Thursday March 22, 2018

Black Forest Express









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DEP continues checking retail outlets for lead solder….Causer reports state moving towards complying with “Real ID” law…..Vietnam Veterans recognition event next September near Coudersport  will include program for high school students…More than $2200 worth  of plumbing equipment stolen from wrecked truck in Elk County….

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The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has completed routine surveillance of hardware stores and other retail facilities in 13 counties to verify that leaded solder is not being sold for plumbing purposes. This surveillance is conducted in accordance with the 1989 Lead Ban Act.

Throughout the summer of 2017, DEP staff investigated 430 stores to make sure that lead solder is not being sold and that restricted solder types that are allowed to be sold commercially are not being displayed in plumbing supply sections of those stores.

The investigation found 281 stores that sell solder. Of those stores:

57 percent sell only lead-free solder

8 percent of stores (22) were selling solder in violation of the Lead Ban Act

7 percent selling banned solder (20)

Less than 1% selling restricted solder in plumbing section (2)

Compliance notices were issued for the violations. DEP can also issue fines of up to $1,000 for each violation. The majority of the stores in violation were first time offenders. Store ownership often changes in the years between surveillance periods, and new owners may not be aware of the specific provisions of the Lead Ban Act. Additionally, since 2005, surveillance activities have included auto parts, electronics, and craft stores which may not be aware of the Lead Ban Act.


DEP staff will continue routine and follow-up activities throughout 2018 to continue educating stores and ensure that they remain in compliance.

The full report can be found at:

Rep. Martin Causer  tells Black Forest Broadcasting News that Pennsylvania is working to become compliant with the Federal Real ID Act before this coming October.

Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law was declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court but the Real ID Act was passed by Congress in 20015 to make fraudulent identification harder to obtain and use.  The Act came about from the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations regarding homeland security.  The ACT stipulates what U.S. states and territories need to do in order to meet the Act’s minimum standards when it comes to the issuance and production of ID cards; principally, driver licenses.  The jurisdictions covered by the Act include: Accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.

After October 10th, 2018, according to the Real ID Act, residents of these states/territories won’t be able to use their driver’s licenses as ID when flying within the US:

Starting October 1, 2020, every domestic air traveler will need to present a Real ID driver’s license, a Real ID identification card or a passport in order to board a domestic flight. A Real ID-compliant license or card is one that meets, and is issued by a state or territory that complies with the Real ID Act. A passport, along with domestic flights, also affords you cross-border access.

Residents of the Real ID-compliant states/territories as well as some of those on the extension list, like California and Oregon, are now able to obtain Real ID cards and driver’s licenses from their local DMV office. Pennsylvania is 1 of 31 in non-compliance.

Those states or territories that have received an extension and are on a clear path to becoming compliant by the final deadline of October 1, 2020. Driver’s licenses from these states will fail to meet the federal government’s minimum security standards under the Real ID Act after October 10, 2018, though as in previous years, these states will more than likely receive deadline extensions to the final date as stated above by that time.

As of January 22, 2018, airline passengers with a state-issued driver’s license in a state not yet compliant (specifically American Samoa, the only non-compliant territory without an extension at this time) with the Real ID act will need to show an alternative form of identification to fly domestically. If you do not an alternative form of identification to go along with your state-issued driver’s license, you will not be permitted though the security checkpoint.

What You Need to Do:

Birth Certificate:  To make sure you can travel after October 10th, 2018, if you are in one of the affected states listed above, you’ll need to get your passport or Real ID driver’s license.  In order to do so, you’ll need to present a certified copy of your U.S. birth certificate.  No need to take time off of work and wait in government lines for this.  You can get this now, online, at

Passport:  Similar to obtaining your birth certificate, one of the easiest ways to do this is online.  One great service for this is RushMyPassport.

For more information on the Real ID Act, please contact the federal DHS Office of State-Issued Identification Support at

As we reported previously, Potter County has been awarded an $11,250 state grant to support a Vietnam War veterans recognition weekend and outreach activities later this year. Money comes from the Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF), which is funded by Pennsylvanians who voluntarily make a $3.00 donation when applying for or renewing their driver’s license or photo ID or renewing a motor vehicle registration. Additionally, proceeds come from the sale of the Honoring Our Veterans license plate and private donations.

Members of the Potter County Veterans Service Committee are Bill Simpson, Paul Heimel and Dawn Wooster. Their Vietnam Veterans Recognition Weekend, Sept, 13-17, will include an appreciation dinner, a memorial service for Potter County soldiers killed in the war, outreach activities to apprise veterans of benefits and services, public education events, a veterans gravestone restoration demonstration, and a visit from the Moving Wall, a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Potter County Commissioner Paul Heimel reported at last week’s board meeting a ceremony will be held when the wall arrives at Maple View on Friday, September 13. It will be guarded 24/7 throughout the weekend and people can visit anytime but are asked to be quiet and respectful. A program for area high school students will close out the visit on Monday September 17.

Ridgway based state police are looking for thieves who stole more than $2200 worth of plumbing tools from a wrecked truck last weekend. The tools belonged to a 46 year old Wilcox man and were taken between 8:00 pm Friday and 3:30 pm Saturday while the truck was parked on Rocky Run in Jones Township. Anyone with information is asked to call state police at 814.776.3136.

Wednesday March 21, 2018

Photo by Gerri Miller

Tuesday’s high, 42; overnight low, no precipitation







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Obituary: Thomas Nichols, Sr. Coudersport

Game Commission says the 2017-18 deer harvests overall were up 10%…Causer introduces bill to help oil and gas production …..Regional College is gearing up for Middle States accreditation….

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Pennsylvania’s buck harvest increased 10 percent, and the overall deer harvest also was up 10 percent, in the state’s 2017-18 hunting seasons, which closed in January according to the state Game Commission.Hunters harvested an estimated 367,159 deer in the 2017-18 seasons, which easily topped the overall deer harvest of 333,254 in the 2016-17 seasons. Across the 23 Wildlife Management Units (WMU) used by the Game Commission to manage whitetails, the deer harvest decreased in only three units.

The 2017-18 buck harvest totaled 163,750, representing a 10 percent increase over the 2016-17 buck harvest of 149,460. It is the second largest harvest of bucks since antler restrictions were put in place in 2002. The largest harvest – 165,416 – occurred in the first year of antler restrictions.

The 2017-18 buck harvest also compares well with big buck harvests in Pennsylvania since the Game Commission began using calculated harvests in 1986. From that perspective, the 2017-18 buck harvest ranks as the 10th best.

But when comparing deer harvests over time, it’s important to remember that deer and hunter numbers have changed from decade to decade.

In the 1987-88 deer seasons, 16 percent of deer hunters took a legal buck. Ten years later, that rate increased to 19 percent. In the 2007-08 seasons, which were five years into antler restrictions, 15 percent of deer hunters took an antlered deer. In the 2017-18 seasons, more than 20 percent of deer hunters took an antlered deer.


The antlerless deer portion of the 2017-18 harvest also increased. Totaling 203,409, the antlerless harvest was up 11 percent over the 2016-17 antlerless harvest of 183,794. But that was by design. The 2017 antlerless license allocation increased about 7 percent over 2016’s allocation.

About 64 percent of the antlerless deer harvest was adult females; button-bucks comprised 19 percent and doe fawns made up 17 percent.

In what is becoming an annual occurrence, bowhunters accounted for about a third of Pennsylvania’s 2017-18 overall deer harvest, taking 118,110 deer (62,830 bucks and 55,280 antlerless deer) with either bows or crossbows. The archery harvest also increased 10 percent over 2016-17’s total harvest of 109,250.

Good fortune also came to muzzleloader hunters, who took 23,490 deer (1,310 bucks) in the 2017-18 seasons. This harvest also represented an about 10 percent increase in overall muzzleloader harvest.

The percentage of older bucks in the 2017-18 deer harvest remained high. About 57 percent of the bucks taken by hunters were at least 2½ years old. The remainder were 1½ years old.

Agency staff currently is working to develop its 2018 antlerless deer license recommendations, which will be considered at the April 24 meeting of the Board of Game Commissioners.

In addition to harvest data, staff will be looking at deer health measures, forest regeneration and deer-human conflicts for each WMU as it assembles antlerless allocations, according to Matthew Schnupp, agency Bureau of Wildlife Management director.

Total deer harvest estimates by WMU for 2017-18 (with 2016-17 figures in parentheses) are as follows:

WMU 1A: 6,300 (6,500) antlered, 12,600 (10,400) antlerless;

WMU 1B: 8,300 (7,900) antlered, 13,000 (8,200) antlerless;

WMU 2A: 6,100 (7,000) antlered, 10,900 (9,200) antlerless;

WMU 2B: 4,500 (5,800) antlered, 14,000 (14,000) antlerless;

WMU 2C: 9,800 (8,300) antlered, 7,972 (8,335) antlerless;

WMU 2D: 14,700 (12,800) antlered, 17,391 (16,400) antlerless;

WMU 2E: 6,900 (5,200) antlered, 6,669 (5,341) antlerless;

WMU 2F: 9,500 (7,700) antlered, 7,202 (6,700) antlerless;

WMU 2G: 8,200 (6,200) antlered, 5,501 (4,000) antlerless;

WMU 2H: 1,700 (1,900) antlered, 1,900 (1,900) antlerless;

WMU 3A: 5,400 (5,400) antlered, 5,000 (3,800) antlerless;


WMU 3B: 8,900 (7,500) antlered, 7,000 (7,300) antlerless;

WMU 3C: 8,700 (8,600) antlered, 11,900 (11,000) antlerless;

WMU 3D: 4,700 (4,300) antlered, 4,200 (4,200) antlerless;


WMU 4A: 4,800 (4,400) antlered, 7,672 (7,913) antlerless;

WMU 4B: 5,600 (5,200) antlered, 7,108 (6,200) antlerless;

WMU 4C: 6,800 (6,400) antlered, 6,500 (5,300) antlerless;

WMU 4D: 10,600 (7,900) antlered, 8,417 (7,533) antlerless;

WMU 4E: 8,200 (7,300) antlered, 8,700 (7,500) antlerless;

WMU 5A: 2,900 (3,000) antlered, 3,801 (4,000) antlerless;

WMU 5B: 9,000 (8,900) antlered, 12,800 (12,400) antlerless;

WMU 5C: 8,800 (8,300) antlered, 15,600 (15,600) antlerless;

WMU 5D: 3,300 (2,900) antlered, 7,500 (6,500) antlerless; and

Unknown WMU: 50 (60) antlered, 76 (70) antlerless.


Season-specific 2017-18 deer harvest estimates (with 2016-17 harvest estimates in parentheses) are as follows:

WMU 1A: archery, 2,710 (3,030) antlered, 3,320 (2,950) antlerless; and muzzleloader, 90 (70) antlered, 1,480 (1,250) antlerless.

WMU 1B: archery, 3,370 (3,230) antlered, 2,730 (1,820) antlerless; muzzleloader, 30 (70) antlered, 970 (1,080) antlerless.

WMU 2A: archery, 2,040 (2,440) antlered, 2,030 (1,900) antlerless; muzzleloader, 60 (60) antlered, 1,170 (1,100) antlerless.

WMU 2B: archery, 3,060 (4,260) antlered, 6,490 (6,750) antlerless; muzzleloader, 40 (40) antlered, 1,010 (750) antlerless.

WMU 2C: archery, 3,400 (3,320) antlered, 1,500 (1,789) antlerless; muzzleloader, 100 (80) antlered, 1,000 (1,006) antlerless.

WMU 2D: archery, 5,720 (5,350) antlered, 2,800 (2,590) antlerless; muzzleloader, 80 (150) antlered, 2,100 (1,910) antlerless.

WMU 2E: archery, 2,040 (1,760) antlered, 1,120 (908) antlerless; muzzleloader, 60 (40) antlered, 880 (626) antlerless.

WMU 2F: archery, 3,110 (2,530) antlered, 1,340 (1,100) antlerless; muzzleloader, 90 (70) antlered, 1,060 (800) antlerless.

WMU 2G: archery, 2,050 (1,620) antlered, 1,110 (830) antlerless; muzzleloader, 50 (80) antlered, 990 (670) antlerless.

WMU 2H: archery, 390 (480) antlered, 320 (310­) antlerless; muzzleloader, 10 (20) antlered, 280 (290) antlerless.

WMU 3A: archery, 1,670 (1,470) antlered, 1,110 (700) antlerless; muzzleloader, 30 (30) antlered, 690 (500) antlerless.


WMU 3B: archery, 3,030 (2,440) antlered, 1,560 (1,380) antlerless; muzzleloader, 70 (60) antlered, 1,040 (1,020) antlerless.

WMU 3C: archery, 2,530 (2,340) antlered, 2,200 (1,880) antlerless; muzzleloader, 70 (60) antlered, 1,400 (1,220) antlerless.

WMU 3D: archery, 1,550 (1,470) antlered, 1,230 (1,060) antlerless; muzzleloader, 50 (30) antlered, 570 (440) antlerless.

WMU 4A: archery, 960 (940) antlered, 1,250 (1,374) antlerless; muzzleloader, 40 (60) antlered, 950 (1,031) antlerless.

WMU 4B: archery, 2,060 (1,850) antlered, 1,760 (1,400) antlerless; muzzleloader, 40 (50) antlered, 740 (600) antlerless.

WMU 4C: archery, 2,770 (2,570) antlered, 1,800 (1,380) antlerless; muzzleloader, 30 (30) antlered, 700 (620) antlerless.

WMU 4D: archery, 3,020 (2,420) antlered, 1,920 (1,629) antlerless; muzzleloader, 80 (80) antlered, 1,080 (876) antlerless.

WMU 4E: archery, 3,040 (2,750) antlered, 1,870 (1,570) antlerless; muzzleloader, 60 (50) antlered, 1,030 (730) antlerless.

WMU 5A: archery, 870 (970) antlered, 1,060 (870) antlerless; muzzleloader, 30 (30) antlered, 440 (330) antlerless.

WMU 5B: archery, 4,830 (4,730) antlered, 4,920 (4,330) antlerless; muzzleloader, 70 (70) antlered, 1,180 (970) antlerless.

WMU 5C: archery, 5,800 (5,300) antlered, 6,890 (6,990) antlerless; muzzleloader, 100 (100) antlered, 1,210 (1,010) antlerless.

WMU 5D: archery, 2,770 (2,280) antlered, 4,890 (4,180) antlerless; muzzleloader, 30 (20) antlered, 210 (220) antlerless.

Unknown WMU: archery, 40 (0) antlered, 60 (10) antlerless; muzzleloader, 0 (0) antlered, 0 (10) antlerless.

For additional information on Pennsylvania’s 2017-18 deer harvest, please go to the agency’s website – – and go to the “White-Tailed Deer” page, then select 2017-18 Deer Harvest Estimates.

Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) has introduced legislation to ensure fair and reasonable oversight of the industry.

The bill comes as a follow-up to the years-long fight to stop the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) from applying regulations necessary to address unconventional, deep-well drilling in Marcellus shale to the very different process of conventional, shallow well drilling. Those changes threatened to drive many conventional operations out of business.

“The conventional oil and gas industry employs thousands of people and is a vital contributor, not only to our local economy but to our statewide economy as well,” Causer said. “The goal of this legislation is to ensure fair regulation of the industry that will effectively protect the environment while also protecting this valuable industry and the jobs it provides.”

Specifically, the legislation would re-enact an updated version of the Oil and Gas Act of 1984. That law had governed the industry until the Marcellus Shale boom and proliferation of advanced drilling methods prompted development and passage of new regulations included in Act 13 of 2012.

“Although Act 13 was intended to address new issues with the unconventional industry, it also placed an unbearable burden on the much smaller conventional producers,” Causer said. “The operations are very different, and the regulations must be as well.”

The proposal to re-enact the Oil and Gas Act includes several regulatory updates and clarifications, and would serve as the framework for any future changes to rules impacting the conventional oil and gas industry. The legislation has been developed in large part by members of the Penn Grade Crude Advisory Council, which was created by Act 52 of 2016 to advise and assist DEP with regulatory changes impacting the conventional industry.

The council is also directed to develop a plan to increase production of Pennsylvania grade crude oil to more adequately supply refineries, such as American Refining Group, and look at ways to promote the long-term viability of the conventional oil and gas industry. Causer is one of 17 members of the commission.

House Bill 2154 was introduced with bipartisan support from across the state and has been referred to the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee for consideration. A companion bill, Senate Bill 1088, has been introduced by Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Butler/Clarion/Forest/Venango/Warren) and was referred to the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

Potter County Commissioner Chairman Doug Morley presented an  update on the Regional College of Rural Pennsylvania at last week’s board meeting.

Rather than being organized around a “main campus,” the college  operates  through a network of 14 community-based centers and satellite delivery sites. Morley said the college, which has been a long time coming,  is moving north to the Potter  County  Ed Council in Coudersport as one of the  locations.

The college has  open admissions, enrollment and entrance policies (i.e., no criteria beyond a high school diploma or GED). Tuition is  much lower than at traditional colleges and universities. Enrollees are able to participate in or near their home communities. Some students are  able to enroll for classes while they’re still in high school….

In the past, the regional college has  partnered with Gannon University  to provide credits but Morley said the college is moving toward accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and offers high school students a head start on college……………………..

Morley added that the curriculum will offer technical education  to fit the region’s needs as well as academics.

The college is not an on-line college but rather uses interactive instructional technology that is real-time, synchronous delivery. The interactive television allows students to be “together” in a classroom setting even thought the  instructor is teaching a group of students miles away.


Thomas E. Nichols, Sr., 76, of North Hollow Road, Coudersport, formerly of Tonawanda, NY, passed away Saturday, March 17, 2018 at UPMC Hamot, Erie. Tom was born on June 28, 1941 in Bath, NY, the son of the late Ervin and Iona (Young) Nichols. Tom worked for the Town of North Tonawanda, NY as a mechanic retiring in 1997 after 17 years of service.  Previously he owned and operated his own body shop in Tonawanda. Tom was a social member of the American Legion Potter Post 192, Coudersport and a member of the Eulalia Lodge #342 of the Free and Accepted Masons, Coudersport. Surviving are two sons, Thomas E. Nichols, Jr. of Lockport, NY and Andrew Nichols of Alamogordo, NM; a brother, Larry Nichols of Tonawanda, NY; two granddaughters, Alexis and Brittany Nichols., numerous nieces and nephews including his caregiver, James Nichols of Austin and his cat, Buddy.

In addition to his parents Tom was preceded in death by a step-son Randy, six brothers; Edward, Russell, Ervin Jr., Charles, Robert “Bill”  and Harold “Pete” Nichols and five sisters; Leonore Haight, Ethel Daggett, Alice Kopplinger, Gladys Brent and Phyllis “Cookie” Tackaberry.

A committal service will be held March 31, 2018 at 1:00 pm at the Hill Cemetery, Roulette with a celebration of Tom’s life to follow at the American Legion Potter Post 192, 2 Buffalo St, Coudersport, from 2-4:00 pm.  Family suggest contributions in Tom’s name be made to The American Legion Potter Post 192, 2 Buffalo St, Coudersport, PA 16915.

Arrangements being handled by the Thomas E. Fickinger Funeral Home, 210 N. East Street, Coudersport.

Tuesday March 20, 2018

Photo by Gerri Miller

Monday’s high, 45; Overnight low, 17 no precipitation





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As tax day nears, IRS warns citizens of phone scam….Causer reports state house has approved two bills to help protect personal ID information….Potter and Tioga Conservation Districts holding road workshop tomorrow for township and borough officials…17  year old Emporium boy charged with harassment….car/deer collisions increase once again….Westfield woman suspected of DUI after one vehicle crash Sunday

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As Tax Day  nears the Internal Revenue Service today has  issued another strong warning for consumers to guard against sophisticated and aggressive phone scams targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, as reported incidents of this crime continue to rise nationwide. These scams won’t likely end with the filing season so the IRS urges everyone to remain on guard.

The IRS will always send taxpayers a written notification of any tax due via the U.S. mail. The IRS never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone. For more information or to report a scam, go to and type “scam” in the search box.

People have reported a particularly aggressive phone scam in the last several months. Immigrants are frequently targeted. Potential victims are threatened with deportation, arrest, having their utilities shut off, or having their driver’s licenses revoked. Callers are frequently insulting or hostile – apparently to scare their potential victims.

Potential victims may be told they are entitled to big refunds, or that they owe money that must be paid immediately to the IRS. When unsuccessful the first time, sometimes phone scammers call back trying a new strategy.

Other characteristics of this scam include:

Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.

Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number.

Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.

Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.

Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.

After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:

If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue, if there really is such an issue. If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.

You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose “Other” and then “Imposter Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams (such as a lottery sweepstakes) and solicitations (such as debt relief) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to be vigilant against phone and email scams that use the IRS as a lure. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS also does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts. Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message. Instead, forward the e-mail to

More information on how to report phishing scams involving the IRS is available on the genuine IRS website,

Meanwhile, Rep. Martin Causer tells Black Forest Broadcasting News that the state House has recently passed two bills designed to protect residents’ personal ID from being stolen or fraudulently used. House Bill #1846 would require notice within 45 days to Pennsylvania residents when the security of a system has been breached.The bill spells out exactly what must be done in that event. House Bill 1847 waives the current fee to free credit reports so residents wouldn’t have to pay to have that done. Citizens are urged to monitor their credit reports. The state attorney general has setup a toll free hotline for questions at 1.800.441.2555.

Conservation Districts in Potter and Tioga counties have joined forces to offer a free Road Maintenance Workshop to be held from 8 am to 1 pm on Wednesday, March 21, at the Gaines Township Building. Registration opens at 7:30. Lunch will be provided. Borugh and Township officials  will learn about road diagnostics, options for improved dirt/gravel road maintenance and other topics. There will also be equipment demonstrations and a question-and-answer session. To learn more or to register, call Dianna Townsend at 570-724-1801 or send email to

A 17 year old Emporium boy has been arrested for harassment. State police allege the youth slapped a 53 year old female relative in the face during an argument early Sunday morning at a Sylvan Heights residence. He is being prosecuted through Juvenile Court.

After a brief lull, car/deer collisions are on the uptick. Randy Adams of Canton escaped injury Saturday night when his Lincoln MKZ hit a deer on the Roosevelt Highway while gong east in Sullivan Township.

A St. Marys driver also escaped injury when her Subaru Impreza collided with a whitetail on Route 120 in Ridgway Township Sunday evening. Police said Jacquline Cytpert was unable to avoid the animal hile going east.

DUI charges are pending  against a 24 year old Wesfield woman after a crash Sunday night in Westfield Township. Troopers claim when they investigated, they suspected she had been driving under the influence of alcohol.