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 years.

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."

Telephone-service 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 area code.

PUC members 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 region.

"The commissioners 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, McCracken said.

"The commissioners are still discussing how we go from here," McCracken said.

"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 news.

Local businessman 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."



Fire 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.

The 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 scarce.

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 week.

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 vacancies? Hardly.

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 energy efficient.

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 methodology.”

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

By Martha Knight

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 human Services.

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 31, 2010.

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.


Rotary Guests - Rotarian Dave Fair is pictured with Gary Falk who presented a program on PA Cleanways.  Also pictured are senior visitors Jackie Lewis and Crystal Genaux. 

Rotary 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 Baxter. 

Winner of the 50/50 was Bill Burleson.


CARE for Children Offers Day of Skiing

Bradford, 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 Rotary Club.

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 at www.careforchildren.info.


Parent 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 Fischer Photo/Story


Thank-you 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 remembered forever.

-Carolyn Hawver


Place At J. H. Districts - Pictured are PAHS 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 Submitted Regional Chorus Representatives - Four Port Allegany High Shool students have been 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 Fischer Photo/Story


Showcase - 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 Fischer Photo/Story


News Sabres Owner Has Local Connection

Who Is Terry Pegula and Why Is He Buying The Buffalo Sabres?

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/who-is-terry-pegula-2010-11#ixzz1EjMgoAZa

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.  

Read more:

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 More...


Lady 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 Fischer Photo/Story