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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Tough Penalties for Open Records Violators

Tougher penalties could await open-record violators (From The Towanda Review)
HARRISBURG — Along with giving citizens greater access to government records, lawmakers propose to toughen penalties for public officials who violate access rules.

An open-records bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, would triple fines for a summary first offense from the current $300 to $1,000 and allow fines up to $2,000 for subsequent offenses. These fines would be imposed if a public official intentionally violates the law. Under the bill, if an official defied a court order, he would face a civil penalty of $500 a day.

The proposed fine structure in Mr. Pileggi’s bill parallels an open-meetings bill passed last month by the Senate. The open-meetings bill sponsored by Sen. Gibson Armstrong, R-Lancaster, would increase fines for a first offense up to $1,000, a ten-fold increase above the current fine of $100.

Mr. Armstrong’s bill also requires public officials to pay fines out of their own pockets and bars them from seeking reimbursement from a government agency. Senators plan to dovetail the provisions of the open-records and open-meetings bills as much as possible, said David Atkinson, spokesman for Mr. Armstong.

Mr. Pileggi’s bill is one of several pieces of open-records legislation seeking to modernize a 50-year-old law that considers government records not open to the public unless they fit a narrow definition of what constitutes a public record.

Local prosecutors justify not prosecuting open-records and open-meetings law violations on grounds the fines are insignificant, said Barry Kauffman, director of Pennsylvania Common Cause. “A prohibition with no fine is kind of scoffed at,” he added.

The Pennsylvania Newspaper Association supports a fine increase for open-records violations.“We believe the penalties should be increased so the law creates an incentive for people to comply,” said PNA Counsel Teri Henning. She said it’s just as important to mandate access training for public officials so they fully understand the law and avoid situations where they would be subject to a fine.

Contact the writer:

Bridget Sheehan--Bike and Build

The last couple days have been increasingly hard as our mileage increases and our directions get even more confusing. It's just not the same turning around on a bike as it is in a car. Everyday somehow i get to the destination, but on the way sometimes i really think i am going to give up.

The other day for instance, on the way from Poughkeepsie to white lake there was a major communication breakdown in the directions. Right away the group i was with got lost. even team A had trouble.

Team A is what we like to call the people who immediately leave, bike really fast and get there like 8 hours before everyone. I myself am in team Q possibly. I stop everywhere, swim, eat, drink, pee, etc...anyways...we got lost right after we crossed the Hudson and until we entered the great town where Woodstock happened. SO i was quite grumpy and tired the whole day.

The amazing thing has been however, that when we see people on the side of the road or in a restaurant they give us money because they support our cause. and when we finally do get to our destination the people that greet us are so amazing that i forget about how angry and grumpy i was and all the hills and mountains i just went over and it doesn't matter anymore.

So today is our day off and we had a car wash for habitat and raised about $900. Which is great! I have never made that much in a car wash before and it was pretty fun.

But i do have to say, relating to cars, PA has horrible drivers who hate bikers. I almost got ran off the road many times and cars just couldn't stop beeping at me. i think they like the spandex!
Posted by Bridget

Editor's note: Many of Pennsylvania's roadways do have narrow lanes and no shoulders, making it very dangerous for bikers and motorists when they come around curves or over rises in the road. Bikers should ride single file, never three abreast, and be ready to hit the shoulder to avoid a collision.

Motorists and especially truckers along the Route 6 corridor should be alert to the fact that 30 bicyclists will be sharing the road in small groups, and watch out for them. If you know companies trucking in this corridor this week, you might want to call them and alert them to the bicycles on the roadway.

If you have a cb radio, pass the word on to the trucks you meet, if you don't, flash your lights to oncoming traffic to alert them to slow down in the vicinity of the bicyclists.

Click on Bridget's link on the lower right to see some great pictures from the road.

Terra Curtis--Bike and Build--Towanda Tomorrow

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Apologies for the delay
It's strange. The internet was such an intergral part of my life pre-B&B that I never imagined it to be so elusive. I am here for 14 more minutes on this library computer in Clark Summit, PA. I am trying to upload some photos, so as long as that works as I'm writing this, you can check them all in "Terra's Gallery" here.

I have been having a wonderful time and can't even begin to explain the trip in words, much less rushed words. Yesterday I woke up with a song stuck in my head, but the only lyrics I could remember were "sun, sun, sun"'s a song called Burgundy Shoes by Patty Griffin, if you care to fill in the blanks.

I awoke in a cabin in White Lake, NY to a beautiful sunny day and a large brown cow outside my window. It had migrated over through the woods from the farm next door. A bit of a rude awakening as I stumbled out to the bathroom and remembered Pastor Dave's warning about the family of bears nearby.

I had a great day biking with Amelia as sweep riders - maybe even the best day I've had so far. We passed over very hilly but less mountainous terrain (two days ago we climbed a 4-mile long hill...followed by an AMAZING 2 or 3 mile decent). Nothing beats hitting nearly 50mph on a bike.

As we came into the Delaware river valley, we stopped to take pictures and were approached by a woman from the Narrowsburg (sp?) River Reporter. She took our names, a photo, and our story and will likely be publishing an article next Thursday or Friday, so be sure to check it out.

Amelia and I crossed the river after a while and stopped to take a picture at the Pennsylvania state sign. Luckily, there were a row of cars for sale parked randomly beneath the sign (weird, right?) so we had a perfect prop for the self-timed camera.

As soon as we passed into PA, the road size and form changed. It was suddenly made of some red material and there was absolutely no shoulder. The drivers were a little more cranky, too, but overall not too bad.

We biked on and on, eventually hitting our lunch stop around 12:30. We left lunch for the remaining 40 miles around 2:15. By the time we had covered the rest of the route it was almost 7pm, but the scenery we passed through was so beautiful I couldn't complain one bit. Also, at the slower pace, my legs felt extremely strong, the strongest they've felt so far.

Even still, they're enjoying the day off today.Today was supposed to be a build day, but instead, we helped out a local high school Habitat Chapter in raising money for their trip to West Virginia to build in the spring.

They held a car wash in the parking lot of the church where we're staying - Our Lady of the Snows. So, we all rolled out of bed at approximately 8:45am (I couldn't believe I actually slept that late) and right out to the car wash at 9. It ws the most successful car wash I've ever been a part of - we raised $847!

Tomorrow, we're off to Towanda, PA. We have about 7,000 feet to climb, but over the whole course we'll actually be decending a few hundred feet. Oh, and last night over a few beers, Tommy and I just may have made our Seattle-San Francisco trip approximately 1,200 miles longer...Sante Fe, anyone?

Bike and Build--Evan Dana Posts From Scranton

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Scranton, PA
In order to view our daily group journal entry, please visit:,com_wrapper/Itemid,208/I'll be writing tomorrow's entry, and we'll hopefully be able to post it soon. Internet access is less than consistent. Ok, enough on that.

We're all greatly enjoying our first "day off", which started with an enjoyable gross-matinee (8:30!). I biked pretty hard all week and racked up 380+ miles already! Thursday's ride was a great beautiful and hilly 76miles into White Lake, NY. I pushed it hard most of the way and really felt it on yesterday's 74miles.

The group I'm traveling with is absolutely phenominal! We're bonding unbelievably quickly and all getting along great. I think it's working out significantly better than any other group trip because at the heart of it we all are passionate about biking and community service.

We are quite busy each day, with very little (if any) down time. Our day starts with packing up and breakfast, then biking, eating, biking, eating (etc...), showering, eating, presenting our cause to our local host, bike maintenance, and sleeping. Yeah, busy. Yeah, a blast!Wishing you all the best!
Posted by Evan

Farmer's Market On The Courthouse Square

On Saturday, June 16, 2007, there was a lot of activity on the Coudersport Courthouse Square. There was music in the Gazebo, merchants and flea marketers, and the Farmer's Marker set up around the square. Here are some pictures. Click on any picture to enlarge.

Teri Peasley from Genesee sells plants to finance college at Slippery Rock State U.

Plants and baskets are just some of the products offered at the Farmers Market.

Spectators applaude the music on the square Saturday.

Shoppers at the Farmers Market enjoyed music from the gazebo on the square.

And God's Country Popcorn is always good while you are out on the square.

Hungry farm market attendees look over the goodies at the Coudersport Jubilee food tent

A nice selection of birdhouses offered on the Square.

Customers look over the wares on the Courthouse Square Saturday.

Cynthia Jones buys a rosemary plant at the Coudersport Farmers Market Saturday

The Beef and Ale House offers, beef on wick, corn on the cob, and coleslaw on the square for $6.00 on Saturday.

Historic Car Races At Watkins Glen This Weekend

June 15, 2007

if you go
•What: Watkins Glen Historic Races
•When: Today, Saturday and Sunday
•Where: Watkins Glen International
•Tickets: $20 for the weekend, $15 for Sunday only; $5 for ages 6-12; free for ages 5 and under.

WATKINS GLEN -- The racing season at Watkins Glen International hits second gear this weekend with the Watkins Glen Historic Races.This is the second race weekend at the Glen, following on the heels of last weekend's Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen.

Racing begins at 8 this morning with practice sessions and continues all day Saturday and all day Sunday.

The weekend is sanctioned by Historic Sportscar Racing, whose motto is, "The cars are the stars." Fans have typically been able to see winning cars from past events such as the 12 Hours of Sebring, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Daytona during the Historic weekend.I

n an attempt to keep the races close, cars are grouped by type and engine size.Among the cars that are scheduled to race this weekend are the IMSA GT Challenge, the single-seat Can-Am Series, Historic Formula Cars, including 3-liter Formula One, F500 and Fomula 2; Historic GTP/Group C/WSC B.O.S.S.; Super Cup Series, Jo Bonnier 2 Litre Cup Championship of Makes Series, Historic GT Series, Historic Stock Cars, Anglo-American GT Challenge, Klub Sport Porsche Challenge, and Rolex Endurance Challenge Series.

The next specatator event at Watkins Glen after this weekend is the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix, July 6-8.

Laurel Festival Continues Today at Wellsboro

•9 a.m. -- Laurel Festival 10K and Fun Run, Packer Park.
•9 a.m. to 7 p.m. -- Arts and Crafts Fair and International Street of Foods, the Green.
•Noon -- Performance by Mighty St. Joe's Alumni Drum Corps.
•2 p.m. -- Laurel Festival Parade.
•8 p.m. -- Coronation of 2007 Pennsylvania Laurel Queen.
•10:30 a.m. -- Union Church Service, on the Green.

State Police Report Theft On Grover Hollow Road

From WFRM:

Coudersport-based state police say they have a suspect in a Genesee Township theft, but the investigation is on-going.

Several items were taken from a garage on Grover Hollow Road this past Tuesday or Wednesday including a Craftsman Tool box containing about $3,000 worth of tools, a Clark Mig Welder, six piece Ryobi 18 volt tool kit, Craftsman Sander, and fiberglass hammer.

The tools and equipment belonged to Roy Thompson of Genesee and Paul Golish of Whitesville, NY.

PA State Police Open Web Site

From WESB News:

06/16/07 - The Pennsylvania State Police have unveiled a new recruitment Web site. Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller said the new site provides answers to many frequently answered questions about the cadet recruitment process.

It also includes videos that give visitors insight on what it's like to be a cadet attending the State Police Academy in Hershey. You can check out the new site at

Friday, June 15, 2007

Mike Manning Ready to Finish Cross Country Ride For Burn Survivors

Cross-Country Ride for Burn Survivors Grand Finale Set for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

Firefighter Faces Huge Obstacles But Keeps Going To Support Survivors

Click on Mike Mannning Feel The Burn link on the lower right to read about Mike's Grand Finalle.

Laurel Festival Parade Saturday in Wellsboro

Laurel parade features music
Thousands likely to attend on Saturday in Wellsboro.
June 15, 2007

By George Osgood
Star-Gazette Wellsboro Bureau

Laurel Festival schedule


•10 a.m.-9 p.m. -- Arts and Crafts Fair and International Street of Foods, the Green.

•Noon -- Queen's Welcome, porch of Tioga County Development Corp., 114 Main St.

•7:30 p.m. -- Queen's Preview and Concert, featuring The Uptown Band, Wellsboro High School.


•9 a.m. -- Laurel Festival 10K and Fun Run, Packer Park.

•9 a.m.-7 p.m. -- Arts and Crafts Fair and International Street of Foods, the Green.

•Noon -- Performance by Mighty St. Joe's Alumni Drum Corps.

•2 p.m. -- Laurel Festival Parade.

•8 p.m. -- Coronation of 2007 Pennsylvania Laurel Queen.


•10:30 a.m. -- Union Church Service, on the Green.

WELLSBORO -- It has often been said that there's no such thing as too much music in a parade.

The Pennsylvania Laurel Festival Parade, the longest in the Twin Tiers at more than an hour-and-a-half, may well test that theory.

"We have eight high school bands and Wellsboro's Rock L. Butler Middle School Band in the parade," festival Chairman Donna Phillips said. "Plus, we have nine other music groups taking part. It's going to be a very musical parade. That's for sure."

High school bands from Wellsboro, Wellsville, Avoca, Bath, Addison, Liberty, Cowanesque Valley and Corning will march in the parade, which begins at 2 p.m. Saturday, and if past patterns hold, will draw thousands of visitors to Wellsboro.

Also in the parade: Penn-Dixie Band, from Kingsley, Pa.; Reilly Raiders, from Philadelphia; Erie Thunderbirds Drum and Bugle Corps; Mighty St. Joe's Alumni Drum Corps, from LeRoy, N.Y.; Edward P. Maloney Memorial Pipe Band, from Delhi, N.Y.; Blue Eagles Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps, from Wind Gap, Pa.; Corning Area Community Concert Band; Penn-York Highlanders, from Athens; and Zafar Grotto String Band, from Williamsport.

"This year's parade will include top-notch drum-and-bugle corps, bagpipe groups and string bands, along with several other specialty music units and high school bands from throughout Pennsylvania and New York," Phillips said.

Among highlights: The Haverling Blue Regiment Marching Band from Bath will present a Latin-flavored parade show, "Tiger of San Pedro." The 73-member Wellsville High School Marching Lions will offer a parade show titled "Bad Medicine," based on the 1988 No. 1 hit of the same name by Hall of Fame rock 'n' roll band Bon Jovi.

That's not to say that it's all music.

Floats designed around the 2007 parade theme "Priceless Moments" will travel borough streets, hauling Laurel Queen candidates and others. Parade Marshal Mike Charles and members of the parade committee -- Jamie and Erin Butters; Marla and Andy McIlvain, "Woody" and Mary Wood; Nate Gage and Thomas Wagner -- have put together a diverse and appealing event, Phillips said.

Parade units include Company E of the Pennsylvania Bucktails, based in Mansfield, and a Confederate counterpart: the 18th North Carolina Regiment, based in New Berlin, Pa. Mansfield's Sesquicentennial Committee will enter a float, as will Tioga County Pomona Grange. Post 51 of Veterans of the Vietnam War, from Hughesville, will march, as well as representatives of the Sgt. Christopher M. Pusateri All Airborne Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association. Smokey Bear will, of course, take part, as well as Uncle Sam, Relay for Life, Endless Mountains Music Festival, Tony's Trolley and Rex Johnson of Wellsboro, in a vintage Pennsylvania State Police uniform and a restored 1938 Plymouth police car.

The parade forms at Wellsboro High School and travels down Nichols Street to Queen Street, to Main Street, to King Street, to Walnut Street and to Central Avenue.

Though the parade doesn't hit the streets until Saturday, lawn chairs and blankets begin staking out prime spots along the parade route by Thursday.

By parade time, spectators will likely be five or six deep in some areas.

"It's definitely the highlight of the Laurel Festival," Phillips said. "It's the most popular thing we do. Many people come year after year. There will be tour buses from all over the state. That's the kind of event it is."

State Police Report Incidents in Potter

STATE POLICE, COUDERSPORT--From the Elmira Star-Gazette--June 15

•Police are investigating a burglary at a residence north of Notch Road in West Branch Township. Someone entered through a skylight sometime May 31 or June 1. Stolen were 30 pairs of gold earrings valued at $1,500; a man's stainless steel watch, $200; a rechargeable spotlight, $25; a double-barreled shotgun, $500; four two-way radios, $200; two two-way radios with GPS units, $697; binoculars, $750; compact binoculars, $250; a yellow rechargeable spotlight, $40; $2,000 in cash; and all-terrain vehicles, $5,500 and $5,300.

•Robert L. Nelson, 37, of Portville, N.Y., was charged June 2 with driving while intoxicated, criminal trespass, reckless endangerment, fleeing police, public drunkenness, speeding, careless driving, reckless driving and unlawful activities. He was arraigned in District Court and committed to the Potter County Jail in lieu of $100,000 cash bail

Don't Drink The Water

by Jan Baumgartner

The Bush administration must be giving thanks to their own personal God (the one they have on retainer and who took an oath to protect and serve only a few good men) that much of the fear factor and blame on our increasingly tainted food supply is being pointed in the direction of other countries, primarily, China.

For an administration that ran on the virtues of accountability and responsibility, taking ownership of one's actions and/or policies, they have failed miserably. While China may very well be exporting tainted products, who is allowing them entry into the U.S., let alone filtering into the myriad channels of our food supply?

Lately, the White House and media alike, seem to play tag highlighting the corruption of certain countries who have wronged us in some way - either through killing or sickening our pets, frightening our children of the hazards of brushing their teeth, or exposing Latin American countries for their bacteria-laden food products that mysteriously find their way onto our dinner tables.

How is that?

While glaring across the ocean, pointing an increasingly shaky finger in the direction of China, the Bush administration, as well as the mainstream media, have forgotten to look in our own backyard, saying little about the 75,000 Marines and their families possibly poisoned at Camp Lejeune.

Over the last thirty years, these servicemen and their families may have been drinking toxic tap water tainted with poisonous dry cleaning substances that are known to cause cancer and birth defects. Can't blame China for that one.

And what about the seemingly constant recalls for E.coli tainted beef, poison spinach, and salmonella thick peanut butter? What foreign country can we blame for this? For sickening and killing a number of Americans?

We allow some bacteria-crawling fruits, vegetables, seafood and other products to cross our borders from other countries. It gets our stamp of approval. But if anyone gets sick, the blame is put squarely on the shoulders of the country of origin -- not the country that allowed access and availability to our supermarket shelves.

That said, the foods that have caused the greatest outbreaks of illness - the beef, spinach, peanut butter - didn't come from a scary country far, far away, but from our own farms, factories and slaughterhouses.

If the FDA and other governmental "watchdog" agencies cannot do their jobs or take responsibility for the trash piling up in our yards, how on earth do we expect to safeguard any substance imported into this country and put into our collective mouths?

The poisonous tap water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina was not tainted by an al-Qaeda sleeper cell, a Saddam Hussein loyalist, or undercover Taliban extremists living in tony golf communities abutting the military base. Nor did the Chinese poison it. Nor did illegal immigrants from across our "broken borders."

The landmines and skeletons are scattered about our own backyards. But naturally, Mr. Bush has no knowledge of this. As he keeps reminding us, the evil-doers and those hell-bent on destroying Americans and our way of life, and as they say in Maine, are "from away."
Perhaps the Woody Allen quote sums it up best, "some people drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle."

Too bad Bush hadn't drunk deeply from the well at Camp Lejeune. Maybe then he would have a better understanding about where the true dangers really lurk.

A native Californian, Jan Baumgartner is a freelance writer currently living in Maine. Her background includes scriptwriting, comedy writing for the Northern California Emmy Awards, and travel writing for The New York Times. She has worked as a grant writer for the non-profit sector in the fields of academia, AIDS, and wildlife conservation and research for NGO's in the U.S. and Kenya. Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous online and print publications. Her travels in Africa are the inspiration for much of her work. She's finishing a memoir about her husband's death from ALS.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Free 411 Calls From Your Cell Phone

>Free Directory Service for Cells>>Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 to $1.75 or more for 411 information calls when they don't have to. Most of us do not carry a telephone directory in our vehicle, which makes this situation even more of a problem. When you need to use the 411 information option, simply dial: (800) FREE 411, or (800) 373-3411 without incurring any charge at all. Program this into your cell phone now.

Bridget Sheehan Rides with Bike and Build

Bridget Sheehan
Buffalo, NY
Ithaca College

Some may be considered cyclists, while others may just ride for leisure; I myself am neither of these. I enjoy signing up for long and intense bike rides for causes, like the 100 mile AIDS Ride for Life in Ithaca, New York. I usually never properly train for these and end up being quite sore at the end of it all.

I think this whole riding across country thing will change my approach to cycling, however, and I am excited about it!

Currently I am a senior advertising major at Ithaca College but I am studying in Los Angeles, CA where it all happens (apparently)! Here in LA I am interning with and working as an extra on shows like “ER” and “Two and a Half Men”.

There is really only one word to describe LA: bizarre. All the stereotypes are true. The traffic is horrendous, the nightlife is amazing, you see celebrities everywhere you go, and everybody works in “the industry.”

While I’m here in LA I am trying to ride the stationary bike in the gym as much as possible so that I can begin preparation for Bike and Build 2007! Yes, this will be the first time I will prepare for a long distance bike ride, and I think it will be worth it. This will also be the first time I have a road bike and the proper gear, like padded bike shorts and bike gloves. Yes I am obviously a novice at this.I

heard about Bike and Build from friends who previously enjoyed the trek from Providence to Seattle. They noted it as ‘the best experience of their life.’ I graduate in May 2007 and before I enter the so-called “real world” I wanted to have the best experience of my life. I think doing something you love while raising awareness for important issues like affordable housing is something more young people should be doing.

I have done projects here and there throughout high school and college with Habitat for Humanity but I have never fully committed to donating my time to an affordable housing project. Bike and Build will allow me to meet with so many others who have the same interests as me and who are eager to see the tangible results of our work. I know I have so much to learn about affordable housing, my motivation is there, and I am so excited to journey into this new adventure!

16 Women Remember Cross Contry Bike Trip In Reunion

Local woman reunites with cross-country bikers

Some people hate the idea of traveling cross-country by airplane or, even worse, by car. For city resident Barb Jarmoska and 15 other women from around the world, traveling more than 3,000 miles by bicycle was nothing at all.

In an “insane moment,” as one of the women described it, the individuals signed up for a 57-day biking trip from San Diego, Calif., to St. Augustine, Fla. They left on March 10, 2006, and finished the following May 4.

When it came to a close, the women agreed they would have a reunion. Jarmoska volunteered and made arrangements for the 15 women to arrive in Williamsport.This area is beautiful and is a great place to bike, Jarmoska said, though joking that “you have to like hills.

”On Monday, the group rode to Rose Valley Lake, about a 15-mile trip from their starting point at the Genetti Hotel. They toured Rose Valley Naturals soap makers and had a picnic by the lake, Jarmoska said.“With this reunion, I’m doing my best to showcase our area,” she said.

“(We’ll see) Amish culture in Union County, the mountains of Sullivan County, the many vistas and back roads of Lycoming County and, of course, Millionaire’s Row in downtown Williamsport,” Jarmoska said.

Other features include a visit to the Saturday Farmer’s Market and dining in a different restaurant every night, so “the women have a chance to sample a variety of local and ethnic foods,” Jarmoska said.

“The entire region has so much to offer cyclists.”The women’s original cross-country tour was organized by Woman Tours, a company that designs biking tours specifically for women who are at least 50 years old. The founder of the group is a breast cancer survivor who made the trip on her own, Jarmoska said. She saw that it was a life-changing experience, Jarmoska said, and wanted to change other people’s lives, too.

Of the 15 who traveled with Jarmoska, four were under 50. The oldest woman, Lois Moore of Spokane, Wash., was 72.The women were making the phrase “growing old and liking it” come true, Jarmoska said.

They form a diverse group, with members hailing from Texas, Maine, Virginia, New Mexico, Maryland, Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, North Carolina, Colorado, Massachusetts and Australia.

Jarmoska’s group was the eighth to travel with Woman Tours. They “have joined an elite group of 200 women,” she said.Of the 57 days of the trip, the group spent 50 on their bikes. The women had one day a week off for rest.They averaged about 60 miles per day, with their longest day totaling 116 miles in New Mexico as they crossed the Continental Divide.

The trip was a ”mental growth experience,” Jarmoska said, explaining that they ran into all kinds of weather and terrain.

Unfortunately, not everything about the trip was good. Nineteen women started the ride, but only 16 finished. Two suffered broken bones and one died. Laraine Lagattolla of Kentucky was struck and killed by a vehicle while the group was in Cleveland, Texas.

Because of that tragedy, many of the women from the group participated in the Ride of Silence, an annual worldwide bike ride on May 16. Jarmoska organized Williamsport’s Ride of Silence for the past two years.

Most of the cyclists say their best experience of the trip was meeting each other and forming friendships that blossomed during and after the trip, Jarmoska said.“The 16 women gathered here is a tribute to a successful ride,” she said.

Window Smashed On Cow Hollow

WFRM Reports:

Sometime over the past couple of weeks, someone smashed a window in a Dodge Caravan owned by Kathryn Green while it was parked at her home on Cow Hollow Road, Roulette. Damage was estimated to be $500.

Habitat Builds Families by Building Houses

Building families by building houses


DAVID THOMPSON/Sun-GazetteShane and Amy Miller with their daughters, from left, Kierstin, 9, Alexa, 1, and Kaitlyn, 6, Wednesday during a dedication ceremony of their new Habitat for Humanity home on Charles Street. At far left is Rev. John Phillips, of Crossroads Community Church, Jersey Shore. At far right is Scott White, executive director of the Williamsport-Lycoming Habitat for Humanity.

Shane Miller could barely contain his emotions Wednesday as he thanked those involved with building the Habitat for Humanity home that he and his family began moving into later that day.“It means a lot,” he said. “I can’t say in words how important this is.”Miller, who spoke during a dedication of his home at 1139 Charles St., had a difficult time expressing his gratitude not only because of his emotions, but because there were simply so many people to thank.

The agency fulfills its mission of building affordable housing for low-income families by tapping into a wide range of funding sources, materials donors and volunteers.The agency counts STEP Inc., and city and county governments among its most valuable partners. Companies such as Wells Fargo provided large monetary donations for the project and PPL provided solar hot water heaters, agency board president Alice Fox said.

Miller acknowledged that he hadn’t met many of the people involved with the project, but told those attending the dedication that their work touched his entire family.Miller, his wife Amy, and daughters Alexa, 1, Kaitlyn, 6, and Kierstin, 9, are the second family to take ownership of a home at Ivy Way, the Williamsport-Lycoming Habitat for Humanity’s four-house project on the city’s east side.

The agency’s first multi-unit project was named after the late Ivy Wray Dawson and includes three houses on Charles Street and one on Sheridan Street. The agency dedicated the first home, which is next door to the Millers, in February.

Shane Miller said he and his family previously lived Jersey Shore in a two-bedroom mobile home, which was inadequate.The new house will not only provide more space, but incorporate the most energy-efficient technology and building materials available, Fox said.According to Fox, Robin Rotoli, Ivy Way’s first home owner, is paying an average of $77 a month in electrical bills.

Agency construction chairman David Daneker said Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to eliminate substandard housing and through its partnerships, it is doing that.Houses are built to the highest standards to give families the best chance of succeeding as home owners, he said.

But the agency builds more than houses, Daneker said. “What we are really doing is building families, building relationships and building homes,” he said. “The way we do that is by building houses.”Daneker said that many people have misconceptions about homes built by Habitat for Humanity, such as that homes are given away.

On the contrary, home owners must take a out a no-interest mortgage on the homes and put hundreds of hours of “sweat equity” into their homes while it is being built. That posed a problem for Miller, who works for Waldman Electric. His work schedule made it difficult to work at the construction site. However, Miller’s employer, Steve Waldman, allowed him to change his schedule so that he could work on the house every Tuesday and Saturday.

Miller said that without his boss’s cooperation, it’s doubtful he would have been able to get the required amount of hours in. Waldman also provided company vehicles to help the Millers move into their home.Miller thanked his and his wife’s parents for their support, especially for babysitting while the couple worked on the house, and added that he was also grateful for the help and patience of agency construction manager Larry Keisner. Keisner presented the Millers Wednesday with keys to their new house.

“(Keisner) is a very understanding foreman,” Miller said. “He takes each and every person and works with them.”Habitat for Humanity volunteers Sue Wright and Gayle Peters-Coates presented the family with a Bible and Rev. John Phillips, pastor of Crossroads Community Church, Jersey Shore, presented a scripture lesson from Matthew 7:24-27, and offered a dedication prayer.

The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s Williamsport branch filled the Miller’s food pantry with food, and the James V. Brown Library donated age-appropriate books for the children.Miller said that he was unaware of the quality of housing the agency provided until he became involved in building his own house.

“God really came through and answered a lot of prayers,” he said of being selected as a home owner.

The seeds to the local Habitat for Humanity were sown in 1984 when Ben and Ruth Keller spent two weeks working on a Habitat for Humanity project in Americus, Ga., where the group is headquartered.

The couple said they were so impressed with the group, they decided to purchase, for $35, the group’s “how-to” manual.The local group’s first project — a home rehabilitation — was launched in 1989.

To date, more than 30 homes have been built in Lycoming County and a five-unit project has been proposed for a parcel of land near the city’s Historic District.“Once you get into it, it becomes a big part of you,” Ben Keller said. “Especially when you see the families receive the homes, like today.”

Coudy Residents In Crash On I-78 Near Hamburg

Another tractor-trailer crashed into a line of cars stopped in a construction zone this afternoon on Interstate 78 in Tilden Township, causing a chain reaction and a traffic jam that lasted about an hour, police said.This time no one was hurt, unlike the crash that killed three people in a similar incident on I-78 last week.

Today, Richard Register Jr., 34, of Florida, was driving his truck east about 1:05 p.m. on I-78 near mile post 28, police said.He didn't see that traffic had stopped and plowed into the rear of a pickup truck driven by Kenneth Elrod, 59, of Coudersport, Potter County, police said. Elrod's passenger was Tammy Hallman, 58, also of Coudersport.

Elrod's truck rammed into the rear of a truck driven by Paul Barbato, 54, of New York, with a passenger, Louis Albantese, 57, of New York.Then Register's truck slammed into the side of Barbato's truck, police said.

A trooper at the state police Hamburg barracks said it took about 20 minutes to clear the crash site but traffic was delayed about an hour.He said traffic continued moving around the crash site.

Earlier this month, officials said a trucker caused a six-vehicle pile-up that killed three people.

On June 3, R. E. Gallman, 46, of Union, S.C., apparently fell asleep at the wheel of his eastbound rig loaded with frozen poultry at 12:42 p.m. and hit a line of cars that had slowed to merge to one lane before a construction site, near the Lehigh-Northampton county border.A Hellertown mother and daughter died in the fiery wreck.A New Jersey woman died from her injuries a day later.

Gallman has not been charged in the crash.

Read 3 comments »

Brad Jones Sends This From Florida--Fun In The Sun

Anybody want a construction job with Florida Power??"

Click Here: Must See

Is This Fair? What Do You Think?

Love him or loathe him, he nailed this one right on the head..........

By Rush Limbaugh:

I think the vast differences in compensation between victims of the September 11 casualty and those who die serving our country in Uniform are profound. No one is really talking about it either, because you just don't criticize anything having to do with September 11. Well, I can't let the numbers pass by because it says something really disturbing about the entitlement mentality of this country. If you lost a family member in the September 11 attack, you're going to get an average of $1,185,000. The range is a minimum guarantee of $250,000, all the way up to $4.7 million.

If you are a surviving family member of an American soldier killed in action, the first check you get is a $6,000 direct death benefit, half of which is taxable. Next, you get $1,750 for burial costs. If you are the surviving spouse, you get $833 a month until you remarry. And there's a payment of $211 per month for each child under 18. When the child hits 18, those payments come to a screeching halt.

Keep in mind that some of the people who are getting an average of $1.185 million up to $4.7 milli on are complaining that it's not enough Their deaths were tragic, but for most, they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Soldiers put themselves in harms way FOR ALL OF US, and they and their families know the dangers.

We also learned over the weekend that some of the victims from the Oklahoma City bombing have started an organization asking for the same deal that the September 11 families are getting. In addition to that, some of the families of those bombed in the embassies are now asking for compensation a s well.

You see where this is going, don't you? Folks, this is part and parcel of over 50 years of entitlement politics in this country. It's just really sad. Every time a pay raise comes up for the military, they usually receive next to nothing of a raise. Now the green machine is in combat in the Middle East while their families have to survive on food stamps and live in low-rent housing Make sense?

However, our own US Congress voted themselves a raise. Many of you don't know that they only have to be in Congress one time to receive a pension that is more than $15,000 per month. And most are now equal to being millionaires plus. They do not receive Social Security on retirement because they didn't have to pay into the system.

If some of the military people stay in for 20 years and get out as an E-7, they may receive a pension of $1,000 per month, and the very people who placed them in harm's way receive a pension of $15,000 per month.

I would like to see our elected officials pick up a weapon and join ranks before they start cutting out benefits and lowering pay for our sons and daughters who are now fighting. " When do we finally do something about this?"

If this doesn't seem fair to you, it is time to forward this to as many people as you can. How many people CAN YOU send this to? **************************** How many WILL YOU

Spitzer Supports Medical Marijuana in New York

Assembly set to OK medical-marijuana bill
from the Elmira Star-Gazette
June 14, 2007
Gannett News Service

ALBANY-- With Gov. Eliot Spitzer signaling his support, the state Assembly Wednesday voted 92-52 to adopt legislation making it legal for medical patients experiencing extreme pain to receive - and even grow - marijuana.

Assembly members approved a measure introduced by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, that allows patients who have been certified by their doctors to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana or 12 plants.

The state Senate is expected to introduce its own marijuana legislation, but the two chambers have not agreed on a final bill.

For those whom marijuana "is the only thing that gives them some degree of relief should have it available to them," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan. The Assembly vote came a day after Spitzer, who as a candidate for governor last year argued against medical marijuana, said he was open to signing such legislation. Spitzer said he changed his mind after discussing the issue with medical experts and patients.

While Spitzer's comments sparked optimism among supporters of medical marijuana that New York would join the dozen other states that have such laws, it remained unclear Wednesday whether enough support existed in the Senate to move the matter forward before the end of the state Legislature's session next week.

Critics of the Assembly bill charged that it would encourage patients to engage in drug deals, which would be dangerous and, under federal law, still illegal."What this bill does is force people who are suffering into the arms of criminals," said Assemblyman Jim Hayes, R-Amherst, Erie County.

Sen. Vincent Leibell, R-Patterson. said he hopes to have a medical-marijuana bill ready this week but cautioned that the details were still being crafted. He stressed that he wanted strict limitations on the dispensing and distribution of marijuana."This is a very narrow, limited piece of legislation that is being proposed," Leibell said. "It is meant for those doctors who work in the area of pain management. It is meant to be another tool for them to help their patients, many of whom will be terminally ill."

Leibell said he decided to support medical-marijuana legislation after having conversations with friends who are terminally ill and with talk show host Montel Williams, who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Although Leibell said he was hopeful that the Assembly and Senate could agree on a bill before the end of the legislative session next week, he conceded that many details needed to be resolved.

One possible sticking point was the Assembly's provision that allows patients to possess their own marijuana plants. Leibell said he wanted to see manufacture of the drug strictly controlled, perhaps even limited to the state Health Department."Certainly we are not going to let people have plants at home," Leibell said.

The Assembly bill was modeled after a similar law adopted in Rhode Island and designed to circumvent federal laws that make it illegal to sell or distribute marijuana. It allows a doctor to certify in writing that a patient has exhausted all other forms of pain relief and would benefit from marijuana. The patient would then present the doctor's certification to the state Health Department, which would issue a registration card allowing the patient to posses or grow marijuana.

Supporters of the Assembly legislation argue that it is necessary for patients to be allowed to grow their own plants, since federal law still prohibits the sale or production of marijuana, even for medical purposes. "The bill is not perfect," Gottfried conceded. "It is, I think, as good as we can get, given the federal law."

Fire Chief Says Fundraising Calls Bogus

From WFRM News:

Coudersport Volunteer Fire Chief Andy Dubots has asked WFRM to announce that the local department is not soliciting donations by phone.

He says a number of local residents have received calls from someone either saying they are collecting on behalf of the local department, or implying they are but the Chief says that is not the case. In fact, he is not aware of any area department conducting a fundraising campaign by phone.

If you wish to make a donation to a local department, make it through someone you know and trust.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Derrick Thiel Injured--Bike and Build

Pictured is Derrick Thiel, University of Virginia, Alexandria, VA

Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Posted by Terra Curtis
Poughkeepsie, NY
Hi all - writing from the library at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. We biked into town at about noon today. We only had about 30 miles of riding so we're here early and have a lot of time to hang out. Most of my stuff is still in the van which is en route so I can't upload any new photos just yet.

However, yesterday on our longest, hilliest ride yet (from Agawam, MA to Kent, CT) a few of us stopped to get lunch somewhere off the beaten path and ended up talking with a photographer who has some connection to CNN. He took us all outside the sub shop and took some photos -- hopefully hooking us up with a story on CNN. This all ocurred AFTER the sub shop have us 25% off and a woman handed us a $20. All in all, we each paid $2 for lunch and got B&B some good advertising. So that was the good news for the day.

The bad news is that one of our riders, Derrick, took a pretty nasty spill shortly after breaking away from the pack around mile 40. He was going about 30mph when his waterbottle came loose and in an attempt to adjust it he swerved and hit some gravel sending him off the road and hard onto the ground. By the time the rest of us arrived Derrick had already been picked up in the van and driven to the Kent School, cleaned up, and given crutches.

He decided he wanted to go to the hospital to get it checked out even though the school trainer thought it was probably only badly bruised. But he really couldn't even walk, and the X-ray ended up showing a broken pelvic bone. Everyone was really sad this morning when the leaders told us -- Derrick's parents were on the way to come and take him home.

He won't be riding with us anymore this summer because of a minimum 6 week recovery time, but he's already said he will ride next summer instead. We all really had only started to get to know each other, but because of the tasks we were conquering everyday, we all felt a lot closer than we would have been in any other situation.

I will miss Derrick a lot, and hope for his speedy recovery. You can send well wishes to

Despite Derrick's unfortunate fall, the ride yesterday was actually really great and forced me to push my limits even farther. I have never felt burning in my muscles that long or that strong. I was almost reduced to tears mutiple times, but knowing everyone else was feeling the same, I pushed through and was so impressed by everyone. Gotta run now, but more pictures will come later when I get the chance to upload.

Click on the bike and build links on the lower right margin for pictures and other posts

Gas Storage--Salt Refinery-- In Tioga County Planned

$750 million gas-salt project coming to area---from the Williamsport Sun-Gazette

TIOGA — Dominion Resources will construct a $750 million, 50 billion-cubic-foot natural gas storage facility and salt refinery here within the next several years, the Richmond, Va.-based company announced Tuesday.The storage facility will be built in Tioga, Farmington and Middlebury townships, according to Tioga County Commissioner Mark Hamilton.A public meeting will be held sometime in July, Hamilton added, but could not say when“Yes, it is something that is going to happen,” he said. “It’s in the same area Dominion and another company were looking to go into about 12 years ago.”

According to a Dominion news release, the storage factory project will integrate the high deliverability of storage in salt formations with the large capacity of depleted reservoir storage. “The result is an efficient, reliable operation that will bring competitive and flexible gas storage services to customers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic market areas,” according to the release.

The first phase will add 11.2 billion cubic feet of new natural gas storage. Initial construction is scheduled for 2009, when work will begin on two salt caverns to be added to the existing fleet of depleted reservoirs. Many new jobs will be created thanks to the projects, which include a salt refinery, said state Rep. Matthew E. Baker, R-Wellsboro.

Dominion, which already has several natural gas storage fields in the county, has offices in Harrison Valley, Sabinsville and Tioga.“Dominion’s new gas and salt refinery projects are two of the largest economic development ventures that have ever come to Tioga County,” Baker said. “This is essentially a win-win situation for both the energy company and local residents.”The salt refinery portion of the project would allow Dominion to process the various salt components involved in storing natural gas, according to a news release sent from Baker’s office. The refinery, which will be five to six stories high, will employ 75 individuals in addition to the nearly 200 construction jobs that would be created during the first two years of the project.

According to Dominion officials, the refinery will not generate noise and should result in a minimal increase in truck traffic — about 15 trucks per day.

Dominion will conduct an open season for the project beginning at 8 a.m. Monday and concluding at 5 p.m. July 17, its news release stated. “The future of natural gas storage is here,” said Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and CEO of Dominion. “The blending of capacity from traditional depleted reservoir storage and deliverability from salt caverns represents an exciting growth opportunity for Dominion’s storage assets. “Salt cavern storage is common in the producing area, but we are building this infrastructure close to the market area, where its advantages — high-deliverability, flexibility and expandability — will bring needed supplies to the market quickly, especially during peak weather conditions,” he said.

Dominion will leach salt out of deep, underground formations to form caverns using pumped circulated water, where gas can be stored at pressures typically higher than the depleted natural gas storage fields common in the Northeast market area. Gas can be repeatedly injected and withdrawn from the caverns, bringing great flexibility to the system in the winter. The salt cavern storage will be coupled with additional, lower-deliverability storage facilities to provide a flexible, reliable mix of gas storage service offerings.

The leached salt will be processed and then sold to the wholesale market.The second portion of this project will consist of eight storage caverns to be placed over a four-square-mile site, each of which will take up to two years to build. As planned, the facilities will be able to accommodate as many as 20 billion cubic feet of natural gas as well as process about 650,000 tons of salt each year.

Underground natural gas storage now exists within five miles of the proposed site, Baker said.“The new Dominion facility will bring family sustaining jobs to the area and infuse a great deal of vitality into the local economy,” he said. “This is a great opportunity for the Northern Tier.”

If approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and various state agencies, part of the project — two of its eight underground caverns — will be put in service in 2014, officials said.

Galeton Road Work To Start Monday

PennDOT to begin work in Galeton from the Bradford Era
By: MIKE SCHREIBER,Bradford Era Associate Editor

A majority of the buildings in downtown Galeton will soon disappear as part of a two-year, $3.8 million road construction project along U.S. Route 6 and Route 144.

On Tuesday, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials announced that seven buildings, including two homes, will be demolished in the borough during the work.

The project - which goes hand-in-hand with a multi-million dollar sanitary sewer project - will also include drainage improvements, the construction of retaining walls, lighting, the installation of a new traffic signal, improvements to sidewalks and roadway widening and paving.

PennDOT officials said work will begin on Monday, with a detour in effect directing westbound traffic to Route 2002 (West Street) and Route 1020 (Germania Street). Route 6 will be restricted to one lane, allowing eastbound traffic to move through the work zone.

"Practically all the buildings on our main street will be gone," borough secretary Annie Caracciolo said. "The buildings aren't really safe anymore and PennDOT wouldn't put in the new road if they weren't taken down.

"While it's going to be very nice when it's done, it will be empty downtown."
Officials said the buildings are vacant; of the two homes involved, one resident had to move and was provided with a new location to live through PennDOT. Caracciolo said about three buildings each will be left standing on both the northbound and southbound sides of the street.
"It will be visibly better and clean up the area," Caracciolo said of the project.

Among the structures being torn down include the former sites of the borough library and police station, an auto parts store and bank and appliance shop, among others. The library has been redeveloped in another location.

The borough has a population of 1,095 residents, according to Caracciolo.
Caracciolo said both the highway and sewer projects were being planned at the same time; borough officials decided to go ahead and complete the north side of the sewer line plan first to coincide with the construction project. The sewer work was mandated by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

According to PennDOT Community Relations Coordinator Marla Fannin, the work zone measures just under a half-mile.

PennDOT Project Manager Steve Fantechi said the project began as a betterment project, but was soon after upgraded to a capital project, which is more detailed than just maintenance work.
"The initial idea was to fix up the main street and retaining walls," Fantechi said, "but after we got into a study on the walls, we decided to remove the walls altogether and flatten the slope." Fantechi said only one current retaining wall will be extended.

Fantechi said the purpose of the retaining walls can be traced back to the downtown businesses, some of which are upwards of 100 years old.

"Two buildings are actually falling down right now and their foundations hold the roadway up," Fantechi said. "They need to come down to make sure the roadway is structurally fit."
Fantechi said the street will be "reconstructed," meaning the roadway will be excavated and replaced with a new surface. The utilities under the road will also be replaced.
Meanwhile, Fannin said part of the project will also entail improving the intersection of routes 6 and 144, which experiences a lot of truck traffic.

She said crews will likely center on demolishing the buildings and work on some of the retaining walls and embankment during this year's construction season, which will stretch into the late fall, weather permitting. Fannin said the entire project will be complete by late August of 2008.
Another element to the project involves a separate detour for bicycles - a rarity in a construction zone.

To move around the project, bike riders will use Sherman, Hammond, Clinton and Mill streets before joining the westbound detour of routes 2002 and 1020.
"Route 6 is known for its bicycle route," Caracciolo said, adding a portion of the new street will be allotted for bicycle traffic.

The contractor for the project is A.L. Blades & Sons Inc., of Hornell, N.Y.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Gov. Spitzer-- ( 2 million dollar lesson) Don't Mess With The Indians

WESB News:
06/12/07 - Senecas Send NYS Bill for Thruway Use

The state of New York will be getting a bill for more than 2 million dollars from the Seneca Nation of Indians. During a news conference this morning Seneca leaders said the state owes them the money for allowing motorists to drive across a 3-mile stretch of the New York State Thruway.

The Seneca's Tribal Council voted in April to rescind the 50-year-old agreement with the state that allowed a 60-mile stretch of Interstate 90 between Buffalo and the Pennsylvania line to cross the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation.

Tribal leaders say the bill they're sending to the state represents 28-thousand dollars per day -- at one-dollar per vehicle -- for that stretch of the Thruway over a six-week period retroactive to April 15th.

Natural Gas Storage Project Announced For Tioga County

WESB News:
06/12/07 -
Multi-Million Dollar Project in Tioga Co.

One of the nation's largest producers of energy is expanding in Tioga County Dominion has announced the Storage Factory Project, which would expand its natural gas storage capacity by up to 50 billion cubic feet . Construction is scheduled for 2009, when work will begin on two salt caverns.

Dominion expects to create 75-100 full-time positions in north central Pennsylvania, with an additional 200 construction jobs during the first two years. Depending on how many caverns are built, the project would cost between $500 million and $700 million.

US Congressman John Peterson says the nation needs new sources of natural gas, and the Storage Factory Project can provide the storage needed for the future. State Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati says "The Storage Factory Project enhances the state's role in natural gas storage and brings needed jobs to the Tioga County area."

Bridget Sheehan Posts For Bike and Build

The plus or minus 10 rule
yesterday was our first day out on the road and let me tell you my body felt the road. We left RI and we were supossed to ride 30 miles to connecticut, 46 miles later, we were there. Apparently there is a plus or minus 10 rule where the directions could be way over or way under mileage.

I ran out of water, the van never made it lunch, i was sore in every place possible, and in case you didnt know this state is full of hills! But even through all of this it was an amazing experience. Riding behind, in front and beside people who were motivating me and feeling the same way i was made it so much more rewarding and even a little easier. And the best part was arriving at a beautiful church in woodstock where we were welcomed with a BBQ chicken dinner, grilled veggies, potatoe salad etc..we had a wonderful time meeting and greeting all the wonderful people of woodstook.

Later on my friend from ithaca, a bike and build alumn, Todd, had his parents drop off amazing ice cream to us for dessert. Today we are in massachusetts rooming at our trip leaders house. this beautiful farm house where we will be camping in the backyard. and today went a lot better than yesterday, i had a snack, a good lunch, didnt run out of water, AND my tire blew on th eroad and i knew how to fix it!

Bike and Build--Brianne Posts Day 2 on The Road

11 June 2007

Day 2: Woodstock, CT to Agawam, MA

So Bridget, turns out, was pulling my feet toward her head in an attempt to flip me over in an apparent WWF wrestling move, to get me to stop snoring. I guess I need to get to the store and get some Breathe Right strips!

We packed up and headed out on the road by about 8.50a, after having a great breakfast the church provided us with. I had a bagel with strawberry jam (my favourite!), a bowl of Froot Loops, orange juice and a banana.

I was one of the last to set out, as I needed to top off the air in my tires. Evan, Win and I left just before the sweeps (the two riders pre-selected to stay at the back of the group and make sure everyone gets to the destination), but after 3.1 miles, I took a wrong turn and Evan quickly followed me. We rode on the wrong road for awhile, until we realized that our mileage wasn't on par with the cue sheet. We stopped someone along the road and asked what we were fearing, that we'd taken the wrong route, and turned back. By the time we had reached the fork where we'd incorrectly turned, we'd put on an additional 5.1 miles. Thank goodness Evan didn't seem pissed by it.

Evan was so incredibly encouraging on our ride today. He rode behind me and coached me on shifting up those intense hills and really was just amazing. We ended up catching up with Whitney and Jackie in Stafford, and Chantel caught up with us. The five of us rode together for awhile, and we stopped at Subway in Stafford and they were gracious to give us foot-long subs for free. And once we went outside to eat said subs, Ashley, one of the employees, came out and offered us free soda as well!

After meeting up with Tommy, the driver for the day, and telling him about our free lunch, we descended upon the the last towns before crossing the Connecticut River and into Massachusetts. We're staying tonight at Patrick's parents' house, which was built in 1764!

It's been raining and there has been thunder, so some of us are braving it outside in the tents while others of us are staying indoors. I haven't decided yet where I want to sleep. All I know is that there are mosquitoes inside and out (speaking of, Katya just killed one that landed on her arm), so I'm out of luck either way.

Today's ride was about 42.3 miles, though my odometer obviously says more. And yesterday's trip was supposed to be 30.2, but turned out about 10 miles more. Tomorrow's trip is 69 miles and is full of tons of hills, so please keep me in your thoughts! Tommy says that at one point we'll be climbing up an 8-mile hill. Hopefully, we'll all reach Kent, Connecticut in one piece.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Brianne Downing Reports From Bike and Build

Latest update from from Brianne's blog:
Last night I tried to get online for more than an hour, but to no avail.Yesterday was our first day on the trip. We woke up around 6.30a (well, I did because I packed the night before), packed the trailer at 7a and had our back tire dipping ceremony down at the Brown University boathouse at 9a before leaving Providence for Woodstock, Connecticut.

After taking a wrong turn (from the directions, I think ? by the time this happened, I had already lost my cue sheet) on the way out of Providence, we found our way back to the route and started up our first of many hills. That first one was difficult for me, as I usually just accept my lack of endurance, but I soon heard Anne behind me yell "I LOVE HILLS!" and several of us shouted the mantra over and over to help us reach the top.

We traveled through what looked like a really woody area with plenty of beautiful houses, and then we hit the hills. Many of them! The mantra really worked to help motivate us once again.

After awhile, I fell into a different riding group (we had just kind of split up naturally by pace) and rode for the rest of the trip with Courtney, Derrick, Whitney and Chantel. We ended up stopping at a gas station near the Rhode Island border for about 15 minutes, and shared a 3 Musketeers bar, two different kinds of Cape Cod chips (regular and cheese and sour cream) and something else, which escapes me right now.

Then, we rode a bit further and took about 15 minutes deciding on a pose and taking pictures at the state's highest peak (812 feet) before hopping on our bikes and riding about 4 minutes until we reached the Connecticut sign (which took another 30 minutes or so). Somewhere around there, I went down an awesome hill and reached 41 mph!

More later. I have to let Bridget get online and update her blog.Thanks for your comments! Keep 'em coming! But please include your name!

Feel The Burn--Mike Manning in Sacramento

Monday, June 11

We're Getting Close!!!! Yay!!!!
As we get ready for the grand finale of the Feel the Burn 2007 in San Jose we are very excited. I know this fundraiser is far from over but want to write some thoughts down for all of you before I am overcome with the daunting task of finding a full-time job to provide for my family.

We have raised over $15,000 (thanks to many of you reading this right now) and donations are still coming in, I have visited 9 burn centers:-Boston Shriner's Hospital-Ohio State University Burn Center, Columbus OH-Riley Burn Center, Indianapolis IN-Memorial Medical Center, Springfield IL-Burnett Burn Center at U of Kansas Hospital, Kansas City KS-Via Christy Regional Medical Center, Wichita KS-University of Colorado at Denver Burn Center, Denver CO-Denver Children's Hospital, Denver CO-The Arizona Burn Center, Phoenix AZand given out, with the help of 2 Germantown Fire Fighters, over 50 toys, crayons, books, and stuffed animals.

I have received many calls from burn survivors I've never met before expressing their gratitude and kindness regarding what we ALL have accomplished. Many nurses and doctors expressed their thanks to the Phoenix Society and to all firefighters for what we do and how we always remember that there are burn patients and burn survivors.

I have met many burn survivors who instantly became some of my closest friends and visited over 21 firehouses:Branford, CTHartford, CTBloomingburg, NYDalton, PACanton, PACoudersport, PAGermantown, OHMartinsville, INSpringfield FD, Springfield ILLittle Dixie Fire Protection District, Mexico, MO 573.581.6235 Chief Hoover c573-473-4001Kansas City FD, Kansas City MOWichita FD, Wichita KSGrant County FD, Ulysses, KSTrinidad FD, Trinidad, CO 81082Denver Fire Rescue, Denver COLa Veta FD, La Veta, CO Durango Fire and Rescue, Durango, COPhoenix Fire Rescue, Phoenix AZLas Vegas Fire Rescue, Las Vegas, NVSacramento FD, Sacramento, CASan Jose FD, San Jose, CAI

have helped people look at the bright side of being in the closely knit burn community and they have helped me understand that helping others, and allowing others to help is priceless.The Phoenix Society is an amazing organization. I knew it was when I started but feel it with much more conviction now. Every fire department and hospital I visited was touched at how the Phoenix Society fills a much needed void in burncare today. They all wished they could join me on this journey and that just shows the commitment and caring that is in the full circle of burncare; from first responder, to hospital, to therapy, to the Phoenix Society.

There are so many people who have benefited from the Phoenix Society's matrix of support; burn survivors, their families and friends, healthcare workers, firefighters, and the hundreds of people who have donated to this fundraiser, especially Chief Anding whose Harley is such an inspirational symbol of the energy in all of us powering this ride forward.

Giving is a beautiful thing isn't it - it helps the one who gives as well as the one who receives. Awesome.I do not have any commitments this week so I am taking some time off from traveling right now, getting some much needed rest.

I have made a change to the finale in San Jose. I am recently 100% healed from my cycling injury and want to finish on my bicycle, the one with so many signatures from burn survivors I've met along this great journey.

I will be leaving Sacramento on June 19th to finish the final leg of the journey on my bicycle, arriving in San Jose on the 20th. This is how I want to finish this coast to coast journey of raising awareness of the Phoenix Society and those whom they help.I will not be posting much this week as I gear up for San Jose and focus my thoughts on what good we ALL have accomplished.

I will post all of the details of the San Jose reception party as they come in though. The world is definitely a better place because of this fundraiser, I truly believe that. From the bottom of my big warm heart, I want to thank all of you out there who have donated, supported, given me water, given me food, given me a place to sleep, washed my clothes, given me clothes, driven me places when my legs we so tired, let me use your internet connection, let me ride in your firetrucks on calls, given me hope, made me laugh, made me cry, bought me drinks, given me directions (good and bad), given me toys (thank you Target), and shared your burn survivor stories with me.

I also want to send a big thank you to Jani Spede and the Clemson University marketing class who helped get the word out on this fundraiser and helped focus our efforts before my tires even hit the road.

There are some phrases in the English language that fall short from the meaning we are attaching to them. "Thank You" is one of these phrases that I want to use for three individuals who are/were such a big part of this fundraiser but feel it is inadequate. I would like to say "Mahalo" instead. Mahalo is Hawaiian for thanks and gratitude, and also thanks for all that is, I have said it only a handful of times in my life. My friend Big Will from Hawaii (the Big Island) explained to me that it is the deepest way of showing appreciation and love of someone with your spirit. You say it with your spirit and your voice simultaneously. I say Mahalo to four individuals right now: Amy Acton (Executive Director of the Phoenix Society), my good friend Jeff Derderian (the person behind the scenes of all of the media support we have received), and my lovely cousin Kathy Greenler (internet guru, positive influence, and the one who set up the blog), and Chief Scott Anding (new Daddy) who donated his motorcycle to this cause. These four people are very special to me and have transformed part of my spirit during this fundraiser, and for that I say Mahalo to you all.

See you in San Jose my friends, stay posted for event details.Your friend,Mike Manning

Fatal ATV Crash Near Bradford

WFRM Reports:

The investigation is continuing into a fatal ATV crash taking place Sunday evening off of the Totten Hollow Road in Foster Township, McKean County. Eric Suttrich, 26, of Bradford was pronounced dead at the scene of the 6:07 p.m. crash.

Gunman Arrested In McKean County

From WESB News:
06/11/07 - Strait Arrested in McKean County

The man wanted on gun charges in New York state was apprehended by Kane Based State Police Sunday. Genesee County Sheriff's deputies had been searching for 30 year-old Howard Strait of McKean County. Deputies say Strait pointed a gun at people inside a home on Alleghany Road in Corfu Saturday afternoon. He was believed to be in the Bradford and Lewis Run areas Sunday. State Police have not said whether he surrendered or was captured

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Planned Electric Outage Scheduled Wednesday In Roulette

Allegheny Power will interrupt electric service in Roulette, Pa. on Wednesday, June 13 from 1pm until 5pm. Crews will be doing maintenance at the substation and must shut off the power to do the work safely. In case of inclement weather, the disruption will be done on Thursday.

New Medical Helicopter Provider For Robert Packer Hospital

New copter to service Packer

June 10, 2007 Star-Gazette

A new community-based air medical service has been formed between Robert Packer Hospital and the Air Methods Corp.The goal for establishing the new program was to continue to offer high-quality critical care transport services to the region, according to a press release.

Air Methods, the world's largest air medical company, has an impressive track record of partnering with health care providers to form successful community-based air medical programs, the press release states.

Air Methods began its service June 1 and will use the hospital's facilities and hangar.The new program is called Guthrie Air and uses a medically dedicated helicopter that is in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This new program follows nearly four years of service to the region by STAT MedEvac.

Every effort will be made to ensure that the change is seamless and transparent to customers, the press release states.Guthrie Air uses the same airframe, a Eurocopter EC-135, as STAT MedEvac did.Some members of the former STAT crew are staying on with the new Guthrie Air program as employees of Air Methods.

The helicopter is staffed by an EMS pilot, a critical care flight nurse and a specially trained flight paramedic.The base has a full-time, FAA-certified mechanic on duty for regular and scheduled maintenance.The aircraft will operate on an Air Methods certificate and will be managed by Air Methods.

Guthrie Air may be contacted through the Guthrie Communications Center, at Robert Packer Hospital, at (800) 535-0911.This number may be used for any service that requires air medical transport -- including inter-facility patient transfers and on-scene responses.

Air Methods will dispatch the helicopter, with medical command provided by Robert Packer Hospital Emergency Department physicians.

For information or to schedule a landing zone safety class, contact Marty Delaney, Air Methods/Guthrie air program director, at (570) 882-4919.

Dangerous Criminal Thought To Be In McKean County Area

WESB News Bulletin: 06/10/07

– Armed and Dangerous Criminal Sought In Area

The Pennsylvania State Police in Kane has informed W E S B that the Pennsylvania State Police in Kane - and McKean County Law Enforcement Agencies - are assisting the Genesee County NY Sheriff's department in searching for Howard Strait.

He is wanted for reckless endangerment, which is a class D Felony. His crime involved a firearm, and he is described as ARMED and DANGEROUS.

DO NOT APPROACH THIS INDIVIDUAL IF YOU SEE HIM, but instead, call 911. Strait is described as a 30 year-old white male, 6 feet tall and 300 pounds, he wears glasses and a moustache and is not clean-shaven.

He is believed to be in the McKean County area as of Sunday morning possibly driving a black 1996 Toyota Corolla, with the license plate of HOWDOGG or HOWDY.

W E S B will keep you informed as further information becomes available regarding this search.

Coudersport State Police Charge 2 With Underage Drinking

From WESB News:

06/10/07 – Underage Drinking in Coudersport

Pennsylvania State Police in Coudersport report 2 individuals were arrested for underage drinking just before 3 early Saturday morning. After a traffic stop troopers found that Krystal Crum and a 17– year-old male Juvenile male were under the influence of alcohol and will be charged with underage consumption in Magisterial District Court.

We Still Have Kittens To Give Away

The Joneses still have some cute, loveable kittens to give away. Come and look. They are eating kitty food, are litter trained, and have been handled liberally. Adopt one of these little bundles of joy. Phone 814-544-9004.

Aaron Faust Nears Shenandoah National Park

On the Footstep of the Shenandoah National Park!

It has been a long and hot few days since I last updated the site in Blacksburg. As you may have seen I was able to add an update regarding the Blue Ridge Outdoors article, but was in the midst of a marathon to Waynesboro, VA, so I did not elaborate too much beyond that exciting news. I hope people were able to access the article online. I do realize that you could not click the link I put in, but if you copy and paste it into your broswer hopefully it will get you there.

Anyway, out of Blacksburg, VA I kind of got a late start. I did not get out on the trail on the 1st until about 5:30pm. As soon as I hopped out of the car to get onto the trail the bladder I carry my water in leaked and all of my previously dry gear was now wet for the beginning of a long stretch. That was not a good way to start the hike. Nevertheless, I had to move on and I only hiked about 4 miles in to a great campsite just after McAfee's Knob, one of the most photographed places on the trail.

On the 2nd, I really wanted to start making some miles, so I pushed it to Daleville, VA, some 15 miles from the previous camp, and got there by 1:30pm. I rested for a while and ate lunch in front of a coffee shop. One of the workers must have felt bad for me because I looked hot and tired and he brought me some ice water. Nice guy! I figured it was still really early, so I decided to press on even though many of the guys I was hiking with stayed at the Econo Lodge. I did another 11 miles and tallied my biggest day so far, 26.6 miles. I tented that night and it began to rain. Better rain than getting chewed up by bugs in the shelter though!

The 3rd of June came and the rain did not stop all day. I learned later that Tropical Storm Barry was the culprit causing the wetness. It rained continuosuly all day and I hiked 21 miles in it. Not the most fun I've ever had, but it was really the only thing I could do. It was too bad it was nasty weather too because the trail crossed the Blue Ridge Parkway numerous times. The usually beautiful vistas were all clouded over. Not much I could do about it, but keep moving. That night I stayed at Bryant Ridge Shelter. It was a great shelter that held like 20 people. I was really happy it did too because I did not want to set that tent up in the rain. I tried my best to dry out my things, but it didn't go that well. I hoped for sunshine in the morning!

My hopes came true and on the 4th of June the rain had stopped and blue skies were back out. A nice bit of luck for Almost Lucky. I was able to really dry my stuff out when I lunched at Thunder Hill Shelter. With a dry tent and socks I made it to Matt's Creek Shelter where I met several new hiker buddies. Stealth, a recent college grad from Chicago, and Corker, a recording studio owner from western Massachusetts, were both there when I arrived. We ate dinner together and cooled our feet off in the crisp creek water. It was a great night and I tented again. I'm becoming a fan of the tent as the bugs get more prevalent. 22 miles logged that day!

The 5th came and another 20 miles came with it. I was really feeling in the groove and just wanted to keep putting in big days. I kind of wanted to see if my body could handle it and it has actually responded really well. I crossed the James River early in the day and nearly lost my trusty hiking stick. I have had the stick since Standing Indian Mountain in North Carolina and have been carving a new notch in it for every 100 miles hiked. I would have been pretty saddened had it ended up in the muddy water of the James. Crisis averted, I moved on and ended up at Brown's Creek Shelter. Another great campsite right by the water was a nice way to end another long day.

On June 6th, I hiked only 2 miles. I hiked up to U.S. Route 60 which leads to Buena Vista, VA. I had a mail-drop there with food supplies and a new pair of shoes, which I desperately needed. Buena Vista is 9 miles from where the A.T. crosses Rt. 60, so I had to hitch in. Well, this was easier said than done. I waited 3 hours for a ride! Finally, this guy, Joe, picked me up and took me to the post office. There I got my things together and then went to the public library to check e-mail. After that I ate lunch at Hardee's and kind of felt a bit sick. Too much grease I suppose. It was already 2pm and the next shelter on the trail was like 16 miles away, so I decided to stay in Buena Vista at the Budget Inn. I met some other hikers there. They included Binjali, Chuck Norris (he looks exactly like the real one!), Tigger, Montreal, and April Showers. I had a decent night of sleep and I had a former thru-hiker Leggs pick me up and take me to the trail in the morning.

June 7th and I busted out another 21 miles. The terrain wasn't too bad besides a pretty rough climb up out of Rt. 60. Once that was over the rest of the day was very nice. The highlight of the day was Spy Rock. This was an awesome rock outcropping that had 360 degree views of the valley below. Confederate soldiers used this geologic feature to keep track of troop movements in the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War. I climbed around up there for a while before hiking the 6 more miles to The Priest Shelter. I was the only one there at the shelter for a long time before one other guy showed up. I tented yet again and had a restful sleep.

June 8th was a really hot and humid one. The day started with a severe descent off of the Priest, a 4,000 foot peak, to the Tye River Valley. The trail then went right back up near 4,000 feet again to Three Ridges. It was a steep, rocky climb that was made infinitely more difficult with the heat. Once at the top I made my way down to Maupin Field Shelter for lunch. I rested for a while and met a nice couple from Oxford, ME. We decided to hike 6 more miles to the Dripping Rock Parking Arear, where we hoped there would be tentsites. There were, but those 6 miles seemed like an eternity. I was thirsty and tired. I think the consecutive big days were catching up to me. I got to the site and filled my water and pretty much laid down immediately. A tough day, but it put me in good position to get to Waynesboro, VA at an early hour.

On June 9th I arose quite early and was able to make really good time. I hiked nealry 10 miles to the first shelter of the day. There I ate a Snickers and had some Gatorade before making the 5 mile hike to town. That 5 miles was really easy and I was greeted with a semi-cold can of orange soda when I got to the road. It was nice. I went to the information center there at Rockfish Gap and they had a list of Trail Angels from town who would come pick up hikers and shuttle them to town. I got a ride in from Krispy Wolke, orginially from Oil City, PA, and she dropped me off at a hostel run by the Lutheran church in town. It was a great place. I was able to shower and they had an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner for $5. In addition, they offered shuttles to the movie theatre and the first 10 hikers to sign up for the dinner got free movie tickets. I was one of the first ten, so I had a nice free evening. It was great.

I am sleeping on a cot in the church's all purpose room tonight and getting a shuttle to the trail at 8am in the morning. The SNP is awaiting me and I am excited for it. It is a real milestone to finally be getting this far noth. I hope to get through the SNP in 5 days and then possibly to Harpers Ferry, WV in another 3.

We will see though. I will be sure to update when I can.Keep checking back for photos soon to be added and additional updates! Thanks!