Casey Announces $2.5 Million Loan for Charles Cole Memorial Hospital

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved a $2.5 million loan for Charles Cole Memorial Hospital for improvements to the facility.

“I applaud the USDA for helping Pennsylvania’s strong rural communities maintain their high quality of life,” said Senator Casey. “These funds will help Charles Cole Memorial Hospital make improvements to better serve the Coudersport region.”

Funds will be used to expand and renovate the hospital’s emergency department and improve the HVAC system. The renovations will add private ER rooms, update the facility and provide consistent heating and air conditioning.

The funds are available through the USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program, which supports projects to improve quality of life by ensuring rural communities can create jobs, attract businesses and provide necessary services to their residents.

 

Sprinkler Mandate Repeal Now Law, Causer Says - Measure also ends automatic adoption of international building code changes

HARRISBURG – Legislation to repeal a mandate that would have required the installation of sprinklers in all new single-family home construction has been signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett, Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) said today.

“This mandate was another example of government overreaching its bounds,” Causer said. “The decision about whether or not to have sprinklers installed in a home should be made by the homeowner, not some bureaucrat.”

Installing a sprinkler system could add anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 to the cost of new home construction. The cost tends to be higher in rural areas where people rely on well water and additional work would have to be done to ensure adequate water pressure to support the sprinkler system, Causer said.

The sprinkler mandate became part of the state’s Uniform Construction Code in January when it was adopted by the International Codes Council (ICC) family of codes. Under House Bill 377, any future updates made to these codes will not automatically become part of the state’s building code. Instead, the new law requires a two-thirds vote by the 19-member Review and Advisory Commission (RAC) to accept any future updates of the ICC codes.

“Because of the uncertainty surrounding the sprinkler mandate, new home construction has slowed down across the state over the last four months,” Causer said. “By being proactive in reviewing the proposed changes to the ICC to determine if they are appropriate for Pennsylvania, we can prevent these types of problems in the future.”

The law takes effect immediately, and the mandate repeal is retroactive to Jan. 1.

 

Commissioners Order Furniture, Shift CDBG $$

By Martha Knight

SMETHPORT—Bids for furniture for the new Domestic Relations Office building came in considerably lower than estimates approved earlier, McKean County Commissioners found when bids were opened Tuesday morning.

The apparent winning bid was from Watt Office Supplies, of Warren, with a quotation of $98,941.99. The other bid was from Mazany Office Interiors, Jamestown, N.Y., and was for $99,943.50. It had been estimated that the items could cost upwards of $138,000.

On a motion by Al Pingie, the commissioners voted to contract with Watt for provision of the furniture package. The motion included a proviso that review by personnel from R.W. Larson, who are overseeing the project, and by solicitor Dan Hartle, would be performed prior to a contract being awarded.

Rayne Tucher of R.W. Larson noted that the furniture package might not be delivered and installed until July, if ordered now. The commissioners agreed that a decision should not be delayed until their next meeting, May 10.

As for the furniture in the present DomRel offices in the Court House, that will be left in place, for use as needed by the next agency to occupy that space, presumably the probation department.

In a decision based on bids previously opened and held for review, the commissioners voted to award a contract to Horizon Construction Group, Inc. of Sandy Lake, at a contract sum of $1,191,919.

Horizon was apparent low bidder at the March 22 bid opening. There were five other bids, ranging as high as $1,758,056. The commissioners had called for a review by Northwest Engineering and Hartle, prior to award of the contract.

Commissioner chairman Joe DeMott read a report from Northwest prior to the vote on awarding the contract, and Hartle agreed that the contract was in order.

In another decision based on a March bid opening, the commissioners agreed to purchase a variety of janitorial supplies from five different firms, in the 2011 and 2012 fiscal years. Two other vendors will also supply certain items this year.

Buildings and grounds supervisor Ken Bush was on hand to add detail to the written summary of successful bidders and the items on which theirs were the winning quotations.

The purchase decision as approved results in 2011 purchases totaling 25,535.21, and 2012 costs of $26,405.23. Janitorial supplies cost $28,975.81 in 2010.

Some vendors will deliver the items in lots spaced several months apart, because, as Bush pointed out, the county does not have sufficient storage space to receive the full quantities at one time.

Previously the items had been bid every year, but Bush said he had aimed to lock in prices for a longer period. Also, some quotations were slightly less, for two-year supply agreements, than they would have been on a one-year basis.

The commissioners recycled some Community Development Block Grant money left over from projects funded with 2008 and 2009 CDBG grants. The proposals for the new fund uses had been aired at a public hearing conducted by the McKean County Redevelopment Authority last week, at which no objections were lodged.

Four 2008 projects had these unexpended sums after completion: Foster Township Building’s unisex restroom, $10,866.79; Port Allegany Pearl Street area sewer laterals, $20,035; Smethport Senior Center handicapped capable restrooms, $1,824.09; and Sergeant Township Clermont Park equipment, $615.91.

The commissioners voted to reallocate the $33,342.06 total to fund assistance of low-to-moderate income (LMI) households with hookups to the Eldred Township West Side sewer collector area.

Similarly, there were these sums remaining from five 2009 projects: Otto Township Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) self-contained breathing apparatus  (SCBA) equipment, $56,998; Smethport Borough Hamlin Lake Park bleachers, $7,367.20; Otto Township VFD thermal imaging camera, $1,547; Eldred Borough sewer system generators, $905.32; and Norwich Township Park ball field bleachers, $10.20.

The commissioners adopted a resolution reallocating $46,827.72 to the same Eldred Township West Side LMI sewer lateral installation project and $20,000 to a similar program in connection with Foster Township Harrisburg Run sewer laterals.

Commissioners approved a payment of $13,172.25 to the Area Transportation Authority for a portion of their budget allotment for the second quarter, and a $412,350 payment to the agency for the second quarter actual cost and a fourth quarter advance for the medical assistance transportation program they administer for the county.  The latter amount is funded through a Public Welfare grant.

Corydon Township will be paid $1,325 for their completed Liquid Fuel Fund project, commissioners agreed.

A payment of $1,001.61 to Northwest Engineering was approved, for services through April 17 relating to the Galico Bridge project.

The Office of Human Services will receive $12,500, representing a portion of their budget allotment for the current fiscal year, according to another authorization by the commissioners.

They approved adding Kids Peace National Centers, Schnecksville, as a service provider for the Department of Human Services.

Commissioners adopted a resolution authorizing the county to enter into a memorandum of understanding with DuBois Vet Center, whereby the county will provide space in its Route 6 facility for the federal agency to provide readjustment counseling services to area military service members. No money is involved.

Also approved was a reimbursement services agreement with American Family Life Assurance Company (AFLAC) for McKean County employees.  Costs are borne by the employees who want the coverage, through a deduction arrangement.

The commissioners voted to extend an agreement with DSI-ITI, LLC for case management-related professional services for the Adult Probation Department.

A maintenance agreement with Karpinski Office Systems, Coudersport, was renewed, covering a copy machine in the Sheriff’s Department.  Cost is pegged to .9 cents per copy.

 

GOP Candidates Seek Support In May 17 Primary
By Martha Knight

Rain dampened arriving candidates and audience members who came to the Meet the Republican Candidates forum in Port Allegany Tuesday night, diminishing numbers in comparison with such events in previous years.  But it did not seem to damp the enthusiasm of the candidates or their listeners, in the First Presbyterian Church social rooms.

On hand were all four candidates for Common Pleas Court Judge, the three Republican candidates for McKean County Commissioner, Register of Wills/Clerk of Orphans Court Harrijane Hannon-Moore, and a smattering of borough, school district and township candidates.

Former County Commissioner John Egbert said, concerning his 2004-08 term and the record of the “New Directions” team, “I think we did a pretty good job.” He noted that those commissioners had taken over a county government plagued with unpaid bills, but had left it with more than $7 million in reserve.

Egbert said he believes the county should be run in a manner similar to a business, and business acumen is an essential quality in a county commissioner.

Incumbent commissioner Joe DeMott told the hometown audience that the county’s $7 million reserve has grown to about $7.2 million under his, Al Pingie’s and Judy Church’s governance. Meanwhile, improvements and cost saving measures have been accomplished. He credited the joint efforts of all three commissioners with the accomplishments of their three-plus years in office.

DeMott said the present commissioners have taken steps to save county government and taxpayers money by doing jail food service in-house, and by building a work-release facility and expanding jail capacity by 28.  These measures will save up to $150,000 and $300,000 a year, respectively. Also, recent refinancing of a bond issue will reduce
interest costs.

Pingie, of Bradford Township, spoke of his years as a fire department member, a bricklayer and elected official in the township and the county. He expressed pride in the energy efficiency accomplished by the updates to county facilities, with savings of $450,000 in the first year.

Judge candidate Chris Hauser told the audience that his extensive background in civil law would be an asset as the “other” Common Pleas Court judge in McKean County, because President Judge John Pavlock’s greatest strength lies in criminal law as a former district attorney.  Hauser’s many years as a district magistrate provide other important experience, he pointed out.

Tony Alfieri said experience, a love of the community and the qualities of a good parent are essential in a judge, and outlined his claims to all.  He spoke of his involvement in parenting, and service in numerous organizations, as well as his years practicing law.

Anthony Clarke said that he possesses balanced qualifications, including a long practice of law, experience as a plumber, and previous education and a bachelor’s degree in psychology. His legal practice has included criminal defenses and civil cases. His experience in a blue collar profession has helped him understand that portion of the population, Clarke said.

Former district attorney Michele Alfieri-Causer pointed to her 28 years of practice, both civil and criminal, and her experience as a prosecutor, as some of her qualifications. A former solicitor and member of the Human Services department, Alfieri-Causer said she has a special interest in the needs of children who are involved in matters that come before the court, from child custody to placements to juvenile offenses.

Candidates for Annin and Liberty township offices were unable to attend, except for Jim Boorum, who is opposing incumbent township supervisor Fred Ernst III and is also running for constable and auditor. Boorum’s speech was highly critical of the present supervisors, who laid him off as roadmaster months ago.

Boorum said that most current township officials and workers are employees of Saint-Gobain (Verallia) and have high salaries, with supervisors having “promoted their friends” into township positions. He charged that they have over-run township budgets in the two past years and had voted to double real estate taxes. Later in the event he corrected that statement by saying they had voted to do so, but later changed their mind and doubled per-capita taxes instead.

Eric Button, who is running for one of three borough council seats in a field that also includes Lynn Farber, Kate Kysor and Democrat Lewis Duell, said he would like to serve on borough council so as to benefit the community in an additional way. He is a fire department volunteer.  Also, he believes this would help encourage more persons of his generation to become active in local government as office holders or as candidates.

Incumbent borough council member Kate Kysor spoke of having lived in the community for 20 years, and served on the council for the past six.  She noted that the borough had accomplished some significant projects and is still working on others, and said she would like to continue serving on the council to see ongoing projects finished.

Incumbent school director and vice-president of the board Dan Kysor noted that there are five school board seats to be filled this year and five candidates running.

Concerning the board’s current struggle to produce a balanced budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year in the face of probable deep cuts in state support, Kysor said, “We have to figure out what we are going to do. We need to cut come employees—that’s where the bulk of the costs are.” But he said the administration will have to make those determinations.

“I am not interested in property tax increases,” Kysor said. He joked that he was one of the youngest people there, along with borough council candidate Eric Button.

Incumbent school director Gary A. Hardes said that he is in his 28th.  year as a school board member and also noted that there are some young people running for local offices.

First time school board candidate Scott Moses emphasized that he is no newcomer to the local scene, having grown up in the community, worked for Citizens Trust Bank and then been co-owner of J&B Furniture for 16 years. “I am interested in seeing the district improve,” he said. He commented that “we either have to get involved” or not complain about situations confronting the community.

“This economic time is not the end-all and be-all,” Moses said, predicting that the economy and local community will rebound.

School board candidates not present were Ingrid Lapp and Sean Lathrop.  All candidates except Ingrid Lapp have cross-filed, as have all judicial candidates.

Also unable to attend was Bill Todd, running unopposed for re-election as a magisterial district judge.

Retired teacher Vernice Irons was timekeeper, alerting speakers when their three minutes were up.

 

 

An Opportunity To Meet Possible Future Leaders

 

Younger Generation - Borough council candidate Eric Button told the GOP Ladies' candidate forum audience that he hopes his election will enable him to serve his community in an additional way (he is a fire department volunteer), and attract other people of his age group to the political field.  Martha Knight Photo
 

Where There's A Will - Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans' Court incumbent Harrijane Hannon (also a former county commissioner) addressed the small crowd at the GOP Ladies' meet-the-candidates forum.  She is unopposed for re-election.  Martha Knight Photo
 

 

You Be The Judge - These four attorneys all want to be judge of the McKean County Court of Common Pleas.  Which would you pick?  They are, from left, Tony Alfieri, Chris Hauser, Michele Alfieri-Causer and Tony Clarke.  Martha Knight Photo
 

The Commish - Port Allegany's own incumbent county commis-sioner, Joe DeMott, looked thoughtful while listening to constituents and eating cookies after the GOP Ladies' candidate forum.  Martha Knight Photo
 

Constituents & Pingie - Incumbent county commissioner Al Pingie listens to Marg Healy as Judy Taylor and school board candidate Scott Moses look on, after the GOP Ladies meet-the-candidate forum.  Martha Knight Photo
 

Candidate Boorum - Jim Boorum is running for supervisor, constable and auditor of Liberty Township. His candidates' forum speech was a fiery "throw the rascals out" one.  Martha Knight Photo

Have something to sell?

Send us the details!

Getting Involved - Jim Boorum told voters that the people have to start getting involved.  He is running for supervisor, constable and auditor in Liberty Township, and opposing incumbent Fred Ernst III, who did not attend the GOP Ladies' Republican Candidate forum Tuesday night.  Martha Knight Photo
 

Comeback? - Former McKean County Commis-sioner John Egbert addresses local voters at the GOP Ladies' meet-the-candidate forum.  Also participating were incumbent commissioners Joe DeMott and Al Pingie.  Republicans will pick two of them in the May 17 primary.  Martha Knight Photo

 

Stump Speech - Scott Moses promoted his candidacy for school board at the meet-the-Republican-candidates forum Tuesday night. He said the current economic hard times will pass.  Martha Knight Photo
 

 

Sticky Fingers? - Common Pleas Court candidate Chris Hauser clearly enjoyed the cookies supplied by GOP Ladies at their candidate forum Tuesday night. His wife is looking on. Looks like Chuck Boller and Merle Johnson in the background, checking out the campaign literature.  Martha Knight Photo
 

Winning Smile? - Michele Alfieri-Causer smiles radiantly while mingling with voters at the GOP Ladies' candidate forum. All four candidates for Common Pleas Court Judge were there.  Martha Knight Photo

 

Candidates Left and Right - Borough manager Dick Kallenborn is flanked by Eric Button and Kate Kysor, candidates for borough council, at the GOP Ladies' meet-the-Republican-candidates forum. Button is running as a challenger to incumbents Kysor and Lynn Farber. Incumbent Lewis Duell, a Democrat, was not invited to the all-Republican event.  Martha Knight Photo

 

 

Payne Honored At Award Ceremony

 

ERIE - Tyler Payne, a sophomore from Port Allegany, was honored by Penn State Ere, The Berhend College, at its 62nd Annual Honors and Awards Convocation.  Payne received the General Anthony Award for a Second-Year Student.

 

Annually, Student Affairs coordinates this effort to recognize members of the Penn State Berhend community for their outstanding efforts in student life, athletics and special service to the college.  More than 200 awards were presented.

 

For more information about Penn State Berhend, visit, berhend.state.psu.edu