Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Photo of the Day

Trae Smith slides into 2nd during the 11-12 year old All-Star game against Warren

Monday, June 28, 2010

Supreme Court limits local gun bans

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

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Police: Enforcement effort idles Marcellus trucks


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."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Photo of the Day

A gray fox seen in the Rich Valley area

Sunday, June 20, 2010

What earned him an Army CAB wasn't his 'worst day in Iraq'

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.

Erie-built hybrid locomotive ready when buyers are

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.

Photo of the Day

Some of the "home boys" taking a short break on the way to Lock Haven

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Noxious Weed Found in Smethport Area, Potentially Harmful to Livestock

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 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

Photo of the Day

This barred owl was on the hunt in the Mason Hill area this evening

Monday, June 14, 2010


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.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

UPDATE: Rebert is 'person of interest' in Fickel, Smith murders

Former Oakfield resident charged Friday in Pa. shooting deaths
By Scott
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

Photo of the Day

Keegan playing with a glow stick....smiley face

Suspect arrested in murder of western Pa. couple

The Associated Press
Updated: 06/11/2010 10:47:48 PM EDT

BROCKWAY, Pa.—A suspect has been arrested in the murders of a western Pennsylvania couple found shot in their basement two months ago.
James and Victoria Shugar, both 61, were found fatally shot April 12 inside their home in Snyder Township, about 85 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
On Friday, authorities announced they were arresting 45-year-old Steven Patrick Repert, of Emporium.
Repert is charged with homicide and related counts. Authorities did not comment on an alleged motive.
Jefferson County District Attorney Jeffrey Burkett says Repert was arraigned Friday evening and would be committed to Jefferson County jail without bail.
It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

FBI: Mexicans chased away US agents after shooting

We are at war....not just in Iraq or Afghanistan, but much closer to home!

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – Pointing their rifles, Mexican security forces chased away U.S. authorities investigating the shooting of a 15-year-old Mexican by a U.S. Border Patrol agent on the banks of the Rio Grande, the FBI and witnesses told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The killing of the Mexican by U.S. authorities — the second in less than two weeks — has exposed the distrust between the two countries that lies just below the surface, and has enraged Mexicans who see the death of the boy on Mexican soil as an act of murder.
Mexico's government says the number of Mexicans injured by U.S. immigration authorities has increased this year.
Shortly after the boy was shot, Mexican soldiers arrived at the scene and pointed their guns at the Border Patrol agents across the riverbank while bystanders screamed insults and hurled rocks and firecrackers, FBI spokeswoman Andrea Simmons said. She said the agents were forced to withdraw....MORE

Marcellus Shale well blowout prompts second DEP suspension

A second well service company has been suspended from Marcellus Shale work as a result of a Clearfield County natural gas well blowout on June 3.
Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection ordered the well completion firm C.C. Forbes to stop all post-fracing activities in the state pending an investigation of the incident.
Texas-based EOG Resources Inc., the well’s owner, received a similar suspension from drilling and fracing operations on June 7.
The DEP also demanded C.C. Forbes hand over photos, video, equipment records and employee names.
The accident, which occurred in Lawrence Township, spewed at least 35,000 gallons of wastewater into the air for 16 hours until the well was finally capped the following daRead more: Marcellus Shale well blowout prompts second DEP suspension - Pittsburgh Business Times

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rendell: Marcellus Shale Incidents 'A Warning'

During a stop in Pittsburgh today, Gov. Ed Rendell said the two recent Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling accidents in West Virginia and Clearfield County are warnings.Gov. Rendell said that not everything is right with company practices and state regulations.He also said two sets of regulations are already in the works and the drilling company in Clearfield County violated existing rules to notify state officials of an accident."One of the things that is of great concern and happened in Clearfield County is that the company didn't leave the scene and no one was injured and they took responsibility for putting this out. They flew people in and got it capped by noon the next day, but one of the problems here is that the company violated existing regulations. They didn't notify [the Department of Environmental Protection] and they didn't notify PEMA," Gov. Rendell said.The governor also said that substantial fines will likely be levied against the company operating the Pennsylvania accident site due to their failure to notify state officials of the accident.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Photo of the Day

Some lightning from Friday the photo to enlarge

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Troopers Search Home In Connection With Double Homicide Probe

EMPORIUM, Pa. -- State police officials confirmed to WJAC-TV that a search warrant was served at a Cameron County home in connection with a double homicide investigation in Jefferson County.
Neighbors told WJAC-TV that armed police swarmed the 400 block of Broad Street in Emporium Thursday afternoon; investigators said no one was arrested.
MORE from WTAJ w/ video

Gas spews for hours from out-of-control Pa. well

By MARC LEVY (AP) – 17 hours ago
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Natural gas and polluted drilling water from an out-of-control well shot 75 feet into the air in a remote area of Pennsylvania before crews were able to tame the flow of explosive gas more than half a day later, officials said Friday.
The well was brought under control just after noon Friday, about 16 hours after it started spewing gas and brine, said Elizabeth Ivers, a spokeswoman for driller EOG Resources Inc. She said she could not immediately respond to questions about how the accident happened.
The well never caught fire and no injuries were reported, but state officials had worried the gas might explode before the well could be controlled.
State environmental authorities promised an aggressive investigation of the circumstances surrounding the blowout, which they said shot gas and water 75 feet into the air.
"The event at the well site could have been a catastrophic incident that endangered life and property," Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said in a statement. "This was not a minor accident, but a serious incident that will be fully investigated by this agency with the appropriate and necessary actions taken quickly."...........MORE

Mountain Lines by Nelson Haas

Click the image to in full size

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Photo of the Day

The "friendly flies" were out in full force at the LL field on Memorial Day