Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 18 April 2017

"Facebook Killer", Spotted by Citizen, Cornered by PSP, Kills Self

The Pennsylvania State Police at the Erie Station are calling the case one of a homicide suspect suicide.  It happened at ten after eleven Tuesday morning in Harbor Creek Township just outside the city of Erie proper along Buffalo Road. 

According to a 5 pm Tuesday release from the Erie State Police , at 11:10 am, a concerned citizen contact them indicating Steve Stephens was sighted at the McDonalds Restaurant on Buffalo Road in Harbor Creek Township, Erie County.  Police say Stephens was wanted for the brutal homicide of Mr. Robert Godwin in Cleveland, Ohio, Easter Sunday.  Troopers responded to the scene, found Stephens' white Ford Fusion sedan and initiated a pursuit traveling west on Buffalo road through Wesleyville Borough toward the City of Erie.  The troopers say officers of the Wesleyville Borough Police Department joined the chase.

Stephens stopped his car about a mile from the initial pursuit area and as troopers got out of their cars, Stephens again fled west on Buffalo Road.  The pursuit continued for about a mile where troopers carried out what they term a precision immobilization technique near Downing Avenue in the City of Erie proper bringing Stephen's car to a stop.  Media reports indicate spike strips were employed.  It was then Stephens used a handgun to take his own life.  Media reports indicate Stephens shot himself in the head.

Presently police are executing search warrants on Stephens' car and its contents.  Police say they cannot determine if Stephens had been in the Erie area, but are continuing to investigate and  assist the Cleveland Police Department with the investigation.  

The Pennsylvania State Police say while this was not the ideal outcome, they are pleased no one from the community was harmed including law enforcement officers and other emergency personnel.  The state police are extending condolences to the Godwin family in Cleveland, Ohio.

Assisting in the case were members of the Wesleyville Borough Police Department, the Erie City Bureau of Police, the Erie County Coroner Lyle Cook, and Erie County District Attorney Jack Daneri. 


The troopers are extending their thanks to the public for their diligence and for the numerous tips received over the last several days.  The public was instrumental in bringing this investigation to a successful conclusion.  


Tville Mulls Third Party Fire Recovery Costs

The Titusville Fire Department is floating a proposal that looks like a win-win-win situation for the department, for the city of Titusville and for its residents.  Assistant Fire Chief Joe Lamey talked with members of Titusville City Council Tuesday night about employing the services of a third party billing agent to recover the cost to the city of providing for the manpower and equipment at fire scenes and motor vehicle accidents. 

Currently, by ordinance the city bills a flat $500 fee to the homeowner or accident victim  who in turn submits the bill to insurance carriers.  Lamey explained there are provisions and clauses employed by the insurance carriers resulting in that fee not being paid out to the city.  Consequently, the city collects very little in the way of recovery costs after a fire or a crash.  Similar situations have been experienced by similar city fire departments in Meadville and Oil City. 

City manager Larry Manross says the recovery fee would be directed to the general fund of the city but could be funneled to the fire department. 


The Titusville Fire Department is moving forward in contracting the services of Fire Recovery Services of McCungie, Pennsylvania to increase significantly collection of recovery costs for tools, materials, turnout gear, manpower and the like.  The Meadville and Oil City Fire Departments already employ the services of Fire Recovery Services.  Lamey reports the company uses an itemized fee schedule resulting in a 45 percent recovery rate.  The company collects 15 percent of the recovery if recovery is made during the first six months after the event.  Thirty five percent thereafter.  Lamey says insurers have less wiggle room to reject recovery costs with an itemized list of costs. 

Homeowners would never see a bill and the company is not a collection agency according to Lamey.  The fire departments could actually save insurers from more and larger payouts. 


There is a 60 day written termination clause and the city would have to amend its own fee schedule, but Lamey says Fire Recovery Services will work with the city on fees.  Recovery services would only apply to fire and rescue calls.  The company would collect information from the fire and accident victims and an A plus Better Business Bureau rating.  


Indivisible Members to Meet with Thompson

By now many have heard about or seen in media reports protests, meetings and gatherings of those wanting President Donald Trump to release copies of his tax returns for the last three years.  There have been protests across the United States, some not so peaceful.

In Crawford County, at the District office of fifth district Republican Congressman Glenn Thompson in Titusville, this spring, two protests taking Trump to task are already in the books.

In Early April a loosely federated group protesting tax policy, environmental policy and a perceived unwillingness on the part of Thompson to meet with or speak to the protesters or effective representation of those with minority political views staged a stand in at the Congressman's  Titusville office. 

Tuesday, Tax Day, approximately thirty to fifty protesters from Venango County mostly, in an organized group calling themselves Oil Region Rising Indivisible We Rise, walked with signs and pickets outside of the building housing Congressman Thompson's Titusville office.  They also presented to Thompson's office staff with petitions and letters addressed to the Congressman.

We talked with retired Franklin attorney Ralph Montgomery who explained he and other protesters are urging Thompson to back HB 305 to have Presidents and Presidential candidates reveal their tax returns for the three most recent years and HB 356 to examine whether there was Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election campaign.

Oil Region Rising Indivisible founder, Mike Wilcox, a retired farmer says he was inspired in part by the April Protesters to really let their voices be heard. 


It is now known Thompson will meet with a small group of representatives from the Indivisible group Friday morning at his Titusville office.  


1rst T'ville Housing Collaborative Deemed Success

You may remember we recently reported to you an informational meeting held by the Titusville Housing Authority and the Titusville Housing collaborative April 8th.  It was everything a landlord wanted to know about Section 8 Public Housing, but afraid to ask. Or might not have known.

At a meeting of the Titusville Housing Authority Board of Directors Tuesday, Board Chairman Terry Kerr Offered an assessment of the Titusville Housing collaborative first outreach effort. 

Kerr says the meeting was surprisingly well attended by over thirty area landlords and others.  He says the meeting went smoothly and members of the authority and the collaborative were pleased with the response and the questions.  Presenters even remarked they learned a few things too, calling the meeting positive and well organized and useful. And landlords went away similarly impressed.

Kerr says he hopes enough information will be generated over time to address housing issues effectively in the Titusville and surrounding areas.  He expects more feedback from Land Lords after their May meeting.


The Collaborative meets again today from nine to noon at the Benson Memorial Library to Hear from a speaker with the Crawford County Human Services Department to address how mental health and other issues play into public housing issues.  


Oil Creek Twp Gets Clean Opinion on Liquid Fuels Tax Fund Audit

The item in question is called an Attestation Engagement.  It is essential audit conducted by the Pennsylvania Office of the Auditor General.  for the purposes of this report, it is an audit of the Township of Oil Creek, Crawford County, Pennsylvania Liquid Fuels Tax fund for the period January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015 in report date April 2017. 

In the report, the auditors write that in their opinions the Liquid Fuels Tax Fund Form With Adjustments, which is all the information required by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for the township's Liquid Fuels Tax Fund during the audit period, is in all material respects, inconformity with all of the auditors' criteria. 


The auditors reported a fund balance on December 31, 2015 of $69,078.66.  


Elgin Man Scammed

A 67 year old Corry man is out over $325 following a debit card scam a week ago Monday.  The Corry state police say the incident occurred as an unknown person  obtained a debit card number belonging to Elmer William Krizo, 18303 South Main Street, Elgin.  The unknown person then made fraudulent purchased totaling $325.65  without  Krizo's permission.  


Down Under Behind the BLCE District 8 Ball

A Youngsville drinking establishment is facing a citation from the District 8  Erie Pennsylvania Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement Office for failing to maintain complete and truthful records covering the operation of the licensed business for a period of two years immediately preceding March 14, this year.    The citation was issued Monday to the Down Under at 7 East Main Street in Youngsville, Warren County. 


The Charges will be brought before an Administrative Law Judge who has the authority to impose penalties ranging from $50 to $1000 for minor offenses and up to $5000 for more serious offense.  In addition, the ALJ can also impose a license suspension or revocation of the license based on the severity of the charge brought.  The ALJ can also mandate training for the licensee in an effort to educate them on the requirements of being a licensee.  


PUC Commissioner Coleman to Co-Chair New National Task Force Exploring Natural Gas Access and Expansion

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) Commissioner John F. Coleman Jr. has been named as co-chair of a new Natural Gas Access and Expansion Task Force, established by the President and Executive Board of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).

The task force will be charged with developing best practices and recommendations regarding natural gas service for underserved and unnerved areas of the country, including, but not limited to rural communities.  Commissioner Coleman is joined by fellow co-chair, Mississippi Commissioner Brandon Presley, along with North Dakota Commissioner Julie Fedorchak, who will serve as vice-chair of the task force.

“It is an honor to work with my fellow commissioners from across the country, who share a similar concern about infrastructure issues that limit access to low-cost natural gas for residential, industrial and commercial customers – especially in rural areas,” noted Commissioner Coleman. “These issues generate frustration and added expense for our consumers, and compromise the competitiveness of our communities, and we are anxious to explore ways to remedy this situation.”

Pennsylvania PUC Commissioner Robert F. Powelson, who also serves as current NARUC President, stated, “the task force will help NARUC members better understand the demand for natural gas service in unserved and underserved areas, the barriers and obstacles to such access and expansion and provide relevant economic information on the costs and benefits of expanding natural gas distribution infrastructure.”

Chairman Gladys M. Brown of the Pennsylvania PUC praised the appointment: “Commissioner Coleman has a strong interest and deep knowledge of natural gas infrastructure, and has been an integral part of efforts to address these issues in Pennsylvania. He will be a valuable voice in this national conversation.”

During the eight-month term of the task force, the group’s main focus will be to prepare an analytical report that will:

  • Study current access, expansion and service extension policies for underserved and unserved areas;
  • Examine the need for access and expansion including case studies, and a review of the barriers and obstacles to such access;
  • Recommend potential mechanisms to address the benefits and opportunities for access and expansion and identify alternative or unconventional approaches to reaching unserved and underserved areas; and
  • Compile a national “best practices” collection on natural gas access and expansion to underserved and unserved areas.

Also, the task force will coordinate with NARUC’s Committee on Gas to help identify opportunities for engagement at NARUC meetings on this issue and collaborate with NARUC-affiliated organizations to collect best practices.


Members of the task force will include the following state commissioners: Ken Anderson (Texas), Stephen Bloom (Oregon), Julie Brown (Florida), Robert Hayden (Massachusetts), Kim O’Guinn (Arizona), Norman Saari (Michigan), Dianne Solomon (New Jersey), Nick Wagner (Iowa) and Dallas Winslow (Delaware). This leaves three (3) positions vacant to be filled at the discretion of the NARUC President.  The Committee on Gas Chair Stan Wise (Georgia) and co-Vice Chair Diane X. Burman (New York) will serve as active liaisons to the task force.

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