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DR. Tarbox

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Howard Hanna



Saturday, December 1, 2007

Venango County Recruiting Coudy IT Talent

Resumes flying in after call goes out for computer techs

A Virginia Internet hosting company is eying Venango County for a business expansion.

Two weeks after Venango County economic development booster Randy Seitz put out a call for resumes from computer technicians and programmers, he is awash in paperwork.

"We received about 110 resumes and we're still getting them. I didn't think we'd get that many," said Seitz, president of the Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry and Tourism.

The campaign was prompted by Defender Technologies Inc. of Ashburn, Va., an Internet hosting company that is eyeing Venango County for a business expansion. The county is in the running with sites in Arizona and New Mexico for a Defender Technologies offshoot, one that provides a wealth of electronic services to corporate and individual computer users.

Of those resumes, 29 that matched the upper tier skills and criteria sought by the company were culled from the collection and passed on to Defender Technologies. Of that number, six were selected as "a very good match," Seitz said.

What remains is sifting out another half a dozen top candidates to put together a "foundation" to open up shop in Venango County, Seitz said. A second round of sorting through the batch of resumes, a task delegated to "professionals," he said, is under way.

"They would like to open the doors (at a new location) with 10 upper level people and then, once they are trained, they would be the base to bring on all the support personnel," Seitz said.

The total number of jobs offered by Defender Technologies facilities would start at about 30, he said, but could grow by 30 to 100, depending on the availability of skilled employees and business growth.

"The company president told us he was confident he could get the foundation number in order to locate here and he was really pleased with the response so far," Seitz said. "This is on the front burner."

One potential pool of candidates in Coudersport has been tapped by the Oil Region Alliance. Seitz said he has "access to most of the out-placed people at Adelphia in Coudersport" and he has made overtures to them "to apply for jobs at a new company that may be coming to town."

Preliminary work is underway to find a location for a company expansion here, said the Oil Region Alliance president. The company informed the agency, said Seitz, that "once the people issue needs are resolved, the property search would take off."

Although no definite timeline has been set for Defender Technologies to opt for the Venango County expansion, Seitz said earlier he is hopeful a decision would be made before the end of the year.

The agency is continuing to accept resumes, especially those from information technology professionals experienced in the Linux Operating System. Information on how to submit the resumes is available on the Internet at

Meanwhile, the Oil Region Alliance is working deals with three other companies that are considering a move to Venango County. They include a health services company, a trucking firm and a distribution company. Those projects may also come to fruition by the end of December.

Area Obituaries

TUMAS, Stella, 95, of Coudersport, Potter County, died Nov. 29. Jefferson Memorial Funeral Home, Pleasant Hills. (CO)

Winter Weather Advisory

The National Weather Service in State College has issued a Winter
Weather Advisory... which is in effect from 11 PM this evening to
1 am EST Monday. The Winter Storm Watch is no longer in effect.

Snow will develop around midnight ahead of a storm system
tracking through the Midwest. A general 1 to 3 inches of
accumulation is expected by the time precipitation changes to
sleet late Sunday morning. The highest snow amounts will be along
the New York border... and the lowest amounts south of I-80.

Sleet will change to light freezing rain or drizzle by
Sunday afternoon... then plain rain in most spots Sunday evening.
However... icing could potentially last until after midnight over
the high terrain north and east of Williamsport. Ice accumulation
on Sunday will likely range from around one tenth of an inch in
most spots. However... up to an quarter inch is possible over the
high terrain north and east of Williamsport. Precipitation will
end during the predawn hours of Monday as a cold front sweeps east
of the region.

A Winter Weather Advisory means that periods of snow... sleet... or
freezing rain will cause travel difficulties. Be prepared for
slippery roads and limited visibilities. Motorists should be
especially cautious on bridges and overpasses... where slippery
spots develop first.

Potter County Son On Aids Quilt

By Cheryl Clarke-
Sun Gazette

MANSFIELD — World AIDS Day has special significance for one Potter County woman, and it is even more so this year because the International AIDS Quilt, which contains a panel commemorating her son, is on display at Mansfield University’s Kelchner Fitness Center today through Monday.

Jeannette Buck, a writer from Gold, near Coudersport, lost her middle son, Evan, age 31 at the time, to the disease in 1994.

He had been ill since 1986.

Buck said because this is the 20th year since the quilt, a progressive project, was begun, she hoped that parts of it would come “somewhere close” to Potter County.

With help from some local “influential people” a large portion of it, including her son’s panel, has come to Mansfield; 36 blocks – 288 panels in all.

Opening ceremonies for the display will be held at noon today. Family members and friends of those commemorated in the panels have been asked to speak, including Buck.

Display viewing hours are noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday.

Buck said that each panel is six feet by three feet — “the size of a grave,” she said, and there are eight panels on each 12 foot by 12 foot block.

“Evan’s block is a beach and mountains scene with a hot air balloon and a horse. The basket of the balloon was made from the pocket of his jeans,” she noted.

On one corner, his daughter Rhea, now a senior in college, signed her name. The panel also features other friends and family member’ signatures, as well as a drawing by Buck of their Potter County home.

Buck recalled one of the last times she saw her son alive in an article she wrote recently for Thanksgiving.

Just before Thanksgiving 1993 Buck received a frantic call from her sister in North Carolina.

“Evan had been found unconscious on the floor of his apartment, and rushed to the hospital,” she said.

She and her husband Robert drove all night, making it to Charlotte, N.C. about noon on Thanksgiving Day.

“He was propped up with pillows, pale and shaky, but able to smile as we entered the room,” she recalled.

Six days later, on Dec. 1, Buck said, “with Evan one day out of the hospital, we drove back into the city and marched with 400 or so others in honor of World AIDS Day. Although I didn’t think he should try it, Evan made it all the way around the center city square,” she said.

It was to be Evan’s last Thanksgiving with his family. He died the following August.

The Bucks have two other sons, Eric, 47 and Erin, 43.

Buck said as World AIDS Day is observed this year, she is hopeful people have learned enough to remove some of the stigma from the disease.

“We kept quiet about Evan’s illness for a while for various reasons, all of which were a direct result of stigma and discrimination. When we finally were forced to speak out, we realized that the only thing secrecy had accomplished was to delay support from those who loved us,” she said.

Westfield Woman Charged In Stabbing

ELKLAND – Diane Elizabeth Huff, 40, Westfield, was charged with aggravated assault and simple assault in Elkland District Court for allegedly stabbing a man with a serrated kitchen knife at a Clymer Township home.

On Nov. 1, the man was transported to Arnot Ogden Hospital in Elmira, N.Y., for injuries to his chest and left hand, which he claimed were from falling while carrying dishes. He was treated and released.

District Judge Brian Edgcomb committed Huff to Tioga County Prison on $40,000 bail. She has since been released and was ordered to have no contact with the man.

The man, Edward J. Ruditys III, 47, of Aston, also was charged with possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia after police found parsley laced with PCP and a marijuana pipe at the residence.

From Sun GAzette

Friday, November 30, 2007

Market Closes Positive Again

DJIA13371.72 +59.99 (0.45%)
NASDAQ2660.96 -7.17 (-0.27%)
NYSE9856.85 +83.28 (0.85%)
S&P 5001481.14 +11.42 (0.78%)

Rick Barkley's Journal--Kayaking The Allegheny--Part 13

Day 21: An Eerie Discovery

Though I was in the shadow of the Oakmont Bridge, the mist was my friend for a change, and I had no fear of being seen, as I took a long bath with the last of the biodegradable soap. The water wasn’t even the slightest bit cold. The radio told me it was 64° at 6 a.m., and it was set to break a record high in the Pittsburgh area. It’d be a good day not to have to paddle.

I thought about a lot of things regarding the trip and Allegheny that day. One thought was how much the river changes width, even in the lower stages. Many places, it wasn’t too much more than 100 yards wide, even after I started locking through, but there were places it was easily more than 300 yards wide.

By noon, every stick of gear was bone dry. I began packing up what I wouldn’t need, and cleaning out the kayak. I think there are a few leaves under the seat that may never come out, but other than that, it looks like it just had been out for a daily paddle in the lake near Buffalo. I have one freeze-dried entrĂ©e left, and one bottle of water. This means no coffee in the morning, but I know I can do anything necessary tomorrow. I went through a lot of fluids the day before, including indulging in a bottle with green tea mix. The forecast isn’t for blistering hot on Saturday, so I should be fine. I have pretty good hunger pangs, and don’t want a headache, so I munch down two granola bars.

I’ve been on this island 20 hours, and one squirrel is all I’ve seen. Another thought I had today, is all the more wildlife I’ve seen throughout the trip. One bear, six deer, eagles and osprey, and not much else. Well, there was the bobcat. Check the photos, if you don’t believe me. I would have bet I’d see ten times that many deer, and stumble on turkey or coyote. I once rode in a car from the NY state line to Buffalo on the Thruway, and saw both about 10 miles apart, right along the road. But 350 miles of river, and not a one of either.

It’s kind of fitting I see a squirrel here; Oakmont Country Club is up over the hill a couple miles, and the squirrel is their logo. I’ve also been amazed at how bug-free the river has been in general. True, I’ve been in the tent by dark most nights, but there have been relief breaks during the early hours of the morning, and never a bite. (See Stats page).

This place doesn’t look like Buckaloons, so if the Boy Scouts care for it, they’re a different strain, but it’s certainly good enough for camping. Someone took a piece of machinery through the woods, clearing a wide trail, and pushing brush back to create many camping spots around the island’s upper end. I’d been intrigued by the campsite next to me, and only suppressed my curiosity because I was sure there were people in those tents. By 11 o’clock in the morning, I figured the tents must be empty; there hadn’t been a sound or sight of a person. I kind of tip-toed over, and slowly took in the entire place. It was very strange, to say the least.

There was a very rickety but usable boat dock in the water. There was an old motorboat tied up to it. Onshore, a welcome area greeted me. There was a homemade traffic light, a hula skirt tied around a tree, photos of young people in frames on a tree trunk, and a homemade Welcome sign nailed to a tree. Behind the ‘foyer’, was what seemed to be the kitchen. All of this is out in the open. Several tables, all covered with red and white checkered tablecloths. Some have several large hard shell coolers lying on them. One large table is covered with pots, pans, cooking oil bottles, spices, an open beer can, and cooking utensils.

A large tent is next, wide open. The door has been rolled up and tied. A sleeping bag is on the floor of the tent, unzipped and thrown open. Sunglasses are in the mesh pocket. Other personal items are lying on the floor, and it certainly appears someone just got out of the sleeping bag, and stepped out of the tent, which also has a 10” tear in the rear wall. There are other tents, all zipped up. Not all the same size or make, there are at least eight. Behind the first tent sits a three wheeler. Childrens’ toys sit in various places through the compound in the sand.

Off to one side, an automobile motor sits on a wooden pallet, with three 12 volt batteries hooked up to it. A short distance away, a full length mirror stands up against a tree trunk. Just beyond that is a horseshoe pit, complete with chairs for spectators. As I passed one table on my way out, I noticed a photo lying on it. Out in the weather, starting to delaminate, but not blown away or ruined, it was a photo of a group of young people, taken in the camp. All seemed happy, and there were Mohawk haircuts on some.

Of course, questions abounded in my mind. Why the motor? Where was everybody? Why leave the place as if you were coming back in a minute? The photo was as intriguing as anything. Untouched by wind, lying undoubtedly where it had been placed how long ago, and wouldn’t the boat be the way to get there, instead of tied up there? It was as if the people had suddenly disappeared off the face of the earth. I may wonder about this place from time to time the rest of my life.

Of course, I didn’t have time to reflect for long. No sooner had I returned to my campsite, than a large black Lab came crashing through the brush, barking and leaping all around me, and I’d left my beaver brand ball bat at the tent, some 20 yards away. About that time, I hard a woman’s voice yelling at the dog from the water. The dog, meantime, had run right past me, then returned, then ran again, telling me he wasn’t interested in a fight, but rather, a playmate. I walked out to the edge of the river, and saw an elderly woman sitting in a lawn chair in a canoe, paddling lazily along, a second Lab in the boat with her. Somehow she kept the thing upright, as the dogs alternately jumped out of the canoe, swam to shore, tore around the island, then swam back out to the canoe, and climbed in. She assured me they wouldn’t hurt me. I felt like yelling back, “After I change my underwear, I won’t hurt THEM, either!”

A Few Observations in Reflection

I took my chair to the river’s edge, and turned my thoughts to the next morning, when I would finish the journey. I had no trouble passing the time that evening, rolling back through the memories of the past 21 days. It didn’t seem right that I was so close to the end, when all along, I just kept putting the blade in the water, trying to get to the next spot on the map. Anyone reading this with the idea of doing something like this in their mind, I have a few observations. Don’t put out an itinerary. It’s nice when people can meet you, but it takes away from the enjoyment of the trip itself, if you worry that you won’t get to where you need to be on time. It was kind of like a road rally. It wasn’t a race, but you needed to be in a certain place at a certain time on a certain day. I did more worrying than necessary about lost time, and setbacks. I don’t know how to do this perfectly, because at the same time, you can’t store enough food and water for three weeks, so you need the kind folks who agree to meet you. The limited space in a kayak makes it tougher to pack right, and I imagine I’d suggest any solo trip be done in a canoe.

One major thing I didn’t discover until I saw the photos Bev took in Coudersport, was that the Murlene was badly overloaded in the stern, even though we were nowhere near the listed weight capacity. Her pictures of me paddling in empty on day 2 show the kayak drafting a lot more water than it should have been, actually being dangerously low in the water. The next day, loaded with gear, it was so low, had I been able to see it with me in it, I probably would have repacked it heavy in the nose, to try to even it out. Bev admitted on the way home after finishing, that she was scared stiff at the sight of the back half of the kayak just a few inches out of the water. Later pictures show it sitting at a much better angle, and I can only guess that the balance of weight was tipped by stored water bottles, all kept in the stern.

Another thing I noticed in the photos, was how far back I sit in the boat. I knew the seat wasn’t located in the middle, but with the hatch creating extra weight in the rear, and the seat set as far back as it is, it’s pretty hard for the stern not be weighted down. I’m a little confused by this, as I’ve had pictures take in it before, and never noticed it sitting low like this. In the picture of me coming in to the Westgate Inn at the end of Day 2, the nose of the kayak is literally out of the water, and there was no gear packed in it. Bev has a soft spot in her heart for the kayak, mostly due to its stability, and her Mom’s name painted on it, and I imagine we’ll keep it for pleasure paddling. As for myself, it’s been a painful piece of equipment. It’s like a bad kid. A lot more work than most, but you have to respect the effort and the performance in the end.

It’s hard to say I don’t like a kayak that just took me somewhere no one’s ever been before, but I would try to choose something a little better fitted for the task next time. I feel for the person who was trying to pack for this trip in a smaller kayak, unless they had support every day. Hypothetically, I could see doing the trip again, to enjoy the improved system, borne of experience, but it will have to be someone with a lot more money and daily support. A GPS is the only way to make equipment changes out on the river in the early stages, when you can’t get to easy access, but you need your crew to get to you. Day trips right before, to know the conditions in the early going, would be a big help, but it’s a whole different thing, if you’re going to put in that kind of time on something that’s more drudgery than excitement or relaxation.

The last dinner was cooked and eaten, meaning the last water was gone. I would paddle away the next morning, having left my empty bottles and granola bar wrappers in the garbage can at the Mystery camp, meaning, no one could tell I had ever been at any place I camped. I’m as proud of that as anything, especially in the face of some of the trash I witnessed along the way.

Thirteenth Installment: Rick Barkley kayaked the Allegheny River from it's beginning near Gold, PA to it's end at Pittsburgh this summer. Solomon's words chronicled that trip from Rick's brief reports from the river. This is Rick's in depth journal of this adventure of a lifetime, presented in installments, as it is quite lengthy. I think you will find it very interesting. Editor.

Shinglehouse Woman Injured In Crash

A New York State tractor-trailer operator is being charged with violations of Pennsylvania traffic law, limitations on overtaking on the left following a collision Wednesday afternoon on Route 44 just north of the Blauvelt Hollow Road in Sharon Township.

State police said the collision took place when Arthur Demers, Jr. of Silver Springs, attempted to turn left into a private drive and the rig’s left rear wheel was struck by the bumper on an Oldsmobile sedan driven by Tina Deyarmin of Shinglehouse which was passing as both were headed south.

Deymarin was taken to Charles Cole Hospital for treatment of moderate injuries. Demers was not hurt. Information from WFRM

Burglars Hit Pine Creek Inn

A burglary at the Pine Creek Inn on Route 6 in Pike Township overnight Wednesday is being investigated by state police locally. Thieves forced their way through the back door and took about $200 from the cash register at the front bar.

Anyone with information is asked to call state police at 274-8690. From Wfrm News

Huge Bear Returned After Relocation To Potter County

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette
William E. Siddle Sr., right, bagged this 613-pound trophy bear while hunting this week in Loyalsock Township with his son, William Siddle Jr.

William E. Siddle Sr. was hunting with his son, William Siddle Jr., Wednesday in Loyalsock Township when the two joined efforts that led to the elder Siddle bagging a massive bear, perhaps the largest taken in Lycoming County this year.

It left both men speechless and struggling to come to grips with the size of the trophy animal they had harvested just after noon, not far from their home in the township.

The Siddles took the bear in Wildlife Management Unit 3B, in a thin sliver of the unit that is open to extended bear season from Nov. 26 through Dec. 1.

The elder Siddle said he was flabbergasted at the size of the male bear.

‘‘When I got about 10 feet from him I realized what a monster he was,’’ he said.

According to Game Commission officials at the agency’s Northcentral Region office near Antes Fort, the bear officially weighed in at a whopping 613 pounds actual live weight, and that, they suggested, made it the largest bear taken in Lycoming County this season.

Rick Macklem, information and education supervisor at the Northeast Region office, said the bear was no stranger to the area.

‘‘It was trapped Aug. 1 by our officers off Warrensville Road and was relocated at that time up to Potter County, so it found its way home,’’ Macklem said.

Picture and information taken from a story in the Sun Gazette by Eric Long.

Woman Killed In Crash Worked In Scio, NY

Jennifer Hutchinson, 32, whose addresses were listed as Cherry Flats Road, Covington, and Scio, N.Y., was killed when her eastbound 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser veered into the westbound lane of Route 6 in Charleston Township, Tioga County, just after 5 p.m. Wednesday and slammed into the tractor-trailer.

Hutchinson, who was alone in the vehicle and was wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene by Jim Daugherty, deputy coroner, who listed massive blunt force trauma as the cause of death.

Ms. Hutchinson showed addresses of Scio, NY and Covington, PA. She worked at Maitre'D Home For the Elderly in Scio, NY. Her obituary appears in today's Solomon's Words.

Information from an atricle in the Sun Gazette by Cheryl Clarke.

Man Arrested At Bank

WESB News: 11/30/07 - Ulysses Man Charged After Bank Incident

A Ulysses man was arrested after an incident Thursday morning at the First Citizen National Bank in Ulysses.

State Police say 61 year-old Vernon Nichols became agitated over a banking affair and started yelling at bank personnel.

Nichols was charged with disorderly conduct and released.

Woman Sentenced To 3 Years For Arson

WESB News: 11/30/07 - Debra Mizco Sentenced for Fire in Bfd

The Emporium woman, convicted of conspiring with her son to burn a home on Kennedy Street in Bradford in 2006, Debra Miczo, was sentenced Thursday in McKean County Court to at least three years in state prison.

Miczo was sentenced on arson, public endangerment and solicitation of arson charges for the fire which burned four homes on August 10, 2006.

Her son Terry Bornheimer pleaded guilty earlier to setting the fire which destroyed the four homes.

Area Obituaries

SHINGLEHOUSE, Pa. Richard R. “Dick” Estes, 81, of Shinglehouse, formerly of Oswayo, died Friday (Nov. 30, 2007) at the home of his son in Oswayo after a long illness.

PORT ALLEGANY — Wyllis D. “Bill” Caldwell, 48, of 1477 Bark Shanty Road, Austin, died Wednesday (Nov. 28, 2007) in UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, Pittsburgh. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Switzer Funeral Home.

HUTCHINSON,Jennifer L.,Age 32, of Scio, NY, passed away November 28, 2007, near Wellsboro, PA, the result of a vehicle accident. Jennifer was born September 21, 1975. She was employed by Maitre'D Home for the Elderly in Scio. Jennifer is survived by her husband of ten years, Mark; her children, Nicholas Roupp, Preston and Christian Hutchinson, all of Covington, PA; her stepdaughter, Ashley Hutchinson of Arnot, PA; her father and stepmother, Philip and Cynthia Roupp of Covington, PA; her paternal grandmother, Jean Stadler of Mansfield, PA; her maternal grandfather, Ray Frederick of Blossburg, PA; a half sister, Jenelle Roupp of Mansfield, PA, a half brother, Ryan Hilfiger of Pueblo, CO; and many aunts, uncles and cousins. She was predeceased by a sister, Karie. Friends are invited to call at the Gary W. Wilston Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Friday, 6-8 p.m. A Memorial Mass will be held Saturday at 10:00 a.m. at Holy Child Catholic Church with Father Jacek J. Bialkowski, celebrant. Sympath"e" cards may be sent to Jennifer's family at

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Coudy To Get $14,950.00 Grant For Flood Control

Coudersport Borough will get $14,950.00 from the Commonwealth Flood Control funds in an announcement today from Governor Ed Rendell. The funds will be used for trash removal.

Stocks Hold Gains Today

DJIA13311.73 +22.28 (0.17%)
NASDAQ2668.13 +5.22 (0.20%)
NYSE9773.57 -17.48 (-0.18%)
S&P 5001469.72 +0.70 (0.05%)

Power Failure In Roulette Today

A power failure on some lines in the Roulette area shut down businesses for several hours on Thursday.

The Allegheny Power company lines came back on momentarily but light bulbs were dim and electronic equipment did not work properly. Voltage measurement showed only 60 volts where there should have been 120 volts.

Normal power was restored about 3:30 pm. No information was available as to the cause, but high winds were experienced in the area most of the morning.

The owner of the copy machine at the Roulette post office said the outage caused a voltage spike that zapped his machine.

When residents notice that lights are not normal brightness after a power failure, you should turn off your main power breaker until normal power is restored. Low voltage can destroy motors and other electronic equipment.

Solomon's words was unable to update for several hours until power was restored and our computer was reprogrammed.

Woman Dies In Head-on Crash With Semi

From Star-Gazette

WELLSBORO – A Covington woman died Wednesday afternoon when the car she was driving collided head-on with a tractor-trailer on Route 6 in Charleston Township.

Tioga County Chief Deputy Coroner James Daugherty pronounced Jennifer L. Hutchinson, 32, of 2982 Cherry Flats Road, Covington, dead at the scene of the 5:15 p.m. crash. The driver of the tractor-trailer, Robert H. Berson, 34, of 109 Strutters Lane, Wellsboro, suffered only minor injuries in the accident, police said.

The crash occurred in Charleston Township, about 100 feet west of Mt. Zion Road.

State police at Mansfield said Hutchinson was driving a 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser east on Route 6, and Berson was driving a 2000 Mack truck-tractor hitched to a 1999 Fruehauf trailer west.

For an unknown reason, the car crossed to the westbound lane and into the rig’s path. Berson applied his brakes and began to veer toward the eastbound lane in an attempt to avoid the collision, but the vehicles met head-on in the westbound lane.

Daugherty pronounced Hutchinson dead at the scene. Berson was treated for minor injuries at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital in Wellsboro and released.

Wellsboro fire and ambulance crews and PennDOT workers assisted state police at the crash

Thats A No-No

WESB News: 11/29/07 - New Jersey man Charged With Baiting

A New Jersey man has pleaded guilty to Pennsylvania game law violations.

State Police say 36 year-old Shane Davenport of Bridgeton was hunting from a tree stand with apples and sugar beets underneath it on November 17 on State Gamelands in Eldred Township.

Davenport was fined $200 dollars for baiting at that location. He was also charged with 17 other violations of Pennsylvania Game Code violations.

Rep. Causer Sets Local Hours

Continuing my commitment to making government more accessible to you, I have scheduled the following office hours in communities throughout the 67th Legislative District during the month of December:
Monday, Dec. 3:
Ulysses Borough Office
9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Galeton Borough Office
10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Thursday, Dec. 6:
Emporium Borough Office
9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Port Allegany Borough Office
10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Eldred Borough Office
12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

You are also welcome to stop by my offices in Bradford (78 Main St., 1st floor, telephone 814-362-4400) or Coudersport (2 Allegany Ave., telephone 814-274-9769) Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed from noon to 1 p.m. for the lunch hour).

Or call toll-free 1-866-437-8181, visit my Web site at or e-mail me at I look forward to hearing from you.

Area Obituaries

Melvin P. Ishman, 46, of 413 E. Main St., Smethport, died Monday (Nov. 26, 2007) in Cold Spring, N.Y., while being transported to Hamot Medical Center, Erie, after a lengthy illness. Arrangements are under the direction of Koch Chatley Gaeto Funeral Home and Cremation Services Inc.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

PA Senate Passes Open Records Reform

WESB News: 11/28/07 - Open Records Bill Passes Senate

A bill that would strengthen the Commonwealth’s Open Records Law has been unanimously approved by the state senate.

Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati says changes in the current Open Records Law were needed to ensure that all public records be considered open unless they fall under certain exceptions.

More specifically, this change now flips the burden onto the government to prove that records should not be open to the public instead of the citizens having that burden.

Scarnati says this is a big win for the reform effort and he is pleased to see it finally pass with the full support of the Senate. He adds that the public should be able to easily access public records and hold government accountable.

To read the entire news release, go HERE

Stocks Finish Second Positive Day

DJIA13289.45 +331.01 (2.55%)
NASDAQ2662.91 +82.11 (3.18%)
NYSE9791.05 +269.29 (2.83%)
S&P 5001469.02 +40.79 (2.86%)

Total Bear Take Down This Year

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Game Commission says hunters shot an estimated 2,004 bears during the three-day season from Nov. 19-21, and 23 bears during archery season from Nov. 14-15. Final totals will be available in 2008. The totals were about 1,000 shy of last year's take.

Employees Started Today At Empereon

A handful of employees began working today at the new Empereon Call Center here in Coudersport.

General Manager Jamie Evens told WFRM that the opening had been delayed due to problems with telephone technology and internet connectivity but says 85 people have accepted jobs and will begin working before Christmas.

Evens says the Phoenix, Arizona based company, which provides outsourcing services to major cable companies, plans on having some 400 employees at the “Tennis Center” before this coming July.

The building, which formerly housed Time-Warner and Adelphia call centers, was given by Time-Warner to the Potter County Redevelopment Authority which in turn has leased it to Empereon.

From WFRM News

Outages Last Night Due to Tree Falling

Gusty winds which ripped across the Twin Tiers last night caused a power and cable outage for several Coudersport residents.

Coudersport Volunteer Fire Department Chief Andy Dubots told WFRM that some 14 firefighters responded when a large tree fell across a high tension wire on East Second Street at around 7:00 p.m. and shorted out several lines.

Electric customers from Main Street east to the State Police barracks on Denton Hill and south on Route 872 for three to four miles were in the dark for about three hours.

Cable service, Internet, and internet telephone service experienced outages of varying duration as far away as Roulette.

Port Woman Not Injured In RT. 6 Crash

A Port Allegany woman escaped injury Tuesday afternoon in a one-vehicle crash on Route 6 just east of the Pierce Brook Road in Keating Township, McKean County.

Troopers said Dixie Taylor was headed east when the left front tire rod on her ’97 Geo Tracker broke and caused the unit to travel off the road, into a tree and land on the passenger side. Taylor was wearing a seatbelt at the time.

Stocks Up At Mid Day

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NY/PA Sue EPA Over Toxic Disclosure To Public

New York and Pennsylvania are among 12 states suing the Bush administration to force greater disclosure of public data on toxic chemicals in communities.

The state officials oppose the federal Environmental Protection Agency's new rules that will allow thousands of companies to limit information they disclose to the public about toxic chemicals that they store, use and release into the environment.

An EPA spokesman had no immediate comment.

The other states suing the EPA are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.

From the Elmira Star Gazette

Police Search For Escaped Murderer

WESB News: 11/28/07 - Escaped Prisoner Still on the Loose
kysor.jpg Police are continuing to interview family and friends of a convicted murderer still on the loose after escaping from an Erie-area prison Sunday afternoon.

They're also talking to people who claim to have spotted 53-year-old Malcolm Kysor. Authorities say he hid in a trash can to break out of the medium-security prison.

Kysor has believed to have relatives throughout Northwestern Pennsylvania and the Columbus,, Ohio, area. Pennsylvania Department of Corrections officials did not say where he was reportedly spotted.

Kysor had been serving a life sentence for an early 1980s murder in Erie County. The remains of his victim were buried near the Millcreek Mall. People who see Kysor are asked not to approach him, but to contact police.

For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Web site.

Crude Price Drops A Little

WESB News: 11/28/07 - Pennsylvania Crude Oil Prices Dip

The price American Refining Group is paying for Pennsylvania Grade Crude has dropped to $89.50 That’s down $3.25 cents from Tuesday.

Hunter Shoots Refrigerator In Rew

WESB News: 11/28/07 - Bullet Enters Home in Rew

State Police are investigating an incident where a bullet entered a Rew woman’s home sometime between 7am Monday and 8am Tuesday.

Police say the bullet broke a window, went through a wall and entered a refrigerator at the home of Marilyn Miller on route 646.

The incident is believed to be hunting related.

Foot Of Snow Possible Thursday

WESB News: 11/28/07 - Lake Effect Snow Returns Thursday

News 4 Meterologist Mike Ceka says the lake effect snow returns to the picture on Thursday and the National Weather Service has issued a Lake Effect Snow Watch for Thursday morning thru Friday afternoon for portions of the twin tiers.

Up to a foot of snow is possible in the snow belts.

Rick Barkley's Journal--Kayaking The Allegheny-Part 12

My Lasting Souvenir

Day 19 didn’t dawn for quite a while. I was up, and with the evening to repack most gear, I could have been moving out by 7:30, but the river had other plans for me. I couldn’t see 20 feet, and the fog didn’t budge until almost 9. I still took it slow at 9:15, even though I knew I had nothing to fear now from the water. At 11, I got to #8, and met Jeremy Jackson, of the Corps. He locked me through, and we talked quite a while before he lowered me down. He’d lost his father to cancer not too long before, and was appreciative that I was trying to do something about it. Just after he started lowering the pool, he called out to me to look up. When I did, I saw a gray ball of cloth on the hook they use to bring up your rope. He let it down to me, and told me it was a souvenir for me. It was pretty moving, as I unwrapped it from the hook, and realized he’d given me one of his Corps of Engineer T-shirts. With a big grin, he wished me the best, and disappeared.

I got to 7 about 1:30, and the guy there locked me through in 10 minutes. I was soon below Kittanning, and beginning to check out Cogley’s Islands. My first attempt at finding camping was a near disaster. I’d been zipping right down the river for a couple days now, and paddled into a lagoon to see how it looked. I had forgotten there was shallow water anywhere, and was scanning the shore, when the boat suddenly rose right up out of the water. I found myself sitting on a rock, the boat virtually dry-docked. Having a round-bottomed boat isn’t any help, and I had to some quick and violent scooching to the left, trying to get off the rock before I got too far over center to one side. I got off, but I had to stick a hand out on the right, as I started tipping that way as I slid off. I pushed straight up against the rock, and slid back into the lagoon. I paddled a little slower after that.

I went ashore to see a spot that looked good, but decided against it, after seeing five tents that had been destroyed where they stood. No explanation was evident, but the poles were still through the slots in the tents, and I thought I’d give the locals in Manorville a Q&A session. I encountered a fellow named John Puha, walking his dog Toto, and asked him about the islands. He didn’t really know much about them, but said I could camp on the boat launch just below the street, as he knew it belonged to the city. I thanked him, and walked down to the Post Office to see what I could find out. A woman there told me she knew there was better camping downriver a little, so I was pretty confident I’d be okay, until she told me the local kids like to go over there to party. I had second thoughts, but would at least give it a look.

I was on my way back up to the launch when someone yelled “Hey, Buddy!” at me. I looked up to see the grin on the face of Teresa Stout. Teresa’s from Brookville, and I’ve known her ever since I covered her Dad’s Brookville High wrestling teams in the late 80s and early 90s for the local paper. She’s as ardent a canoe and kayak racer as I’ve ever known, and I decided long ago, I probably didn’t want her paddling with me, as it would be embarrassing. I was quite happy to see a friendly face, and was flattered that she’d drive from Brookville to Kittanning, without knowing if she’d even be able to find me.

We talked about the trip, as well as (what did I tell you?), the eight person war canoe race she just finished in the Adirondack mountains. The race was 360 miles, and they did it in something like three or four days. I was taking three weeks to do a similar distance. She was nice about it, though, and never made me feel like a wimp. She gave me some green tea packets, that you can simply pour in a bottle of water, shake, and drink. I have to admit, I let my mind get away from me there. She wanted to know about Salamanca in detail, and by the time I was done, I was such a mess, I never thought about asking if I could use her phone to call Bev. She soon had to drive back to Brookville, so we parted company, and I paddled downriver about a half mile, finding decent camping on a lower island.

Camp was up in a short time, dinner cooked, and I’d been there a couple hours before I noticed a large nest in the tree beside the tent. The nest itself was about five feet in diameter, and there were limbs making the main supports that were an inch and a half in diameter, and more than 10 feet long. This was no weak bird’s nest. I never got to see what had lived there, and it was empty now. I was also having to look out for my third mascot, Meech the Beach Ball. I found him just above #8, and the only reason I hung on to him at all, was the safety warning. “Warning! To Be Used only With Proper Supervision”. Keep in mind, this was just a plain old beach ball. Want more? The warning was printed on the ball in 14 languages, counting English. It’s like the woman who called her doctor and said, “I’m thinking of bending at the waist; any advice?”

Four Locks? No Problem!

More pea soup fog kept me off the river until ten after 8 on day 20, and I had to pull over at 8:30 for 20 minutes, as it settled back down after I got going. I reached #6 at 9:50, and got a warm friendly greeting from Jeremy again! I found out 6 was his normal workplace, and that he’d been at 8 the day before, just to let me through. I managed to get my e-mail address off to him, and asked if he’d send his mailing address. He agreed, and I was through and gone. I made good time for dead water, and got to #5 at noon. The water was zero help once I got past East Brady, and you got what you paddled, and no more. If you stopped paddling, you stopped moving.

After 5, my target was actually #4, because Jack’s Island sits in the shadows of it, and I planned to camp there that night. I ran into a fine gentleman named Chuck Leonard, who was cruising the river in a pontoon boat. He let me use his cell to leave a voice mail for Bev, and told me there was a nice lagoon on the west side of Jack’s, where the houseboats like to tie up and party. There was that word again, but I promised to check it out. He headed for home upriver, and I took a look at the island. The lagoon turned out to be a muddy mess, and I passed on it. There was a sandy beach area, but no relief from the sun, with the temperature in the high 80s. I decided if I was going to roast, I might as well do it paddling, and looking at the map, set out to get through locks 4 and 3.

I had heard from Jeremy and others that there was excellent camping just 50 yards below 3, on Allegheny Island State Park. I counted on that to be true, and knew I could get there before dark, if I didn’t have any trouble locking through. I made 4 at 2:30, and 3 by 6 p.m. I had to tie up ( I had gotten braver), and climb the ladder to get a response to my pulling of the rope. I could hear the buzzer above, but nobody showed up. This was where I learned the Engineers don’t always like it when you come up on the top, walking around. When I finally found a guy at his desk, he acted like I was a bit of a terrorist, and made sure I knew I needed to get back to my boat. I got through in short order, and hurried to get something for camping before dark.

I was ecstatic, because I had done four locks in one day, and had earned back my layover day. This was where I had planned on spending my last night before finishing. I now had an extra day, but still had to finish on Saturday the 22nd, if I wanted a ride home.

I found a place that seemed to be right next to a campsite with about 12 tents, but I’d been told the Boy Scouts used the island a lot, so I felt safe enough. Got the normal routine going, and after dinner, looked at the map a dozen times, not quite believing I had only 15 miles or so to go. Suddenly, it all seemed to have slipped by me so fast in a blur, and it was hard to separate what had happened into which day. Without my daily journal to jot notes into, I’d have been rather lost, and this would have been a general rambling. I was excited about the prospect of having all the next day to rest, get stuff ready for the final miles, maybe even clean out the boat. Best of all? I was padding around in my bare feet, on sand. I took a bath the next morning, waist deep in water with a sandy bottom. (Go ahead, you can think it, but I don’t want to hear it).

It was a long day of paddling, over thirty miles in dead water, more than 80 degrees. I thought of Kim, though, who paddled a longer day than that, with a water level temperature of 104°, just four weeks earlier, on the Monongahela. I didn’t feel so sorry for myself after that.

Twelfth Installment: Rick Barkley kayaked the Allegheny River from it's beginning near Gold, PA to it's end at Pittsburgh this summer. Solomon's words chronicled that trip from Rick's brief reports from the river. This is Rick's in depth journal of this adventure of a lifetime, presented in installments, as it is quite lengthy. I think you will find it very interesting. Editor.

What's Going On

November 28

New Choices/New Options will be holding a job search and personal development program in Port Allegany today. The sessions will be held Monday through Thursday mornings, for three weeks. Class work includes: Career exploration, resume writing and applications, letter writing, how to find where the jobs are, assertiveness, self esteem and updating math skills. There is no charge for the class. Transportation assistance and daycare assistance available. For more information, call The Potter County Education Council office in Port Allegany 62-2295 or the New Choices/New Options office in Bradford at 362-6188.

November 28

The Austin Dam Memorial Association will be holding its Annual Meeting and Elections at the Austin Fire Company Social Hall at 7:00 pm. The date of the meeting has been moved from November 21st, as advertised on the ADMA calendar.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Stock Market Moves Up Today

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Santa Knows If You've Been Naughty Or Nice

Jeremiah Smith, 19 of East Smethport is being charged with criminal mischief for an incident taking place Sunday evening.

Kane-based state police claim Smith used a pocket knife to slash a blow-up air globe with a Santa owned by his neighbor, 75 year old Neomi Magee as he walked past.


Troopers Investigate Thefts

State police are investigating a theft taking place Sunday between 5:55 and 6:10 p.m. at Stacey’s Corner Market in Bingham Township. Thieves took about $150 in cash and the register key with them.

The theft of a game camera is also under state police investigation. The camera was taken sometime last week from a wooded area in West Branch Township near a camp owned by Ronald Hinkle of East Berlin, PA. It’s valued at $200.


DUI Crash On 7 Bridges Hill Early Monday

DUI charges are pending against 29 year old Donald Emmick following a one-vehicle crash early Monday morning on Route 49 at Seven Bridges Hill in Allegany Township.

State police said Emmick’s west bound Toyota Camry veered across the highway when he overcorrected after it dropped onto the berm.

The compact struck an embankment and rolled over onto its roof, coming to rest about 140 feet from the point of impact.

Emmick escaped injury.


Buck Falls Off Rt. 287 Overpass

By George Osgood-
Star Gazette
Wellsboro Bureau

TIOGA -- Long-time hunters will attest that sometimes, a big buck just falls into their laps. It’s just a matter of time, chance and place.

But Wellsboro legal secretary Kasey Dunham, who doesn’t hunt at all, tells a better story: One of a huge buck that almost fell onto her car on Route 287 in an incident witnessed by dozens of motorists on Monday afternoon, the first day of Pennsylvania’s two-week rifle deer season.

The deer, it seems, somehow got onto the overpass that carries the access ramp to Route 15 over Route 287 in Tioga Township at about 3:30 Monday afternoon. Dunham, with her daughter, Kaylee and mother, Holly Schoonover of Westfield, planned to do some shopping. As they approached the overpass, something very strange happened.

“The deer fell off the overpass,” Kasey said. “It landed right in front of us on the blacktop. My first thought was that it fell off a pickup truck or something, that it was a deer a hunter had shot and was taking home.

“It landed on its back, with all four feet pointing straight up in the air,” she said. “Then it stood up. That was quite the shock.

“Cars and trucks were stopping all around,” she said. “Hunters were getting out and looking like they couldn’t believe their eyes. It was the biggest deer I ever saw. It looked like a cow with antlers. I couldn’t believe it hadn’t broken its back.”

The overpass is at least 30 feet above Route 287. The deer, stunned, stayed put for a few seconds.

“How it got on the overpass, I don’t know,” Kasey said. “After it stood up, it put its head down. Then it picked its head up and crossed the road, and it jumped over the guardrail and ran away. Hunters jumped out of their cars and watched. People were staring at it like they couldn’t believe it. I just know that if I was a few seconds faster, it would have landed on my car. It landed right in my lane.

“And girls’ shopping day almost turned into the day I got my buck,” she said. “It was something I will never forget.

Scarnati Says Project Taking U, S. Jobs

WESB News: 11/27/07 - Scarnati: Suspend Cross Border Project

The state senate transportation committee has endorsed a resolution by Senator Joe Scarnati that calls on the President and Congress to stop funding for the Cross Border Trucking Demonstration Project.

Scarnati says the demonstration project allows certain trucks registered in Mexico to be used in commerce on US highways.

He says he doesn't want to interfere with legitimate commerce but the bottom line is they are taking good jobs away from hardworking Americans.

If the full Senate approves the resolution, it will be sent to the President and members of the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation.

To read the entire news release, go HERE.

Woman Mugged In Staples Lot

WESB News: 11/27/07 - Woman Attacked in Olean Parking Lot

A Portville woman is recovering from injuries she sustained when she was mugged Monday night in the Olean Staples parking lot.

Police say the woman was attacked as she attempted to get into her car.

The 5-foot 10-inch white man grabbed her from behind and demanded money before hitting her several times in the face and head with his fist and using a metal pipe to hit her abdomen and shoulder.

The man fled into a waiting white four-door sedan, with an accomplice behind the wheel, after the woman pushed the panic alarm on her electronic car key.

The area of the parking lot where the attack happened is not covered by a video surveillance camera. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Olean police.

Spaghetti Supper Today At Keating Summit

November 27

Keating Summit Community Suppers Committee will be holding a Hunters' Spaghetti Supper at the Keating Summit United Methodist Church, Rt. 607 (just off Rt. 155) in Keating Summit. Please look for signs.

The supper is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The menu will be Spaghetti and meatballs, tossed salad, garlic bread, assorted desserts, coffee, tea and punch.

Everyone is welcome, including hunters who are visiting the area. Cost is $6.00 for adults, $3.00 for children aged 6 - 12 and free for children 5 years old and younger.

Proceeds benefit the Keating Summit Community Suppers fund and the Keating Summit United Methodist Church. Anyone interested in donating a dish or dessert or that would like to purchase tickets in advance can contact Janice Baker at 642-7994, Russ Moore at 642-0925, or Bonnie Wood at 642-9341.

Four Injured In Millport Crash

From Elmira Star-Gazette:

Millport--Four people were injured, two seriously, when the truck they were riding in Sunday evening lost control and struck a tree stump on Back Road, approximately a quarter-mile west of state Route 44, in Sharon Township in Potter County.

Pennsylvania State Police say Robert L. Fiske, 20, of Shinglehouse was driving at a high rate of speed when the 1996 Ford F-150 he was driving with five passengers lost control and left the roadway, headed up an embankment and struck the stump.

Fiske and a 15-year-old male passenger from Shinglehouse were flown by medical helicopter to Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo to be treated for serious injuries. Neither individual was wearing their seat belt.

A 17-year-old male passenger, also from Shinglehouse, was transported by ambulance to Charles Cole Memorial Hospital in Coudersport for treatment. He was not wearing his seat belt.

A 14-year-old female passenger from Coudersport suffered minor injuries but refused treatment at the scene. She was not wearing her seat belt.

The two remaining passengers -- a 17-year-old female from Coudersport and a 13-year-old female from Coudersport -- were not injured in the crash. The 17-year-old passenger was wearing her seat belt.

State police were assisted at the scene by Shinglehouse Fire, Police and Medics, Medic 6 of Coudersport, Olean 10 of Olean, N.Y., Portville Ambulance and Mercy Flight.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Area Obituaries

PORT ALLEGANY — Wayne L. Culver, 87, formerly of Port Allegany, died Monday (Nov. 26, 2007) in the Lakeview Senior Care and Living Center. Funeral arrangements will be announced by the Switzer Funeral Home.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Joey Offutt's Home Sold

WESB News: 11/26/07 - Offutt's Home Will be Church Parking Lot

The former home of a woman who's been missing since July will be torn down to make room for a parking lot.

The Sykesville Borough Council has approved a demolition permit for the former home of Joey Lynn Offutt. Her family sold the house to the Holy Byzantine Catholic Church across the street from the house. It's expected to be torn down by the end of the year.

Offutt has been missing since July 12, when a fire destroyed her home. Her car was found in State College several days after the fire. A dead baby was found in the home, but he has not been identified.

Anyone with information on Offutt's whereabouts is asked to contact the family or police.

A Day In The Red--Again

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Man Missing From Warren State Hospital

WESB News: 11/26/07 - Man Missing from Warren State Hospital

Authorities are looking for a patient who escaped from Warren State hospital over the weekend.

Police say 55-year-old George Owen McMillan Jr. of Farrell was granted a leave of absence for Thanksgiving, and was supposed to return to the hospital at 8 o'clock Sunday night. After spending time with his family in Farrell, he did not return to the hospital.

Police believe he may be traveling in a burgundy 1998 Oldsmobile sedan with Pennsylvania license plate GDN 3914.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Warren-based state police.

Galeton Blaze Cause Undetermined

The State Police Fire Marshal told WFRM earlier today that the cause of the blaze which destroyed a Galeton Home Thanksgiving morning and heavily damaged an adjacent seasonal dwelling likely will not be determined.

Cpl Dixon said the damage to the home owned by Amanda Brown at 92 Lower Germania Street was so extensive it is difficult to be sure of the cause.

Galeton volunteers were summoned at 8:21 a.m. Thursday and with first arrivals finding heavy flames, a second alarm went out bringing in volunteers from Coudersport, Germania and Clymer. The blaze was not declared under control for another 2-1/2 hours.

Brown and her children were not home at the time and apparently there were no injuries among the 65-75 firefighters who responded..

Police Reports From WFRM News

State police here are looking for the driver of a gray 1998 ford Contour which wrecked sometime Saturday on Loucks Mills in Hector Township. Authorities said the southbound car went off the road, struck a PennDot sign, went through a gravel pull off and over embankment before coming to rest against several trees. The driver departed the scene without notifying police who noted that the license plate had been removed from the car by the time they investigated.

Lance Cowburn, 21 of Ulysses is facing DUI charges following a crash early Sunday morning at an intersection in Ulysses Township. Troopers said Cowburn’s Dodge Dakota, while headed south on Ripley Road, failed to stop at a stop sign and traveled through the intersection across Route 49 and became stuck at the end of a guardrail. When troopers investigated, they placed Cowburn under arrest for DUI and took him to Charles Cole Hospital for chemical testing.

A Roulette man is being charged with failing to keep his dog restrained. State police claim a pit bull owned by Jason Cornelius of Card Creek Road Roulette went into a barn owned by his neighbor, Ruben Redmond on the Coleman Mills Road Friday night and killed a piglet valued at $50.

Troopers are looking for vandals who damaged a yard in Eulalia Township early Saturday morning to the tune of $1500. Authorities say an unknown vehicle traveled off the First Fork Road and onto the lawn at the Vickie Matteson residence after which the driver accelerated and created a large donut on the grass before fleeing south on the First Fork Road.

Escaped Murderer Still On The Loose

WESB News: 11/26/07 - Prison Escapee Still on the Loose

kysor.jpg A convicted murderer remains on the loose today after escaping from the State Correctional Institution-Albion. 53-year-old Malcom Kysor of Erie, was discovered missing when guards did a routine inmate count about 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Prison officials were investigating whether Kysor was involved in prison programs that would have let him off the grounds or given him access to less secure areas of the prison.

People are being warned not to approach Kysor if they spot him but to contact local or state police. Kysor is serving a life sentence for the beating death of Barney Fenton. Fenton's remains were found buried along Interstate 79 near the Millcreek Mall just outside Erie.

Kysor, who is white, is about 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds. He has brown hair and eyes and several tattoos: a devil, heart and snake on his chest; a flower and eagle on his right arm; a rose with two hearts and a flower on his left arm; and a devil with a woman and an angel with a horse on his abdomen.

PUC Threatens Crackdown On Amish Transportation

From the DuBois Courier Express

Transportation options for members of the Amish community are few and far between.

When the horse and buggy doesn't cut it, Amish sometime turn to their neighbors for transportation. Often, in return, money is exchanged to cover costs.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission held a public meeting at the Brady Township Community Center earlier this week to tell those in attendance this monetary exchange, in some cases, violates the rules and regulations for passenger carriers transporting people for compensation in Pennsylvania.

In the Indiana, Jefferson, and Clearfield counties, 95 warning letters have been issued to individuals over the last three years for violating PUC's code for transportation for compensation.

Of these complaints and investigations, which have taken place since 2003, some cases aren't people going from home to the grocery store, but transporting people statewide.

"We are going to stop with the warning letters and begin issuing fines and taking formal action in the coming months," PUC Public Relations Representative Jennifer Kocher said. "Since we're making that transition from a time period where we were trying to educate and warn people to something that could have financial and fiscal risks, we wanted to make sure we had one last large push where people could come to get information."

The goal of the PUC is to make sure carriers are operating safely, have a reasonable rate, and are operating with insurance.

The PUC has heard of insurance companies refusing to pay insurance claims because the driver was found to be carrying paying passengers without the proper insurance.
"If you are transporting, you must have $35,000 of property and physical injury insurance. In other words, if someone is riding in your vehicle and you are in an accident where you're at fault, you have to be able to pay them at least $35,000," PUC Transportation Compliance Specialist Robert Bingaman said. "That is per person."

One man in attendance stood up to say he has been a customer of State Farm Insurance since 1963 and they are not willing to offer the kind of insurance necessary to meet the PUC's standards.

"There are several insurance companies who will offer coverage," Bingaman said. "The only thing I can tell you is to start calling up as many insurance agents as you can."
Aside from insurance coverage, if people are holding out to provide a service for compensation, they must be registered as a carrier with the PUC.

Holding out is when an individual makes it public knowledge they are prepared to drive someone for compensation.

Although considered a business transaction, formal advertisement is not necessary. If people who the carrier doesn't personally know, are aware of and use the service - the operator is holding out.

"If you take friends on a hunting or fishing trip and they help you pay for gas, you are not holding out to the public," PUC Deputy Chief Counsel Eric Rohrbaugh said. "When you take someone to the grocery store on a regular basis and they're paying you for it and then other people start calling you up and asking for the service - that is a little different."

"If you want to give your neighbor a ride, that is fine, but once any kind of money exchanges hands our authority is triggered," PUC Assistant Counsel Heidi Wushinske reiterated.
The cost to register as a common carrier, or someone who provides transportation for compensation, with the PUC is $350. This cost can vary depending on the coverage area an applicant covers.

"Do you see the uniqueness of this situation here? Not just in this community, but across the state. This is a new situation which needs to be addressed," one man attending the public meeting said. "We understand this is the law. These people (the Amish) operate under law as strictly as they can, but you're being pretty unforgiving."

Profiling was one of the complaints voiced by many local residents at the meeting.
A Penn State student said she has recently contacted the Clearfield County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union about an incident where a vehicle carrying Amish was barricaded into a private drive because there were suspicions the driver was providing illegal transportation for compensation.

The Penn State student said she was unsure of the lines defined by the PUC.
At Penn State, a group of students who don't know each other get together, compare schedules and organize transportation to school to save money.

Members of the PUC panel said state law provides a provision for carpooling.
"The point is me and my State College friends will not get pulled over. We aren't in the car thinking 'are we going to get arrested or are we going to get fined," the Penn State student said. "The point is you cannot discriminate that if me and my friends from State College pitch in on a tank of gas it's okay, and if me and my Amish friends split the cost of a tank of gas to go to the store it's not okay."

Kocher stressed the PUC does not profile.

"We do not profile, particularly when we are watching a driver or have been told of a driver. We know from some past history or from a complaint that this particularly vehicle has been used in the transportation of someone for compensation," Kocher said.

A local resident said a Sandy Township officer escorted a horse and buggy out of the township.
"As far as you are saying with profiling, we would not stop you because you are Amish and you are in a buggy," DuBois City police Chief Ron LaRotonda said. "We do have an ordinance which prohibits any defecation on the road. That is the only ordinance we have that could restrict you in DuBois City."

In a phone interview, Sandy Township police Chief Don Routch said he was not aware of such an incident.

He also said there is no ordinance in the township which would prohibit or hinder Amish travelers.

One Amish man stood before the full hall to explain Amish beliefs and the affect it has on their mobility.

"Our creed is to live in such a manner that we do not become a burden to society. Therefore, it is no longer feasible or practical to travel on roads the way it is needed today," he said calmly. "We don't want to be a burden to society so we have taken other measures and means. We have had these wonderful people offer to help us. Are you aware, PUC, to do what is done on a monthly or weekly basis could take from 300--500 drivers?"

The PUC code is passed by the General Assembly, and it is the job of the PUC to uphold it.
When action is taken the prosecution is not criminal, rather a fine is given.

Because the PUC rules are a civil code, probable cause is not necessary when investigating.
"The Legislature empowered the Public Utility Commission to investigate any business and any area to find out if someone is operating illegally," Bingaman said. "This is a civil matter. Under civil law, you do not need a search warrant. The 14th amendment is not valid for civil complaints."

Members of the panel said investigations occur when complaints are filed. Complainants remain anonymous, however witnesses have to be provided.
One resident asked how complainants know compensation is being exchanged for transportation.

To this, a member of the panel simply said, "they watch."
"If someone comes up to you and says, 'You don't know me, but my neighbors got a ride from you last week. Can you give me a ride to the post office' - I don't think that is friends," Rohrbaugh said.

"That has happened to me. This is a community of friends. Am I not allowed to be a Christian," one woman asked.

In explaining the community's beliefs, the Amish man said other means are used but are not always a feasible option.

"Our way of life is a very important tenant of the teachings of our religion," the Amish man said. "We go by bus and by train whenever we can. Our freedom of movement and our way of life is severely threatened beyond what you can imagine if we can't come to a consensus and make some kind of provisions so we can exist in harmony, not as being a burden."

PA Deer Season Opens Today

WESB News: 11/26/07 - First Day of Pa Deer Season

Pennsylvania's two week long rifle deer hunting season got underway this morning. The hunt began a half and hour before sunrise.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission estimates there will be a million hunters in the woods today. The commission didn’t offer a firm estimate of how many deer they expect to be bagged this season.

Crash On Seven Bridges Hill

State Police were investigating a car crash on Seven Bridges Hill, in the vicinity of Mahaley's, this morning at 1:30 am where an automobile was reported on it's roof in the middle of the road.

Initial reports indicated there were no injuries.

Area Events Via WFRM Website

November 26

The Sweden Valley Faith Community United Methodist Church will have an all you can eat chicken and biscuit dinner from 4:30 until all are served. Donation: $6.00 for adults, children 5-12, $3.00, under 5, free. Proceeds will benefit the United Methodist Women’s Mission Projects.

November 27

Keating Summit Community Suppers Committee will be holding a Hunters' Spaghetti Supper at the Keating Summit United Methodist Church, Rt. 607 (just off Rt. 155) in Keating Summit. Please look for signs. The supper is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The menu will be Spaghetti and meatballs, tossed salad, garlic bread, assorted desserts, coffee, tea and punch. Everyone is welcome, including hunters who are visiting the area. Cost is $6.00 for adults, $3.00 for children aged 6 - 12 and free for children 5 years old and younger. Proceeds benefit the Keating Summit Community Suppers fund and the Keating Summit United Methodist Church. Anyone interested in donating a dish or dessert or that would like to purchase tickets in advance can contact Janice Baker at 642-7994, Russ Moore at 642-0925, or Bonnie Wood at 642-9341.

November 28

New Choices/New Options will be holding a job search and personal development program in Port Allegany today. The sessions will be held Monday through Thursday mornings, for three weeks. Class work includes: Career exploration, resume writing and applications, letter writing, how to find where the jobs are, assertiveness, self esteem and updating math skills. There is no charge for the class. Transportation assistance and daycare assistance available. For more information, call The Potter County Education Council office in Port Allegany 642-2295 or the New Choices/New Options office in Bradford at 362-6188.

November 28

The Austin Dam Memorial Association will be holding its Annual Meeting and Elections at the Austin Fire Company Social Hall at 7:00 pm. The date of the meeting has been moved from November 21st, as advertised on the ADMA calendar.

Area Obituaries

SHINGLEHOUSE - Vernon E. “Verne” Howard, 89, of Oak Street, Coudersport, died Sunday (Nov. 25, 2007) at his home. Funeral arrangements are incomplete and under the direction of the Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home.

ELDRED - Gladys H. Freer, 81, formerly of Eldred, died Sunday (Nov. 25, 2007) in Cuba (N.Y.) Memorial Hospital following a long illness. The Frame Funeral Home, Eldred, is in charge of arrangements.

WHITNEY, Beverly A.
Age 67, of Austin, PA, died Friday, November 23, 2007, at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY. Born on August 28, 1940 in Olean, NY, she was the daughter of Harold A. and W. Louise (Thompson) Williams.
On April 2, 1960 in Austin, PA, she married James D. Whitney, who survives. Mrs. Whitney was a graduate of Austin High School. She had been employed as an assembly worker at the Galeton Production Manufacturing. Mrs. Whitney was also a member of Eastern Star and Austin Volunteer Ambulance service.
Beverly enjoyed spending time with her family and camping.
Surviving, in addition to her husband and mother; are son, Donald (Kimberly) Whitney of Roulette, PA; and a daughter, Annette (Gregory) Knight of New York; sister, Carol Deasey of Rochester, NY; five grandchildren, one great-grandchild and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her father.
Friends will be received from 1-2 p.m., Tuesday, November 27, 2007, at the Fickinger Funeral Home of Coudersport, PA, where funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. with the Reverend Randall Headley officiating. Burial will be in the Williams-McFall Cemetery, Conrad, PA.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Elm and Carlton St., Buffalo, NY 14263; or Austin Volunteer Ambulance Assn., P.O. Box 328, Austin, PA 16720.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Personal Injury Crash At Millport Sunday

One occupant was flown to Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, from a motor vehicle accident that occurred early Sunday evening on the Back Road in Millport. Ambulances were called from Shinglehouse, Portville and Coudersport. Medic 6 and Medic 10 were on scene. The number of injured and the severity of those injuries is not known at this time.

Roulette/Eldred Men In Crash Wednesday

WESB News: 11/25/07 - Eldred Man's Condition Improves The condition of an Eldred man who was injured in a Wednesday accident has been upgraded from serious to stable condition.

David Lowe of Eldred was transported to Elmira NY for treatment of his injuries, following the Wednesday accident on Route 446, when his car crossed the center line and struck a car operated by Joshua Rees of Roulette – who received minor injuries. A passenger in the Rees car was uninjured.