Friday February 22, 2019

Black Forest Express

Thursday’s high, 45; Overnight low 24







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Statewide movement opposes Gov. Wolf’s plan for funding state police….Legislation proposed in the Senate provides for safe storage of guns in PA homes….Smethport man accused of violating PFA…Mansfield state police investigate terroristic threats in elementary school…Port Allegany teen driver hurt in Potter County accident …

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Governor Wolf, last week, presented his proposed budget and Potter County’s official website is reporting local governments in Potter County have joined a statewide movement in opposition to a plan that has been hatched in Harrisburg to force many residents to pay an annual tax for Pa. State Police coverage. Gov. T Wolf’s proposed 2019 budget includes a proposal to require residents in townships and boroughs that do not have local police departments to pay an $8.00 per capita fee to support state police coverage. Wolf floated the proposal two years ago and received little support from the state legislature, due to its impact on smaller, cash-strapped communities. This year’s plan may be more palatable to lawmakers because it holds the fee at $8.00 per-capita for municipalities with fewer than 2,000 residents, while imposing a higher tax on more populous townships and boroughs. Rep. Martin Causer tells Black Forest Broadcasting News the governor’s proposal is the first step in a lengthy process which includes three weeks of appropriations hearings which are underway.

Senator  Steve Santarsiero  of Yardley is the primary sponsor of Senate Bills 137 and 138.  SB 137 requires the safe storage of a firearm when the gun owner resides with a person who may not lawfully possess a firearm; SB 138 requires safe storage regardless of who resides with the gun owner.

The Senator says such Safe Storage laws have worked well in other states where they have been enacted.  He says he knows many gun owners who already practice safe storage of their weapons, and says most gun owners should not have a problem with the legislation.

A Smethport man has been arrested for violating  Protection From Abuse order. State police did not release the name of the 26 year  old suspect but allege he sent an alarming message to his former girlfriend, a 25 year old Eldred woman. After being arraigned on the charge, the defendant taken into custody and remanded to the McKean County Jail.

State police at Mansfield say they are continuing to investigate a case of terroristic threats at the Liberty Elementary School Monday afternoon. An 11 year old girl was found in possession of a  threatening  note     but police did not say if the girl was the victim or  alleged perpetrator.

A Port Allegany teen driver was slightly hurt in a one-vehicle accident last Saturday afternoon in Hebron Township, Potter County.  The 16 year old girl was going south on Route 44 when her 2009 Pontiac G6 went onto shoulder veered  across the opposite lane, hit a utility pole and rolled over twice before stopping. She was using a lap and shoulder belt but declined transport to UPMC for treatment of minor injuries.

Troopers at Coudersport are looking for a vehicle which damaged some property in Eulalia Township Sunday afternoon. The unknown vehicle hit a support pole near the main entrance of the Laurelwood Inn but the driver failed to report the damage to the property owner.

A Kane woman is being charged with DUI after being stopped early this morning on Greeves Street in that town. State police claim when they pulled dover the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse, the 46 year old woman appeared to have been driving under the influence. Charges are pending lab results.


Thursday February 21, 2019

Black Forest Express

Black Forest Express


Wednesday’s high, 37; Overnight low, 36; 1.5” snow, sleet, freezing rain







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Obituary: Novice June Johnson, Bradford

Travel restrictions lifted….PA is promoting electric cars and solar power….Elkland woman hurt in weather-related accident…..Ridgway state police looking for fugitive…..

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With recent severe winter weather conditions ending, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has restored speed limits on a number of roadways in the north central region. PennDOT has restored normal speed limits on where the speed limit had been reduced to 45 mph yesterday. Additionally, all commercial vehicle bans have been lifted .

Pennsylvania is getting ahead of the proposed federal initiative “Green New Deal.”  The state  could gain almost $2.8 billion in benefits from lower greenhouse gas emissions, help reduce respiratory disease, increase consumer savings, and create jobs if just three in 10 vehicles were electric, according to a plan released by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Led by DEP, a coalition of public and private partners called Drive Electric PA analyzed barriers to electric vehicle use. They developed Pennsylvania’s Electric Vehicle Roadmap, recommending 13 strategies to increase use of these zero-emission vehicles. Partners include PennDOT; the Pennsylvania Departments of General Services and Conservation and Natural Resources; the Public Utility and Turnpike Commissions; and about 100 industry, business, community, and academic partners.

Transportation generates 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Pennsylvania, according to DEP’s draft 2018 Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Governor Wolf’s Executive Order on climate change requires that 25 percent of state government passenger cars be replaced with electric vehicles by 2025. A few cities, such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and organizations are working to expand electric vehicle use locally. Increasing numbers of residents, businesses, and organizations are applying to DEP rebate programs for electric vehicles or charging stations. For example, in the past two years, Pennsylvania residents have received more than $3.3 million in rebates for 2,135 electric vehicles.

Still, there are only about 15,000 electric vehicles in the state, a fraction of the approximately eight million passenger cars registered.

By 2023, an electric vehicle will emit 50 percent less greenhouse gas than a gasoline-powered car, according to Pennsylvania’s Electric Vehicle Roadmap. The plan projects that if three in 10 cars and light-duty trucks were electric by 2033, Pennsylvania could enjoy almost $2.8 billion in benefits. Asthma and other respiratory disease related to air pollution would be lower. Jobs in electric vehicle manufacturing and infrastructure would be created. Consumers would save money through fuel efficiency and less maintenance. Utility ratepayers would have lower costs from improved efficiency in the electric grid.

But public knowledge of the benefits of electric vehicles is low. People are uncertain about the availability of charging stations and mileage range. Up-front cost may be high. There’s currently no statewide policy to increase adoption.

The Electric Vehicle Roadmap identifies seven strategies to start to overcome these barriers in just two years:

  • Develop policy or legislation to encourage utilities to invest in transportation electrification and leverage their expertise and consumer relationships to improve the electric market in a way that maximizes benefits to ratepayers and society.
  • Establish statewide electric sales goals.
  • Expand DEP’s Alternative Fuel Investment Grants program for municipalities, businesses, and organizations.
  • Increase investment in charging stations and public awareness of them.
  • Create an education program and a cooperative program to support fleet purchases.
  • Develop a consumer education campaign.
  • Develop an outreach program to raise awareness of electric vehicles among car dealerships.

The plan recommends six other strategies for five years and beyond. Coalition members are now collaborating on potential ways to put the strategies in place.

Pennsylvania’s Electric Vehicle Roadmap was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, under State Energy Program Award Number DE EE0006994 through contract with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

As more and more Pennsylvanians turn to solar energy to power their homes, a bi-partisan group of representatives introduced on Tuesday legislation to allow for community solar projects in the Commonwealth.

At this time last year, the number of solar energy system installations in the state increased 24 percent over the same period in 2017. At nearly the same time, the cost to install large solar farms decreased 11 percent while the cost of rooftop systems decreased 26 percent. Solar is becoming increasing popular and even more cost effective for consumers.

Under the bill, homeowners, renters and other property owners would be able to join other participants in subscribing to a portion of an offsite solar project and receive credit on their electricity bill for the power that is produced, just as if the panels were on their roofs.

The bill would give residents a choice to take part in greener energy production,” Millard said. “Those who we anticipate taking part in this initiative include renters, who may be prohibited from installing panels on a property, property owners with shaded properties or homeowners who may not intend to stay at their current property long enough to reap the full financial benefits of a personal solar energy system.

The bill would also create new and exciting energy markets in the Commonwealth and encourage entrepreneurship. It would also open solar energy systems to low- and moderate-income residents who may otherwise not be able to afford solar energy systems. Nineteen other states and Washing, D.C., have already given their residents the option of taking part in community solar projects. Of course, Pennsylvania has its share of cloudy days–some 56% while states such as Arizona, Texas and California have 90% or better sunny days.

An Elkland woman was  hurt in a one-vehicle accident last Monday, February 11 in Farmington Township, Tioga County. Mansfield based state police overnight reported Katrina Edwards was going east on the Pleasant Valley Road when her Suzuki Aerio SX slid off the snow and ice covered road and hit an embankment. Edwards was taken to Soldiers and Sailors Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

State police at Ridgway are looking for 26 year old Seth Stephen Duttry for felony hit and run, fleeing or eluding police and a probation violation for failing to report to Elk County Probation as required. Duttry may be driving a dark late 11990’1 or early 2000’s Jeep Grand Cherokee. He is described as being 6 ft. tall; weighs 140 pounds, has hazel eyes and brown hair. His las known address was Weedville.  Anyone with information as to his whereabouts is aske3d to call state police at 814.776.6136 or the Probation office at776.5365.

On February 20th, District Attorney Stephanie Vettenburg-Shaffer and Corporal Ted Race of the Pennsylvania State Police presented a program to students at Smethport High School. The program focused on the danger of impaired driving and the risk that drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine pose to them. Increased education to students has been credited with greatly reducing the number of DUI by minor cases. The District Attorney overseas the McKean County Drug Task Force and presented a video showing a scientist with the Clandestine Lab Team handling a meth pot after responding to an active meth lab in McKean County. Corporal Race is a trained Drug Recognition Expert specially trained to identify signs of impairment due to drugs or alcohol.  To report information on illegal drug activity to a McKean County Drug Task Force Detective, please contact Chief County Detective Ryan Yingling at the District Attorney’s Office 887-3312 or


Novice June Johnson, 70, of Bradford, passed away unexpectedly in her home on Wednesday, February 13, 2019.Born on February 18, 1948 in Pineview, Georgia, she was a daughter of Wilbur and Myrtis Highsmith Gammage.  She was married to Jack “Jacky” Johnson, who preceded her in death.

In her younger years, Novice was employed as a secretary and was also employed as skilled seamstress. She loved her cats.  Her greatest love was her family, especially her grandchildren.  Novice was a loving caregiver to her special needs son, Robby.Surviving are two sons, Robert “Robby” Johnson of Bradford and Charles “Charlie” Johnson of Georgia; three grandchildren, Britney Johnson McMichael and Christopher Michael Johnson, Jr., both of Nahunta, Georgia and Austin Christopher Johnson of Jesup, Georgia; two great-grandchildren, Kenzleigh Nevaeh Ashton McMichael and Brysan Liam Asbell;one niece, Carla Tidwell of Bennett, Alabama; and her niece by marriage, Misti McCullen of Bradford.In addition to her parents and husband, Novice was predeceased by a son, Christopher “Chris” Johnson; and a sister, Enid Elizabeth Tidwell.In keeping with Novice’s wishes, there will be no public visitation or funeral services.In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to an ASPCA of the donor’s choice.Novice’s family has entrusted her care and cremation arrangements to Kevin J. Dusenbury, funeral director/owner of the Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home, Shinglehouse, Pa.To express condolences or share a fond memory of Novice, please visit