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

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 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

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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.

 

Tuesday June 19, 2018

Photo by Gerri Miller

Monday’s high, 87; Overnight low, 61; .54” rain (TST)

TUE-CLOUDY THEN PARTLY SUNNY, HIGH 79

TUE NIGHT-LOW 60

WED-CLOUDY, CHANCE OF LIGHT RAIN, HIGH 74

WED NIGHT-CLEAR, LOW 53

THU-SUNNY, HIGH 75

THU NIGHT-LOW 46

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Obituary: Larry Tilburg, Costello

BFB Headlines (Tuesday June 19, 2018)Game commission reports CWD is increasing in PA….State House approves legislation to reduce sexual harassment of government employees….Three traffic accidents investigated by state police in McKean County Monday…..

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Pennsylvania hunting licenses went on sale yesterday for residents. And, the Game Commission says the number of chronic wasting disease cases continues to multiply in Pennsylvania, and more of the state’s residents are being impacted by rules that aim to slow the spread of the disease, which always is fatal to the deer and elk it infects . In 2017, chronic wasting disease (CWD) was detected in 78 free-ranging deer in Pennsylvania.

That’s more than three times the number of free-ranging, CWD-positive deer documented in the state in 2016, when 25 were detected.

Most of the new free-ranging positives – 75 of them – either were within or near the boundary of Disease Management Area 2 (DMA 2) in southcentral Pennsylvania. Three free-ranging CWD-positives were within or near DMA 3 in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Both of these DMAs have been expanded as a result of CWD-positive deer being detected near their boundaries.

And with the creation earlier this year of DMA 4, which was established after CWD was detected at a captive deer farm in Lancaster County, more than 5,895 square miles within Pennsylvania lie within DMAs, in which special rules apply to hunters and residents.

It’s unlawful to feed deer within DMAs. Hunters are prohibited from transporting high-risk parts (generally the head and backbone) from deer they harvest within a DMA to points outside a DMA. And the use or field possession of urine-based deer attractants also is prohibited within DMAs.

In 2017, the Pennsylvania Game Commission tested 7,910 free-ranging deer and 128 elk for CWD. More than half of these deer – 4,753 – were associated with DMAs 2 and 3. Samples from 3,304 deer from DMA 2 and 1,449 deer from DMA 3 were tested.

And only within or near these DMAs did free-ranging deer test positive.

With the additional 78 CWD-positives, a total of 125 free-ranging CWD-positive deer have been detected in Pennsylvania since 2012 – all of them within DMAs 2 and 3.

CWD sampling increased in 2017, compared to the 5,707 deer and 110 elk collected in 2016 and tested. This largely is due to the Game Commission’s decision to provide free CWD testing for deer that hunters harvest within DMAs.

More than 1,533 deer harvested by hunters within DMAs were tested, at no cost to the hunter, after hunters deposited the heads from their deer in collection boxes set up in public areas. And 28 CWD-positive deer were identified through the collection boxes.

Since 2002, the Game Commission has tested over 69,000 deer for CWD.

DMAs 2 and 3 have been expanded due to 2017 CWD sampling, and the newly established DMA 4 was put into place in February.

The most up-to-date maps and descriptions of DMA boundaries always can be found at www.pgc.pa.gov on the Chronic Wasting Disease page.

DMA 2 now totals more than 4,614 square miles and includes parts of Juniata, Mifflin and Perry counties, in addition to all or parts of Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Clearfield, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon and Somerset counties.

Meanwhile, DMA 3 has been expanded to more than 916 square miles. It now includes parts of Armstrong, Cambria and Clarion counties, as well as parts of Clearfield, Indiana and Jefferson counties.

And DMA 4 in parts of Lancaster, Lebanon and Berks counites encompasses 364 square miles.

Turn-by-turn descriptions of all DMA boundaries are available in the Game Commission’s executive order on CWD available on the Chronic Wasting Disease page at www.pgc.pa.gov.

While hunters are prohibited from removing high-risk deer parts from DMAs, the meat, hide and antlers attached to a clean skull plate may be removed from a DMA.High-risk parts are where the CWD prion concentrates. They are: the head (including brain, tonsils, eyes, and lymph nodes); spinal cord/backbone (vertebra); spleen; skull plate with attached antlers, if visible brain or spinal cord material is present; cape, if visible brain or spinal cord material is present; upper canine teeth, if root structure or other soft material is present; any object or article containing visible brain or spinal cord material; and brain-tanned hide.

First identified in 1967, CWD affects members of the cervid family, including all species of deer, elk and moose. To date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But the disease is always fatal to the cervids it infects.

As a precaution, CDC recommends people avoid eating meat from deer and elk that look sick or that test positive for CWD.More information on CWD can be found at CDC’s website, www.cdc.gov.

There currently is no practical way to test live animals for CWD, nor is there a vaccine. Clinical signs of CWD include poor posture, lowered head and ears, uncoordinated movement, rough-hair coat, weight loss, increased thirst, excessive drooling, and, ultimately, death.

Much more information on CWD, as well as a video showing hunters how they can process venison for transport and consumption, is available at the Game Commission’s website.

In Pennsylvania, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been detected in these Disease Management Areas (DMAs): DMA 1 on a captive deer farm in Adams County in 2012 (DMA 1 has since been eliminated); DMA 2 in multiple free-ranging deer in Bedford, Blair, Cambria, and Fulton counties since 2012, as well as captive deer farms in Bedford, Franklin, and Fulton counties; DMA 3 in two captive deer farms in Jefferson County and a free-ranging deer in Clearfield County; DMA 4 in a captive deer at a facility in Lancaster County. In addition, CWD has been detected in wild or captive deer and/or elk in many other states and provinces.

The Pennsylvana  House yesterday approved two resolutions, authored by Reps. Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery), Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest) and Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland), to further safeguard employees and any individual who works for government or at the state Capitol from sexual  and workplace –related harassment.The resolutions would review current laws and regulations and make suggestions for improvements. Specifically, House Resolution 828 would create a task force to investigate the laws, practices and procedures surrounding harassment and sexual misconduct in the workplace. This comprehensive review would reveal any inadequacies in current laws, regulations and policies surrounding this subject, and produce a report to the General Assembly with its findings and recommendations.  The task force – which would consist of attorneys, human resources professionals, employers, state agencies and victims’ service organizations – would provide legislators with a blueprint for potential legislation. It is largely based on the resolution that created the very successful Child Protection Task Force established in 2011 following the child abuse scandals in Pennsylvania.

House Resolution 829 would review anti-harassment and discrimination laws and policies affecting Commonwealth employees. The Joint State Government Commission (JSGC) would be tasked with reviewing the number, types and results of workplace complaints in state government agencies and entities, and provide a comparison of workplace policies related to harassment and sexual misconduct.

The Senate is working on its own companion resolution to put the task force in place.

Troopers at the Kane barracks were busy Monday investigating three traffic accidents occurring in McKean County with the span of a few hours. Theh first happened a few minutes befrore 9:00 a, on Route 6 in Hamlin Township when a Ford E350 driven by Robert Huey of Carnegie, PA went off the pavement while going east, hit a traffic sign and rolled over coming to rest upside down. Huey  was not wearing a seatbelt and suffered minor injuries but refused transport to a hospital. An elderly motorcyclist from Norton Shores, MI was hurt just after 2:30 pm on Route 6 in Wetmore Township. State police said James Campbell’s Kawasaki KLT 650 slid on some gravel when he tried to pass a vehicle on the right as it made a left turn. Campbell was taken to UPMC Kane for a left knee injury. No injuries were reported for a Mt. Jewett man whose Kia Sorento hit a section of guardrails on Route 6 west of the Old Smethport Road also in Wetmore Township last night when he swerved to avoid a bear which had entered his lane of travel. Mark Wenner was going west when the bruin appeared on the road. Police said Wenner was using a seatbelt at the time.

Obituary

Larry R. Tilburg, 75, of Costello, passed away with his loving family by his side on Saturday, June 16, 2018, in Sweden Valley Manor, Coudersport, after a long illness.

Born on January 28, 1943 in Sizerville, he was a son of Robert Tilburg and Jennie Haynes Tilburg Ludwig.  On June 28, 1986 in Costello, he married Joan M. Glover, who survives.

Larry attended school in Emporium.  He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy.  He was employed as a state inspector for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation in Clearfield, retiring after 44 years of service.

Larry was a life member of VFW Post 7810 in Austin.  He loved mowing his lawn, gardening, and recycling bottles.  He enjoyed going to the Coffee Club at Big Mike’s.  His greatest love was spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren.

Surviving besides his wife are two daughters, Tammy (Matt) Muisiner of Emporium and Paula (Bill) McCoy of Trout Run; a stepdaughter, Amber (Josh) Roeske of Austin; a stepson, Tim (Annette) Glover of Coudersport; six grandchildren, Zac, Dallas, Ty, Keigan, Treigh, and Jase; a great-grandson, Cole Thomas Tucker; a sister, Jean (Hugh)Crosby of Austin; six brothers-in-law, Richard (Nancy) Glover, Tom (Penny) Glover, Albie Glover, Joe (Vida) Glover, and Rick (Sheri) Glover, all of Austin, and Bruce Glover of Emporium; a sister-in-law, Cindy Glover of Austin; and several aunts, nieces, nephews, and cousins.

In addition to his parents, Larry was predeceased by a granddaughter, Lea Ann McCoy; two nephews, Tom Crosby and Jason Glover; a brother-in-law, Chuck Glover; a sister-in-law, Anna Glover; and several aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Family and friends are invited to attend a memorial service at 12 noon on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, at the Austin United Methodist Church, Turner Street, Austin, with the Rev. Donald R. Caskey, family member and pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Coudersport, officiating.  Burial will be in Forest Hill Cemetery, Austin.

Members of the Potter County Honor Guard will accord military honors on Wednesday.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Patterson Cancer Center, 1001 East Second Street, Coudersport, PA 16915 or to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Larry’s family has entrusted his care to Kevin J. Dusenbury, funeral director/owner of the Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home, Shinglehouse.

To express condolences or share a fond memory of Larry, please visit www.virgillhowardfuneralhome.com