mile of new road construction, 8 miles of road reconstruction, and 6 miles of road decommissioning. A new vista would be developed along the SR 219 corridor and dispersed camping would be improved on 6 acres.

The complete Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact and Environmental Assessment, including appendices and maps, is available online from the Allegheny National Forest website at http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/fs-usda-pop.php/?project=17200 and hard copies are available at the Bradford Ranger District Office. Please contact Upper Kinzua Project Interdisciplinary Team Leader Ava Turnquist at 814-363-6086 or by email at aturnquist@fs.fed.us for further information.


Man Charged for Shooting at Turtle

A West Valley man is facing charges for trying to shoot a turtle.

Sheriff’s deputies say they were questioning 51-year-old John Kiouses about a menacing complaint when he admitted to trying to shoot the reptile. He’s charged with Taking Small Game Out of Season.

Kiouses was issued an appearance ticket and the case was turned over to the New York State Department of Conservation Police.

Deputies didn’t say how big the turtle was.

Corbett Signs Bill to Ban 'Bath Salts';
Casey Applauds State's Efforts

Learn: Police Will Have Authority to Get This Junk Off the Street

Harrisburg – Governor Tom Corbett today signed into law Senate Bill 1006, legislation that bans the possession, use and sale of synthetic designer drugs including the dangerous substance known as “bath salts.’’

The General Assembly last week unanimously approved the measure to expand the state’s list of controlled substances. The new law prohibits all chemical substances contained in bath salts, as well as synthetic marijuana and other synthetic drugs, including 2C-E, which is similar to LSD or Ecstasy, and salvia, which causes hallucinations.

Bath salts, which have nothing to do with baths or spas, are designer drugs with an effect on users comparable to cocaine or methamphetamine. The substance had been legally sold in some tobacco shops and other specialty stores. Users sometimes experience agitation, paranoia, hallucinations and often commit violent acts.

“Sadly, we have had far too many tragic examples in Pennsylvania of just what kind of impact this drug can have,’’ Corbett said. “In Blair County, two friends stabbed each other in a dispute over a bath salt container. In Carbon County, a man held police at bay with an assault rifle for hours. In Lackawanna County, a man broke into a monastery and stabbed a priest. Police said all of them had been using bath salts.’’

Corbett commended the General Assembly for working so quickly to outlaw these chemicals. However, since the law does not take effect for 60 days, Corbett asked merchants who sell these chemicals to voluntarily stop before more people are hurt.

“If left unchecked, synthetic drugs could have developed into the most dangerous drug crisis since methamphetamine labs found their way into our state,’’ Corbett said. “This ban on synthetic drugs sends a strong message that Pennsylvania will not tolerate the use of these chemicals.

“I want to commend the Pennsylvania State Police and the District Attorneys Association for helping craft the language for this legislation and working to see this ban on bath salts become law,’’ Corbett added.

Poison control centers nationwide received nearly 300 calls about bath salts in 2010. Already this year, that number has quadrupled. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has received more than 55 calls regarding bath salts so far this year, up from just 10 last year.

“I am very pleased to see that the legislature and Governor Corbett worked promptly to outlaw these very dangerous substances," McKean County District Attorney Ray Learn told WESB and The HERO. "There have been a number of deaths related to bath salts and synthetic cannabinoids throughout the country, and this legislation will give the police the authority to get this junk off the streets and away from our kids.”

“We have seen the devastating impact these unregulated, dangerous and deadly drugs have had in our communities,’’ said Dauphin County District Attorney Edward M. Marsico Jr., who is also president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. “S.B. 1006 will quite literally save lives, and we are grateful that Governor Corbett and the General Assembly worked with us to respond quickly and decisively to the emerging threat of synthetic drugs.’’

Under the new law, conviction for a first offense for delivery or possession with the intent to deliver carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Conviction of simple possession of the substance carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Bath salts are already banned in more than 20 states, as well as in Israel, Canada, Australia and several countries in Europe. In Pennsylvania, several communities established local bans on the sale of synthetic drugs.

The law, which has no fiscal impact, was sponsored by Sen. Elder A. Vogel Jr. (RBeaver)
along with the support of Sen. John Gordner (R-Northumberland), Representatives RoseMarie Swanger (R-Lebanon), Jerry Stern (R-Blair) and Jennifer Mann (D-Lehigh).

~~~~

WASHINGTON, DC— U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement in response to Pennsylvania’s enactment of a ban on so-called “bath salts”:

“I applaud the Governor and the Pennsylvania legislature today for enacting a ban on dangerous so-called ‘bath salts.’ This is a critical step to protect our communities, and I am disappointed that Washington has not moved with similar speed to pass a national ban. Earlier this year, I endorsed the Combating Dangerous Synthetic Stimulants Act. It is time to enact that legislation. In addition, the DEA should also use its authority to take these drugs off the streets. This is a grave threat to our communities, and the time for action is now."

Senator Casey is a cosponsor of The Combating Dangerous Synthetic Stimulants Act (S.409) which would immediately add the ingredients in bath salts to the list of controlled substances.

In March, Senator Casey urged the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to use its authority to temporarily ban the chemicals in so-called ‘bath salts’ to immediately take the dangerous drugs off the streets. In a letter to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, Senator Casey pointed to recent DEA action to ban synthetic marijuana as precedent to take immediate action against the drugs in bath salts. Senator Casey also supports legislation to give the DEA more flexibility to quickly remove dangerous substances from the market.

The Dangerous Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2011 (S. 605) would amend the Controlled Substances Act, doubling the timeframe the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services have to emergency schedule substances from 18 months to 36 months. This will allow for dangerous substances to be quickly removed from the market while being studied for permanent scheduling.

Pictured, Senator Elder Vogel (R-Beaver) looks on as Gov. Corbett enacts the senator's legislation banning deadly synthetically produced drugs designed to mimic the effects of other drugs.
Photo provided by Senate Republican Communications



Benefit Being Held for
Family of Murdered Eldred Teenager

A benefit for the family of the Eldred teenager who was shot to death earlier this month will be held July 2 at the Eldred Borough Fire department.

Sam Miller was 18 years old and had just graduated from high school three days before the shooting. The benefit will help with the costs that have occurred since then.

The benefit includes a yard sale, bake sale, raffles, auctions and dance featuring music by DJs Brian and Paul. The fire department building is on Platt Street in Eldred.

Sam was the son of Deana Brown Miller at the late Mark Miller. He wasthe grandson of Fred and Linda Brown of Eldred and the brother of Ashton and Zach Miller.

The three people charged with murdering Miller are jailed without bail.



Seneca Nation Meeting with NY, PA
Economic Development Officials

The Seneca Nation of Indians is meeting with economic development officials from New York and Pennsylvania today to discuss a number of issues affecting the Twin Tiers.

Today’s daylong meeting is focusing on collaboration between the tribe, area businesses and industrial development agencies.

They are expected to talk about the Seneca’s plans to diversfy by seeking a license to operate the Seneca Pumped Storage Project at Kinzua Dam, and the nation’s acquistion of a controlling interest in wireless and telecommunications provider CT COMM.

Sketch of Fake Cop Released

Sheriff’s deputies have released a sketch of the man who posed as a police officer and tried to kidnap a woman earlier this month in the Town of Coldspring.

On June 9 a man driving a car that had a flashing blue light on its dashboard pulled the woman over along Route 394. When she wouldn’t get out of her car, he tried to pull her out. She fought him off and contacted police.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to contact the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Department.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Toomey Introduces Judicial Nominees

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) introduced three nominees for the federal bench in Pennsylvania today at their Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing.

Sen. Toomey was joined by Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) in welcoming Robert D. Mariani, nominee for U.S. district judge for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, and Cathy Bissoon and Mark R. Hornack, nominees for U.S. district judges for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

A full transcript of the senator’s remarks is below.

“Mr. Chairman and Mr. Ranking Member Grassley, let me thank each of you, and Sen. Leahy as well, for the courtesies you’ve extended to me as we’ve gone through this process. Thanks also for giving me this chance to help to welcome Judge Cathy Bissoon, Mark Hornak and Robert Mariani before the committee.

“The president first nominated these really outstanding individuals for the federal bench in Pennsylvania last year, before I was sworn in to the Senate, as Sen. Grassley observed. They were renominated in early January, and I was pleased to submit the blue slips and to support them, and I also appreciate your timely scheduling of this hearing.

“Before I talk briefly about the nominees, I just wanted to note how pleased I am to be here alongside my colleague, Sen. Casey. In my brief time, about six months thus far in the Senate for me, he and I have not only been working to advance these three nominees but also in really a genuinely bipartisan fashion we’ve been working to help with the remaining five federal district court vacancies in Pennsylvania. I see today’s hearing as an important milestone in making real progress in this direction.

“Over the last few weeks and after a thorough review process, I’ve had the opportunity to sit down with and to discuss at some length with each of the Pennsylvania nominees before you today. As you’ve heard, they each have very different legal backgrounds, but I’m confident that each of these distinguished nominees carry the important qualities that Pennsylvania and America really need on the federal bench: intellect, experience, integrity, a commitment to public service, impartiality and justice.

“Since Sen. Casey has already talked a fair amount about the backgrounds of these nominees, I won’t take too much time, but let me just touch on some of the items that you’ve heard. Judge Bissoon is, of course, a very well-respected federal magistrate judge, and I agree – she has a very compelling life story. She’s widely lauded in the community for her commitment to mentoring young lawyers, in particular, and encouraging greater diversity in the legal profession.

“Mr. Hornak’s an active and very well-respected member of both the Pittsburgh legal community and the community at large, serving on the board as he does on a number of non-profit organizations, including the Steel Valley School District, the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Girl Scouts of America.

“And lastly, Mr. Mariani, a litigator with over three decades of experience, is an expert in his field, one of the top lawyers in the Scranton area, and deeply committed to his family and his community.

“So all three Pennsylvania nominees before you today have extensive experience in the courtroom; they’ve excelled at their craft; they’re well respected members of their communities; and they’ve already presided over legal disputes, whether that be as a magistrate judge, as an arbitrator, or as a mediator. They’ve also pledged to be impartial, fair minded upholders of the law.

“Taken together, I believe that these attributes will serve them very well if they are confirmed for the bench, and I hope that the committee favorably reports all three nominees to the full Senate, which I hope will then promptly confirm them. Again, thanks very much for providing me the opportunity to say a few words and to welcome and to recommend Judge Bissoon, Mr. Hornak and Mr. Mariani to the committee today.”

Woman Sentenced for Molesting Child

A former Titusville woman has been sentenced to 63 months in prison for sexually exploiting a 4-year-old girl.

The US Attorney’s office says 31-year-old Michelle Neely received computer images depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Neely was originally charged with a number of other offenses for molesting the 4-year-old, according to court records.

In an interview with police back in 2009, Neely said her boyfriend encouraged her to have inappropriate contact with the girl to teach her about sex. Neely told police she agreed to do it to get her boyfriend off her back.

Oral Chemo Bill Passes;
RPCI Commends Lawmakers

BUFFALO, NY — Clinical and administrative leaders at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) commend the New York State Legislature for taking steps to remove a barrier that has prevented many New Yorkers from accessing needed chemotherapy drugs.

Both houses of the Legislature voted this week to approve legislation removing cost as a barrier for high-quality, targeted cancer care. The bill, which now awaits the signature of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, seeks to eliminate a cost disparity that has left countless cancer patients unable to afford oral chemotherapies.

“This is outstanding news for people with cancer, who now have dramatically improved access to some of the most advanced and promising therapies,” said Alex Adjei, MD, PhD, Chairman of the Department of Medicine and Senior Vice President of Clinical Research at RPCI. “Discovery and innovation are constantly changing the way we treat cancer, and the bill just passed by the New York State Senate and Assembly is an appropriate and crucially important response to such developments.”

Oral chemotherapies are often the best treatments available for cancer patients, and many of the emerging and most effective cancer therapies are available only in pill form. But currently, many oral drugs mean much higher out-of-pocket costs for patients than intravenous (IV) chemotherapies, making these life-saving treatments difficult for many patients to afford.

RPCI’s senior leaders applaud Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the sponsors of the legislation, Senator Andrew Lanza and Assemblyman Vito Lopez, for their leadership in addressing this very dangerous disparity in insurance coverage.

RPCI urges Governor Cuomo to sign the bill into law quickly so that New Yorkers who are fighting cancer know that the treatments they need will be covered, regardless of whether they receive them through an infusion or in a pill, in a medical facility or at home.

Roswell Park worked in partnership with a coalition that included the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the American Cancer Society, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Advocacy Alliance and 1 in 9: The Long Island Breast Cancer Action Coalition to advocate for this bill.

Blood Donor Could Get $100 Gas Card

The recent shortage of type O and type A blood is worsening as local patients continue to use more blood than is being given. The past weekend saw a tremendous usage of blood by people suffering serious injuries. Several severe traumas early this week have strained the supply even further. The supply of type O blood (the most common type) is now at critically low levels.

One lucky donor at Thursday's blood drive at the BRMC lab in Union Square from 3:30 to 7:30pm will win a $100 Country Fair Gas Card. No appointment is needed to save a life. Frank Williams will be broadcasting live from the Blood Bank from 3:30 to 6 p.m. on 100.1 The HERO.

"We are hoping for lots of donors Thursday," said Dan Desrochers, Director of Marketing at the Community Blood Bank. "And a $100 gas card seems like just the give away to get people in."

All donors are strongly encouraged to donate. The Community Blood Bank is located at 24 Davis Street in Union Square across from the Sports Café in the BRMC Laboratory. Hours are on Thursday are 3:30pm to 7:30pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm. No appointment is necessary. Everyone over 17 is strongly encouraged to donate.

Casey, Gillibrand Want More to be
Done to Prevent Veteran Suicides

WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) joined a bipartisan group of senators to call on Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki to do more to stem the “unacceptable” level of suicides among veterans currently estimated to be 18 per day. The call came in a letter sent to the Administration.

“After sending service members to war, we have the responsibility to care for our veterans,” Senator Casey said. “With an alarming veteran suicide rate of eighteen per day, and around one thousand attempts per month, the Department of Veterans Affairs needs to take account of the suicide prevention programs that currently exist and find ways improve them so that all of our returning veterans receive the care, training and support they need and deserve. We stand ready to give them the necessary assistance to do so.”

The letter was also signed by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Corker (R-TN) and Jerry Moran (R-KS).

A copy of the letter is below:

Dear Secretary Shinseki:

We write to express our extreme concern about the suicide rate among veterans enrolled within the Department of Veterans Affairs, a concern we know that you share. Media sources report a rate of eighteen veteran suicides per day, with around 1,000 additional attempted suicides every month. We are sure you share our opinion that this rate is unacceptable.

In his testimony before the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Deputy Secretary Gould answered a question from the Chair on behalf of the Department about the recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in May that ordered you to work with the courts to revamp the mental health care. While Deputy Secretary Gould contested statistical points cited in the ruling related to the Department’s overall capacity, he conceded, “there are things the VA can do better, especially in terms of reaching veterans in rural areas.”

We are confident the Department will make wise decisions about its mental health system going forward as you work tirelessly on lowering the veteran suicide rate. We believe the only measure of success on this issue will be a substantial reduction in the rate of veteran suicides and ask that you provide us with your plan to address this grave concern. We ask that you review the current suicide prevention programs and let us know what adjustments are needed to make such programs more effective. We look forward to your recommendations to achieve this result.

Sincerely,

Chris Coons
Johnny Isakson
Kristen Gillibrand
Bob Corker
Bob Casey, Jr.
Jerry Moran

Gabler Veterans Bill Passes Unanimously

HARRISBURG – The state House has unanimously passed legislation authored by state Rep. Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk) that would help improve services provided by county veterans’ affairs directors to veterans in Pennsylvania.

“The men and women who fought for our country have earned the right to have the highest level of care and services possible,” Gabler said. “In turn, our county veterans’ affairs directors need to be exposed to opportunities where they can learn from their peers about the latest changes and innovations in state and federal laws and programs in order to do the best job possible for our servicemen and servicewomen.”

House Bill 755 adjusts the County Code to make it easier for county veterans’ affairs directors to attend annual statewide association meetings.

“As a captain in the Army Reserves, I am honored to have the opportunity as a legislator to offer this commonsense fix to our laws that will help our veterans,” added Gabler. “This adjustment will enable county veterans’ affairs directors to be even better prepared to navigate a system that is unfortunately too often marked by complications and bureaucracy. Ensuring our veterans’ affairs directors have every chance to stay up to date with knowledge of current laws and regulations will better enable our veterans to cut through red tape and receive the benefits they have undoubtedly earned.”

House Bill 755 will now be taken up by the state Senate.

Teen Sentenced for Multiple Burglaries

A Salamanca man who, along with his sister, went on a burglary spree last fall, has been sentenced to two to six years in prison.

18-year-old Kyle Cooper was denied youthful offender status.

He pleaded guilty to breaking into 13 condos at Snow Pine Village d Eddy’s Restaurant in Great Valley, New Beginnings Fitness Center and Norton Hardwoods in Salamanca.

Cooper’s sister 21-year-old Alexa Knoxsah, is currently serving a sentence of two to six years for a burglary in July at a Salamanca smoke shop when she and two other people stole $8,000 in merchandise. Knoxsah pleaded guilty June 6 to the burglaries committed with her brother, and will be sentenced September 19.

Tractor-Trailer Driver Charged with DWI

The man who crashed his tractor-trailer near Route 219 in the Town of Ashford late Monday night has been charged with felony driving while intoxicated.

Sheriff’s deputies say 44-year-old Karl Baker of North Collins did not stop at the stop sign at the intersection of Peters Road and Route 219, then crashed into a field.

Deputies say Baker was intoxicated when they arrived. He was treated for injuries at Bertrand-Chafee Hospital, then charged with DWI and several traffic violations. He’s due back in Town of Ashford Court this evening.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Court Rejects Seneca Nation's Appeal

A New York state appeals court today lifted a temporary order preventing the state from taxing cigarettes sold by Indian retailers to non-Native customers.

The Seneca Nation had asked the appeals court to extend the ban while it continues to challenge regulations adopted by state taxing officials.

The court order denies the request for a preliminary injunction and lifts the temporary restraining order that's been in place since June 10.

Seneca President Robert Odawi Porter says the Senecas will shift from selling name-brand cigarettes to reservation-made cigarettes, which he says are not subject to the state's $4.35-per-pack tax.

You can read the court order here. (PDF)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Those Storm Clouds We Were Supposed to
See This Afternoon? A Little Late, but Here

Mike Cejka said we'd see some storm clouds -- and some rain this afternoon. Well, apparently the storm moved a littel slower than he thought it would. The rain arrived here at around 6:30 p.m.





Castle Doctrine Bill Sent to Governor

HARRISBURG – The Senate today approved legislation supported by Sen. Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) that would expand the Castle Doctrine in Pennsylvania, sending the bill to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

House Bill 40 would protect gun owners who act in self-defense by removing the “duty to retreat” clause when an individual is threatened by an attacker in any place that individual has a right to be, including his or her home or vehicle. The bill would provide important protections against criminal prosecution or civil litigation for those who act in self-defense.

“Law-abiding citizens should not have to fear prosecution when they protect themselves and their families from criminals,” Scarnati said. “This measure, which only needs the governor’s signature to become law, will protect responsible gun owners and ensure that their Second Amendment rights are preserved.”

The General Assembly passed legislation expanding the Castle Doctrine in 2010 by an overwhelming margin, but then-Governor Rendell vetoed the bill. Governor Tom Corbett has voiced support for expanding the Castle Doctrine to protect law-abiding gun owners.

Under House Bill 40, an individual would need to demonstrate a reasonable belief that he or she was in imminent danger in order to use lethal force. The legislation was amended to ensure that the Castle Doctrine applies only to individuals who legally possess a firearm, and the legal protection for gun owners does not apply if used against a peace officer.

The bill also includes tougher penalties for individuals involved in trafficking stolen firearms.

State Representatives Marty Causer, Kathy Rapp and Matt Gabler also support the Castle Doctrine.


Catt County Men Face Burglary Charges

Two men were in Cattaraugus County Court today facing burglary charges.

Ryan Radar, who turned 40 today, was sentenced to 3 to 6 years in prison for breaking into buildings in May and June of last year in Allegany and Hinsdale.

18-year-old Johnathen Wilcox of Franklinville pleaded guilty to attempting to break into Franklinville High School on May 8.

He will be sentenced on August 29.

Two Men in Court on Drug Charges

A Bradford man is in jail on drug charges.

20-year-old Tyler Martin was arraigned early this morning on charges of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

Martin is in jail in lieu of $10,000 bail and a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for July 13 in front of District Judge Dominic Cercone.

In Cattaraugus County, a Niagara Falls man was sentenced to two years in prison for selling a controlled substance in Olean in November of 2009.

Two Sex Offenders in Catt County Court

A Conewango, New York, man who attempted to have sex with a person younger than 11 has pleaded guilty in Cattaraugus County Court.

38-year-old Jason Bishop is accused of trying to have sex with the child in January and February of this year.

Bishop will be sentenced on August 29.

A Machias, New York, man who raped a child last summer has been sentenced to four months of weekends in Cattaraugus County Jail.

24-year-old Charles Westfall will also be on probation for 10 years.

The incident happened between July and September in the Town of Machias and the other person was younger than 17.


Pitt-Bradford Names Advisory Committee for Energy Institute

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford has named an advisory committee for its developing Energy Institute.

The appointments were announced by Dr. Livingston Alexander, president, and Dr. Matt Kropf, director of the Energy Institute.

Kropf said the committee will help advise the institute on matters such as strengthening the petroleum technology program, developing a curriculum for a bachelor’s degree program in energy studies and fostering partnerships between the institute and the region’s energy industry.

“The Energy Institute’s agenda and vision are very ambitious and complex,” Alexander said. “The individuals electing to serve on the advisory committee are among the most highly respected and well-regarded executives in the oil and gas industry. We’re thrilled they’ve chosen to lend their support and guidance.”

Harvey Golubock, former president and chief operating officer of the American Refining Group, will serve as chairman. In addition to Alexander and Kropf, those serving on the committee are Thomas Causer, president and chief operating officer of Terra Green Energy LLC; Frederick Fesenmyer, president of Minard Run Oil; Raymond Geary, executive director of the Division of Continuing Education and Regional Development at Pitt-Bradford; Dr. Brian Gleeson, Harry S. Tuck Chair in Materials Science at the University of Pittsburgh; Don Shields, executive director, Center for Energy at the University of Pittsburgh;

Kenneth Kane, vice president of Keith Horne Inc.; Douglas Kuntz, president and chief executive officer of Pennsylvania General Energy Corp.; James Macfarlane, vice president of exploration, acquisitions and operations at Minard Run Oil and president of MacTech Mineral Management Inc.; and John Robinson, vice president of business development for ARG.

“These are really big players in the local energy industry, and I think this is a good sign that we have their support,” Kropf said.

Remembering Clarence Clemons