Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Rush Weekend Racing Results

(Pulaski, PA)...Another full weekend is in the books in the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Racing Series powered by Pace Performance family of race tracks. It was a weekend with familiar faces in victory lane amongst the RUSH Late Models, RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, RUSH Pro Mods, and RUSH Pro Stocks as Mike Knight was the only new winner with his Late Model victory at Eriez Speedway.
The weekend started on Friday night at Dundee, New York's Outlaw Speedway where Brian Knowles picked up the RUSH Late Model victory over Adam Depuy, Jason Knowles and Bob Buono. It marked Brian Knowles' fourth win in the past six events, while his brother Jason won the other two. Another "Super Six" show is on tap for this Friday with FREE grandstand admission!
At Lernerville Speedway on Friday night, RUSH Pro Stock member, Corey McPherson, captured his season's fourth win. McPherson competes on the $135 sealed, spec Bilstein Shocks. Lernerville also announced that the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds have been added to the Friday, September 2 show with the World of Outlaws Late Models. 
 
Saturday night at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway, Daryl Charlier emerged from a 20-lap special event in the Stock division and climbed into his own #12 RUSH CLate Model. Charlier took the early lead and stretched it throughout the 20-lap race taking a commanding win over Brandon Burgoon, John Mollick, Michael Reft and Ben Policz. Charlier's chances to pull off a double came to an end earlier in the evening in the Stock when a battery mount broke when he was driving the Laboon Racing #14. Charlier, who had to settle for only one win on the evening, joined Mollick as the only repeat winners in the potent RUSH-sanctioned division at PPMS. Action returns this Saturday with a regular program along with the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds in their third of four visits to PPMS this year.
Busti, New York's Stateline Speedway was the site of the first ever special event for the RUSH Pro Mod division. Justin Carlson and Kelley Frederes brought the race to green. After a short first lap yellow flag period, Carlson dominated the event leading each of the 25 laps for his division leading fifth win. Frederes settled for second with Jeramy Williams, Scott Gurdak and Jason Covey for the top five. It was also the inaugural "Manufacturers Night" presented by MSD Performance as over $7,000 in products were distributed to the 10 eligible racers. 
Another pair of seasoned winners in Darrell Bossard and Scott Gurdak brought the field of RUSH Late Models to green. A lap one caution slowed things before they got started when Jason Genco and Ryan Scott got together. On the complete restart, Bossard took the early lead and held on throughout the event. Bossard got into some late race trouble when he made contact with a lapped car, but he kept his car straight and held on for his third win of the 2016 campaign, which propelled him into the $3,000 to-win Pace Performance "Summer Chase" point lead. Following Bossard were Dave Lyon, Jeff Hoffman, Andy Boozel and Damian Bidwell. Racing returns to Stateline this Saturday for Fan Appreciation Night with FREE grandstand admission.

An action packed feature at Wayne County Speedway on Saturday night saw tight action in the RUSH Late Model feature event. For 16 of the 20 laps the top three of Alan Dellinger, Jason Fosnaught and Charlie Duncan battled. Fosnaught, from the Pittsburgh area, led the race for a short time, no small feat for a first time visitor. By mid-race, Justin Chance and Matt Aber joined the action up front putting the top five in a close battle for the lead. A lap 16 dust-up between Aber and Fosnaught put Aber to the rear. In the end Duncan, the defending track champion, pulled away for his second straight win. Dellinger and Chance got past Fosnaught for second and third. Aber charged back to finish fifth. The BOSS Wingless Sprint cars are part of the action at the Orrville, Ohio oval this Saturday night.
Saturday night at Fulton Speedway, Jason Parkhurst led the first 11 of 20 laps in the RUSH Late Model feature event. But in the fourth turn of lap 12, A.J. Kingsley powered past Parkhurst and was off on his own easily winning the event for his third victory of 2016. Parkhurst settled for second with Johnny Hill, Bret Belden and Brandon Ford rounding out the top five. Action returns to the Fulton, New York speedway this Saturday for $20 Car Load Night. 
Twenty laps was the distance of the RUSH Late Model Feature Saturday night at Genesee Speedway in Batavia, NY. And 20 laps was how many laps Brady Wonderling led at the 1/3 mile oval. Wonderling would take an early lead well out in front of the field. He did see some pressure from Bill Holmes a couple times during the event, but held strong and took the win. Ironically, it was Wonderling's first appearance since winning back on June 4. Holmes settled for second with Beamer Guzzardi, TJ Downs and John Venuto completing the top five. Another 5-Star racing card is on tap for this Saturday at Genesee. 
Saturday at Sharon Speedway , RUSH Sportsman Modified pilot Chas Wolbert made it two wins on the season at the Hartford, Ohio oval and three overall on Bicknell Racing Products circuit. Early on there was plenty of racing going on near the front between Kyle Martell, Kole Holden, Chelsie Kriegisch and pole sitter Michael Kristyak. Wolbert took advantage of a lap six restart to get around Kriegisch, Holden and Martell. After a half straightaway lead was erased by another yellow, Wolbert went on to take the victory over Martell, Holden, Kriegisch and Calvin Clay.
"This Bicknell by RKR has been super fast," explained Wolbert. "We got in a jingle last week at Thunder Mountain and tore the rear end and front axle out. We got it done at about 3:30 today and I guess this is where we are! I absolutely love this class. Everyone is so close." The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds take a break from Sharon this Saturday and will compete in an event at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway. 
Mike Knight and Scott Gurdak led the field to green on Sunday night at Eriez Speedway in the RUSH Late Models. Mike Knight survived multiple caution periods and took his season's first win over Max Blair, Chad Wright Jason Genco and Kyle Zimmerman. The RUSH Late Models are off this week as the World of Outlaws Late Models invade the Erie County, PA oval.
The familiar #71L of Dennis Lunger, Jr. once again found his way to victory lane on Sunday night at Ontario's Humberstone Speedway. Colton Ledingham led Jeff Dayman and company in the 20-lap main event for the RUSH Late Models. Lunger worked his way to the front early on and with plenty of racing going on behind him, went on to a convincing win, his fifth of the season. Finishing a full straightaway behind was Sam Pennacchio in second. Rob Pietz, Jeff Dayman and Tim Gillespie were third through fifth. Humberstone hosts a regular program Sunday along with a 30 lap Enduro. 
Freedom Motorsports Park in Delevan, NY had a rain storm hit them in the evening forcing the races to be cancelled. They'll try again this Friday night. The RUSH Late Models return to Path Valley Speedway Park on Friday night in Spring Run, Pa. The RUSH Late Models had the night off last weekend at Bradford, Potomac, and Winchester Speedways and the same will continue this weekend. The RUSH Late Models will return to Winchester next Saturday and Bradford next Sunday, while Potomac hosts action next on August 26.
Current RUSH Late Model point leaders are Bryce Davis (Tour), Max Blair (Weekly), Darrell Bossard (Summer Chase), Kris Eaton (Bilstein Bandits), and Wyatt Scott (Futures Cup).
Current RUSH Sportsman Modified point leaders are Brian Schaffer (Weekly), Chas Wolbert (Tour), and Kyle Martell (Futures Cup).
Current RUSH Pro Mod point leaders are Kelly Frederes (Weekly) and Brian Mohawk (Futures Cup), while Corey McPherson leads the Sweeney RUSH Pro Stock Weekly Series points.
RUSH Late Model marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Bilstein Shocks, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Insinger Performance, MSD Performance, Maxima Racing Oil, Jones Racing Products, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, ARbodies, TBM Brakes, K&N Filters, Lincoln Electric, FK Rod Ends, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA, Rocket Chassis, Bobby Lake Motorsports High Gear Speed Shop, CrateInsider.com, B.R.A.K.E.S., RockAuto.com, and Valley Fashions.
RUSH Sportsman Modified marketing partners: Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Bicknell Racing Products, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Bilstein Shocks, Sunoco Race Fuels, MSD Ignition, Maxima Racing Oil, Jones Racing Products, FK Rod Ends, Sherwood Racing Wheels, Velocita-USA, Precise Racing Products, Alternative Power Sources, K&N Filters, TBM Brakes, Lincoln Electric, CrateInsider.com, Rocket Racing, and B.R.A.K.E.S. 
E-mail can be sent to the RUSH Racing Series at info@rushracingseries.com and snail mail to 4368 Route 422, Pulaski, PA 16143. Office phone is 724-964-9300 and fax is 724-964-0604. The RUSH Racing Series website is www.rushracingseries.com. Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rushlatemodels and follow us on Twitter @RUSHLM.
 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Fully Involved Structure Fire In Nelson Township

Shinglehouse Ambulance To Rt. 44 South

At 4:38 PM on Thursday, Shinglehouse Ambulance & Olean 10 have been dispatched to Rt. 44 South for a person ill.

Foundation honors Carol and James Stitt and 2016 scholarship recipients



OLEAN, N.Y., July 28, 2016 – At its 10th annual Friends of the Foundation Luncheon, the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation honored two of its closest friends, Carol and James Stitt, for their long-time dedication to the foundation.

“The Friends of the Foundation award is CRCF’s highest honor for those people who’ve been true friends of the foundation on a number of different levels,” said Executive Director Karen Niemic Buchheit. “The award is for those who’ve been dedicated to a cause and worked closely with the foundation as well as generously supporting one or more foundation funds. In that respect, Carol and Jim are two of the foundation’s most enduring and closest friends.”

Wendy Brand, CRCF board president, presented the honor to Carol Stitt, the foundation’s first executive director, and words of appreciation about Ms. Stitt.

Describing the evolution of CRCF, Ms. Brand said “With little more than a desk and some paper files to start, Carol laid the groundwork not only for what the foundation was at the time, but for what it would become. She was and is CRCF’s biggest ambassador.”

Carol’s stepping down from the Executive Director position did not end her service to the foundation. “When she retired as Executive Director, Carol was more than your typical board member. She quickly took on leadership roles. She served as board president and chaired the executive, finance and strategic planning committees,” said Ms. Brand.

Ms. Stitt acknowledged that Ms. Brand’s remarks were not hyperbole. She said that she indeed thought of the foundation as her “third child.”

It is a child that she’s nurtured for 22 years, since the foundation’s establishment. “She grew the foundation from its infancy to the strong organization it is today,” said Ms. Brand. “She truly saw the potential of a community foundation and the good it could do for our region when it was just a seed of an idea in the Olean area.”

Together, Carol and her husband, James, established the Stitt Family Fund at the CRCF. Today, they still regularly donate to other foundation causes. Mr. Stitt has also volunteered to speak at CRCF’s annual Nonprofit Networking Day.

James Stitt, Cutco CEO, has shared his expertise and resources to further the foundation’s visions and goals, said Brand. “The foundation has benefited from the advising of Cutco’s marketing, HR and IT staff,” she said. “So with Jim on your team, you don’t get just one person, but a whole crowd behind you.”

Mr. Stitt, who also serves on the St. Bonaventure University board of trustees and the Dresser-Rand Challenger Learning Center’s board, spoke about “keeping the lights on,” meaning that community members should focus on making the region the best it can be so that anyone who goes away has a strong community to return to.

It’s that shared vision of building a better tomorrow for the Greater Olean area that has driven the Stitts do so much good. It’s that shared vision that makes them the perfect 2016 Friends of the Foundation honorees.

Ms. Brand also recognized some of this year’s new funds, which included the OHS Class of 1961 Scholarship Fund, established by Duane A. Geuder and members of the Olean High School class of 1961; the St. Mary of the Angels Future Fund, established by parishioners at St. Mary of the Angels Church; and the Hamburg Track Scholarship Fund, established by William V. Malican III.

All students who received scholarships managed by the CRCF in 2016 were also honored at the luncheon. The foundation managed and distributed 80 scholarships this year, totaling $112,730 for area students.

Ms. Stitt reminded the recipients of the generosity that made their scholarships possible. “In many cases you’re receiving scholarships from people you’ve never met,” she said.

She said that fact should encourage them to embrace the vision of her and her husband, James. “Please, take that to heart, and when you are out making your way in the world, make sure that
the community in which you are living is a better place.”

In other words, help to make sure that the light stays on in the community.

As an afternoon of touching stories and companionship among friends came to a close, one thing was clear; CRCF plans to continue keeping the lights on for its scholarship and other grant recipients. But even more, they plan to join the Stitts in their mission to keep the lights on all across the region.

Established in 1994, the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation is growing good by connecting donors to the causes they care about most in the region. Grants from the foundation support many areas, including education, scholarships, health care, the arts, community development, human service, and youth development. To learn more, call (716) 301-CRCF (2723), email foundation@cattfoundation.org, or visit online at www.cattfoundation.org. CRCF is also on Facebook (facebook.com/cattfoundation) and Twitter (@CattFoundation).
 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Safe haven: Sober house for women set to open May 1 in Cattaraugus, N.Y.



Haven.


By definition, a haven is a place of safety, a refuge.

Trina Rickard has made it her mission to draw from her own experience as an addict to provide a clean and sober place — a haven — for women struggling with alcohol and drug addiction.

Rickard hopes that this place is 97 Washington St., Cattaraugus, N.Y., a small village with a population of around 1,000, located north of Salamanca, N.Y. Nakeema’s Haven is set to open its doors on May 1. Rickard also hopes the third time’s a charm as two previous locations did not pan out.

The requirement for admittance? A commitment and drive to be clean and sober — regardless of where they come from or what path they have traveled. All women are welcome to make Nakeema’s Haven their home on their road to recovery.

“Our top priority here is for women to come in, get hope and get in recovery. That is all we care about,” said Rickard, executive director of Nakeema’s Haven.

A Place for Recovery
It’s a sobering fact that drug and alcohol abuse is running rampant and is taking lives in the process.
Rickard knows this all too well. She herself is a recovering addict — her sobriety date is July 14. This year, she will accomplish 23 years of sobriety.

From the struggles of her own past, Rickard has sought a way to pay it forward and provide an opportunity for women to get the help they need. That is why she started Nakeema’s Haven, a place for women who “don’t want to go back” to a life of drugs and alcohol.

Five beds will be available, including one room that can accommodate a mother and two children. Keeping a mother with her children is an important part of recovery.

“They are getting their lives turned around. They shouldn’t have to lose their kids in the process.”
While the place is not ready for full occupancy yet, they can house someone in case of an emergency.
“We have a bed ready; it is livable,” Rickard said of the house.

The mission of Nakeema’s House is to provide women with “decent, affordable, supportive, clean and sober housing as they begin their journey to recovery.”

Rickard stressed that women can stay regardless of income. One woman who went to social services and discovered she could not receive help there, burst into tears thinking she could not pay rent.
“That is not what we are about. We are not going to turn anyone away. There are no roadblocks. I want to make it clear — all are welcome who want recovery.”

Yes, Nakeema’s Haven helps women in the here and now, but it also prepares them for life beyond its doors.

On the residential side, the women plan and prepare meals together and help with household chores. They also work on becoming more employable by either volunteering or working towards a GED or college degree.

While Nakeema’s Haven is a residential unit, its doors are always open for women who need support or a safe place to hang out for a few hours or a couple of days.

“You never know what life deals you. They may be scared of failure,” Rickard said. “They can come in, hang out, grab a recovery book or do puzzles.”

On the recovery side, they attend outpatient counseling and attend 12-step meetings.

Between the two, Nakeema’s Haven provides the structure these women need to succeed. People are on site 24/7.

Transportation is provided to and from meetings, doctor’s appointments as well as other necessary travel.

All the people working at Nakeema’s Haven are certified to use Narcan, which blocks or reverses the effects of opioid medication and is used when people overdose.

Rickard said they have not had to use it yet, but volunteers have it on them at all times in case the need arises.

A vast majority of the women in the program have drug addictions and may rely on alcohol only when they can’t get their drug of choice.

To date, Nakeema’s Haven has helped 26 women. Only seven were solely addicted to alcohol.
“That is where we are now. People are using more drugs than alcohol … this is a serious epidemic.”
The women can stay eight months to a year. A minimum of eight months is to provide them enough time to get sober and ready to leave. A maximum of a year is needed so they have a deadline and not rely on others.

“If they get comfortable, why would they move to the next stage ... it sets the pace for them" in the marathon journey of recovery.

However, if extra time is needed to take the next step and move on their own, allowances will be made.
“We are not going to set someone up for failure.”

To date, only one woman has been turned away. That was because she was on suboxone, a drug which is used to help heroin addiction. No controlled substances are allowed at Nakeema’s Haven.
The place is open for any woman regardless of where they live.

“We don’t care where you come from,” Rickard said, adding they have helped women from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and throughout New York state.

Battling the Stigma
Nakeema’s Haven is not new. It has been in existence for two years. There is no doubt that these types of residences come with a lot of baggage and that is true of this one. It has had an uphill battle to find the right place and to gain acceptance.

Nakeema’s Haven first opened in Olean. On the surface, that place did not work because they could not get a variance to have a recovery house in a residential neighborhood. But below the surface, the stigma of having a recovery house in the neighborhood was too much for locals to bear.

“They don’t want to get real about it,” Rickard said of some of the neighbors. As with anything, some were accepting as others were not.

In fact, one neighbor was quoted as saying, “I would rather live next to a murderer than a junkie.”
Rickard then thought she had a second chance when a house in Little Valley was donated. In the end, that deal fell through when issues with the owner developed and they discovered the construction was more than they could tackle to get it ready for occupancy.

"It was for the best. We don't need that stress."

Enter the home in Cattaraugus — a true haven.

What's in a Name?
Nakeema's Haven was named for the one being Rickard could rely on while seeking sobriety — a Rottweiler.
"They say to get a plant because it teaches responsibility, but I have never had a green thumb."
Instead, she had “Nakeema,” a source of unconditional love and someone who lends a sympathetic ear, will keep secrets and teach tolerance.

"What an amazing gift," Rickard said.

In that spirit, a dog and two cats are on site to lend a paw in recovery.

"They are safe to talk to, to cry to. They have that instinct. They are very rewarding.

Getting by with a Little Help
"... With God, all things are possible." Matthew 19:26

Spirituality plays a big part in Nakeema's Haven and so does the help of volunteers.
When the house in Cattaraugus was donated, it needed a lot of work before they could plan on accepting applications. This included a new hot water tank, a new roof and repairing water damage. Several volunteers and area businesses have stepped up to the plate to get the place ready.
Bob Bolles is one of them. He spends one day a week in his free time to do whatever is needed, whether it is plumbing or patching walls. And he often stays to 2 or 3 a.m.

Why?

"These people need help: they don't need prisons,” he said.

Rickard echoed Bolles' words, saying when an addict is incarcerated with no rehabilitation, "the same person comes out.

"They are caged like animals. We need to show them how to live different ... or they will get caught in the system.”

In addition to the volunteers helping with the house, there are six who help with the residents and more are welcome.

Also welcome are donations of clothing, household items, hygiene products and money.
Nakeema's Haven is run solely by volunteers and does not receive any state funding.

The residents are the top priority, Rickard said. Extra donations — such as dishes and silverware — are set aside and given to the women when they leave.

"Our goal is to have enough donations to help them set up their first apartment when they leave us."
If there are extras, they are given to others who may need them.

Rickard’s plans for the future include another living facility for women who are ready to leave Nakeema’s Haven, but not ready to head out on their own, as well as one for men.

“In the end, I will not stop.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Eric Wilson wins 2016 Mike and Jim Duffy Memorial at McKean County Raceway!

Eric Wilson wins 2016 Mike and Jim Duffy Memorial at McKean County Raceway!
East Smethport, PA (April 23, 2016)
By Jay Pees
The air was cold but the racing hot under crystal clear blue skies for the 2016 season opener with Tom McFall, Eric Wilson, David Scott, Bruno Mowery, and Kurt Babcock picking up the opening night checkers.
Tom McFall, a past MCR Champion, resumed his racing career after several years of retirement and brought the Advocare by Advozuvy.com Street Stocks to the green and led Brady Church and Ted Masco at the end of one lap. By halfway McFall was leading Church by half a straight while they fought over the runner up spot. Mascho edged by Church at lap thirteen but Church again was second at fourteen complete. McFall extended his lead to a full straight by the end of the twenty lapper with Church prevailing for second by a car length at the stripe. Mascho was third wth Michael Bergel and Ed Coast filling out the top five. The win for McFall was his first win in nearly fifteen years at MCR.
  MCFALL
photos by Jimmie Porter
Eric Wilson and John Waters brought the Jim and Mike Duffy Memorial feature to the track with a double “Missing Man” formation four-wide salute to the fans. Wilson, all the way from Cortland, OH led lap one with Waters right behind. At lap eight Wilson was into lapped traffic when Zach Weich came to a halt in turn four. At green Dave Lyon ran second for half a lap before Waters came back by him. At halfway it was Wilson, Waters, and Lyon when Weich again stopped, this time on the front straight. Damian Bidwell and Jeremy Wonderling filled out the top five at halfway. Again Lyon came to second at green, this time holding it but three cars , Brad Mesler, Andy Michael, and Wyatt Scott, spun in turn four, again bringing caution over the event. Over the last half of the race it was Wilson maintaining his lead and going on to his first ever McKean County Raceway feature win. The win came on the eve of his nineteenth birthday. Lyon held on for second with a Waters third, Damien Bidwell fourth, and Jason Knowles fifth.WILSON DUFFY MEMORIAL
Greg Johnson and John Woodward brought the Close Racing Supply E-Mods to green Johnson grabbing the lead at the drop of green. Darren Taribori came to second at the end of one lap with “Slowride” David Scott up to third. At eight laps in, Scott got to second and started chasing down the leader. At halfway Scott edged by Johnson and drove off to the win. Johnson held on for second at the checkers with, Vic Vena third, Kirk Bradley fourth, and Al Brewer fifth.
SLOWRIDE
The Peters Graphics and Designs Pure Stocks were brought to green by Bruno Mowery and Alex Wulff with Mowery grabbing the immediate lead. Yellow flew at three complete when Dan Ott looped his mount in turn four. On the restart the front row failed to fire, negating the green. At halfway the front five were Mowery, Wulff, Ryan Snyder, Ott, and Glen Layfield. With two laps remaining Zack Gustafson had his engine erupt in a cloud of smoke, dropping a trail of oil on the front straight, again forcing yellow. At the checkers it was Mowery and Wulff followed by Snyder, Ott, and Layfield.
bruno
The Mary Norgrove Notary Service Mini-Stock feature had a four-wide race for the lead on the back straight on lap one but two of the leaders, pole sitter Dylan Strade and Casey Burch ended up in the front straight wall. For the restart the front row was Kurt Babcock and Jacob Dunn. Babcock led the first lap with Burch taking over at lap two. Burch steadily pulled out to a lead of only one car length by lap five. In lapped traffic Babcock was able to regain the lead at halfway. Babcock extended his lead to three lengths by lap ten. At eleven complete Burch appeared to suffer mechanical ails and fell back, exiting pitside at twelve complete. Babcock went on to the win over Dana Haver, and Kurt Goodell. Haver would be disqualified for not crossing the scales and not going to tech after the event awarding second to Goodell and Dave Lowe Sr. third.
babcock
MCR returns to action on THURSDAY, May 26 as the Zimmer’s Service Center UEMS Emod Series makes their first appearance to MCR of the year in the Rayce and Zoiee Zuver Memorial featuring a pair of Twin 20s features paying $700 to win. A full program of RUSH Late Models, Street Stocks, Pure Stocks and Mini Stocks will also be on the card. Race Time will be 7:30pm for the Thursday night event.
Little Power Shop RUSH Crate Late Models:
Heat 1: John Waters, Jeremy Wonderling, Eric Wilson, Randy Hall, Bryce Davis, Jason Knowles, Garrett Mott, Doug Ricotta
Heat 2: Jason Tingue, Dave Lyon, Damian Bidwell, Andy Michael, Mike Onderling Jr, Wyatt Scott, RJ Pistner, Zach Weich, Brad Mesler
Feature: Eric Wilson, Dave Lyon, Hn Waters, Damian Bidwell, Jason Knowles, Randy Hall, Jeremy Wonderling, Mike Wonderling Jr, Bryce Davis, Jason Tingue, Doug Ricotta, Brad Mesler, Garrett Mott, Wyatt Scott, RJ Pistner, Andy Michael, Zach Weich
Close Racing Supply E-Mods:
Heat 1: Greg Johnson, John Woodward, Darren Tarabori, Dave Scott, Vic Vena, Kirk Bradley, Butch Southwell, Al Brewer
Feature: Dave Scott, Greg Johnson, Vic Vena, Kirk Bradley, Al Brewer, Butch Southwell, Darren Tarabori, John Woodward
Advocare by Advozuy.com Street Stocks:
Heat 1: Tom McFall, Brady Church, Critter Hemphill, Jamie Colewell, Rick Wojtowicz, Dan Maybee
Heat 2: Ted Mascho, Ed Coast, Michael Bergel, Dustin Goss, Devin Dudenhooeffer
Feature: Tom McFall, Brady Church, Ted Mascho, Michael Bergel, Ed Coast, Dustin Goss, Dan Maybee, Critter Hemphil (DNS)l, Rich Wotjowicz (DNS), Devin Dudenhoeffer (DNS), Jamie Colewell (DNS)
Peter’s Graphics & Designs Pure Stocks:
Heat 1: Bruno Mowery, Roger Schweikert, Glen Layfield, David Warrior, Ryan Snyder (DQ)
Heat 2: Alex Wulff, Cliff Eastman, Matt Putt, Dan Ott, Zack Gustafson
Feature: Bruno Mowery, Alex Wulff, Ryan Snyder, Dan Ott, Glenn Layfield, Roger Schweikert, Zack Gustafson, Matt Putt, Cliff Easton, David Warrior
Mary Norgrove Notary Mini Stocks:
Heat 1: Kurt Babcock, Casey Burch, Dave Lowe Jr, Dylan Strade, Duane Powers, Dana Haver, Dave Lowe Sr, Mike Eastman
Heat 2: Holden Heinemann, Kurt Goodell, Jacob Dunn, Dylan Edminster, Michael Provorse Leonard Britton, Eric Canfield, David Kunes
Feature: Kurt Babcock, Kurt Goodell, Dave Lowe Sr., Jacob Dunn, Leonard Britton, Casey Burch, Dyllan Edminster, Duane Powers, Dylan Strade, Michael Provorse, Eric Canfield (DNS) David Kunes (DNS), Dave Lowe Jr. (DNS), Mike Eastman (DNS), Holden Heinemann(DNS).

Sunday, April 17, 2016

PA Wilds Team recognizes 11 for outstanding contributions to sustainable tourism development

Eleven residents, business owners, and organizations from across the Pennsylvania Wilds region will be recognized later this month for their contributions helping grow the region's nature and heritage tourism industry.

The PA Wilds Champion Awards are given out annually as part of the PA Wilds Conservation Landscape movement, a ground-breaking partnership that began in 2003 to grow the region's outdoors industry in a way that creates jobs, diversifies local economies, inspires stewardship and improves quality of life.

The Pennsylvania Wilds, one of the state's 11 official tourism regions, covers about a quarter of the Commonwealth and includes the counties of Warren, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Lycoming, Clinton, Cameron, Elk, Forest, Clarion, Jefferson, Clearfield and the northern part of Centre county.

The region is known for its more than 2 million acres of public land, and also boasts two National Wild & Scenic Rivers, some of the darkest skies in the country and the largest wild elk herd in the Northeast. Visitors spend an estimated $1.7 billion in the region each year, according to the most recent statistics.

This year's PA Wilds Champions hail from all corners of the region and their awards reflect values promoted through the landscape work: partnerships, creativity, stewardship, giving back, creating new opportunities and local leadership.
 
"The people and communities across the Pennsylvania Wilds contribute in many ways to this exciting Conservation Landscape Initiative," said Jim Weaver, Chair of the PA Wilds Planning Team, which organizes the awards. "By identifying and celebrating the wonderful work that is being done across the region the PA Wilds Team hopes to inspire others to catch and harness the enthusiasm that is the essence of our rural communities."

A full list of the 2016 PA Wilds Champion are BELOW. The awardees will be recognized at the PA Wilds Annual Dinner & Awards Banquet April 28 at the Red Fern in St. Marys, Pa.

Special guests at this year's dinner will include Cindy Dunn, Secretary of the PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources; Dennis Davin, Secretary of the PA Dept. of Community & Economic Development; and PennDOT Deputy Secretary Toby Fauver. This year's theme is "Celebrating Our Public Lands," and will include a keynote by Marci Mowery, President of the PA Parks & Forest Foundation. West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund is this year's dinner sponsor. Networking will begin at 4 p.m., program starts promptly at 5 p.m.

2016 PA Wilds Champion Award Winners
Outstanding Leader Award- James H. and Shirley A. Maguire Family, Lock Haven, PA - Clinton County
"Success is just disguised hard work," says Jim Maguire, patriarch to now four generations of Maguires who call Clinton County home. From logger and land developer, to restaurant owner and operator, to volunteers, the Maguire Family has made a significant mark on the region, one that is founded on their love of the natural resources and sense of community that make up the Pennsylvania Wilds.
The Maguires are probably best known in tourism circles for Restless Oaks Restaurant, a white pine and oak building with collectables on the walls that the family built in 1984. The restaurant has served thousands of visitors with its rustic charm, down-home food and warm service and was one of the first to start using the PA Wilds logo, back in the early 2000s, placing it prominently on their business sign along busy Route 220.
The Maguires have been staunch supporters and promoters of tourism and economic development initiatives on the eastern side of the region, including promoting the Pine Creek Rails-to-Trails system, local chainsaw carving exhibitions, and various beautification and clean-up projects. If they aren't the ones directly involved in a project, they are always willing to help, lending everything from a place to meet and discuss, to financial or volunteer support, to expertise learned from their many business and community ventures over the past 50 years. The family has a keen sense for business, a love of nature and history, and the understanding that giving back to their community is important.
Great Places Award - City of Warren
Warren, PA - Warren County
The City of Warren is located at the confluence of two recognized water trails, the National Wild & Scenic Allegheny River and PA's 2015 River of the Year, Conewango Creek. It is also a gateway to the Allegheny National Forest, another major attraction of the Pennsylvania Wilds region, and a Route 6 Heritage community with a rich oil and lumber history. In addition to having a river running through it, downtown Warren boasts more than 600 historic structures in 25 architectural styles, including the Struthers Library Theatre, one of the country's oldest theatrical venues. Several businesses display the Pennsylvania Wilds logo or participate in the Wilds Cooperative of PA, which helps visitors find locally-made products. The city itself recently spearheaded an effort that saw dozens of PA Wilds and Route 6 flags hung from street lamps downtown. A new "Walkable Warren" project, which includes interpretive kiosks, helps connect these many assets for the walking and cycling public. 
Warren also has a record for warm hospitality. In 2015, for example, the City of Warren was selected through a competitive bid process to host the statewide Greenway & Trails Summit. Many local people and organizations came together to make the event a success. And a success it was - the best attended in the event's history, according to officials. While the Summit was a one-time event, people seemed ready to return.  
"Warren PA is my pick again," one attendee said. "There is a lot of variety in the outdoor trail types. The PA Wilds and the National Forest hiking were superb as was the motorized trail system.  It might be hard to beat that anywhere else in PA." 
A downtown business owner said many attendees stopped into his store. "They all mentioned the outstanding conference, and how beautiful and nice Warren is. I was struck by how each ... was filled with positive thoughts and interests for the future of our area."
Congrats, Warren.  
Conservation Stewardship Organization Award - Bucktail Watershed Association
The Bucktail Watershed Association (BWA) is a group of citizens united to promote wise watershed stewardship of property and stream banks in the Driftwood Branch and First Fork of the Sinnemahoning Creek watersheds.
            This volunteer group has accomplished many projects, including placing watershed educational signs and maps at state parks and schools, planting streamside forest buffers and doing stream restoration projects, organizing stream and roadside garbage cleanups, and treating miles of stream banks and acres of forests for invasive plants.
            Currently, BWA is working to control invasive plant species such as mile-a-minute vine, Japanese knotweed, tree of heaven, Japanese barberry and buckthorn. Since 2009, the BWA has worked with over 180 landowners in Potter and Cameron counties to treat 42 (gross) miles of stream banks to control Japanese knotweed. 
The BWA has also been very aggressive in treating mile-a-minute vine on a site west of Emporium, and along the Driftwood Branch above Sterling Run. The group has also been working with the PA Game Commission and private landowners at the Elk-Cameron County line, to control buckthorn, treating almost 1,000 acres of forest. The BWA has also been working to eradicate small, scattered populations of tree of heaven and Japanese barberry in the watershed.
Conservation Stewardship Individual Award - Jim Leonard
Weedville, PA -Elk County
Jim Leonard has done great work for the environment without receiving one cent for his efforts. Leonard runs what is essentially a one-man glass recycling operation in Elk County. He pays for the dumpster out of his pocket and uses his own vehicles to get the glass and other materials from the dumpster to their final destination, often to Brockway Glass. The glass he gets from the local glass collection center is often mixed together (even though the colors are clearly marked). It is a mountain of work and it has been going on for decades! The amount of recyclables he's kept out of landfills is absolutely staggering. One photo shows a drum of crushed glass weighing more than 500 lbs. Another shows the full dumpster holding 80 barrels or 20 tons. Leonard has inspired many local people and those in nursing homes to recycle long before recycling was even thought of for communities.
Great Design Award - Subway New Bethlehem
New Bethlehem, PA - Clarion County
Tim Murray was the owner of six Subways in Armstrong and Clarion counties when he decided to build a seventh store a few feet from the popular Redbank Valley Trail, 2014's 'PA Trail of the Year,' in New Bethlehem. 
Murray contacted the PA Wilds early on in the project, noting use of the PA Wilds Design Guide and his desire to tie into the regional brand through outdoor interpretive signage at the site. Murray built the new Subway different than traditional stores, with an open ceiling plan, shake shingles to give it a rustic look, and solar panels on the roof. The building's stone siding was sourced locally, as were the construction crews. He hung a keystone over the store's entrance. Murray is also planning to do outdoor seating to court Redbank Valley Trail users, and also wants to do interpretive signage that explains how the trail is part of the larger outdoor recreation destination of the Pennsylvania Wilds. 
It is tremendous to see businesses building to fit the landscape like this. Too often we see chains do the minimum in terms of design - a cement box or something along those lines. Communities can ask for something more inspired, and often times will get it if they do. As Murray has demonstrated, business owners can also spearhead more inspired designs. And it makes business sense to do so: no doubt he is going to have more trail customers because he did.
Murray and his Subway are now being considered as a case study for the new edition of the PA Wilds Design Guide, slated to come out this summer.
Member of the Year Award- Deborah Pontzer
Elk County
2016 PA Wilds Team Member of the Year is Deborah Pontzer. Pontzer is chair of the PA Wilds Planning Team's Outreach Committee. As anyone on the Team can tell you, this is one of the group's most active committees, charged as it is with some of the most visible aspects of the Wilds work - overseeing our annual dinner and awards banquet, our online and print resources for communities, our community workshops and the like. 
Year in and year out, Pontzer has taken these massive projects on with grace and gusto, always going the extra mile to get great speakers, to involve as many partners as possible, and to seek out the greatest skills and talents within our budgets so as to best serve our communities.
Under Pontzer's leadership, the annual dinner has grown from an afternoon luncheon to a sold-out evening event that attracts people from around the region who share the vision and spirit of the Wilds work. She has helped make this important regional networking event sustainable by incorporating ticket sales and sponsorships to offset the cost of putting it on. And she has helped launch, shape and grow the PA Wilds Champion Awards, which have been critical to building understanding and pride in the work being done by so many residents and organizations across the region related to nature tourism. She has also help guide and grow the business development component of the Wilds work, sharing her insights, networks and time to advance many of the Wilds' business development efforts and endeavors, be they grant applications or strategic partnerships or approaches to complicated projects.
Artisan of the Year - Steve Getz, Lock Haven, PA - Clinton County
Steve Getz is an accomplished artist, designer and arts advocate who has championed arts efforts at the local and regional level, including working on behalf of the PA Wilds.
An accomplished painter and designer whose work has earned many recognitions and appeared in galleries, museums and other collections, Getz is probably best known among the Wilds network as one of the faces of the Station Gallery, which he and others on the Clinton County Arts Council transformed from an abandoned train depot to a stunning gallery that hosts thoughtful - and very well attended -- art shows throughout the year. He has also been instrumental in organizing arts events and festivals, such as Clinton County Arts Council's Harvest Days and the upcoming Lock Haven JAMS festival in August.
 
Perhaps lesser known is that behind the scenes, Getz volunteers on behalf of the PA Wilds Artisan Trail and is a champion of the Pennsylvania Wilds brand. The Artisan Trail has gone through significant changes over the last few years, including a major strategic planning process in 2015 that is repositioning the program for long-term growth and under a new brand identity, the Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania. Steve has been there at every turn to talk through concepts and ideas, to host events, and to explain changes to current and potential artisans, trail sites and partners. Steve has understood from the beginning that a big regional arts-related business development program doesn't just come out of the box fully formed. It has to be built, brick by brick, and that it takes a lot of people contributing to make that happen in a meaningful and sustainable way.
Business of the Year Award- Flickerwood Wine Cellars
Kane, PA - McKean County
Located near Kane, in McKean County, Flickerwood Wine Cellars opened in 2000 and has pretty much been expanding ever since, adding employees at both their main branch in Kane and at their Tasting Rooms in Kennett Square and Oxford, Pa.
Flickerwood co-owner Ron Zampogna made wine his entire life. After nearly four decades with the US Forest Service, he retired and his kids convinced him and Mom they should go into business. The entire family now works at the winery. Tourists make up a large part of their foot traffic. In their neck of the woods, the historic Kinzua Viaduct at Kinzua Bridge State Park are a major draw. 
When a tornado ripped part of the historic Kinzua Viaduct down in 2003, Flickerwood crafted a semi-sweet wine called "Tribute" and donated a portion of sales, more than $3000 total, to the Kinzua Bridge Foundation, a nonprofit. In 2013, Flickerwood created another called "Kinzua Journey," a semi-sweet white blend,  which also celebrated the Kinzua Viaduct and its history, and donated more than $1000 in proceeds to their local visitor bureau to help promote the state park and surrounding area. 
Flickerwood Wine Cellars has also been very active in promoting the Pennsylvania Wilds region and brand. The winery is part of the Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania, and was one of the first businesses in the region to put the Wilds logo on their business sign. They were also one of the first to sign up to use the Wilds logo on a saleable product, launching their semi-sweet PA Wilds-branded "Wilderness Red" wine in 2012. A portion of proceeds on all sales of Wilderness Red now go to support the PA Wilds Conservation Landscape work, another great ongoing contribution.
Inspiring Youth Award - Marlene Lellock
Punxsutawney, PA - Jefferson County
Since she began her involvement, Marlene Lellock has taken the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center to new heights and helped to develop an educational and recreational attraction that is equal to none. The Discovery Center now provides a mix of interactive exhibits that are entertaining and educational for both youths and adults from the PA Wilds region and across the country.
Marlene has a long history of work in and around her community. She currently serves on the PA Great Outdoors board, and her insights have provided the organization with many wonderful ideas to help promote tourism within the counties of Cameron, Clarion, Jefferson, Elk, and Forest. She also serves on the "Visit Punxsutawney" group that works to promote local tourism projects and visitation. Marlene very rarely makes decisions based solely on her own interests or the interests of the Weather Discovery Center, but rather on the interests of the entire area. She is a prime example of someone who thinks on a large scale and puts the interests of others before her own.
In the immediate sense, the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center has provided employment and internship opportunities to many individuals. It has become a destination of its own, drawing people from the region who then also visit Punxsutawney's other attractions.  With Marlene's help, the Weather Discovery Center has become a resource for Boy and Girl Scouts, a field trip destination for schools in the region, and a prime tourist attraction, not just during Groundhog Day, but also throughout the year.
Event of the Year Award - Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous Ridgway, PA - Elk County
The Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous has grown to be one of the biggest attractions in the Pennsylvania Wilds during the month of March. Chainsaw Carver Rick Boni and his wife Liz, the event organizers, attract carvers from around the globe, which in turn brings visitors to the event from all over the eastern U.S. In 2016, more than 45,000 people came to Elk County to see chainsaw carvers in action and to attend the auction at the end of the festival.
Various non-profits are given display space during the Rendezvous for education and fund raising purposes, and the event gives many tourism-related businesses an important boost during the shoulder winter season. Hotels, B&B's, cabins, restaurants and retailers all see increased business during this event, which has also sparked community pride.
Best Brand Ambassador Award - Stephanie Distler
Johnsonburg, PA - Elk County
Before there was a 'Best Brand Ambassador' award, Stephanie Distler was championing the Pennsylvania Wilds brand and pushing the envelope on how private-sector partners could leverage it in the marketplace.
A PA Wilds Juried Artisan and founding member of the PA Wilds Artisan Trail, Stephanie was one of the first artisans to align her hand-forged jewelry designs with our regional brand. She didn't stop there. Stephanie was also the first Juried Artisan to create a line of PA Wilds-branded products - a jewelry line. This was before there was a PA Wilds Licensing Program to encourage this sort of thing. Indeed, Stephanie's interest in developing her PA Wilds-branded jewelry line helped fuel efforts to get a Licensing system off the ground for the PA Wilds Conservation Landscape.
The Licensing Program, which officially launched last year, is now an important component in our regional brand development strategy -- and our sustainability strategy. Stephanie was one of the first to sign up, and a portion of her sales from her PA Wilds branded jewelry now go to support the Conservation Landscape effort. 
Beyond this, Stephanie has opened her working studio and shared her experiences in educational videos about the Wilds, helping to underscore the importance of the effort to creative small businesses. She continues to inspire and lead numerous promotional efforts, from PA Wilds Pop-Up Shops to our PA Wilds Etsy Street Team to PA Wilds campaigns across numerous social media platforms. On many weekends throughout the year, you can follow Stephanie on social media traveling the region with her family, visiting Artisans and Trail sites and talking to other businesses about the Wilds and how they might get involved. She does this on her own time and dime, and we love her for it, for there is nothing better for a brand than authentic, genuine interactions like this.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

APRIL 22, 2016, ORCHARD TRAIL OPENING, BRIDGE DEDICATION AND “POOR FARM WALK”



On April 22, 2016, several events will be held at the McKean County Poor Farm Property along Route 6 in Smethport. 

The McKean County Good Growing Gardens Program (3G) will be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony behind the Domestic Relations Building at 10:00 AM for the opening of the Orchard Trail System.  The Orchard Trial System is approximately 1 ½ miles long and it connects to the Shawmut Trail System, which provides an addition approximately a mile and a half of trails and leads to the Hamlin Lake.  The 3G Program is overseen by the Court and Adult Probation.  It provides an opportunity for defendants in the criminal justice system to complete community service.  A crew of numerous participants has worked very hard for over 2 years to complete this trail.  The new trail provides an opportunity for the public to walk and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Old County Poor Farm property including abundant wildlife along Marvin Creek.   

Walkers have viewed deer, bear, pheasants, songbirds, numerous waterfowl species, osprey, recently an eagle and many more species of birds.  The trail system was proposed by the court and 3G / Adult Probation, but could not have been completed without the approval, cooperation and support of the McKean County Commissioners, the McKean County Maintenance Department and the McKean County Conservation Department.   President Judge John H. Pavlock, Commissioner Clifford Lane, Chief Adult Probation Officer Gary Seefeldt and 3G Coordinator Mike Barnard will be making brief comments at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

A Bridge Dedication Ceremony will be held at 10:30 AM at the Marvin Creek Bridge that the Orchard Trail leads to.  Individuals at the trail ribbon ceremony can, if they choose, walk the trail to the Bridge.  For those that chose not to walk the trial, there is limited handicap parking beside the bridge and additional parking in the 911 and CYS parking lot areas (roughly 200 yard walk to the bridge from the parking lot).  The Bridge is behind the 3G Barn on Route 6 and behind McKean 911 and CYS Buildings.

Attached below is an outline of the history of the Marvin Creek Bridge on the County’s Poor Farm Property as well as an outline of the renovation work that was undertaken in 2015 in order to save it.  A plaque will be unveiled at the ceremony on April 22nd.  The individual(s) whom will be honored by the dedication of the bridge have been chosen, but will not be revealed until the bridge dedication ceremony.  Commissioner Clifford Lane, Judge John Pavlock and Mike Barnard (3G Coordinator) will make brief statements at the time of the ceremony.  If there is inclement weather the Trail Opening Ceremony and Bridge Dedication will be re-scheduled to April 29, 2016, at 11:30 AM. (As of time of this press release, Historical Society has indicated “Rain or shine, their event described below will proceed”).  

Any additional questions regarding the Trail Opening and the Bridge Dedication can be forwarded to Mike Barnard, 3G Coordinator, at  (814) 598-1126 OR mtbarnard@mckeancountypa.org.  Mike will make the call prior to 9:30 AM on the 22nd regarding any change due to weather. 
 
Following the Bridge Dedication Ceremony and at 11:00 AM, the McKean County Historical Society, in cooperation with the Potato Creek Trail Association,  will hold a “Walk to the Poor Farm Cemetery” Event at the Poor Farm Cemetery on the hill across from the Poor Farm Complex. There is a trail leading from the Marvin Creek Bridge to the cemetery.  Program participants will assume the role of some of the County Poor Farm residents who were laid to rest at the cemetery. This will be an interactive program.  Further details regarding the “Walk to the Poor Farm” program can be obtained by contacting the McKean County Historical 
Society, (814) 887-5412 (Website: MCHSmuseum.org).  

Bridge Renovation Project



In the late half of the 19th Century a shift was underway regarding bridge construction in the United States.  Timber bridges were giving way to the use of Iron truss bridges.  With its growing economy and many streams and rivers, Pennsylvania was one of several States at the forefront of this development.  Numerous patents were issued for bridge designs and hundreds of bridge manufacturers sprung up across the nation – many in Pennsylvania.

There were 17 different types of metal truss bridges.  This Bridge is an example of a “Warren Truss Bridge” (patent was issued to James Warren and Willoughby Monzani in 1848). The Warren truss employs only diagonal members that were set in opposite directions, forming a series of diagonals. The Warren truss was widely used in Pennsylvania and other Eastern States. 
Based on its style and the stone utilized in the abutments that support the bridge, it is assumed that this bridge was placed at approximately the same time that the “McKean County Poor Farm” was built (dedication for the Poor Farm complex was held Tuesday, July 9, 1895 at 2:00 p.m.).  This bridge was used to gain entrance to the Shawmut Grade Railroad facilities and to the County owned fields that were operated by the Poor Farm.

In 2014 this Bridge was in a substantial and unsafe state of disrepair.  A portion of one of the abutment walls had given way and several of the large cut stone had fallen into Marvin Creek.  The steel on the bridge, and in particular the vertical supports for the decking, were heavily corroded an unstable.  An initial estimate to repair the bridge was over $150,000.00 and, therefore, it was likely that the bridge would be removed, sold for scrap and not replaced.  At that point the Good Growing Garden’s Program (3G), administered through the court and McKean County Adult Probation, offered to work to find a way to keep the bridge open at a reasonable cost. 

Due to engineer concerns it was regrettably determined that it could not be utilized for vehicular traffic.  However, Mike “Buck” Barnard, the Administrator of the 3G Program, found a way to refurbish the bridge at a cost of less than $20,000.  Beams from a bridge that was being dismantled were purchased at scrap metal prices and used to span the river (the green beams on bridge).  Local contractors agreed to work with the program at volunteer or reduced rates to rebuild the abutment walls and install massive footers on each side of the bridge for the new beams to sit on and to keep the weight of the structure off of the old abutment walls. 

The old bridge, through the use of heavy threaded steel rods, was bolted to the new beams to keep the old bridge in place but not rely on it for any structural support.  New 2x4 decking was installed, the access areas brought up to grade and the entire area landscaped.  The bridge is now here to be enjoyed by County residents and visitors for, hopefully, for the next 100+ years. Visitors will continue to be able to walk over Marvin Creek on this structure and see what was - the old structure of the bridge - and what it is now- a beautiful walking bridge that the County can be proud of!


Picture above shows poor condition of old steel beams of original bridge.  During renovation the old section of the bridge was attached to new sound beams so that the appearance of the old structure remains but no longer provides structural or weight bearing support. 

Bridge in late summer 2015.  New wooden decking sits on added beams for substantial support.  Bridge abutments on each side of Marvin Creek rebuilt and reinforced.  Railings added for safety and appearance.  Benches built by 3G participants added.  Bridge is ready for first wedding ceremony that was held there in August of 2015.