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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fire on Woodlawn Avenue

Firefighters were called to Woodlawn Avenue at around 9:30 tonight for a working structure fire. Derrick City, Limestone and Bradford City firefighters are on the scene. We'll have more information on Sunday.

Men Charged for Stealing,
Selling Auto Parts

Two men are charged with stealing and selling stolen auto parts in several Cattaraugus County towns.

State troopers say between November 30 and Wednesday they received reports from automotive businesses in Allegany, Hinsdale, Olean and Portville about the stolen parts that included numerous brake rotors. They also got a report of stolen aluminum gutters from another business. The total value of the stolen property is more than $4,000. While investigating at a scrap yard they were able to identify a couple of suspects.

Troopers say 27-year-old Joseph Vavrecan of Hinsdale admitted to conspiring with 22-year-old Michael Crawford to steal the items. Vavrecan is charged with two counts of grand larceny and four counts of petit larceny. Crawford is charged with one count each of grand larceny and petit larceny with additional charges pending. Both were released on their own recognizance.

Venango College Student Clubs
Visit Veterans in Local Nursing Home

Venango College Veterans Club members delivered gifts to 15 veterans residing at the Oil City Presbyterian Home as their final fall semester project before going home for the holiday break last week.

The community-focused project started four years ago as the club’s first project. Due to the popularity of this event, the club has now partnered with Venango Allies, Rehabilitative Services, and Criminal Justice Clubs to adopt three more Venango County nursing homes in order to support some 60 veterans receiving holiday visits and gifts from Venango College student-led organizations.

Pictured is Venango College Veterans Club member Sheri Symosko greeting Presbyterian Home resident Fay Durham, U.S.M.C. and Vietnam War Veteran. Symosko is a dual major in Criminology and Rehabilitative Sciences who also is an R.O.T.C. cadet at Clarion University. She is very active in the multiple projects that the club supports. In the past, the club has also co-sponsored the campus’ Thanksgiving Dinner, BBQ with the Dean for students, spearheaded the Flags in Classrooms project, remembered veterans in nursing homes during Veterans Day and Easter, and serves as a team sponsor of the Tough Mudder, an event that benefits the Wounded Warrior project. The Venango College Veterans club sponsors larger programs with the support of other Venango College clubs, staff and faculty. Veterans club advisors are Mark Conrad, Venango College Coordinator of Career Services and Daly Fuller, Coordinator of Intramurals and Recreation.

Symosko commented, “I wanted to belong to a student group that helped other people, especially veterans, and the Venango College Veterans Club was the organization that impressed me the most. I’m the only female in the club and Ms. Dunham is the only female veteran at the Presbyterian Home so we had something in common when we first met. She is a true hero and I try to emulate people like her as my career will definitely be in the military and young soldiers need reminders of how much our older generation made sacrifices for us.”

Allies, Rehabilitative Services and Criminal Justice Clubs also visited and offered gifts at the Caring Place, Sugarcreek Station and Golden Living this past week.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

EPA Releases Update on
Ongoing Hydraulic Fracturing Study

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday provided an update on its ongoing national study currently underway to better understand any potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources.

Results of the study, which Congress requested EPA to complete, are expected to be released in a draft for public and peer review in 2014. The update provided today outlines work currently underway, including the status of research projects that will inform the final study. It is important to note that while this progress report outlines the framework for the final study, it does not draw conclusions about the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources, which will be made in the final study.

As the administration and EPA has made clear, natural gas has a central role to play in our energy future, and this important domestic fuel source has extensive economic, energy security, and environmental benefits. The study EPA is currently undertaking is part of EPA’s focus to ensure that the Administration continues to work to expand production of this important domestic resource safely and responsibly.

Among the information released today are updates on 18 research projects and details on the agency’s research approach as well as next steps for these ongoing projects and analyses. Today’s update follows the public release, in November 2011, of the agency’s final study plan, which underwent scientific peer review and public comment.

EPA has engaged stakeholders, including industry, to ensure that the study reflects current practices in hydraulic fracturing. EPA continues to request data and information from the public and stakeholders and has put out a formal request for information which can be accessed through the federal register at:

EPA also expects to release a draft report of results from the study in late 2014. The study has been designated a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment, meaning it will receive the highest level of peer review in accordance with EPA’s peer review handbook before it is finalized. The 2014 draft report will synthesize the results from the ongoing projects together with the scientific literature to answer the study’s main research questions.

EPA's Science Advisory Board (SAB) is forming a panel of independent experts which will review and provide their individual input on the ongoing study to EPA. The SAB will provide an opportunity for the public to offer comments for consideration by the individual panel members. For more information on the SAB process, please visit:

More information:

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Famed Criminalist Facing Charges

A world-renowned criminalist, and native of Bolivar, New York, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

84-year-old Herb MacDonell, is also charged with forcible touching, exposure of a person and second-degree aggravated harassment.

Read the full story at the Elmira Star-Gazette

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Bradford School Bus Driver Cited

A school bus driver has been cited following an incident that injured an 8-year-old Bradford girl.

58-year-old Jack Spring has resigned from his job as well.

Foster Township Police say at around 4:30 on December 6 the girl was getting off the bus on Bolivar Drive when her backpack got caught in the bus door. Spring told police he was distracted by another child that got out of her seat and got between him and the door of the bus. He says he didn’t see that the backpack was caught when he started moving the bus.

The bus dragged the girl about the length of the bus until she got separated from the bag, and rolled off the side of the road and into a yard. She suffered a broken arm, scrapes and bruises.

Spring is cited for careless driving.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Being Santa Claus ...

In case you missed the LiveLine with Sal Lizard on "Being Santa Claus," you can still listen to it. After that, you'll hear some easy entertaining tips.

Video streaming by Ustream

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Interim Chancellor Appointed at PSU-DuBois

Ping Werner has been named interim chancellor and chief academic officer at Penn State DuBois effective January 1, 2013, following the retirement of current chancellor Anita McDonald. In this role, Werner will be responsible for the administrative oversight of the campus, as well as the direction of its academic functions.

She will serve as interim chancellor until a permanent chancellor is identified, likely during the spring semester.

Werner is a professor of engineering at Penn State DuBois, and began teaching at the campus as an instructor in 1990. She rose through the ranks of assistant professor and associate professor, and was promoted to professor in 2005.

Werner's concentration is in electrical engineering, and she has taught a variety of courses in that field at the campus. Her research interests include theoretical and computational electromagnetics with applications to antenna theory and design, electromagnetic metamaterials, wireless and personal communication systems, fractal electrodynamics, and genetic algorithms. Her work has primarily involved developing novel antenna design technologies. She has developed several new techniques useful for designing miniature and multiband/broadband antennas as well as miniature arrays. Her work on genetically engineered fractal/stochastic antennas has been developed and applied as part of several funded research contracts. She has two US patents, over 100 publications and has written five book chapters.

Among her accomplishments and recognitions, Werner has been selected as a Leonhard Center Fellow and awarded funding for developing and improving undergraduate courses from The Leonhard Center, College of Engineering. She was a recipient of the College of Engineering PSES Outstanding Teaching Award. She is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), as well as a member of Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Xi.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Man Accused of Assaulting 9-Year-Old Girl

A 57-year-old Chautauqua County man is accused of sexually abusing a 9-year-old girl.

Sheriff's deputies say Ismael Ortiz of Brocton abused the girl between October 31 and November 20 in a house in the Town of Portland.

Ortiz is charged with first-degree sexual assault and is jailed on $30,000 bail.

The investigation started with Child Protective Services. The DA's office and the county child advocacy program were also involved in the investigation.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Friday, December 21, 2012

Pennsylvania State Police Troopers Involved in
Shooting with Homicide Subject

Hollidaysburg – The PA State Police today received a 9-1-1 call for shots fired at approximately 9:00 a.m. As troopers responded, a subject in a truck fired shots at the marked patrol cars as they passed. The subject then struck another marked patrol car head-on disabling both vehicles. The subject got out of the truck and began to fire into the marked patrol car, striking the trooper. The troopers returned gunfire striking and killing the male subject.

It was then discovered that there were three deceased persons at three different locations where the troopers were responding. It is believed that the male subject committed three homicides before encountering the troopers.

The PA State Police Troop G major case team was activated and investigators are currently examining four separate crime scenes -- interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence. The Blair County District Attorney is also on the scene.

Three members are currently being treated at the hospital for non-life threatening injuries. One trooper was struck by two bullets; one in the chest area which impacted his body armor, and a second which struck his wrist. A second trooper sustained injuries associated with shattered glass and shrapnel to the face from gunfire. These two are expected to be released from the hospital today. The third member is currently under evaluation for injuries sustained in the motor vehicle crash.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Allegany Man Indicted for Rape

An Allegany man has been indicted for raping a child.

Back in August 40-year-old Timothy Retchless was charged for having sex with a 16-year-old in a vehicle parked in the St. Bonaventure Cemetery.

The Cattaraugus County District Attorney’s Office says that between November of 2009 and December of 2010, in Olean, Retchless also had sex with a minor and is facing four counts of rape.

He also allegedly sent the child indecent material, and is facing 12 counts of disseminating indecent material to minors. He is also charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Governor Corbett Hosts
Moment of Silence for Connecticut Victims

Harrisburg - Governor Tom Corbett was joined today by First Lady Susan Corbett, Lieutenant Governor Cawley, members of his cabinet and staff to observe a moment of silence for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

The governor also issued a proclamation declaring Dec. 21, 2012 as an official day of mourning in remembrance of those who were lost one week ago today.

Pictured with the Corbetts is Pennsylvania State Trooper Adam Reed, who rang a bell 26 times in remembrance of the school's students and teachers who died on December 14.

Photo provided by PA Internet News Service

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

More Students Eligible for Merit Scholarships

In an effort to help families cover the cost of college education, the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford will adjust its criteria to enable more full-time freshmen and transfer students entering Pitt-Bradford in Fall 2013 to qualify for merit scholarships.

Full-time freshman commuter students enrolling in fall 2013 with an SAT of 930 or higher (math and critical reading only) and high school grade-point average of 2.5 or higher will qualify for a $2,000 merit scholarship.

In-state transfer students enrolling in fall 2013 with a 2.50 GPA and 12 credits from another institution will qualify for a $3,000 merit scholarship, if living on campus, or $1,000, if commuting. The criteria for these awards are different from those applied in previous years and only apply for students entering Pitt-Bradford in fall 2013.

“We’re very mindful of the struggles families in our region and beyond experience as they strive to keep up with the rising cost of a college education,” said Dr. Livingston Alexander, president.

“Providing substantial merit scholarships is one of many ways in which we continue to make our high quality education accessible to low- and moderate-income families.”

Merit scholarships are provided to students at the time of admission and are independent of any other financial aid they may receive.

Eligibility for scholarships is determined by the offices of admissions and financial aid, but general awards are as follows:

New full-time Pennsylvania freshmen living on campus can receive $5,500 to $6,000 per year for four years; and new full-time out-of-state freshmen living on campus can receive $11,500 per year for four years.

New out-of-state transfer students may receive up to $9,500 per year for four years, while new out-of-state freshmen commuters can receive $8,000 per year for four years.

For more information on Pitt-Bradford merit scholarships or financial aid, contact the Office of Admissions at (814)362-7555 or the Office of Financial Aid at (814)362-7550.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Agreement Will Keep Bills in Buffalo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Buffalo Bills have committed to remain in Western New York for at least the next seven years.

The Agreement signed today by the Governor, the Buffalo Bills, and Erie County includes a commitment from the Bills to stay in Buffalo for at least the next seven years, and $130 million in upgrades to Ralph Wilson Stadium. The agreement also includes the creation of a New Stadium Working Group and Fund to explore the potential for constructing a future new professional sports stadium in Western New York.

"The Buffalo Bills are a central part of the cultural, economic, and of the entire Western part of New York State, and the state has never wavered in our commitment to keeping the Bills a thriving part of the Buffalo community," Governor Cuomo said. "With a fan-base as diverse, passionate, and energetic as any professional sports team in the nation, the Buffalo Bills account for hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact as well as hundreds of jobs in Western New York, and today is a major victory for our entire state. This agreement ensures the Bills stay where they belong right here in New York, while also protecting tax payer dollars and putting in place a longer-term vision for the team's continued presence in Buffalo. I commend the Bills leadership, our NFL partners, the ownership of the Stadium, and the County officials for their hard work in reaching this major agreement."

Terms of the agreement include:

•Commitment to Stay in Buffalo: Under the agreement, the Bills are legally committed to remain in their current location for at least seven years, regardless of ownership. •New Stadium Lease: The Bills will enter into a new 10 year lease at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

•Stadium Improvements: The agreement includes $130 million for upgrades to Ralph Wilson Stadium that will improve the fan experience. The Bills will contribute significantly - $35 million - to the capital improvements to the Stadium. The state will contribute $54 million and the county will contribute $41 million. Improvements throughout the stadium will include, but not be limited to, the following:
◦Implementation of new technology throughout the building to improve the overall fan experience. This will include new video display boards in the east end of the stadium.
◦Creation of a new west end plaza, inclusive of a new team store and enhanced gate entries.
◦Renovated and expanded concessions experience for all fans.

•New Stadium Working Group and Fund: The agreement establishes a New Stadium Working Group that will consist of representatives of the Bills, the County and the State to explore the potential for the construction of a new stadium in the future. The agreement also includes a fund to for future development and planning.

◦The County and the Erie County Stadium Corporation will continue current levels of support for certain stadium related expenses, annual capital improvements and working capital. The Stadium lease and other documents will be finalized over the coming weeks and submitted to the NFL for approval. The state and county funding must be approved through the legislative process. Stadium improvements will begin in 2013.

Russ Brandon, CEO of the Buffalo Bills, said, “We are here today because Mr. Wilson, Governor Cuomo and County Executive Poloncarz each, from day one, tasked their staffs to get this done. Additionally, Commissioner Goodell understands our community, feels the passion of our fans and worked with the Governor to help shape this deal. And today is another strong example of Mr. Wilson's dedication to the birthplace of this franchise. The investment, while significant, is modest in contrast to building a new stadium or engaging in a major retrofit, far less than what the interest alone would be on a new stadium over the term. We look forward to the opportunity to execute this plan and to join Governor Cuomo and County Executive Poloncarz as we work toward a shared vision for the future of the Buffalo Bills beyond the term of this deal.”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “From day one, a top priority of my administration has been to get the right lease negotiated for state and local taxpayers, the Bills, and their fans. Today I am proud to say we have accomplished that goal. On behalf of the entire Erie County negotiating team, my thanks to the Bills’ organization and Mr. Wilson and Governor Cuomo and his team for all of their hard work in getting this lease done, and for being here to present this early Christmas gift to Bills fans everywhere. I especially want to thank Deputy County Executive Rich Tobe for the countless hours he put in as the lead negotiator for the County. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for his efforts. This new lease ensures that the Bills continue to be a part of our community for the next decade and also prepares for the future of a new stadium to ensure the Bills remain in Buffalo for many years to come. Everyone understood the economic realities facing our community, and that’s why we have developed a more affordable capital improvements plan to invest $130 million into Ralph Wilson stadium over the next several years, not the more than $200 million originally discussed, and that includes a $35 million investment from the Bills’ organization. Additionally, the Bills will be showing our community the same loyalty that fans have shown them for over 50 years by agreeing to a binding non-relocation clause that demonstrates their commitment to staying here now and in the future. The Bills are not just a driver of our regional and bi-national economy, but are critical to the framework of our community. Again, my thanks to our partners in completing this agreement, and Happy Holidays to all.”

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Tidioute Woman Murdered

A Tidioute woman is dead and a man is charged with criminal homicide after the woman was found shot in her home Thursday afternoon.

Police say 56-year-old Kathleen Sweeney was shot to death during a burglary at her home on Davey Hill Road at just after 3 o’clock.

52-year-old Randy Lee Poole, also of Tidioute, was on the run for about 10 hours. Police found him in a car on Tidioute-Enterprise Road at 7:25 p.m. and, after a short chase, Poole crashed his car about two miles west of Tidioute and ran into the woods. Police found him near the crash site at around 1 a.m.

Poole is at UPMC Hamot in Erie being treated for injuries he sustanined in the crash.

He is also charged with burglary.

Photo courtesy of Warren-based state police

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Man Charged for Assault, Growing Pot

A Little Valley man is facing assault and drug charges after sheriff’s deputies were called to his home for a domestic incident and found marijuana growing there.

27-year-old Brian Blasdell is charged with assault and strangulation in connection to the domestic dispute that happened at about 2:45 Thursday afternoon.

He is also charged with growing of cannabis and criminal possession and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Blasdell was sent to Cattaraugus County Jail.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Indecent Assault Charges Bound to Court

Charges against a Bradford man accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a park have been bound to court following a preliminary hearing this morning in front of District Judge Dominic Cercone.

24-year-old Matthew Braund is charged with three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault for forcing a woman to have sexual contact with him on September 30 in the park at the end of Rochester Street.

Papers filed in Cercone’s office say Braund attempted to kiss the woman and put his hands down her pants. The woman tried to get away several times during the incident that lasted about an hour, but he would grab her and start to fondle her again. At one point, he tackled her and put a knife to her throat.

Braund is in McKean County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Chief Lucco: Bradford Schools are Secure

Bradford City Police Chief Chris Lucco says rumors are still circulating about threats at the schools.

He called us to say all the schools are secure and the rumors are unfounded.

Lucco said he will keep WESB and The Hero updated.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hospital Foundation announces Year-End Gift

The Benjamin O. and Blanche M. Wentworth
Endowed Nurse Scholarship Fund

The Bradford Hospital Foundation has announced the establishment of the Benjamin O. and Blanche M. Wentworth Endowed Nurse Scholarship Fund. This fund has been established to provide financial assistance to employees of the Bradford Regional Medical Center or McKean County, PA residents who are Licensed Practical Nurse's pursuing continuing education towards Registered Nurse licensure.

The Wentworth Fund was established by Mr. and Mrs. Wentworth’s son and daughter-in-law Ben and Kathie Wentworth in the form of a $10,000 gift earlier this month. Mr. Wentworth was an active member of St. Patrick’s Church in Limestone, NY where he was awarded the St. Joseph the Worker award, as well as a life long member of the Bradford Lion’s Club, and most notably as the owner and operator of the A&B Electric Co.

Mrs. Wentworth graduated as a registered nurse from the Bradford Hospital School of Nursing in 1945. She was a life long member of the Rosary Altar Society at St. Patrick's Church in Limestone, N.Y. She was employed at the Bradford Hospital as a private duty nurse and later worked at the Bradford Nursing Pavilion, retiring after many years of service. Together the Wentworth’s had six children, fifteen grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

“BRMC is honored to carry the Wentworth name on into perpetuity with this generous gift through continuing education for LPN’s here at the hospital and throughout our community” said Timothy J. Finan, president and CEO at Bradford Regional Medical Center.

Contributions to the Wentworth fund can be directed to the BMRC Foundation Office at 116 Interstate Parkway, Bradford, PA 16701 or by calling 814.362.3200.

Pictured, from left, Francie Ambuske, Director of Development BMRC, Ben Wentworth, Kathie Wentworth, their daughters Andrea Strotman, Amanda Kemick and son Benjamin Wentworth alongside Timothy J. Finan, President and CEO at BRMC.
Photo by Shawn Murray

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

AAA Offers Driving Tips for Ice & Snow

A snowy forecast indicates that the first snow of the season will coincide with the first official day of winter. AAA recommends motorists brush up on winter driving techniques before the weather outside turns frightful.

Nearly one-quarter of weather related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement, resulting in more than 1,300 deaths and 116,800 people injured annually, according to data from the Federal Highway Administration.

Drive Distraction Free

“It is especially important when driving in winter conditions to drive distraction-free,” according to J.J. Miller, AAA Safety Advisor. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that looking away from the road for just two seconds doubles your risk of being in a crash “If you are with a passenger, enlist the their help to carry out activities that would otherwise distract you from driving safely,” Miller added.

Do Not Use Cruise Control and Avoid Tailgating

Normal following distances of three to four seconds for dry pavement should be increased to eight to 10 seconds when driving on icy, slippery surfaces. This extra time will allow for extra braking distance should a sudden stop become necessary. If driving on a four-lane highway, stay in the clearest lane; avoid changing lanes and driving over built-up snow. Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery (wet, ice, snow, sand) surface; not using cruise control will allow you to respond instantly when you lift your foot off the accelerator.

Know When to Brake and When to Steer

Some driving situations require abrupt action to avoid a crash or collision and in winter conditions the decision to steer or brake can have very different outcomes. When travelling over 25 MPH, AAA recommends steering over braking to avoid a collision in wintery conditions, as less distance is required to steer around an object than to brake to a stop. In slick conditions, sudden braking can lead to loss of vehicle control.

However, sometimes steering is not an option. Braking on slippery surfaces requires you to look further head and increased following and stopping distances. Plan stopping distances as early as possible and always look 20-30 seconds ahead of your vehicle to ensure you have time and space to stop safely. Shaded spots, bridges, overpasses and intersections are areas where ice is likely to form first and will be the most slippery. It is important to adjust your braking habits as road conditions change.

Stay in Control Through a Skid

Even careful drivers can experience skids. When a vehicle begins to skid, it’s important to not panic and follow these basic steps:

Continue to look and steer in the direction the car needs to go. Avoid slamming on the brakes as this will further upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to control.

Additional Tips

Make sure windows are free of dirt and grime and keep your windshield wiper reservoir full at all times.
Clean your headlights so that you can see and be seen by others.
Inflate your tires to the manufacturer’s specifications and be sure they have plenty of tread for proper traction.
Sit at least 10 inches away from your steering wheel so that you have plenty of room for emergency steering maneuvers and also to give the airbag room to inflate.
Wear your seat belt low across your hips and on your shoulders.
Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle at all times. The kit should contain and ice scraper, cloth or roll of paper towels, battery starter cables, blanket, warning devices such as flares or triangles, window washing solvent, flashlight, traction mats, snow brush, snow shovel, tire chains and a small bag of abrasive material such as sand, salt or kitty litter for traction.

If you find your vehicle stuck in the snow, AAA members needing assistance can request roadside rescue at (800) AAA-HELP. Android and iPhone users can download AAA Mobile, AAA’s mobile smartphone app that provides AAA services for all motorists, such as mapping and gas price comparison, as well as member-exclusive benefits including roadside assistance and discounts. AAA Membership is not required to download and use AAA apps, but is necessary to take advantage of unique member benefits such as roadside assistance. For more information on AAA Mobile, visit These tips and additional information on driving in winter conditions can be found in the AAA brochure How to Go on Ice and Snow online.

Wiinter Storm Watch Upgraded to Warning

UPDATE: The National Weather Service in Buffalo has upgraded the watch to a warning in Cattaragus, Chautauqua and Allegany counties. It's in effect from 11 a.m. Friday to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The winter storm watch has been upgraded to a warning for McKean, Warren and Elk counties, and is in effect from midnight through 7 o’clock Saturday night.

The National Weather Service in State College says we could see 8 to 12 inches of snow

We will see rain tonight, but it will change to snow after midnight, and fall heavily at times into early Friday morning. The snow may taper off for a time before redeveloping as Lake Effect snow showers and locally heavy squalls later Friday and into Saturday.

A winter storm watch remains in effect for Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Allegany counties in New York, and Potter and Cameron counties in Pennsylvania.

On the NWS map:

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Gun, Knives Stolen

St. Marys police are looking into thefts of a gun and some knives.

They say sometime between Friday and yesterday someone got into a truck in the 1100 block of Brussells Street and took a Smith & Wesson .40 cailber handgun.

Then late last night or early this morning someone got into a vehicle in the 600 block of Pontzer Avenue and took about $45 in change and bills and three pocket knives.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

PSP: Electtrical Malfunctions Leading to
Christmas Tree Caused High Street Fire

A state police fire marshal has released the official cause of a High Street fire earlier month, and is hoping other people take precautions so the same thing doesn’t happen to them.

Corporal Martin Henneman says the fire at 228 High Street on December 9 started because of electrical malfunctions in the outlet and extension cord leading to the Christmas tree.

He is asking that everyone check their electrical equipment and only use equipment that is in good condition and is properly installed.

Henneman also asked that people check their smoke detectors and have a safety plan.

Several dogs, cats and birds died in the High Street fire.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Presbyterian Church Sets Christmas Eve Service

The First Presbyterian Church of Bradford, 54 East Corydon Street, announces the 2012 Christmas Eve worship service schedule.

A Communion and Candlelight Service will be celebrated on Christmas Eve, beginning with special music of the season by the Cathedral Choir at 6:30 p.m. under the direction of Regina C. Gabriel, the church’s director of music and organist. The traditional service of worship will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Child care will be available for infants and children from birth through kindergarten in the church’s nursery during the Christmas Eve service.

All are welcome to attend. For more information, visit

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

United Way Reaches Goal

The United Way of the Bradford Area, Inc. announced today that the organization has reached 100% of its $330,000 goal. The local staff, campaign volunteers and board of directors are extremely grateful to the Bradford community.

“We are so excited to have reached goal right before Christmas. Local community members, businesses, and corporations showed the true meaning of generosity during this campaign, stepping up to increase their pledges. This is a fantastic gift to the Bradford community and its agencies that rely on United Way funding,” says Cara Costik, Community Relations Specialist.

Campaign goal was reached by a record date this year, although any donations received by January 5, 2012 will also count towards this year’s campaign. An announcement detailing the total amount raised will be available in early January for both the Bradford and Smethport campaigns.

For questions regarding 2012-2013 Campaign: LIVE UNITED or to make a financial donation, please contact the United Way office at 814-368-6181 or visit

Pictured, campaign co-chairs, from left, Karen Costello-Pecht, Steve Cottillion, and Christine Minich.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hamlin Bank Contribution to Pitt-Bradford
Will Benefit High School Students

Hamlin Bank and Trust Co. of Smethport has made a $200,000 commitment to the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford that will allow more high school students to take advantage of a program that allows them to earn college credit.

The contribution is made possible through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The funds will be distributed to Pitt-Bradford over a two-year period.

Pitt-Bradford has two kinds of programs in which students can earn both high school and college credits for the same course, College in the High School and Bridges. Hamlin Bank’s contribution will allow Pitt-Bradford to increase participation across more school districts in the region.

Dr. Livingston Alexander, president of Pitt-Bradford, said, “Our friends at Hamlin Bank are longtime supporters of Pitt-Bradford and its efforts to provide educational opportunities for students in our service region. This generous tax credit award will ensure that a significantly greater number of students in our region are able to get a head start in earning college credits, even as they complete their high school programs.”

Twelve districts with 466 students currently participate in the College in the High School program: Austin Area, Bradford Area, Cameron County, Coudersport Area, Galeton Area, Northern Potter, Oswayo Valley, Otto-Eldred, Ridgway Area, Smethport Area and St. Marys Area. Sheffield Area Middle/High School is taking part for the first time this year.

Unlike the Advanced Placement exam, which requires that students make a final score on an AP test at the end of the semester or year, College in the High School students follow the same syllabus as the students at Pitt-Bradford, cover the same material and take the same final exam. Students have the added benefit of studying a semester’s worth of college material over the course of an entire academic year.

Courses offered range from first-year math and composition to more specialized first-year courses such as petroleum technology, cinema, geography, Spanish, accounting, sociology and more.

The additional funding provided through Hamlin Bank and other local businesses has allowed Pitt-Bradford to reduce its cost to students from $125 to $25 this year for College in the High School. For the Bridges program, the regular cost of $1,594 has been reduced to $250 for the student, and his or her school district’s portion has been eliminated.

Hamlin Bank is a state-chartered commercial bank and offers a variety of financial and trust services. Established in 1863, Hamlin Bank was the first bank to serve the communities of McKean County.

The bank made its contribution through a special state program that allows it to receive tax credits for its gift. Companies have to pre-qualify with the state on a strict schedule, as did Pitt-Bradford.

Interested businesses that must pay certain types of taxes in the state of Pennsylvania may qualify to redirect up to $300,000 of their PA tax liability to an approved Educational Improvement Organization such as Pitt-Bradford. The taxes include Corporate Net Income Tax, Capital Stock Franchise Tax, Bank and Trust Company Shares Tax, Title Insurance Company Shares Tax, Insurance Premiums Tax, Mutual Thrift Institutions Tax and some Subchapter S-corporations.

For more information on whether a business may qualify for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program, contact Rick Esch, vice president of business affairs at Pitt-Bradford, at (814)362-0992 or

Pictured, Dr. Livingston Alexander, president of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, thanks Martin Digel, president and chief executive officer of Hamlin Bank & Trust Co., for the bank’s pledge of $200,000 in Educational Improvement Tax Credit to benefit the university’s dual enrollment programs.
Photo by Alan Hancock

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

PSP: Austin Man Lied About Robbery, Assault

An Austin man is accused of lying to police about a robbery.

State troopers say they were called about a home invasion at the house of 26-year-olf Michael McNally at 2:40 this morning, and he told them that while he was cleaning a hunting rifle in his living room a man forced his way into the house, hit him, took the rifle and drove away.

Troopers later learned that there was no robbery or altercation.

McNally is charged with two counts of making false reports to law enforcement. He’s free on $5,000 bail.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

NYS Audit: Town of Olean Needs to
Adopt New Financial Policies

A state audit of the Town of Olean’s internal controls shows that the town board did not have a procedure in place to ensure wages and salaries were paid as intended, which allowed a former supervisor to make payments to his sister and his son without approval by the board.

The ex-supervisor’s sister was the town clerk and his son was a highway department employment. The payments totaled more than $17,000.

The state comptroller’s office also says the board didn’t adopt policies for the cash disbursement process and didn’t establish an adequate system of internal controls for the town’s sewer districts.

The office is recommending the town adopt policies to review payroll records during its annual audit, policies for the cash disbursement process and policies for the proper billing and collecting of sewer district usage.

The report released today covers the period from December 24, 2007, to May 3 of this year. You can read it here PDF

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Rep. Causer Named Chairman of
House Game and Fisheries Committee

HARRISBURG – As you heard first on Monday on 1490 WESB's LiveLine, State Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) has been named chairman of the House Game and Fisheries Committee for the 2013-14 legislative session by Speaker-designate Rep. Sam Smith (R-Punxsutawney).

“Hunting and fishing play an important role in our state and regional economies, but more importantly, these activities are a vital part of our heritage,” Causer said. “As chairman of the committee, my top priority will be to protect and preserve that heritage for future generations of sportsmen and sportswomen.”

The House Game and Fisheries Committee is responsible for reviewing legislative proposals that impact hunters and anglers in the Commonwealth. The committee also receives and reviews annual reports from both the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

During the 2011-12 session, the committee worked on several bills that are now law, including:

Enhancements to the Mentored Youth Hunting Program, which is designed to help get more young people involved in hunting activities.
Improving access to military-specific hunting licenses by allowing them to be sold by all licensing agents rather than just at commission offices and county treasurers’ offices.
Removing the requirement that sportsmen and sportswomen must wear back tags while hunting (Pennsylvania was one of only two states that still had the requirement).
Offering multi-year fishing licenses and permits.

According to the most recent study conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, participation in wildlife-related recreation (hunting, fishing and wildlife watching) nationwide increased from 87.5 million people in 2006 to more than 91 million in 2011. More than 1.1 million anglers and 775,000 hunters to took the waterways and the woods of the Commonwealth, spending nearly $1.6 billion in 2011. Pennsylvania also ranks in the top five in the nation for the most in-state hunters.

“Hunting and fishing are long-standing traditions for many Pennsylvania families, including my own,” Causer said. “It is my goal to ensure those traditions continue.”

This assignment is Causer’s first as a committee chairman. He has served as representative for the 67th legislative district since 2003. During the prior legislative session, he was a member of the House Appropriations, Health, and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committees. He also served as chairman of the Subcommittee on Parks and Forests within the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

Causer invites area residents to visit to sign up for periodic updates on hunting and fishing news. He also maintains a legislative Facebook page at

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947