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Friday, February 14, 2014

Bradford Man Jailed for Indecent Assault

A 65-year-old Bradford man is in jail accused of indecent assault against a child.

Charles Johnson is accused of kissing and having inappropriate contact with a girl younger than 13 on Tuesday night. Police say they filed charges of indecent assault, one felony and one misdemeanor, after corroborating the girl’s statement.

Bail is set at $15,000.

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

Silver Airlines to Drop Bradford Regional Airport

The airline that provides service to Bradford Regional Airport plans to end that service by May 15.

Silver Airlines today said it provided the US Department of Transportation with a 90-day notice of its intent to discontinue service between Cleveland and airports in Bradford, Jamestown, DuBois and Franklin, as well as Parkersburg, West Virginia.

Dave Pflieger, president and CEO of Silver Airways, said in a news release that “multiple factors have combined to make it economically impossible for us to continue flying” between Cleveland and the five markets.

Shortly after Silver’s announcement Senator Bob Casey said he’s committed to ensuring that Northwestern Pennsylvania has access to safe and reliable air transportation.

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

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Gabler Blasts EPA Over Well Permitting

JAMES CITY – State Rep. Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk) is addressing a story we ran yesterday about a Pleasantville man's indictment on federal charges related to a permit for an underground disposal well in Highland Township, Elk County.

According to the indictment filed by a federal grand jury Pleasantville-based S & T Services and Supply Inc. contracted with ARG Resources Inc. to plug abandoned oil wells so that ARG would be in compliance with its injection-well-permitting process under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

44-year-old Ronald Wright was then hired by S & T Services to perform the well plugging, but the indictment says he filed false claims that he had plugged the wells.

Gabler issued the following statement:

“(This) report is yet another devastating indictment of the EPA’s underground injection well permitting process. Reports show the EPA is investigating a case of fraudulent testimony – testimony which they relied upon to issue the injection well permit near James City, despite an ongoing investigation into the validity of the testimony.

“Without a doubt, the EPA is dead wrong in their recent issuance of permits in both Clearfield (Brady Township) and Elk counties. The Obama Administration’s obvious disregard for our region is on display in both cases. This unaccountable bureaucracy needs to be reined in and held accountable for the decisions they make that have a real impact on the lives of rural Pennsylvanians.

“As a state official and citizen, I am infuriated by our Federal Government’s failure to live up to its core responsibilities to the health and welfare of the citizens of our area. I am committed to continuing the fight by advocating good policies in Harrisburg and by working with our federal officials to ensure better protection for our families, friends, neighbors and communities across Pennsylvania.”

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

St. Bonaventure Dorms to Get Overhaul

St. Bonaventure University officials today unveiled a $7.5 million plan to completely renovate Robinson and Falconio freshman residence halls and invest in common space upgrades to historic Devereux Hall, a residence hall for sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Most of the money will be dedicated to Robinson and Falconio renovations, which will significantly enhance student rooms, lounge and other common spaces, hallways, restrooms, and laundry facilities.

Devereux Hall upgrades, totaling approximately $250,000, will focus on common spaces, including the installation of a fireplace.

The Robinson/Falconio project is being debt-funded and will cost approximately 70 percent less than building new residence facilities to replace them, university officials said.

“We convened a university-wide team to consider our existing housing accommodations and options for meeting and exceeding student living expectations and needs,” said Nichole Gonzalez, executive director for Residential Living and Conduct. “We are thrilled that the university is proceeding with this plan that reflects current and prospective student input.”

The plans were created over the past eight months in consultation with current students as well as residence life, facilities and enrollment staff.

Cannon Design was contracted for design and architecture services. Cannon is the firm of record for the Hickey Dining Hall renovations as well as the Richter Center, Walsh Science Center, De La Roche Hall, Café La Verna, Holy Name Library for the Franciscan Institute and William E. and Ann L. Swan Business Center projects.

The residence hall projects are part of an overall $10 million bond issue that the university is pursuing, following endorsement last week by the Board of Trustees Finance, Enrollment, and Student Affairs committees.

Of the $10 million, $2.5 million will be directed toward deferred maintenance projects, including: mechanical upgrades and repairs, roof and concrete (sidewalks and steps) repairs, as well as refurbishment of the library entrance and reading room, repair of the chapel's ADA ramp, and painting the exterior of Plassmann Hall's window frames.

As part of the process of securing debt financing in the bond market, the university sought and received preliminary authorization today for tax exemption from the Cattaraugus County Capital Resource Corp.

The residence hall projects and most of the deferred maintenance upgrades will be completed by fall 2014.

Construction updates and photos will be available starting in May on www.sbu.edu/RobFalDev.

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

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sosic's Medical License Temporarily Suspended

Based on information in the indecent assault cases against Dr. Abaz Sosic the state board of medicine has temporarily suspended his license to practice medicine.

In the suspension order dated Friday, and obtained this afternoon by WESB, the board said if the petition filed by Department of State attorney David Grubb is true “the continued practice of medicine by (Sosic) presents an immediate danger to the public health and safety.”

A preliminary hearing regarding the suspension will be scheduled within 30 days.

The order says that addition to the temporary suspension proceeding Grubb may start a separate action to suspend, revoke or otherwise restrict Sosic’s license. The Order to Show Cause for that may include, but is not limited to, facts alleged in the petition for temporary suspension.

Sosic is accused of indecent assault and harassment in two separate cases. The first for which he was charged happened on January 27 in his Boylston Street office with an intern. The second set of charges stem from incident in 2012 involving a patient.

A third woman accused Sosic of inappropriate behavior while they were working together at Bradford Regional Medical Center in 2008. He has not been charged in connection to those allegation, which came to light when police filed an affidavit of probable cause for a search warrant at BRMC.

The hospital suspended his admitting privileges on February 6.

Sosic is scheduled for arraignment on Tuesday.

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

Commission to Close Lake Nessmuk for
Dam, Spillway Construction, Fish Salvage

(News Release) HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced today that Tioga County’s Lake Nessmuk will be closed to the public beginning Feb. 18 as the PFBC prepares to conduct a fish salvage and begin construction to rebuild the lake’s dam and spillway.

The fish salvage is expected to begin the week of Feb. 24 or March 3 and may take up to two weeks. In preparation, the PFBC will start lowering the water level beginning Feb. 18. The lake can be drained at a rate of about three to five feet per week, depending on weather.

After the water level drops, PFBC biologists will open the lake’s outlet gate which leads into Morris Branch and collect fish with nets. The fish will be stored in live wells on PFBC trucks and then relocated to Lake Hamilton.

Although fish salvages generally save a large number of fish, a significant amount will also perish, added Jason Detar, PFBC Area 3 Fisheries Manager.

“We will collect as many fish as we can with nets, but it is impossible to capture all of them,” he said. “Fish die during any drawdown and salvage effort. Many hide around structures where we simply can’t reach them, and others become buried in the mud when they are slow to exit the lake with the remaining water. Anglers and the general public should expect to see this.”

The lake was first lowered by 10 feet last fall. It will remain drained until construction is completed.

The $1 million construction project is expected to begin in mid-March 2014, weather permitting, and be completed by the end of summer or early fall. It includes widening the existing earthen spillway and extending the spillway conduit, installing a new stilling basin at the outlet, and installing new drains at the base of the dam. Also, the top of the dam will be raised by approximately 2.2 feet and the downstream embankment will be flattened.

The project is being funded by a $1 million H2O grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

Located in Tioga County, Lake Nessmuk is a 60-acre impoundment owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and managed by the PFBC for public fishing and boating. The lake is maintained by the Borough of Wellsboro.

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

Pitt-Bradford Welcomes R&B Musician Denzell Ward

Buffalo, N.Y., native Denzell Ward will give a free Noon Tunes concert Feb. 13 as part of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s Spectrum arts series.

His concert will take place at noon in the Studio Theater located in Blaisdell Hall.

The rhythm and blues artist and session musician’s influences include Sam Cook, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Rick James and James Brown.

Joining Ward will be an exciting group of veteran seasoned musicians and members of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, including Nick Veltri, bass; Pet Holquin, drums; Nick Salamone, sax; Ed Bores, guitar; and John Riggi, guitar and vocals.

The show is being held in conjunction with Black History Month activities at Pitt-Bradford.

For more information contact Patty Colosimo, coordinator of arts programming at (814) 362-5155 or colosimo@pitt.edu.

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

Jeep Hits Gas Line Marker

National Fuel had to be called to the scene of a crash in St. Marys Tuesday morning after a gas line marker was damaged.

Police say the accident happened when a pickup truck with a snow plow on the front of it driven by Alexander Groll of St. Marys was attempting to turn from a private drive onto to Sara Road when the plow hit a Jeep driven by Kenneth Luchini of St. Marys.

The impact forced the Jeep off the road, where it damaged the gas line marker.

Neither driver was hurt. Luchini’s vehicle had to be towed from the scene.

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

Cops: Woman Took Drugs to Jail

Taking drugs into jail has landed a Jamestown woman in jail herself.

27-year-old Leslie Rodriguez is accused trying to smuggle 22 Suboxone strips hidden inside a balloon into the Collins Correctional Facility on Saturday afternoon while she was there to visit an inmate.

Investigators acted on a tip and interviewed her in the visitors’ center before she got into the prison. She’s charged with promoting prison contraband and criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, and is jailed on $20,000 cash bail.

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

Elderly Woman Escapes Burning Home

An 83-year-old Olean woman was able to escape her burning home early this morning.

City firefighters were called to the North Ninth Street home at about 3:35 a.m. The owner, Mary Smith, was out of the house when firefighters arrived.

About 23 Olean firefighters battled the blaze with help from Allegany and Westons Mills.

They believe an electrical malfunction caused the fire, but investigators are still looking into that.

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

Drug Suspect Waives Hearing

One of the people picked up in the New Year’s Eve sweep by the McKean County Drug Task Force has waived her preliminary hearing.

31-year-old Jessie Star Jones is accused, along with husband, of selling Suboxone to a confidential informant of the task force. Court records say the deal had been arranged by text message and took place at their Hedgehog Lane home.

Preliminary hearings for 35-year-old Justin Jones are scheduled for February 26.

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

Feds: Man Lied About Plugging Wells

A Pleasantville man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for making false statement about plugging oil wells.

44-year-old Ronald Wright is accused of falsely claiming he had properly plugged abandoned oil wells, when he hadn’t. EPA relied on the forms Wright filed to issue permits for injection wells, which can’t be issued until abandoned wells within a quarter mile have been plugged.

The alleged incidents happened between September of 2009 and April of 2011 in James City, according to the US Attorney’s office. The wells were supposed to be plugged before ARG Resources could put in an injection well.

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

FCI-McKean Inmate Had Heroin

An inmate at FCI-McKean will spend an extra 10 months behind bars after being convicted of having heroin in the facility.

42-year-old Bernardo Granado-Velasquez had the heroin on March 22 of last year.

The US Attorney’s Office did not say how much heroin he had.

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

Portville Man Charged After Domestic Incident

Assault and other charges have been filed against a Portville man following a domestic incident Monday afternoon.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested 27-year-old Keegan Flynn for endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful imprisonment as well as assault after the incident at his home.

He was arraigned in Portville Town Court and released on his own recognizance.

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

Home Destroyed in Early Morning Blaze

Fire destroyed a home in Corydon Township early this morning, and sub-zero temperatures didn’t make battling the blaze any easier.

Corydon Township Fire Chief Matt Cobb says the temperature was around 20 below zero when they arrived at the house in the 2400 block of West Washington Street at around 1:30 a.m. He said the temperature made fighting the fire tough, and even caused their trucks to freeze up.

Cobb says the people who lived in the house were home, but were able to get out safely.

They don’t know what caused the blaze yet. A state police fire marshal will be on the scene this afternoon, but Cobb says they don’t suspect anything suspicious.

About 30 firefighters from Corydon and Bradford townships were on the scene until about 10 o’clock this morning.

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

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Church Hosting Spaghetti Dinner

The First Presbyterian Church, 54 East Corydon St., will sponsor a spaghetti dinner on Saturday, March 1, 2014, from 4:00 – 6:30 p.m. in the church auditorium.

The dinner will include spaghetti and meatballs, salad, Italian bread, dessert, and beverages. The dinner will be prepared by chefs Jim Danias, Dick Cavallero, Tom Bowes, and Larry Puller. The cost of the dinner is $7.00 for adults, $3.00 for children ages 6 – 11, and free for children 5 years of age and younger.

Tickets may be purchased from any First Presbyterian Church Middle or Senior High student. Tickets may also be purchased in the church office during the week, or by calling the church at 362-5569 no later than Monday, February 24. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door. Take-outs will be available.

The Christian Education committee and the youth of the church are hosting this fundraiser dinner and proceeds will benefit the Camp, Retreats, and Conferences Scholarship Fund.

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

Causer Hosting Town Hall Meetings

Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) is inviting area residents to join him at one of two town hall meetings scheduled for the end of February.

The first is a joint meeting with Rep. Kathy Rapp and will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 6 p.m. at the Kane Senior Center, 100 Fraley St., Kane. The second will be held on Friday, Feb. 28, at 8 a.m. at the Charles Cole Memorial Hospital Wellness Center, 1001 East Second St., Coudersport.

“I encourage people to come out to the meeting to talk about any questions or concerns they may have about state government,” Causer said. “I will also provide an update on the state budget and other issues on the agenda at the state Capitol.”

Causer noted several communities in western McKean County that are currently part of the 65th Legislative District served by Rapp will, as a result of the legislative redistricting process, become part of the 67th district he now represents. The change becomes effective on Dec. 1, 2014. Redistricting takes place every 10 years based on the results of the U.S. Census and is designed to ensure equal representation for all Pennsylvanians.

Refreshments will be served at both meetings, and RSVPs are requested but not required. To register attendance, please visit www.RepCauser.com or call the office toll-free 1-866-437-8181.

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

Strotman Promoted by Northwest Savings

Norman M. Strotman has been promoted to senior vice president and regional commercial lender for Northwest Savings Bank. Neil Hoffman, senior vice president, Commercial Lending manager, made the announcement.

In his new role, Mr. Strotman will be responsible for business development, extending client relationships and serving existing customers in Warren, McKean and western Forest counties and the city of Corry in Erie County.

Mr. Strotman will be located at the Bradford Main Street Office, 33 Main Street in Bradford.

Mr. Strotman began his career with Northwest in 2010 as a loan review officer. In 2012, he was promoted to commercial lending officer for McKean County.

Mr. Strotman received his MBA and bachelor’s degree in accounting from St. Bonaventure University.

Active in his community, Mr. Strotman is a member of the St. Bonaventure Athletics Department advisory board, Foster Township Zoning Hearing board, North Central Loan Review Committee and the Bradford Economic Development board. Mr. Strotman is also a member of the board of directors for the Bradford Ecumenical Home, Inc. and CARE for Children. He serves as treasurer for the Bradford Sanitary Authority.

Mr. Strotman lives with his wife, Andrea, and their children, Owen and Aubrey, in Bradford.

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

House Speaker Sam Smith Retiring

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25) issued the following statement regarding the retirement of Speaker Sam Smith:

Speaker Sam Smith has been an exceptional public servant, working tirelessly to provide extraordinary leadership and strong guidance for our Commonwealth for the past 27 years. I consider it a great privilege to have had the opportunity to work with Speaker Smith for over a decade.

Speaker Smith has offered solid direction for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, while spearheading numerous significant legislative accomplishments. Most recently we saw an example of his exemplary leadership with his resolve to facilitate the passage of Pennsylvania’s transportation funding infrastructure investment plan -– putting the safety of Pennsylvania citizens above politics.

Chief among his other legislative accomplishments has been his push for educational initiatives. Sam Smith was certainly the “Father” of the educational block grants. The block grants have been a funding source which allow public schools flexibility and accountability, and have been embraced by Pennsylvania’s current and previous governor.

The 66th House District he represents and which we share a portion of, has truly seen the positive impacts of Speaker Smith’s immense presence in the legislature. He has prided himself on being accessible to all individuals and has been an unwavering voice for the hard working residents of rural Pennsylvania. During numerous recent events we have both attended in the district, it has been staunchly apparent to me that Speaker Smith continues to garner an overwhelming amount of respect from area residents. I am confident that even after his retirement, Sam will continue to be active in our local community and shared home county of Jefferson.

While we are no longer roommates, I am honored to call Sam a friend and will deeply miss his presence in Harrisburg.

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

Tractor Trailer Rolls onto Driver, Kills Him

A Clearfield County man is dead after his own tractor-trailer ran him over Monday evening in Sergeant Township.

Police say 72-year-old Melford Teats of Grassflat was standing in front of his truck tractor on Temple Drive at about 5:30 p.m. They believe he was looking into a mechanical issue when the rig rolled forward on top of his legs.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police are continuing their investigation.

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

Woman in Critical Condition After
Crash with School Bus on Monday

An Austin woman is hospitalized in critical condition following a collision with a school bus Monday afternoon on First Fork Road in Potter County.

Police say 57-year-old Cheryl Furman was traveling north when her car hit the southbound school bus, which then pushed the car about 80 feet.

Furman was taken by Life Flight to Geisinger Medical Center for treatment of major injuries.

The bus driver, 33-year-old Francis Ayers of Coudersport, and his two teenage passengers suffered minor injuries. Both vehicles had disabling damage and had to be towed from the scene.

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

Monday, February 10, 2014

Church to Hold Mobile Food Pantry

A mobile food pantry, sponsored by the Emanuel Lutheran Church and Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania of Erie, will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 26, at the Emanuel Lutheran Church in Bradford.

Food pick-up times will be assigned during pre-registration. Participants must be McKean County residents and fall within the financial guidelines to be eligible. Total household income (combined incomes of all household members) must not exceed the guidelines. Only one pre-registration per dwelling, house or apartment will be accepted.

Pre-registration is required and can only be made by calling the Emanuel Lutheran Church at 814-362-4347 between the hours of 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. only on Monday, Feb. 17, and Tuesday, Feb. 18. No walk-in pre-registrations will be accepted.

You must talk to a real person on the phone to pre-register, as messages left on the church answering machine are not valid for pre-registration and will not be returned. Also, the church secretary cannot pre-register you.

Pre-registered participants must bring a photo ID and a cardboard box (or equivalent) to carry their food home. It is also essential that those pre-registered only come at their assigned time. There is no cost to participate.

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

UWBA Holding Campaign Celebration

The United Way of the Bradford Area is celebrating the successes of the 2013 campaign, and officials are inviting donors to join them on February 20th for an open-house event.

Light hors d’oeuvres will be served from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at the UWBA office at 161 Main Street. Attendees are asked to RSVP if planning to attend.

The “Life Is Good When You’re United” campaign exceeded the $330,000 monetary goal, but Executive Director Mandi Wilton Davis says there’s a great deal to be touting.

“I’m so proud of everything that came from the 2013 appeal,” said Davis, “from the new donors, to increased contributions, to new agencies and programs being funded. Even efforts that may not have necessarily gone as planned allowed us the opportunity to learn and grow, which only means bigger and better things for your local United Way.”

For more information on the event, or to RSVP, call the United Way office at 814-368-6181.

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

Pitt Names New Chancellor

The University of Pittsburgh’s board of trustees has chosen a high-ranking administrator with the federal government to be its 18th chancellor.

50-year-old Patrick Gallagher will succeed Mark Nordenberg, who announced in June that he will step down from the job he’s held for nearly 20 years.

Gallagher is currently the acting deputy secretary at the Department of Commerce. President Obama appointed him to the post in June.

Gallagher received his PhD in physics from Pitt in 1991.

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

Teen Shoots Teen with Stolen Gun

A 14-year-old from Cyclone was accidentally shot by a 14-year-old from Bradford when the Bradford teen was testing two handguns that were stolen from the city.

Police say the teenagers were on a logging road off Pithole Road when the Cyclone teen was shot in the arm and side. The teen was taken to BRMC and later transferred to Children’s Hospital in Buffalo.

The Bradford teen is facing several charges including reckless endangerment and theft from a motor vehicle. The teen was taken to the Tioga County Detention Center.

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