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Friday, August 22, 2014

Fire Damages Kane Garage

A state police fire marshal and Kane Fire Department are investigating the origin and cause of a fire that damaged a garage and SUV this morning.

The fire on Highland Road in Wetmore Township was reported at about 1:30 a.m.

The blaze did about $20,000 worth of damage. No one was hurt.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact state police fire marshal Greg Agosti at 776-6136.

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

Arrests Made in Westfield Killing

Two men have been charged in connection to the death of a violinist with the Chautauqua Symphony.

43-year-old Jonathan Conklin and 30-year-old Charles Sanford were arrested this afternoon in Erie, where the car of 61-year-old Mary Whitaker was found earlier in the day. She was shot to death Tuesday and found in her Westfield home on Wednesday.

Conklin and Sanford face federal charges of stealing property and crossing state lines, carjacking, and use of a firearm during a crime of violence.

The pair will also face state charges, which will be determined by a grand jury. This is where a possible murder charge would come in.

US Attorney William Hochul said the pair face life in prison. He said he will be asking a judge to keep them in jail without bail while they await further court proceedings.

“I can sure the Whitaker family, friends that we will do everything in power to make sure neither of these two men ever again walk free from any sort of confinement,” Hochul said during a news conference.

Whitaker spent the last 36 summers in Western New York performing with the Chautauqua Symphony. Her primary home was in Manhattan, and she performed with the Westchester Philharmonic.

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Police Find More Than 100 Pot Plants

More than 100 marijuana plants were found growing in various places in Allegany County this week, and two men have been arrested for illegally growing them.

State police, the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force, NY State Forest Rangers and a couple of local police departments found the plants in the towns of Alfred, Wellsville and Willing, and the Village of Wellsville.

25-year-old Stephen Rainelli of Alfred and 51-year-old Desmond McDowell of Wellsville are each charged with unlawfully growing cannabis, and have been scheduled for court appearances.

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Shooting Victim Continuing to Recover

The 20-year-old bartender who was shot by a customer who later shot and killed himself, is still hospitalized in critical but stable condition.

Frank Bianco of Brockway tells the DuBois Courier-Express newspaper that his granddaughter Cera Bianco is continuing to recover at UPMC Altoona after the August 13 shooting.

Police reports say 31-year-old Eric Carlson of Brockway got upset with Bianco when she was trying to close the Brockport Army & Navy Club so her shot her. As she lay bleeding on the porch of the establishment, he fatally shot himself.

Information from: The Courier-Express,

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Man Admits to Assault, Threats

A man has admitted to assaulting his estranged wife and trying to assault Bradford’s assistant police chief.

43-year-old Richard Buterbaugh pleaded guilty to assault, terroristic threats, criminal trespass and false imprisonment for breaking into the woman’s home, threatening her and pulling out clumps of her hair. When police arrived he tried to tackle assistant chief Mike Ward.

Buterbaugh is scheduled for sentencing September 4 in McKean County Court.

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Cops: Woman Stole Checks, Credit Card

A two-month investigation has led to the arrest of a woman who illegally used checks and a credit card belonging to two other people.

43-year-old Kimberly Levergood of Machias allegedly committed the crimes in three counties – Cattaraugus, Erie and Wyoming.

State police say she illegally obtained checks belonging to an 80-year-old victim and a credit card belonging to a 61-year-old victim. Levergood is in the Erie County Holding Center pending court appearances.

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Man Sentenced for Pool League Theft

The man who stole more than $10,000 from the Bradford Invitational Pool League will spend six to 23 ½ months in McKean County Jail.

34-year-old Stacy Yeager of Port Allegany 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.

He was also ordered to pay restitution, destroy any records he had of league members’ personal information, and refrain from gambling.

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Former Town Clerk Admits to Theft

The Town of Carrollton’s former town clerk has admitted to stealing more than $3,000.

57-year-old Sandra McAndrew of Limestone had been indicted on charges of grand larceny and official misconduct, following a 2012 audit by the New York State Comptroller’s Office that showed she had an apparent shortage of $3,405. She took the money between January 1 of 2006 and December 31 of 2011.

She is scheduled for sentencing on October 20 in Cattaraugus County Court.

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Murder Victim's Car Found;
News Conference Planned for This Afternoon

Investigators believe a violinist with the Chautauqua Symphony probably surprised a burglar in in home on Tuesday, and that person then shot her and stole her car.

They say 61-year-old Mary Whitaker was found inside her Westfield home Wednesday afternoon after friends and family members could not contact her. Investigators believe she died of a gunshot wound and had been dead for nearly a day when her body was discovered. Her car was found today in Erie, where at least one of her credit cards was used on Peach Street.

Sheriff Joe Gerace, District Attorney David Foley and US Attorney William Hochul will be holding a news conference in Mayville later this afternoon.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ground Broken for Kinzua Visitor Center

WESB/WBRR News Director

Ground was broken this morning for the new visitor center at Kinzua Bridge State Park, and Senator Joe Scarnati says the center is an important cog in the machine that’s putting this part of the state back together.

He said to say the northwest region of the state has suffered economically recently would be an understatement.

“It’s been a tough time,” Scarnati said, “but it’s all of these great attractions that is only going to enhance” the area by bringing in more visitors, more business for local shopkeepers, and the opportunity for more jobs.

“This state park is a crown jewel in our state park system,” he said.

Scarnati also said having a year round visitor center was the right way to go.

During the ceremony before the groundbreaking, several people talked about their memories of the bridge before a tornado toppled part of it in 2003.

State Rep. Kathy Rapp said her grandfather used to take her to the bridge when she was a little girl. St. Marys Mayor Robert Howard, who didn’t speak during the ceremony, told WESB his Eagle Scout project involved making improvements to the park. DCED Deputy Secretary Carolyn Boser Newhouse told the crowd her husband proposed to her on the bridge back in 1987.

“He’ll tell you when he was walking out to the center he wasn’t sure if he was going to propose or throw me over,” she said.

Almost all the speakers mentioned the relentless efforts of Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau executive director Linda Devlin in getting, and keeping, everyone on the right track.

Mayor Howard compared Kinzua visitor center to the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette that has brought in hundreds of thousands of visitors since it opened. Within the first four months of its opening in September of 2010, more than 51,000 visitors from 46 states and 16 countries went to the Elk Country center. Howard, who grew up in Mount Jewett, said there’s no reason the new visitor center shouldn’t show similar numbers.

DCNR Secretary Ellen Ferretti said already, even without the visitor center, 158,000 people visit Kinzua Bridge State park every year.

Rapp noted how many people attend the Kinzua Bridge Festival every year (16,000 last year – including two Sasquatch, according to Mary Ann Burggraff of the Kinzua Bridge Foundation) and said the first year after the Sky Walk she could hardly get into the park because of all the traffic.

“That was really exciting to see, that people were coming back to this park, because I remember the joy of coming here with my grandfather.”

Rapp also said you can still see license plates from everywhere in the United States when you’re visiting. “This is vital to McKean County,” she said.

McKean County Commissioner Joe DeMott talked about some of the bridge’s history and jokingly said maybe it could be repeated.

The original bridge, he said, was built in 94 days.

“If we get started this afternoon,” he said to much laughter, “late November we should have this building up and running.

The $6.9 million project is scheduled be finished in fall of next year and will include two exhibit halls, classrooms and much more.

State Rep. Marty Causer said the visitor center is an investment for the area in more than one way.

“This is an investment in our one state park (in McKean County). It’s an investment in our future by focusing on education,” he said, adding that he’s excited about the exhibits “because it really will educate people about our history, where we came from and where we’re headed.”

WESB photo
You can find more pictures at

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bona Women's Soccer in Bradford Sunday

St. Bonaventure's women's soccer game against Kent State this Sunday, Aug. 24, has been moved to Bradford Area High School's Parkway Field. The start time will remain 1 p.m.

The change was necessary because crews are still completing renovations to St. Bonaventure's McGraw-Jennings Field. The work is expected to be finished in time for the Bonnies' next scheduled home game on Aug. 27. While installation of the new turf should be done by the end of this week, there have been delays, mainly weather-related, with other work.

St. Bonaventure opens the 2014 season on Friday night at Buffalo at 7 p.m.

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Docs on Jim Kelly: No Evidence of Cancer

The New York Head & Neck Institute at Lenox Hospital in Manhattan, the hospital spearheading Jim Kelly’s cancer treatments and evaluation, released this statement today:

Jim Kelly was evaluated yesterday at the New York Head & Neck Institute at Lenox Hospital in Manhattan, three months after having completed the radiation and chemotherapy protocol designed to treat his recurrent sinus cancer. Dr. Peter Constantino, Executive Director of the Institute, stated that, “The treatments so far have completely eliminated Mr. Kelly’s pain, and his level of function has essentially returned to normal. Further, on physical examination, there is no evidence of cancer.”

Over the coming week, a series of tests will be performed to determine if any further treatment will be necessary. Constantino added, “It is possible that no further treatment will be required, and the testing over the next week will define this issue.”

Buffalo Bills photo

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New Phone Scam Making the Rounds

State Attorney General Kathleen Kane is warning Pennsylvanians about another phone scam that’s sweeping the state.

In this scam, the automated call from a toll-free number tells the person that a hold has been placed on his or her credit or debit card, and then tells the person to press “1” and entered the credit card number to continue, and take care of the problem.

Kane says credit card companies will not ask people to give their information this way. She also reminds people to not give out personal information over the phone.

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

Three FCI-McKean Inmates Indicted

Three inmates at FCI-McKean have been indicted by a federal grand jury for having contraband in the facility.

According to the indictments in the three separate cases, 29-year-old Keith Hightower had a weapon on May 9; 32-year-old Oscar Acosta-Levario had a weapon on June 10; and 31-year-old Jose Aquino had a cell phone on June 14.

The weapons charge carries a maximum sentence of five additional years in prison; the cell phone, one year.

Prosecutors did not say what kind of weapons the men had.

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Cops: Son Stole Money, Gun from Mom

A man is accused of stealing money and a gun from his mother’s St. Marys house while she was on vacation earlier this month.

Court papers say 20-year-old Nicholas Skok took a .22 caliber pistol and a safe that had $35,000.

His mother reported the theft on Friday. Skok was arrested on Saturday, when police found the gun and some of the money in his car. He told them he already spent a lot of the cash.

Skok is in Elk County Jail on $40,000 bail and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday.

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Prescription Drugs Taken from Home

State police are investigating a burglary at a home in Potter County.

They say someone went into Dustin Kio’s home in Genesee and took prescription drugs.

The burglary happened sometime between August 10 and Monday.

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

Fire Claims Life of Ripley Man

Fire claimed the life of a Ripley, New York, man Tuesday afternoon.

The Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team say 61-year-old Kevin Lantz was found inside the West Main Street home at just after 4 p.m. He was taken to Westfield Memorial Hospital, where he died a short time later.

Investigators say an electronic device in the house accidentally caught on fire. They say it appears Lantz was able to get device to the porch of the house, but he went back in and then couldn’t get back out because of smoke inhalation.

Investigators are continuing to look into the incident.

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National Fuel Plans New Pipeline

National Fuel Gas is planning to build a pipeline from Clermont to Elma, New York.

The company has started the federal review process to build the 97-mile pipeline from McKean County to the Porterville Compressor Station in Erie County.

The 24-inch lines will be buried at least three feet underground, but four feet in agricultural areas.

The pipeline is being built to make transportation of Marcellus Shale gas from the source to the marketplace easier. A natural gas gathering system is already in place near Mount Jewett.

National Fuel image

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Crook Farm Country Fair Saturday, Sunday

The annual Crook Farm Country Fair is being held Saturday and Sunday at the historic Crook Farm on Seaward Avenue.

100.1 The Hero's Igor will be broadcasting live at Crook Farm from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Organizers are bringing back the popular Sunday breakfast this year. It will start at 9:30 a.m. Only 100 tickets are available. You can buy them at the Bradford Landmark Society, Tin Ceiling Gift Shoppe or Ott & McHenry Pharmacy.

To hear more about the Crook Farm Country Fair listen to today's LiveLine: Click on the "Local Programs" tab and then scroll down to today's date (8-19-14).

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

Rep. Reed Coming Salamanca

US Congressman Tom Reed will hold a town hall meeting Saturday in the city of Salamanca.

All constituents with questions, concerns and thoughts are encouraged to attend and participate. The meeting is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in Salamanca City Hall, 225 Wildwood Avenue.

“We’re looking forward to spending the weekend with Southern Tier residents to listen to their thoughts and take what they have to say to Washington,” Reed said. “The kinds of face-to-face conversations we have at these town halls are essential to making sure our area is heard and represented. The more participation, the better.”

Reed recently worked with the Salamanca School District to secure a $2.7 million dollar impact aid award that helped decrease property taxes for residents. Reed called the federal aid a “lifeline for the school district and taxpayers alike” who will see lower taxes as a direct result of the award. Reed has already heard from residents and school employees about partnering in upcoming school years to secure the aid for the area.

Those unable to attend the town hall are encouraged to share their thoughts with Reed through his website ( or Facebook ( Individuals can also sign up for regular updates through Reed’s website (

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Aquatic Life Workshop on Saturday

PORTVILLE, N.Y. – Participants of this workshop will leave no stone unturned at the Pfeiffer Nature Center.

From noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, the Eshelman Property at 1420 Yubadam Road in Portville will be the site of Nature 101 – Aquatic Life headed by Christopher Anderson, a former Sea World aqua handler.

Participants will go to a nearby creek in search of various aquatic life, such as minnows, crayfish and frogs. Please wear old sneakers since this will be a hands on, feet wet afternoon.

The cost is $8 per person. Reservations must be made by Thursday by calling the PNC at 716.933.0187.

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Crash Closes Route 62

Route 62 in the Russell area was closed for about an hour Saturday evening after a tractor-trailer hit a pickup truck and both of them ended up blocking the road.

No one was hurt in the crash.

Police say the pickup driven by 28-year-old Jerry Rhoades of Sugar Grove was stopped on Route 62, waiting to make a left turn into Werner Park, when it was hit from behind by the tractor-trailer, driven by 25-year-old Aaron Phillips of Brahnport, New York. The tractor-trailer eventually stopped just past Werner Park, blocking both lanes. The pickup was blocking the northbound lane.

The road was closed while the wreckage was being removed. Police say charges of following too closely are pending against Phillips.

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