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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Pennsylvania Losing Money On Natural Gas and Oil Taxes

By James Jones

A court decision in 2002 stopped Pennsylvania state, local, county, and school taxes from being assessed on Oil and Gas minerals in Pennsylvania. Since that time, oil and gas producers have been getting a free ride in the tax department.

And a few years back, the oil and gas industry in this area was nearly a thing of the past with oil prices lower that it cost to produce. But things have changed.

We are now paying $3.00 a gallon for gasoline. Foreign oil is $70.00 a barrel. Heating oil and Diesel fuel is three times what it was in 2002, and natural gas has gone out of sight to heat your home.

Mineral rights for producing oil and gas wells should be assessed, as this increases the value of a property no different than adding a building increases its value. Extensive drilling in the Northern Pennsylvania area is taking place, and should be taxed to support our townships, schools and county governments.

Rep. Bill DeWeese has introduced legislation to reimpose this tax which was in effect since the 1880's. Many other legislators have joined in this bill.
Contact your Pennsylvania Representatives and ask them to support passage of this legislation. It will help lower your real estate taxes as it will boost the tax base just like it does in New York.

Taxes On Natural Gas and Oil Helping Lower Taxes In New York

Huge increase in tax base allows Caton, NY to fix roads, build cash reserves and lower taxes.

By G. Jeffrey Aaron

The town of Caton, in the southeast corner of Steuben County, NY is realizing a direct benefit from the town's natural gas wells -- the town's tax base is growing by leaps and bounds.

Caton's 2006-07 town budget, totaling about $66 million, includes an additional $7.7 million in gas well assessments. For the 2007-08 town budget, the gas well assessments will increase by $13.4 million, to $21.1 million, and raise the value of the town's tax base to $79.4 million, Town Supervisor Scott Van Etten said."It's like someone coming into town and building a $13 million factory, but that will never happen here," Van Etten said.

While Van Etten said the Town Board has not jointly discussed how to use the windfall, he'd like to see it used next year the same way it was used this year; finance road projects, cut taxes and bolster the town's surplus fund. He'd also like to see more gas wells.

"I had no idea that we are sitting on the amount of natural gas that we are; we've been fortunate," he said. "We hope they drill more holes and make Caton look like a prairie dog town."Natural gas deposits bring more value to the land because real property values also include what's under the ground, New York State Office of Real Property spokesman Joseph Hesch said.

"Local assessors can also assess the pipes and the actual hardware," he said. "That part is normally done with a cost approach, which means replacement costs minus any depreciation."But the assessed value of the gas deposits, far more valuable than the equipment used to extract it from the ground, is based on the production rate of a well.

In Caton's case, four producing wells pumped out about 5.3 million cubic feet of natural gas last year, according to Steuben County's Office of Real Property Tax Services. There are three other wells that are ready to be connected to transmission lines and potentially boost production even more.

The production figure used in the calculation for the current tax year is from the previous year's production. That figure, in this case provided by Fortuna Energy in Big Flats, is then multiplied by a state-determined value, $5.95 per million cubic feet, and again by the town's equalization rate of 0.67 percent.

All of the figures used can change from one year to the next, town officials said, which is why they are reluctant to use the new taxes to create programs that the taxpayers will have to finance out of their pockets when the gas tax payments decline.

But road repair projects, which don't have carry-over costs from year to year, are a different story. Caton, population 2,154 residents according to the 2005 census, is a 36-square-mile town made up of undeveloped rural land, farms and small pockets of residential areas. The town's highway department, supervised by Michael Card, maintains about 66 miles of roads.

The highway department is operating this year on a $428,600 road repair budget, up from a 2005 budget of $393,100 that did not include gas tax money. The additional money available for next year is a question mark until the town begins putting its budget together this fall.

"We are working with (East Resources) on roads that they damaged, and they are paying to fix a lot of the roads," Card said. In Caton, East Resources drilled the wells and turned them over to Fortuna when the drilling was completed."We have a lot of dirt roads in the town that we want to put oil and stone on, after we stabilize the base.

This gas is going to make a lot of people wealthier," said Card.

Those who aren't lucky enough to be included in a well field and don't receive royalty payments will indirectly benefit from lower taxes and improved roads, Van Etten said.

Oil and Natural Gas Tax Legislation Introduced


State House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese on May 29 introduced House Bill 1373, legislation that would allow counties, municipalities and school districts to impose property taxes on oil, gas and other minerals.

The legislation amends the General County Assessment Law of 1933 to include "coal and other valuable minerals, natural gas, coal bed methane gas and oil" as property that may be subject to taxation by local government and school districts.

HB 1373, which has 23 cosponsors, was referred to the House Finance Committee for consideration. A copy of the bill can be downloaded using the link below.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in December 2002 that state law failed to explicitly recognize oil and gas as taxable. The case involved a challenge by the Independent Oil & Gas Association of Pennsylvania of Fayette County’s assessment of oil and gas.

DeWeese is a Democrat representing Greene County, as well as parts of Fayette and Washington counties.

To download a copy of the proposed legislation use the following link:


An earlier post for the Port Allegany Old Home week was wrong. I inadvertently substituted June 23rd for July 23. Sorry, hope I didn't cause you any inconvenience.

Bike and Build--Terra Curtis Posts Near Youngstown

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Haiku and some updates

We spend the morning
Chasing down our shadows.
In the eve,
ride away.

The last two nights we spent in Franklin, PA. We arrived on Thursday night and stayed with Pastor Sam at the Presbytarian Church there. He and two buddies came to meet us mid-day to bike in. They were all incredible cyclists; turns out Pastor Gibb has been cycling for 30 some years. He had interesting stories all around and was a perfect fit for our group. Besides being an avid cyclist (and bike mechanic, thank goodness), his church has also invested in a fixer-upper house in town.

Instead of biking on to Youngstown, OH on Friday, we decided to stay and trade our day off for a build day with Pastor Sam. It was a relief to all because we hadn't built since Providence, and we have all been excited for that aspect of the trip as well. The enthusiasm was quite visible - Logan and I and others spent a good portion of the day in the attic ripping down walls and ceilings. The soot from the chimney and the dust from the blown-in insulation left us all looking like a crew of coal miners (see the 9th photo in Volume D of the P2S gallery here:,com_wrapper/Itemid,68/),

prompting one of the volunteer construction workers to ask me at the end of the day, "You grow up on a farm?" I was flattered.

Right now, Bronwyn and I are taking our time getting to our destination. We have about 2 miles to go and have been at this point for almost 2 hours now. We stopped at Walgreen's to get her photos on a CD, and now we're at a little library so I can try to get my photos uploaded.


Oh, don't want to forget Les and Elaine, two farmers we met today at our lunch stop about 30 miles into the ride. They were a cute and generous older couple with three daughters who had since moved away. Les and Elaine run a 350 acre farm growing corn, wheat, and soybeans. They let Sarah park the trailer in their yard and talked with us all during lunch. Elaine even brought us out fresh cantaloupe and juice.

They were both quick as a whip and had both funny and serious stories. They had once gone to Poland for a year for Les' work. I asked what she thought of the people there, she said, "Same as here. Some nice, some not. You realize that when you get older. People are the same everywhere." Posted by Terra Curtis

Sam Reports From Franklin--Bike and Build

Franklin, Pennsylvania is an amazing little town. We’ve been here for two days now, and both of them have been memorable. Two days ago we coasted down from the Allegheny National Forest and the Kinzua Reservoir to Warren, PA in sun-drenched 75-degree weather, and we’ve been basking in it ever since.

Yesterday, we rode from Warren to Franklin (which is weird to me, given that I knew a kid in grade school named, of course, Warren Franklin… just realizing that now…) and met up half way with Sam Gibb, the pastor of Franklin’s First Presbyterian Church. Sam is about 45-50, I think, and rides about 40-50 miles a day on a ridiculously cool Cervelo bike (the same one that CSC rides). All the girls agree that he possesses a “Paul Newman” look.

He kicked all of our asses up some pretty monster (12% grade) hills, and is going to France this summer to ride the Tour de France route with some friends. He’s also a long-time home brewer, loves Phish and all other jam bands, and has a sandwich named after him at the local Subway, where he tries to conduct all of his business during the day.

The sandwich is whole wheat with double Monterey Jack cheese, toasted, with all the veggies minus olives and hot peppers, parmesan, garlic salt, oregano, and raspberry vinaigrette. Our vegetarians were, needless to say, rather enthusiastic about the sandwich. I was, and I don’t even like vegetables.Just kidding.

Basically, I think Pastor Sam’s the man. I gave him some of the amaaaazing Grafton Cheddar we had donated from Wendy Brewer (see pic!) because he’s a vegetarian who loves cheese (needs the protein, obviously) and we talked about Trey Anastasio and different Hop varietals during our group dinner last night (Subway, obviously). And then I told him about Pandora and Wolfgang’s Vault. And for the last two days he’s been fixing/fitting people’s bikes and taking us on rides around the area.

And he also let us work on the church’s pseudo-habitat home site in Franklin today because our build day in Youngstown fell through. More on that later…The moral of all of this description, nay, adulation, is that this trip has really checked my skepticism for organized religion. We keep meeting warm, open, idiosyncratic, hilarious, genuine Pastors, Fathers, Reverends, and churchgoers, and I keep being pleasantly surprised. I know that there are church leaders out there who are dour and pedantic, or stuck in their ways, but we haven’t run into them yet.

The closest we came was the priest from Scranton who told us to maintain hope, because it’s what keeps us human. And then told us that the reason he knew that was that, as a Marine in Vietnam, he had to “extract information” from hostages and in order to do that he had to “take away their hope.” It was thanks to this little life experience that he came to understand the value of hope, and he shared this lesson with us at 8am last Sunday, right before our ride.Even though that speech was a bit, well, off-putting, it was heartfelt, and pretty gnarly.

That day I imagined that each hill that day was a hostage and it was my job to “extract information” from it by reaching the top, taking away its hope, and in the process bolstering my own.Well, not really.But the fact that this righteous speech was the weirdest thing we’ve heard so far from a church official is a reason for optimism, or hope. Or renewed faith in the institution of religion. I’ve been agnostic for a long time, but only realized that that was the term for it right around the start of college. I don’t need a religious community in order to gain a sense of spirituality, and I don’t need an authority figure to analyze or explain religious texts or dogma on a weekly basis.

But over the last coupla weeks (hard to believe two have already gone by!) I’ve lost much of the disdain or mistrust with which I viewed religion before this trip. Except for the evangelicals and most fundamentalists, who still freak me out.

All of that deep stuff aside, Franklin is really nice. And so are Sam and his wife. We lucked out and were given the chance to stay tonight, rather than leaving this morning for Youngstown, because the church here bought a 3-story home and are renovating it, without Habitat’s help, to create more affordable housing in the area. Not that they necessarily need it; the house was had for $12,900 (bargained down from a starting price of $24,000). It was a real junker and needs some work, but it’s a 3-story in a normal part of town. In Brattleboro, it’d probably command $120,000ish, in Providence’s East Side probably twice that.

We were supposed to be in Youngstown right now, but the build day tomorrow fell through. They’ve been having trouble pouring their slab, so we would’ve just had a rest day, and many of the riders (all of us) have been grousing about too much Bike-ing and not enough Build-ing in the ol’ Bike & Build equation. So today we got to rip up some shot shingles and tear down attic ceilings and generally create a big mess and cover ourselves in black soot.

And Sam treated us to more Subway. And tonight the 21+ crowd got to hang out on Sam's porch and try some of his ridiculously good Pale Ale. And tomorrow we leave bright and early for Youngstown, where we’ll be staying just one night, thankfully.

All in all, I’m in good spirits and in good health, on a beautiful night in a boring laundromat in a quiet town. Doing group laundry SUCKS, but it at least gives me the opportunity to craft an extensive blog entry. Hope you weren’t too bored by this one.
Lots of love from Western PA. We’ll be in Ohio tomorrow! Posted by Sam Carmichael

Post Your News Items Here

Solomon's Words invites your churches and organizations to post your activities here. We will be happy to post your events etc.

Send email to Pictures may be emailed in jpeg form. We also welcome letters to the editor of interest to Potter County area readers and news releases pertaining to area subjects.

Adult Bible Study Sunday At Coudersport Gospel Tabernacle

The Adult Bible Study held every Sunday at the Coudersport Gospel Tabernacle, taught by Dennis Marshall, has been moved recently to the first floor of the Watson Hall. It was originally held in an upstairs room, but moved as some seniors were having difficulty navigating the stairs.

It starts at 10:00 am but if you come early, there is coffee, juice, and fruit and pastries to sample. Watson Hall is the center building accessible from the front parking lot and the bible study is in a room straight ahead after you go through the main doors. The class lasts for an hour, and dismisses in time for the Sunday Services at 11:00 am.

As always, the public is invited to attend. Dennis does a great job teaching and does many hours of preparation each week. For more information on Coudersport Gospel Tabernacle services and activities, contact the church office at 274-7573.

Bradford Man Gets 10 Years In Internet Sting Case

From WESB News:
06/22/07 - Bradford Man Sentenced for Sex Crimes

A Bradford man has been sentenced to up to 120 months in prison for attempting to sexually solicit what he believed was a 13-year-old girl over the Internet.

47-year-old James Whitman, was captured in Erie last December by agents with the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit and Erie police. Whitman had set up a meeting with the "girl" in Erie. He had actually been chatting with an agent from the child predator unit..

He was arrested when he arrived at the designated location. Whitman pleaded guilty in March to charges of attempted unlawful contact with a minor and criminal use of a communication facility.


Cancellation - PA State Police - Corry Station‎
From: PA Amber Alert
Sent: Sat 6/23/07 3:34 PM

The Amber Alert issued on 06/23/07 for the Corry Station of the Pennsylvania State Police is cancelled. The children have been safely recovered and the suspect is in custody.

PA State Police - Corry Station‎
From: PA Amber Alert
Sent: Sat 6/23/07 2:15 AM


The Pennsylvania State Police has issued an Amber Child Abduction Alert on behalf of the Pennsylvania State Police, Corry Station, Crawford County.

The Corry Station of the Pennsylvania State Police is searching for two children who were taken on June 22nd, 2007 from 22410 Little Cooley Road, Union City, Crawford County, Pennsylvania.

The children are described as Tyler James Stull, a white male child 10 years old, 4 feet eight inches tall, 80 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes and Amanda Lynn Stull, a female child 4 feet 4 inches tall, 60 pounds. The clothing worn by the children is unknown.

They were reported abducted by Darrel Robert Stull, a white male, 5 feet 11 inches, approximately 150 pounds, blonde hair and blue eyes wearing a blue t-shirt and blue jeans. Darrel Stull may be armed with a pistol.

Anyone with information about this incident should immediately contact the police by calling 911. This has been an Amber Child Abduction Alert for the Corry Station of the Pennsylvania State Police, Crawford County.

Affected Counties: Crawford, Mercer, Venango, Warren, Erie

Friday, June 22, 2007

PA Minimum Wage Will Rise To $7.15/Hour July 1


HARRISBURG – An estimated 400,000 workers in the commonwealth will see their hourly pay increase to $7.15 on July 1 when the state’s minimum wage rises for the second time this year, Governor Edward G. Rendell said today.

The increase for small employers (those who employ 10 or fewer full-time workers) will rise to $6.65 per hour. The increases were approved by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor last July.

“Pennsylvania is home to the hardest working men and women in the country,” Governor Rendell said. “So it is only right that we ensure that they are receiving an equitable minimum wage for the contributions they make to our economy.”

The 60-day youth training wage, which is currently based on the current federal minimum wage of $5.15, will increase to $5.85 per hour on July 24, 2007, for employees under 20 years of age.

Music and Stars at Cherry Springs Saturday

Hello Roundtable Fans,

Here's a last minute reminder about the Music and Stars program up at Cherry Springs tomorrow, and an update on the July 7th Songwriter's Roundtable.

If you missed Jakob's Hollow http://www.jakobshollow at the first Roundtable, here's a good chance to catch us in the act again as the Cherry Springs State Parks "Music and Stars" program kicks off on Saturday, June 23, featuring the Jakob's Hollow trio doing a one hour set, followed by a sky program by Stash Nawrocki, operator of Crystal Sphere: Adventures in Stargazing, followed by the Harmony of the sky program.

Come on out and see what we look like bathed in moonlight and red rope lighting. Ray Naylor's Podcast of the Songwriter's Roundtable is up and available on the internet right now at .

On Saturday July 7th we'll be bringing more fine songwriters to the Roundtable as Virginia's Terry Tucker graces our stage with her fine songs and stage presence. She performed in England for many years and placed songs in movies, including Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange".

Also sharing the stage will be Baltimore's ubiquitous folk group "We're About Nine" , who have been all over the folk concert circuit since knocking out the New Folk crowd at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival a few years ago.

Opening the show will be local performer Ade Adu who will reprise his 2004 Dam Show appearance for the Roundtable. Our artists/ artisans in residence for this show will be none other than Olga Snyder and Eppie Bailey, along with Olga's Knitters!

If your planning to catch the fireworks in Galeton, you'll still have time to catch a good portion of the Roundtable before the fireworks kick in, so come join us for some fine cooking from Julie and Linda, and then end your night with a bang!

Sat. June 23rd: Music and Stars program, 8:30 to late night,Tickets: $10, $17 family in advance or $15 and $20 at the gate. For tickets and info call Lyman Run State Park at 814-435-5010

Sat, July 7th: Songwriter's Roundtable, 7:00pm to 10:30 at Denton Hill Ski Lodge http://www.songwritersroundtable.comTickets: $10, $5 under high school age meals by Julie and Linda: $8, under 12- $5, 5:00pm till gone

Pastor Bernie Knefley Rides With Bike and Build

Sam Carmichael
Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Some Thoughts.
Today was a quickie, 45 miles start to finish, wayyyy up a hill (a 2,424 ft. hill, to be exact) and then way down it, into the sleepy town of Coudysport (pronounced howdy, sport).

We’re staying at the “Alliance” church, which seems to be a new-ish blend of casual, non-denominational religion and community. It’s one of the friendliest churches we’ve been to (and that’s saying a lot) and it also features the only Pastor (Pastor Bernie) to come out and meet us at the bottom of that really, really big hill and ride us into town on his own vintage 18-speed Schwinn.

The day marked our first experience with real headwind, which went something like this:“Phew, I’m FINALLY done with that hill, now I can coast down this stretch and gain some momentum into the next one.”-30 feet later-“Hmm, I appear to be on a downhill, but I’m pedaling steadily and firmly, and my speed is a mere 11 mph.”-50 feet later-“I’m on an uphill grade of about 3%, which I was cruising up at 17.5 mph a half hour ago, but right now I’m at… 6 mph, in granny gear, and my legs are burning.

This sucks.”-At the top of the mountain-“Oh. That’s what a headwind feels like.”So that’s what a headwind feels like. In the words of the wise Jeff Thomas: “A headwind is like a really long, nasty hill that you ride up all day, without the redemption of a downhill to look forward to.” Or something along those lines. We couldn’t stop talking about it. It was staggering, depressing, humiliating.

On the positive side, we beat the headwind, at least for now. And on the way up the hill (about 10 miles long) I averaged 17.2 mph, and got to dunk my head into the type of mountain stream I thought we only had in Vermont.

And, after that punishing headwind bit, we cruised down into “Coudy,” right before a big ol’ thunderhead cruised into town, too.

We showered at the Denton Ski Lodge, which sports “some of the steepest terrain on the East Coast,” which, loosely translated, means “a 66 degree steep,” which is purportedly THE steepest slope in the Northeast. It looked pretty cool. I’ll attach pictures.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of this trip. I think of this blog as a way to communicate, to you (family and friends) a few meaningful or meaningless stories from the road, so you have some idea what we’re going through out here. Before this trip, the darn thing seemed so insurmountable that I was most curious about what the day-to-day motivation would consist of—how riders can get on their bikes, every day for more than two months, and make it that 70, 80, or 90 miles to the next stop. And now I’m figuring it out. And trying to show you.

But there was initially another reason for doing this blog; for myself, for my own memory. I’ve been trying to “journal” (a phrase I hate) but I’m either exhausting my thoughts on this blog or I’m just not in the mood to write it all down by hand. Regardless, I’ve decided recently that I’m not too worried about capturing it all on film and on paper—this trip isn’t about those individual memories, it’s about the overarching experience, and the overall feeling I get at the end of the day.

In another entry I mentioned the mini-dramas we go through every minute during the ride. Those all coalesce into one big impression of the day, usually positive. No matter what ridiculous stuff happens during the ride itself, it all washes away when you hit the home stretch and see that final stop. The same thing will happen with this trip. Posted by Sam Carmichael

Mike Manning Finishes in San Hose, California

This photo shows Mike Manning, the Germantown, Ohio firefighter who rode across the US to raise money for burn survivors, finishing his ride on his bicycle that he started with at the East Coast. He switched to a motorcycle, after getting a severe saddle sore near Coudersport. Mike stayed in Fire Houses along the way so all the money he raised would go to the Phoenix Society that supports burn survivors. Along the way, he stopped at hospitals and encouraged burn survivors there. Click on the link on the lower right to see more pictures Mike has posted there of his finale. Click the picture to enlarge.

Brianne Downing Looks Back on The Week in Review

22 June 2007

The Week in Review
It's been quite difficult to get internet access, let alone bug someone enough to let me use their computer, but this morning I have a chance.

Day 3: Agawam, Massachusetts to Kent, Connecticut was an incredibly miserable ride for me. It lasted forever. There were so many hills, we got lost and by the time I reached Kent, I was so exhausted, dehydrated and frustrated that I took off my shoes and my helmet and collapsed onto the field and sobbed.

The next day, Kent to Poughkeepsie, New York, was an easier ride in terms of mileage (maybe 40?), and Marie and Lauren and I all rode together, with Amelia and Bridget with us for part of the way. I took a picture next to a covered bridge (I'd never seen one before), and we started out taking our time, yet the hills were still horrible; Marie was so awesome that day, as she would stop near the top (or what we thought was the top) and cheer us on.

Day 5: Poughkeepsie to White Lake, New York was yet another incredibly long day. Many of us got lost, one of us was stranded in Poughkeepsie all day waiting for the van to come pick her up from a bike shop and most, if not all, of us struggled up ridiculously steep hills to find an incredible view (and viewpoint) to savor. Once again, Chantel and I were at the back of the pack, and Bronwyn and Whitney were good sports about arriving past 6p.

When we arrived in White Lake, we found everyone eating already, and so as not to miss out on food, we ate and then showered, missing the community presentations. It was a bummer. The host was a presbyterian retreat, with cabins and six showers (like Camp Ghormley when I was a kid), but the water was warm and the feeling of cleanliness was worth getting locked in the shower stall.

After dinner and showers, Diane, a member of the church, and other drivers, drove the lot of us over to the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival. She told us stories on the drive over, about how in less than a day, the quiet little town of White Lake turned into 500,000 people parking their cars in the middle of the two-lane highway (4 across) near the field.

She had just gone to the grocery store the day before to get a bunch of loaves of bread for her kids, and ended up making more than 100 sandwiches to give to the concert-goers. She said she gave the sandwiches away, and was appalled to see her neighbours selling water and other beverages.

She said people from the town were very upset with the farmer that lent the land to the producers of the concert, but then she leaned in and said "but I thought it was pretty cool!

"The night concluded with our second Town Hall Meeting, a chance for all 29 of us to get together in one room and share our ups, our downs and our concerns from the previous week. I think it was really therapeutic for many of us to vent our frustrations.

Day 6: White Lake, New York to Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania was much better for me, as I somehow managed to stay well ahead of the sweeps. I arrived well ahead of the 4p end-time, and felt great about myself and my accomplishments of the day until I heard (after talking about Scranton ALL WEEK LONG) that we most likely would not be setting foot or wheel anywhere near the "Welcome to Scranton" sign I see every Must See TV Thursday night when I watch The Office.

Yes, I was kind of a brat, but really, I've been excited to see that sign since November. I never ended up getting to go to Scranton, as on Day 7, we helped a Habitat group with their car wash and then my group was assigned laundry duty.

Win, Kyle, Marie, Chantel and I spent about 2.5 hours at a gas station/laundromat on the outskirts of town doing the laundry, but we had a great time. The store had a deli and we all ate and bonded.

Day 8: Clarks Summit to Standing Stone, Pennsylvania was such a fun day! I rode with Bridget, Kyle and Eric, and the four of us got directions at one point from a motorcyclist named George (in a new model VW Beetle), who told us to ride up to George Baker's Garage ("It'll be obvious it's his garage," he said) and we'd take a right. Then we should go take a left at a blinking light, go through two more blinking lights and then take another right.

So, we turned around and headed in the direction he pointed us, came to a fork in the road and there was no garage in sight. We ended up finding our way to lunch, and soon after we left for the second part of our ride, Pat caught up to us. We found a shortcut on his map (one of the only maps on the trip up until two days ago) and arrived in Towanda at about 3.40p. Unfortunately, the church where we were staying was actually not in Towanda, but in Standing Stone, a village not even on the map, so we waited under a tree for awhile (after getting McDonald's at 50 percent off) for the Emily and the van to come pick us up.

Day 9: Standing Stone to Wellsboro, Pennsylvania was a tough, but fun day. After about 10-15 miles of riding on my own, I decided to wait for awhile and ride with Chantel. I'd been thinking about what I wanted my days to be about, whether it be challenging myself to keep up with other people and end up riding by myself, or bond with people and enjoy the ride.

Chantel and I had a great time riding with each other on the ride to White Lake.Along the route, I got ahead of her a little bit, so I stopped in a bit of shade in a tiny town and met a local school teacher named Jay. He's an avid cyclist, and he surprised us down the road a mile or two by catching up to us and riding the uphill battles with us. Once the three of us arrived at lunch, he chatted with Pat, the driver for the day, about the route and his own desire to bike across the country, and then he took an alternate route home.

Jay, thank you for helping Chantel and I up those hills! Listening to you talk about your family and cycling experience definitely distracted me from the pain in my quads!

Potter County To Get 911 Wireless Access Anywhere

From WFRM News:

During their meeting yesterday, the Potter County Commissioners approved a $4.2 million agreement between the County and Motorola to provide the equipment, system, and optimization services for a new Microwave System Infrastructure for the 911 Wireless program.

The program is fully funded through the state 911 Wireless Program.

Chairman Ken Wingo told WFRM that members of the statewide committee from Philadelphia and Delaware Counties pushed hard for Potter County to get the funding because they realize many of their residents vacation here and they want them to be able to access 911 anywhere.

Editor's Note: Even though Solomon's Words had been extremely critical of the Potter County Commissioners annex expansion, We have to laud the Commissioners for this move to get 911 wireless service from anywhere in the County, so that our friends from the Philadelphia area will be able to use it when they vacation here. This is a great deal, fully funded by the Commonwealth, and they are going to let Potter County residents use it too! A slap on the old back for the Commissioners!!!

Garth Watson Bearing Down On Coudersport

8:00 P.M.
June 21, 2007
I started out the day by waking up early and having some breakfast. We then made sure that we had everything packed that we need for the rest of the trip and then left the house. We then drove to the First Citizens Bank in Mansfield, where we parked the camper for the night.

There, we met up with Marty Ventello from Towanda, who was going to run with me today. We then drove our starting place, which was just west of Route 660. We ran for about 3.2 miles and then stopped at the camper along side of the road so that I could do my morning call-in.

During the call-in, I dedicated today's run to all of the soldiers that are serving in Afghanistan and Iraq because if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be able to be running across Pennsylvania.

After the call-in, we continued to run another 3 miles to the other side of Wellsboro. We then drove back into Wellsboro, where we set up the camper and took a break.

A few hours later, Marty and I ran 7 miles west of Wellsboro on Route 6. The run was completely flat, which is a first for this trip. After that, Marty and her mom left and my dad, Jay Perry and I went to have lunch at the Roadhouse Inn.

Then, we measured out my next run to see where I would stop, and then went back to the camper and took another break. Finally, I went on my final run for the day, which was 6 miles. We then went and parked our camper at the nearest campgrounds and then drove into Wellsboro to see a movie.

It was really nice to have Marty there to run with today because she is an outstanding athlete and a very fun and easy person to talk to. But it looks like I may be running on my own for a while now, which will be a change from the last several days when I had someone to run with every day.

I should be running through Galeton tomorrow and will probably end up about 10 miles west of Galeton by the end of the day.

Garth is running from one end of Pennsylvania to the other to raise funds for his school to put in a track. Canton High School where he is going to be a senior this year has had several winning track teams, despite the fact that the school does not have a track. So far Garth has raised $3200.00. You can track Garth by clicking on the link on the lower right.

Jason and Melissa Jones Manning Announce Birth

Former Potter County residents Jason and Melissa Jones Manning have announced the birth of a son.

We had a baby boy on June 11th at 6:22pm, he was 9 pounds and 20.5 inches long, named Jack Ethan Manning. Here is a picture of Joshua holding his baby brother.

Melissa and Jason

WESB Posts Details Of Fatal Accident In Shinglehouse

WESB News: 06/22/07 -
Fatal Accident in Shinglehouse

A Shinglehouse man is dead after an accident at 4:30 Friday morning in the borough. Police Chief Brad Buchholz says 22-year-old Jayson Turner was traveling at a high rate of speed when his vehicle went out of control and hit a pickup truck.

Turner was pronounced dead at the scene by Potter County Coroner Kevin Dusenberry.

The driver of the truck, Gordon Messler of Shinglehouse, was treated at Charles Cole Memorial Hospital in Coudersport, then released. Police are continuing their investigation.

Police, Coroner Dispatched To Auto Accident In Shinglehouse

Police, Fire personnel, and the Potter County Coroner were dispatched to an automobile accident on Honeyoye Street in Shinglehouse at about 4:30 this morning.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Chicken Barbeque Saturday At Roulette Fire Hall

The Roulette Fire Department is sponsoring a Chicken Barbeque on Saturday, June 23 at the Roulette Fire hall on River Street in the Village. Serving starts at 11:00 am and will continue until sold out.

Run Across PA Link Added

Garth Watson, from Canton, who is running across PA to raise funds for a new track at his High School posts his journal. He is coming toward Potter County. Watch for him and read his journal. The link is in the lower right margin.

Brianne Downing Posts "Country Roads"

Take Me Home, Country Roads

06/19/07 - 09:03:27 pm

If this trip were some reality show, titled "Bike & Build Extreme Challenge" or something, I'd probably have been voted off by now, if only because I usually end up at the back of the pack, struggling to maintain my 4.6 mph on uphills.

Earlier last week, I think (the days blend together and it's difficult to even remember in which town I woke up), I would have gotten an immunity idol or other such token as a reward for hauling it into town at a faster than normal rate; mostly, though, I'm always in danger of being tailed by the sweeps.

I've seen other riders pairing up and having a great time conversing while they ride and I feel slightly envious of the amount of bonding time I'm missing out on. See, when I ride, it takes me SO LONG to get up hills, but when I get to the top, I want to fly down that sucker! My max speed is now 49.8 mph, but don't worry, Mum and Dad! I'm now using my brakes on a more consistent basis!

Today, though, I had the pleasure of riding with Emily. She and I were supposed to ride with Marie, but we lost her on the way to some coffee shop in Wellsboro. (I usually only have the chance to ride with Marie when she and I are on overnight clean-up or we have a short day. Otherwise, she takes off like a bat in the night once we have our cue sheets.)

Emily was really great to ride with, and I didn't feel like I was holding her back on the hills. We stopped at the Call of the North (?) gift shop in Potter County, and while we were there, Marie caught up to us.

I got more postcards, Courtney got a rockin' license plate (so did Emily) and belt buckle to outfit her helmet, Emily also picked up a folding comb that flips out like a knife and Marie bought two pairs of amazing sunglasses.

Emily and I also stopped at the Lumber Museum just outside of Galeton (?) on the way to Coudersport. Learning about the Civilian Conservation Corps, in which my grandfather was a baker back in the day, was awesome, and we had a really fun time. We picked up a few postcards and were on our way.

There are two prominent things I've noticed so far about Pennsylvania:I've seen more roadkill here than in any other state I've been to, combined.The hills seem to be endless. So endless, in fact, that Pennsylvanians named a part of them The Endless Mountains. And that is not very funny to see on a sign near the end of a long day!

Before I head to bed, I just want to give a shoutout to all of the people that helped make this trip happen for me, from the awesome support of my friends and family, to the hosts that have housed and fed us and for gracious places along the way that donate food (Subway!) and give us very generous discounts!

Dad, Happy Birthday, and Happy Father's Day! I think of you and Mum every day as I struggle up those hills. You keep me going!

Good night, and here's hoping it gets a little cooler around here.


WFRM Reports Potter County Incidents

Troopers here are charging 19 year old Anthony Cary of Harrison Valley with criminal mischief for an incident allegedly taking place early Sunday morning in that town. Authorities claim Cary turned off the electric to the home of Alonda Stallings and smeared grease on her car and the front door of her residence.

A Roulette woman is accused of harassing her neighbor Tuesday afternoon. State police claim 46 year old Sandra Bonneau threatened to subject 74 year old Katherine Cottrell to unwanted physical contact.

The theft of a fertilizer pump from a farm wagon is being probed by state police here. The pump, valued at $250, belonged to Kevin Smoker of Genesee and was removed from a wagon located in a field next to the Eleven Mile Road just off of Route 44 in Sharon Township between Monday afternoon and Wednesday morning. Anyone with information about the “Pacer Pump” is asked to call the local barracks at 274-8690.

Police Allege Child Rape in Potter County

New York man charged with 116 counts of rape
June 21, 2007

Dennis Michael Pollock, 43, of North Tonawanda, N.Y., has been arrested by Pennsylvania State Police from the Coudersport barracks and was charged with more than 100 counts of rape when he was arraigned Wednesday.

Police allege Pollock had sexual relations with a Potter County girl starting at age 6, and then again when she was 9 and continuing until she was 14.

According to a police press release, Pollock faces 116 counts of rape, one count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. One count of statutory rape, 117 counts of aggravated indecent assault, 116 counts of statutory sexual assault, one count of endangering the welfare of a child, 117 counts of indecent assault and 117 counts of corruption of minors.

District Magistrate Delores Bristol set bail for Pollock on Wednesday at $250,000. He was remanded to the Potter County Jail following the arraignment. A preliminary hearing has been set for next week, according to the press release.

The sexual attacks allegedly occurred on Jan. 1, 1994, again on May 5, 1997 and continued through March 1, 2002, police said. The attacks occurred in Pike Township and in Ulysses Borough, both locations within Potter County, according to police.

Danny Neaverth Started Career In Coudersport

WESB News: 06/21/07 -
Neaverth Going Into Another Hall of Fame

Radio and television personality Danny Neaverth will be inducted into the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

Neaverth spent most of his career in Buffalo, but started in radio at WFRM in Coudersport in 1957.

Neaverth has already been inducted into the Western New York Broadcasting Hall of Fame, and is one of only a handful of disc jockeys recognized at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.

Editors note: Many famous radio personalities got their start at WFRM including Gerri Miller.

Punxy Child Rapist Gets 220 Years In Prison

WESB News: 06/21/06 -
Man Sentenced to 220 Years in Prison

A 46-year-old Punxsutawney man has been sentenced to at least 220 years in prison for numerous sex crimes committed against 2 young children during 2004 and 2005. Douglas Kesslar was convicted by a jury on 11 counts of rape of a child.

He also threatened the children to keep them quiet and used witchcraft and black magic to intimidate them. Judge John Foradora told Kesslar that of all the child sex cases he's had, this is the worst, twisted, heinous and cruel set of facts he's ever seen.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

WFRM Posts Again

Radio Station WFRM has been able to post news again but still not able to post audio news on their website until their main computer is repaired. Click the link on the lower right margin to read today's news.

Job Fair Friday At Career Link in Bradford

Inaugural oil and gas job fair to be held Friday at CareerLink From The Bradford Era, click the link above for the whole story.

Officials with the burgeoning oil and gas industry will look to fill out their companies' workforce during the inaugural Oil and Gas Industry Job Fair on Friday.

The fair is slated from noon to 4 p.m. at the PA CareerLink at 40 Davis St. in Union Square in Bradford. It will be held in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Association.

Terra Curtis Blogs From Warren

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Zen and the Art of Bicycle Maintenance
I'm writing from the Thad's computer. He's the manager here at the YMCA in Warren, PA. I'm trying to upload photos but unfortunately it just seems to go at a snails pace, so bear with me. You can always view what I have in my gallery here.

Today's ride was about 70 beautiful miles. We seem to have left most of the big mountains behind at this point, but we're still left with some hefty rolling hills and most of all - strong head winds.

On PA-6 this morning, Bronwyn and I were flagged down by a woman on the side of the road waving her arms and her camera. She was from the Bradford Era, a local newspaper. She took our picture with Sam who showed up a few minutes later and talked with us for about 20 minutes about the mission and the ride.

It wasn't until a few days ago when I rode with Amelia that I felt like I really understood the overused phrase, "Enjoy the ride." That day, though, I felt like every second was enjoyable, and I learned how to really enjoy it all -- the mountains, the scenery, the strong headwinds and all. I've been conscious of that feeling since, and trying to focus on really enjoying every day's ride. Today was no exception.

Alright, gotta head out. As always, there's so much more I could say. Looking forward to our next build day on Saturday.

Bridget Blogs Wellsboro to Coudersport

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sweeping and chalking
On the ride from Wellsboro to Coudersport I was a "sweeper" with Evan. Sweepers are riders who start riding last, usually an hour or so after the pack heads off for the morning. Yesterday Evan and I decided to leave at 11:30am.

We started our morning by eating breakfast with Win, Pat, and Greg at the local diner. This was a half hour after our breakfast at the church.

Then we headed to the bike shop where we got our tires and cables changed and I got a new seat, which I desperately needed! After that the ride was a breeze. 45 miles of ups and downs, and only a little wind and rain, but we took it nice and slow. And we even got some great chalking messages along the way, which I'm sure were from Greg, as he is the only one who would take the time to get off his bike and draw pictures.

About the chalk: This is our form of communication. If you stop to eat, you draw an arrow in the road pointing to the restaurant. If you make a wrong turn, chalk it so someone else doesn’t do it. If you make a right turn, do the same thing. Now this isn’t always efficient, seeing that sometimes we are going 40 miles an hour and may miss a small pink arrow, but it works most times.

Once we rode into Coudersport we had ice cold showers at a ski lodge and then slept outside on the deck at a youth bureau.

Last night we learned: Win doesnt like cuddling, and Logan is the snore Nazi and may have to sleep in solitude from now on.
Posted by Bridget

Bridget Posts Towanda to Wellsboro

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Rumble strips: The ride to wellsboro
There were hills, hills, and more hills. But besides that there are these great things called rumble strips about every 10miles. Now those really hurt the hands. So i was almost done with this 70 mile trip when my tire blows. I changed it myself for the first time and rode down the hill. This is where Win and I decided we would need two dinners Our first dinner french toast and chili cheese dogs.

Then we begged two separate hotels for showers and a subway restaurant for dinner. No dice at the subway, they said they couldn't accommodate 30 people - lame. But we did find a motel which gave us one shower.

So by 9:30 my chore group cooked up dinner and by 10:30 i was in my sleeping bag outside where apparently there is a large slug population. I woke up this morning with 6 slugs stuck to me, gross. Logan pointing the first one out which was sleeping on my pillow.

EW Tonight im staying on the porch.
Posted by Bridget

Aaron Faust Hikes Across Maryland in 17 Hours

Maryland Challenge A Success!!

Whew! What a day yesterday?!?! As I mentioned in my last post, my great friend Colin Casler aka Caz and I were going to attempt the Maryland Challenge. This is a 42-mile hike to be done in a 24-hour period, a pretty ambitious adventure, but we thought we could handle it!

Caz picked me up from my sister's place in Germantown, MD around midnight on Tuesday. We chatted and caught up on the 45-minute drive to Harper's Ferry. It was great seeing him again and knowing that over the course of the next 24 hours we would be having an experience that we will be able to harken back to for the rest of our lives. I guzzled down a Dr. Pepper too! We arrived at Harper's Ferry and by the time we found a parking spot, which is not the easiest task there, and got our gear ready it was 1:30am. We shoved off and began the marathon hike!

The hike began with an eerie walk through downtown Harper's Ferry. We were sure we were going to see the ghost of John Brown or some sort of supernatural phenomena, but alas that did not happen! It was still and odd feeling walking through that town, which is so steeped in American history, at that late hour. Once out of town the trail follows the old C & O canal tow-path for several miles. It was flat and you could hear the water from the Potomac River go by as we walked. We were both feeling good and walked and talked amongst a chorus of bullfrogs bellowing their distinct call.

The trail then took a sharp left turn off of the tow-path and began an ascent up to a ridgeline. Once on top, we really began to make some time and the miles seemed to really fly by. We were using out headlamps to guide us and we actually startled a hike who was sleeping under the stars just off of the trail! It was kind of funny, but I am sure it scared the hiker!

Everything was going well. The warm, humid weather that the night began with started to cool down and was really very pleasant. I think our only complaint at this point was the ridiculous amount of spider webs that kept hitting us in the face as we hiked.

Before we knew it we were at Gathland State Park, about 11 miles in. It was 5am and we decided to take a little nap on the benches at the park. We only rested for about half an hour before we decided to keep going. It was light now, so the scenery we were cruising by in the dark could now be seen. We hiked for another couple of hours or so and got to a campground where some other hikers were milling around.

We stopped in and I was pleased to see that two of the hikers I knew. It was Uno and Dewey, collectivley known as "The Maine-iacs." I had hiked with this father and son duo from Maine for a few weeks in the beginning of VA. It was nice to see them and to see that they were still going strong. They departed and Caz and I took another short nap.

We soon arose and continued on. It was about 9:30 am. We ascended a mountain where the first monument to President Washington was ever erected. We were in fact in Washingon County, Maryland. We climbed the monument and had a hazy view of the terrain we had to face ahead. It was getting hot, so we decided to get back in the shade of the woods and keep on truckin'.

Caz and I were really moving at this point. We crossed Interstate 70 and then went to Pine Knob Shelter where we rested and ate a bit. It was a good thing I brought a long extra food because Caz hadn't brought too much. I was ready though with my 3 PB & J sandwiches, 4 Clif Bars, 3 Snickers, 2 beef jerkys, and a pack of Pop Tarts. After some food we continued on and got to the Annapolis Rocks. It had a nice view and allegedly had a spring near-by, but we couldn't find it. We did need some water too!

Thirsty, we moved on and hit the spring at the Pogo Memorial Campsite. This spring could not have come at a better time. We were both really really sleepy and cooling ourselves with the ice cold water was a great feeling. It really refreshed us and was crucial to the rest of the day's success. We had only 15 miles to go and it was 1pm!Those last 15 were tough. In my mind I tried to break it down into three 5-mile sections to make it seem more feasible to complete. This worked reasonably well and we got to the Ensign Cowall shelter only 10 miles away by 2:30pm.

We rested a bit before hitting it again. This would be our last rest until we made it to the Mason-Dixon Line. Caz was leading the way after this break and he was setting a blistering pace. We were so tired at this point that it didn't even matter. We must have been hiking at about a 4 mile per hour clip at some points. We got to where the trail crosses MD Rte. 491 and it began to lightly rain. We had a tought ascent ahead of us and it sure sounded like a storm was coming.

The winf was blowing and the thunder was cracking, but it never really rained too hard. The bark was bigger than the bite in the case of this storm, which was fine by us. We got to the Devil's Racecourse Shelter and decided to not stop. It was only 4.7 miles from our destination. Those 4.7 miles, especially the last 2, were excruciatingly long. I think our bodies hit the wall at about the 40-mile mark.

Both our minds began playing tricks on each other. There were several times I was sure I saw a sing up ahead only to be dissapointed that it was a tree limb with faint light reflecting off of it. At one point Caz was certain he saw a parking lot with cars ahead and I agreed with him. In fact, it was nothing. Pretty crazy! We were both so ready to be done that I think we had a case of trail dimensia!

Finally, the trail shot us out at Pen-Mar County Park only 0.2 miles from the Mason-Dixon Line. We through our stuff down in a pavilion and there were several other hikers there. We told them what we had just done and they applauded our efforts. A park worker in the concessions stand even gave us a free popsicle. It was good! We rested a bit and took our shoes off and then it dawned on us that we hadn't actually gone to the physical border of the two states.

We marched the 0.2 miles to the Mason-Dixon Line and took some photos as proof. It was actually fairly anti-climactic as the demarcation of the line was just a wooden stake with "MD" and "PA" scribbled in Sharpie marker. O well. We had done it and we both felt we would never do it again. It was 6:30pm.

I will definitley never hike that many miles again in one day. 42 miles in 17 hours was the final tally. Way too many miles in way too short a time span, but i suppose it was worth it. We hiked through the whole state of Maryland in a day. I doubt too many people can say that!

Our good friend Ian Penfield picked us up at Pen-Mar County Park and took us to McDonald's. A great way to end the day with a burger and a shake. He dropped me back off at my sister's place and I immediately passed out. I am currently taking today off and will most likely hit the trail again tomorrow (June 21st).

What an experience!

Posted on June 20th 2007 by Aaron Faust hiking the 2175 mile Appalachian Trail for a cure for cancer. Click the link on the lower right to find out how to donate.

State Senate Passes Budget

From WESB News:
06/20/07 - State Senate Passes Budget

State Senator Joe Scarnati announced today that the Senate has overwhelmingly passed a 2007-2008 final budget. The fiscally responsible budget received bi-partisan support and passed 49-1.

"Members from both sides of the aisle can be proud of passing a budget that does not increase taxes, does not create any new taxes, and does not exceed the rate of inflation," Scarnati stated.

"This budget reflects an understanding of the financial realities of Pennsylvania families and balances it with a vision for future advancement." According to Scarnati, the budget will now move to the House of Representatives for serious debate. It has been widely reported that the House Democrats may oppose this budget in its present form.

"It is my hope that House Democrats recognize that the citizens of the Commonwealth do not need another bill in the mail taking money out of their pockets," Scarnati added. "The Senate has crafted a conservative budget that still maintains substantial increases in education, economic development, and medical assistance funding."

"Overall, the budget passed by the Republican-led Senate increases spending at 2.7 percent, well below the rate of inflation," Scarnati said. "It is my sincere belief that by controlling spending and at the same time providing adequate funding for successful programs, we are moving Pennsylvania in a positive direction."

"I am confident that Governor Rendell and House Democrats will find the Senate's version of the budget solid, sound, and respectful of the citizens of the Commonwealth," Scarnati added.

Bike and Build Riders Now In Warren

Bridget Sheehan of Buffalo, NY pedals by the Fishing Creek intersection on Route 6 Wednesday morning enroute to Warren, PA where they will spend the night before continuing on to Franklin, PA on Thursday. Our thanks to Greg Doane of Roulette for these great pictures of the Bike and Builders. The riders are headed to Seattle,Washington chronicling the need for affordable housing.
Click on the title to go to a slideshow of Greg's pictures as the riders passed through. They followed Route 6 to Smethport and Route 59 past the Kinzua Reservoir to Warren. Terra Curtis emailed us that overall people were quite considerate as they passed through our area.
I am deeply appreciative to Greg Doane for allowing us to use his wonderful pictures of the riders. I had hoped to be able to meet up with them, but wasn't feeling very well after a tough 10 1/2 hour day in the dump truck. Greg is well known as an excellent photographer who has posted photos in many of the local media.
I was unable to copy this picture in any larger format on the blog, but the slideshow shows 16 pictures in full size format.

New Restaurant And Bakery In Coudy

Workmen prepare the building on East Second Street in Coudersport, that will house a new restaurant and bakery called the 2nd Street Roost.

WFRM Unable To Post News Online

According to an editor's note on the WFRM website, they are unable to post local news due to computer problems. They hope the problem is temporary and will be resolved soon.

We miss their posts as they do a great job of covering the local news.

Hope you are back online soon.

Bridget Sheehan Posts About Her Ride

George Bakers Garage: The ride to Towanda

The day began slow and steady. It was hot and we had a lot of hills ahead of us. I rode along with Bri, eric and kyle, once again our bike and build directions were far from accurate and the roads were not always labeled. So we come to a fork in the road. Kyle goes left. The rest of us stop (smart ones).

Soon a huge motorcycle man in a VW beetle comes along and helps us out. Just like pretty much everyone we had talked to, he told us our directions took us way out of the way but HE had a solution. He said "go back thata way and take a right at george bakers barn." this sums up getting directions in PA.

It's either take a left at the squirrel or turn at that light over yonder. baker and his barn was no where to be found. But we made it to lunch and we found pat who later in the day took the first risk in his life after unzippering his jersey.

We took a shortcut, made it the 68 miles to towanda and sat under a tree for 2 hours while we waited for the van to bring us to the Y. That's where i got a major surprise! My Ithaca roommates were waiting for me at the y!!!!! that night we ate dinner together and caught up, it was amazing.

Plus to top it off a bunch of us slept under the star, at the bottom of the hill with all the hay bails. The stars were amazing! Great day.
Posted by Bridget

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

30 Bicycles--Coudersport to Warren on Wednesday

30 bicyclists riding across the USA will be leaving Coudersport Wednesday morning and riding west on Route 6 to Roulette and Port Allegany. It is vague on their map whether they will follow 6 or 59 out of Smethport so use caution tomorrow as lanes are narrow and the road is curvey. Flash your lights at oncoming cars after you pass them so that they will slow down and be alert. Help make their passage through our area a safe and enjoyable experience.

Nathan O'Brien Rides With Bike and Build

Nathan O'Brien-
--Orlando, FL--
-University of Florida

Hello! My name is Nathan O’Brien, and I am a twenty-two year old Floridian. While I was born in Michigan, I have spent almost all of my life in Florida. I graduated from the University of Florida in August 2006 with a degree in chemistry and the intention of going to medical school.

However, I decided that I wanted to take a year (or two) off before going to medical school because once I begin that step in my education I probably will not have many good opportunities to do extensive traveling or great things like cycling across the country.

After graduation I spent two months traveling throughout Southeast Asia with an organization called Pacific Challenge, which was an awesome experience that made me decide to also do the organization’s trip to New Zealand and Australia in early 2007.

Searching for other fun yet productive things to do with my time off, I read about people biking across the United States and immediately wanted to do something similar. I found out about Bike & Build through a Google search and quickly knew I wanted to do it after looking through the website.

While my biking experience is limited to some relatively short bike trips and riding between campus and my apartment, I have always been an active person and love the physical and mental challenge of riding coast to coast across the country.

The combination of the physical rigor of the trip with service to the community was probably what most interested me about Bike & Build. I do not have any direct experience with the affordable housing cause, but reading about the issue has led me to understand the magnitude of the problem and has motivated me to become involved.

Lastly, people have to be pretty adventurous and maybe a little bit crazy to want to spend over two months cycling across the country, and getting to know all of these people will be a ton of fun.

Nathan is posting a blog about his experiences in this cross country adventure. You will now find a link on the lower right to his blog. He posts some awesome pictures.

Rep. Causer Says Property Tax/Rent Rebate Extended

The deadline for seniors and other qualified Pennsylvanians to apply for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program has been extended through the end of this year, Rep. Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) said today.

More people than ever are now eligible for relief from the program. Under the Taxpayer Relief Act of 2006 (Act 1), eligibility income limits for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program were increased for homeowners, and the maximum rebate was increased to $650 for both homeowners and renters.

The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 years or older, widows and widowers 50 years or older, and those 18 years or older with disabilities.

The household eligibility income limit has been raised for homeowners from $15,000 to $35,000, excluding 50 percent of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and Railroad Retirement Tier 1 benefits.

Residents are reminded to provide all the necessary income, property tax or rental information required to process claims quickly and accurately.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is one of four programs supported by the Pennsylvania Lottery, which dedicates its proceeds to support programs for older Pennsylvanians.

Since the program began in 1971, more than $3.21 billion has been paid to qualified applicants. The 2005 Pennsylvania Department of Revenue Property Tax/Rent Rebate report shows that more than 313,000 claims were paid for that year.

Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms are available by contacting Causer’s office in Bradford at 814-362-4400 or in Coudersport at 814-274-9769, or by visiting Causer’s Web site at

Severe Storm About To Hit Potter County

Weather service radar shows a severe storm about to cross over into Potter County. Radar showed a brief image a tornado vortex in the Smethport area. There are scanner reports of a few trees down in McKean County.

Click on the title to see radar map at 7:34 pm.

Garth Watson Runs Pennsylvania

Watson runs through home territory, has raised more than $9,000 so far in state border-to-border effort
By Brian Fees, Sports Editor Towanda Review

Review Photo/BRIAN FEES Canton’s Garth Watson (second from left) makes his way into Troy. During Monday’s leg Watson was running with Canton teammates Nick Patton (left) and Brady Finogle and Northeast Bradford runner Tory Carlsen (right).
TROY - When Garth Watson came running into Troy on Monday afternoon flanked by two of his Canton teammates and one NTL rival there was a crowd of supporters to greet him.
The Canton senior-to-be has now completed 137 miles of his 392-mile journey and Monday having the supporters out was a big deal for Watson."It feels great to have all these people come out and support me and cheer me on," he said. "It helps to push me."Watson has had other runners from the league, and even from other districts, run with him at times and on Monday's leg from West Burlington he was running with Canton teammates Brady Finogle and Nick Patton along with Northeast Bradford's Tory Carlsen. Earlier in the day another teammate, Mark Cordeiro, also ran part of the leg with the group.
Throughout his journey Watson has averaged 16.3 miles a day and as of Tuesday he had raised $9,473, which is being donated to Canton's track project.
The Canton runner was happy to have some of his teammates to run with Monday."It was kind of cool; it kind of reminded me of practice," he said. Watson also has enjoyed having the chance to have runners from other NTL schools with him at times."It's great. You get to see people you run against and you get to learn who they are and spend some time with them," he said.
For Watson the best thing so far is the amount of money that has been raised."It's great. I would have never thought we would have made this much," he said.
To follow Watson's journey or to donate money you can visit his website,

Monday, June 18, 2007

Aaron Faust Hikes To West Virginia For Cancer Cure

Harper's Ferry, WV!!!

Well, I made it to Harper's Ferry yesterday (June 17th) and am currently hanging out with my sister in Germantown. MD. I have really put in some decent miles since my last post in Waynesboro, VA, so I figured I deserved an off day here in Maryland.

Here's a re-cap of the past week or so...On the 10th of June I departed Waynesboro and headed into the Shennies or the 'Doahs, whichever abbreviation you prefer for the Shenandoah National Park. The weather was perfect and I was able to get a pretty early start from the hostel. I headed out with a few new faces: G-Force, an older gentleman from South Bend, Indiana, Quarter Moon, and Ohm, both younger guys from Massachusetts.

The terrain early on in the day was incredibly easy, compared to the rest of the trail I have been on. The grade was kind to me, but there really weren't a ton of great views. I climbed up the first decent uphill and all I was greeted with were radio and satellite towers. Not really the verdant mountain vistas I had imgained the Shennies to offer me. I pressed on and must have crossed Skyline Drive 10 times that first day. I was able to get in 20 miles easily. Without a doubt the easiest 20 mile day of the trip. Nevertheless, 20 miles is 20 miles and I was sure tired.

I tented that night at Black Rock Hut. There was quite a crew of people there, so it was nice to sit around and hear other hiker's stories.That night I woke up in the middle of the night to what sounded like a large animal clumsily meandering through the woods near my tent. I was sure it was a bear, but I am not extremely familiar with the sounds they make, so I wasn't sure. I laid in my tent motionless until something startled the creature and it scurried away. I could breathe again and then quickly fell asleep.

The 11th came and I began hiking with Lewis, a section hiker from Athens, GA. He was a real nice guy and we helped each other keep our pace up. We hadn't hiked that morning for more than 10 minutes before we saw a bear on the right hand side of the trail. It bolted into the woods and then stopped. We were able to get a really good view of it before moving on. This would not be the last bear I saw in the Shennies!

We hiked on to the Loft Mountain Campground and Store where we got some sodas and rested. In the SNP it is possible to eat a hot meal at a wayside restaurant everyday. Not exactly a wilderness experience, but it is nice to have some easily accessible amenities at times. After lunch, we pressed on to Hightop Hut, just south of Hightop Mountain.

We had another bear sighting before we got there. This one was quite a ways off the trail, but still. It was another long day, but we had a nice time playing cards with two other hikers; Cheeseburger and Corker. 21.4 miles logged that day.

The 12th was a very eventful day! I got a bit of a late start, but that is fairly typical. I am generally the last one out of camp in the morning! It was another nice day and the hiking remained pretty easy. I hiked to Lewis Mountain Campground for another mid-day soda break. It was about 12 miles from the previous campsite.

About a mile from Lewis Mountain I had a really close encounter with a bear. I was just doing my thing, hiking down the trail and I came to a slight turn in the trail. I looked up and there was a bear not more than 10 or 15 feet off to the right of the trail. I kind of looked at it and then started talking to it to maybe scare it off. It looked at me and didn't even care. It just put its head down and kept foraging like I wasn't even around. I observed it for a time and took some photos. It was then I realized that the snorting and digging sounds it was making were the same as the ones I had heard outside my tent a few nights before. That made me a bit nervous, so I quickly moved up trail.

After a nice refreshment at the store I pressed on to Big Meadows Campground for the night. It was an organized campground with showers, laundry, and a lodge. It was quite nice. It began to rain though after I set up my tent and was soggy night of sleep.

June 13th was a day of great views during the day and then a lot of rain in the evening. The day was extremely pleasant for walking in the woods though. Lewis and I made it to Skyland, a great area of the park with a bird's eye view of the Shenandoah Valley. We broke there for lunch and then moved on to some amazing cliff hiking with great clear views. We even saw some climbers roping up and getting ready to climb the rock face. We pressed on and were rewarded with great views atop The Pinnacle and a bit later on Mary's Rock.

As we descened off of Mary's Rock the distant thunder began to grow louder. We hurried our pace and got to the shelter, Pass Mountain Shelter, just before the rain started. It was a packed shelter with several thru-hikers and a group of women section hikers from Battle Creek, MI. They were super nice and gave me some Propel drink mix. Pretty cool.

As the rain came down a group of like 25 Boy Scouts rolled in and went to the tentsites. I learned later that they were from Pittsburgh, PA.

I woke up on the 14th and the rain was still coming down. It was definitley one of those mornings where I could have easily stayed in my sleeping bag all day, but I knew I had to keep going even if it meant walking in wet conditions. When it is raining all day like that I kind of just hike with my head down and try to put in as many miles as possible. There isn't a ton to look at around anyway.

I stopped at the Elkwallow Gap Wayside for lunch and I actually just wanted to keep moving. It was cold when you stopped hiking and the rain just wouldn't let up. So, it was a brief break and then off to Gravel Springs Hut. Once there, I convinced Lewis to just hike the whole rest of the way out of the Park and into Front Royal, VA.

All of our stuff was wet and I was sure the next shelter would be full. Putting up my tent in the rain is my least favorite thing to do , so we decided to get a room in town. We kept rolling and before we knew it we were out of the Park. It was funny because literally as soon as you crossed out of the Park the trail got infinitely more rocky and steep. We hiked a bit further to the Tom Floyd Shelter.

There we found Corker and Cheeseburger drying out. We convinced them to come into town. Lewis, it turns out, was friends with a guy who was friends with the owner of the outfitter in Front Royal. He made a few calls and arranged a pick-up for us at U.S. 522. So, we didn't have to worry about hitching in.

Our ride was there when we got to the road and he took us into town. He then actually offered us a place to stay at his house! Pretty incredible! Talk about Trail Magic! We accepted his offer and took him out to dinner as thanks. We all got cleaned up and had a nice warm sleep that night.

No more Shennies, but I would like to go back someday.

June 15th was a really late start. We didn't get out on the trail until 1pm. It was a pretty dull day with no views, but I was able to get 15 miles in before dark. 15 miles closer to Harper's Ferry! I stayed at Dick's Dome Shelter that night.

The 16th was a pretty long day, even though I only did about 18 miles. However, I encountered the part of the trail known as "The Roller Coaster." This section of trail features 10 ascents and 10 descents in a 13-mile stretch.

The ups and downs weren't too physically grueling, but were just kind of annoying after a while. I saw a sign for my destination, The Bear's Den Hostel, that said 4 miles away. It felt like 10 miles however! I finally got there and it was an amazing place. The Bear's Den is run by the ATC and is by far the nicest, cleanest hostel I have visited on the trail. I took advantage of the "hiker special," which was a bunk, shower, laundry, phone, internet, a pint of Ben & Jerry's and a Tombstone pizza for $25. I thought it was a pretty good deal, especically those last two! Yum! It was a great relaxing time there and I fell asleep knowing that I would get to Harper's Ferry the next day.

I arose at 5:45am on the 17th! No real good reason for it and I am still clueless as to why it happened. I guess I was excited to get going. One of the hikers who was also staying there, John, made strawberry pancakes, which was great. I had a few and was on the trail by 7am. Lewis and I flew down the trail. It was really easy walking and we had gone like 14 or 15 miles by Noon.

The last several miles into H.F. were unnecessarily rocky! It was worsened by the fact that we both just wanted to be there. We soon were! We crossed the Shenandoah River, which was a gorgeous sight and then took a blue-blazed side trail to the ATC Headquarters, where I will be interning in September.

All thru-hikers stop at the ATC to have their photo taken and to make sure they are counted as a 2007 thru-hiker. I had my photo taken and I was hiker number 324 of the year. It was a good feeling to be in Harper's Ferry.

It is hard to believe that I walked from Springer Mountain in Georgia to the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers in Harper's ferry in only 67 days! I was really happy about it. 20 miles by 2:30pm!

Happy, but tired I waited at the ATC for my sister Jess to pick me up. She arrived at around 4:30pm and we headed for Germantown, MD where I am taking a much needed zero day today!I plan to hit the trail again tomorrow when my great friend Caz and I will be attempting to hike from Harper's Ferry, WV to the Mason-Dixon Line in a 24-hour span.

It is about a 42-mile hike, so we will see how that goes. I will be sure to update when that is over. I plan on returning to MD after that adventure and possibly taking another off day on Wednesday before beginning the hiking in the home state of PA! Not quite half-way, but getting darn close!

Posted on June 18th 2007--Click on the link on the lower right to find out how to donate to Aaron's hike for a cure for cancer.




The Pennsylvania State Police has issued an Amber Child Abduction Alert on behalf of the Munhall Police Department, Allegheny County. The Munhall Police Department is searching for Alyssa Voltz, a 15-month-old white female child with blonde hair and blue eyes, possibly clothed in only a diaper. She was reported abducted on June 18th at approximately 4:30 pm from 200 Washington Avenue, Munhall Borough, after a domestic dispute.

She was reported abducted by Eric Voltz, a light skinned black male 6 feet tall and 190 pounds wearing a white shirt and white shorts.

The vehicle used in the abduction is a Gold colored 2000 Dodge Neon sedan with Pennsylvania registration WR78206.

Anyone with information about this incident should immediately contact the police by calling 911.

This has been an Amber Child Abduction Alert for the Munhall Police Department, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Affected Counties: Allegheny, Butler, Armstrong, Westmoreland, Fayette, Washington, Beaver

Bike and Build Reaches Wellsboro Today

An e-mail from group leader Tommy Daigle, reports that the first wave of bicycle riders from the Bike and Build cross country bicycle riders have reached Wellsboro. They will spend the night at the First Presbyterian Church in Wellsboro.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 19, 2007, they will travel on Route 6 to Coudersport, PA where they will stay at the Coudersport Alliance Church.

Please welcome them to Potter County when you see them on the highway or in town. And if you know any truckers traveling Route 6, let them know that 30 bicyclists are passing through and to be watchful for them as sight distances are sometimes short and lanes narrow.

These young people are making this 3200 mile ride across the United States from Providence , RI to Seattle, WA chronicling the cause of affordable housing and stopping along the way to help with Habitat for Humanity projects.

Most of them are college students or recent graduates. Each had to raise $4,000.00 in order to be able to make the trip. Most of the funds go for affordable housing projects. They are a great bunch of young people, on the adventure of a lifetime for a good cause. Lets make them welcome when they hit the Potter County line tomorrow.

Solomon's Words has been tracking their progress and posting their biographies for more than a month. You can check their individual blogs by clicking the links on the lower right.

PA Residents Reminded Of Safe Haven Law

Law Offers a Safe Place for Unwanted Babies, Prevents Abandonment

HARRISBURG - Department of Public Welfare Secretary Estelle B.Richman today reminded expectant parents and parents of newborns that Pennsylvania's Safe Haven law allows them to legally and confidentially turn over unwanted infants up to 28 days old to any hospital as an alternative to abandonment.

On June 14 near Philadelphia, a newborn girl who was found submerged in a commode was later declared dead at an area hospital, according to authorities. The case remained under investigation today.

"We are always saddened to learn that a child has been harmed when there are viable options for parents in need," said Public Welfare Secretary Estelle B. Richman. "When a young woman is pregnant and not prepared for the responsibilities of parenthood, often they are afraid and are unsure of where to turn for help.

The Safe Haven program provides a safe, legal and confidential option for them and their child." There are nearly 270 hospitals in Pennsylvania where parents may safely surrender their baby if they fear they cannot care for the child.

Babies can be handed over to any hospital staff member or, if a person is unwilling or unable to wait, they will be directed by signs on where to place the baby. As long as the child is unharmed, the parents will not be asked any questions. It is recommended, but not required, that the parent provide medical information for the child. A baby turned over to a Safe Haven hospital will receive necessary medical care. The county's child and youth agency will work to find the baby a loving family through the state's foster care system.

Pennsylvania is one of 48 states that has a Safe Haven law. To date, five babies have been saved through the program.

To learn more about the Safe Haven program, visit <> call toll-free,1-866-921-SAFE (7233).

Ex-lawmakers Back On Public Payroll After Getting The Boot


HARRISBURG - Four legislators who lost reelection bids after the pay-raise debacle have found jobs in state government, while at least three others have become lobbyists, a newspaper reported.

One former legislator, Republican Peter Zug of Lebanon County, started a $55,000-a-year job last week as a licensing analyst with the state Gaming Control Board, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday.

And former Scranton-area Rep. Fred Belardi now makes $116,000 annually - about 36 percent more than he did as a lawmaker - managing parking spaces and other personnel matters for his former House colleagues, the paper said.

Turning to Harrisburg as a job-placement service is a time-honored tradition for lawmakers suddenly out of work. But critics deride the practice as a sanctioned revolving-door policy."It demonstrates how out of whack public service has become in Pennsylvania," said Matthew Brouillette, president of the Commonwealth Foundation, a conservative Harrisburg think tank.

"It isn't a place to serve the public. It has become an opportunity for legislators to serve themselves."Montgomery County Republican Sue Cornell was one of several legislators who lost her seat in 2006 after lawmakers voted themselves a pay raise, later repealed.

Cornell is now the in-house lobbyist for the Philadelphia Parking Authority, a quasi-state agency. Though ethics rules prevent her from lobbying the House until December, Cornell said working as manager of government relations "makes sense from a practical point of view.""If you spend years in the legislature, that's what you know," she said. "You have the contacts, and you understand how legislation moves."

Ex-Rep. Frank LaGrotta, D-Lawrence, was put on the House payroll as a legislative consultant making $73,613 annually - the same as when he was in office.

Former Rep. Kenneth Ruffing, D-Allegheny, filled a similar advisory role for three months after his term ended. Both lost in last year's spring primary.

All three legislative leaders who were defeated last year quickly made the transition to lobbyists. Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer, Senate Majority Leader David "Chip" Brightbill and House Democratic Whip Michael Veon now represent groups from trial attorneys to organized labor.

---Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer,, via ap

100 More Grants For Autism In PA Announced Today


HARRISBURG - As the number of families supporting a loved one with autism continues to grow, Department of Public Welfare Secretary EstelleB. Richman today announced the availability of 100 additional mini-grants to help individuals and families gain access to essential community services.

"Although we have already provided grants to nearly 1,200 Pennsylvania families, we recognize that there are more families who could benefit from this opportunity," said Secretary Richman. "Through this additional funding, these families will be able to access important support services."

Autism is a neurobiological disorder that affects a person's ability to communicate and relate to others. In the past 15 years, the number of Pennsylvanians diagnosed with autism or an autism spectrum disorder has risen by more than 2,000 percent.

Families may be eligible for mini-grants of up to $500, which can be used for support services and activities like child care, summer camp/recreation programs or home modifications.

Grant applications must be submitted to the Department of Public Welfare's Bureau of Autism Services by June 29, 2007.

To be eligible, individuals or families must be a U.S. citizen, as
well as a resident of Pennsylvania not currently receiving other family support services, including waiver-funded services, family-driven support services, services funded under individual support plans or county-based funds from MH/MR or other similar services or funding.

To learn more about applying for a min-grant or for more information on autism initiatives in Pennsylvania, or call, toll-free,1-866-497-6898.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Towanda Today, Wellsboro Monday--Caution--30 Bikes On Route 6

I wish I could write so much more, because each day is full of so much worth writing. But because of that, not much time is allocated to writing about it all and thinking about was has already passed.

Which brings me to the first major theme I've noticed from this trip: it forces you to live in the moment and enjoy each pedal stroke, each river you pass over, each summit, each descent, each day, each minute, and each other.

Thanks for reading.
Peace,-Terra Curtis