Public Eye
By Mike Maciag Erie Times-News staff blogger
Uncover what's going on in your community with the latest public records and data from the Erie Times-News.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1776
Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category
Posted: August 15th, 2011

Sunday’s story examines the growth in the use of food stamps in our area.

One issue brought up in several interviews with social service workers and store owners was how some recipients could be spending their funds more wisely.

Recipients I spoke with said they shopped around, used coupons and found other ways to save money.

Some food-stamp participants, though, purchase steaks and other expensive foods. Others often use their benefits to buy snacks, pop and junk foods.

We don’t know, though, how many of these items are actually purchased. The U.S. Department of Agriculture does not track individual items purchased, only monitoring usage at the transaction level.

The USDA manages the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps.

Most local grocers, corner stores and markets accept the EBT Access cards issued to food-stamp recipients. You can view a map of these businesses on the USDA’s retailer locator website.

Many local retailers listed offer limited items of nutritional value. Of the 186 participating businesses with Erie addresses, 41 are gas stations and 21 are dollar stores.

Eligible stores must either sell at least three varieties of qualifying foods in each of four food groups or have eligible “staple” foods account for more than half of the total value of all retail sales. The USDA outlines more details on eligibility criteria online.

A complete list of participating businesses with Erie addresses is shown below. Surprised to see any on the list? Let us know in the comments section.


10th And Ash Convenience Store606 E 10th St16503
1of1 Convenience Store2602 Parade St16504
A & J Convenience Store501 E 13th St16503
ABS Store2601 Parade St16504
Aldi 174728 Buffalo Rd16510
ALDI 202647 W 12th St16505
ARNONES INC1711 Cherry St16502
Arts Bakery4380 W Ridge Rd16506
Ash St Market601 E 6th St16507
B & D s Fresh Meat & Deli1001 W 6th St16507
Barka's Market 27-25076211031 East Ave16503
Bayfrent Convenience Store556 W 4the St16507
BELLO'S SHURFINE2650 W 8th St16505
BEL-MART FOODS2176 W 32nd St16508
BIG KMART 41132873 W 26th St16506
BIG KMART 43344401 Buffalo Rd16510
BIG KMART 71871320 E Grandview Blvd16504
Billyums Deli1918 Buffalo Rd16510
Buffalo Speed Check2267 Buffalo Rd16510
cbk variety store560 E 21st St16503
Circle K 42163327 Pine Ave16504
Circle K 42172917 Glenwood Park Ave16508
Circle K 4218603 W 26th St16508
Circle K 42194216 Main St16511
Classic Convenience1022 State St16501
Cornerstone of Erie2720 Peach St16508
COUNTRY FAIR 11939 W 8th St16505
COUNTRY FAIR 1013116 W 26th St16506
COUNTRY FAIR 143501 W 38th St16506
COUNTRY FAIR 2957 E 26th St16504
COUNTRY FAIR 255838 Wattsburg Rd16509
COUNTRY FAIR 272301 Peninsula Dr16506
COUNTRY FAIR 3347 E 12th St16503
COUNTRY FAIR 325211 E Lake Rd16511
COUNTRY FAIR 331904 E Lake Rd16511
COUNTRY FAIR 354646 W 12th St16505
COUNTRY FAIR 381810 Sassafras St16502
COUNTRY FAIR 402617 W 26th St16506
COUNTRY FAIR 433826 Peach St16509
COUNTRY FAIR 485866 Station Rd16510
COUNTRY FAIR 495008 Peach St16509
COUNTRY FAIR 502266 E 38th St16510
COUNTRY FAIR 564753 Buffalo Rd16510
COUNTRY FAIR 594526 Pine Ave16504
COUNTRY FAIR 611449 W 8th St16502
COUNTRY FAIR 658080 Peach St16509
COUNTRY FAIR 662500 Zimmerly Rd16506
COUNTRY FAIR 722905 Buffalo Rd16510
COUNTRY FAIR 732841 W 12th St16505
COUNTRY FAIR 811564 W 26th St16508
COUNTRY FAIR 83810 East Ave16503
COUNTRY FAIR 847400 Peach St16509
Country Fair 902525 State St16503
Country Fair 91803 Brown Ave16502
COUNTRY FAIR 987650 Old Perry Hwy16509
Crosby Mart 921502 Greengarden Rd16501
Crosby Mart 938024 Peach St16509
Crosby Mart 948228 Peach St16509
Crosby Mart 958030 Perry Hwy16509
CVS PHARMACY 23463750 Sterrettania Rd16506
CVS PHARMACY 26781111 Peninsula Dr16505
CVS PHARMACY 31683800 Pine Ave16504
CVS PHARMACY 4082410 E 12th St16503
CVS PHARMACY 42161407 Buffalo Rd16503
CVS Pharmacy 76841535 W 26th St16508
Dollar General 48264669 Buffalo Rd16510
Dollar General 7151824 State St16501
Dollar General 90371501 W 38th St16508
Dollar General 93273742 W 12th St16505
DOLLAR GENERAL STORE 1335714 East Ave16503
DOLLAR GENERAL STORE 76003785 Zimmerman Rd16510
DOLLAR GENERAL STORE 77055051 Peach St16509
DOLLAR GENERAL STORE 79102603 W 26th St16506
Dollar Tree 18623708 Liberty St16508
Dollar Tree 21533604 Buffalo Rd16510
Dollar Tree 46592211 W 12th St16505
Eastside Mini Mart2928 French St16504
ERIE COUNTY FARMS2256 Broad St16503
Erie Save-a-lot 247512026 Broad St16503
Erie Speed Check209 E 6th St16507
Europa Delicatessen2404 Peach St16502
Family Dollar 17602226 Broad St16503
Family Dollar 1780155 E 12th St16501
Family Dollar 35291530 W 26th St16508
Family Dollar 3779856 E 6th St16507
Family Dollar 52902036 E 38th St16510
Family Dollar 59102307 State St16503
Family Dollar 83162184 W 12th St16505
Family Dollar 83172923 W 26th St16506
Footies Mini Market702 Parade St16503
G&R GROCERY805 W 4th St16507
Garys Superette4703 E Lake Rd16511
GARY'S VARIETY2521 Buffalo Rd16510
GetGo 30012906 W 26th St16506
GIANT EAGLE 40102877 W 26th St16506
Giant Eagle 40284400 Buffalo Rd16510
GIANT EAGLE 40907200 Peach St16509
GORDON'S MEAT MARKET5037 Peach St16509
Gregorios Deli And Pizza Co3802 Elmwood Ave16509
HENRY LEE'S1825 Buffalo Rd16510
Honey House Holistic Bakery1210 W. 26th St.16508
International Market261 E 28th St16504
Ishtar Grocery1106 Parade St16503
Keiths Corner Market1102 W 10th St16502
KELLEY'S KORNER MARKET3502 Station Rd16510
LARRYS CENTRAL MARKET1626 Sassafras St16502
Le Nails-Goods Supply2122 Buffalo Rd16510
Lindsey Variety & More1620 Parade St16503
Marina s Seafood1619 W 26th St16508
MASON FARMS839 Peninsula Dr16505
MELODY DAIRY MART1402 E Lake Rd16507
Moon Meadows9915 Station Rd16510
N & O MEATS1608 Parade St16503
New Sara's Market460 E 12th St16503
ONE STOP 1601 W 32nd St16508
Oriental Store3858 Peach St16509
Orograin Bakeries Sales Inc 87301860 W 26th St16508
Orsini's231 Parade St16507
Palm2702 Parade St16504
PatRich Corner Store501 E 13th St16503
Quality Markets 6662712 W 38th St16508
Quality Markets 66651328 E Grandview Blvd16504
Quick Stop Food Store408 W 18th St16502
RED APPLE FOOD MART MO3174702 W Ridge Rd16506
Rite Aid 110071338 E Grandview Blvd16504
Rite Aid 11008353 E 6th St16507
Rite Aid 110095430 Peach St16509
Rite Aid 110104145 Buffalo Rd16510
RITE AID 1376916 State St16501
RITE AID 18541709 Liberty St16502
RITE AID 2132715 Parade St16504
Rite Aid 2375925 W Erie Plz16505
RITE AID 2382163 W 26th St16508
SAMMY'S FOOD MART & DELI717 Liberty St16502
Sams Club 66757200 Peach St16509
Sander's Markets838 E 6th St16507
Sara's Market660 E 12th St16503
SAVE A LOT934 W Erie Plz16505
Schwans Home Service ERIE #05070280 Pennbriar Dr16509
SCHWEBEL BAKING CO. OF PA8275 Perry Hwy16509
Sheetz 2454662 W Ridge Rd16506
Sheetz 3674816 Buffalo Rd16510
SHOP FAST34 W 8th St16501
SHOP RITE1031 Parade St16503
SHOP RITE2401 Parade St16503
Smiths Market And Grill1161 Buffalo Rd16503
STATE NEWS & VARIETY431 State St16501
State Street Market1027 State St16501
Stop N Go928 East Ave16503
Sundance Mini Market2102 Parade St16503
Sunnys Variety861 E 23rd St16503
SUNOCO26 E 12th St16501
Target Stores 12876700 Peach St16509
The Lotto World832 State St16501
The Walters Meat Company 010203 Wattsburg Rd16509
TOPS 6011702 E 38TH ST16510
Tops 6021520 W 26th St16508
Traditions by Karen310 E 24th St16503
TRAWKAS MARKET INC712 Payne Ave16503
Tyte's Convenience Store Inc.2001 E 10th St16511
Valu King 55101338 E Grandview Blvd16504
Wal Mart 22781825 Downs Drive16509
Wal Mart 25614950 W 23rd St16506
Wal Mart 54452711 Elm St16504
Walgreens 105203727 Peach St16508
Walgreens 114294309 Buffalo Rd16510
Way 2 Go1002 Liberty St16502
Wegmans 695028 W Ridge Rd16506
Wegmans 756143 Peach St16509
WHOLE FOODS COOPERATIVE1341 W 26th St Ste 10016508
Wykoff Enterprises Inc. 23804 Liberty St16509
Wykoff's Enterprises Inc. 14917 Peach St16509

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 7th, 2011

Erie officials have spent years attempting to rid the city of hundreds of worn-down, unsafe properties.

Inspectors with the city’s Bureau of Code Enforcement track vacant properties. A committee also designates some dilapidated structures as “blighted.”

You can search for properties in your area with our interactive map. The 364 properties on the map were compiled using code enforcement records.

Officials we spoke with said the list of vacant properties, though, is not complete. Inspectors aren’t notified, for example, when a home becomes vacant.

Another version of the map below includes 2009 census survey housing data. You’ll notice that neighborhoods with the largest declines in housing units appear to also have the most blighted and vacant homes.

Please note that points on the map may take a few moments to load.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 5th, 2011

As states tackle budget deficits, it’s imperative that governments promote transparency for public spending.

U.S. PIRG, a federation of state public interest research groups, graded each state on providing online information on government spending. The group looked at how states disclosed information on contracts, subsidies and other spending.

Pennsylvania received 78 out of 100 points, good enough for a C+. The grade ranked about average among the 50 states, with 10 receiving an F.

Probably the most well-known source for Pennsylvania spending information is the state Treasury Department’s contract search tool.

From the scorecard, areas that U.S. PRIG identified as needing improvement include posting tax expenditure reports, downloadable files and financial information for local governments.

For more, read a summary of the group’s findings.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 3rd, 2011

In a story in today’s paper, we examine the teaching experience and number of Advanced Placement courses offered at Erie School District schools.

Advanced Placement (AP) courses, which are run by the College Board, vary greatly among high schools within the district. An average of seven AP courses were offered per school in 2009-2010, slightly less than the state average of 10, according to U.S. Department of Education data.

This number can be misleading, though, because the majority of AP classes were offered at one school: Northwest Pa. Collegiate Academy. The school offered 23 AP courses.

East High School, Strong Vincent High School and Central Career and Technical School offered a combined five courses, according to the data.

“Inexperienced” teachers are those in their first or second year of teaching.

The chart below shows the percentage of inexperienced teachers for each school in the district. Hover over a school for additional figures.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 2nd, 2011

Jim Martin reports today how Erie County’s unemployment rate climbed 0.4 percent in June to 8.2 percent.

The rate had fallen the first few months of the year before rising last month and May. At this point, it’s probably too early to say if recent numbers represent a bad survey sample or indicate increasing job losses.

Erie County’s unemployment figures continue to be less than the national rate, but higher than Pennsylvania’s rate.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 1st, 2011

Today’s census story explores the hike in renting throughout the region.

The number of Erie County residents living in owner-occupied housing dropped about 7,000 from 2000 to 2010. Those living in rentals, though, grew by 7,827, an 11 percent increase, according to census data.

Area real estate agents and others interviewed attributed the demand for rentals to a variety of factors over the decade.

Many lost their homes because of foreclosure. With stricter lending criteria and reduced home values to borrow against, buying a property proved more difficult for potential homeowners.

Along with the economy, shifting demographics also played a role.

It’s important to note that the figures do not necessarily suggest a long-term shift to renting. The census numbers only provide a snapshot of housing occupancy every 10 years, and some local real estate agents suspect the recent downturn in the economy accounts for much of the change.

Statewide, housing data mirrored the local increase in renting. Pennsylvania, which gained total population, saw about a 13 percent jump in those living in rentals. Residents living in owner-occupied housing remained nearly unchanged.

To view 2010 census figures for your area, search the table below:

LocationLiving in all occupied housingLiving in rentalsLiving in rentals %Renting 10-year changeLiving in owner-occupied housingLiving in owner-occupied %Owner occupied 10-year change
Albion borough151640626.78100264-39111073.21899736-52
Amity township1073746.896551724-2999993.10344828-34
Concord township134020014.9253731352114085.07462687-69
Conneaut township209336017.2001911135173382.7998088935
Corry city6475262940.6023166281384659.3976834-438
Cranesville borough63813821.630094042950078.369905969
Edinboro borough4618274659.46297098-300187240.53702902-38
Elgin borough2182712.3853211519187.6146789-23
Elk Creek township179818810.4560622921161089.54393771-23
Erie city965424407545.6537051238895246754.34629488-5210
Fairview township963396910.0591716168866489.9408284-80
Franklin township16331358.26699326428149891.73300674-4
Girard borough310472423.32474227110238076.67525773-162
Girard township510270713.8573108694439586.14268914-110
Greene township47053828.11902231725432391.88097768-85
Greenfield township19331427.34609415417179192.653905857
Harborcreek township15328255816.688413367151277083.31158664379
Lake City borough302163821.11883482122238378.8811651897
Lawrence Park township388382821.32371877163305578.67628123-209
LeBoeuf township169821712.77974087-5148187.2202591323
McKean borough38814938.402061864323961.59793814-40
McKean township44093277.41664776621408292.58335223-231
Millcreek township528841229123.2414340815754059376.7585659242
Mill Village borough4126616.019417482534683.98058252-25
North East borough4216158437.5711575-26263262.4288425-129
North East township617074312.0421393854542787.95786062-465
Platea borough4305613.02325581-537486.97674419-39
Springfield township342559817.45985401220282782.54014599-173
Summit township64816369.813300417184584590.18669958841
Union township165419011.48730351-3146488.51269649-1
Union City borough3310126638.2477341445204461.75226586-193
Venango township22972018.750544188-25209691.2494558145
Washington township443254912.3871841286388387.61281588-172
Waterford borough151749532.6301911762102267.369808836
Waterford township392055514.15816327183336585.84183673-141
Wattsburg borough40315538.461538463224861.53846154-7
Wayne township16591619.70464135-15149890.29535865-86
Wesleyville borough333390027.00270027-10243372.99729973-271
Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 28th, 2011

The percentage of Erie County residents receiving cash assistance grants has climbed in recent years and is now second highest in the state.

The state Department of Public Welfare administers several cash assistance programs to aid disabled individuals or those not earning enough money to support their families.

In June, 9,016 Erie County residents received cash assistance grants, according to state data.

Using 2010 census counts, I calculated this is 3.2 percent of the county’s total population. Only Philadelphia County has a higher rate.

The majority of recipients, 7,276, received grants part of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The program distributes grants to pregnant women, parents and children who meet certain requirements.

Another 1,729 county residents received General Assistance benefits. These funds assist low-income individuals and families not eligible for TANF benefits.

The other 11 cash assistance recipients were for visually impaired persons with the state’s State Blind Pension Program.

In all, grants totaling $1,189,349.79 were paid to Erie County residents in June. Neighboring Crawford County’s total was $244,611.51


Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 25th, 2011

In analyzing new census demographic data, I noticed an increase in local adoptions.

In Sunday’s story, we report on how more families are opting to adopt children. Local experts attribute the jump in adoptions to fertility issues, an increase in teenage pregnancies and more willingness to adopt foreign children or those from foster care.

In Erie County, adopted children living in family households rose to 2,208, a 5.7 percent increase from 2000. Although it’s not a large spike, the numbers are significant when compared to other census figures.

Statewide, Pennsylvania’s 2010 census count of adopted children actually dropped slightly by 1.5 percent.

Like the rest of the state, numbers of biological children living with families fell in Erie County. The county lost nearly 5,000 biological children over the decade, a 6.4 percent drop.

Here are the areas in Erie County with the highest number of adoptions, according to census data:

Municipality 2010 2000 Change
City of Erie 654 673 -19
Millcreek Township 445 391 54
Harborcreek Township 157 103 54
Fairview Township 86 69 17
Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 21st, 2011

As federal lawmakers look for ways to cut costs, farm subsidy programs are one possible target that could be on the chopping block.

The federal government pays farmers subsidies to offer assistance as they weather unpredictable growing conditions and fluctuating crop prices.

But some advocacy groups argue the subsidies amount to wasteful spending, with many recipients not farming at all.

The Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based nonprofit, has spent years lobbying Congress to end the direct payments. Each year, EWG compiles farm subsidy payments into a national database.

The government paid about $42.5 million in farm subsidies to individuals with Erie County addresses between 1995 and 2010, according to EWG data. This includes:

– $19.9 million in commodity subsidies.
– $10.7 million in crop insurance subsidies.
– $4.03 million in conservation subsidies.
– $7.93 million in disaster subsidies.

Troyer Growers, Inc., received the largest check in 2010. The Waterford company was paid $34,236, according to EWG data.

Other top local recipients are listed on the group’s website.

Enter a ZIP code in the box below to search recipients:

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 20th, 2011

As reported in today’s article, someone purporting to be Erie County Councilman Ebert G. Beeman’s deceased father has written a letter claiming he owns a parcel the IRS plans to seize from the councilman.

Beeman allegedly owes the IRS $2.1 million in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties. U.S. District Judge Sean J. McLaughlin ruled in June that Beeman was liable  for the tax debt, but said the IRS would need to wait to auction four of his parcels until Beeman’s corporate entities had an opportunity to defend their interests.

The letter, docketed Monday at U.S. District Court, is addressed to McLaughlin. Here’s a copy:

But Howard Beeman, Beeman’s father, died on April 6, 1997. Here’s his obituary published in the Erie Daily Times:
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in: Uncategorized