Friday June 22, 2018

                                                                                                                      Photo by Gerri Miller

                                                            Thursday’s high, 80; Overnight low, 48

FRI-SCATTERED SHOWERS, HIGH 77

FRI NIGHT- CLOUDY,  LOW 60

SAT-OVERCAST, HIGH 68

SAT NIGHT-SCATTERED SHOWERS, LOW 63

SUN-RAIN, INCREASING THROUGHOUT THE DAY. HIGH 63

SUN NIGHT-LOW 66

To hear complete weekend forecast, click on arrow below:

 

Obituary: Yvonne Parker, Muncy (Coudersport)

To hear today’s podcast and update, click on arrows below:

Podcast:

Eldred Fire Update:

More than $14 million in Natural Gas Impact Fees headed to 68th House District….House has approved Causer’s resolution to investigate PennVest money being used to purchase private  forest land in northern tier instead of infrastructure…..Dominion Transmission gives check to Enchanted Mountain Music Fest for program at Cherry Springs State Park next month…..Elk County man seriously hurt Wednesday night when his dirt bike collided with a pick up….Mansfield business cited for too many false alarms…….Criminal mischief on Barnum Road in McKean County under investigation…..

The cause of a fire which destroyed an apartment house early this morning o N.Main Street in Eldred remains undetermined. At lest 13 people were left homeless including a family of four from Louisville, LA. The state police fire marshal says a tenant was awakened at around 2:00am  by a smoke detector going off and observed a fire in his apartment. Everyone was safely evacuated and there were no injuries. Several volunteer departments assisted Eldred Borough firefighters at the scene and remained there for several hours. Traffic was detoured around the site for a time. Damage is estimated to be $190.00 to the building owned by Gordon Taylor.

State Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) has announced that more than $14,144,685 in impact fees from the natural gas drilling industry are coming back to the counties and communities that make up the 68th Legislative District..

Under Act 13 of 2012, impact fees are generated by the extraction of natural gas, which fluctuate depending on the price of natural gas and the rate of inflation, with a portion of those fees being directed back to the communities impacted by natural gas drilling.

Since 2012, impact fee revenues have topped $1.5 billion, and the statewide figures for 2017 represent a 21 percent increase over the previous year’s distribution dollars.

Impact fee revenues for 2017 resulted in the following disbursements: Bradford County will receive $5,051,257.31 and Bradford County municipalities in the 68th District will receive $2,715,421.55; Potter County will receive $359,070.33 and Potter County municipalities in the 68th District will receive $15,137.84; Tioga County will receive $3,020,364.28 and Tioga County municipalities will receive $2,983,433.70. (See attached list for municipality breakdowns.)

“Bradford County is the third and Tioga County the sixth top-producing natural gas drilling counties in the state,” said Owlett

Fees are collected from the drilling companies with 60 percent returned to benefit our counties and local municipalities affected by drilling. The rest of the money goes into a Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund administered by the state to be used for emergency response planning, training and other activities; water, storm water, and sewer system construction and repair; infrastructure maintenance and repair; as well as statewide environmental initiatives.

Owlett noted that Pennsylvania collected a total of $209 million statewide for 2017, which is more than the drilling tax collected by the states of West Virginia, Ohio, Arkansas and Colorado combined – despite these The following is the amount of impact fee revenue coming back to each municipality in the 68th Legislative District: (Amounts for other districts in the Black Forest Service Area were not available).

 Bradford County

Alba Borough – $5,662.50

Armenia Township – $273,050.87

Canton Borough – $66,053.44

Canton Township – $243,210.67

Columbia Township – $531,200

Granville Township – $110,831.80

Ridgebury Township – $138,528.42

Smithfield Township – $230,929.59

South Creek Township – $80,809.96

Springfield Township – $175,840.89

Sylvania Borough – $7,657.46

Troy Borough – $45,979.44

Troy Township – $497,201.37

Wells Township – $172,148.56

West Burlington Township – $136,316.58

Potter County (Eastern portion)

Galeton Borough – $10,161.47

Pike Township – $4,976.37

Tioga County

Bloss Township – $189,376.95

Blossburg Borough – $115,072.82

Brookfield Township – $45,479.82

Charleston Township – $412,171.20

Chatham Township – $198,487.96

Clymer Township – $79,850.81

Covington Township – $305,506.61

Deerfield Township – $68,763.80

Delmar Township – $409,582.07

Duncan Township – $104,693.56

Elk Township – $35,636.47

Elkland Borough – $58,039.40

Farmington Township – $73,565.68

Gaines Township – $123,262.32

Hamilton Township – $101,976.99

Jackson Township – $277,505.38

Knoxville Borough – $20,086.30

Lawrence Township – $87,041.98

Lawrenceville Borough – $19,140.58

Liberty Borough – $8,239.90

Liberty Township – $264,645.02

Mansfield Borough – $98,741.96

Middlebury Township – $122,808.62

Morris Township – $57,046.97

Nelson Township – $25,622.82

Osceola Township – $51,798.57

Putnam Township – $12,460.26

Richmond Township – $274,940.07

Roseville Borough – $5,688.72

Rutland Township – $164,849.41

Shippen Township – $44,811.89

Sullivan Township – $531,200

Tioga Borough – $20,502.24

Tioga Township – $61,439.39

Union Township – $244,399.70

Ward Township – $337,830.25

Wellsboro Borough – $108,260.32

Westfield Borough – $33,876.48

Westfield Township – $58,626.11

A resolution calling for a thorough audit of more than 100 nonpoint source management transactions authorized by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) has been unanimously approved in the state House, said Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint), prime sponsor of the measure.

House Resolution 948 was introduced in response to concerns raised about the agency’s approval of two low-interest loans totaling nearly $51 million for a New Hampshire-based company to purchase more than 60,000 acres of private forest land in Cameron, Clinton, Elk, Jefferson, McKean and Potter counties.

“As elected officials, we have a responsibility to make sure state dollars are spent appropriately, and this audit would help us do that,” Causer said. “PENNVEST was created to help our municipalities pay for infrastructure maintenance or upgrades, which is vastly different from loaning funds to a private company to purchase land. “We need to determine if these transactions are legal and whether they are appropriate,” he added. The resolution requests the auditor general conduct a financial audit of all nonpoint source program projects approved by the PENNVEST board of directors and submit a report of the audit to the House of Representatives upon completion. While more than 100 such transactions have been approved by PENNVEST, the $51 million in loans to Lyme Timber Company to purchase private land is the first of its kind in the Commonwealth.

The Lyme Timber transactions were approved by PENNVEST at meetings last fall and in January, with the funding being loaned at an interest rate of just 1 percent. As part of the transactions, Lyme Timber will complete a small acid mine drainage project on the property at a cost of about $700,000. The company also agreed to place approximately 9,400 acres of the land into a permanent working forest conservation easement.

As chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, Causer called a public meeting at the state Capitol in March to gather more information about the transactions from officials with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and PENNVEST, as well as concerned land owners and timber operators. Despite the meeting, many questions remain, which prompted Causer to call for the audit.

Dominion Energy Transmissions David Lamphier (right) presents a $2,500 check from the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation to Endless Mountain Music Festival Executive Director Cynthia Long. The money will be used to support a free under the stars community concert by the EMMF Brass Quintet at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 29. Following the concert, those attending will be able to view the stars and constellations through park telescopes creating a fusion of music and science. More than 300 people attended last year’s under the night sky concert. Dominion and the David G. Patterson Foundation are co-sponsoring the concert  being held at Cherry Springs State Park at 4639 Cherry Springs Road, Coudersport. The park is 12 miles from Galeton via West Branch Road and 15 miles from Coudersport via Route 44. For reservations for the concert and stargazing, call the park at 1-814-435-1037

A 20 year old Byrnedale man was seriously injured Wednesday night was struck by a pick up truck. Ridgway based state police report Wayne Powell  was riding his American Lifan Dirt Bike south on Rpute 255 without headlights on at around 9:30 pm and turned left in front of a Chevrolet S10 driven by Dennis Celinksi of Weedville. Powell  was taken to PennHighlands Elk. Celinski was not hurt. Police noted that it was foggy with rain at the time of the collision.

A parked2008 Chevrolet Cobalt was damaged in an unusual mishap Wednesday evening on Tannery Street in Shippen Township, Cameron County.  State police at Emporium said the car was parked in a private driveway, unoccupied. The emergency brake was not completely set and the car coasted backwards out of the driveway, crossed the road went down over an embankment where it hit a telephone pole causing it to crack and cause wires to droop. Damage was reported for both the front and back bumpers.

Vandalism at an Eldred Township home Wednesday is under investigation by state police at Kane. Culprits drove a vehicle through a yard on the Barnum Road owned by a 63 year old man between 4:45 pm and 8:00pm Wednesday causing ruts in the newly laid soil. Anyone with information is asked to call the barracks at 8`4.778.5555.

A Mansfield business has been cited for making false alarms. State police claim they responded to a call of a hold up at Tractor Supply Company on South Main Street Monday afternoon. The alarm was false, the fourth within a 12 month period, in violation of state law.

Yvonne S. Parker, 78, of Muncy, formerly of Coudersport, passed away, Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at Heritage Springs Memory Care, Lewisburg.Yvonne was born on April 15, 1940 in Coudersport, the daughter of the late George H. and Jennie (Boyd) Sallade. Family and Friends are welcome from 10- 11:00 am, Saturday, June 23, 2018 for a visitation at the Thomas E. Fickinger Funeral Home, 210 North East Street, Coudersport.  Burial will follow in the Sweden Hill Cemetery.

Thursday June 21, 2018

     

Black Forest Express

                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                Photo by Gerri Miller

Wednesday’s high, 70; Overnight low, 60 .04” rain
THU-SCATTERED AFTERNOON THUNDERSTORMS, HIGH 77
THU NIGHT-CLOUDY, LOW 60
FRI-OVERCAST IN THE MORNING, HIGH 68
FRI NIGHT-SCATTERED SHOWERS, HIGH 71
SAT-RAIN, LOW 66
SAT NIGHT

To hear today’s complete forecast, click on arrow below:

 State budget approved by the House and Causer applauds document’s provisions…area residents encouraged to recycle electronics tomorrow in East Smethport….Wellsboro motorcyclist seriously hurt after being thrown off bike…..No injuries reported for driver and passengers after car/deer collision in Ulysses Township last week…..

We are unable to post the regular version of our podcast despite several attempts. It can be located here or on The Black Forest Facebook page.

https://www.dropbox.com/preview/21%20PODCAST.mp3?role=personal

The state House on Wednesday gave overwhelming approval to a 2018-19 state budget proposal that includes no new or increased taxes and makes significant investments in education and public health and safety. The $32.7 billion spending plan reflects an increase of 1.7 percent over the current year, which is below the rate of inflation. The measure now goes to the Senate for its consideration.

“This is a responsible budget that keeps spending in checking while investing in core functions of government, including education, health care and public safety,” Rep. Causer said. “I believe it also addresses several of our priorities in rural Pennsylvania.” House Bill 2121 invests a record-high $12.3 billion in preK-12 education. Basic Education Funding is increased by $100 million to $6.095 billion; early childhood education funding for Pre-K Counts and Head Start programs by $25 million to $251.5 million; and special education funding by $15 million to $1.14 billion. A $60 million block grant will provide funding to schools for safety initiatives, and $30 million will be invested in career and technical education to help prepare students for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Higher education institutions will also see an increase in funding under the bill, including the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, which will receive $2.8 million, a 3 percent increase.

For rural health care, the budget includes more than $10 million for critical access hospitals, a 4.8 percent increase in funding. It also provides a mix of state and federal funds to provide a much-needed increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates for ambulance companies, many of which have been struggling to keep their doors open to continue their life-saving services. Pennsylvania’s ambulance companies would see a much-needed increase in their Medicaid reimbursement rates under the 2018-19 state budget bill approved by the House on Wednesday, said Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint).
“While we still need to get this bill to the governor’s desk, I am optimistic that our emergency response organizations are finally going to get some much-needed and much-deserved financial relief,” he added.
Earlier this month, Causer joined with lawmakers and emergency responders from across the state at a Capitol rally calling for action on efforts to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates, as well as provide reimbursement for treatment provided by emergency responders, even if transport does not take place.

Under House Bill 2121, an additional $4 million in state funds and approximately $8 million in federal matching funds would be used support Medicaid reimbursement increases outlined in Causer’s House Bill 699. Specifically, reimbursements for Advanced Life Support (ALS) services would be increased from $200 to not less than $300, and Basic Life Support (BLS) services would be increased from $120 to $180. The rate increase would be effective Jan. 1, 2019.
Pending approval of the Senate and governor, this would be the first increase in Medicaid reimbursement for the state’s ambulance companies since 2004. Current rates are more than 200 percent below reimbursements provided by Medicare and commercial insurance, which has made it increasingly difficult for ambulance companies across the state to keep operating.
Causer noted lawmakers are continuing to work on legislation to require reimbursement for treatment provided regardless of whether transport takes place.

As chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, Causer also praised the investments in the state’s agriculture industry. The proposal restores funding for several initiatives that would have been eliminated under the governor’s proposal, including hardwoods research and promotion. It increases funding to combat the spotted lanternfly, which could affect the hardwoods industry if it spreads from southeastern and south central Pennsylvania, and to address invasive species. Penn State Extension will get a 3 percent increase, as well the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School and the Center for Infectious Disease.
Causer also says he’s is pleased the budget sends money into the Commonwealth’s Rainy Day Fund for the first time in a decade.
More information about the budget is available at www.pahousegop.com.

Area residents are eligible to participate in the next regional electronics recycling collection being conducted in East Smethport. Items will be accepted at the McKean County Fairgrounds from 10 am to 2 pm on Friday, June 22. Electronic items are difficult to get rid of anywhere in Pennsylvania. Many have heavy metals and other components which are hazardous when placed in landfills. This event allows residents to responsibly dispose of their electronics. McKean County Conservation District and Pa. Cleanways of McKean County are sponsoring the recycling. Those bringing items to the site are advised that unloading will be conducted by staff. Only one TV per carload will be accepted. Freon-containing devices (air conditioners, dehumidifiers, etc.) are $15; fluorescent bulbs, $1.00 each; and a fee will be charged for damaged tube TVs. No medical equipment, VHS tapes or batteries will be accepted. This is a chance for people to dispose of items such as answering machines, copiers, duplicators, electric typewriters, fax machines, hard drives, mobile phones, pagers, printers, radios, remote controls, stereos, tape players, telephones and equipment, computers, testing equipment, VCRs, satellite receivers, and other electronic items. For information, call 814-887-4001.

A Wellsboro motorcyclist was seriously hurt last Friday morning when he was thrown off his bike Mansfield based state police have just released details reporting the accident happened when Michael Nowakowski was pulling out of the Bradshaw Road in Lawrenceville attempting to cross Route 287 to go south. When he noticed a Subaru Forester driven by Tiffany Welch which was headed north, he applied the brakes on his Harley Davidson Dyna Wide Glide. The bike skidded off the east side of the road ejecting Nowakowski in the process. He was flown by helicopter to Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre. Welch was not hurt.

No injuries were reported for a Wellsboro woman and her passengers following a collision with a deer Sunday morning in Ulysses Township, Potter County. Cheryl Zuchowski was going west on Route 6 when the whitetail bounded onto the road and into the path of her Subaru. She and her passengers, Susan Heatley of Liberty and Debra Starkweather of Wellsboro were all using seatbelts at the time.

Both drivers escaped injury Wednesday afternoon in a fender-bender in the Million Dollar lot in Fox Township, Elk County. State police at Ridgway report a 2018 Chevrolet Cruze and a 2013 Ford Taurus backed into each other as they were leaving stalls. Since there were no injuries and both vehicles could be driven away, the mishap is considered non-reportable so the drivers’ names and addresses were not released.

 

 

Wednesday June 20, 2018

Black Forest Express

                                                                             Photo by Gerri Miller

Tuesday’s high, 80; Overnight low, 61

WED-MOSTLY CLOUDY,  THUNDERSTORMS POSSIBLE,HIGH 73

WED NIGHT-THUNDERSTORMS, LOW 54

THU-SUNNY, HIGH  77

THU NIGHT-PARTLY CLOUDY, LOW 53

FRI-MOSTLY CLOUDY, SHOWERS, HIGH 77

FRI NIGHT-RAIN SHOWERS

To hear today’s complete forecast, click on arrow below:

BFB Headlines (Wednesday June 30, 2018) Would-be burglars scared off by alarm early today at Benezette store…..UPMC reports lung cancer on the rise among women…..state senate approves bill to improve telemedicine in PA…work to begin soon to replace bridge on the Brookland Road in Potter County…A detour remains in place while railroad crews improve crossing between Coryville and Larabee in McKean County….

To hear today’s podcast, click on arrows below:

20 June Podcast part A:

20 June Podcast part B:

Ridgway based state police are looking for would-be burglars who tried unsuccessfully to break-into an Elk County store early this morning. Troopers report someone tried to remove the exhaust fan in the back of the Benezette Store on Route 555 but set off the alarm at around 1:30 am. The criminals left empty-handed but a anyone who can help identify them is asked to call state police at 814.776.6136.

UPMC Cole reports that for years, the number of new lung cancer cases has been higher in men than in women. But a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that trend may be shifting for some women.

It found that lung cancer rates are now higher among white and Hispanic women in their 30s and 40s than they are for men of the same ages and ethnicities.

Overall, lung cancer diagnoses have declined for about the past 20 years, but less so for women than for men, according to the study. Among some women born since the mid-1960s, that’s resulted in a reversal of the pattern in which lung cancer rates are higher among men, the research showed.

Lung cancer rates have historically been higher for men than women because smoking also has been more common among men, beginning at earlier ages and averaging more cigarettes per day. Smoking is the main cause of lung cancer. In recent decades, though, women’s smoking behaviors have begun to resemble men’s. But the researchers said that doesn’t fully explain the study’s findings, since women still smoke less than men.

More research is needed to understand why lung cancer rates are higher among some women, the researchers noted. But one possible explanation is that women could be more susceptible than men to smoking’s health hazards. Another theory put forth is that women and men may be getting different kinds of lung cancer.

The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute supported the study. For more on the findings, read the study’s abstract.

UPMC Cole uses telemedicine for some of its specialties and the Potter County veterans clinic also uses telemedicine. It is the new way for rural patients to access experts without making lengthy trips and having to make overnight accommodations. The state Senate  has approved legislation introduced by Senator Elder Vogel (R-Beaver) aimed at promoting telemedicine in Pennsylvania as a way to overcome barriers to quality patient care created by distance and reduce the costs of those services.

Senate Bill 780 specifically defines telemedicine as “the delivery of health care services provided through telecommunications technology to a patient by a healthcare practitioner who is at a different location.” It also establishes guidelines regarding who can provide telemedicine services, and provides clarity regarding insurance company reimbursement for those services.

The bill now goes to the House  for consideration there.

“Telemedicine is transforming healthcare and it is something our state should embrace and encourage,” Senator Vogel said. “Through the use of telemedicine, specialists and other health care providers are able to expand their reach, helping patients stay in their communities and avoid traveling long distances for specialized care. That will not only save costs, but it could save lives as well.”

“Telemedicine can vastly improve the availability of healthcare options for people in rural or urban areas, lower the cost of healthcare, and strengthen the bond between patients and their doctors,” Senator Vogel said. “Telemedicine is especially vital for patients who suffer from chronic illness, seniors who are homebound and families who live in rural areas where they would have to travel very far to receive medical care. We need to make this option available for all Pennsylvanians.”

While Senate Bill 780 would make substantial changes in the health care industry, physicians and other health practitioners delivering telemedicine services would still be required to follow standard state licensure and medical practice laws and requirements in Pennsylvania.

The bill establishes that services that are covered by insurance for in-person visit would also be reimbursable for telemedicine, but the measure gives insurers latitude in determining the amount that is reimbursed.

Senator Vogel’s bill is supported by the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Medical Society and AARP.

Construction for a Route 449 (South Brookland Road) bridge in Potter County is scheduled to begin soon as part of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) Rapid Bridge Replacement Project. The bridge spans Buckseller Run in Ulysses Township. Replacement of this bridge will allow PennDOT to remove it from Potter County’s structurally deficient bridge list.

Construction is expected to begin the week of July 2 and be complete in mid-July. During this time, drivers will be directed to follow a detour along Route 49, Route 44 (North Main Street), US 6 (East 2nd Street), and Route 449 (North Brookland Road).

This bridge is referred to as JV-86 and is one out of the 558 bridges being replaced under the Rapid Bridge Replacement Project. JV references the joint-venture partnership between Walsh/Granite, which is leading construction for the entire project.

The Rapid Bridge Replacement Project is a public-private partnership (P3) between PennDOT and Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners (PWKP), under which PWKP will finance, design, replace, and maintain the bridges for 25 years. The P3 approach will allow PennDOT to replace the bridges more quickly while achieving significant savings and minimizing impacts on motorists.

To see the bridges included in the statewide initiative and to learn more about the Rapid Bridge Replacement Project and P3 in Pennsylvania, visit www.p3forpa.pa.gov. Additional information on the project, the team, and how to bid on the project can be found at www.parapidbridges.com.

PennDot is also  alerting area drivers to a crossing closure and upcoming railroad work on Route 446 in McKean County. The Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad is  working this week  to replace a railroad crossing surface on Route 446 between Corryville and Larabee, near the New York state line.

The crossing is closed  as crews remove the existing surface. Through the week, June 26, 27, and 28, work will include reconstruction of the subbase, construction of the new crossing surface, and leveling. Paving of the new crossing surface is scheduled for Friday, June 29.

A temporary detour is  in place to move traffic around the work zone. The official detour is lengthy and will utilize Route 46 to Smethport, Route 6 to Port Allegany, Route 155 to Larabee, and Route 446. Drivers familiar with the area may choose to use alternate routes.