PA House Democrat Leadership Portrays Pennsylvania Workers as Drunks and
HARRISBURG (August 16, 2011) – In what should outrage every Pennsylvanian, at
least one House Democrat leader has concluded that the only impact of Marcellus
Shale drilling in Pennsylvania has been increased business at local
establishments and promiscuity.
“Talk about wrong-headed, misinformed, archaic, and just shocking,” said Rep.
Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming), the House Republican Caucus Chair.
“The House Democrat leadership attitude, after studying the impacts of the
Marcellus Shale industry in Pennsylvania, is insulting.”
“Drunks and promiscuous ‘womenfolk’ – that is what the House Democrat leaders
are calling the hard-working men and women living within the Marcellus Shale
region,” Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland County) said. “Who can really
support such notions from leaders who think so little of those working in a
“The people of this Commonwealth deserve better than hyperbole or fear
mongering.” Rep. Matt Baker (Bradford/Tioga Counties) said. “The hate-speech,
misinformation, stereotyping and sensationalism from the House Democrat Policy
Committee chairman is deplorable.”
House Democrat Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla (D-Lancaster) emailed a
response to a Capitolwire.com reporter in regards to a question regarding the
impact of the Marcellus Shale industry. Sturla’s published email response to
Capitolwire.com was (emphasis added):
“Also, aside from building roads so their trucks can get to drill sites and
doing a little stream work to mitigate damage from their road building, exactly
what are all those things the drillers are doing for the local communities?
Patronizing the bars at night? Driving up the cost of rental housing? Spreading
sexually transmitted disease amongst the womenfolk? Causing school districts to
ask local governments to ban truck traffic on local roads during school bus
pick-up and drop-off times so kids don't get killed? Upgrading emergency
preparedness equipment to handle a well blow out? Running compressor stations
that have decibel levels equal to a jet engine?...Really community-oriented
“These comments show the lack of comprehension of what is going on in this
region,” Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) said. “We are
living and working in the real world of providing record levels of jobs,
economic development and working toward energy independence.”
Pickett and the other legislators said the various energy companies are working
closely with local governments, and the governments, for the most part, are
satisfied with the level of cooperation and concern expressed in the northern
tier of Pennsylvania.
“These mischaracterizations and stereotypes of Marcellus workers, most of which
are hard-working Pennsylvanians, does nothing productive,” Rep. Donna Oberlander
(R- Armstrong and Clarion Counties) said. “These comments are absolutely
inappropriate and cross the line of decency.”
Sen. Toomey Announces Legislation Repealing Onerous Street Sign Regulation
D. C --
Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) announced
today he will be introducing legislation
to repeal an onerous Department of
Transportation regulation mandating new
street signs in towns and municipalities
across the country.
longstanding Department of
Transportation mandate would require all
municipalities to replace their current
street signs with new signs that meet
federally approved reflectivity
standards. According to the mandate,
local towns will be responsible for
paying for the replacement of current
Toomey announced his new legislation
after meeting with local officials in
Scranton to talk about the economic toll
this regulation is having on already
strapped municipal budgets.
appreciate Sen. Toomey's visit today and
the legislation he is introducing," said
Joe Chacke, president of Forty Fort
Borough. "It's a great first step in the
process of changing our government from
a bureaucratic government back to a
Toomey has already had success in
alleviating this burden in Lower Merion
in Montgomery County. Lower Merion
officials argued that the street signs
mandate was not only expensive, but
would force the town to replace its
cast-iron historical street signs,
stripping the community of its
historical character. Working with the
Department of Transportation, Sen.
Toomey achieved a historical exemption
for Lower Merion.
have reached out to the Department of
Transportation and look forward to
working with them in alleviating the
burden this regulation places on
Pennsylvania municipalities and
taxpayers," Sen. Toomey said. "At the
same time, I am introducing legislation
to make sure that communities like
Scranton are not forced to foot the bill
for expensive federal mandates. While I
appreciate the Department of
Transportation's safety concerns, these
decisions are best made by local
communities and municipalities."
Sen. Toomey Issues Statement On Super Committee Selection
Washington, D. C.
U.S. Senator Pat
Toomey (R-Pa.) issued the following
statement on the announcement that he
will be selected to serve on the super
committee created by the Budget Control
deeply honored for the opportunity to
serve on this bipartisan committee and
to be part of the important work we will
be doing. In light of last week's
events, with the nation's credit
downgrade and the deep drop in the
markets, it is all the more imperative
that this committee do its job
effectively and come up with a product
that both tackles our debt crisis and
can help revive our failing economy.
"Despite the difficulties ahead, I am
committed to tackling this challenge and
am hopeful that we can produce a
proposal that seriously reduces our
nation's deficits and grows our economy.
Throughout the debate over the debt
ceiling, I stressed that we need a
solution that achieves the dual goals of
putting our government on a path toward
a balance budget, and maximizing
economic growth and enabling us to
create the jobs we badly need. I remain
committed to both of these vital goals."
Senate Minority Leader
Mitch McConnell issued the following
statement regarding his selection of
"From his first day in the U.S. Senate,
Sen. Toomey has demonstrated a deep
understanding of fiscal matters and is a
leader on budget and deficit issues. He
drafted a budget proposal that was
widely supported by the Republican
caucus and was actively involved in the
recent debt limit debate. His years of
experience in the financial sector and
on the House Budget Committee will also
serve him well in his new role, along
with an unwavering commitment to the
principles of limited government and
fiscal responsibility. The American
people know that we cannot dig ourselves
out of this situation by nibbling around
the edges, and I am confident that the
Senate Republican appointments to the
joint committee can be counted on to
propose solutions that put the interests
of all Americans ahead of any one
joins Pediatric Staff In Coudersport, Emporium
Hongye Li has joined Charles Cole Memorial Hospital’s pediatric staff at its
offices in Coudersport and Emporium where she will work with Dr. Mary Ann Rigas,
Dr. Marlene Wust-Smith, and physician assistants Korin Trumpie and Kathy
After completing her medical
education, including a fellowship in pediatric nephrology in China, she has
worked as a nephrology research scientist at the State University of New York at
Stony Brook. She completed pediatric residencies at Richmond University
Medical Center in NY.
Throughout her career, she
has written numerous articles and conducted numerous studies for which she’s
earned awards. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Appointments can be
scheduled by calling (814) 274-9198 or 486-0810.
State Will Pay Less of CYS Costs,
By Martha Knight
SMETHPORT—McKean County Children and
Youth Services (CYS) will need $172,939 in McKean County money in fiscal
2011-2012, the agency learned last month, as it was readying its budgets and
plans for the coming service period. This is about $60,000 more than had been
anticipated, based on calculations made this past March.
As of March, information from the
state, indicating what funding would be available from federal and state
sources, in various categories, showed that the $4,797,034 budget would require
$112,699 in “non-reimbursable” (local) funds.
As the state budget discussions
dragged on in the legislature, various adjustments were made and remade. Even
after budget adoption, the effects on each program were not clear for some time.
The agency budget projections show
that spending for in-home and intake services will be $2,133,367.
Community-based placement (basically, foster care) will cost $2,027,482.
Institutional Placement costs are expected to be $123,081. Administration costs
are shown as $513,104.
Revenues will include $2,727,381 in
Act 148 funds, $44,351 in Title XX money, and a blend of other federal and state
funding to meet budget needs up within $172,939 of the $4,797,034, which falls
to the county to supply.
Duane Wolfe, agency director, points
out that CYS and the county have no control over the demands for its surfaces in
any given period. Planning is based on past experience, but sometimes there are
more families or children needing services, or more special services are needed,
than had been the case in the “average” year. Nevertheless, the services are
mandated to be provided as needed.
State funding was trimmed more on
some categories than had been forecast earlier in the year. The added demand on
the county coffers will present some budgetary stress for the county
Wolfe and his staff had prepared
information to be provided at three public meetings which were held Thursday
morning between 9 a.m. and noon. As has been the case in most years, the
meetings, designed for public information and public input, were not attended by
the public, although a reporter was on hand. Information can still be requested
by the public and input provided in written form.
The meetings were about the CYS
needs-based budget, the Human Services Development Fund, and the Integrated
Children’s Service Plan.
Sale To Benefit Port Allegany Library
The Friends of the (S. W. Smith) Library will hold a book
sale this Saturday (August 20) in Port Allegany, to benefit the summer
reading program. Hours of the sale are 10:00am to 2:00pm, with the sale
taking place under the tent on Church Street.
A general meeting will also be held at this time. Those
interested are invited to attend.
Rapp Seeks Local Testifiers for Upcoming House
Finance Committee Hearing on Marcellus Shale Drilling Impact Fee
Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Forest/McKean) will co-chair a House
Finance Committee informational hearing regarding Marcellus Shale impact fee
proposals in September.
Additionally, Rapp is searching for a limited number of local residents willing
to provide testimony on whether they would support or oppose an impact fee on
Marcellus Shale drilling.
“As a lawmaker who unapologetically voted against legislation to impose the
largest job-killing, natural gas severance tax in American history, most
District 65 residents already know where I stand on this issue,” said Rapp.
“Regardless of an individual position, this informational hearing will provide
an ideal opportunity to make one’s voice heard before the House Finance
Committee which is responsible for all state tax legislation, including personal
income taxes, school property taxes and, most recently, proposals to tax or
impose impact fees on the drilling of Marcellus Shale natural gas.”
The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 13, and will be held at the Warren
Holiday Inn, beginning at 10 a.m. Anyone interested in testifying should contact
Rapp’s Warren district office at (814) 723-5203 for more information.
For the latest legislative updates, visit
Blackburn Makes Academic, Professional
Pa. – Dr. Jessie Blackburn, assistant professor of English at the University of
Pittsburgh at Bradford, spent her summer making presentations as near as Clarion
University and as far as Nottingham, England.
First she presented at the Feminism and
Teaching Symposium at the University of Nottingham. Her workshop, “Beneath the
Bandwidth: Why, How and When Feminist Pedagogies and Digital Media Intersect
Inside the Academic Composition Classroom,” examined how instructors can better
prepare students for reading and writing in the digital era.
Blackburn, who is also director of composition
at Pitt-Bradford, examined how the entrance of technology into the classroom
affects students, faculty and curricula.
Later she traveled to Baton Rouge, La., to
give a presentation to the Council of Writing Program Administrators, “The
Affordances and Constraints of ‘Doing’ Multimodal WPA Work at Rural
In that presentation, she looked at why rural
writing programs should include technology literacy in their programs.
Finally, on Aug. 23, Blackburn will lead the
faculty retreat at Clarion University, where she will talk about writing across
the curriculum and teaching in the digital age.
Blackburn joined the faculty at Pitt-Bradford
last fall. Before that, she was the assistant writing program administrator for
advanced composition at the University of Arkansas.
Dr. Arya Joins Bowman Health Center
Ramani Arya has joined the staff at Charles Cole Memorial Hospital’s Bowman
Health Center as a family physician.
“Dr. Arya is a kind,
friendly and highly qualified provider. She is looking forward to meeting and
caring for the residents of Smethport,” said Rose Bunch, physician recruiter.
Dr. Arya earned a medical
degree at Kasturba Medical College and completed a family medicine residency at
the State University of New York at Buffalo. Before joining CCMH’s medical
staff, she cared for patients at family medicine group practices in Olean and
Appointments can be
scheduled by calling (814) 887-5395.
Pitt-Bradford Staff Member
Elected To Position In National Organization
Pa. – Dr. Ron Binder, associate dean of student affairs at the University of
Pittsburgh at Bradford, has been elected co-chairman of the Fraternity and
Sorority Knowledge Community of NASPA, the leading association of the student
His term will last for two years beginning in March 2012. His co-chairman is
Todd Adams of Duke University.
The Fraternity and Sorority Knowledge Community has 1,700 fraternity and
sorority professionals from across the country who work with their 700,000
current undergraduate members.
“We’re very proud of Dr. Binder’s election as the co-chair of the NASPA
Fraternity and Sorority Knowledge Community,” said Dr. K. James Evans, vice
president and dean of student affairs at Pitt-Bradford.
“It’s an honor both for Dr. Binder and for Pitt-Bradford to be elected a leader
in this higher education association.”
Binder joined Pitt-Bradford last fall from the University of South Carolina,
where he was the director of Greek Life and special projects.
He speaks nationally on risk management and alcohol and substance abuse and has
been cited in Newsweek, on the NBC Nightly News, National Public Radio’s “Talk
of the Nation” and Court TV.
Binder has extensive experience in Greek affairs, speaking around the country at
Sigma Phi Epsilon leadership programs and traveling to Greece with 17 students
from the national fraternity to study Greek philosophy.
He is involved with the National Collaborative for Hazing Research and
Prevention and founded the Hazing Hotline at USC.
Gaskew Available For Comment On Sept. 11 Anniversary
BRADFORD, Pa. – Dr. Tony Gaskew, associate professor of criminal justice at the
University of Pittsburgh at Bradford who has spent the last decade researching
terrorism in light of Sept. 11, 2001, and the USA PATRIOT Act, is available for
interviews regarding the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United
Gaskew is a Fulbright-Hays Fellow, an FDD Terrorism Fellow, a Human Dignity and
Humiliation Studies Research Fellow, and a University of Pittsburgh Faculty
Diversity Fellow. He has conducted ethnographic research in several locations
throughout the Middle East, including Egypt and Israel, examining issues of
terrorism, social justice, and structural violence.
He is the author of “Policing Muslim American Communities,” a book that examines
the relationship between law enforcement agencies and Muslim-American
communities since the implementation of the USA PATRIOT Act. He has presented
academic papers by invitation at numerous universities across the country,
including Columbia University. He has also published articles in various
journals including Practicing Anthropology and Contemporary Justice Review. His
forthcoming book, “The Muslim Brotherhood: Reshaping U.S. Foreign Policy
Post-9/11,” will focus on his fieldwork in Egypt and Israel.
He teaches Terrorism in a Post-9/11 World and Islam and Social Justice.
Area Senior Citizens Turn Out for Causer’s Annual Expo
– Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) welcomed hundreds of area senior citizens
to his Ninth Annual Senior Citizens Expo at the University of Pittsburgh at
Bradford on Aug. 5.
A second expo will be held on Friday, Oct. 7, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the
Roulette Fire Hall.
“I was pleased to see a lot of familiar faces but also plenty of new ones,”
Causer said. “People really seem to appreciate the opportunity to gather a lot
of helpful information in one place.”
Among the most popular features of the expo are health screenings, such as blood
pressure and carotid artery checks. A number of vendors with health related
information, housing, transportation and more were also on hand. Door prizes
also were awarded.
In the photo, Rep. Martin
Causer, with the help of his daughter Morgan, serves up hot dogs for lunch at
the Ninth Annual Senior Citizens Expo in Bradford.
Remembering George: A Collective
By Martha Knight
The news spread through the area quickly. People asked each other,
Did you hear--? or Is it true--? Then they wanted to know about a service or
some way to “pay their respects.”
At meeting after meeting, where George Petrisek had been a fixture
at some time, there was a moment of silence to remember him. Groups of which he
had been a member, but not just lately, marked his passing because he had left
County commissioners, township supervisors, various entities took
official note of George’s passing, to an extent that is most uncommon in these
parts. It was as if a statesman had died.
At a school board meeting some members of the administration and
board volunteered the information, privately, that they had been his students.
One had been a fellow faculty member, friend, and even an employer in another
It seemed that people needed to share their memories of the
Curmudgeon. It has fallen to me to facilitate this.
It is not possible to include all the reminiscences I have heard,
but we can use a sampling here. People will continue to recall and tell their
stories about Petrisek, reporter, teacher, colleague, cop, fellow board member,
planter of planters, construction worker, class or club advisor, play director,
mentor. Perhaps they will have an opportunity to do some of that at a memorial
event said to be planned for September 3. Meanwhile, what follows is what some
Retired teacher, school board member and IU9 board member and
president Dave Mensch mentions that he and George were good friends for decades.
“Our families vacationed together five or six years.” They camped, canoed. Dave
and George loved fishing, and shared an interest in photography, respecting each
other’s skills. Both loved growing things.
There were some local teachers with building skills who did
building construction or updating work in the summer, some working for Dick
Budd. Mensch remembers when he “went out on my own,” and George worked for him
on projects. Doing what? “Everything. All kinds of basic carpentry.”
When there was a horticulture program at the high school, complete
with greenhouse and plant sales, George liked to “salvage” leftover plants after
the season was over, and when the program shut down and cleaned out at the end
of the school year.
Yes, George liked to salvage, and to “recycle,” and to save a buck.
In fact, he was a champion scrounger, enjoying his finds and the ultimate
If he scored a truckload of manure, he would share some with other
growers. We had a running joke about my taking the organic soil amendment from
him. Hint: it included language that would remind you of George’s favorite
understatement of frustration or displeasure: “Oh, poop!”
George’s wide-ranging interests and curiosity have been mentioned
by numerous people. Mensch termed him “multi-faceted.”
Expanding on that thought, Mensch said, “He wasn’t necessarily the
best at each undertaking, but he was good. Of the very intelligent guys I have
known, he was up near the top with raw intelligence. Before we could Google
things, he would collect knowledge on many, many topics.”
As to the quality of their personal relationship, Mensch said, “My
relationship with George was always very positive.”
Port Allegany Borough Council president Judy Taylor knew George
through his position as a teacher in the high school where her late husband was
also a faculty member. She also served on borough government when he served in
various capacities, from member to reporter or both. “His view on
everything was always very interesting,” Taylor says.
Working on zoning matters and others, “we didn’t always agree. But
I never at any time knew him to be rude or sarcastic.” Taylor believes “George
loved people.” She noticed that “he was very respectful.”
As a number of other people mentioned, George was devoted to his
little dog, Muchka, who was a constant companion except where dogs are not
allowed, and whose exploits were mentioned in many a “By George” or other
column. Someone who helped find and rescue Muchka, after an injury caused the
dog to run and hide, had George’s perpetual gratitude, occasionally indicated by
a bouquet—which was always “from Muchka.”
Muchka lived to be old, but the inevitable loss came. George’s
grief was palpable.
Former McKean County Commissioner wrote some “Goodbye, George”
“George was only two years my senior but in the ways of the
courthouse he was my elder and mentor.
“To me he was not just the reporter that covered the courthouse. In
the first few months he gave me lessons in who do you trust? In my first few
months we had long talks in my office about county government and I would tell
him what we wanted to do to change things for the better.
“I can’t tell you how many times he would say, ‘Are you sure that
is what you want to do?’ I came to find out it was not always that George didn’t
agree but he helped me think it through one more time, consider the effect the
decision would have on all the citizens and in particular the seniors.
“It was George that reminded me that 28 percent of the county
[population] was senior citizens, most living on small fixed incomes.
“George did not want us to sell
the nursing home. I explained the number to him and he would explain to me that
a nursing home is not just numbers. He didn’t convince me not to sell Sena Kean
but he did make me do the background work that assured me that the buyer would
continue to run the home in a way that a family would want for their loved ones.
Peter Lacari was that man. Sena Kean is a better place today because we sold it
to Peter. George did tell me that selling [it] would not help us get
[re-]elected. He was right.
“I could go on with pages of
stories of the events at the courthouse that George had some influence on. It
wasn’t that he wanted to get his way as much as that he wanted me to be sure
that the direction would be more positive than negative. I listened because I
believed George had the best interest of the county at heart.”
Another county commissioner who
had some insights about Petrisek to share is Paul Heimel of Coudersport. But
Petrisek did not cover Potter County Commissioners. He and Heimel knew each
other as news people, and before Heimel was a county commissioner.
For a time Heimel was editor of
the Port Allegany Reporter Argus and the Potter Leader Enterprise,
and Petrisek was a member of the news staffs. Before that the two men had
crossed paths in line of news coverage duties.
“What a guy George was. The first time I met him was at a major
fire in Roulette in the 1970s. He worked for a competing newspaper and saw my
dilemma. I had arrived with a camera that was devoid of film. With barely a
word, he reached into his vest pocket, handed me a roll of film, and said, ‘Here
you go, kid.’
“There were other points in my young adulthood when he was right
there at the right time—when I was dealing with self-doubt about whether I was
really cut out for the high calling of community journalism, when I was unclear
on some of the rules and standards of reporting, or even when I needed some
personal advice that had nothing to do with work.
“George was the quintessential newsman, old school, dragged only
after the requisite kicking and screaming into the new world of technology and
changing reporting styles.
“Regardless of the circumstances, I always felt as if we were on
the same team.
“I sometimes wish he had been happier, but I also think he drew a
certain satisfaction out of not being outwardly happy. What was behind that? I'm
not sure. One aspect was probably his belief that people could do better, things
could be better, etc., but for that to happen requires a hell of a lot of work
and, hey, there is a lot more to life than work. So we do our best and try not
to have regrets.
“And I am sure he touched many more lives in a positive way than he
ever realized. That's too bad. But in the scheme of things, that's quite a
Another area news professional, “mixed media” type, is Gerri
“I was in the first class he taught. First period, ninth grade. I
had him for three years of English, one of Speech, and he made me the editor of
the Gator Gazette in my Junior year ([a position] usually reserved for
“I remember staying after class with a paper carrying his famous
red pencil marks all over it asking why I didn't get a higher grade. He said I
had more potential so he was harder on me. I don't think I ever bought that but
I did appreciate his counsel on good writing.
“He had a wonderful voice and could make Shakespeare come alive in
the classroom. He also directed our school plays, and after I graduated, before
I moved to Philly, I volunteered assistance at one or two of his plays.
“He gave me an incredible cat, Charlie, when [George’s son] Chris
became allergic. He wrote for me in the TOWN AND COUNTRY. I remember one time in
particular when I went to his house on Arnold Avenue to pick up a piece he had
written. (No fax machines or emails in those days). He told me he wasn't
satisfied with the article. We sat at the kitchen table and I studied his work.
I made a few suggestions of how a couple of sentences or paragraphs could be
changed. Then, I realized how ironic it was that the student was helping the
teacher. I think he probably was secretly pleased that his teaching had paid
“I remember his stroke and how upset he was that he could no longer
take pictures. Besides being a good writer, he was a good photographer. But,
fortunately, he recovered and a few years later we were riding around
Coudersport on a media bus touring Adelphia and he showed me his new digital
camera, extolling the virtues of ‘point and shoot’ cameras which made his
reporting life much easier.
“As reporters, we ran into each other on major stories. He was
among the reporters going to the State Police barracks in July 1985 to force
them to release details about the Lent murders. I worked with Dave Lent but
could not force the police to release information which I knew but could not
attribute. George added some credibility to our entourage that day.
“George and I remained friends all these years. At the risk of
sounding redundant, which he would abhor, George Petrisek was my teacher, my
mentor and my friend.
“I will not use the exclamation point which he taught us to avoid.
Although I use it often these days, I feel guilty when I do.
“George was the consummate teacher.”
Longtime friend and fellow teacher Terry McCormick e-mailed some
thoughts about George from his home in the Ozarks.
“I worked with George for nearly 30 years at PAHS. We were in
different departments and so didn’t regularly interact except in passing.
“Though I considered him a friend, and he likewise, we didn’t
actually pal around together. Maybe it was the age difference, or maybe it was
just a difference in our hobbies and downtime activities, but in any case, we
had a mutual respect for each other and enjoyed chatting when we did meet up.
“If either of us saw the other, we would flag him down and start
BS-ing. It was a given.
“Things that stick in my mind. Early mornings in the school hallway
George (I called him ‘Geo’ as in gee-oh) would be standing dutifully outside his
homeroom door watching kids interacting at their lockers.
“When it came time for homeroom to start, he would call out in a
deep, booming tone: ‘It’s happy homeroom time!’, and the kids would head into
their respective classrooms. He was as regular and reliable as any classroom
bell. To this day I can still hear that shout out, and I’m confident hundreds of
PAHS alumni do too.
“Geo was a bit of an enigma to me. He rarely showed the typical
negative emotions of a teacher like frustration, irritation, and anger. No
matter what setback befell him or his classes, I don’t believe I ever saw him
outright mad at someone.
“He had an uncanny ability to relate to students who were
disadvantaged or exhibited behavior problems. In fact, he once confided in me
that he preferred teaching those students over top academics. Nothing wrong with
top academics, but he truly felt he offered more to those students that had
difficulty with school.
“And, how can I not mention that Geo was the first person I ever
knew who purposely shaved his head? Somewhere I have a photo of him in a white
shirt and red sweater vest staring at me across a high school cafeteria table
with arms crossed and scalp shiny from the overhead fluorescents, and looking
very, very authoritative.
“For years I didn’t think he had hair until he eventually let it
grow in full and dark. Why the years shorn? A leftover from his army days? A Yul
Brynner fixation? I never did find out. Just part of the enigma.
“As I did some freelance photojournalism ‘back in the day’ I also
came to know Geo as a newsman. He was prolific. He knew the workings of local
government and all its players, inside and out. Where he found time to make all
those meetings, let alone write them up, I do not know. But make them he did and
we were all better off for it.
“His stories were always even-handed and just laid out the facts.
If those facts sometimes made the powers-that-be uncomfortable, so be it. He
didn’t shy away from controversy. Thank you for that Geo. I tip my own most
modest news-guy hat to you.
“George had a great self-effacing humor too. He survived a stroke
years ago and for quite some time after he fully recovered would explain any
omissions, errors or misquotes in a story by stating, ‘You'll have to excuse me;
a part of my brain is dead.’
“The Police Reports he wrote up for the R-A and allowed me to post
to Port Allegany Online were near legendary. For many viewers, they were the
first thing read after an update.
“Once, I received an email from a guy downstate who had been
printing them out and taking them to work for his colleagues to enjoy. He wasn’t
from Port, but told me he and some of his workmates were planning a trip to the
town just to see firsthand the places mentioned in the reports so they could
better enjoy them. I told that to George and he just stared at me in disbelief.
Today, those reports might be digital and going viral on YouTube.
“In addition to writing about police work, Geo served the town as a
part-time policeman for many years. He looked good in uniform. Maybe it was the
shaved head, but he didn’t look like someone you wanted to argue with.
“The incongruity of seeing a mild mannered English teacher and
drama coach packing heat and driving a squad car intrigued me. I couldn’t help
but think his years of working with troubled students served him well when he
encountered them as adults while on patrol.
“However, his experience as a local policeman didn’t escape his
famously acerbic wit. He remarked to me once that ‘every cop should have one
peremptory shoot per year.’ He was kidding of course, but, oddly, every cop I’ve
told that to since has agreed with it.
“George was a quiet kind of guy who mostly kept to himself. Still,
I enjoyed the times we talked and interacted. He and I thought alike on many
topics, but he wouldn’t hesitate to correct me if he thought I was off-base on
something. Coming from him, I never minded it.
“I miss him already.”
George and I worked for different daily papers for years, and some
of those years the Reporter Argus was still locally owned by Chuck Boller. The
three of us showed up regularly at meetings of record, and I called us the Three
Some of those years George covered school board meetings while
still working for the school district. Some of the time he was on the Borough
Council, having been appointed to fill a vacancy. (That was because he was on
the vacancy board and they had been unable to recruit anyone else to serve until
the next election.) Reporting on the body you are part of, and on the board
governing the school system you teach for, must have been tricky.
Petrisek was part of the borough planning commission that handled
the most recent revision of the Zoning Ordinance. That was an arduous task, no
George was proud of having been a stringer for TIME, something he
would throw into a conversation now and then. But he seemed to take the most
satisfaction in news work during the time he was news editor of the R-A, and it
was owned by the Majots. He had always wanted to be an editor.
He and I toyed with a plan to start a new local paper, and he
undertook to round up the capital, easily convincing a number of people to help
put up the start-up money. That plan was abandoned, however.
George tried several times to learn to touch-type, but continued
with his several-finger system until the end. He retired from regular reporting
about two years ago. The decision seemed to be a painful one, even though he
kept saying, “I am tired of doing this.”
You who knew him have your own lingering impressions of George. It
is left to me to end this recollection collection. As we said in the old days,
when we dictated stories to someone in a newsroom:
Thirty on that.
Pitt-Bradford Engineering Professor Presents Paper In Czech Republic
Pa. – Dr. Ronald Mattis, associate professor of engineering at the University of
Pittsburgh at Bradford, presented a paper this summer at the International
Journal of Arts & Sciences conference in Prague, Czech Republic.
Mattis’s paper, “Using
Spreadsheets to Develop Problem-solving Skills in an Introductory Chemical
Engineering Course,” explained how he uses Excel spreadsheets and data to teach
students the mathematical processes behind popular chemical process simulators.
“The use of Excel as a
teaching aid helped the students to develop their problem-solving skills and
gave them confidence in the use of a familiar tool that they can use in future
courses,” he said.
Mattis, director of the
engineering program, came to Pitt-Bradford in 1985. His main research interests
include parallel processing, particle transport theory, arms control and
national security issues.
He holds both a doctorate
and bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from Pennsylvania State University
and a master’s degree in nuclear energy from the University of Michigan.
Mattis lives in Kane and
enjoys mountain biking, cross-country skiing, weight training and reading.
Continue - The Praise Team from the Church of God entertained the
crowd on the Town Square as the COTS series continues. The Walt Miles Band will
be featured tonight (August 18) and Years Gone By will perform on August 25.
The concerts are sponsored by the Port Allegany Women's Club.
Pam Fischer Photo
Parties Held - The Port Allegany Youth Counselors sponsored two
splash parties last week featuring swimming, DJ Karizma and Fox's Pizza.
The first party was held Wednesday night and was for area youth who completed
grades Kindergarten through 6. The second party was held the following
night on Thursday and was for kids who completed grades seven through twelve.
In the above photo, Erin Stauffer, Allison Preston, Jordan Shaffer and Meleigh
Daniels are pictured having fun in the turtle pool. More photos from the
splash parties will appear on an upcoming picture page.
Pam Fischer Photo
Him to The Church - Jerry Bailey and cast mates are determined that
they will get him to the church on time, as they rehearse for the upcoming
Broadway on the Allegheny show, set for September 16 and 23 in Coudersport and
Port Allegany. Martha Knight Photo
Wants Him - Watch out when Lola takes the gloves off. Here she
rehearses a famous number from "Damn Yankees," part of the Broadway on the
Allegheny production set for September 16 and 23 at the Consistory and Port
Allegany HS respectively. Martha Knight
Checking Entries (Vocal and Horse Racing) - Joel Anderson, musical
the score while "tinhorns" work on the precision required by a brilliant piece
of counterpoint included in the upcoming Potter-McKean Players production,
Broadway on the Allegheny. Carey Boyer is rehearsal pianist. Performances will
be September 16 and 23, at the Consistory and Port Allegany high school aud
respectively. Proceeds will benefit swimming pool improvements in both
communities. Martha Knight Photo