Marcellus shale natural gas well developers are a water-thirsty lot. And far too few land holders in Pennsylvania and New York are aware of just how thirsty, contends Charles Abdalla, agricultural and environmental economist at Penn State. Water is a critical component in the process of extracting natural gas, notes the water policy expert. According to the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, up to 5,000 wells may eventually be drilled in that river basin alone. It doesn't include those in the western third of Pennsylvania in the Ohio River basin or those in the Delaware River basin. Water supplies to individuals, businesses and communities will be affected well into the future as this energy resource is fully developed, predicts Abdalla. The drilling process can require up to 300,000 gallons per day per well. Hydrofracturing a deep vertical well may use 500,000 to more than 1-million gallons of water. And "fracking" a Marcellus horizontal well may use 4- to 8-million gallons of water, typically within a week, according to the SRBC. Some Marcellus wells may need to be "fracked" several times over their productive lives. Such large water withdrawals may come from streams, ponds, rivers or groundwater. But they'll increase potential for conflicts between competing users. That's why Abdalla warns: "Citizens need to become aware of their stake in water-resource issues and policies and effectively participate in public policy-making." To help, Penn State has updated Water Withdrawals for Development of Marcellus Shale Gas in Pennsylvania to help people understand how and where they can offer input into public decisions about water use and wastewater treatment. "Now's the time to learn about and help shape public policies that'll guide development of the Marcellus Shale," he adds. For a free copy, contact the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences' Publications Distribution Center, 112 Ag. Administration Building, University Park, PA 16802-2602; telephone: 814-865-6713; fax: 814-863-5560. Or e-mail to AgPubsDist@psu.edu. Or click http://extension.psu.edu/water/resources/publications/consumption-and-usage/marcelluswater.pdf/view for a copy in PDF format.
The kids at Woodland Elementary got a big surprise today when a US ARMY helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing on the tennis court. We are told that the chopper was returning from a military funeral when it ran low on fuel due to the inclement weather. I will say that I admire the skills of that pilot to land that huge machine in that small tennis court! Last word is that fuel is being brought in and it will be departing shortly.
Almost every area of Cameron County was affected by the torrential rainfall last night. Observers indicated that over 3.5'' of rain fell in 24 hours. Here, the Bucktail Search and Rescue team is attempting a water rescue of some stranded hunters stuck in their camp. More photos at my facebook page HERE
Marcellus Shale boom has some surprises for hunters heading to their favorite spots for Monday's opening of the deer hunting season. Sunday, November 28, 2010 Special to The Patriot-News For The Patriot-News When the improvements began on the dirt and gravel roads five or six years ago, Mark Leib assumed he would be seeing new logging operations in his favorite deer-hunting spot in Clearfield County. Or maybe, the 51-year-old New Cumberland resident guessed, Four-Mile Road through the area near Penfield where he grew up hunting deer was about to become part of a new route on the elk tour, the showcase for Gov. Ed Rendell's developing "Pennsylvania Wilds" tourism initiative. Neither would be a welcome development for Leib's family. Although they had recently given up their lease on a cabin on state forestland in the area, five of them continued to spend the first week of the deer-hunting season there living in state park cabins. Still, either of those possibilities wouldn't have .......READ MORE
Posted: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 12:32 am Updated: 12:39 am, Wed Nov 17, 2010. DA seeks death penalty in ex-Oakfield man's homicide case By Scott DeSmit firstname.lastname@example.org The Daily News Online 0 comments A trial date has not been set in what is now a death penalty case against a former Oakfield man accused of murdering an elderly couple and who is a “person of interest” in two unsolved slayings in Genesee and Orleans counties. Steven P. Rebert, 45, is charged with criminal homicide for the April 12 murders of Wayne and Vicky Shugar of Brockway, Pa. Jefferson County District Attorney Jeffrey Burkett is seeking the death penalty against Rebert, a spokeswoman for his office said Tuesday. Rebert does not have another scheduled court appearance until Jan. 5, where he will have a criminal hearing and when a trial date may be set. Rebert, of Emporium, Pa., was arrested by Genesee County sheriff's deputies in Alabama on June 3. He was in possession of a switchblade knife and was committed to jail. The charge was dismissed and Rebert was turned over to Pennsylvania state police, who on June 12 charged him with the double-slaying of a Brockway, Pa., couple, James and Vicky Shugar. The couple were found shot to death in the basement of their home. An investigation led police to Rebert, a Clarence native who lived on-and-off with relatives in Oakfield. Rebert also is charged with aggravated assault, robbery and burglary. Investigators also discovered information on Rebert’s computers that showed he conducted searches regarding two unsolved murders: The Nov. 10, 2005 shooting of Bill Fickel, who lived near Rebert, and the 2007 slaying of Kevin Smith of Shelby, who lived less than two miles from Fickel and Rebert. Genesee County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster said “I’m not shocked” when told that Pennsylvania is seeking the death penalty against Rebert. He said his investigators are continuing to follow leads in the Fickel case. “But no, there is nothing new,” he said. “We’re still in the process of trying to locate a weapon and a potential accomplice.” He said neither he or any investigators have attempted to talk to Rebert since his arrest and that “even if we do it couldn’t be used against him.” A $100,000 reward remains for the arrest and conviction of Fickel’s killer or killers. A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of Smith’s killer.
It appears to be taking quite a while for some operators of Marcellus Shale fracking-water trucks to realize that their vehicles are supposed to be in safe working order. Pennsylvania State Police and the state Department of Environmental Protection recently announced the results of a three-day, statewide vehicle enforcement action targeting trucks hauling gas-drilling wastewater from the hydraulic fracturing process, commonly known as fracking, and the results were not encouraging. The report said citations were issued for 1,066 of the more than 1,400 trucks that were inspected from Oct. 25 to 27. More than 200 of the cited vehicles were immediately taken out of service, as were more than 50 drivers. This came after similar inspection efforts in June and earlier in October that led to the issuance of hundreds of citations and hundreds of vehicles being ordered off the roads. We hear often from drivers concerned about the speeds at which these fracking-water trucks are being driven, often on secondary roads, and the fact that some of them may be less than safe does little to assuage our fears that a major accident is waiting to happen, one that perhaps could lead to a severe environmental contamination or, even worse, the maiming or death of a motorist sharing the roads with these big, heavy vehicles. READ MORE
By Feed: PA Environment Digest in Gas Industry Wed, 11/10/2010 - 16:44 The Susquehanna River Basin Commission today ordered J-W Operating, LLC, a natural gas drilling company based in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, to immediately cease all water-related activities at a drilling pad site in the Marcellus shale formation in Shippen Township, Cameron County, Pennsylvania. The company began water-related activities at two wells without prior approval from SRBC at the pad known as Pardee & Curtin Lumber Company C Pad.Natural gas drillers must have SRBC approval before any drilling activity occurs or any water-related facilities are constructed. The SRBC order also prohibits J-W Operating, LLC from continuing to drill or withdraw water for use at that drilling pad site.“Commission staff became aware of this violation during field inspections, the most recent one being yesterday November 9,” said SRBC Executive Director Paul Swartz. “At present, the Commission has been informed by the company that it set conductor pipe on November 3, 2010, which resulted in the violation. The exact timeframe will be determined and appropriate actions will be taken by the Commission.”Swartz said, “Since the company had not begun withdrawing, transporting or using any water, the Commission did not find any water resource impacts at this drilling pad.”J-W Operating, LLC has 30 days to submit an application to SRBC for water withdrawal and consumptive use, as well as the construction activities it has already completed. The company is prohibited from any further water-related actions until SRBC reviews and acts on the application.For information, visit SRBC’s Natural Gas Well Development webpage.
CLARION – Cameron County’s Andrew Fragale came up with perhaps the biggest play in his young football career Friday night when he stripped Clarion’s Danny Walters of the football and then recovered the loose ball at the Red Raider 27-yard line with just under a minute to play to preserve a 19-13 Cameron County win at Clarion in the opening round of the District 9 Class A playoffs at Clarion University’s Memorial Stadium. Clarion (5-6), the fourth seed, trailed 19-6 with less than five minutes to play when Walters hit Camron Kirkland with a 68-yard touchdown pass to get the Bobcats back within six at 19-13. The Bobcats defense then held forcing a Cameron County punt that gave Clarion the ball back at its own 40 with 3:02 left to play. READ MORE FROM D9SPORTS.COM
Elk County’s new HSH program Coordinator Dan Surra was recently appointed to represent the Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) program, and has announced the addition of Elk County to the growing list of counties that provide venison to needy families in Pennsylvania. HSH is Pennsylvania’s charitable venison donation program and the conduit for hunters who share their extra venison via a statewide network of participating butchers to Food Banks across Pennsylvania. HSH participating butchers, who are paid for their services through monetary donations, coordinate the meat deliveries and work with local food banks. The food banks redistribute the venison to more than 4,000 local food assistance provider organizations such as food pantries, missions, homeless shelters, Salvation Army facilities and churches, as well as needy families. Local food banks expected to participate are the Christian Food bank, St Marys; Good Samaritan Food Bank, Ridgway; and the Northern Elk Food Pantry in Johnsonburg. Local butcher’s Palumbo Family Meats located in Ridgway and The Smoke House owned and operated by Joe Sarnoski in St Marys will be the official HSH participating deer processors in Elk County. The PA Hunters Sharing the Harvest Program has been successfully feeding the hungry for 20 years, and is the largest and successful charitable program of its kind in the country. Since 1991 Hunter’s Sharing the Harvest has solicited and coordinated the processing and distribution of donated wild game from hunters to hungry people throughout Pennsylvania. An average-sized deer will provide enough highly-nutritious, low-cholesterol meat for 200 meals. There are over 1.4 million families in the State of Pennsylvania in need of food assistance. HSH provides an excess of 750,000 meals annually to help feed the hungry. HSH is a registered IRS and PA non-profit charitable organization, and monetary contributions are tax-deductible. For more information, go to www.sharedeer.org.
In an effort to promote celiac awareness, The United States Pizza Team (USPT) made history by sponsoring the first National Gluten Free Pizza Competition. The Gluten-Free Pizza Contest is an open competition held during the Orlando Pizza Show in September, which invites pizzaiolos to make their best-tasting gluten-free pizza. The goal of the competition is to promote celiac awareness and help show the versatility of gluten-free dough. Local USPT member and owner of Pizza Palace Plus in Emporium, David Smith II, paid the one hundred dollar entry fee for the competition, and competed against several pizza makers from across the United States. “I didn’t make gluten free pizza at my restaurant, says Dave, but I learned quickly and walked away from the competition with Fifth Best in the US. After winning Best in America twice, I was a little disappointed until I saw the judge’s scores. I made a spinach and raisin pizza with Feta cheese, and although all of the judges loved my crust, only two of the five raved over the pizza toppings. The winner of the competition, Patrick Maggi of Maryland, taught Dave how to make a Canolli Calzone topped with brown sugar. Dave experimented with his employees as testers, and the dessert calzone is now available to the public for 3.99. In other competition matters, the USPT introduced a brand new award called “the Sportsmanship Award”. This award goes to the competitor that shows the most team spirit, willingness to help others, and sets an example for the other competitors to follow. The recipient of this prestigious award is our own David Smith II, and can be viewed at the Pizza Palace entrance. Says Steve Lieber, USPT director of events, “Dave embodies everything we expect out of a competitor, and it’s an honor to have him on our team. We’re going to name the award after Dave and he will be responsible for choosing the recipient at future competitions”. The next event the USPT will be attending is Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in NY City, November 25th. Dave suggested the team do this a couple years ago to promote the team, and now it’s coming to fruition. Several members of the team will be in attendance, and will be marching the parade route while tossing throw dough, a synthetic form of pizza dough that will take the abuse of prolonged tossing. “The parade will be a couple hours long, and it would be impossible to maintain real dough,” says Dave. “We will also be debuting our new uniforms.” Details of the Orlando Pizza Competition will be in the next issue of PMQ Magazine, or can be checked online at PMQ.com. If you have celiac disease or know of someone with this condition, have him or her give the Pizza Palace Plus a call at 486-1819, and they will be happy to help out with some of the best pizza in America.
This magnificent bull elk is known in the Benezette area as "Crazy Legs Jr". I was lucky enough to get some good photos of him this fall. In this week's CC Echo, outdoor writer Phil Burkhouse wrote a nice article about this special non-typical specimen. Unfortunately, early reports from the field lead us to believe that Crazy Legs Jr. was killed by a hunter earlier this week. I haven't had confirmation yet but will know for sure soon. This bull was very acclimated to humans and was probably not very difficult to "hunt" So long, Crazy Legs.....it was good to know you.
Canadian-American Sledders Dry-Land Races AUSTIN – The Sinnemahoning State Park will host its fifth annual Canadian-American Sledders Dry-land race event from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6 at the 40 Maples Day – Use Area. Races are also scheduled to resume the next day. Event day will include Canine-Cross, Bike-Joring and Cart Races as well as GPS/Geo-caching and winter bird-feeding and craft programs and much more. All will be accompanied by lots of barking and tail-wagging. In addition, check out the area displays of the rescue organizations and the new Sinnemahoning State Park Visitor Center, which is set to open next spring!. Hot food and refreshments will be available to keep away the chill. Spectator areas will be open along the trails and staging area. Races will continue on Sunday, Nov. 7, but additional programs will not be available. For more information on this or other programs, call the park office at 814-647-8401. The following is a full itinerary for the two-day event. Saturday, Nov. 6 8 a.m. – Race registration at 40 Maples Day-Use Area 9 a.m. – Races Begin 9:30 a.m. – “Animal Tracks and Traces” – Pavilion #1 Learn how to identify animal tracks and make a plaster track mold to take home! 11 a.m. - “Matchless Fire-Starting” – Pavilion #1 Use magnesium fire-starters to build a fire without the use of matches or lighters! 12:30 p.m. – “Pine Cone Bird Feeders” – Pavilion #1 Make a pine cone birdfeeder to hang in your own back yard! 1 p.m. – “Mushing 101” presentation – Pavilion #2 Learn how to get started in dry-land bike-joring, carting, and cani-cross. 2 p.m. – Presentation on Sinnemahoning State Park’s new Visitor Center. Meet at Pavilion #2 3 p.m. - “GPS Basics” – Pavilion #2 Sunday, Nov. 7 9:30 a.m. – Races start – Start and Finish Line at 40 Maples Area 2 p.m. – Races conclude 2:30 p.m. – Race results and Awards presentation Food concessions and vendors will be open in the Forty Maples Day-Use area throughout the weekend.
excerpt: The Traveling Circus Shale play promoters constantly try to divert attention and analysis from current plays to newer plays. Newer plays have less data to analyze and, therefore, reserve claims are more difficult to question. Because the Barnett and Fayetteville shale plays have under-performed expectations, we were invited a few years later to consider the future potential of the Haynesville Shale play. Now that the Haynesville looks disappointing, we are asked to consider the Marcellus Shale play. Since the State of Pennsylvania does not publish monthly production data for analysts to evaluate, no one can dispute or confirm the claims made by operators. With the shift to liquids-rich plays like the Eagle Ford Shale, we are again asked to trust the same promoters that sold us under-performing plays in the past that this time it will be different. We should call a time out at this point and ask for a reality check. This will never happen because the capital keeps flowing and the promoters continue drilling and leasing. There appear to be a host of foreign investment companies that may provide capital for the shale plays now that operator debt has reached extreme levels, and most available assets have been sold at considerable damage to shareholders.Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/marcellus-shale-disappointment-2010-10#ixzz13txSMlaA
Robertson to give French and Indian War talk Oct. 30 at library A local historian will trace western Pennsylvania’s involvement in the French and Indian War during a talk Saturday, Oct. 30, at the Barbara Moscato Brown Memorial Library in Emporium. William Robertson of Duke Center, dressed as a 1750s woodsman, will begin the program at 10 a.m. Fourth Street library. The Cameron County Genealogy Club is sponsoring the free event. He will read from two of his historical fiction novels, “Ambush in the Alleghenies” and “Attack in the Alleghenies.” The first novel begins with George Washington’s 1753 spy mission to Fort Le Boeuf and ends with Gen. Edward Braddock’s defeat near Fort Duquesne. The second book gives an account of the mayhem spread by the Delaware warriors of Kittanning and of the raid led by Colonel John Armstrong in 1756 to destroy the Indian stronghold. Robertson’s books deal with the adventures of eastern mountain men, Lightnin’ Jack Hawkins, Will “Big Cat” Cutler, Bearbite Bob Winslow and Alexander MacDonald. His books will be for sale, and muskets and other artifacts will be on display. For more information about Robertson and his work, visit his website at www.bucktailsandbroomsticks.com. For information about his talk, e-mail the Genealogy Club at email@example.com.
Growth in Powder Metallurgy In the automotive sectors, including the group’s powder metallurgy business, overall demand during the third quarter remained at similar levels to the second quarter, with the European seasonal decline less than normal and strong demand in North America and Asia. Sales increased by 34% compared with last year, to £800 million (2009: £598 million), up 28% on an underlying basis. Overall, Automotive trading margin was 6.9%, with Powder Metallurgy trading margin at 7.9% and Driveline at 6.6%. Driveline’s profits were held back somewhat during the quarter as a result of additional temporary labour costs in Europe to meet higher than expected customer demand during the holiday season and increased raw material costs which should largely be recovered over coming months. READ MORE
After all of the rain (that we needed), we finally got a great weekend!
The Palace is rolling out a new pizza, called "The SUN PIZZA". It is made with our award winning dough, and painted with a light coat of Olive Oil. We then add Ricotta Cheese, Fresh Spinach, Raisins, our own blend of Mozzarella and Provolone Cheese, A little Feta Cheese, and top it all off with some Sunflower Seeds.
We took this pizza to the the Orlando Gluten Free Competition this year, and won fifth best in America with it. Attached is a photo from the competition. The judges loved the originality of the toppings, and we hope you do too.
We will be rolling out gluten free pizzas in the near future, so if you know anyone with this specific dietary need, help us get the word out. Until then, try our new SUN PIZZA, and let us know what you think.
Have a GREAT weekend, from all of us at the "Palace".
'Green' Elk Country Visitor Center Stands as Signature Facility in PA Wilds Initiative BENEZETTE, Pa., Oct. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At the peak of elk viewing season in the Pennsylvania Wilds, Governor Edward G. Rendell today officially opened the new Elk Country Visitor Center. The facility showcases a region known for its magnificent natural resources, majestic scenery and many opportunities to get an up-close view of wildlife. The 8,420-square-foot green building, nestled on 245 acres owned by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, includes interactive interpretive exhibits, wildlife trails and viewing blinds, year-round restrooms and parking for cars and buses. "We proposed this center three years ago as one of the first major state investments as part of our Pennsylvania Wilds initiative, so it's incredibly exciting to see it become a reality," Governor Rendell said. "People from all over the nation and all around the world come to this region to experience everything it has to offer. This center is now a key destination for those visitors. It's just another part of what my administration has done to boost tourism and economic development in the region and teach people the importance of conservation and environmental stewardship." The Governor pointed to a report issued earlier this year showing the positive economic impact of the PA Wilds initiative: From 2004 to 2008, while national park attendance was relatively flat, attendance at the 29 state parks within the Wilds region increased by 3.3 percent per year; From 2002 to 2006, visitor spending within the Pennsylvania Wilds region grew by 6.3 percent per year; From 2002 to 2007, tourism employment and earnings within the region increased by 0.5 percent and 5.4 percent per year, respectively. For Elk County, the Governor said the initiative has boosted local revenues through higher hotel tax receipts, which increased 30 percent from $67,000 in 2005 to $87,000 in 2008. The visitor center is already very popular. More than 20,000 visitors from 29 states and six countries have visited it since its "soft opening" in early September. The facility includes a multimedia theatre complete with fiber optic star ceiling and a "smoking" campfire to immerse the visitor in the sights, sounds and smells of a mixed hardwood forest, the natural world of the elk and native wildlife and the heritage of the region. Web cameras also provide a glimpse of fields and wildlife beyond the viewing range of the center, and wildlife watching trails and viewing blinds to provide closer encounters for the more adventurous. The center also has space to accommodate school groups and special programs. It also uses the latest green technologies to lessen environmental impact and showcase innovations in environmental sustainability, with features such as rainwater collection and reuse systems; night sky-friendly light fixtures; use of locally available materials and certified wood from sustainably harvested timber; and geothermal heating and cooling. The building is eligible for LEED "Gold" certification. The commonwealth invested $6 million to build the center with another $6 million coming in the form of private donations and management costs. The Richard King Mellon, Dominion, and Thoreson foundations; Safari Club International; Eastern Chapter Foundation for North American Wild Sheep; Grice Gun Shop; and many individual donors made contributions for the center. The facility is owned by DCNR and will be operated by the non-profit Keystone Elk Country Alliance, in conjunction with the department. "Our intention for this world-class facility is to provide a safe and rewarding elk-watching experience and engage visitors in educational exhibits that will further their understanding of elk and their natural habitat," said Rawley Cogan, president and CEO of the Keystone Elk Country Alliance. "This center will give us additional opportunities to reach out to new visitors—some 50 million of them in Pennsylvania and its surrounding states," Governor Rendell said. "Drawing visitors to this area is a great shot in the arm for local economies. "Already, largely because of the response to the PA Wilds initiative, 15 bed and breakfasts, lodge and cabin operations have opened in Elk County. And since this center's soft opening last month, all businesses in Benezette have expanded their operating hours and the number of days they are open during the week to meet new customer demands. That's great news for the local and regional economy." For more information about the Elk Country Visitor Center, visit www.ElkCountryVisitorCenter.com or call 814-787-5167.
EMPORIUM - Lyn Pilch, a marketing professional whose Madison, Wis.-based public relations firm has worked with more than 100 tourism destinations around the country, will be the keynote speaker at the Pennsylvania Wilds Planning Team's annual trails conference this November.This year's conference, "Cashing-In on Geocaching," will focus on how trail groups, businesses and communities can use geocaching as an economic and community development tool to improve foot traffic to local businesses, raise awareness about trail group activities, express conservation and stewardship messages to visitors, and more."Geocaching is a growing trend in the Pennsylvania Wilds," said Matt Quesenberry, chairman of the PA Wilds Planning Team. ....READ MORE
NEW YORK — Second-graders who can't tie shoes or zip jackets. Four-year-olds in Pull-Ups diapers. Five-year-olds in strollers. Teens and preteens befuddled by can openers and ice-cube trays. College kids who've never done laundry, taken a bus alone or addressed an envelope. This image provided by Penguin shows the book cover of "The Dumbest Generation" by Mark Bauerlein. The book contends that cyberculture is turning young people into know-nothings, and Bauerlein says "the absence of technology" confuses kids faced with simple mechanical tasks. Are we raising a generation of nincompoops? And do we have only ourselves to blame? Or are some of these things simply the result of kids growing up with push-button technology in an era when mechanical devices are gradually being replaced by electronics? Susan Maushart, a mother of three, says her teenage daughter "literally does not know how to use a can opener. Most cans come with pull-tops these days. I see her reaching for a can that requires a can opener, and her shoulders slump and she goes for something else."...MORE
Sunday, September 26, 2010 By John Hayes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Melissa Tkach/Post-Gazette Bull elk seen near Benezette Most Pennsylvanian's don't even know they're there, but in the hills surrounding Elk County's Benezette the elk are at the peak of the rut -- bugling, chasing, displaying all the classic signs of an animal weighing up to 1,000 pounds in the throes of seasonal courting. On Oct. 6, Gov. Ed Rendell and other Harrisburg types will put on another kind of display when they pull out the big ceremonial scissors for the official opening the new Elk Country Visitor Center. Located on 245 acres of elk habitat on Winslow Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10269/1090061-358.stm#ixzz10llNqqBi
Pennsylvania Lumber Museum will host a program on the region’s logging railroad history on Sunday, Sept. 26, at 1 pm. Author Paul Pietrak, whose books have covered a broad range of railroad historical themes, will focus on operations in Pennsylvania and New York during the lumbering era and the history of the Goodyear Lumber Company. The meeting is open to the public.
Ron SouthwickPatriot News Gov. Ed Rendell said Tuesday night that the state will no longer monitor groups who oppose natural gas drilling. And he said the state would not renew a contract with a private company tapped to gather the information when the pact expires at the end of October. Government watchdogs and environmental groups expressed outrage that the state Office of Homeland Security had been sending information to law enforcement agencies and drilling companies about anti-gas drilling groups. A Patriot-News story on the controversy was published in Tuesday morning's editions. "Protesting is not a threat," Rendell said at a press conference. "It's a God-given American right." The Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security had tapped the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, a private firm based in Philadelphia, to gather the information. But the firm also disseminated information about a gay pride event, a tax rally at the Capitol, and a gathering of students who came to Harrisburg to support the governor's own education agenda, Rendell said. "It's just stunning," Rendell said. "This is absolutely ludicrous." More...
Gov. Ed Rendell will hold a press conference today at 6 p.m. in his office at the capitol to address Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security activity related to Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling. The Patriot-News reported this morning that leaked intelligence bulletins from the PA Office of Homeland Security show that the office - through a private contractor in Philadelphia - has been tracking the Internet activity of anti-drilling activists to determine the public meetings they are planning to attend - including public screenings of the film “Gasland.”
Homeland Security has then distributed this information to law enforcement officials, emergency responders and the gas industry. Officials in both Homeland Security and the Governor’s Office said there had been five to ten recent acts of vandalism to Marcellus sites around the state and that the information on anti-drilling activists was being supplied to local officials and the operators of such sites as a means of public protection.
Now THIS is scary stuff to me. Our own tax dollars are being spent to track lawful gatherings, the suppression of free speech, and the welfare of corporations over the average citizen. All because of "five to ten" acts of vandalism? Wow, most small towns have more than that every month and it doesn't create a press conference from Harrisburg!
The officers of IUE-CWA Local 88607 recently held an appreciation dinner for Harry Mansfield. The group met at the Aroma Cafe to honor Harry for his 36 years of Union involvement at Motor Coils Mfg, including 30 years as the President. Harry took over the presidency in 1973 when Motor Coils was still owned by founder Ralph Lauro, and through selfless effort, helped guide the workforce through many company and workplace changes over the years. Here, newly elected President Jim Clancy is presenting Harry with with a plaque signifying the Union's appreciation for his many years of hard work and honorable service.
Two of the Commonwealth’s key tourism investments in the Pennsylvania Wilds region come online this fall, helping to attract visitors, pass foot traffic to local businesses and increase tourism capacity in the region. The first to open its doors, the Nature Inn at Bald Eagle State Park in northern Centre County, opened Sept. 2. The 16-room inn is the first of its kind in Pennsylvania’s award-winning state park system. It highlights the excellent birding opportunities at Bald Eagle (many bird species are attracted to the park’s ridges, valleys and diverse habitat); and demonstrates and interprets green building technologies, including geothermal heating and cooling, rainwater collection, and energy efficient lighting and appliances. The Inn also features the work of three PA Wilds Juried Artisans, as well as prints by John James Audubon and Ned Smith, the famous late Pennsylvania naturalist and artist who created more than 100 cover illustrations for Pennsylvania Game News. Learn more at www.natureinnatbaldeagle.com. The second asset, the Elk Country Visitor Center, in Benezette, Elk County, unofficially opened its doors Sept. 9. A grand opening is slated for Oct. 6. The center is a premier elk watching and conservation education facility on the eastern seaboard (our region is home to the largest free ranging elk herd in the Northeastern United States). The 8,400-square foot eco-friendly building has a stone fireplace to greet visitors, a “Great Room” with large wooden trusses and a panorama of windows looking out on elk viewing areas and food plots. It also has a “Story Theatre” that presents a multimedia experience complete with fiber optic star ceiling, a 'smoking' campfire and other techniques and interpretive exhibits to immerse visitors in the sights, sounds and smells of a mixed hardwood forest, the natural world of the elk and native wildlife and the heritage of the region. The center is also a stop on the PA Wilds Artisan Trail and sells authentic handmade goods by PA Wilds Juried Artisans. Learn more at www.experienceelkcountry.com.Both facilities will serve as a jumping off point for the rest of the PA Wilds region by providing interpretive displays, visitor guides and business brochures to help visitors learn about the many things they can do and see all over the region. Both facilities are public-private partnerships with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The staff behind each facility has worked hard to involve local residents, businesses and community leaders so as to pass foot traffic in a way that benefits local economies. Together, the two facilities create 12 new jobs. Kudos to everyone who helped bring these projects to fruition!
Posted by: Eli GeorgePORTVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) - Police need help identifying a man who they say can't remember who he is or where he came from.He's approximately 45-50-years-old and may be from Pennsylvania. The man is 5'9", has blue eyes, brown hair with some grey, a grey beard, and is slightly balding. He weighs approximately 175 pounds and has scars, possibly from surgery, on the front and top of his right shoulder.Police say residents from Emporium, PA, 60 miles away from Portville, saw the man around their area for three days, knocking on doors and asking for water. They did not report the man because he did not seem dangerous. Portville Police have tried using fingerprints, but the man does not appear to be in any databases.If anyone has any information about this man, his identity, or where he is from, please contact the Portville Police Department at 716-933-8773. More...
Three of four District 9 Class A semifinal teams have new coaches in 2010; Coudersport, Brockway, Clearfield preseason faves to win District 9; Five QBs appear among top WPIAL players; PCN TV Schedule released. Sunday, August 29, 2010By: Chris RossettiMaxPreps.com CLARION – The biggest question facing Pennsylvania's District 9 Class A football group this season comes in the form of how some of the top teams will adjust to new coaches.Of the four semifinal teams from a year ago – champion Clarion Area, runner-up Coudersport, Cameron County (Emporium) and Curwensville – three of them have new coaches including the title-winning Bobcats who said goodbye to 22-year head man Larry Wiser after the season. ...........MORE
HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug 23, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Flagship Destination in Pennsylvania Wilds Set to Open this Fall The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is partnering with the Keystone Elk Country Alliance to operate the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette Township, Elk County, DCNR Secretary John Quigley said today. The center, a key part of the Pennsylvania Wilds initiative, is slated to open this fall. "The Keystone Elk Country Alliance is a dynamic new organization that will operate the new Elk Country Visitor Center, the largest elk watching and conservation education facility in the eastern United States," Quigley said. As a non-profit wildlife conservation organization, the Keystone Elk Country Alliance, or KECA, will focus its resources on Pennsylvania's elk herd in the north central region of the state. Many of the board, staff and volunteers have numerous years of experience raising private dollars to enhance elk country. The 8,420-square-foot center will attempt Gold LEED certification, and includes interpretive exhibits, wildlife trails and viewing blinds, year-round restrooms and parking for cars and buses. ..............................MORE
Reporting from Washington — The Internet has allowed tens of millions of Americans to be published writers. But it also has led to a surge in lawsuits from those who say they were hurt, defamed or threatened by what they read, according to groups that track media lawsuits. "It was probably inevitable, but we have seen a steady growth in litigation over content on the Internet," said Sandra Baron, executive director of the Media Law Resource Center in New York.
Although bloggers may have a free-speech right to say what they want online, courts have found that they are not protected from being sued for their comments, even if they are posted anonymously. Some postings have even led to criminal charges. READ MORE HERE
Members of the public are welcome to attend as descendants of the famous Pa. Bucktails Civil War regiment and history buffs converge at the Cameron County Fairgrounds over the Aug. 27-29 weekend. Dozens of people from as far away as Maryland and Virginia will be coming for the annual Bucktails Reunion. MORE from Endeavor News
August 18th, 2010 7:45 am Tap water catching fire due to natural gas migration from hydraulic fracking operations.Photo: Source: Gasland In February of this year, the House Energy and Commerce Committee revealed Halliburton and BJ Services, two oil and gas currently operating in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale formation, had used diesel fuel in hydraulic fracturing operations in at least 15 states in from 2005 to 2007. The gas companies would not reveal to the committee where these injections occurred and may have broken the Safe Water Drinking Act laws. Hydraulic drilling fracking operations inject millions of gallons of water combined with toxic chemical laden compounds to create intense high pressure to break and keep open underground shale rock formations which allows natural gas to be captured....MORE
HARRISBURG, Pa. The state's Department of Environmental Protection has fined a natural gas drilling company nearly $100,000 for a wastewater spill that contaminated a southwestern Pennsylvania watershed. The DEP on Tuesday announced the $97,350 fine against Atlas Resources. Environmental officials say Atlas allowed hydraulic fracturing fluids used to drill in the Marcellus Shale to overfill a wastewater pit and contaminate a tributary of Dunkle Run in Washington County. DEP officials say the spill happened in early December 2009. Environmental officials say Atlas corrected the problem but failed to report it to the DEP. A call to Atlas Tuesday afternoon was not immediately returned.
EMPORIUM - More than enough Cameron County School District students passed the state standardized testing for the 2009-10 school year, but what the future holds is questionable.At least at the high school.High school Principal Patricia Schwer said the state's percentage goal will increase for the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment in 2010-11. Reading will jump to 72 percent from 63 percent, whereas mathematics will move from 56 percent to 67 percent.Schwer said worry will always be there as goals are boosted. She said the target was not raised for the 2009-10 school year.Woodland Elementary school Principal Lynn Newcomer said he expects the elementary school students to continue doing well on the testing.....MORE
Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine Expanded to 43 Counties; Tree-Killing Pest Found in Cumberland, Union Counties
PR Newswire HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 10 HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Forty-three counties are now under a quarantine that is intended to prevent the spread of the invasive, tree-killing Emerald Ash Borer, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said today while reminding travelers not to haul firewood between counties. Redding also said that the pest has been found in two additional counties. Beetles were found in Cumberland County at the Pennsylvania Turnpike mile marker 226 near Carlisle, and in Union County at the intersection of State Gameland and Matthew Brown roads in Gregg Township. The Emerald Ash Borer has now been found in 17 counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Butler, Centre, Cumberland, Fulton, Indiana, Juniata, Lawrence, Mercer, Mifflin, Somerset, Union, Washington and Westmoreland. The Agriculture Department has expanded its quarantine to include 31 counties, including the six where the beetle has been found this year and others that are contiguous. Those counties are: Blair, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Jefferson, Lycoming, McKean, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Potter, Snyder, Somerset, Tioga, Union, Venango and Warren. "The considerable quarantine expansion was based on the new detections, coupled with new detections and quarantines in neighboring states," said Redding. "As we head into the final months of summer travel, we remind campers and travelers to follow the quarantine within the 43 counties and across the state to help limit the further spread of the beetle."...MORE
HARRISBURG - If a test vehicle is blown up in the remote reaches of central Pennsylvania and nobody hears it, did it really explode? In what was truly a secret operation - kept under wraps from even Gov. Rendell and various state and federal law enforcement agencies - the FBI rigged a replica SUV with explosives at a still-undisclosed location about 30 miles from State College, and detonated it to simulate what would have happened had the car bomb exploded in Times Square. Investigators believe the late-June test revealed that the homemade fertilizer bomb would have killed untold numbers of people in the heart of New York. But in conducting a test that involved re-creating a Manhattan street scene in rural Pennsylvania, the agency apparently did not notify any state or local authorities. Officials in Centre County, where State College is, said they didn't know about the test. Then again, no one is saying exactly where outside State College the test occurred. So it could have been in an adjacent county. Asked Wednesday morning if he had heard about the June test, Rendell told The Inquirer that he had not. Nor did he seem especially irked about being kept in the dark. "There's probably not a law against blowing up a vehicle on private property, presuming it didn't hurt anyone," Rendell said after testifying before the state Senate Transportation Committee about Pennsylvania's need for new sources of transportation funding. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and the Philadelphia FBI office said they, too, knew nothing about the blast. Neither did the state police or the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, which generally works closely with the FBI, officials said. "We don't know anything about that," PEMA spokeswoman Ruth Miller said, replying to a request for information.Read more
EMPORIUM - Not much else can be slashed from Barbara Moscato Brown Memorial Library's budget in the wake of state funding cuts.The $28 billion state budget will leave Cameron County's only public library with only about $68,000.Having the board of trustees examine the local library's budget is something Librarian Anna English calls "very hard" to do."I am not sure what we're going to do," she said. "They're just cuts we really don't need right now."And the news could get worse. English said funds aren't expected to arrive in January as usual. READ MORE
EMPORIUM - The Prospect Motel on Sizerville Road, about a half mile north of Emporium, is no longer being considered for use as a transitional housing facility.But putting it elsewhere in Cameron County is not being ruled out, at least for now, said Cindy Zembryki, administrator of the Cameron-Elk Mental Health/Mental Retardation program.She said spots in Elk and Potter counties are also being considered for the facility that would help those with mental or substance abuse problems re-enter society.Within a month, she said, a place could be found for the Comprehensive Regional Adult Forensic Treatment program. Wherever the spot is, Zembryki said, she wishes to get community members' feelings.Cameron County Commissioner Glen Fiebig said he wants it set in stone the facility won't be in Cameron County. read MORE
My daughter Cassie and the Donachy Gymnastics team gave a performance at a recent Altoona Curve game. Cassie had the privelege to run into another "homey", Miss Whitney Jones(daughter of Phil and Kim), who is interning at the park for the summer
July 12, 2010 - Winners of 2010 Powder Metallurgy Design Excellence Awards Competition, sponsored by Metal Powder Industries Federation, were announced at PowderMet2010. Receiving grand prizes and awards of distinction, winning parts are examples of powder metallurgy's precision, performance, complexity, economy, and innovative design advantages. Grand Prize winners included GKN Sinter Metals, Smith Metal Products, FloMet LLC, and Advanced Materials Technologies Pte Ltd
Grand Prize AwardsGKN Sinter Metals, Auburn Hills, Mich., won the Grand Prize in the Automotive- Transmission Category for a fully integrated planetary carrier and rocker-style one-way clutch assembly, an industry first. Designed and made for Ford Motor Company and used in the Ford Super Duty truck five-speed automatic transmission, the application is a three-piece sinter-brazed planetary carrier. It consists of both PM copper-steel and sinter-hardened materials, assembled with a single-pressed cam plate, which is also sinter-hardened. The application consists of four parts (cam plate, spider, clutch hub, and rocker plate) that are combined with 12 steel rocker struts and springs, a retainer plate, and snap ring to form the one-way clutch planetary carrier assembly. Providing a cost savings of more than 25 percent, the PM assembly replaced a two-piece riveted planetary carrier. GKN achieved a density of 7.25 grams per cubic centimeter in the single-pressed complex sinter-hardened cam form without warm compaction and hightemperature sintering. Secondary operations are limited to machining the bearing journals, oil holes, and pinion holes.....MORE
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Constitution's "right to keep and bear arms" applies nationwide as a restraint on the ability of the federal, state and local governments to substantially limit its reach. By a 5-4 vote split along familiar ideological lines, the nation's highest court extended its landmark 2008 ruling that individual Americans have a constitutional right to own guns to all the cities and states for the first time. In doing so, the justices signaled that less severe restrictions could survive legal challenges. The ruling involved a 28-year-old handgun ban in the Chicago area. The ruling was a victory for four Chicago-area residents, two gun rights groups and the politically powerful National Rifle Association. .........MORE
HARRISBURG, Pa. An enforcement blitz that focused on trucks hauling wastewater from Marcellus Shale drilling operations generated hundreds of citations and warnings and forced 131 water-hauling trucks off the road, Pennsylvania State Police said. The department's Operation FracNET, named after the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, inspected 1,137 trucks over three days last week. In all, 250 commercial vehicles were placed out of service, along with 45 drivers. Twenty-three of those drivers were operating trucks that haul wastewater from drilling sites, police said. "What's disappointing are the numbers, because they're high," state police spokeswoman Lt. Myra Taylor said Thursday. "We want voluntary compliance. That's sometimes a difficult thing to do, but we don't care." READ MORE
Sgt. Bennett is the son of Steve and Linda Nadji of Emporium!
Staff Sgt. James Bennett, an explosive ordnance disposal technician deployed to the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, puts on a bomb suit during training. As an EOD tech, Sergeant Bennett is on his third deployment. He was one of the first four EOD Airmen to earn an Army Combat Action Badge while deployed in 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Carolyn Viss)
by Staff Sgt. Carolyn Viss376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs6/12/2010 - TRANSIT CENTER AT MANAS, Kyrgyzstan -- "Fire in the hole! Fire in the hole! Fire in the hole!"These four words, shouted as loudly as possible three times in a row, are very familiar to any explosive ordnance disposal technician. But they carry heavy responsibility for EOD troops about to detonate high-powered explosives.When James Bennett joined the Air Force at the age of 19, he had no idea he would become one of the first four EOD Airmen to earn an Army Combat Action Badge, but he knew he wanted to join a career field that would be challenging, exciting, and possibly very loud."Gunfire doesn't bother me," said Staff Sgt. Bennett, now deployed to the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, who said his dad and stepmom were both Combat Arms Training and Maintenance instructors; in fact, his stepmom was one of the first female CATM instructors ever. So, shortly after getting married, joining the Air Force, completing EOD school, and receiving some on-the-job training, then-Airman Bennett deployed to Kuwait. At just 21, he was the father of a 2-year-old and tasked to defend the fighter, cargo, and coalition aircraft at Ali Al Salem Air Base. And if that wasn't enough responsibility for him to carry, from there he was sent forward to Iraq for a few days to open a new, expeditionary base. READ MORE
By JIM MARTIN firstname.lastname@example.org Five years have passed since GE Transportation unveiled, with considerable fanfare, its plans for a hybrid freight locomotive.
The mock-up cab shown off at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., was emblazoned with the target release date of 2010. Now, five years later, that date has arrived. And although a prototype of the hybrid has been rumbling along the rails for three years, there are no plans to start production anytime soon. GE Transportation, a Lawrence Park Township-based business unit of the General Electric Co., insists the hybrid project has not come off the rails. In fact, company spokesman Stephan Koller said the company could probably have a hybrid ready to go by the end of the year if a customer wanted one. But no one seems to be clamoring to place an order. Like a hybrid car, a hybrid locomotive offers two key advantages: increased fuel efficiency and decreased emissions. But the hybrid, which can provide an additional 2,000 horsepower on a temporary basis, will also come at a premium price, Koller said. He declined to characterize how much more the hybrid will cost. "Everybody wants to increase fuel efficiency and lower emissions, and hybrid technology will help meet these requirements," he said. "But with oil prices as they are today, there is not a compelling reason for a railroad customer to switch." Higher fuel prices, tougher emissions standards or even a better economy could change that and make companies more willing to invest. "You've got to be ready when the market is ready," Koller said. "Currently the market is maybe a little conservative." Although GE Transportation said it could have a hybrid ready based on the existing prototype, Koller said the battery technology, which already has won 30 patents, continues to evolve and is expected to improve. "Getting the battery right is the core technology for any type of hybrid propulsion," he said. The GE hybrid will use a sodium-metal battery built at a new $100 million battery plant in Schenectady, N.Y. The plant is expected to open in 2011 and employ about 350 people. Why move ahead with the battery plant when the hybrid project appears to be in slow gear? Koller said the batteries that will eventually be found aboard Evolution hybrids are also used in backup power systems for the telecommunications industry and for other applications. At least in the short term, that's likely how the majority of those batteries will be used, he said. "For energy and telecommunications, there is real interest and real demand for an energy-storage system," Koller said. "You have to look at the market that could potentially grow. Currently, the market for the rail industry is probably not as strong." Tom Lange, spokesman for Union Pacific Railroad, wouldn't speak to the issue of GE Transportation's hybrid, but stressed that domestic demand for freight locomotives remains weak. "We are not in the market to purchase locomotives," he said. "We (Union Pacific) have more than 1,300 locomotives in storage. Based on the global economy, we are not in the market for locomotives." The Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad, the largest regional railroad in western Pennsylvania, isn't usually a customer for new locomotives either. Gene Evans, vice president-mechanical for the Rochester-based railroad, said his company generally operates with older, used locomotives. But Evans said the company expects in July to commission the first of two GenSet locomotives, which are similar to hybrids in that they significantly reduce fuel consumption and emissions. The purchase was made possible through a public-private partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, but that doesn't mean the decision was easy. "It's always a balancing act between the cost of developing or building new locomotive technology vs. fuel savings," Evans said. At at time when the industry is struggling to get back on its feet, rail customers across the country will have to make their own decisions about that balance. And that's why the pale green GE Transportation hybrid -- home now from testing in California -- will be tested and improved some more, but won't likely be rushed to market. "We need an environment that will justify the investment," Koller said. JIM MARTIN can be reached at 870-1668 or by e-mail.
Local Landowners Encouraged to Identify and Cut Plants, Contact Hotline HARRISBURG, Pa., June 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Goatsrue, a noxious weed that was recently discovered in Smethport, McKean County, may be fatal to sheep and cattle, but poses no human health threat, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said today. Redding said the main infestation is localized to a two-mile radius of Smethport Borough, Keating Township and adjoining municipalities, and is related to the dredging of Hamlin Lake and the distribution of the fill material to local properties. Small isolated populations of the weed have been found elsewhere in McKean County and in Cameron, Elk and Potter counties. A legume, goatsrue is about 4-5 feet tall at maturity with 8-inch pinnate leaves with smaller leaflets and 20-50 purple to white flowers. Flowering begins in June and each flower produces a one- to two-inch pod with mustard colored seeds. "The Department of Agriculture has surveyed and identified the infestation and is actively working this summer on eradication," said Redding. "However, we encourage livestock producers and landowners in the Smethport area to protect their animals by becoming familiar with this plant and inspecting their hayfields and pastures." Redding added that if landowners find any flowering plants, they cut the plants down to ground level to keep them from reseeding. Contact the Agriculture department field technician at 814-414-7680 to report the infestation or leave a message on the toll-free noxious weed hotline at 1-877-464-9333. Goatsrue grows best in moist areas in full sun. It can be found along irrigated waterways, cropland, pastures, fence lines, roadways and wet, marshy areas. For more information about goatsrue, including a brochure with pictures of the plant, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and search "Goatsrue," or contact Noxious Weed Program Manager Melissa Bravo at 717-787-7204. Media contact: Jean Kummer, 717-787-5085 SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
The Cameron County Snowmobile Club will be rehabilitating the railroad bridge at the west end of Emporium ("black bridge"). If you would like to help with this worthwhile project, they are scheduling workdays for June 26 and 27. They will be putting down 1" decking on the rr ties to facilitate pedestrians and snowmobiles. Charge up your screw guns and bring a saw or two and lend a hand.
Former Oakfield resident charged Friday in Pa. shooting deaths By Scott DeSmitdesmit@batavianews.com Sunday, June 13, 2010 2:08 PM EDT He lived within a mile of Bill Fickel and Kevin Smith and knew both of them when all three attended Clarence High School.Now, Steven P. Rebert is being called a “definite person of interest” in the unsolved murders of Fickel and Smith, the first time in five years that the two cases have been publicly linked.“At the time we did not think they (the murders) were related,” Genesee County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster said. “But this perks our interest.”Rebert, 45, of Emporium, Pa., was arrested Friday and charged with two counts of murder for the shooting deaths of James and Vicky Shugar in Jefferson County, Pa. on April 12. Pennsylvania state police contacted police in New York because Rebert is a former resident of Clarence and OakfieldThe break in the case came when Rebert was arrested June 3 in the town of Alabama and charged with criminal possession of a weapon, Sheriff Gary Maha said....MORE
My name is Randy Frey. I live in a beautiful little town called Emporium, in northcentral Pennsylvania. I have a large family, and I like it that way. I am currently a member of the Emporium Borough Council, publisher of www.cameroncountypa.net, and active in local political and social events. I am an avid amatuer photographer,and I enjoy hunting, fishing, motorcycles,and spending time with my family