814 area code numbers to last until early 2015
Plans to split the
814 area-code region or overlay a second area code
may soon be placed on hold: The North American
Numbering Plan Administration has pushed back the
expected exhaust date for the 814 area code by two
The area code is
now projected to run out of numbers in early 2015.
NANPA had forecast available numbers would be
depleted by early 2013.
"We saw a decrease
in demand for the three-digit prefix numbers that
come after the 814 area code," said John Manning,
NANPA's senior director. "Only four prefix numbers
were assigned in 2010 and one prefix was returned,
compared to 53 assigned in 2009 and six returned."
providers in the 814 area-code region also needed
fewer new numbers in 2010 than they thought they
would, Manning said.
As a result, the
Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission postponed a
prehearing conference scheduled Tuesday in
Harrisburg to discuss when and where to hold public
hearings and technical conferences about the 814
scheduled Tuesday's conference after voting Jan. 13
to review its decision to divide the 814 area-code
region in two, and assign the 582 area code to this
will take (NANPA's) new projection into
consideration and determine how to proceed," PUC
spokeswoman Denise McCracken said. "The new date for
a prehearing conference is up in the air."
The northwest part
of the current 814 area-code region, including Erie
and Crawford counties, is still scheduled to convert
to 582 on Feb. 1.
At least for now,
are still discussing how we go from here," McCracken
"It's not safe to
say the date has been postponed, but they are taking
it into consideration.
No dates have been
announced for future PUC meetings or hearings
considering the 814 area code.
One of the most
outspoken opponents of splitting the 814 area-code
region said Tuesday's developments were welcome
Douglas Boldt, who created the Save the 814 Area
Code online petition, said he expects NANPA will
continue to push the forecast exhaust date further
into the future.
"I feel that as
they look at this issue more and more closely, the
whole issue of splitting the area code will go
away," said Boldt, whose petition was signed by more
than 14,000 people and was one of more than 40 filed
with the PUC.
Boldt said he
realizes at some point the available phone numbers
using the 814 area code will be depleted. In that
case, he supports an overlay instead of splitting
the area-code region.
"I realize that we
will eventually all have to dial 10-digit numbers,"
Boldt said. "I understand that."
Department Needs Grow, Resources Shrink
By Martha Knight
A few weeks ago David M. “Mark”
Errick arranged with the Port Allegany Borough Council to make a presentation at
its February meeting. He would be speaking as president of the Port Allegany
Fire Department. Also invited were leaders from the other municipalities served
by the fire department, Annin and Liberty Townships.
meeting was well attended as borough township meetings go, what with all three
county commissioners present (as they began their 2011 round of visits to
municipal bodies), two supervisors from Liberty Township and one from Annin on
hand, and police and press represented as usual.
What Errick had to say was
anything but welcome news. In a sense, it was nothing less than a wake-up call,
on the order of a Paul Revere alarm. And it had its revolutionary aspects.
Errick’s delivery was so low-key
one would have thought he was talking about the department’s election of
officers or a dinner they plan to hold. But if Errick’s presentation style is
understated, and the text couched in business report language, the meaning will
be ignored at the peril of the fire protection area.
Errick said the local fire
department is running short of two essential resources: people and money. And
these are so related, the scarcities are driving a perfect storm of continued
decline. The trend must be reversed, Errick said. In fact, the very survival of
the department is on the line, and with it, the availability of fire protection,
and affordable fire insurance, as the community has known it.
“The board is concerned about two
negative trends currently affecting the fire department. These trends are: a
steady decline in both revenue and volunteerism. Because of these trends the
Port Allegany Fire Department is steadily losing the two principle resources it
needs to serve the community. If left unresolved, we believe the trends have the
real potential to significantly degrade the department’s emergency response
capabilities with resulting negative impacts on our community as a whole.”
That still didn’t sound very
drastic. Well, must be Star Hose was having a hard time raising money. Times are
hard. People aren’t attending fundraisers or giving as generously as they do in
good times. But things will pick up, won’t they?
In a word, No, according to the
presentation. The situation is dire. It won’t just turn around magically. The
old days of always having good old Star Hose, well trained, well equipped,
highly rated, and totally affordable, are gone.
Fire protection costs more, now.
There are mandates, requirements, regulations galore. And funding sources are
Involuntary giving, in the form of
real property tax millage, doesn’t cover the fire department’s costs completely.
The department has had the ability to raise funds, and to attract voluntary
contributions, in ways that professional fire departments couldn’t possibly use.
The very fact of being a volunteer company creates an aura of worthiness.
The attitude toward those
stalwart, dedicated fire fighters, professional in every regard but the “doing
it for a living” one, is “Look what these guys do, on their own time! Of course
we should support their fundraisers, and their drives. It’s not as if they
personally are benefiting. They do it all out of the goodness of their hearts.”
That may still be the way the
department and its members are viewed. But the positive opinions no longer
translate into solid financial support. Fundraising, by most groups, isn’t what
it used to be.
Some community members recall when
Old Home Week was a highly successful Star Hose sponsored event. The carnival
took in lots of money, as did various concessions, and those were shared with
the fire department. The event was called Firemen’s Old Home Week.
But in recent years, Old Home Week
has been less successful. Where once there had been several parades—bands and
other marching groups, kiddies, other fire departments—those have been few. The
carnival sits quiet for major portions of the day.
Then there was bingo. Surely that
is a cash cow that never goes dry! Well, no, actually, it was not even breaking
even. Those in charge say they tried some modifications and worked to get
participation numbers and profits up again, but it just didn’t work.
Don’t people like to gamble
anymore? Well, duh! And “more” is the operative word. But they can scratch that
itch so conveniently, wherever scratch-offs are sold, and they can validate
their “permission to fantasize” at a number of local locations, any day of the
To say nothing of the lure of
casinos, within driving distance. “The Indians are eating our breakfast, lunch
and dinner,” mourned a former “bingo master.”
In its heyday the auxiliary was
busy with dinners and other fundraisers, and of course the well patronized
bazaars could be counted on for some infusion of funds to those faithful helpers
and the fire department support they provided.
Auxiliary ranks have thinned, at
Star Hose, just as they have in veterans’ organization circles.
Errick points out that Star Hose
volunteers have found that they are being asked to do a lot of fundraising but
with less success than used to reward their efforts. Those projects, on top of
many hours of training and practicing, and caring for equipment and the hire
hall, and dealing with many details of compliance, add up to more time than some
volunteers have felt able to keep giving, year in and year out.
Such time demands are a drag on
recruitment efforts, Errick pointed out. It’s hard to keep esprit de corps at
optimum level, when much of the activity seems remote from the ideal of
protecting lives and property.
How important is recruitment, to
the viability of a heads-up department like the local fire company? Very, Errick
and other officers point out. There a a good number of long-time members who are
beginning to feel the effects of “aging disorders,” or who just aren’t a strong
as they were in their prime. Fire fighting is a vigorous activity. There’s a lot
of heavy lifting. Action is intensive and can be go on for hours with no
opportunity to take breaks.
As some of the very experienced
and reliable volunteers reach the point where they need to retire from active
duty, or to be scheduled lightly, or wish to move to their retirement homes
elsewhere, or winter in the south, there is a chronic need to replenish the
roster with youthful, gung-ho people. But are they lined up waiting for
Star hose officers have noticed
what most organizations have, about the changes in how the young fulfill their
social needs. Social networking and various kinds of recreation hold their
interest and fill their time.
A volunteer fire company is bound
to cost less than the other kind, without the cost of labor. Surely it can
attract voluntary support from an appreciative public! In addition to the
fundraising events, there’s the annual mailed appeal when contributions are
accepted. But as has been true of every charitable organization’s direct mail
appeal we can mention, the take is lower than it once was.
Meanwhile, the fire department’s
fleet is aging apace with the veteran volunteers. Errick points out that as
those “assets” age, they require more frequent repairs, and cost more to
operate. Three apparatus now in use will need to be replaced within the next ten
years, fire department management predicts. Money should be set aside regularly
for those capital needs. But that has not been possible.
And the fire hall! It might seem
like just a few years ago that the “new” fire hall was built. It seemed
cavernous; garage and equipment apace was ample. But it is decades old, and not
And the fire hall is not truly
spacious, where it counts the most. Replacement apparatus may be cramped for
space, with their increased length. And lockers are tucked where they can be
partially blocked by apparatus, sometimes impeding the process of getting suited
up, equipped and going, at the rapid response clip so necessary and so prized by
the fire fighters.
Errick states flatly, “The Port
Allegany Fire Department currently operates with an outdated funding
The department needs to put
$35,000 into capital reserve every year, for apparatus and consumables, and for
either an extensive renovation of the fire hall—or replacement.
All told, the department needs
from $115,000 to $120,000 a year to operate and fund capital needs.
The current dedicated millage,
which has stood at its current level for a long time, yields about $45,000
annually. That leaves a gap of around $70,000. That’s way too much to cover with
fundraising, according to the department’s leaders.
Fundraising can’t hack it, Errick
states. Much more money has to be taken in than the amount of revenue needed,
because fundraising costs money.
Fundraising also detracts and
distracts from the “primary mission,” Errick points out. Local fire department
volunteers are among the best trained in a large territory, and the department
enjoys an enviable rating, which is reflected in property insurance rates.
It would cost about $26 per capita
(not per household), across the three municipalities of the protection area, to
fund the fire department fully, Errick says.
The funding at current millage
brings in about $7,000 from Annin Township, $16,363 from Liberty Township
(township supervisors place the amount higher) and $21,000 from Port Allegany
Borough, annually. Adequate funding will require a 2.5-fold millage increase,
department number crunchers say.
As for how to get there from here,
Errick sees a path that would include public meetings, a public information
campaign, and creation of a fire protection board of community members from the
whole service area.
This will take months, the fire
department believes. For one thing, municipalities are locked into their budgets
and tax rates for this year. The new taxes would not be effective until 2012.
If nothing is done to change
financial prospects, the department might have to dissolve a few years hence,
its leaders predict. The municipalities are required by law to arrange for fire
protection somehow, though, because it is an essential public safety service. If
a professional or other area company were to contract with the municipalities to
respond to emergencies, not limited to structure fires, distances and response
times would be much greater.
That would impact insurance rates
significantly, Errick declares—and, of course, actual safety.
The burning question is, can the
three municipalities continue to have good, local fire protection? If so, how,
and how much, will they pay for it.
The answers must be found this
year, according to the Port Allegany Fire Department.
Commissioners Seek Blind Choice
SMETHPORT—McKean County Commissioners renewed their efforts at
window dressing, at their regular meeting Tuesday morning.
Having decided earlier this month that they would reject all
earlier bids to supply and install Venetian blinds on the Court House windows,
and would manage the project in house, they voted this time to advertise for
purchase of the blinds. Advertising will be for purchase of the blinds, only;
installation will not be part of the deal.
Commissioner chair Joe DeMott said there would be about 180 blinds,
in 11 sizes. A few Court House windows do not have blinds.
Court House windows were replaced last year as part of the
renovations to that structure, and some other facilities upgrades. The new
windows are energy efficient. Blinds will assist with temperature and light
control, and enhance the architectural style and interior décor.
In a brief meeting, commissioners DeMott, Judy Church and Al Pingie
approved a workmen’s compensation trust agreement and bylaws authorizing county
membership in the PComp intergovernmental trust.
DeMott explained that the workmen’s compensation carrier the county
had used most recently is no longer in operation. PComp is provided under the
auspices of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP).
The commissioners approved maintenance agreements with Karpinski’s
Office Systems (KOS), Coudersport, covering copiers in the Register of Wills and
Tax Claim offices, for $265 a year, each, and in the Family Law office at a rate
of .72 cents per copy.
Dickinson, Inc., of Ridgway, and Center for Family Development, of
Williamsville, N.Y., were approved as service providers for the Department of
Northwest Engineering, Inc. will receive a payment of $5,260 for
work on the Galico Bridge replacement project, through February 15. Payment will
be made from the Galico Bridge Project Fund.
An invoice from the YWCA in the amount of $3,668 was approved. The
payment is for February homeless assistance, and will be made from Public
Welfare grant funds.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services (ADAS) will be paid $9,808,
representing a portion of their budget allotment for the period ending December
County aid applications were approved for Bradford Township, a
$10,918 paying project, and Smethport Borough, a $3,695 paving project. Both
will use Liquid Fuels Fund money.
- Rotarian Dave Fair is pictured with Gary Falk who presented a program on
PA Cleanways. Also pictured are senior visitors Jackie Lewis and Crystal
Report - The Port Allegany Rotary Club welcomed guest speaker, Gary Falk
who spoke about PA Cleanways. The meeting was called to order by President
Jason Stake. Secretary Joe Lashway gave the Fellowship and Attendance
report stating there were 21 Rotarians present for a reportable attendance
of 70 percent. Also visiting were Kari Stake, Dan Hartle and Tony Clark.
Senior guests included Jackie Lewis,
introduced by Debby Campbell and Crystal Genaux introduced by George
Winner of the 50/50 was Bill Burleson.
CARE for Children Offers Day of Skiing
PA - CARE for Children, along with instructors from The Lounsbury Adaptive Ski
Program, offered an adaptive ski clinic at Holiday Valley Ski Resort in
Ellicottville, NY on Monday.
Through the Lounsbury program, a chapter of Disabled Sports/USA,
certified ski instructors provide expert coaching and instruction to children of
varying abilities. The program also provides a wide-range of adaptive
equipment to meet the needs of each individual participant
The Lounsbury Program received a grant from the Enterprise
Foundation, which funded the ski passes, lessons and lunch for the ten children
taking part. Transportation and snacks were provided by the Port Allegany
The adaptive ski clinic is just one of many therapeutic
recreation programs that CARE for Children offers kids of all abilities. For
more information on this or any other service offered by CARE, visit the website
Training - Northern Tier Community Action Corporation Head Start
hosted a training for parents titled, "Parents Response". Deb Eckenroth, child
psychologist with the Seneca Highlands Intermediate Unit Nine, was the featured
speaker. The training centered on the way parents respond to a child's
behavior. Ms. Echenroth explained the need for parents to be consistent and
clear. SHAVTS of Culinary Arts, under the direction of Chef Paul Farmelo,
created an array of appetizers for this event which was open to the public.
Applications for enrollment into Heat Start can be obtained by calling 642-2807
or 486-1161, ext 224. Pictured with speaker Deb Echenroth are (front row)
Bertyl Emmetty, Health Specialist, Mike Kuleck, Mental Health Specialist; (back
right) Dawn McKneil, Family Services, all from Northern Tier Community Action
Corporation Head Start. Pam
from Carolyn Hawver
Thank you to everyone for making Feb.
20th, a day I will always remember and cherish. Thank you to everyone
who worked the benefit from all of the hard work organizing it, to all
of the businesses and people that gave the donations to make the Chinese
auction such a success, and to everyone who worked the benefit and
cleaning up afterward.
Thank you to all of the many, many people who came to support me through
this journey in my life. Thank you isn't enough said. I will always
treasure your kindness. I knew I had a lot of great friends but WOW is
all I can say. You are all great friends. Thanks to everyone who sent me
money but couldn't make it to the benefit. I know you were there in
spirit. ((HUGS)) to everyone. You were there in my heart.
To the wonderful cooks and bakers of the many different kinds of soups
and desserts, Thank you. We have a lot of great cooks in our area.
Everyone was in amazement over the many varieties there.
We live in a wonderful town with many thoughtful, compassionate people
to treasure. You have made my life much nicer and you will be
At J. H. Districts - Pictured
Wrestlers who placed at JH Districts. They are (front row, kneeling) Casey
Vollmer, placed second; (middle row) Mac Tanner, placed second; Eli Knapp,
placed first; Bryce Stahlman, placed second; (back) Assistant Coach Aaron
Vollmer and Head Coach Ryan Johnson. Photo
Representatives - Four Port Allegany High
Shool students have
selected to represent their school and community at PMEA (Pennsylvania
Music Educators Association) Region II Chorus Festival to be held
February 23 - 26 at Blairsville High School They are (seated) Anna
McJunkin; (back) Shane Whitney, Wes Caulkins and Zach Sigafoes. A
public concert will be held Friday evening and Saturday afternoon at the
host school. Pam
Wes Caulkins (back), Colleen Hardes and Aaron Majot are pictured during a recent
rehearsal of the Senior High Show Choir. The Port Allegany Music Department
will present Showcase 2011 on March 11 and 12 at the school. Curtain time will
b e 8 p.m. The show will also feature the Junior Show Choir and the Elementary
Ensemble. General admission tickets are $3 and are available at the Port
Allegany School District Office. Pam
News Sabres Owner Has
Who Is Terry Pegula and Why Is He Buying
The Buffalo Sabres?
So who is
this mysterious man that has burst onto the hockey scene, first by
bringing a Division I hockey team to Penn State, and now apparently
purchasing the Buffalo Sabres?
Terrence Pegula hails from Carbondale,
Pennsylvania, and attended Penn State where he earned a degree in
Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering.
He made his
multi-billion dollar fortune as the
founder and CEO of East Resources, a privately held company founded
in 1983 and based in Warrendale, Pennsylvania. In July, the company was
sold to Dutch Royal Shell for $4.7 billion.
Gators Host Falcons - The Lady Falcons defeated the Lady Gators in North
Tier League play February 15. Leading the Gators was senior Cora Bova
(pictured) with 18 points followed by Lindsay Delacour with 12 points and
Kyley Mickle with 10 points. Pam