Black Forest Express
Tuesday’s high, 24; Overnight low, 24
WED-FREEZING RAIN.HIGH 43
WED NIGHT-RAIN, LOW 30
THU-RAIN CHANGING TO SNOW, HIGH 34
THU NIGHT-SNOW SHOWERS, LOW 15
FRI-CLOUDY, FLURRIES, MAYBE SNOW SHOWERS, HIGH 17
FRI NIGHT-SNOW SHOWERS POSSIBLE, LOW 1
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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 www.blackforestbroadcasting.com
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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 RepCauser.com and Facebook.com/RepCauser. 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 www.RepOwlett.com and sign up for legislative emails providing highlights of district and Harrisburg happenings and upcoming events, or “like” him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/RepOwlett.
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 SinnemahoningSP@pa.gov 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.