(HARRISBURG) – State grant assistance for home heating costs is still available to qualifying Pennsylvania residents through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson).

Scarnati explained that LIHEAP is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and provides assistance with heating expenses in the form of a cash grant, sent directly to the utility company, or a crisis grant for households in immediate danger of being without heat.

“In the winter months the burden of an added expense for heating can be especially heavy on low-income families and those individuals on fixed incomes,” Scarnati said. “As cold temperatures and inclement weather begin to impact our region I want to remind residents that there is help for those who may need assistance with heating costs.”

Eligibility for grants begins, for a household of one, with a maximum income limit of $17,505 and increases by $6,090 per additional household resident. Grant amounts are based on income, family size, type of heating fuel and region.

Applications for the 2014-2015 LIHEAP program will be accepted through April 3, 2015. Applications are available by contacting Senator Scarnati’s offices in Brockway (814-265-2030), Kane (814-837-1026) or Wellsboro (570-724-5231).

Local residents can also apply for LIHEAP grants online at the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Access to Social Services (COMPASS) website, For more information please contact the LIHEAP hotline at 1-866-857-7095.


Kate Eckhart


Warren County got out the vote during the final two weeks of the PA Organzation for Rivers and Watersheds’ (POWR) 2015 River of Year contest! Trailing by 10% of the total vote just over 2 weeks ago, a concerted effort by the Conewango Creek Watershed Association (CCWA), numerous local businesses, and individuals brought the Conewango Creek into the lead and home for the win, as voting closed this evening. Thank you to all who voted! Special thanks to Tom Osborne of Conewango Kayak Canoe Rentals and the Conewango Creek Watershed Association for their tireless work cleaning up and promoting the Conewango Creek.

As of this morning, 9,700 people had voted for their choice of River of the Year.Final tallies are:
Conewango Creek – 42%
Loyalhanna Creek – 30%
Lackawanna River – 15%
Neshaminy Creek – 9%
Ohio River – 5%

For the past twenty years, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has annually recognized one river as the River of the Year. This recognition is done to raise awareness of the important recreational, ecological, and historical resources associated with the state’s rivers and streams.

The River of the Year is celebrated throughout the year. Events have included paddling trips, a speaker series, clean up days, photography contests, and more. Partnerships of community groups organize the events including a Sojourn paddling trip. In addition, POWR coordinates the production and distribution of a free poster celebrating the river.

The Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, or POWR, administers the River of the Year program. Local organizations submit nominations. POWR also helps organize and support local watershed associations, as well as the groups who lead a dozen sojourns on rivers around the state each year.

Pennsylvania’s River of the Year honors have been presented annually since 1983. The past feature Rivers of the Year are:
2014 – Schuylkill River
2013 – Monongahela River
2012 – Stonycreek River
2011 – Delaware River
2010 – Lackawaxen River
2009 – Lower and Middle Susquehanna River
2008 – Youghiogheny River
2007 – Lehigh River
2006 – Three Rivers
2005 – West Branch Susquehanna River
2004 – North Branch Susquehanna River
2003 – French Creek
2002 – Delaware River
2001 – Juniata River
2000 – Kiskiminitas-Conemaugh River
1999 – Schuylkill River
1998 – Youghiogheny River
1997 – Lehigh River
1996 – Tulpehocken Creek
1996 – Clarion River
1995 – Upper Delaware
1995 – Juniata River
1994 – Allegheny River
1994 – Susquehanna River
1993 – Meshoppen Creek
1993 – North Branch and Main Stem Susquehanna River
1992 – Yellow Breeches Creek
1992 – West Branch Susquehanna River
1991 – North Branch Susquehanna River
1991 – Pine Creek
1990 – Catawissa Creek
1989 – Bear Run
1988 – West Branch Susquehanna River
1986 – North Branch Susquehanna River
1983 & 1984 – Clarion River


(HARRISBURG) – The Pennsylvania Department of Education has taken steps to establish Pennsylvania’s first Rural Regional Community College, announced Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25), Senator Bob Robbins (R-50) and Senator Scott Hutchinson (R-21).

According to the legislators, the newly created community college is being established with the goal of offering two-year associate degrees, as well as training and certificate programs to underserved areas of the Commonwealth. Curriculum of the college will be determined by the Board of Trustees, based upon the future workforce needs of the designated region of Cameron, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, McKean, Potter, Venango and Warren counties.

“I am very excited that groundwork for launching the Rural Regional Community College is now in place,” Senator Scarnati stated. “This will be the first community college to offer greatly needed higher educational opportunities to northwestern Pennsylvania. Thanks to input by education, business and community leaders, we have been able to establish a solid foundation for helping students have access to quality, affordable education near their hometowns.”

“This will certainly expand the educational options for students in our region,” Senator Robbins said. “Education is the key to success, and a two-year college program is an excellent option for young people who are looking at job opportunities in many career fields. The truth is it’s also a cost-effective way for students to complete their basic studies at a smaller college before finishing their degree at a larger university.”

“I’m thrilled with the rapid progress on the Rural Regional Community College and I’m grateful for Senator Scarnati’s leadership in making this concept a reality,” Senator Hutchinson said. “The positive effects this college will have on our region cannot be understated – there is an immediate need for quality career and technology education in many rural areas of the Commonwealth. The Rural Regional Community College will help residents of our area get the training and education they need to continue working and living right here in our community.”

Senator Scarnati explained that earlier this year, language from his Senate Bill 1000 to establish the rural regional community college initiative was included in the Fiscal Code (Act 126 of 2014). Senate Bill 1000 was a bi-partisan initiative, based largely on recommendations by a Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) study completed in December 2011.

On August 1st, the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) appointed the Educational Consortium of Upper Allegheny (ECUA) as the non-profit entity to assist with designating the community college region to be served, as well as advising PDE on the appointment of members of the Board of Trustees. Dr. Dick McDowell, Chairman of the ECUA Board of Trustees stressed the importance of the new community college.

“Providing people with access, affordability and articulation that a community college can offer will be a tremendous asset to rural Pennsylvania,” Dr. McDowell said. “We are pleased to work with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to provide advice to help develop a rural higher education system that offers greater accessibility for students at affordable rates.”

Earlier this month, the following 15 individuals were named to serve on the Board of Trustees by PDE Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq.

– Ms. Mary Bula, Collective Impact at United Way of Erie County

– Ms. Nancy Decker, Laurel Technical Institute

– Mrs. Amanda Hetrick, Forest Area School District

– Mr. Robert Kaemmerer, United Refining Company

– Mr. Hank LeMeur, Superior Tire and Rubber Company

– Mrs. Kate Lomax-Brock, Elk Cameron Community Education Council

– Mr. Greg Mahon, Office of the Senate President Pro Tempore

– Dr. Richard McDowell, President Emeritus University of Pittsburgh at Bradford

– Mr. Douglas Morley, Potter County Commissioner

– Mr. Ed Pitchford, Cole Memorial Hospital

– Mr. Louis Radkowski, City of Saint Marys

– Mrs. Susan Snelick, North Central Workforce Investment Board

– Dr. Karen Whitney, Clarion University

– Mr. Dennis Wilke, Precision Manufacturing Institute

– The Honorable Mary Jo White, Former State Senator

Term length of the Board members will be determined at the first Board of Trustees meeting scheduled for December 2, 2014. The meeting will be open to members of the public and the location of the meeting will be determined by PDE in the coming days.

The Senators also recognized the contributions of members of the House of Representatives who worked on the measure, especially Representative Martin Causer who introduced a companion bill to SB 1000, which also sought to establish a rural community college program.

“Thanks to the efforts and input of numerous educational, business, community and government leaders, we are now helping to provide students with more tools they can use to access good, family-sustaining jobs. We look forward to witnessing the positive impacts of the college in the years to come.”



Greg Mahon (Senator Scarnati) (717) 787-7084

Mike Hengst (Senator Robbins) (717) 787-1322

Justin Leventry (Senator Hutchinson) (717) 787-9684


Conewango-Creek-ROY-2015-PhotoThe Conewango Creek, along with the Lackawanna River, Loyalhanna Creek, Neshaminy Creek, and the Ohio River are finalists for Pennsylvania’s River of the Year for 2015. Currently, Loyalhanna Creek is in the lead with 39% of the vote. Voting ends on December 15, 2014

Cast your vote here!


For the past twenty years, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has annually recognized one river as the River of the Year. This recognition is done to raise awareness of the important recreational, ecological, and historical resources associated with the state’s rivers and streams.

The River of the Year is celebrated throughout the year. Events have included paddling trips, a speaker series, clean up days, photography contests, and more. Partnerships of community groups organize the events including a Sojourn paddling trip. In addition, POWR coordinates the production and distribution of a free poster celebrating the river.

The Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, or POWR, administers the River of the Year program. Local organizations submit nominations. POWR also helps organize and support local watershed associations, as well as the groups who lead a dozen sojourns on rivers around the state each year.



crary2Opening reception Saturday, October 18, 6-8 pm
Artist gallery talk 7 pm
Exhibition continues:
Sunday, October 19 through Saturday, November 8, 2014

This exhibition features two dozen brilliantly colored paintings that combine a classic Dutch still life sensibility with contemporary references, producing an arresting magical realism. Ficarelli-Halpern has been developing this series since 2007, after she inherited a vast collection of costume jewelry from her mother-in-law, who owned every single piece of the Joan Rivers QVC Collection.

Download: LISTEN TO AN INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIST, courtesy WNAE Talk Radio, Warren, PA

Artist’s Statement
I am a painter with an extensive background in fashion design and textiles. My main medium is oil paint and I strive to keep the image looking ‘painted,’ and to create a lush feeling through rendering sparkling surfaces, saturated colors, and textures of our fashion and technology-conscious culture. The paintings are meant to delight the viewers’ eyes, and engage them in discovering smaller details of familiar experiences and material. I often use collections of objects to hint at my own past experiences, and to explore classical painting methods and technique, which assist in recalling an art-historical context.

The term “labor of love” does not fully capture the extent of my feelings about creating the works for this exhibition. Family Jewels holds great significance because it is occurring on the tenth anniversary of my mother-in-law Martha Crary Halpern’s death. An avid collector, art historian, scholar, and good friend, I deeply miss Martha. Creating these paintings has afforded me a way to remain connected, celebrating and remembering her while in process, and sharing my memories with others through the finished works.

Lisa Ficarelli-Halpern has widely exhibited in numerous solo and group juried exhibitions, in venues including The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, The George Segal Gallery, and The Noyes Museum of Art in New Jersey, the Zhou B. Art Center in Chicago, Artists’ House Gallery in Philadelphia, and the Hunter College/Times Square Gallery in New York. She was voted artist of the month by the Arts Guild of New Jersey in June of 2013. Her work has been featured in Studio Visit Magazine Vol.10 and she has won numerous awards, including a 2006 Geraldine Dodge Fellowship. Prior to her fine art career, Lisa Ficarelli-Halpern served as an executive designer for The Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, from 1985 to 1992, where she oversaw all aspects of home collection design most prominently in the areas of bedding and decorative fabrics.

To see more, visit the artist’s website.


Kinzua Country Auction, in the Warren Mall, Warren, PA, will host a gun show this weekend, Saturday, October 11 and Sunday, October 12.

Over 143 dealers and vendors will be on site to buy, sell, and trade new and used guns and hunting/ shooting accessories. FFL on premises. Food and beverages will be available.

Saturday, October 11, 2014 – 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sunday, October 12, 2014 – 9:00 am – 3:00 pm


canadagoose – Chapman State Park will again allow Early Canada goose hunting beginning Tuesday, September 2nd. The statewide season, designed to reduce local nuisance geese populations, runs through Thursday, Sept. 25.

Complete details regarding hunting seasons and bag limits can be found on the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s website.

Non-migratory Canada goose populations have increased drastically in recent years, causing crop damage and nuisance problems in residential neighborhoods. Park visitors often complain about goose excrement on state park beaches and other facilities, and water quality at some state parks has been adversely affected.

Resident Canada geese have been among the suspected cause of high fecal coliform counts at some Pennsylvania state park beaches, forcing swimming restrictions during peak use periods.

Many state parks have taken measures, including anti-goose fencing and/or the use of loud noisemakers, in attempt to deter the waterfowl or scare them away.

All Game Commission rules and regulations governing the early Canada goose season will apply at state parks. Park information can be found at:

Persons with disabilities wanting to hunt geese in the early season should contact the park office for further information.

Chapman State Park office: 814-723-0250



crarySaturday, August 30 through Sunday, September 28
OPENING DAY events – Saturday, August 30

2-4 PM Speakers: Bill Meadows, former president of the Wilderness Society
Clyde Thompson, Allegheny National Forest Supervisor
and Dr. Mathias Zahniser, son of Wilderness Act author Howard Zahniser
5-8 PM Artists reception – meet the photographers

This exhibition features four large-scale works each by many of the nation’s foremost nature photographers:
Craig Blacklock, Clyde Butcher, Robert Clements, Kevin Ebi, Robbie George, Stephen Gorman, Robert Glenn Ketchum, Scot Miller, David Muench, Marc Muench, and Mark Muse.

This show has special historical meaning for the region, because the Wilderness Act of 1964 was authored by Tionesta native Howard Zahniser.

Included in this show are the winners of the Wilderness Photo Contest, Piper VanOrd, Mark Hulings, and Judy Cole Blank.

This special exhibition was conceived and produced in cooperation with Friends of Allegheny Wilderness in Warren, and has been generously supported by Community Foundation of Warren County, DeFrees Family Memorial Fund, Northwest Savings Bank and Crary Gallery member-supporters and volunteers. Thank you!
Catalogs for this show are available.

MID-EXHIBITION event, Saturday, September 13

7 PM Video screening: Green Fire
Emmy Award-winning documentary about legendary conservationist Aldo Leopold. View the trailer at


Come and join us August 22nd, 23rd and 24th for the 2014 Kinzua Heritage Arts & Music Festival, this is our 9th year of striving to keep the past alive.

The Kinzua Heritage Festival is three days of history and fun tucked into a beautiful hillside on Fox Hill Road in Russell, PA.

At the main stage, you can relax under a large tent and listen to sounds of Native American, traditional country, folk, and bluegrass music.

Be sure to stop at the birch beer booth and enjoy a glass.
Watch and join the dancers as they perform traditional dances throughout the day.

Bid on items at the auctions Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm help raise money for local charity.

Native American and traditional artisans display their crafts and skills throughout the grounds. Artisans at the festival have showcased everything from glass blowing to metalwork, leather crafts to hand spun yarns, candle dipping to longbow making.

Follow the paths through the woods and visit with the craft people and demonstrators on your way to the hand constructed longhouse, but watch out for the Civil War reenactors roaming the woods.

At the rear stage tucked into the trees, you can relax while listen to storytelling or acoustic music, watching the children play games, sit with friends and enjoy the forest.

Saturday children at the festival will enjoy the games and some hands on craft projects that they can make and take home.

For more info and directions, visit the Kinzua Arts and Heritage Festival website.



County treasurers began accepting antlerless deer license applications on Monday, July 14, 2014. As of July 19, 2014, WMU 2F shows 7,831 licenses available and WMU 1B shows 10,799 licenses available. Cost of a resident Antlerless License is $6.70. Cost for non-residents is $26.70.

Fillable antlerless application form

First Days for Antlerless Deer License Application, 2014:

By Mail Only:
Antlerless License (residents) – July 14
Antlerless License (nonresident) – July 28
Unsold Antlerless, 1st round – August 4
Unsold Antlerless, 2nd round – August 18

Over-the-Counter sales:
Antlerless License, WMUs 2B, 5C & 5D – August 25
All Other WMUs – October 6

Doe License Availability:
To see how many Antlerless Licenses are currently (nearly real time) available visit this link, Antlerless Deer License Availability.

To check the status of an Antlerless Deer License Application:
Go to Click on the “Purchase Fishing and/or Hunting License Permit and or Application / Replace License and or Permit” option, which includes the ability to “Check on the status of an Antlerless Deer or Elk Application,” scroll down and click on the “Start Here” button at the bottom of the page. At this page, choose one of the identification options below to check your records, fill in the necessary information and click on the “Continue” button. Click on the appropriate residency status, which will display your current personal information. At the bottom of the page, choose the “Check on the status of any Lottery Application” button, and then hit “Continue.”

I haven’t received my license yet:
County treasurers have until September 8, 2014 to mail back regular and first round unsold antlerless deer licenses, and until September 22, 2014 to mail out second round of unsold antlerless deer licenses.

Who to contact with questions about your application or license:
Please contact the County Treasurer that processed your license with specific inquiries about your application or Antlerless Deer License.

Unsold licenses in 2B, 5C and 5D:
This can be done by mail starting Monday, August 4, 2014 until allocations in those three WMUs are exhausted. Over-the-counter sales in these three units begin Monday, August 25, 2014.

Replacement of lost antlerless license:
Visit any County Treasurer’s office to be issued a replacement license. Cost of replacement is $6.70


stateeducationfundinglargeFrom the office of State Representative Kathy Rapp:

Last night, I voted with a majority of my legislative colleagues to approve a final 2014-15 state budget that for the fourth consecutive year maintains the core functions of state government without raising taxes.

As a member of the House Education Committee, I am especially pleased to report that this year’s fiscally responsible $29.1 billion state budget invests a record high of $10.5 billion in K-12 education—representing a more than $500 million increase over last year’s budget.

All totaled, funding levels for public schools located in the 65th Legislative District (Forest Area School District, Kane Area School District and Warren County School District) have increased by approximately $1.7 million above the 2013-14 state budget. As a result, Warren County School District now ranks as Pennsylvania’s 23rd top-funded school district.

This year’s budget also adds $20 million for special education funding, the first increase since 2007!

It also includes many other notable increases that are important to citizens across the Commonwealth. Higher education is increased by nearly $10 million, with $5 million of that total going to the new Ready to Succeed Scholarship to help defray the cost of higher education for middle-income families across Pennsylvania.

Finally, there are also significant public safety investments including $15 million to train four new state police classes and put 350 new state troopers on patrol.

Visit for the latest legislative updates.


From Representative Kathy Rapp:

concealedcarry4Special thanks to my co-host Sen. Scott Hutchinson; our expert presenters Warren County District Attorney Rob Greene, Warren County Sheriff Ken Klakamp, Forest County Sheriff Bob Wolfgang and Forest County District Attorney Elizabeth Ziegler; our generous hosts at the Warren Holiday Inn; and, especially, the more than 250 local firearm owners who filled last Saturday’s Concealed Carry Seminar to full capacity.

Due to the tremendous turnout, I am in the process of planning another one of these no-cost seminars, for later this fall, to help even more law-abiding firearm owners to expand their knowledge about Pennsylvania’s concealed carry laws, the Castle Doctrine and other valuable information regarding your Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

For the latest legislative and district event updates, visit or