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Rabies Clinic

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Rick Barkley--Kayaking The Allegheny

Day: 13 & 14
September 15th, 2007

The latest update from our intrepid adventurer puts him at Belmar Bridge in Franklin. He arrived there on Friday and will spend Saturday as well. Apparently, they really know how to party at Belmar Bridge. He will push off on Sunday morning for Rockland.

Snowmobiles Race Across The Pond

Brad Jones and Tillie Hinkle both sent this along for us to watch.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Freeze Warning Saturday Night---29 degrees predicted.

Black Forest Star Party This Weekend At Cherry Springs

Light Map of PA

About the Black Forest Star Party This Weekend At Cherry Springs State Park

The Black Forest Star Party is an annual dark-sky amateur astronomy observing event hosted by the Central Pennsylvania Observers (CPO). Held every year since 1999, the BFSP generally spans a weekend in the late summer or early fall in Cherry Springs State Park in Potter County, Pennsylvania.

Cherry Springs State Park is one of the darkest sites in the state of Pennsylvania and has been designated as Pennsylvania's first Dark Sky Park by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). The amateur astronomers who have attended the BFSP can testify that the skies can be great!

To the right is a light pollution map of Pennsylvania, courtesy of the International Dark-Sky Association. Cherry Springs is located in the middle of the dark area, roughly where the red spot is. It is about as dark here as it gets in Pennsylvania! The Cherry Springs site is also in a large field, at an altitude of 2400 feet above sea level. This makes for one great place to have a star party!

2002 Aurora by Gerry Santoro

Cherry Springs is becoming a very popular place! Many amateur astronomers are holding impromptu or organized events here during the observing season. If you would like more information on Cherry Springs you may visit Thom Bemus' Web page on the Park.

The 2002 BFSP was one of the most spectacular BFSP events, mostly due to an amazing auroral display on Saturday night. While not typical, the photo to the left (and the background of the image at the top of the page, both courtesy of CPO Member and 2002 BFSP attendee Dr. Gerry Santoro) hints at some of the wonder that is Cherry Springs State Park and the Black Forest Star Party.

Potter County Court Action via WFRM

A couple of Potter County residents have been admitted to the ARD program on DUI related charges.

Steven VanEtten, 22, of Ulysses was arrested last Christmas Eve following a one-vehicle roll-over on the Whites Corners Road. Responding troopers determined VanEtten had been drinking alcohol prior to the crash and discovered an empty beer can and a partially consumed can in the car. VanEtten’s two passengers were under the age of 21 and had also consumed alcohol. They were subsequently charged with underage drinking.

Terry Flewellyn, 49, of Harrison Valley was arrested last December 28 when he was pulled over on Route 49 in Ulysses for expired inspection and registration stickers.

VanEtten was admitted to the program for nine months, and Flewellyn for six.

VanEtten also pleaded guilty to a variety of summary traffic offenses and furnishing alcohol to minors for which he received a sentence of nine months probation and was ordered to pay a $1000 fine.

Both defendants were ordered to pay all fines, costs and fees, to perform 25 hours of community service, undergo drug and alcohol evaluation and follow through with recommended treatment; and attend the DUI Victim Impact Panel Presentation.

Port A Man Sentenced in Indecent Assault

In McKean County Court action, 48 year old Kevin Fuller of Port Allegany was sentenced 60 days to 18 months in jail for indecent assault.

Fuller was arrested after inappropriately touching a nine year old boy.

As a convicted sex offender, Fuller must register his address with state police for 10 years after being released from jail, under Megan’s Law.

Ed Rendell On Energy Independence In PA

Enhancing National Security Through
Energy Independence

By Ed Rendell

Gov.Rendell talks about energy independence

After five years at war in Iraq, most experts are asking if our national interests can be protected given the level of our nation's dependence on oil from the Persian Gulf. In fact, last week, former CIA Director James Woolsey said Americas growing dependence on foreign oil is one of the greatest threats to the nations security and economy.

His views are echoed by many of our nation's most trusted former military and political leaders. To say that the oil producing nations have us over a barrel is an understatement.

To get out of this precarious situation, federal and state governments must pass legislation and appropriate resources to accelerate the production of domestic sources of renewable energy and fuels. To this end, Ive called a special session of the General Assembly on energy independence, which begins Sept. 17th. This special session will address my Energy Independence Strategy as well as debate other proposals that achieve similar ends.

Energy IndependenceMy strategy will reduce the nation's dependence on foreign fuels and save consumers $10 billion in energy costs over the next decade by dramatically increasing Pennsylvania's alternative and renewable energy production capacity.

Instead of Pennsylvanians sending $30 billion each year to the Persian Gulf to buy oil, we can invest that money in Pennsylvania by paying our farmers for the crops that produce ethanol and biodiesel. My PennSecurity Fuels program will require 1 billion gallons of biofuels to be produced and consumed within Pennsylvania by 2017. This proposal puts Pennsylvanians to work and makes our nation safer.

In addition to decreasing our reliance on foreign fuels, our state's energy infrastructure needs to become more efficient and diversify in order to ensure that electricity is affordable for our residents and our industries. Already, some Pennsylvanians have suffered the sticker shock caused by the expiration of caps on electricity rates. Over the next three years more Pennsylvanians will see their rates increase as these caps expire. My strategy can soften the impact of the cap expiration by investing $850 million in solar and wind energy production as well as in conservation improvements in the electricity distribution systems.

My proposal rewards consumers who purchase energy-efficient appliances and those who decrease energy usage in their homes.

My Energy Independence Fund will attract new companies to Pennsylvania and help grow those already here in the alternative energy sector in our state. And, it will mean our consumers save money on their electricity bills.

I believe it is urgent that the members of the General Assembly debate and pass a sound energy package that: (1) increases our national security by addressing our reliance on foreign oil; (2) invests funds to ensure Pennsylvania has the best alternative energy and conservation companies; and (3) rewards consumers who conserve energy.

By adopting a strategic approach, Pennsylvania can declare its energy independence in a way that creates new economic opportunity for our state while also strengthening national security.

Aniversary of Pay Raise In PA

WESB News: 09/14/07 - Anniversary of The Pay Raise

Friday marks an anniversary in Pennsylvania -- and it's one that a group claims is making more people watch the actions of the state's judicial branch.

The decision by the state Supreme Court rescinded the legislative raise included in the bill, but it allowed judges to keep their increase in pay.

Tim Potts from the group, Democracy Rising, says if anything, the entire issue has resulted in more Pennsylvanians keeping a close eye on all judges both statewide and local.

Potts says many in Pennsylvania are in favor of reforming the state's judicial system and adds that all judges need to be accountable to the people they serve.

Personal Information Stolen At PA Welfare Department


HARRISBURG - The Department of Public Welfare today began notifying
medical assistance consumers in the behavioral health system whose
personal information may have been contained on two computers that were
stolen from a DPW office building in Harrisburg.

The burglary remains under investigation. There is no indication
that any of the information on the stolen computers has been used

"The burglary was an unfortunate event and we sincerely apologize
to all of those who may be affected by it," said Public Welfare
Secretary Estelle B. Richman. "The department is taking all appropriate
steps to prevent an incident like this from occurring in the future and
is working with both state and local authorities and community partners
to help those potentially affected."

The majority of information on the computers, which was protected
by multiple security passwords, did not identify consumers by name and
contained only coded information relating to the treatment of consumers
in the behavioral health system. However, the information for
approximately 1,819 consumers did include names and Social Security

DPW has begun mailing notification letters to the approximately
375,000 individuals in the behavioral health system that could
potentially be affected in order to explain what has happened and to
assist them with any steps they will need to take.

Consumers with questions or those who believe they have been
affected should call the DPW hotline toll-free, (800) 692-7462, Monday
through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Consumers may also call the DPW
Change Center toll-free, (877) 395-8930 statewide or (215) 560-7226 in
the Philadelphia area, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Area Police Reports Listed

State police here have charged 38 year old James Kaziska with harassment for an incident allegedly taking place Monday night in the village of Roulette. Troopers say Kaziska struck 22 year old Travis Kelly of Port Allegany in the head when Kelly approached Kaziska’s children while walking on Main Street and reportedly made remarks toward them.
Kelly, meanwhile, is being cited for public drunkenness.

A couple of criminal mischief incidents are under investigation by Coudersport based state police.

Samuel Glassmire of Coudersport reports vandals have damaged his fence, blocks, roof and window at his home on the Southwoods road in Homer Township over the past 11 months or so.

And vandals intentionally drove a motor vehicle onto the lawn at Abel’s Hunting Lodge on the East Fork Road in Wharton Township sometime last Friday or Saturday damaging the grass. The camp is owned by Glen Abel of Georgetown, Kentucky.

Troopers say they have a scattering rubbish suspect and charges are pending in connection to the dumping of some garbage on land located on the Dry Run Road in Hebron Township over the summer months. A large bag of trash and an old tire were found lying over an embankment on land owned by Ram Forest Products.

Information from WFRM News

Shinglehouse Uni-Mart To Close

An article in this morning's Bradford Era reports that PAD Enterprises, that operates 8 uni-marts in the area, will be closing the stores. In Potter County, the Uni-mart in Shinglehouse is scheduled to close.

A company spokesman said,“However, as a result of the ongoing, extremely high price of gas dictated to us by Uni-Mart corporate headquarters, we have no alternative but to close our doors at this time. We thank our loyal family of employees and appreciate their hard work and dedication,” the statement said.

PAD Enterprises LP owns eight stores, including one in Bradford, Shinglehouse and Ridgway, and two in Kane.

Penn Grade Crude Oil Hits Record Price

WESB News: 09/14/07 - ARG Raises Oil Price $1.75

Penn Grade crude oil prices jumped $1.75 a barrel Thursday to hit an all-time record high. American Refining Group of Bradford posted its new price at $75.75. The price is $15 a barrel higher than a year ago.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Clean Up At Coudersport Gospel Tabernacle Saturday

There will be a clean up day this Saturday at the Coudersport Gospel Tabernacle on the Port Allegany Road starting at 9:00 am. This is in preparation for the annual convention. Parishioners who are able are invited to come and help.

There will be no Wednesday evening service on September 19 but volunteers are asked to help set up the tables and chairs in the gym for convention.

Bike Path Rapist Attacked In Jail

News: 09/13/07 - Bike Path Rapist Attacked in Jail

The Erie County Sheriff’s Department says bike path killer Altemio Sanchez was attacked behind bars.

Police say it happened back in June at the Erie County Holding Center. A fellow inmate William Harris of Tonawanda struck him in the head. Harris reportedly told deputies quote "He's a rapist and he kills women."

Sanchez is serving life in prison for three murders and numerous rapes over more than 20-years.

Rick's Cell Phone Drowns In Kinzua Reservoir

Day 11: No phone, no problem

September 13th, 2007

Bev called in today’s update, since Rick lost the use of his phone when he was crossing through Kinzua Dam. It fell in the water, and apparently, the waterproof bag it was in, really wasn’t.

He made it to Tionesta in 4 hours today. So he gets to take it a little easy. Hopefully he will get to a place with internet access so he can write these himself. I’m sure he has seen some interesting sites.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

2007 Weatherization Program Gets Underway

By Amy Cherry published in the St. Mary's Press

Northern Tier Community Action Corporation has announced the start of this year's Weatherization Assistance Program.

According to Kevin Genevro, program director, the goal of this service is to make heating systems safer, more efficient and to better preserve them.
With offices based in Emporium, the program is administered through the Department of Community and Economic Development.

As a private, non-profit organization, Northern Tier serves low-income individuals and families in Elk, Cameron, McKean and Potter counties.

The weatherization program is just one branch of the organization which reaches out to those requiring such services as air sealing and insulation, heating assessment and energy education. It is available in houses, apartments and trailers.

Typical weatherization procedures can be completed in one to two days, depending on the scope of the project.

Following an energy audit, a work crew will perform necessary procedures on the structure.
The measures selected for retrofitting are based on the National Home Energy Audit, and the Mobile Home Energy Audit. These audits will determine which weatherization measures are the most cost-effective.

An auditor also will perform a heating assessment after which time they will educate the property owner about various ways they can save on heating and energy costs.
To date the program has reached 127 residences, assisting a total of 361 individuals.
Genevro added that Northern Tier allots $2,800 per project - including labor and material - which is subsidized through state funding.

In addition, weatherization personnel can fix or replace furnaces and windows in mobile homes ? for insulation purposes.

Through the weatherization program, many new technologies have been developed including the blower door. A blower door test is performed both before and after a weatherization retrofit. Its purpose is to locate air leakage and to monitor the level of air tightness resulting from air sealing and insulation measures provided to the building's shell.

Overseeing the program is Ken Straub, executive director of Northern Tier.
Genevro also explained the crisis program, which will start around October or November. This program is available through the Elk County Assistance Office for those needing experiencing emergency furnace problems.

"The county assistance office should be residents' first contact," Genevro said. "The office will then contact us within 24 hours."

The program is an income-eligible program, available for those who meet 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

Guidelines established as of Jan. 25, 2007 include:
? Family size: 1. Income $15,315.
? Family size: 2. Income $20,535.
? Family size 3: Income $25,755.
? Family size: 4. Income $30,975.
? Family size 5: Income $36,195.
? Family size: 6. income $41,415.
? Family size: 7. Income $46,635.
? Family size: 8. Income $51,855.
? For each additional member, add $5,220.

Many of Northern Tier's services, including the weatherization program, are at no cost to eligible participants.

The Weatherization Assistance Program was created under Title IV of the Energy Conservation and Production Act of 1976. The act was designed to cut heating bills and save on imported oil.
Interested applicants may contact Northern Tier at (814) 486-1760 or visit their office at 134 W. 4th St., Emporium

Kayaking The Allegheny--Rick Barkley

Tidioute or Bust

September 11th, 2007

Rick made Indianwaters at Tidioute today. He will (I believe) stay there for 2 nights, before moving on.

It’s for real folks

September 10th, 2007

Just in case you wondered if I “made up” the Salamanca post as a follow up to the crocodile story, I can assure you that I did not. That was Rick’s post of a real situation that happened. He went back into the water at Salamanca on Saturday Morning, spent Saturday Night at Onoville Marina, and made to Warren tonight (Sunday).


Peterson Says No Toll On I-80

WFRM News: 09/12/07 - Rep. John Peterson Visits Bradford

US Congressman John Peterson says the tolling of Interstate 80 and energy issues are just a couple of issues that could hurt, not just Pennsylvania, but the country in the global economy.

Peterson spoke at a government outreach event at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Wednesday, and also stopped by the WESB/WBRR studios.

Peterson also cleared the air concerning a quote attributed to him by the Fifth District Peace Project saying that he doesn't believe the war in Iraq is an issue in his district. Peterson says he knows the war affects this area because 30 soldiers in his district have died, and he has spoken to all of their families.

Listen to WESB's LiveLine at 12:40 on Thursday to hear Peterson's comments on I-80, immigration, energy at the war in Iraq.

One Vehicle Accident Results In Injuries Tuesday

From WFRM News:

A Port Allegany man was hurt in a one-vehicle mishap Tuesday afternoon on Route 155
north of the Birch Run Road in Liberty Township.

Troopers said 70 year old Clair Keyser was headed south when his Chevy S-10 crossed to the other side of the highway, and struck a ditch, coming to rest in the ditch.

He had to be extricated from the wreckage by Star Hose volunteers and was taken to Olean General Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Police say Keyser was wearing a seatbelt.

Planning Commission To Work On Control Ordinance

Members of the Potter County Planning Commission last night began work on an ordinance to control
development of industrial wind turbines.

Planning Commission members heard impassioned pleas for protection from citizens who live near some of the sites where the turbines would be constructed.

They also heard from a spokesman for international energy giant AES Corporation, which wants to build
upwards of 80 turbines on the ridge tops of northern Potter County.

Planning Commission Chair Wanda Shirk cautioned citizens attending last night's meeting that the commission can only recommend regulations on wind turbines. The ultimate responsibility rests with County Commissioners Ken Wingo, John Torok and Cathy Bowers, who must consent to any amendments to the county's subdivision and land development ordinance.

Shirk asked Planning Commission members to study the issue and be prepared to act at the commission's Oct.
9 meeting. From WFRM News

Police Charge Ray Ripped Cheryl's Clothes

From WFRM:

Coudersport-based state police have charged 66 year old Raymond Card of Railroad Avenue Roulette with harassment for an incident allegedly taking place in his home Monday night.

Authorities claim Card grabbed his wife Cheryl during an argument and ripped her clothes.

Mrs. Card, meanwhile was cited recently for disorderly conduct for an incident allegedly taking place on the night of August 31. Troopers claim she told someone that she had shot and killed her husband. The other person called state police who responded with sirens and lights activated, “inconveniencing other motorists on Route 6 at the time.”

The statement turned out, obviously, to be false. Mrs. Card also was recently cited for shouting obscenities outside her home in the trailer park.

Farm Conservation Applications Due By Oct. 31

Pennsylvania farmers and landowners interested in receiving financial assistance through the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation programs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, should apply by Oct. 31 to be considered in the first round of ranking for fiscal year 2008 funding.

There will also be two additional cutoff dates of Nov. 30 and Feb. 1 if any funds are not allocated after the Oct. 31 ranking period.

NRCS conservation programs help people reduce soil erosion, enhance water supplies, improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat and restore and enhance wetlands. The programs are voluntary and provide incentives such as technical and cost-sharing assistance for the planning, design and implementation of conservation systems.

To qualify for conservation programs, the applicant must have control of the land for the life of the proposed contract.

Landowners and producers interested in learning more about these conservation programs should contact their local office in Tioga County at (570) 724-1726 Ext. 102, or visit

Ex-Trooper Waives Preliminary Hearing

From today's DuBois Courier Express:

CLEARFIELD - A former Pennsylvania state trooper charged with indecent assault and other offenses waived his right to a preliminary hearing before District Judge James Hawkins Monday.

Charles T. Butler III, 37, PO Box 282, 211 Baughman Cemetery Road, Philipsburg, is charged with unlawful use of computer and computer crimes, five counts of bribery in official and political matters, six counts of stalking, seven counts of official oppression, indecent assault and 10 counts of harassment. Bail of $25,000 was posted.

The charges stem from a year-long investigation into allegations from multiple victims, according to a previous Courier-Express article. The investigation was conducted by the state police Internal Affairs Division after receiving an anonymous tip in June 2006. Butler was placed on restricted duty while the investigation was conducted. He resigned Aug. 15.

The affidavit of probable cause identifies seven different victims, two of whom were repeatedly contacted by Butler after they told him they weren't interested in a relationship with him. Others were contacted by Butler after he used police computers to obtain personal information about them. In their statements to police, Butler was often referred to by the victims as "creepy."

The first victim had an affair with Butler after he performed an investigation for her. She told police she met him several times while he was on duty. On one occasion, after he stopped her for a speeding violation, he told her she would not receive a fine if she performed oral sex on him. After she broke off the relationship, she had to change her telephone numbers because he wouldn't stop calling.

Another victim went on a date with Butler while she was on probation for a driving under the influence charge for which Butler was one of the arresting officers. Even though he knew she was not permitted to enter a bar or consume alcohol, he took her to a bar where he bought alcohol for her. He later noted she had violated her probation and said he was not going to tell her probation officer. He wanted to have sex with her and said that if the other officer hadn't been with him when she was arrested, "we probably could have pulled off the side of the road somewhere and did something."

She said she took this to mean that if she had sex that night with him that she would not have been arrested. The victim said she was intimidated by Butler and was afraid he would tell her probation officer about her drinking if she stopped seeing him. He called her frequently and visited her home while he was on duty.

The third victim told police that after Butler issued her a traffic citation, he told her to plead not guilty and take a hearing. At the hearing, Butler spoke to the district judge and changed the charge from speeding to a summary which meant she did not get any points on her license. He then offered to pay her fine and told her to call him if she needed anything. They met a few times and eventually had intercourse. When she ended the relationship, he started to stalk her.

A fourth victim had a relationship with Butler and even made wedding plans. Butler was married but told the victim he and his wife were separated. She said they often met while he was on duty and they had sex on the hood of his police car. She "felt safe" dating a cop and said they laughed about her driving with a suspended license. The relationship ended after she saw Butler and his wife in a restaurant.

A fifth victim said Butler handled an incident for her. When she checked into it, she discovered the case was closed and no charges would be filed. Butler kept calling her and drove by her house. He tried to turn the relationship into a non-professional one and talked about wanting to have a threesome on duty, she told investigators.

The sixth victim said Butler obtained her cell phone number and called her all the time. He told her that if she ever got into trouble she should call him and he would see what he could do for her. She said he often came to where she worked where he would rub her face and shoulders and tell her how beautiful she was.

The seventh victim said Butler saw her working in the Emergency Room and asked her if he could call her sometime. She told him no and said she was happily married. He called her during an evening shift and she told him not to call. She described the call as unnerving. Butler also phoned her residence to see if she had changed her mind. He allegedly used the police computer system to obtain her driver's license information.

Woman Hurt In Liberty Twp. Crash

Wesb News: 09/12/07 - Port Allegany Woman Hurt in Crash

A Port Allegany woman was hurt in a one vehicle crash Tuesday afternoon on Route 155 in Liberty Township.

State Police say a truck operated by 70 year-old Claire Keyser went out of control, left the roadway and struck a ditch. Keyser had to be extricated from her truck. She was taken to an out of town hospital.

Rick Barkley--Kayaking The Allegheny

Day 7: A Tact in Salamanca, the Prologue

September 7th, 2007

Little stiff and sore today, but looking forward to getting gear back together. You may be wondering why this wasn’t an all-out thing, instead of such a defensive effort on my part. Putting it as mildly as possible, I unknowingly had set my butt, boat, and all my gear, in, let’s say, a very bad part of town. I had based my decision to use it on the public boat launch, and the High School across the street. There was no way to know the neighborhood I had ‘trespassed’ in. I don’t imagine too many boats go in and out of the water there. Sometimes, maps don’t tell the story.

I owe a large Thank You to friend and fellow church member Paula Dubreville, who acted quickly to get me a phone number, when I couldn’t reach Bev. Political correctness prevents me from going into detail about the environment, but hanging by a fingertip under a deadfall, with the boat full of gear three days before, was nothing. It had never occurred to me how helpless one can be, with only a kayak for a vehicle.

Bev’s rapid action in getting from Buffalo to Salamanca got me out of there before dark, and believe me, it mattered. The adventure….WILL continue.

Legislation Introduced In PA Senate

WESB News: 09/11/07 - Bill Would Ban Cell Phones While Driving

Legislation has been introduced in the state senate that would prohibit cell phone use and text messaging while driving.

State Senator Jim Ferlo says the measure would make an exception for calls made using hands-free technology, such as speakerphone or earpiece-microphone accessories.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that distracted driving, which includes the use of cell phones, contributes to between 20 and 30 percent of all traffic accidents.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Truck Knocks Down Wires East Of Smethport

WESB News: 09/11/07 - East Smethport Accident Downs Wires
Emergency crews were called to an accident on Route 6 east of Smethport at about 10:30 Tuesday morning. A tractor-trailer apparently drove into a utility pole, and wires were down. There were no injuries.

Over 1,000 Whitetails Dead In Southwest Pennsylvania

WESB News: 09/11/07 - EHD Confirmed in Dead Deer

Test results have confirmed that epizootic hemorrhagic disease is what's killing deer in Washington, Beaver and Greene counties.

Dr. Walter Cotrell with the state game commission says this outbreak of EHD is more significant than the one 5 years ago because it's in a larger area and started earlier. The earlier start means that it will take longer before the first good frost, which is what is needed to kill the insects that spread the virus.

He says it's difficult to determine how many deer have died of EHD because of the rapid decomposition of the animals, but he estimates the number is more than one thousand. Residents with information about other sick or dead deer are urged to contact the game commission.

Allegheny National Forest Charges Bad News

WESB News: 09/11/07 - Ridgway Men in Alleged Forest Incident

Two Ridgway men have been charged after an incident last night on the Allegheny National Forest.

Forest Service officials say Karl Becker was charged with possession of an open container of alcohol in a vehicle.

Benjamin Viglione was charged with possession of a controlled substance and associated paraphernalia in a national forest.

They each face fines of up to 5 thousand dollars and/or six months in prison as well as suspension or revocation of driving privileges.

Rick Barkley Attacked At Salamanca

Day 6: You Won’t Believe It

September 7th, 2007

I’m at home. We’ll get to that part in a minute. Today started out well. Yesterday was a little testy at the end. I got lost, after setting up camp. Walked to find a store to get some Gatorade, and couldn’t find the camp when I came back. Looked until 9;00, but finally found it. Wasted a good bath, carrying six bottles of water and a jug of Ade.

Took my garbage to the store this morning, as the fog was so thick, visibility was down to about 20′. There were still pylons to contend with. If I haven’t explained already, way back when, the lumber companies in this whole area sunk wooden pylons in the river, then just felled trees into it. The pylons caught the logs, and they loaded them up when they had enough. Those times have come and gone, but the pylons remain, and some have rotted off to just under the surface. Ever hit one head on at 3 or 4 miles an hour?

Shoved off at a little after 9. Couldn’t wait to go under 219, above Bradford. So many times I went over that bridge, thinking about when I’d go under it. I was twice disappointed along the way, as the topo maps I have don’t show I-86. It crosses the river twice between Olean and Salamanca, before 219 does.

By the way, once and for all: there are NO dams, weirs, or anything of the like at either Olean or Salamanca. There are two pretty hefty short Class II rapid patches in Salamanca.

There are also some rather unreasonable people in Salamanca, and I found one about an hour after setting up camp. A 16 year old kid was hanging around when I pulled in, and he was intrigued by the wrist camera, kayak, and all the gear I kept pulling out of it.

He started talking about wishing he could do all this stuff, and have all this stuff. I told him he’d need to stay in school, get a job, and make the money he’d need for it.

As he left for home, he stopped and looked back, and said, “You know, you’re the first person to get through to me”. I smelled trouble.

About 10 minutes later, Dad, gray pony tail, a hundred tattoos, etc., came screaming in to the boat launch, and started spewing a lot of unprintable stuff. He thought I was ‘enticing’ his kid, and he wouldn’t take no for an answer.

When he knocked me out of the chair, I kind of figured a fight was going to take place. Then I remembered: I’m all alone, I have no vehicle, I’m in his backyard, and the kid’s got loads of local friends. The kid’s standing right there. I can’t win even if I win, ’cause I can’t even leave.

Thank you, Randy Bartley, for assigning me to wrestling back in ‘87. Working off the bottom, I hit a switch, got a leg, pulled it in tight, and the guy just quit. His emphysema kicked in. Once again, I can’t win, even if I win, so I just waited to see what would happen next.

The guy APOLOGIZES for what happened! He says he’s just protcetive of his son. Now he just wants to chat about the boat the trip the Bill’s, the Sabres, and all the while, I just want to call Bev to GET ME OUTA HERE!!!!!!!!

When he leaves, I make the call, scare the daylights out of her, but the guy told me some of the local bad kids like to hang around there and drink, and ‘get nasty’. I decided leaving was my best option.

For those of you who think he won, not even close. I got some scratches; he got a broken thumb, but that was his fault. And I’ll be right down there Saturday morning, leaving for Onoville. Friday will be spent resetting my hastily tossed gear from the car, and maybe hosing out the inside of the Murlene. Saturday was supposed to be a layover day anyway; I’ll just use it to clean out the blisters, and arrive at Onoville Saturday. Leaving for Warren Sunday morning will get me back on schedule.

Oh, yeah, by the way, I saw a bear today. Good size adult, probably male (since it was alone). Sitting in the water about 120 yards ahead of me. Soon as I came around the bend, he was leaving. I took one photo of him making tracks, but don’t know how it came out. I’m doing mostly still stuff with the Hero 3 now, since I’m paddling longer stretches. Saw a pair of eagles early morning, and a black squirrel, but he doesn’t really count, because he was on the walking path when I was on my way to toss trash.

Probably no entry Friday, depending on reaction to today’s entry. Bev and I can neither one actually believe it happened, but I have a different kind of indelible memory of this adventure.

Wind Turbine Opponents At Meeting Tonite

Opponents of a plan to build upwards of 80 massive wind turbines on ridge tops in northern Potter County will take their case to the county’s Planning Commission tonight.

Members of “Save God’s Country (SGC),” comprised mostly of residents living in the targeted area, are asking the planning group to pass a measure that would control the location and size of the turbines.A spokesman said the citizens’ lobby will press the Planning Commission for action during tonight’s monthly meeting, to be held at 6 p.m. in the Mapleview Complex.Several weeks ago, at the request of Planning Commission Chair Wanda Shirk, SGC members submitted suggestions for an amendment to the county’s Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.

Their action comes in response to a proposal by international energy giant AES Corporation to generate electricity through the construction of 79 multi-million-dollar turbines on leased properties in Ulysses and Hector townships. This article courtesy of WFRM news.

SGC summarizes its objections as follows:

--potential damage to groundwater and area headwater streams from property disruption (construction of new roads, underground transmission lines, footing/anchoring of each turbine);

--damaging health effects,

--noise pollution;

--negative impact on wildlife;

--declining property values;

--shadow flicker;

--negative impact on tourism;

--visual intrusion on the landscape;

--absence of any direct energy benefits for Potter County.

There's a split in public opinion. Supporters see the massive turbines as symbols of energy independence, as well as a source of tax revenue and modest employment. They are joined by a handful of landowners in Ulysses and Hector townships who stand to benefit economically. On the other side are those who see the wind plant as an aesthetic and environmental nightmare being plotted by a company taking advantage of state and federal tax breaks and other government incentives. A National Fuel Gas Corp. subsidiary is studying sites in McKean and Cameron counties for possible location of wind turbines. Initial assessments are taking place in the county's northwest corner, off Rt. 46 in Shippen Township, between Emporium and Smethport.

Meanwhile, at least two companies have approached property owners in Potter County's Hebron Township and in the Dutch Hill area, between Coudersport and Austin. Wind energy companies, including AES, have also contacted rural landowners in Tioga County to discuss leasing acreage for construction of turbines.

NY Trooper's Union Questions Leadership

kWESB News: 09/11/07 - Troopers' Union Wants Investigation

The union for 4,000 New York state troopers has asked Gov. Eliot Spitzer to launch an investigation of state police leadership, charging they bungled probes into the killings of troopers and covered up supervisors' misdeeds.

Police Benevolent Association President Daniel DeFedericis accused state police brass of having "double standards" in allegedly failing to discipline an inspector accused of assaulting his own 11-year-old daughter and a colonel who wrecked a state car after a golf outing.

He also says officials failed to learn lessons from the search for escaped Ralph Bucky Phillips last year that could have reduced risks before Trooper David Brinkerhoff was killed by friendly fire this year.

DeFedericis' letter didn't mention the recent incidents when Spitzer aides used state police to collect records aimed at damaging Senate GOP leader Joe Bruno. Spitzer spokesman Paul Larrabee says union concerns are being reviewed.

Rick Barkley--Day 5

Mr Dundee?

September 6th, 2007

Ricks update for today:

Made Portville at 10. Kept going. Made Olean at 2:30. drying stuff out. Waiting for dark to take a bath.

My Uncle Jim thought that the reports were somewhat lackluster, so I am taking poetic license…….

So there I was, face to face with a 10 footer. Having nothing but a paper clip, hairspray, 42 cents in change, a 9 volt battery, and a torsion bar from a 1965 Buick Special, I was weighing my options when suddenly, the bushes parted and there stood my trusty guide, Bevalumpopo. Employing a charming, but effective tribal custom handed down through generations, she began to stare at the croc. She was using the same look that I get, when I forget to use a coaster on the coffee table. In only a few moments, she bested the beast which quickly whirled and swam away.

I looked at her and said, “What brings a dame like you, to a place like this”? She replied, “You, you idiot! I could have been on Miami Beach drinking Mai-Tai’s, but I had to come to this God-forsaken place to bring you water and beanie-weenies”. She gingerly placed the pack of survival supplies on the riverbank. Ok, gingerly may be understating it a bit. Then she, like the croc before her, whirled and left.

After resupplying, I continued my journey, and found that I was able to drift without paddling. That gave me a chance to really enjoy the natural surroundings. I was abruptly aware that it had become eerily quiet. I mean really, really quiet. No animal sounds, no wind, not even the river was making a noise. The hair stood up on my neck, as I quickly darted looks into the brush to see what sort of creature could have that kind of effect. It was then that I realized that the battery had run out on my iPod, and the buds were still in my ears.

Tomorrow promises to bring more adventure. As I drift off to sleep, I can’t help thinking what would have happened, had I stayed that one extra night in Tijuana back in ‘76……….

Rick Barkley – Adventure King

Traveling Terra Updates Past Week On Road

Monday, September 10, 2007

Let's get you up to speed

I'm going to start a few days back, when I entered the 30-ish mile stretch of California Route 254 known as the Avenue of the Giants.

Rightfully so. This road is entirely engulfed by redwoods. I had driven through this area before, and even then it was stunning. But, on a bike, it lasts a lot longer and you get all the scents and can really appreciate the true ginormity of these beasts. I was lucky enough to spend a night amidst these trees at the Burlington Campground, where I met Theo, travelling north, who advised me to make the arduous 76 mile ride the next day to Westport. The ride was arduous because, not only was it 76 miles, but the first 60 or so were entirely uphill, with a nice 3 mile climb coming right before the last few miles. I went to bed that night psyching myself up for the big ride, and in the morning I biked 10 miles to a nice diner in Miranda, got a beast of an omelette, and started the day off right. The day wasn't easy, but it was enjoyable. Here's a picture of me at the top of that massive climb. With no elevation sign for proof, I took a picture of the topographical map for some hope of belief from y'all.

This peak was reached just 5 miles into my ride on California Route 1. All riding previously was on US101 - a nice road until you start to approach the Bay Area where it becomes a freeway. After descending for about 10 miles, one more hill stood in the way of this:

Back to the ocean (ahhhh). And here I where I slept that night:

This place was great, but it didn't have any showers. So, after that long ride, I really wanted to get clean. What else could I do but plop down in a tide pool and wash? So, that's what I did. The next night I spent at Manchester State Park. It was cool and damp and foggy that day, and all I wanted at the end of that ride was a hot shower. No soup for me. No showers there, either. But, being the day after Labor Day, the place what pretty abandoned. So, I resolved to shower here, underneath a 3 foot tall spigot (yes, I showered in my birthday suit):

Things brightened up after the shower, though. I was on a walk down to the beach when an Faith and Roger asked, "Want some hors d'eurvs?" (I know I'm butchering the spelling there). I sat down with them on their picnic table while they fed me really yummy cheese and crackers and two glasses of wine. We chatted about travelling and about their home in Arizona. They welcomed the cool damp weather we were experiencing on the CA coast. After that first brief meeting, I walked down to the beach to witness this:

I'm just going to throw this one in there because silly road signs seem to be the norm out here:

The next day I started tapering back my miles in order to drag out this dream life as long as possible. Around 2pm, I arrived at my night's destination, a County Park in Sonoma County. They had lots of trails to hike around on, though it took me a good hour or so of wandering around on what I now think was not park land to find the actual trails. Fine by me, because the off-the-beaten-path path took me here:

The real trails were pretty cool, too, though. I saw lots of playful free roaming deer, and got inside a big tree.

Just outside of Bodega Bay, along with friends Bob and Sherry, I met Ron, a retired pilot walking home to the South Bay from his high school reunion in Portland, OR. He had quite a neat story - motivated to lose lots of weight by the threat of diabetes (and the looming reunion). Indeed he succeeded, and then took somewhere near 80 days to walk the distance back home. Neat guy.

So, this brings us to about the last two days of the trip. I had been leap frogging with Bob and Sherry pretty much the entire last week, and they so generously invited me to a few of their group dinners and a great breakfast on my last morning, departing from Samuel Thomas State Park just north of SF.

And then...and then...and THEN...after 25 miles and a haircut, THERE I WAS:

Monday, September 10, 2007

Police Reports Via WFRM News

Charges are also pending against a Canadian driver following a crash Thursday evening at the intersection of Route 49 and 44 in Eulalia Township. Troopers said 41 year old Yan Sun of Ontario failed to stop her Toyota Corolla at the intersection while headed south on Route 44 and drove through the intersection into the yard and residence of James Jones causing minor damage. Sun escaped injury.

A Williamsville, NY motorcyclist received minor injuries in a mishap Friday morning on Route 44 about five miles north of the Black Forest Inn in Stewardson Township. Troopers said Michael Wrobel was headed south when his ’81 Suzuki slid out of control on loose gravel. He was taken to Lock Haven Hospital by a passing motorist.

Troopers here are investigating the reported theft of a vehicle which was found wrecked on the Lyman Run Road Friday morning. The 2000 Subaru Forester was later reported stolen by the owner, Benjamin Moore of Galeton.

A 16 year old McKean County boy is being charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. State police at Kane say the youth took a relative’s vehicle without permission Friday afternoon and was found a short time later in possession of the car. Charges are being filed through Juvenile Probation.

The theft of three bicycles from a residence on the West Branch Road in West Branch Township is being probed by troopers here. The three bikes belonged to a 16 year old boy who had put them next to the road in an attempt to sell them. They were last seen Thursday around noontime. One is s a Gray Huffy, another a blue Roadmaster and the third is a Huffy mountain bike. All three are youth sized.

Ulysses Woman Injured In Sunday Crash

By George Osgood
Star Gazette Wellsboro Bureau

COUDERSPORT – A long-time Ulysses Volunteer Fire Department worker was seriously injured Sunday afternoon when a flatbed trailer entered the opposing lane of Route 6 in a downpour and hit her pickup truck.

State police at Coudersport said Fay Wood, 65, of 420 Main St., Ulysses, suffered serious injuries in the 2:30 p.m. crash one mile west of Coudersport. Firefighters said Wood suffered leg fractures and other injuries.

Police said Larry Arnold, 35, of Erie was driving a 1997 International truck tractor towing a flatbed trailer west on Route 6. Wood was driving a 2004 Chevrolet pickup truck east.

As the rig traveled through a right curve in heavy rain, the trailer crossed into the eastbound lane and hit the left front corner of the pickup truck, police said. The pickup went off the south side of the road, struck guardrails and stopped. Arnold stopped his rig about 300 feet west of the point of impact.

Wood was trapped inside the pickup truck and Coudersport firefighters extricated her. She was treated at Charles Cole Memorial Hospital in Coudersport, then flown by medical helicopter to Hamot Medical Center in Erie.

State trooper Matthew Sweet said an investigation into the crash continues and that charges are pending against Arnold, who was not injured.

Wood is fire police captain for the Ulysses Volunteer Fire Department and has worked at Tri-Town ambulance.

The crash closed Route 6 for about four hours to accommodate the investigation, allow removal of the damaged vehicles and for documentation of evidence by troopers.
Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Rudy Giuliani were the favorites of Pennsylvania voters surveyed in September in the Keystone Poll, produced at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster.

2 Men Start Deer Season Early

WESB News: 09/10/07 - Poaching in Cameron County

Two men are suspected of poaching after a deer was shot off route 155 near Portage in Cameron county.

State Police and the Game Commission are investigating the illegal shooting of the deer by two known suspects. The investigation continues.

Rick Barkley--Day 4

Mr. Connected

September 5th, 2007

Well, our boy has figured out text messaging and sent me this update:

Made eldred 8-4:30. paddled last 5 hours stright. tons of submerged logs keeping me busy. could go past portville tomorrow if water stays deep enough. saw 100s of fish, no animals.


Rick Barkley--Day 3

Old Man River

September 4th, 2007

Rick called in a very short report for Monday, September 3rd, since he doesn’t have internet access. Paddled for 12.5 hours to reach his destination. Mumbled something about being very tired.


Rick Barkley--Day 2

The Better Part of Valor

September 3rd, 2007

When I first laid out the days this trip would take, I was figuring on laying over a day in Coudersport, in case the first 2 days were tough ones. When I needed to dump one to finish on the 22nd, this was the one I picked. It was a mistake, but I’m fixing it.

I’ll be taking the day tomorrow, Monday the 3rd, to heal blisters, get swelling down, let cuts heal, and gain some rest. Miles 6 through 19 were a lot tougher than I thought. I based too much on the first 5 miles when I saw them.

A lot of algae on a very uneven bottom continued today, as did deadfalls and beaver dams. I switched boats yesterday afternoon after deeper water showed up, and it promptly disappeared as soon as I did. Some of the deadfalls necessitated a five foot high lift, to get the boat over the top. It was rough, but it was good. I’m just a little more bunged up than I thought I’d be. I knew I was in a little trouble, when two trout fishermen I talked to last evening told me the water wouldn’t deepen until after leaving the city. They were right.

I slept at the Rigas barns Saturday night, out in the beautiful open valley about 7 miles out of town. There was frost on the kayak this morning, and the dew was heavy enough to work its way through the rainfly and tent material, soaking some spots in the sleeping bag.

I saw hundreds of rainbow trout, from 6″ to 2′, and got to watch a kingfisher drop like a rock into the water 15′ in front of me, in order to catch his lunch. He flew right back up to the same wire, and had a fish sandwich.

There were no exotic animal sightings, but it wasn’t any wonder, given the noise I made coming through the stream.

I lose my support staff tomorrow, and I will miss her greatly. Bev’s gone WAY beyond the call of duty already, and has been very understanding of the aches and pains I’m describing.

A tip of the cap to Don Gilliland of the Coudersport due Oh, he interviewed Bev and I alright. He just missed me starting out Saturday morning, but I didn’t think a lot of it. About an hour later, I’m walking through a very dark portion of woods, Nashua on my head and shoulders, when I see a flash ahead of me. There, perched on a log in the middle of the stream, sat Gilliland. He had missed me by about two minutes, and made up for it in wonderful style. We talked for a few minutes, right there in the middle of the forest, then went our separate ways. He knew his way out, since his uncle owned the farm over the hill from where I was.

The electricity was off in Roger and Kerrie Dunn’s cow pasture; thank you to both of them. The girls at the Gold Country Store were wonderful to Bev on Day One, and Shirley and the staff here at the Westgate Inn have been top notch.

One night instead of two at the Onoville Marina will get me back on schedule. I know, I know….I wanted it dry. I got it.

Rick Barkley--Day 1

Captain’s Log: Day 1

September 2nd, 2007

Well our intrepid adventurer was unable to move his fingers to type, so I am relaying his notes from Day 1. This may be short-lived, as he will probably be able to have internet access Sunday night and will re-write it. Some information has been edited, because I am that kind of power-hungry fool - Dave

Day 1

Started at 7:30, finished at 3:30 so I am camping at the WestGate Inn.
The first half of the trip was fun, as I began the trip carrying the kayak through the woods, while walking in the stream bed.

The second half, there was apparently a lot of whining about poor footing, while walking across moss covered rocks and carrying a kayak and pack. Had to switch back to the hard kayak at around 12:30, because the USS Nashua was harder to push and pull through the stream.

He will sleep well tonight, and will be doing basically the same kind of trip tomorrow. He has approximately 5.2 miles to go until he reaches the Viaduct in Coudersport, where he can actually put the kayak in the water.

Kirk out.

Allegany River From The Start To Pittsburgh

The Night Before

September 1st, 2007

Editor's note: Rick Barkley is currently kayaking from the start of the Allegheny River, near the Village of Gold, to Pittsburgh. We are a little late starting this story, but we'll catch up. Note the link on the bottom right side of the page where you can read Rick's blog directly. Rick is currently in Warren, PA, but we've started this adventure of a lifetime from the beginning.

Things look good here in Coudersport. I found the starting point, and high water from all the rain last fall took me way uphill past the real beginning. The photo on the website picture page with two white pipes is the actual normal water level beginning.

Water comes out of a natural rock spring, and right now, flows below the pipes, between rocks, and downhill toward route 49. It’ll be about a half hour walk out of the first woods, to the highway. We looked at the stream at Rigas’ barns, and I think I’ll be able to put the hard kayak in on Sunday morning.

Shirley and the staff at the Westgate Inn are making us very comfortable, and Carolyn and Jennifer at the Gold General Store are ready to help Bev get through the first day.

Speaking of Bev, trooper that she is, came along through a half mile of knee high swamp grass on my first attempt to find the river origin. She stayed in the car for the second attempt, from the top of Cobb Hill down, and it’s a good thing. It wasn’t the down timber. It wasn’t the head high goldenrod. It was the down timber IN the head high goldenrod.

The origin’s about halfway between the highway and the top of Cobb Hill, and from the bottom’s the only smart way to get to it, so, much like Kim & Pat on the Mon, I’ll have to backtrack to get started, then retrace out.

With this Internet at the hotel, I’ll be able to write Sunday evening, as I’ll be camping on the river which runs right behind the Westgate. I can send off a post, and walk a hundred yards to the tent. for the hundredth time: no. No hotel room for me. My trip, my rules.

Ned Renn Died Saturday At His Home In Roulette Twp.

COUDERSPORT — Ned J. Renn, 68, of Roulette, died Saturday (Sept. 8, 2007) at his home. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Fickinger Funeral Home of Coudersport.
A memorial service will be held at the Coudersport Gospel Tabernacle on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 at 11:00 am.

NY Requires Interlock For Drunk Drivers

WESB News: 09/10/07 - DWI Interlock Program in NY State

An ignition interlock program for drunk drivers has been expanded statewide under a bill signed into law by Governor Elliot Spitzer.

The bill requires all offenders convicted of DWI to be subject to have the ignition interlock device installed on any vehicle they own or operate. The device prevents operation of the vehicle if the driver has alcohol or a controlled substance in his system.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Rick Barkley Kayaking Allegheny To Pittsburgh

I have to admit, I first thought of paddling the entire Allegheny River for purely selfish reasons. I needed to do something that would take a long time and involve a lot of hard work to accomplish.

I also wanted to celebrate my retirement, and, after researching as best I could, I found it was an opportunity to do something that had never been done before.

Last summer, after I had first begun planning the trip, my wife and I had occasion to spend a day at Roswell Cancer Institute in Buffalo. It was an extremely moving and emotional day, seeing so many people in the fight of their lives, and not having given up, in many cases, against unbelievable odds.

It was also so strangely uplifting, to see the way Roswell treated these warriors, and to experience the beautiful surroundings provided for the patients.

Most moving for me, was to see so many young adults of teenage years volunteering their time to help make the day a little better for everyone around them. If you get to thinking all teenagers are irresponsible video game addicts and troublemakers, based on what we get bombarded with every day in the news and on the street corner, go see for yourself.

I soon thereafter attended a free concert in the courtyard there, by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, on a beautiful summer evening. Not only did I see more of these iron willed humans, enjoying the concert, but I came across a memorial brick in the courtyard, bearing the name of a former co-worker. At that moment, I decided there would be some form of effort on my part to help all these magnificent people, somehow.

Once I came up with the idea, I applied to Roswell, was approved, and my will to succeed for them completely replaced any selfish motives I had entertained. I expect the trip to take three weeks, and they'll be on my mind, as well as everyone who is being so very supportive, through volunteering on the trip itself, as well as making pledges to donate to Roswell.

The trip is 350 miles in length, and I expect the hardest part to be in the beginning. The first 6 miles or so, I'll be lucky if I get to sit in the boat at all. The Allegheny starts on Cobb Hill, about 8 miles outside of Coudersport, PA, in woods. It's a trickle coming out of the ground, winding its way down over the hill, out into a field, across Route 49, and back into woods for another several miles. It wanders through a valley, then back into woods, almost into the city.

Through kind co-operation from the City of Coudersport, I 've been granted permission to paddle through the mile and a quarter of concrete viaduct that winds through the downtown area, saving a great deal of lost time, not to mention a portage through the main downtown area. The river is a small creek at this point, but I'll be paddling, with the exception of the occasional deadfall.

The river's exceptionally winding for the next 40 miles or so, and will take a couple days to cover what can be driven in less than an hour. Help from the Corps of Engineers at Kinzua Dam will lighten the load too, allowing me to go around the trash boom to the breast, and down the access road for a short portage to the bottom of the hill.

From here, the trip is much simpler, a paddle done by thousands of folks before me, through some marvelous scenery. The river is a wide, flat, shallow paddle, with an average depth of 6 feet, and speed of 3 miles an hour. There's one short patch of Class II rapids in Oil City, and 8 locks and dams to drag around between Kittanning and Pittsburgh.

Other than that, it's a lot of simple paddling, and getting to good camping every night. If all goes according to plan, with a couple days built in to allow for setbacks, I hope to come off the river at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on September 22nd, and head for the nearest steak dinner.

To the growing number of people helping to achieve the final goal, I cannot express my thanks strongly enough. I hope to dedicate space on the site to attempt it. To my brother Dave, who has hosted and designed this Website, and to my wife Bev, who conquered her initial fears for me, has been completely supportive, and will be my principal pit crew. I hope I have a chance to show you how much I appreciate what you do. Wish me luck, make a pledge, keep me in your prayers. Rick