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Saturday, June 14, 2014

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

Friday, June 13, 2014

Assault Leads to Jail TIme

A New York man who broke a Bradford man’s eye socket during an assault near the Bradford Area Public Library in August will spend 2 months to a year-and-a-half in McKean County Jail.

24-year-old Evan Fields of Friendship and Heather Powley of Hinsdale assaulted the man in the early morning hours of August 31. When police arrived on the scene, the victim was lying motionless on the ground with head injuries. The victim had to have reconstructive surgery on his eye.

Fields was also ordered to pay more than $22,000 in restitution and do 200 hours of community service.

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

Smethport Burglar Pleads Guilty

The last man to be charged in connection to a McKean County burglary ring has pleaded guilty.

20-year-old Austin Tankersley of East Smethport, using an assumed name, sold a four-wheeler to Parts-R-Us in Limestone. The owner then saw the four-wheeler online and learned that it had been stolen. He searched online for the phone number Tankersley game him, got his real name and contacted police.

He also pleaded guilty to running from Bradford police back in April after telling them not to ruin his day. To his credit, he did say “please,” according to court papers.

Tankersley is scheduled for sentencing on July 3.

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

Bradford Counterfeiter Pleads Guilty

The Bradford man who made counterfeit $20 bills and passed $400 off as real money has pleaded guilty.

30-year-old Shad Gutshall was charged after police found the counterfeiting operation while executing a search warrant in connection to a double murder and suicide in Limestone.

Gutshall’s co-defendant, 38-year-old Elizabeth Skok, was sentenced in March to 60 days to 23 ½ months in McKean County Jail. Prosecutors say the pair conspired with Daniel Podolski in the counterfeiting scheme. Podoloski is the man who killed his estranged wife and her friend, and then shot himself back in January. He died later at UPMC Hamot.

Gutshall is scheduled for sentencing on July 3.

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

Man Awaiting Trial Charged Again

A man out on bail while awaiting trial on charges that he had inappropriate contact with two teenagers is now charged with indecent assault in connection to an incident with a 9-year-old girl.

State police say 56-year-old David Slack of Sheffield inappropriately touched the girl while she was sleeping on his couch. The girl and her mother were at his home doing laundry. After the mother saw him touch her daughter, she yelled and punched him in the head twice, according to court papers. The victim told police she doesn’t remember Slack touching her, woke up to her mother punching him.

In the first case, he is accused of buying cigarettes for two girls and then going behind the store, where they exposed themselves and he had inappropriate contact with them.

Slack remains free on unsecured bail.

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

Pool League Thief Pleads Guilty

A Port Allegany man has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $10,000 from the Bradford Invitational Pool League.

34-year-old Stacy Yeager took a book of checks from the pool league between November and February and then passed several of them by forging the signatures of two other people. The total amount withdrawn was $10,593.

Yeager is scheduled for sentencing on July 17 in McKean County Court.

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

Bradford Burglar Headed to Prison

The Bradford man who broke into two churches, a school and a restaurant will spend the next three to eight years in state prison.

19-year-old Derek Steck admitted to breaking into St. Bernard’s and the First Presbyterian churches, The Learning Center and Farm Family Restaurant.

Surveillance video, along with his fingerprints, helped police nab Steck.

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

Sosic Pleads Guilty

Dr. Abaz Sosic has pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault.

The former Bradford OB/GYN admitted to touching an employee and a patient inappropriately and making inappropriate statements to the employee. One of the incidents happened in January; the other in June of 2012.

Because the charges carry Megan’s restrictions, Sosic will have to undergo a sexually violent predator evaluation before his sentencing, which is scheduled for September 19 in McKean County Court.

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

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

'It's Terminal:'
Downtown Buildng Will Probably Come Down

The end is near for a Downtown Bradford building, it seems.

The Terminal Building at the corner of South Avenue and Chautauqua Place is beyond repair and will probably be demolished, according to city officials.

During a work session prior to Tuesday’s City Council meeting Erin Hammerstedt of Preservation Pennsylvania talked about the update of the inventory she’s doing of the Downtown Historic District to get it recertified. This work includes deciding what should be kept in and out of the district.

The discussion led to the Terminal Building, and Office of Economic and Community Development Executive Director Sara Andrews agreed with Hammerstedt that it should be kept out of the district.

“It’s probably likely to be demolished at some point in time, the condition is so poor,” Andrews said.

“It’s terminal,” quipped Mayor Tom Riel. “Water ran through it all winter.”

There are no plans yet to tear down the building, which is still privately owned.

Discussion later turned to the other end of Main Street, where McDonald’s will have to go through HARB for any renovations. City officials say they’ve heard that McDonald’s plans to renovate but they haven’t seen any plans yet.

Hammerstedt said HARB isn’t trying to make renovation difficult, or take away the restaurant’s identity. They just want it to be compatible but distinguishable.

“You’re not trying to make a fake historic McDonald’s,” she said. “You just want it to not be obtrusive.”

Andrews said certain franchises have designs that fit the communities they’re in, and pointed out Williamsburg, Virginia, as an example.

During the regular council meeting council authorized the execution of a $500,000 Home Program grant for the city’s Second Ward Neighborhood improvement project.

This will go toward renovations for qualified owner occupied homes, and about 30 applicants are on the waiting list for the money.

With this grant, about $2.4 million has been put into the neighborhood renovation project so far and, Andrews said, they are still looking for more grant money.

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Man Crashes on Closed Highway

An Olean man is charged with a Leandra’s Law violation and for failure to pay child support after crashing into a concrete barrier near Exit 23 on Interstate 86 Saturday afternoon.

Sheriff’s deputies say 38-year-old Bradley Fluent was on the road between exits 21 and 23, which is closed for construction. An 8-year-old passenger was hurt in the crash and was taken to Bradford Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Besides the felony driving while intoxicated and child support charges, Fluent is charged with unlicensed operation of a vehicle and disobeying a traffic control device.

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

Monday, June 9, 2014

Lighter Enthusiasts Coming to Bradford

The Great Lakes Lighter Club and Zippo Enthusiast Network are coming to Bradford next month.

They’ll be holding a Swap Meet on the 18th and 19th on the Masonic Center on South Avenue.

The Swap Meet is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the 18th and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the 19th.

An auction will follow on the 19th.

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

Bradford's Downtown Buildings Tell a Story

Bradford’s Downtown Historic District tells a story worth preserving.

While the oil industry is the basis of Bradford’s history, the story told by the buildings downtown goes further than that, according to Erin Hammerstedt of Preservation Pennsylvania.

“We can see different phases of development from the early settlement patterns in the lumber phase to the boom phase and, really, what most of your buildings reflect are the post oil boom stabilization,” she said during a presentation Monday evening in Bradford.

“People had the money in their pockets, they were feeling good, they were going to stay awhile. …. their other buildings burned down,” she said, referring to the history of fires in Downtown Bradford. “They were ready to make their mark and build something that had their name on it.”

Hammerstedt said she wasn’t sure if people were aware of how much work has been done in the Historic District in the last few years.

“In the last five years at least 10 buildings have been remarkably improved with maintenance and upkeep,” she said.

As an example, she showed two pictures of the building where Triple A Nail is located – one from today; one from 2009. The first picture showed the building with peeling paint and, generally, in deplorable condition. Now, it is one of the most beautiful buildings on Main Street.

She also mentioned the brick buildings, saying, “Brick is one of the character-defining features here in Bradford. You have so many beautiful varieties of brick made locally and used locally.” She added that the ironwork and sculpting by other artisans is impressive.

Hammerstedt also talked about why historic districts are important. In one word: Tourism. Tourism is the number two industry in Pennsylvania, and historic districts are the number one destinations of tourists.

Linda Devlin, executive director of the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau, noted that tourists do tell her – and write in the organization's guest book – about the beauty of Downtown Bradford.

Hammerstedt will be at a work session prior to Tuesday’s City Council meeting to give another presentation about her "re-inventory" of Historic District properties, and will be meeting with building owners throughout the day.

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

Three Troopers Honored as Heros

Three State Troopers have received the Pennsylvania Narcotics Officers’ Association Heroism Award for rescuing another trooper who was shot while executing a search warrant in Jefferson County last September.

Corporal Dennis Ulery, Corporal Joseph Alessandro and Trooper Dustin Sosak were presented with the award, which has been given out only three other times in 25 years. On September 26, 2013, a Pennsylvania State Police Clandestine Laboratory Response Team was assisting the Troop C Vice Unit and the Jefferson County Drug Task Force with the execution of a drug search warrant just outside of Brockway. The suspect’s father shot Trooper Bradley Wilson twice in the upper chest and neck area. As troopers and officers from the Jefferson County Drug Task Force used suppression fire, the other troopers pulled Wilson away from the line of fire and moved him to a secure location.

State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said, “Had it not been for the actions of these three men foregoing their own safety, Trooper Wilson would have likely died at the scene.”

Wilson, a 24-year veteran of the state police, is continuing to recover.

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

Scarnati Portrait Unveiling is Wednesday

The portrait of Pennsylvania’s 31st lieutenant governor will be unveiled Wednesday in the state Capitol.

Current Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati became lieutenant governor on November 12, 2008, when Catherine Baker Knoll died of cancer. The Republican lawmaker served through 2011 and made history by being the state's first lieutenant governor to be paired with a governor of another party, Democrat Ed Rendell.

Lewisburg artist Tom Wise of Open Door Gallery painted the portrait for free with the understanding that Scarnati wanted to raise money to donate to Geisinger Health System in memory of Wise's wife who received cancer treatment there, according Scarnati's chief of staff Drew Crompton. He said at least $10,000 will be donated in her name.

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

Bicyclist Hit by SUV

A bicyclist was hit by an SUV Sunday morning on Route 6 near Kane.

Police say 86-year-old Joseph Wolfe of Kane was at the intersection of routes 6 and 309 and had the right-of-way, but an SUV driven by 59-year-old Richard Lundberg of Kane didn’t yield the right-of-way.

Wolfe, who was wearing a helmet, was taken to Kane Community Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Lundberg was cited for not performing duties at stop and yield signs.

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

PSP: Man Made Threats, Damaged Cruiser

A Cyclone man was sent to jail for threatening a woman and trying to damage a state police car.

Troopers were called to the Cyclone Trailer Park Sunday afternoon, where a 39-year-old woman told them 36-year-old Lenny Beane threatened her during a fight. When police got there and repeatedly told him to calm down he would not, and also tried to damage their cruiser.

Beane was arraigned on charges of disorderly conduct and harassment and sent to McKean County Jail on $5,000 bail.

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

Sportsman's Outlet Offering Reward for
Info Leading to Canoe/Kayak Thief Arrest

Sportsman’s Outlet is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever stole kayaks and canoes from the store over the weekend.

The kayaks and canoes were on display outside the store on Chestnut Street Extension. A man who was walking his dog noticed that kayaks and canoes were missing from the display and called police.

Anyone with information on the theft should contact City of Bradford Police.

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

Alleged Bath Salt Sellers Stopped in Kane

A broken down vehicle in Kane led to charges against a couple accused of running bath salts through the area.

According to court papers at about 4:15 Sunday afternoon Mount Jewett Police Chief Steve Hale called Kane police to tell them about a vehicle that was broken down at the intersection of Greeves and Yarnell streets, and the two people involved may have bath salts with them.

Kane Police Officer Michael Henry noticed a “roach” on the passenger side of the vehicle and soon he, Hale and State Police Corporal Ted Race searched the vehicle and found a scale with measuring bowl, several loaded hypodermic needles, a grinder with a white powdery residue in it, several small plastic bags for packaging, glass smoking apparatuses, and several pills that they could not identify during the search.

Lori Lee Grotzinger of St. Marys and Scott Yanak of Moon Township are facing a number of drug charges. Yanak is also charged with flight to avoid apprehension, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct for running from police while they were doing field sobriety tests on Grotzinger. Grotzinger is in McKean County Jail on $40,000 bail.

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

Woman Accused of Kicking Cop

Kicking a police officer will most likely land you in jail, but that’s allegedly what a Port Allegany woman did over the weekend.

Police were called to a North Main Street home on Saturday for a report of a fight involving 21-year-old Amanda Amell. The police officer told her to stay where she was and he could go talk to the other person, according to court papers. But she went out the back door of the house and then started walking up the driveway of the other house. The officer warned her numerous times to stop and told her she’d be arrested if she didn’t.

When she continued and the officer attempted to take her into custody she refused to put her hands behind her back, so the officer took her to the ground. She managed to slip out of the handcuffs and had to be re-cuffed. Then she kicked the officer in the shin and attempted to kick him several other times. Once in the patrol car, she kicked the partition, the window glass and the door panels numerous times doing an unknown amount of monetary damage.

Amell’s bail is set at $10,000. She is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Thursday in McKean County Central Court.

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