Monday April 22, 2019

Black Forest Express


Sunday’s high, 55; Overnight low, 44; .79” rain weekend total







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Tri-County’s Broadband deployment moves a step closer to reality…..Bipartisan Bicameral Broadband Caucus formed in General Assembly….Roulette man hurt when tree falls on his motorcycle….DUI arrests made in three area counties….

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Tri-County REC’s play to deploy a broadband system in the region has moved a step closer to reality. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has granted the petition of Tri-Co Connections, LLC (Tri-Co), a subsidiary of Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative serving north-central Pennsylvania, for designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC). The ETC designation will promote efforts to provide voice and broadband services in underserved parts of rural Pennsylvania. The Commission voted 5-0 to approve the ETC designation, which is required under federal law before  a company can receive federal universal service fund support to build voice and broadband networks and provide related services in high-cost areas of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s incumbent local exchange carrier telephone companies are currently ETCs. Tri-Co required ETC designation following its successful bid to obtain a portion of federal support that the Federal Communications Commission offered to, but which was declined by, Verizon Communications, Inc. Pennsylvania is supporting the Tri-Co broadband deployment with funding provided through the Governor’s Office of Broadband Initiatives and a grant from the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. As a result, the network and services that Tri-Co plans to provide will deliver broadband over a fiber-to-the-home network at download speeds of at least 25 Megabits per second and potentially as high as one Gigabit per second. In recent years, the PUC has repeatedly raised concerns about the impact of lost federal broadband funding fueling a growing economic divide between communities and businesses that have access to higher Internet speeds, and those that do not. Additionally, the Commission has supported the launch of the Pennsylvania Broadband Investment Incentive Program, and has launched a rulemaking process intended to more quickly resolve disputes over access to utility poles, which is a key issue for enhanced broadband deployment. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner. For recent news releases and video of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at Follow the PUC on Twitter – @PA_PUC for all things utility. “Like” PAPowerSwitch on Facebook for easy access to information on electric shopping.

Meanwhile a bicameral, bipartisan Broadband Caucus has formed in the General Assembly.Aiming to keep momentum rolling to improve access to high-speed internet, Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) announced the formation of the bicameral Broadband Caucus in the General Assembly. “I’ve heard from many individuals in southern York County with challenges accessing high-speed internet,” Phillips-Hill said. “The goal of this joint Senate and House caucus is to ensure the issue does not get lost in the shuffle in Harrisburg and that we keep a focus on what needs to be done to make Pennsylvania more competitive and a more desirable place to live, work and raise a family.”Phillips-Hill will co-chair the caucus with Rep. Pam Snyder (D-Washington). Both Phillips-Hill and Snyder co-chaired the caucus last session when it was solely the House Broadband Caucus. While the caucus cannot officially vote on any measures, the co-chairs said it’s the ongoing advocacy that landed Pennsylvania an opportunity for major private sector investment to build out capacity to bring high-speed internet to new areas in the Commonwealth.Phillips-Hill said a Penn State study that shows the number of Pennsylvanians without access to high-speed internet is a cause for major concern. She cited a recent study showing over 11 million Pennsylvanians lack access to high-speed broadband. The original estimate was around 700,000.“With a competitive landscape nationwide that is fighting to attract employers, employees, and the infrastructure that supports that, like schools, hospitals, and other critical services, we need to ensure we are not widening the digital divide that exists,” Phillips-Hill said. “The latest statistics should be a rallying cry that the bulk of Pennsylvania is getting left behind. ”“Hopefully our findings will help close the digital divide in Pennsylvania,” she added.

A Roulette man was seriously hurt in an unusual motorcycle accident Saturday afternoon. According to Police Chief Bryan Phelps, Isaac Lannager was travelling east on Kim Hill Road just west of Pomerory Street when a large maple tree fell onto the road just as he approached, The tree hit Lannager and knocked off his helmet,  threw  him to the ground and he continued traveling east through the top of the tree. Lannager and his bike ended up in a ditch on the east side of the tree top. Roulette EMS personnel treated Lannager at the scene and then transported him to UPMC Cole. He was later flown to an out of the area  trauma center.

State police in three counties recently arrested three drivers for DUI. Troopers in Mansfield arrested a 47 year old Lindley, NY man early March 30 on Route 287 in Tioga Township after stopping his 2012 Chevrolet Silverado for a traffic violation. A 21 year man was arrested on the night of April 12 by Emporium based state police at the intersection of E. 4th Street and S. Walnut Street in Emporium. Lewis Run state police are charging a 22 year old man from Lewis Run after s topping his 1999 Jeep on Champlin Hill Road near E. Valley Road in Keating Township early this past Saturday morning for a summary y traffic violation. There were three 22 year old  passengers in the Jeep, two from Bradford and one from Grove City.


Friday April 19, 2019





Black Forest Express

Thursday’s high, 68; Overnight low, 50







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Obituary: Shane Wilson, Coudersport

State House committee approves Causer’s bill to dairy farmers and committee hears testimony about additional help…..Mansfield woman accused stealing merchandise twice this month from Walmart…Mt. Jewett teen charged with bodily assault of two adults….SC driver arrested for DUI in Cameron County…Vandalism probed in Elk and Tioga counties….

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The House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, which Rep. Martin Causer chairs, has approved his legislation that would exempt milk trucks from weather-related commercial vehicle travel bans.Causer says while he  understands the public safety concerns that may prompt officials to impose a travel ban on commercial vehicles, it causes a major problem for our dairy farmers. Cows simply don’t have an “off switch,” and their milking schedules cannot be changed to comply with weather and travel conditions.

So, the administration’s suggestion that dairy farmers need to “change their business model” is simply not an option.

Causer’s  bill, as amended in committee, will require milk haulers who wish to be exempt from future travel bans to obtain and display a decal from the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board on their vehicle.

In light of the ongoing challenges facing the state’s dairy industry, Causer also  called a public hearing of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee Wednesday to hear from members of the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board (PMMB).

Over the last year, the board has embarked on an effort to educate farmers and others about its role and to better assess and respond to issues and concerns raised by the state’s dairy farmers.

The board members – Chairman Robert Barley, Dr. Carol A Hardbarger and James Van Blarcom – shared with committee members what they learned during a series of listening sessions held between last September and early February, as well as the results of a survey they conducted. Two of the main issues raised include minimum pricing, as many farmers feel it benefits processors and retailers more than it benefits farmers; and the over order premium (OOP) and whether it is being properly remitted to the state’s dairy farmers. OOP is a premium applied at retail to the sale of milk produced, processed and sold in Pennsylvania. It is intended to support the state’s dairy farmers; however, Barley acknowledged that as much as one-third of the OOP is not making it back to farmers.

Another common issue raised during the sessions was about the sale of milk products in schools, which until recently was limited by federal policy to only skim milk. In late August, new federal guidelines allowed school districts to offer 1% flavored milk to students.

As a result of their discussions, the board indicated they are working to continue improving communications with farmers to further educate about the board’s role, which is not limited to pricing functions, but includes others such as auditing and payment security. They are also examining pricing systems in other states and reviewing potential solutions related to the remittance of over order premiums. In fact, the board has scheduled a hearing for May 1 on a proposed amendment to their regulations to require cooperatives to provide a line item on member statements showing the amount of over order premium being paid.

A Mt. Jewett teenager is being charged  through juvenile probation for committing an assault with bodily injury. Lewis Run based state police claim the 15 year old girl physically assaulting  two Mt. Jewett women, ages 22 and 49, this  morning at  a home on West Main Street in that town. The girl left the house after the assault but was later located by police.

Mansfield based state police have arrested a Blossburg  woman for stealing merchandise twice last week from Walmart. Police claim that on April 2, 27 year old Cassie Chase took $47.56 worth of items from the store without paying for them by skimming the merchandise through the store self checkout counter. The products consisted mostly of food and a package of paper plates. She was identified by a store employee. Then, authorities say Chase returned to the store on last Sunday, April 7 and walked out with $65.49 worth of products consisting of some beauty/health products, more food and a quantity of  Similac Sensitive. She was located at her home and was released after being arraigned, pending further  court action.

A South Carolina woman was arrested for DUI in Shippen Township, Cameron County on April 1, The 53 year old woman from Bishopville, whose name was not released, was pulled over after her 2010 Chevrolet was seen swerving on Route 120 and entering the opposite lane where it almost collided with an eastbound vehicle.

Troopers at the Mansfield barracks are looking for vandals who caused $100 in damage to a metal mailbox post at 422 Holton Lane in Jackson Township between 5:00 pm Monday and 5:15 pm Tuesday. The mailbox is owned by Faith Preston of Millerton.

Vandalism to a 2005 Jeep parked at the St. Marys Walmart between 10:00 pm and Midnight Thursday is being investigated by state police at Ridgway. Someone damaged the windshield, driver’s side front window and scratched passenger side on the Jeep owned by Donald White of Penfield.


  Shane David Wilson, 47, of Coudersport, passed away suddenly Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at his residence.Shane was born on November 7, 1971 in Sellersville, the son of Bruce D. and Ruth Ann (Hedrick) Wilson of Coudersport.Shane was a Coudersport High School graduate, class of 1990 where he met his mentor, Earl Brown.  Shane owned and operated S. Wilson Enterprises, LLC and served as one of Potter County’s Deputy Coroners.  Previously he had worked for the Potter County Jail as a Corrections Officer and for Cole Memorial Hospital.  For many years, starting at a young age, he previously worked for the Fickinger Funeral Home.Shane was of Methodist faith.  He was a lifetime member of both the Coudersport Volunteer Fire Department where he had served as President, Vice-President and Treasurer, and the Coudersport Volunteer Ambulance Association.Shane was very active with the Boy Scouts of America for most of his life.  He was an Eagle Scout and a member of the Order of the Arrow, where he served as an adult advisor.  He also served as the Coudersport Troop 536 Commissioner, Crew 400 Institutional, Head and Chartered Organization Representative, a Western Gate District Committee Member, Council Executive Board Member, Elk Lick Scout Reserve Properties Committee Chair, former ELSR Camp Director, Lodge Advisor and Camp Ranger.  He also served on the Allegheny Highlands Boy Scout Council and was a Silver Beaver Award recipient.Shane also enjoyed collecting automobiles, camping and snowmobiling.Surviving in addition to his parents are a brother, Christopher W. Wilson and Gus Kulawiecz of Coudersport; uncles, Bill Hedrick, Don Wilson, Brian Wilson, Terry Gerhart and John Gerhart and their families, an aunt, Hope Giordani and her family, a great uncle, Donald Hedrick, a special great aunt, Doris Swierc and special friends, Dana Stevens, Timecka Dubots and baby Dane.Family and friends are welcome to a visitation Monday, April 22, 2019 from 6-8:00 pm at the Thomas E. Fickinger Funeral Home, 210 North East Street, Coudersport. The funeral service will be held Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at 10:00 am at Park United Methodist Church, 15 East Third Street, with Pastor Scott Ogden, officiating.  Burial will be in the Woodland Cemetery, Five Points, Hebron Twp.

The family suggests contributions in Shane’s name be made to the Elk Lick Scout Reserve,   2420 Bordell Rd, Smethport, PA 16749, The Coudersport Volunteer Fire Department, 171 Port Allegany Rd, Coudersport, PA 16915 or the Coudersport Volunteer Ambulance Association, 122 E 2nd St, Coudersport, PA 16915


Thursday April 18, 2019



 Black Forest Express


Wednesday’s high, 60; Overnight low, 48







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Obituary: Golda McCrackern Portersville

BFB Headlines (Thursday  April 18, 2019)Volunteers sought for tree planting April 27 near Cross Fork….Kettle Creek State Park  plans annual Spring Birthday Festival next month……Saturday morning birding walks are being held at Hills Creek State Park…..Coudersport driver unhurt in one-vehicle accident earlier this month in Allegany Township…Drug charges pending against driver stopped at Sobriety Checkpoint and alleged child abuse in Eulalia Township being investigated by state police and Potter County Children and Youth….Next on-air report after 12:06 pm today on

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Our focus earlier this week was on pests—ticks and the spotted lantern fly. Today, it’s birds. The Susquehanna River Valley Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society is seeking volunteers to help plant native trees and shrubs on state forest land in Potter County Saturday, April 27.

The tree-planting project coincides with Arbor Day weekend and is part of the Greenlick Grouse and Woodcock Habitat Project near Cross Fork. The project is aimed at creating young forest habitat vital to ruffed grouse, woodcock and dozens of other wildlife species. The Ruffed Grouse Society, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and Shell Appalachia have established a  partnership to carry out the multi-year project habitat initiative on Susquehannock State Forest.

Planting bars, beverages, and lunch will be provided. Participants will meet at Ole Bull State Park at 9 a.m. before traveling to the project site.

Those interested in assisting with the work day are asked to email RGS chapter habitat coordinator Joe Sulikoski at to ensure adequate lunch supplies and planting tools are available.

Volunteer organizations, students seeking community service hours and conservation-minded groups and individuals are welcome to join the RGS and its partners to help create healthy forests on public lands.

Kettle Creek State Park will be celebrating the spring migration with the “5th Annual Birding Festival” to be held Saturday, May 18 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm in the day use area of the park.

Falconer John Kuiken will be bringing live raptors, many of which represent species found in this area.   Programs focusing on raptor identification, adaptations, and the sport of falconry will be held at 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm near the day use playground.   Pontoon boat tours, focusing on the habitat features in and around the Kettle Creek reservoir that attract waterfowl and other species of birds, will be held at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm.  The boat will load at the dock by the boat launch. Space is limited and will be first come first served.   Life jackets will be provided.

Participants can make crafts or build a bluebird house throughout the day at stations located adjacent to the day use parking lot.  There will also be stations that will focus on teaching the proper use of binoculars, dissecting owl pellets, a comparison of birds’ and humans’ adaptations, and basic bird identification.  Park staff will also be setting up spotting scopes and assisting park visitors with viewing waterfowl and raptors.

Bird walks will begin at 10:00 am.  The walks will cover several habitat types in the season for migrating songbirds, waterfowl, and raptors, as well as year round resident species.

Participants are encouraged to bring a take a lunch and use one of the many picnic tables in the area.

Parking will be in the day use parking lot at the boat launch and there will be an information table set up near the boat launch.  Come dressed for the weather.  If you have binoculars, journals, field guides, or birding related material, feel free to bring them.  The festival will happen rain or shine, but may be cancelled in the event of severe weather.  Please contact the park at 570-923-6004 for more information and event status.

If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to disability, please contact the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks at 1-888-PA-PARKS (voice), 717-558-2711 (local or international voice), or 711 (AT&T Relay Services).  With at least three days’ notice, interpreters for people who are deaf or hard of hearing are available for educational programs.


Those interested in assisting with the work day are asked to email RGS chapter habitat coordinator Joe Sulikoski at to ensure adequate lunch supplies and planting tools are available.

Volunteer organizations, students seeking community service hours and conservation-minded groups and individuals are welcome to join the RGS and its partners to help create healthy forests on public lands.



CAPTION FOR Female Common Merganser.jpg

Photo by Sean Minnick

Sean Minnick took this photo of a female common merganser sitting on top of a wood duck nesting box at Hills Creek State Park during the Saturday, April 13 birding walk.



The Tiadaghton Audobon Society is conducting Saturday morning birding walks now through May 25.

Members Gary Tyson and Rich Faber led the second Saturday morning birding walk, April 13,  at Hills Creek State Park at 111 Spillway Road in Charleston Township, about seven miles northeast of Wellsboro. The walks are free and open to the public. They provide an opportunity to see the water and woodland birds that live in or migrate through the park. Coming up this Saturday, April 20 is the third bird walk. “We expect to see warblers arrive in full force, including new species we haven’t seen yet this year,” said Sean Minnick.”The osprey is continuing to build its nest. We also saw a female northern cardinal sitting on her nest and a pair of black-capped chickadees making a nest in a hole in a dead tree,” said Minnick. “In total, we saw 34 bird species during the April 13 walk, nine of them for the first time this year,” Minnick said. “The nine included the double-crested cormorant, broad-winged hawk, yellow-bellied sapsucker, northern flicker, northern rough-winged swallow, ruby-crowned kinglet, brown-headed cowbird and our first warblers of the season – the pine warbler and yellow-rumped warbler.” The other 25 bird species were identified on both the April 6 and 13 walks. All 34 species were also reported in 2018.”Those on the April 13 walk saw three migratory bird species that had stopped in the park on their way from wintering in the Southeastern United States to their summer locations. They were: the double-crested cormorant, which summers in the Great Lakes Region of the U.S.A. and Canada; and the ring-necked duck and ruby-crowned kinglet, which summer in Canada.

“We also saw 20 bird species that live at Hills Creek year-round,” Minnick said. They included: the American crow, American goldfinch, American robin, bald eagle, black-capped chickadee, brown creeper, brown-headed cowbird, Canada goose, common merganser, dark-eyed junco, downy woodpecker, eastern bluebird, great blue heron, mallard, northern cardinal, northern flicker, red-breasted nuthatch, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch and wood duck.

Also identified on April 13 were 11 bird species that are spring, summer and/or fall residents at Hills Creek, including the broad-winged hawk, eastern phoebe, northern rough-winged swallow, osprey, pied-billed grebe, pine warbler, red-winged blackbird, song sparrow, tree swallow, yellow-bellied sapsucker and yellow-rumped warbler.

For the Saturday, April 20 bird walk meet at the park office at 111 Spillway Road, Wellsboro. The walk will begin promptly at 8 a.m. Registration is not required. Everyone is invited to participate, including first timers to experienced birdersTake  binoculars and cameras and wear weather-appropriate, subdued clothing and sturdy walking shoes. For those who do not own binoculars, the Tiadaghton Audubon Society has 20 pairs available for adults and children, ages 7 and up.

The walks are slow-paced and cover a limited distance. “They can last two hours depending on how many birds we are seeing,” said Minnick. Upcoming walks will be on Saturdays, April 27 and May 4, 11, 18 and 25.


For updates and local birding information, visit or or email For information about Hills Creek State Park, call the park office between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays at 570-724-4246.

Coudersport-based state police late yesterday released details about an accident occurring on Friday April 5 a few minutes before 8:00 am. Troopers report 28 year old Lorice McKenzie was going East on Route  49 in Allegany Township and failed to slow down for road conditions (it was raining at the time). Her 2011 Chevrolet Cruze went off the road and collided with a fence owned by Michael Rigas. The car continued for about 80 yards after impact before stopping .

Troopers did not release the name of a motorist  suspected of  driving under the influence of drugs after being stopped at a Sobriety Checkpoint at the intersection of Route 6 West and Buckler Drive in Roulette Township a few minutes before midnight last Saturday night. Police said when they interacted with the driver, a strong odor of marijuana emitted from the 2014 GMC. A subsequent search allegedly produced drugs and drug paraphernalia.

State police at Coudersport also report they are working with Potter County Children and Youth for a suspected case of child abuse on Mitchell Hollow Road in Eulalia Township last Thursday evening.


Golda J. McCracken, 94, of Portersville, died Friday, April 12, 2019 at Concordia Lutheran Ministries of the Good Samaritan Hospice, Cabot, PA.Golda was born on March 7, 1925, in Ulysses, the daughter of the late Harry and Eleanor (Mitchell) Woodcock.  She was the wife of Arnold McCracken, who preceded her in death on July 11, 2001.  Golda attended Robert Wesleyan and Houghton College in New York State where she studied to be a teacher for students with learning disabilities.  In 1947 she moved to Oakdale Kentucky.  While in Kentucky she meet Arnold McCracken and they married in 1952.  In 1964, after 17 years and 7 different homes in Kentucky, her family moved to Portersville, PA where she taught at the Portersville Christian School.  She was born and raised in Potter County.   She was a member of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and a life member of the God’s Country Free Ministry, Coudersport.Golda is survived by two sons and a daughter-in-law, Melvin L. McCracken of Portersville; Wesley R. and Marlene McCracken of Slippery Rock; a daughter and son-in-law, Esther E. and Sam Evans of Ft. Worth, TX; grandchildren, Rodney N. McCracken and his companion Carol and Renee’ A. and her husband Jim McDevitt and a long time special friend, Heidi Moore.   In addition to her parents and husband, Golda was preceded in death by a brother, Frank Woodcock.Family and friends are invited to a visitation Friday, April 19, 2019 from 4-7:00 pm at the Thomas E. Fickinger Funeral Home, 210 North East Street, Coudersport, and Saturday from 10-11:00 am at the God’s Country Free Ministry, 1237 E. 2nd St., Coudersport where the funeral service will follow at 11:00 am with Pastor Peter Tremblay and her nephew, Rodney McCracken, officiating.  Burial will follow in the Raymond Corners Cemetery, Allegany Township.