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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Emporium Teen Hurt in Crash

An Emporium teenager was hurt in a one-vehicle crash Friday afternoon on Route 120 just west of Sunny Lane Road.

Police say an SUV driven by 18-year-old Kasandra Karsten left the road, hit some mailboxes, hit a guiderail, then traveled over the guiderail and went down an 8-foot embankment.

Karsten was taken to Altoona Hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries.

Saturday Style
with Eva La Rue and Eila Mell

As a fan of "All My Children" from the first day (literally) I was thrilled to speak with "Dr. Maria Santos" -- Eva La Rue, who most of you probably also know from "CSI: Miami."

She has some great beauty tips for busy women. We also chatted a little about AMC.

Listen here.

I also spoke with Eila Mell, author of "New York Fashion Week: The Designers, The Models, The Fashions of the Bryant Park Era." Listen here.

Find out more about Eila and the book at

Woofstock Postponed; Octoberfest On

The SPCA's Woofstock event scheduled for today has been postponed until next week due to weather.

But ...

Octoberfest at the Foster Brook Market is still going on until 5 p.m. It includes music, animals, pumpkin painting, face painting, kettle corn, games, chicken barbecue, bounce house and more.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fireman's Name Added to Memorial Wall
90 Years After His Line-of-Duty Death

Director of Communications
Senator Cathy Young

ALBANY – Almost 90 years after fighting a fire that ultimately took his life, Hinsdale resident Jeff VanDeCar’s grandfather finally received the recognition that his family knew he deserved.

On Tuesday, Jeff, who is a Deputy County Administrator for Cattaraugus County, his wife Susan, siblings, Deborah and John, and their special guest, Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I – Olean), joined a crowd of hundreds at this year’s Fallen Firefighters Memorial Wall induction ceremony in Albany to honor nine brave firemen who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Jeff’s late grandfather, Charles H. VanDeCar, is now among the heroes whose names are etched into the memorial wall to forever be officially remembered for his service.

“Our grandfather Charles died in 1922 as a result of a tragic fire in the City of Troy, New York. Charles was a father, grandfather and a great grandfather to a family who never knew him. On this special day he finally was recognized for his bravery and dedication. This will be a wonderful memory of our grandfather for our family to embrace. We only wish that our Dad could have been a part of this ceremony,” said Jeff VanDeCar.

The induction is the culmination of a process that began before Jeff’s father died in 2008, when vital missing pieces to the family’s long-time efforts to file an official application to include their grandfather on the Memorial were discovered – an obituary, notice of death, and workmen’s compensation papers.

Jeff’s sister Deborah Haslun and brother-in-law Eric had been searching archives for years in hopes of finding the required documentation. After the death of Jeff’s father in September of 2008, a box of his personal papers was given to Deborah. Included in the documents was exactly what was needed for the application submission.

“If not for the unending perseverance of my sister and her husband, this day would not come to fruition,” said Mr. VanDeCar.

The paperwork finally proved that Charles had died at 26 years of age as a result of his injuries sustained when the second floor of the building collapsed while fighting the fire at the Rome and Cohen Rag Shop in Troy, New York on May 1, 1922. Charles would succumb to his injuries four months later. The same fire had taken the lives of two other firemen, Lieutenant William J. Christopher and Firefighter Joseph P. McCann, whose names appear on the Memorial Wall.

With the help of the City of Troy’s Fire Department, in 2009 Deborah filed the initial application with the hopes of including their grandfather on the Memorial’s list of names, but the application was tabled by the Fallen Firefighters Selection Committee pending the request for additional information.

In 2010 the VanDeCar family applied again on behalf of their grandfather, but was met with further setbacks. As a result of a new selection criteria rule instituted that same year, firefighters would no longer be considered for induction if their line of duty death did not occur within five years of the application for consideration by the Selection Committee.

“My grandfather died 90 years ago, so automatically this new five-year rule took him permanently out of the running. We felt the rule was arbitrary in nature and completely contradicted the original purpose of the Memorial, to honor all that perished in the line of duty.” said Jeff VanDeCar.

The VanDeCar’s immediately appealed the decision of the Committee, and shortly after, Jeff sought the assistance of Senator Young in an effort to get the Selection Committee to reconsider the criteria that had led to the exclusion of his grandfather.

“My heart went out to the VanDeCar family when Jeff asked for help. I immediately reached out to the Secretary of State and reminded her that the single purpose of the Memorial when it was created was to include every firefighter who died in the line of duty. Denying Charles this honor was a travesty.” said Senator Young.

As a result of the VanDeCar family’s persistence, Senator Young’s intervention and additional lobbying efforts by other firefighter groups, the decision of the Selection Committee was overturned and the five-year rule since has been abandoned.

“I am thankful to Senator Young for stepping in and appreciate the efforts by everyone who helped our family get this recognition for our grandfather. He was a hero and deserved to be officially remembered that way. The Senator has and continues to be so supportive of New York’s firefighters and first responders” said Jeff VanDeCar.

“I am very grateful to my sister and brother-in-law for their tremendous commitment, the support of the Troy Fire Department and the decision of the Fallen Firefighter’s Selection Committee,” added Mr. VanDeCar.

On Tuesday, Senator Young also presented Jeff and his family with a Senate Resolution that honors their grandfather Charles and officially recognizes his inclusion among the 2,366 names that align the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Wall.

“We honor Charles for his service and the incredible sacrifice he made on behalf of his community. We owe him our deepest gratitude,” she added.

Charles was born in 1896 and lived in the City of Troy his entire life. He was remembered as one of the most popular members of the Troy Fire Department, having served as Driver of Pumper 11 at the Read Firehouse.

In addition to Charles’s heroism as a firefighter, he served on the Mexican border with Company C, Second New York Infantry, and later was deployed overseas during World War I.

The Memorial Wall, officially dedicated in 1998, is located on the Empire State Plaza in Albany. Standing in front of the Wall is a bronze sculpture that depicts two firefighters carrying an injured colleague.

Pictured, Senator Catharine Young and Hinsdale residents Jeff and Susan VanDeCar stand near the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Wall in Albany on Tuesday with other members of the VanDeCar family.

Getting Tough on China

US Senator

I joined a bipartisan group of senators to introduce legislation that will crack down on China’s currency manipulation. This week, the Senate passed the legislation by a bipartisan margin of 63-35. By confronting China on its currency cheating, we will create jobs in the United States.

China has kept its currency – the yuan – artificially low for years to make it easier to export their products to the United States and other parts of the world. The result is a massive and growing U.S. trade deficit with China that is costing our country millions of jobs.

Consider these facts:

The U.S. trade deficit with China grew from $83 billion in 2001 to $273 billion in 2010, largely because of the undervaluation of the yuan.

A report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) finds that the U.S. trade deficit with China has resulted in the loss of 2.8 million jobs over the past decade (2001-2010), including almost 107,000 jobs in Pennsylvania.

EPI also found that if the yuan and satellite currencies in the region were revalued to equilibrium levels, we would create up to 2.25 million U.S. jobs.

The Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act is bipartisan legislation that will trigger actions against China and other countries if they use their currency for unfair competitive advantage. The legislation will impose stiff new penalties, including duties on countries' exports, making it more difficult for China to export its products to the United States.

I believe the legislation can make a big difference and will help put Americans back to work. But the Obama Administration also needs to take on China on currency manipulation. That’s why I urged Treasury Secretary Geithner this spring to focus on the Chinese currency issue when meeting with his counterparts at global meetings and pressed the Treasury Department to identify China as a currency manipulator in its semiannual report to Congress.

U.S. unwillingness – so far – to crack down on China’s currency manipulation is just one piece of a flawed trade policy that has failed our workers and our companies. NAFTA and other NAFTA-style free-trade agreements have cost the U.S. jobs and our state has borne a significant share of these job losses. When NAFTA took effect in January 1994, more than 875,000 Pennsylvanians were employed in manufacturing. Today, Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector employs 575,000 workers – a loss of more than 300,000 manufacturing jobs. I have fought to ensure that workers who lose their jobs because of global trade get the training they need to build skills and find new jobs. In September, the Senate passed legislation extending many of the improvements made to the Trade Adjustment Assistance program in 2009. These changes expanded access to workers in the service sector and to workers whose jobs were offshored to countries – such as China – which do not have trade agreements with the United States. I am pleased that this help for PA workers will now be signed into law.

The hard reality is that our country doesn’t have a strategic trade policy. It’s an ad hoc approach that hasn’t worked. China has taken advantage of our lack of focus and it’s clearer than ever that the United States needs a fresh approach to trade policy. People who have seen their jobs offshored and companies who have faced unfair competition from abroad must have a seat at the table. Reshaping U.S. trade policy will take time. But there are actions we can take right now to support our workers and companies by: cracking down on China’s currency manipulation; ensuring that workers harmed by international trade get the support and training they need through TAA; and rejecting any free trade agreements that will cost American workers their jobs.

This week, by tackling China’s currency manipulation, the Senate has sent China a message that its unfair trade practices will no longer be tolerated while showing the American people that Democrats and Republicans actually can work together to create U.S. jobs.

'Civil War Voices' Kicks Off Prism Series

“Civil War Voices,” a musical based on the diary of a Civil War soldier, will be the first offering in the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s Prism series.

The university’s premier arts series will open the season with the return of The Barter Theatre in its performance of the period musical at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 25 in the Bromeley Family Theater in Blaisdell Hall.

Ticket prices for the public are $28 and $24; costs for faculty, staff and alumni are $24 and $20; students pay $12 and $10.

James R. Harris based his musical on the diaries and other writings of his great-great-uncle, a young couple separated by the war, a young professor who became a lieutenant, and a freed slave working as Mary Todd Lincoln’s dressmaker. The music arrangements by Mark Hayes include period songs such as “Dixie,” “The Yellow Rose of Texas” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Assistant Director Katy Brown explains, “The really beautiful thing is, by the end of the play, we see that even though it was North vs. the South, we all were so much the same, with such similar human hopes and fears.”

The Barter Theatre of Abington is presenting and touring the play as part of observances surrounding this year’s 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.

A Kaleidoscope student matinee will be presented in the morning of Oct. 26 for children from area schools.

For more information, visit

For tickets and more information, contact the Bromeley Family Theater Box Office at (814)362-5113, Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and one hour before show time or visit

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

Man Stabbed, Robbed on Railroad Tracks

An Olean man was attacked and stabbed last night while walking on railroad tracks in Westons Mills.

Sheriff’s deputies say 27-year-old Shawn Wright was walking toward Olean when he was attacked from behind, stabbed in the neck with a knife and robbed of his personal belongings.

He was taken to ECMC for treatment of his injuries. The Sheriff’s Office is continuing its investigation.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Drought Watches Lifted

Drought watches have been lifted in McKean, Cameron, Elk, and Potter counties. The Pennsylvania Drought Task Force used reports and forecasts from the National Weather Service in conjunction with DEP’s drought monitoring program to make the recommendation today.

On Sept. 2, DEP lifted drought declarations for 40 counties in the eastern and southern parts of the state. At that time, four northern counties had not recovered sufficiently and were kept in drought watch because the 90-day precipitation deficits were as great as four inches.

Road Crews Workers Hit by Car

Two road crew workers were hurt when a driver got too close to them in an active work zone and hit them with the side mirror of her car.

State police say 42-year-old Kevin Harris of Phillipsburg and 37-year-old Larry Joiner of Reynoldsville were part of a crew paving the new bridge north of Liberty Metals in Fox Township this afternoon when 58-year-old Betty Taylor of Kersey crossed the center line and hit them.

Both men suffered minor injuries. Taylor was cited for careless driving.

Preschool Students Learn to
Be ‘Fire Smart from the Start’

Students at Rainbow Corner Preschool learned how to be “Fire Smart from the Start” on Thursday.

The Bradford City Fire department made their annual visit to the preschool during Fire Safety and Prevention Month to show students what a firefighter looks like fully dressed in gear, what to do in case of a fire, and how to stop, drop and roll.

Students were also given tours of a fire truck and ambulance.

According to Safe Kids USA approximately 488 children ages 14 and under die in residential fires each year and an average of 116,600 children are injured from a fire/burn-related incident.

“It’s never too early to start teaching children about fire safety,” said Kimberly Engstrom, Rainbow Corner Preschool Director. “There is a difference between scaring students and making them aware of how to be safe.”

Young children almost always associate fire with happy events; campfires, birthday candles, and fireworks. Through age appropriate education, parents and teachers can teach fire safety, how to respond to a smoke detector, to not be afraid of rescue personnel and how to use a home escape plan and safe meeting place.

A study from the National Fire Protection Association shows that children under 5 years of age are at the greatest risk from home fire death and injury; their death rate is nearly twice the national average.

For more information on how your family can be “Fire Smart from the Start” contact the City Fire Department or the local chapter of Safe Kids McKean County at

Courtesy of CARE for Children

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Casey Statement on Assassination Plot

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Justice announced charges against two men in a plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States:

“The allegations in the criminal complaint are shocking. I would like to thank our law enforcement, intelligence agencies and the Mexican government for their efforts to foil the alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador to the United States. I support the Treasury Department’s sanctions on five individuals associated with this alleged plot.

“Such an attack could have resulted in scores of American casualties. This incident shows that the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) ‘Qods’ force intends to continue extending its influence abroad. Through my oversight position on the Foreign Relations Committee, I have examined the efforts of the Iranian regime to support terrorism in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and across the region. This is a serious danger that continues to pose a threat to peace and stability. Iran should be held accountable for its action and we must remain vigilant in our efforts to ensure that such an attack does not take place on U.S. soil.”

Corbett Unveils Education Reform Package

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett today announced a sweeping education reform package that would create an expansive voucher program for low-income families stuck in failing schools, ensure strict accountability standards for charter schools, and increase eligibility for the state’s highly-successful Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program.

The American Federation for Children—the nation’s voice for school choice—praised the governor, State House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, Senate Majority Whip Pat Browne, and Secretary of Education Ronald Tomalis for supporting a legislative package that is poised to significantly improve the educational futures of thousands of Keystone State students beginning as early as next year.

Corbett’s plan—which he said he hopes to see passed into law this fall—would create an Opportunity Scholarship Program that would grant scholarships to low-income students living in the state’s lowest performing 5 percent of schools. Families with incomes up to 130 percent of the federal poverty level would be eligible for a full voucher, while families making up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level would be eligible for 75 percent of the full scholarship amount.

The multi-faceted package also calls for a significant expansion of the EITC program, which currently serves about 40,000 low-income students statewide. The decade-old program—the nation’s largest private school choice program by student enrollment—is currently the only private school choice option for Pennsylvania families.

“We can’t continue down this same path and think we’re going to get a different result,” Corbett said at a press conference today announcing the plan. “We have to think and act smarter.”

Browne, the Senate Majority Whip, spoke at the press conference about the importance of these initiatives in helping increase the state’s “workforce competence,” which he called the defining factor in determining where Pennsylvania ranks in the next generation.

Corbett’s reform agenda builds off of a plan introduced earlier this year by State Sens. Jeffrey Piccola (R) and Anthony Williams (D), two of the most ardent supporters of school choice in the state legislature. The legislation, known as Senate Bill 1, was approved by the Senate Education Committee in March.

Williams today released a statement praising the governor’s plan, saying that it “will strengthen accountability as well as expand avenues to quality education for Pennsylvania’s families.”

Pictured, Governor Tom Corbett talks with Lincoln Charter School students Alexis Cadosuero, six years old, and Kenneth Vasquez Jerez, five years old in their classroom.
Photo provided by Commonwealth Media Services; news release from

First Lady Speaks at Cancer Conference

First Lady Susan Corbett speaks at the annual PA Breast Cancer Coalition's Conference in Harrisburg, PA, on Tuesday.
Courtesy of Commonwealth Media Services

Randon Black Waives Preliminary Hearing

A Bradford man accused stabbing another man multiple times in an incident last month on Tibbitts Avenue has waived his preliminary hearing in front of District Judge Dominic Cercone.

25-year-old Randon Black is charged with attempted criminal homicide, aggravated assault and related offenses after allegedly stabbing David Kelsey and cutting his throat and neck with a black-handled K-Bar knife.

Black is in McKean County Jail. Because of the seriousness of the charges, no bail has been set.

Fatal ATV Crash in Hinsdale

A Hinsdale man is dead following an ATV accident over the weekend.

68-year-old Claude Smith was unconscious when emergency crews arrived at Flanigan Hill Road accident site. He was taken by ambulance to Olean General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about half an hour later.

Sheriff’s deputies say Smith’s ATV went out of control and flipped over. The investigation is continuing.

Head-On Crash on I-86

I-86 between Salamanca and Allegany State Park was closed for several hours earlier today after three cars collided head-on.

Investigators say 73-year-old John Cousins of Olean was disoriented and traveling the wrong way on the interstate when his car hit two others near Salamanca.

Cousins was taken to Olean General Hospital with serious, but not life threatening, injuries.

28-year-old Jessie Fuller of Little Valley was taken to Olean General for treatment of unspecified injuries. The third driver, Robert Rafferty Jr. of Kokomo, Indiana, was not hurt.

Sheriff’s deputies are continuing their investigation.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Just Ducky

Congratulations to Steve Cavallaro and everyone involved in restoring the Willow Dale Duck Pond -- and making it better than ever. Sunday's fundraiser brought in more than $5,800. You can still contribute to the effort by sending a donation to "Friends of Willow Dale" c/o CNB Bank.