Wednesday January 23, 2019

Black Forest Express

Tuesday’s high, 24; Overnight low, 24







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Two area lawmakers appointed to state house Ag Committee….Sinnemahoning State Park is offering a program on furbearers this coming Saturday……..Prescription meds stolen from Ridgway home…..One driver slightly injured in Elk County rear-end collision Tuesday….Next on-air report after 12:06 pm today on

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Freezing rain resulted in classes at Northern Potter, Oswayo Valley and Penn College of Technology  be cancelled today. The Ulysses and Oswayo Valley Senior Centers were closed. Two hour delays were in effect for Kane, Port Allegany and Smethport schools.

The Pennsylvania House has returned to session and Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) has been reappointed chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee for the 2019-20 legislative session by Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny).

Among the top priorities for Causer and the committee is boosting agriculture education opportunities in public schools and post-secondary institutions. The goal is to help students recognize the quality jobs available in the industry and ensure growth in the agriculture work force. Last session, as part of the state budget process, the General Assembly voted to create a Commission for Agricultural Education Excellence to develop a statewide plan for agricultural education and coordinate its implementation between the departments of Agriculture and Education.

To help farms and other agribusiness entities survive and grow, Causer said the committee will work to ensure regulations are more reasonable and permits are processed in a more timely manner. They will also continue to focus on the needs of the dairy industry, which has been struggling with declining prices and demand. Last year’s budget included $5 million in First Industries Program funding to support research and development, organic transition, value-added processing and marketing grants for dairy operations.

Other priorities include extending broadband service to rural communities and expanding the law allowing growth of industrial hemp in the Commonwealth in response to recent changes in the federal Farm Bill.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the industry supports more than 280,000 direct jobs, $10.9 billion in direct earnings and $83.8 billion in direct output, as well as 579,000 total jobs, $26.9 billion in total earnings and $135.7 billion in total output. The state is home to more than 59,000 farms covering 7.7 million acres of farmland.

Causer has served as representative for the 67th Legislative District since 2003. For legislative updates, visit and He will be joined on the committee by Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) . Owlett has also been appointed to the Game and Fisheries, Health and Commerce committees.

Within the legislative process, the committees are where all bills are first sent and reviewed. During the committee process, amendments can be offered, discussion on the bills takes place and sometimes public or informational hearings are held to gather more information on a legislative issue before a vote is taken on whether or not to advance a bill for a vote before the full House.

Specifically, the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee deals with an array of legislation directly affecting the state’s farmers and farming operations. It also handles issues impacting the timber industry, horse and harness racing regulation, food safety and restaurant inspections, Dog Law enforcement and kennel licensure, the use of pesticides, and the administration of state-funded programs to promote agriculture in Pennsylvania.

The House Game and Fisheries Committee receives and reviews annual performance and status reports from the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. It also approves the setting of license fees that support each commission and addresses all legislation affecting them.

The Health Committee focuses on issues such as abortion, disease management, stem cell research, health savings accounts, hospital-acquired infections, Medical Assistance, patient safety, pharmaceutical issues, telemedicine and much more.

The Commerce Committee is responsible for originating legislation and overseeing implementation of programs which affect Pennsylvania companies. The committee has primary jurisdiction over corporate governance through the business corporation law, as well as regulation of offers of sale and credit through such statutes as the Goods and Services Installment Sales Act, the Unfair Sales Act, and the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act.

For more legislative information, check out Owlett’s website at and sign up for legislative emails providing highlights of district and Harrisburg happenings and upcoming events, or “like” him on Facebook at

Sinnemahoning State Park is offering a program on Winter Furbearers On Saturday, January 26th,, from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm in the classroom of the Wildlife Center. Presented by retired Susquehannock State Forest field forester, Paul Lilja, this program will give visitors a chance to learn more about mammals, such as beavers, otters, foxes and weasels, that have historically been trapped for their furs.

Participants will learn how these furbearers live and thrive in the winter woods of the PA Wilds and how to improve their chances of spotting these animals in their native habitats.

This conservation program will also provide participants insight into how Pennsylvania’s practice of the North American model for wildlife management has helped to maintain furbearer populations at healthy numbers while providing increased opportunities for songbirds and other non-game animals as well through wildlife habitat management.


Paul Lilja teaching about furbearers at the Potter County Conservation School.  Photo  by Jackie Manno.

Guest presenter, Paul Lilja, grew up in Elk County in a tiny town called Dagus Mines and can trace his interest in wildlife and the outdoors back to the age of 14 when he attended the Junior Conservation Corps, a program run by the local sportsmen’s club for youth ages 11-15.  That year he also attended the Conservation Leadership School at Penn State, run by the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and made up his mind to follow a career in wildlife and forestry.

Paul graduated from Penn State with a degree in Forestry and went to work for Susquehannock State Forest in 1971, and according to Paul, “Then I stayed here forever because I loved what I was doing.”  Paul worked as a field forester, until his retirement in 2007.  Paul still lives in the Coudersport area with his wife Mary.  They have 6 kids and 17 grandchildren between them and run a landscaping business.

In 1981 Paul helped to start the Potter County Conservation School, a week-long residential camp, hosted by the Black Forest Conservation Association, that provides wildlife management, conservation education, and outdoor recreation opportunities for 13-15 year-olds.  Paul and his daughter, Jackie Manno, continue to organize and run the Conservation School, because, according to Paul, “That’s how I got started.  Giving back, and offering the same opportunities to these kids, it is the right thing to do.”

This free “Winter Furbearers” program will begin at 1:00 PM in the Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning State Park.

For more information on park programs and events, please contact Sinnemahoning State Park at (814) 647-8401 or or visit the online DCNR Events Calendar.

If you need an accommodation to participate in PA State Park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.  With at least seven days’ notice, interpreters for people who are deaf or hard of hearing are available for educational programs.

State police at Ridgway are investigating the theft of some medicine from a home on W. Main Street. Sometime between 2:00 and 4:00 pm Friday  January 11, 2019 someone entered  the home of 48 year old woman and stole a bottle each  of  1 mg. Clonazepam and 300 mg Gabpentin. Anyone with information is asked to call the Ridgway barracks at 814.776.6136.

One driver was slightly hurt in a rear-end collision Tuesday afternoon on Main Street in Fox Township, Elk County. The fender-bender occurred when Suzette Rigard  of Kersey failed to notice that Glenn Girts had slowed down to make a left turn into Skyline Drive while they were both headed west on Route 948. Rigard’s Nissan Frontier hit the rear of the Girts Chevrolet Sonic but both units could be driven from the scene. Girts told troopers he did not require medical attention for a minor injury. Rigard was not hurt but was cited for following too closely.


Tuesday January 22, 2019

Updated 7:25 am

Wednesday 1/23/19 cancelled classes: Northern Potter , Oswayo Valley & Penn College of Tech/Wmsprt

2 hour delay Kane, Port Allegany (unprecedented) and Smethport

Ulysses and Oswayo Valley Senior Centers closed today.

Black Forest Express


Monday’s high, 10; Overnight low, 19 below zero; no new snow






Obituary: Lola Freer, Port Allegany

 BFB Headlines (Tuesday January 22, 2019)Sub-zero temps cause school delays….Open House scheduled for Wednesday night in Port Allegany regarding Three County Comprehensive plan…..McKean County Republicans make plans for upcoming political season…Smethport area home destroyed by accidental fire…..arson in Elk County investigated…Emporium driver cited for speeding after one vehicle crash Monday…next on-air report after 12:06pm on

 Bitter cold temperatures forced a two hour delay at several area schools this morning; Austin, Cameron County, Coudersport Galeton, Ridgway, and  St. Marys all had a two-hour delay.

An open house to provide information on the first-ever Northern Pennsylvania Tri-County Comprehensive Plan will be held Wednesday night in Port  Allegany. A project of commissioners and planning boards from Potter, Cameron and McKean counties, the document will guide decision-makers across a broad spectrum of public policy areas for the 2020-29 decade. Its implications will be felt in everything from economic development, environmental conservation, transportation, employment, education, small business, agriculture, community facilities and other areas.

Representative Martin Causer who represents all or part of all three counties involved is looking for a good turnout.

Focus groups have been meeting, with the assistance of a professional planner, to provide the framework. Dozens of people from many walks of life and areas of interest have been engagedand members of the public participated in an on-line survey

The plan is mandated by the state and must be updated every 10 years. An initial report based on the consulting firm’s research was recently released. Profiles of the three counties were created to identify trends, assets, strengths, challenges and opportunities. Among the concerns are the impact of a declining population, combined with steady increases in median age. While the master document covers a three-county region, the plan will include sections that are exclusive to each particular county. The plan, funded in part through Northcentral Pa. Regional Planning and Development Commission, began in August and will be completed next summer. Further information is available at each county’s planning office.

The Executive Committee of the McKean County Republican Committee is announcing preparations for the 2019 Primary Election scheduled for May 21st.  The first day to circulate petitions is February 19th and all petitions must be filed by the end of business March 13th.  Countywide offices up for election this year include County Commissioners, Recorder of Deeds, Register of Wills, County Coroner, District Attorney, and County Treasurer (for a 2 year term).

In addition to the Annual Spring Dinner to be held in late March, the Executive Committee is currently preparing a series of “Meet the Candidate” events.   Beginning in April, an event will be scheduled in Bradford, Eldred, Kane, Port Allegany, and Smethport providing the residents of each of these communities an opportunity to meet and hear from the individual candidates.  Final dates, locations and times to be announced.

The state police fire marshal has determined a McKean County house fire was accidental and an Elk county fire was arson. A Keating Township (McKean County) family safely  escaped their burning home early Monday morning. According to Cpl. Greg Agosti the blaze at the home of Stacy Miller was accidental. The fire was discovered a few minus after 2:00 am. Two adults and two children were at home at the time. Damage top the house owned by Dfyy, Inc. of East Smethport totals $100,000.

Unknown persons or person deliberately ignited a fire on the exterior of a house located at  66 Oak Street in Wilcox at around 7:00 o’clock last night. Volunteer firefighters extinguished the blaze before it penetrated the building. Damage there estimated to be $2,000. The house, owned by Lea Mowrey of Wilcox was unoccupied.

An Emporium driver has been cited for speeding after his  car hit some guardrails on Route 120 Monday morning. Luke Romanowski  lost control of his Dodge Caliber  while trying to make a left hand curve in Shippen Township. The car    went off the pavement andn hit some guardrails on the right side of the ro9ak then veered to the eastbound berm and collided with another section of gurardrails. Romanowski was not hurt.


Lola Jean Freer, 80, of Turtlepoint, died Thursday (Jan. 17, 2019) at UPMC-Cole, Coudersport.She was born Oct 5, 1938 in Erie, PA. She always loved the country and moved to Port Allegany in June of 1972.  She married Irwin (Pete) Freer on July 26, 1975.She was a bartender, waitress, and care giver for many years in the area, but her favorite job was being a mother.She is survived by her much loved children and grandchildren, Mark Jekel and Doug (Tina) Jekel both of Erie, PA Scott (Eunice) Freer of Cyclone, PA, Dale (Cathy) Freer of Ischua, NY, Deborah Wuethrich of Portville, NY, Cheryl Depledge of Ischua, NY.13 grandchildren; Susan Magee, Nathan Jekel, Greg Rees, Kayla Jekel, Zachary Jekel,  Garret Jekel, Miranda Lananger, Jeremy Freer, Lucas Tillman,  Amy Tillman, Christina Brown, Rebecca Freer and  Jake Freer.15 Great Grandchildren.She is also survived by her complete other half, Russell McGarvey of 34 years and a brother–in-law, Dave Pennsy, 2 nieces and one nephew, one brother, Mike Deutsch of Erie.She was preceded in death by her parents, an infant daughter Marci, one grandson Travis, one granddaughter Michelle, a sister Patty Pennsy, 2 son-in-laws and 2 husbands.At Lola’s request, there will be no visitation or funeral services at this time.Memorials may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice.  Online condolences may be made at are under the direction of the Hartle-Tarbox Funeral Homes, Inc., Port Allegany.

Monday January 21, 2019


Two Hour Delay: Austin, Cameron County, Coudersport, Galeton, Oswayo Valley,  Ridgway, St. Marys,

Black Forest Express

18 below zero @ 5:30 am on Fishing Creek

Sunday’s high, 17; Overnight low, -7; 7.50 inches of snow (Storm Total)


MON NIGHT-PARTLY CLOUDY, LOW -4 (Wind chill -20)




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Obituaries: Rev. Duane Burdick, Harrison Valley and Dale Potter, Harrison Valley

Electrical shorts cause fires in two area counties….Wilcox man accused of body slamming woman during argument…Man who fired shot from moving vehicle sought by police…..Troopers investigate several recent crashes….Mansfield woman accused of stealing merchandise from Walmart by changing tags…Potter County criminal justice board announces 2019 strategy….

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The state police fire marshal investigated two accidental fires in the Black Forest Broadcasting Service area recently. An electrical short in a riding lawnmower stored in a basement garage caused a fire at a Foster Township home Thursday morning. Damage to the wood frame home owned by Bradley and Jody Locke. There were no injuries. An electrical short also   caused a blaze in  1988 Nissan300zx parked in an apartment complex lot last Thursday evening in St. Marys resulting in $1500 damage. The vehicle, owned by Nathan Carr was parked unattended in a parking lot of an apartment complex on Pontzer Avenue when flames broke out.

Harassment charges are pending against a 22 year old Wilcox resident in connection to a domestic violence assault last Monday afternoon at a residence on Marvin Street in Jones Township Elk County.  State police allege the suspect picked up a 22 year old Wilcox woman and slammed her to the ground.

State police at Mansfield are looking for a man who fired a rifle from a car while traveling on Bennett Hill Road in Union Township last Thursday afternoon. The man is described as having black hair and goatee and was wearing a black cap. The car was said to be a red Pontiac Grand Am.

Troopers at Mansfield are also looking for hit and run vehicle involved in a minor fender bender on Main Street in Jackson Township. Friday evening.  According to police, the unknown vehicle and Ford Fusion driven by Jeremy Burton of Lawrenceville were going west on Ropute 328. The unknown unit stopped on the highway and despite evasive action, Burton’s car bumped the back of the other vehicle.Both drivers pulled off the road and after checking the damage, the unknown driver took off without providing required information.

No one was hurt in a minor collision last Thursday afternoon on Leetonia Road in Elk Township, Elk County. State police report the collision occurred when a westbouond 1999  GMC Sierra went off the liret road on a curleft curve and slid into a 2013 GMC Sierra driven by Brian Caldwell of Wellsboro. Police said there were patches of ice on the road which had justr eceived a dusting of snow. The road was partially closed for about an  hour.

A 19 year old Ulysses driver and dhis two 17 year old passengers, a male and a female,escaped injury in a one-vehicle crash Saturday afternoon on Merrick Hill Road in Deerfield Township, Tioga County. Troopers at Mansfield say the accident occurred when a Toyota Tacoma driven by Mackenzie Potter went ott the road and hit a tree, then continued on for a short distance before hitting more trees and shrubbery.

Minor injuries were reported for   St Marys woman whose sedan collided with an International Harvester on the Toby Road in Fox Township Friday morning. Jessica Amacher was headed west when SamuelTerrito pulled out from the Greentree Landfill and struck the Chrysler Town and Country.

A 33 year old Mansfield woman has been arrested for stealing merchandise from Walmart lsat Wednesday afternoon. State police allege Alanda Neal changed price tags on eight items and thenused the self check out. Value of the stolen items ranged from 24 cents to $19 Included were candy, DVDs and a cat toy.

During last week’s meeting, Potter County Commissioner Paul Heimel reported that theCountuyu’s Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB) members unanimously approved their 2019 strategic plan during their quarterly meeting on Jan. 10. It’s a detailed document that commits members of the county’s criminal justice system to working together to improve outcomes.

Overall goals in the CJAB action plan for the new year include:

  • Partnering with the National Stepping Up Initiative for more effective handling of criminal offenders with identified mental health issues.
  • Continued work on a Pretrial Diversion Program for Potter County and development of more comprehensive re-entry services for inmates being released from the county jail.
  • Implementation of the National Data-Driven Justice Initiative to measure effectiveness and outcomes of criminal justice strategies, better inform decision-makers, and improve information sharing.
  • Continued collaboration for early education programs to identify and address the rise in juvenile anti-social behavior/mental health and criminal activity.
  • Transitional/half-way housing for offenders along with an increased focus on skills training and employment needs.

CJAB members also heard updates on federal and state grants being pursued to support a.) criminal justice reform measures; b.) county-provided services related to criminal justice; and c.) training.

Among the grant funded initiatives that are expected to move forward this year is Sequential Intercept Mapping (SIM) training. SIM helps local criminal justice partners to identify the weaknesses, gaps and strengths of the county’s current processes; and it provides guidance to create a more effective system for dealing with officers who have mental illness or addiction.


CJAB officers for 2019 are: Judge Stephen Minor, chairman; Commissioner Paul Heimel, vice chairman; and Colleen Wilber, Potter County Human Services, administrator.




Rev. M. Duane BURDICK, 71, of Harrison Valley, PA, died Thursday, January 17, 2019 in Robert Packer Hospital, Sayre, PA. Born January 19, 1947, in Potter Brook, he was the son of Merrill H. and Louise E. Knight Burdick.  On September 13, 1969, in Potter Brook, he married the former Fern Houghtaling, who survives.  A 1964 graduate of Cowanesque Valley High School and a 1968 graduate of Houghton College, he was ordained as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He served as pastor of Potter Brook People’s Church, Valley Mission Church, and Mountain View Pentecostal Church.  He served as a social worker and assistant superintendent of the Northern Tier Children’s Home for many years and as human resources director for Adelphi Village at Northern Tier, retiring in 2009.  Duane was a member of Gospel Tabernacle in Coudersport and a life member of the Harrison Township Volunteer Fire Company and active in several other local fire service organizations.  Surviving besides wife, Fern, are:  a son, Mark (Kristin) Burdick of Westfield;  two grandchildren, Connor Burdick and Markenna Burdick;  a sister, Dorothy (Russell) Outman of Westfield;  three brothers, Kelly (Mitzi) Burdick of Sabinsville, Kent (Tammy) Burdick of Knoxville, and Kevin (Gina) Burdick of Westfield;  an aunt, Phyllis Hancock of Coudersport;  nieces and nephews.  He was predeceased by his parents.  Friends may call Tuesday, January 22, 2019 from 2:00 – 4:00 and 7:00 – 9:00 PM at the Olney Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Ulysses, PA.  Funeral Services will be held 1:00 PM, Wednesday in the Gospel Tabernacle, Coudersport, PA.  The Rev. John Minor will officiate.  Burial will be in Riverview Cemetery, Potter Brook.  Memorials may be made to the Gospel Tabernacle, 420 Rte. 6 West, Coudersport, PA 16915, Harrison Township Volunteer Fire Co., 112 E. Tannery St., Harrison Valley, PA, or the Northern Tier Children’s Home, 4309 SR 49, Harrison Valley, PA 16927.

Dale H. POTTER, 82, of Harrison Valley, PA, died Wednesday, January 16, 2019 in his home.  Born June 26, 1936, in Elkland, he was the son of Leland Harold and Barbara Freas Potter.  On July 2, 1955, in Harrison Valley, he married the former Loveda “Dee Dee” Kibbe, who survives.  He was employed by Consolidated, now Dominion, from 1956 – 1992.  Dale served as caretaker of the Whites Corners Cemetery for many years.  He was a life member of the Harrison Township Volunteer Fire Co., charter member of the Harrison Valley Community Ball Park Association, Elkland Moose, and the Westfield Masonic Lodge.  Surviving besides his wife, Loveda, are:  four sons, Richard (Claudette) Potter of Harrison Valley, Paul Potter of Harrison Valley, Duane (Renee) Potter of Covington, and Neal (Cheri) Potter of Harrison Valley; ten grandchildren;  29 great-grandchildren;  a brother, Richard (Barbara) Potter of Elkland;  a sister, Barbara Ann Potter of Portland, OR;  two sisters-in-law, Bonnie Potter of Campbell, NY and Lynn Potter of Tioga;  nieces, nephews, and cousins.  In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by a granddaughter, Skyler;  and two brothers, Franklin Potter and Robert Potter.  A memorial gathering will be held Sunday, January 27, 2019 at the Harrison Township Community Building from 1:00 – 3:00 PM.  Burial will be in Whites Corners Cemetery.  Memorials may be made to the Harrison Township Volunteer Fire Co., 112 E. Tannery St., Harrison Valley, PA 16927 or the Harrison Valley Community Ball Park Assoc., c/o Richard Potter, 230 Harrison Fox Hill Rd., Harrison Valley, PA 16927.  Arrangements are entrusted to Olney Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Ulysses, PA.

Online condolences may be expressed at

Online condolences may be expressed at