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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Bartlett Seeking Republican Nod for
McKean County Sheriff

Hiel “Butch” Bartlett, a local police officer with more than 19 years of experience in law enforcement, has thrown his hat in the ring for McKean County sheriff.

Bartlett is seeking the Republican nod in the upcoming May Primary Election..

“With your support, I look forward to having the opportunity to make the McKean County Sheriff's Department into a public serving agency which will strive to ensure the safety and protection of the residents of our great county,” he said.

Bartlett has spent the last 15 years as a police officer with the City of Bradford Police Department. While employed at the City of Bradford Police Department he held the position of Detective and now serves as a School Resource Officer in the Bradford Area School District.

“In my time working as a School Resource Officer I have had many opportunities to work with our students and see firsthand how amazing these students truly are,” he said. “In my first year as School Resource Officer I started a Criminal Justice Club comprised of students ranging from grade nine to grade twelve who are interested in exploring more about the fields of police, fire, and EMS service.

“The club, which now has more than 45 active members, prides itself on being a community-serving club and have assisted the Bradford community with several different events.”

Most recently the students sponsored the National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day Walk, which encouraged community members to come out and show thanks to the local police departments.

He is also a Certified Instructor for Patrol Response to Active Shooters and of the ALiCE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) Program.

The ALiCE Program is designed to prepare students, staff and the community on what to do in the event of an active threat situation. I have worked to train employees of The Bradford Area Schools, Port Allegany Schools, Otto-Eldred Schools, Austin School District, Beacon Light, The Learning Center, Saint Bernards School, Zippo, Case, Bradford Township Fire Department, Derrick City Fire Department and the City of Bradford Fire Department.

“It is my goal as sheriff to continue these trainings county wide to insure that all police, fire, and EMS personnel in McKean County are trained and knowledgeable of the ALiCE response program so that in the event of an active threat, we are prepared to respond as a team and successfully protect all of McKean County's citizens.:

He also would like to use the opportunity as Sheriff to offer school districts throughout the county that have been unable to staff a School Resource Officer, a sheriff's deputy to help protect our children and school staff.

“Having additional School Resource Officers available throughout the county will insure that no School District will have to go unprotected when school is in session” .

He also wants to address training for jail employees.

“We can begin by insuring that our McKean County Jail staff receives up to date training on handling the modern day criminal. Our jail staff has a very hard job dealing with the people our community has decided we do not want out in public until their punishment time has been served.

“Providing them with proper training can help us make our jail a place where criminals will not want to go because we will not cater to their every request. Jails are designed to decrease the comfort levels of those incarcerated in them, not to provide them with perks they have not earned the right to be given. “

“I have always prided myself as a police officer in standing up for what is right and to make fair and unbiased judgments when facing any situation. I am a firm believer in our U.S. Constitution and am a strong supporter of our second amendment right.”

Bartlett graduated in June 1989 from Salamanca (N.Y).Central High School. After graduation he completed an associate degree in Applied Police Science from Jamestown (N.Y.) Community College. Then went on to attend the Mercyhurst Municipal Police Academy where he obtained my Act 120 Police Certification.

He and his wife, Christine Warfield-Bartlett, reside in Bradford Township.

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

Saturday Water Update

As expected, the last 24 hours pushed the water system closer to normal operational levels. Overnight, the authority had several new reports of minor line breaks that are considered normal for this time of year.

If you are you are a residential water customer and still do not have water, you probably have a frozen pipe in your home or frozen service line from the main line to your home. You will need to call a private plumber or contractor to resolve frozen pipes of any sort.

Additionally we are still under the emergency declaration with anticipation of that declaration being lifted at a special council meeting scheduled for noon on Monday. All residents and commercial customers are reminded to continue to follow the strict water conservation request

The emergency operations center is being moved to the central fire station at 25 Chestnut Street with operating hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Central Fire Station is also the sole location for drinking water distribution. To contact the emergency operations center call 814-368-3141.

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

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Churches Offer Help

The Red Cross has set up a shelter at the Sawyer Evangelical Church at the intersection of South Kendall Avenue and Looker Mountain Trail. Water is also available at the church if you bring your own containers.

The First Wesleyan Church of Bradford has a well, so if anyone need water, they are welcome to go to the church and get as much as they need. Everyone is welcome.

The Church of the Ascension on Chautauqua Place is hosting a free soup lunch on Thursday. The lunch is being made in Warren and will be serve in Bradford from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. They are offering soup, bread, fruit and drinks, but no restroom facilities. Everyone is welcome.

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

Scarnati, Causer Issue Statements:

(HARRISBURG) – Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25) has issued the following statement regarding Monday’s water main break in the City of Bradford in McKean County:

“The water main break on Monday in the City of Bradford has necessitated that local officials declare a State of Emergency. The next week will certainly be challenging for the community, as work is underway to restore the water supply to the City and surrounding areas that have been affected.

“I have spoken with Mayor Riel and will continue to work with the Governor’s Office, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and state and local officials to ensure that the community has assistance with this emergency situation

HARRISBURG – Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) issued the following statement regarding the ongoing emergency water situation in the Bradford area:

“This obviously is a difficult and potentially dangerous situation for all involved. With an estimated 18,000 customers without water service, it is important that we all work together to get through this.

“I would like to thank the dedicated crews at the Bradford City Water Authority, as I know they are working as hard as they can, around the clock, to get this major water line fixed and to restore service.

“Although I am in Harrisburg for voting session this week, I am in regular contact with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and county and local officials as we work to ensure a coordinated response.

“People in need of drinking water or other assistance should contact the City of Bradford Central Fire Station at 814-368-3141. Also, a shelter has been set up at the Sawyer Evangelical Church, located at the intersection of South Kendall Ave and Looker Mountain Trail.”

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

Update from Police Chief Chris Lucco:

The City of Bradford Water Authority is anticipating the present condition to extend for several days, the following advisory is being issued to assist the community:

-Obviously a major concern of this issue is the health and sanitation of the citizens, with that being said the disposal of waste in your toilets can be done by melting snow and putting it into your toilet tank and flushing in this manner.

-If your heating system is dependant on water pressure from the Bradford Water Authority you should be prepared to be without heat for the duration of this emergency. Take necessary safety precautions.

-The Red Cross will have some shelter space available to those in need at the Sawyer Evangelical Church, located at the intersection of South Kendall Ave and Looker Mountain Trail.

-If persons are in need of water, the City of Bradford had secured bottled water that will be available to area residents upon request. If you have an immediate need of drinking water tonight and do not have the financial means or transportation to get water it may be provided. For drinking water needs: call 814-368-3141

-If persons are in need of transportation to the shelter, it can be provided.

-It is Important that people do not call the command center for nuisance issues or obvious problems.

- There will be several locations made available to area residents to pick up drinking water beginning Wednesday morning.

This unfortunate situation is still evolving with many unknowns to unravel. Further updates will follow as more information becomes available.

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

Water-Related Closings and Cancellations

For the latest list of closings and cancellations due to the State of Emergency/Water Crisis in Bradford, go to http://www.wesb.com/news/closings/.

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

Charges Against Stidd Dismissed

Bradford businessman Steve Stidd started the day in McKean County Jail charged with criminal homicide. He’ll end the day a free man.

Stidd was charged after shooting his son-in-law Mel Bizzarro on January 16 in the parking lot behind Togi’s Family Restaurant on East Main Street.

The homicide charge – along with charges of involuntary manslaughter and voluntary manslaughter that were added this morning – were dismissed following a hearing in front of District Judge Dominic Cercone.

Stidd’s attorney Greg Henry made a motion after district attorney Ray Learn presented the state’s case, saying that Learn did not prove Stidd did not act in self-defense.

In fact, Henry argued, two of the state’s witnesses made Stidd’s case for self-defense.

In an emotionally wrenching 9-1-1 call played by Learn, Stidd’s wife Barbara can be heard telling the 9-11 operator, “(Bizzarro) attacked my husband” and her husband shot him.

Kevin Rhebergen, a truck driver who was delivering food to Togi’s that morning, said he had seen Stidd and Bizzarro arguing and, although he didn’t see Bizzarro hit Stidd, he did see Stidd’s head and shoulders go back as if there had been some kind of impact. He added that Stidd was trying to catch his balance and stepping away while Bizzarro was following him.

He also testified that it looked to him as if Stidd was trying to get away from Bizzarro and into the restaurant but Bizzarro was blocking his path.

Rhebergen also said when he went up to Stidd after the shooting he had a gash on his forehead and was wiping away blood that was running down his face.

He also said Stidd was looking down on Bizzarro, shaking his head and saying, “I warned him. I told him (I had a gun). He wouldn’t back off.”

During his cross examination of Rhebergen Henry tried to ask about the fact that back in 2005 Bizzarro spent time in jail for threatening and assaulting Stidd, who was seriously injured and required medical treatment. But Learn objected and Cercone sustained that objection because it was beyond the scope of the direct examination.

As for the bullet that had the letters “M-E-L” carved into it, Henry argued that the prosecution did not prove when it was carved – that day or 10 years ago – or even if Stidd is the person who did it.

Henry also said, despite the bullet, there was no proof Stidd intended to kill Bizzarro that morning.

Learn argued that Stidd “had a clear path to retreat” by going to his car, and he didn’t necessarily have to go to the restaurant as Rhebergen said it appeared he was trying to do.

Henry countered that because Bizzarro was younger, bigger and faster than Stidd, “he wouldn’t have made it 5 feet, let alone 54 feet” to his car.

That argument is “preposterous,” Henry said.

Before announcing his ruling, Cercone said this was a “tough case.”

After announcing that he was dismissing the charges, supporters of both Stidd and Bizzarro reacted, to which Cercone said, “This is an ugly case. There are no winners.”

Henry told WESB Stidd would have to be taken back to the jail, but would likely be released later today.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Boil Water Advisory

The Bradford City Water Authority is now advising residents to boil water, or use bottled water, because of the water main break near Campus Drive.

You should use boiled or bottled water for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth and food preparation until further notice.

Inadequately treated water may contain disease-causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites, which can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches.

The water authority will let us know when we no longer need to boil our water.

Also, classes at Pitt-Bradford are cancelled for tonight because of the break.

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

Water Main Break in West Bradford

UPDATE: Bradford Township Fire Chief Dan Burkhouse says people who still have water should limit their use of it, just in case.

A break in a 24-inch water main has forced access roads to Pitt-Bradford to be closed, and may affect much of the Tuna Valley. Water Authority Director Kim Benjamin tells WESB they are currently assessing the situation, but "a boil water advisory may be forthcoming." Benjamin will keep us updated on the situation, and we'll pass that on to you.

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