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Saturday, July 7, 2007

Fishing Derby At Kaple's Pond In Roulette

Apparently blogger is having a problem uploading pictures today. Have a bunch of pictures of the fishing derby to upload but can't get them to upload. Will post as soon as it gets fixed.

Scarnati--Offices Open This Weekend

Pennsylvania State Rep. Joe Scarnati, R-Warren, who represents Potter and Tioga counties, announced Friday that his district offices will remain open this weekend to answer constituents' questions about the state budget.

People with questions can call the Wellsboro office at (570) 724-5231 or his Harrisburg office at (877) 787-7084, or send e-mail to

-- Star-Gazette

Alcohol And Speed Cause Fatal Crash

WESB News: 07/07/07 -
Alcohol and Speed Cause of Fatal Shinglehouse Crash

Shinglehouse Police have determined that speed and alcohol were the cause of a two-vehicle accident back on June 22 that claimed the life of a young man.

22 year old Jayson Turner of Shinglehouse was traveling at a speed of 63 mph in a 35 mph zone. The car went out of control while rounding a curve, causing it to slide sideways into another lane where it a truck driven by 42 year old Gordon Mesler also of Shinglehouse.

Turner was pronounced dead on the scene from multiple blunt force trauma. His blood alcohol level was .11

Mesler was treated at Charles Cole Memorial Hospital and released.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Roulette Fishing Derby At Kaple's Pond Saturday

The annual Art And Katherine Kaple Fishing Derby is Saturday, July 7 at Kaple's Pond in Roulette. Registration is at 10:00 and the Derby is till 1:00 Pm. Youth 14 and under can compete for prizes.

Legislature-Governor on Pennsylvania Budget Impasse

WESB News:
07/06/07 -
Scarnati: Is Rendell's Chef Furloughed?

Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati says he wants his constituents, and the rest of Pennsylvania, to know that under the Federal Fair Labor Standard Act, Governor Ed Rendell is "in no way required to furlough these state workers. … This is a manufactured crisis. … This governor wants to put a gun to the head of the legislature to pass his tax and spend budget and his initiatives."

Scarnati said he challenges anybody to go to the governor's mansion on Monday to see if Rendell's butler, maid and chef are furloughed.

He adds that Republican leadership is "holding firm. We're not taking any more money out of the family budget and putting it into the state budget."

Turtlepoint Teen Charged In Accident

WFRM Reports:

A Turtlepoint teen is facing numerous charges after allegedly taking a Port Allegany woman’s car and wrecking it yesterday.

Kane-based state police say 18 year old Joshua Windsor took a Beretta Sedan owned by Danilea Kelley. Police say a collision occurred when Windsor turned onto the Hamilton road from Route 155, attempting to make a U-turn to return to 155 and failed to yield the right of way to an oncoming 2002 Chevy Avalanche driven by Sonia Young of Port Allegany.

Young and her two young passengers were properly restrained and escaped injury. A 14 year old Port Allegany girl riding in the “borrowed” car was hurt and was taken to Charles Cole Hospital for treatment. A 17 year old boy and Windsor escaped injury even though Windsor was not wearing a seatbelt. Kelley’s car was moderately damaged.

Windsor is being charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and reckless endangerment along with a host of traffic violations.

Killer Of Roulette Couple's Son Appeals Death Sentence

Brian Gregg, a Newtown police officer, was the son of Roulette residents John and Nancy Gregg.

Judge defends speech on Flor
Bucks County Courier Times

Before sending convicted cop killer Robert Flor to prison to await death by lethal injection, Bucks County Judge Alan Rubenstein made a memorable courtroom speech, telling the defendant that people will look back on his case and say, “The punk got what he deserved.”
In his bid to get off death row, Flor has complained to the state Supreme Court, saying Rubenstein violated his rights when he called him a punk and should have recused himself from the appeals process.

Rubenstein has responded to that accusation, reminding Flor that the words he used came out of the killer's own mouth.

Flor, 39, a Bedminster resident who was moving to Falls the day of his arrest, is awaiting execution by lethal injection in the slaying of Newtown police Officer Brian Gregg.

A jury in November sentenced Flor to die for killing Gregg on Sept 29, 2005, in the St. Mary Medical Center emergency room.

Gregg and another officer brought Flor to the emergency room after he was arrested for driving drunk and beating his girlfriend. When Flor's handcuffs were removed so that he could use the bathroom, he grabbed an officer's gun and shot Gregg in the head.

Flor also shot and wounded another police officer and a hospital employee. The slaying was witnessed by dozens of people inside the emergency room. Flor was captured a short time later, hiding in the hospital parking garage.

In his appeal, Flor challenged the constitutionality of his death sentence and complained that his rights were violated in various ways. Among his chief complaints is that Rubenstein should have stepped down from the case after making the “punk” statement at sentencing.

In a blistering, 81-page opinion filed Thursday, Rubenstein said the speech was not only proper but also necessary to underscore the seriousness of Flor's actions.

While it was the jury's responsibility to choose between life or death for Flor, Rubenstein fashioned the sentences for the other counts Flor was convicted of, including wounding the other two shooting victims and terrorizing all the people in the emergency room.

Rubenstein gave Flor an additional 65 to 130 years in jail for those crimes, telling Flor that people will look back on the case and say of Flor: “The punk got what he deserved.”
Flor's lawyers complained that phrase was improper. But, in his opinion, Rubenstein noted that he was simply echoing Flor's words to witnesses in the hours after the killing.

During the melee that left Gregg dead, Flor shot himself in the hand. After he was caught, he was brought back into the emergency room where medical staff treated his gunshot wound before he was taken to prison.

According to a nurse manager who testified at Flor's sentencing, Flor lashed out at the people trying to bandage his hand and said of Gregg, “Young punk got what he deserved.”
Before handing down the sentence, Rubenstein reminded Flor of his outburst.

“Now, Mr. Flor,” the judge said, “there are certain indelible memories in my mind from this hearing. I was stunned with your statements after the shootings. Cruel. Cold. Heartless. But one statement will stick in my mind as long as I live. And that statement was: "The punk got what he deserved.'

“Mr. Flor, I want to remind you of an old biblical prophesy from the Book of Exodus, and it states: "The words you use to condemn will in the end condemn you.' And I am sure that, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people, when they read about this sentence, will use your words and say, "That punk got what he deserved.' That is all.”

In his opinion this week, Rubenstein stood behind his words.
“Appellant is apparently implying that this Court exhibited impermissible bias in using the phrase "people will properly say that the punk got what he deserved' when it placed of record the reasons for the Appellant's noncapital sentence after the jury returned its verdict of death.
“The assertion is easily dismissed by recognizing that this Court did not express any manifestly unreasonable judgment, partiality, prejudice, bias, or ill-will, but simply used the defendant's very own words when it concluded that the jury's verdict was just and proper.”

The judge went on to say that Flor's heinous actions called for strong words in court.
“Appellant and his counsel seem to believe that a sentencing court should be robotic in its demeanor and benign in its sentencing statement without regard to the specific nature of the crimes for which the sentence is imposed.

“In this lengthy penalty hearing, the jury heard riveting, gut-wrenching and, at times, bone-chilling testimony concerning Appellant's homicidal rampage within the close confines of an emergency room in a suburban hospital.''

The judge goes on in his opinion to describe the shooting in detail, saying Flor's intent was to “snuff out as many lives as possible, limited only by the number of bullets” in the gun.
“This civil act, so grievous and dispassionate, was only exceeded by Flor's statements and demeanor after the event when he sought to justify his actions and casually referred to the dead and wounded in less than human terms.

“The court is mandated to explain its reasons of record for its sentence. We would be derelict in that assignment had we failed to consider Flor's cold-hearted remorseless statements made after his arrest.”

By law, an appellate court can reverse a lower court's verdict only if it finds that the verdict is so contrary to the evidence as to “shock one's sense of justice.”

No date has been set for the state Supreme Court to decide Flor's appeal. The Courier Times was unsuccessful in reaching his attorney, Chief Deputy Public Defender Peter Hall, Thursday for comment.

Laurie Mason can be reached at 215-949-4185 or

Gun Missing On Peet Brook Road

Gun missing in Potter County
July 6, 2007

A .22 caliber, lever-action, Henry-make gun with serial number 3747839H and a wooden stock is missing along Pete Brook Road in Allegany Township, according to state police at Potter County.

John H. Baum, 77, of Norristown, Pa., reported the lost gun and suggested that it may have fell out of his vehicle sometime between 9:15 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Monday.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call the state police at Coudersport at (814)274-8690.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Potter Great Place To Live

Potter County Rated 11th Best Place to Live in Northeast

The secret is out!
Potter County, Pennsylvania
RANK: 11 Northeast
POPULATION DENSITY: 16.75 per square mile

Potter County, Pennsylvania was recently rated the 11th best place to live in the Northeast United States by Progressive Farmer Magazine.

Warren County, Pa was No 1.

Click on the link to go to the story.

Garth Watson Completes Run Across Pennsylvania

LEROY -- After completing his 23-day run across Pennsylvania, Canton High School senior Garth Watson returned home Tuesday.

On Wednesday morning, he got up and ran to the grounds of the LeRoy Community Association in the village of LeRoy.And after arriving there, he ran the 5K race that was part of the 60th Annual LeRoy Old Home Day, and came in first place, organizers of the event said.

Wednesday afternoon, Watson was at the grounds selling T-shirts that commemorate his cross-Commonwealth run. The funds raised from the sale of the T-shirts will help fund the construction of the new track at Canton High School, Watson said.

Aaron Faust Completes Pennsylvania--Rests At Home Before Heading Back To The Trail

Pennsylvania was very very good to me!

Well, it is the 5th of July and I am currently off the trail for a few days. I am in a wedding on the 7th, so I decided to get off a few days early to spend the festivities of the 4th with my family. On the trail I am at the PA/NJ border at the Delaware Water Gap! Nearly 1,300 miles in!

Many hikers contend that the trail in PA is horrible because of all the rocks a long the way. PA has even earned the moniker "Rocksylvania" because of the rough terrain. Many hikers don't always enjoy there time in PA, but I really would have to say that my home state was incredibly good to me.

I had numerous friends come join me for part or all of a day of hiking and stayed in several free hostels, which was unexpected, but nice! All in all my time in Pennsy was great and I am happy to be off the trail for a bit to rest my feet and my mind and get ready for the last 900 miles or so of trail!

Here is a rundown of the trip since the last update:On the 25th of June I didn't get on the trail out of Duncannon until about 3:30pm. Ruth Cox dropped me off at where the trail crossed Rt. 322 and the trail immediately went up very quickly. It was quite humid that afternoon and I hadn't hiked for more than a mile before I was already soaked with sweat. I had to hike about 7 miles or so to meet my friends Josh, Stamatis, and Ben by 5:30pm. 7 miles in 2 hours is pretty quick, but I was able to do it and just as I crossed the bridge over PA Rt. 225 Josh and his family pulled up in their PT Cruiser. We greeted each other and then Josh's mother began setting up a nice spread of buffalo wings, pasta salad, and cold sodas. Pretty sweet! Stamatis soon arrived and we all ate and carried on.

Another hiker, Rod-knee DangerTrail, joined us as well. After the nice meal myself, Josh, Stamatis, and Ben all headed into the woods for the short hike to Peters Mountain Shelter. We got there just as it was getting dark, but still decided to descend the 300 stone steps to the water source. I think we sweated more on the way up from getting water than we had during the 3-mile hike into the shelter.

We set-up our gear in the loft of the shelter and proceeded to make a great fire. Stamatis and I had a good time cracking logs apart for the fire. A few ladies camping weren't so pleased, but it was only like 8:30pm. But, they say 9:00pm is hiker midnight, so we quieted down and enjoyed the roar of the fire. We dwelled there for a time before turning in. A good day. Stamatis planned on walking back out to his car in the morning, but Josh and Ben were going to push 22 miles out with me!

June 26th came and none of us got a good night of sleep to prepare for it. I am used to snoring in shelters, but the others not so much. However we managed to get out on the trail by 8am despite being quite lethargic. Not more than 10 minutes into our hike did we see our first snake of the day. Josh and Ben blew right by it and almost stepped on it, but I saw it. It was a black snake, maybe 3-4 feet long. We checked it out briefly, but then kept moving.

Only a few miles later we saw 4 timber rattlesnakes. We were crossing a bed of rocks and a woman ahead was stopped on the trail. She warned us of what was ahead and we climbed down the rocks to avoid the snakes that were basically right on the trail. Three of the four were pretty small, but the 4th must have been 5 inches in diameter. Josh was a little freaked out, but we kept on moving. Josh and Ben were troopers. They did not want to take too many breaks, so we just kept going. We ran into some trail magic, consisting of cold Dr. Peppers and Cherry Cokes, before one climb, which was a morale boost. Everything was going great and then both Josh and Ben hit a wall at about mile 20.

An unexpected ascent caught them off guard and the last 2 miles were tough. We made it however and Josh's dad had the car ready when we got to the road. We all ate well that night and were able to get a nice night of rest.

The 27th came early. Josh and I were up at 5:30am, so he could get me back to the trail before his work. I was on the trail by 6am or so, but I was just not really feeling it. It was already super humid and after crossing I-81 for the upteenth time a pretty long ascent left me sweaty and tired. Once on top however it was mostly ridgeline walking. I played flip-flop with this guy Radar from Maine. We both decided to make it a short day and only hike 13 miles to the 501 Shelter.

We hitched into town together and got some food. Once back at the shelter some other hikers had ordered pizza, so it was a very nice night of eating. Later that night the humidity finally lead to a thunderstorm, which we all hoped would cool things off come the next morning.

June 28th came and I decided to put in a pretty long day to make up for the previous day of laziness. I decided to make it the whole way into Port Clinton, PA about 23.5 miles away. The weather was much cooler and although it was overcast I was able to dodge rain all day. I pretty much didn't stop all day until I got to the town pavilion in Port Clinton where hikers are permitted to camp out. I saw a sign in the pavilion for a free hostel with showers, so I jumped on it. I really was feeling gross, so the shower was crucial. The hostel was run by the Ye Olde Backpacker Outfitter and was very nice. I was able to get clean and get rest for the next day.

My friends Jason Moran and Joe Balduino were planning on meeting me in Port Clinton in the morning to hike a bit.June 29th and it was another overcast, but cool day. I was happy about that. I got to Port Clinton and stopped at the Post Office for a mail-drop. I packed up my food and Jason and Joe were there. We headed to the 3 C's Restaurant to pick up a sandwich to pack-in for lunch. There was a radio show going on at the restaurant and the three of us got introduced on the air. I'm not really sure why. I guess there isn't a ton to talk about in Port Clinton, so they talk to whoever comes in the door!

Jason and Joe hiked 6 miles in with me to the Windsor Furnace Shelter. We ate lunch and caught up before they turned around and I continued north. It was great seeing them. Anytime people I know come out and join me for a bit it is amazing. I busted out 16 more miles that day and spent the night at Allentown Shelter. There were some great views along the way at Pulpit Rock and The Pinnacle, which was recently called the best day-hike in PA by Backpacker Magazine.

The last day of June was a great one. The cool weather continued and I had some fun boulder jumping throughout the day. I actually enjoy having to concentrate a little on the rocks, rather than just walking mindlessly over a smooth path. I say that now, but I could change my tune in New Hampshire! I hiked over Bear Rock, which was a little tricky. It was this knife edge ridge of exposed boulders that took a little hand-over-hand climbing to circumnavigate. It was fun!

Soon after, I saw another snake, this time a copperhead. Maybe PA should be called "Snakesylvania" instead of "Rocksylvania." I lunched at Bake Oven Knob and then hiked across the Lehigh River to Palmerton, PA. There was another free hostel located there in the basement of the town's municipal building. I arrived at the hostel and it was great. They had showers and a basketball court. I shot some baskets for like an hour, which was great fun, and then showered.

An older fellow from Alabama, Grasshopper, and I got pizza at a local place in town. Another great day and 17 miles logged. Only 30-some miles to the Water Gap.July 1st came and I had another set of visitors join me on the trail. Elena Austin and Brian Driscoll met me at the hostel and joined me for a full day of hiking.

It was awesome to see them. They even had made "Team Almost Lucky" t-shirts and wore them while we hiked. It was great! The day's hike began with a tough climb out of the Lehigh Gap. A lot of large boulders required some climbing, but once on top we had some easy ridge walking for miles. Great views of the Lehigh Valley rewarded us below and we had a great time catching up. Brian had brought lunch for us all and told us how the turkey sandwich we were going to be eating was from a bird he had shot. Pretty cool. Apparently, he had to shoot the thing 5 times before it succumbed. I couldn't do it, but I will gladly eat the sandwich.

We came up with trail names for them; Elena "Man-Hands" Austin because of her larger than normal female hands and Brian "Tight Hammy" Driscoll because of his complaining of his legs tensing up. Good names I think. Elena came up with several others, but I'll save those for another time. Elena and Brian left me 12 miles into the day, but not before a nice meal at the Shut the Door Restaurant. We got burgers and ice cream. Nice! They dropped me back at the trail and I hiked another 4 miles into camp. I stayed at the Leroy Smith Shelter and had a nice 20 miles hike in the morning to the end of PA.

The night of the 1st was a cold one. Too cold for the month of July. I didn't sleep well, but the cold forced me to stay in my sleeping bag until 8am. I got up and readied myself quickly and was actually the first one out of camp. That never happens! I was really excited to get to the Delaware Water Gap and to have my parents pick me up. The trail really wears you down after a while and I think it has taken its toll on me. The physical and mental fatigue is hard to deal with and I think this little break is going to help me in the long run. So, I pretty much hiked non-stop on the 2nd. I did stop briefly for water at the last shelter in PA and to sign the register.

The trail followed and old logging road for a long time and finally I was atop Mt. Minsi, overlooking the Delaware River. I stopped at the vista and met a nice Canadian couple who were very intrigued by what I and other thru-hikers were doing. I talked with them for a bit and then began the descent to the bottom of the valley. It didn't take me too long and I got to town. I went to the Church of the Mountain Hostel and waited for my parents to arrive. They got there shortly after and I showered and was on the road back to Williamsport, PA by 5:30pm or so.

Mom and Dad brought some goodies for other hikers at the hostel, which was greatly appreciated. Like I said, I was able to shower, which Mom and Dad greatly appreciated! We stopped for dinner on the way home and we were back by 8:30pm.

Pretty crazy to be back home, but it feels good too. I'm not home for too long though. I'm off to Maryland for a weddiing then hopefully back on the trail by the 8th or 9th! New Jersey awaits!

Posted on July 5th 2007 by Aaron Faust

Natural Gas In Water Wells Came From Storage Fields

WESB News: 07/05/07 -

Natural Gas in Tioga County Water Wells

A U.S. Geological Survey study has found that the natural gas present in some Tioga County water wells is a chemical that matches the gas found in three storage field reservoirs next to Tioga Junction, which are owned and operated by Dominion Transmission and PP&L.

The DEP will meet with Dominion and PP&L to outline the firms’ responsibilities for mitigating any health and safety concerns associated with the affected wells.

The companies must also take corrective action to halt the gas migration. DEP first became aware of the natural gas in local water wells as it investigated a complaint in 2001.

While attempting to find the source of gas, DEP plugged four old gas wells in the area. The US Geological Survey inventoried 91 wells in a 50-square mile area around Tioga Junction to determine the pattern of gas occurrence.

Pennsylvania May Have To Pay Back 800 Million Dollars

From WESB News:
07/05/07 - Senate Seeks Answers On Federal Audit

A federal audit of the foster care piece of Pennsylvania's welfare programs could eventually knock a sizable hole in the state budget, and so it will be the subject of a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing held Friday, July 6, according to committee chairman Gib Armstrong. Senate Republican Policy Chairman Jake Corman will be leading the inquiry.

In a recent Patriot-News story, state Budget Secretary Michael Masch conceded that the potential need to return federal money "would obviously have a devastating impact on the budget."

Armstrong said there is justifiable concern about the implications of the audit. "At a time when Governor Rendell is pushing for more state spending in many areas, it appears that the state is not making any preparation for an adverse finding from an audit involving more than $800 million.

The Administration seems to be hoping this potential liability will just go away if things drag on long enough, or that the feds will back down. Given our commitment to holding the line on state taxes next year as well as this year, we need to determine the facts and assess the possible financial risk Pennsylvania has in this situation."

A March settlement that saw the state forego $133 million in federal funds heightens the concern over the potential consequences of the ongoing audit. Masch and DPW Secretary Estelle Richman have been invited to testify. Federal, county, and Philadelphia officials have also been asked to testify. Former state Budget Secretary Robert Bittenbender is on the agenda.

The hearing will be held in Senate Hearing Room 1 in the North Office Building, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Teens Injured In Columbia Hill Crash

From WESB News:
07/05/07 - Four Injured in 4th of July Crash

Four people were involved in a one car crash in McKean County late Wednesday evening. 18 year old Cody Carpenter of Smethport was traveling north on Columbia Hill Road in Otto Township at a high rate of speed.

Carpenter failed to negotiate an extreme right turn and traveled into a dirk embankment. The vehicle then slid into an eight foot deep ditch and came to rest.

Carpenter was transported to Olean General Hospital with a severe leg injury – He was not wearing a seatbelt. All three passengers – a 16 and 15 year old and 18 year old Joel Colden of Smethport were transported to Bradford Regional Medical center with injuries.

Weekend Crime Spree In Ulysses

July 5, 2007
State Police of Coudersport are investigating a stretch of criminal mischief in Ulysses believed to have occurred between 11 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. Monday, police said.

During the eight-hour crime spree, the alleged burglars (or burglar) broke into the concession stand at the Ulysses Little League Youth baseball field and stole six boxes of candy.

Then the criminals (or criminal) caused about $1,000 in damage to a commercial vehicle by breaking off mirrors and turn signals. The vehicle was parked on Main Street in Ulysses.

Next, the criminal (or criminals) hijacked a Ulysses Borough backhoe from near the borough's water tower and set off the onboard fire extinguisher.

Finally, the wooden sign in front of the Silver Maple Apartments, on School Street, was broken.
An investigation into the incidents continues.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the state police of Coudersport at (814)274-8690.

Motorcyclist Hits Deer On Dingman Run

From Elmira Star Gazette:
Scott E. Sexton, 42, of Oswayo, Pa., crashed his 1981 Honda motorcycle around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday on Dingman Run Road.
State police of Coudersport report that Sexton was traveling North on Dingman Run Road when he crashed into a deer in the northbound lane.
The crash ejected Sexton and the motorcycle came to a rest on its left side which traveled the road and onto the eastern berm.
Sexton had moderate injuries and was taken to Charles Cole Memorial Hospital fot treatment.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

New Free Classified Site in United States Launches

EBay Launches Kijiji In The United States

By Adario Strange July 04, 2007 10:27:07 AMCategories: Web/Tech

The brand loyalty of Craigslist users will be put to the test now that eBay has entered the fray with Kijiji, a new free classifieds website for American Internet users. In an odd strategic move, eBay first launched the site in Europe and Asia back in 2005.

Although some see this shaping up as a Kijiji versus Craigslist battle for classifieds customers, the fact that eBay owns 25 percent of Craigslist (purchased in 2004 from a former employee) complicates the picture.

Bottom line: No matter which classifieds site comes out on top in the next couple of years, eBay will hold a winning hand.

Songwriters Roundtable At Denton Hill Lodge Saturday

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.

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

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Columbus Dispatch Writes About Bike and Builders

Columbus Dispatch Article
Cyclists' goal: pedal, hammerBike & Build riders aid Habitat for Humanity
Thursday, June 28, 2007 3:43 AM
By Brittany Kress

Logan Rhyne's green shirt was spotted with sweat from working in the heat, but he was smiling -- especially because he got to sleep in his own bed the night before.The 20-year-old New Albany native has spent the past three weeks bicycling from Providence, R.I. He's riding across the country this summer, stopping along the way to help build affordable housing.

Yesterday, his group of 30 cyclists with Bike & Build put together trusses and interior walls for two Habitat for Humanity houses on Guilford Avenue in Franklinton.

The 18- to 24-year-olds usually sleep on church basement floors or YMCA basketball courts, but Rhyne crawled into his own bed Tuesday night after his group attended a Columbus Clippers game.

Building or bicycling upward of 50 miles every day makes for the ideal summer, Bike & Build participants said.All stressed their love of travel, learning and helping.

Resume-building is "something I don't seem as concerned about as some of my peers," said Rhyne, an incoming junior studying science, technology and international affairs at Georgetown University in Washington.

He thought about working in Washington or maintaining trails in the Allegheny Mountains, but the concept behind Bike & Build appealed to him the most, he said.

This summer is an escape from the monotony of work for Caroline Schepker, 19, of Hartford, Conn., an incoming junior at Brown University studying neuroscience."For me, this is sort of a vacation," said Schepker, who has held a job since she was allowed to work."The only hard part was knowing I would have to be tight with my budget at school this year," she said.The hardest part has been cycling in silence, without another's voice or music to listen to, Schepker said. As a safety precaution, cyclists are not allowed to listen to music while riding.

"It's not lonely, but for all those hours, sometimes you're like, 'Whoa, I'm really getting to know myself.' "Candace Blas, 18, has been taking everything in with the hope that she'll narrow her focus on a career path."All I know is, America is big; that's such an abstract thing," said Blas, an incoming sophomore at the University of Alaska whose hometown is Chugiak, Alaska. "I want to be exposed to everything our country has … so I can apply myself."

Groups of 30 Bike & Build riders are following six cross-country routes. The cyclists in Columbus yesterday left Providence on June 7. They will spend six days during the course of the ride stopping to build homes and will arrive in Seattle on Aug.13 for a final day of construction.

Each was required to raise $4,000 to participate in Bike & Build. The 4-year-old program has so far distributed $752,804 to affordable-housing groups.

Roger Powell, site supervisor for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Columbus, said he was pleased with the group's work on the two-story, three-bedroom houses in Franklinton.Volunteers have been working on them since early this month and expect to finish by October, said Deb Light, Habitat volunteer director.

Bikers Cross Time Zone--Indiana

Today was an exhilarating day—we rode really fast, with a tailwind, for about 44 miles, and then waited for lunch behind a truckstop diner, with a tilting incinerator and a towering turbine and a grease dumpster. In the sun.

It was actually a very pleasant lunch spot. Perfect Americana. People kept going in to the diner for slices of pie (pecan, peach, strawberry-rhubarb, and blueberry, I think, though there were more cooling) and when the van got in, finally, from Lafayette, we feasted on donated Subway coldcuts and Panera baguettes, which I think is against sandwich chain rules or something. And it was 72 degrees, and cloudless.

After lunch we got the inside scoop from Ed, a really nice electrician who told us that Route 24, which we were planning on taking, was the state’s official thoroughfare for wide-load trucks. And that we’d be better off taking “1700N,” which was apparently a paved backroad through the cornfields, to Gilman.

If you’ve never seen a state map of Indiana or Illinois, they look like checkerboards. Or circuitboards. All the roads go in straight lines, all oriented in cardinal directions, around gigantic corn- and soybean-fields. So all we had to worry about was that, once we got going, rights were North, and lefts after that were West. So we tried to take a few rights, and a few lefts, and make it in one piece to Gilman.

Marie and Courtney both had cheapo drugstore radios, so they tuned to the same station for much of the ride, and we all danced/rode along. One of the stations had a “Sugar Ray Greatest Hits” playlist or something, which, unfortunately is just two songs. But they’re great songs, especially for the summertime.

We all agreed that the cornfield roads were like 2-lane bike paths, like limbo on two wheels. There could have been no time, or hours could’ve passed; no miles, or hundreds. The whole crew was struck by the same simultaneous euphoria, again and again.

We made it into Gilman after crossing a state line (many hilarious pictures) and a time zone, Eastern into Central. Every state that we enter since Pennsylvania will be a new one for me. Despite my earlier, somewhat grumpy blog post, OhIndianIllinoIowa reminds me a lot of the Connecticut River Valley—fertile soil, friendly people, and no pretensions.

And lots, and lots, and lots, of corn. And soy.
All for today. More to come tomorrow.
Posted by Sam Carmichael

Editor's note: Several bikers posted today and have taken some great pictures. Click on the individual links on the lower right margin to read their individual blogs.

Garth Posts Yesterday--Finish Today

7:20 P.M. July 2, 2007

This morning, after I did my call-in and ate some breakfast, I went on my longest run of the trip. It was 12.6 miles from Edinboro to Albion, which isn't very far for me but it was enough to get me about 8 miles away from the Ohio border.

I felt pretty good, except I think I could have gone a little faster. But I guess that's not the important thing. The important thing is that I finish. Once I got to Albion, we drove back to the campgrounds where my dad and I did some fishing. My dad caught a couple of little buggers while I caught jack squat. I'm starting to not like fishing. I think that's why I run, because I don't have the patience to fish.

We then drove into Erie and ate at Sara's, where we had some great hot dogs and onion rings. When we were done indulging ourselves with our foot-long, char grilled hot dogs, we drove to Lake Erie to check out the beach. To my surprise, it was actually a very nice beach and reminded me of the island that we go to in the Bahamas, minus the hundreds of people walking around.

We left there and went back to the camper, where my dad did some more fishing before we drove back to Albion for my last run of the day. I ran about 3.5 miles to Route 226, which is the road that I will be taking tomorrow for my final run. I really felt good on this run. I was stretched out really well and just cruised my way through it.

I am pretty excited to finish tomorrow, but I think I could make it across a couple more states. Although, I heard from a friend that Ohio is an extremely boring state, so I might just go home once I get across Pennsylvania.

25,000 State Workers Get Pink Slips

WESB News:
07/03/07 - Rendell Announces Furloughs

Governor Ed Rendell has announced that 25 thousand state workers received furlough notices Tuesday, and will stop working as of 12:01 a.m. July 9. Among the services that will be shut down are drivers license centers, state parks and museums, and all of the casinos. If a budget agreement is reached before Monday, Rendell can rescind the furloughs.

In a news release issued after the furloughs were announced, Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati said "It is unbelievable that the governor would use the working families of Pennsylvania who live paycheck to paycheck, as pawns in his attempt to leverage support for his initiatives." Scarnati adds that if Rendell is confident that his non-budget-related proposals are in the best interests of Pennsylvanians, he shouldn't need to hold the budget hostage to get them passed.

Monday, July 2, 2007

New Law Shields Landowners From Liability in Hunting Accidents

Bucks County Courier Times

Landowners will be protected from lawsuits due to hunting accidents under a bill approved without opposition in the Pennsylvania Legislature.

House Bill 13, which goes to Gov. Ed Rendell's desk for signature, explicitly shields owners from civil penalties for injuries caused by sportsmen on their land.

It comes after a Lehigh County jury found a farmer partly liable for the accidental shooting of a pregnant woman near Allentown, a decision last year that hunting advocates and farmers said made people reluctant to open their properties to hunters.

Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, R-10, the chairman of the Games and Fisheries Committee, said current law should already prohibit landlords from being held responsible for hunting accidents. But he said the bill makes the rules more cut and dry, in order to address concerns.

“We spelled it out real clear, so there would be no confusion,” said McIlhinney. “We wanted to send a clear message to all the landowners who were worried.”

Deer populations have boomed in Southeast Pennsylvania, leading to complaints of lost crops, car accidents and damaged forests. Though recreational hunting is the state's main curb on wildlife numbers, some communities are pursuing further methods.

Solebury is paying the U.S. Department of Agriculture more than $250,000 to hire sharpshooters to cull deer over the next two years. Upper Makefield has contracted with a private company that will encourage bow hunting in the township.

McIlhinney on Friday defended Solebury's effort, which has been controversial among residents who charge it is inappropriate and overly expensive. Solebury's deer numbers are too great to be brought down by hunting alone, McIlhinney said. Many sportsmen shy from suburban Bucks County, where rifle hunting is banned, he said.

“When the Audubon Society comes to you and says you should kill some deer, then you know that something has to be done,” McIlhinney said.
“There's just too many deer and not enough hunters,” he said.
The liability protection bill was heralded by the Farm Bureau.

Glenn Wismer, the president of the Bucks County bureau's board of directors, said many farmers worried they could be penalized for a hunting accident on their property.
“With the litigation lottery-type mentality we have, it's just not something you want to deal with,” said Wismer, who farms 400 acres in Bedminster.

Last year, a similar measure passed the House but died when the session ended before the Senate could consider it.

The House approved the bill this year in May. The upper chamber endorsed it on Wednesday.
McIlhinney's district includes Falls, Lower Makefield, Morrisville, Tullytown, Newtown, Newtown Township, Upper Makefield, Yardley, 20 municipalities in Central and Upper Bucks and two Montgomery County communities.

Riley Yates can be reached at 215-345-3133 or

Bridget Sheehan Posts Today

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Quick 45 Mile Sprint to Logans Mom and a Pool

After spending a night in a bed at Kent I felt so refreshed. It was amazing what a little bit of padding under your back and some privacy could do. That morning we were spoiled even more with what was in store for us throughout the day.

Breakfast was at the Kenyon dining hall, that means hot food! I enjoyed eggs, bacon, muffins, coffee...I frequently turned to people in line who i didn't know and excitedly stated how happy I was and asked them if they felt the same. I forget that not everyone gets as excited about food as us.

Once breakfast was over we all had one thing on our minds, Logan's house, which includes his pool. Logan lives in New Albany, which is about 10 miles away from the JCC in Columbus where we stayed. So our first stop was naturally his house.

That day i got on my bike and I thought of nothing else but the pool for 40 miles. We rode at about 19 miles per hour and got there around 11:15. It was amazing.

Logan's mom had a huge spread awaiting us. Fried chicken, mac and cheese, cheese cake, sweet tea...we spent the whole day eating and pool side.

Afterwards we all went to a minor league baseball game, but I'm pretty sure no one really paid attention. Our whole day was made possible by so many people who put so much time and effort into feeding us, housing us, and making sure we had a good time.

Thank you so much to all of those people! We really needed that little bit of relaxation and pool time!
Posted by Bridget Sheehan

Garth Watson Runs Across Pennsylvania

9:00 P.M.
This morning, it was quite cool outside but the sun was coming out and I knew that it would be getting warmer quickly. I did my call-in to Wiggle 100, had a bowl of Raisin Bran Crunch, and then headed down the road for my first run.
It was luckily still cool when I started, but it was really starting to warm up as I was running. I was feeling kind of tight, but I really wanted to push the pace so I ran 7 miles at an up-tempo pace. By the end of the run, I felt a lot better and my muscles were much looser than when I started.
After I finished the first of my two runs for the day, we went back to the campgrounds to get some lunch. My dad cooked some burgers, which were much better than yesterday's burgers that contained lighter fluid inside of them and left a terrible aftertaste for the rest of the night.
I took a short break so that I could have more rest time between today's run and tomorrow morning's run. We left the campgrounds and drove back to where I had finished this morning. I proceeded to run 5.5 miles into the town of Corry. I had stretched very well before this run, so I felt great the entire way. I didn't really push myself very much because I had already done so this morning and just wanted to enjoy my run.
It was hotter out, but it didn't seem to phase me much as I ran with my shirt on the entire way. I finished right at the campgrounds, so we went back to our camper so that I could get a shower and change into some clothes that weren't soaked in my own sweat. My dad and I drove into downtown Corry and got some dinner at Pizza Hut. After we got done eating, we drove out on a back road and parked at a hayfield where we got a great view of the sunset.
We were talking about how this trip is almost over already and yet it doesn't seem like we've been out here very long. We drove back to our camper and as Ryan, my dad and I were talking around the fire, we got to see a fireworks show that was going on down the road. Ryan's brother is picking him up tonight so that he can go to a family party, so it looks like I'm going to be on my own for my last few days.
Tomorrow should be pretty easy, as I will only have to run 12 miles into Union City.

Potter County News From WFRM

WFRM Reports:

State police from Denton Hill are investigating the theft of about 26 prescription pain pills from a residence on Railroad Avenue in the village of Roulette. Police say a known suspect, described only as a 26-year-old male, entered the residence of Jennifer L. Pinchock and stole the medicine from a bedroom nightstand.

In other news this Monday, several tourist-based businesses in Potter County are joining forces to form a “business advisory council.” Its purpose is to advance for their cause with local, regional and state agencies. The strategy was developed during a two and one-half hour roundtable held last week at the Millstream Inn. More than 60 people brainstormed for ways to better attract and accommodate tourists. About a dozen people volunteered to serve on the business advisory council. A spokesman said plans for a follow-up meeting will be announced in the near future. Members believe a more vibrant tourism industry could help to cushion the blow from hundreds of lost jobs in Potter County over the past three years. Among the initial goals will be expanding all-terrain vehicle riding and equestrian access to state-owned land, and greater promotion of Potter County’s hunting and fishing opportunities.

Plans are in place for the coming weekend’s Bark Peelers’ Convention, now in its 33rd year at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum.
Activities will begin at 10 am both Saturday and Sunday. There are events for children and adults, as well as exhibits and attractions blending entertainment with hands-on education about timber harvesting and local history. The Bark Peelers Convention roughly re-creates the annual summertime celebrations lumber camp workers held to mark another successful season in the woods.
There will be audience-participation events such as tobacco spitting, frog racing, throwing, greased pole endurance and, for the more adventurous, “birling.” That’s a competition that pits contestants on opposite ends of a huge log set afloat in the lumber mill pond. The contestant who remains standing after all of the others have plunged into the water is the winner.
Visitors can also watch wood craftsmen at work, stripping bark from freshly cut timber, carving, producing wooden shingles. A blacksmith will demonstrate how horseshoes were made a century ago.
Chainsaw carver Bob Huff will demonstrate his special artistry. Entertainment includes performances both days by the popular jug band, Sadie Green Sales, and interpretive/musical programs presented by Rich Pawling's “History Alive Boys.”

Letter To The Editor

I've known the Rigas’s for 15 years and they are some of the nicest, classiest, most generous people I've ever known! John Rigas never intentionally screwed anybody! The government, not the Rigas’s ruined the local economy! Sure, they made mistakes, but the govt. needed a scapegoat to take the attention off of themselves and what better place to start then in little ol Coudersport!! They weren't real big political contributors! They did not steal retirements (like Enron)! The banks all knew what was going on! The auditors all knew what was going on!! Why weren't charges filed against them? I too lost money when their company was sold and forced into bankruptcy before they were even found guilty! No one twisted my arm and made me buy their stock. Too bad Mr. Rigas could not have exercised "executive privilege" like Pres. Bush, when the S.E.C. wanted to look at his books! Our vice president's company "Halliburton" has screwed the taxpayers for years! The guy from the Lincoln Savings & Loan scandal got 5 years or less, after stealing millions! The govt. has "defrauded the investors" for years by stealing our social security and never putting it back! I guess it's like the old adage "Do as I say, Not as I do”!! I hope the govt. is proud of themselves! I'm sure putting an 82 yr. old man in prison for 15 yrs. is going to make it all better!? (Not} How about considering the Rigas’ for a pardon instead of Scooter Libby?? John Rigas could have sold or moved the company several times but didn't. He loved this town and everybody in it!! I'm proud to be this man's friend and I pray for him and his family all the time! Going from selling popcorn to the 5th largest cable company in the country!!! Well done my friend!!! So much for the American dream??
Brad Jones
West Palm Beach, Fla.