Friday January 31, 2020

Black Forest Express

Photo by Gerri Miller

Thursday’s high, 33; Overnight low 28







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 Obituary: Groves “Grover” West, Shinglehouse

 Landowners can now use purple paint rather than no trespassing signs….Legislation promoting an earlier presidential primary proposed in  state senate….Football fans encouraged to have a designated driver….Coudersport state police looking for would-be kidnapper…theft of snow blower investigated by troopers…Sinnemahoning driver hurt in Wharton Township crash…Kane motorist seriously injured in Elk County accident….

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Landowners who post their properties now have the option of using purple paint rather than signs to alert others that lands are private and trespassing isn’t permitted. House Bill 1772, which was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf in November, and took effect this week.The bill adds language to the section of state law dealing with criminal trespass.Under the law, a person is considered a “defiant trespasser” – which carries enhanced penalties – if he or she enters or remains in any place where notice against trespassing is given by actual communication, lawful posting or fencing.House Bill 1772 makes the use of purple paint on trees or posts a lawful posting method in all but Allegheny and Philadelphia counties.Vertical purple lines must be at least 8 inches long and 1 inch wide. The bottom of the mark must not be less than 3 feet or more than 5 feet from the ground. And painted marks must not be more than 100 feet apart.Now that the “purple paint law” is effective, hunters should know they might encounter purple markings on trees and that these marks are meant to define the boundary of an adjoining private property that’s posted against trespassing.The new law also authorizes unarmed persons to go onto private property for the sole purpose of retrieving a hunting dog.In Pennsylvania, defiant trespass is a third-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and $2,500 in fines. And if trespassing occurs while hunting, additional game-law violations – and additional penalties – also might apply.A recent legislative act has provided the Game Commission the authority to investigate trespassing complaints and enforce trespassing violations as a primary offense, even if game-law violations aren’t alleged and the agency will enforce trespassing aggressively.

Pennsylvanians could play a more prominent role in future Presidential primary elections under a bill approved by the Senate today, according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27), who authored the bill.Under current law, most Presidential primary elections are already decided before Pennsylvania voters have a chance to cast their ballots in late April.Senate Bill 779 would move up the date of the primary in Presidential election years from the fourth Tuesday in April to the third Tuesday in March. This would allow voters in Pennsylvania to cast their ballots the same day as other influential states, including Arizona, Florida and Illinois.The bill would not take effect until the 2024 election, and election dates would not change in non-Presidential years.The bill would not break any rules set forth by the Democratic National Committee or the Republican National Committee.Senate Bill 779 was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) urges designated driving and responsible party hosting during Super Bowl LIV.

According to preliminary 2019 PennDOT data, there were 56 crashes involving a drinking driver statewide from 6:00 PM Super Bowl Sunday to 6:00 AM the following morning. There was one fatality in those 56 crashes. Drinking driver crashes accounted for approximately 13 percent of the 416 total crashes during that span.

PennDOT offered the following advice when watching the Chiefs take on the 49ers Sunday:

  • Whether attending a party or watching from a bar, ensure your designated driver is sober before leaving. If they decided to drink, call a cab or catch a ride with someone you know hasn’t been drinking.
  • Walking while impaired has its own risks, so have a sober friend walk home with you.
  • If you’re the designated driver, don’t drink alcohol no matter what. Impairment begins with the first drink, and your friends are counting on you to get them home safely.
  • Encourage other designated drivers by using #DesignatedDriver on social media. You could be a positive influence that keeps other designated drivers on track.
  • If someone you know has been drinking tries to drive, take their keys and help them get home safely.
  • If you’re hosting the party, have plenty of snacks and non-alcoholic beverages for guests and designated drivers to enjoy.
  • Remind guests they have a long night ahead of them and encourage them to pace themselves, eat plenty of food and drink plenty of water.

For more information on the dangers and consequences of impaired driving, visit

For regional traffic updates, follow,,,.

Coudersport based state police are looking for a white male who reportedly tried to kidnap a Coudersport woman Wednesday afternoon along Rose Lake Road in Allegany Township. The 33 year old Coudersport woman told police she noticed a red SUV parked along a fence and tried to contact the driver who then reached through the open window of  her car, grabbed her and tried to pull her through the window. The victim hit the gas pedal and drove away before the suspect could do anything more. The victim gave authoritites a description of the suspect and sustained minor injuries during the alleged attack. Anyone with information is asked to call state police at 814.274.8690.

Troopers at Coudersport are investigating a cold case said to have occurred between September 2013 and September 2014 in Hebron Township in which a 22 year old man and a 12 year old boy were victims of an indecent assault. Police say the suspect is known and the investigation is continuing.

The theft of a snow blower from a Ulysses Township residence earlier this month is being probed by state police at Coudersport. A 42” Cub Cadet Model 341 snow blower attachment owned by Darrell Gamble was stolen January 14 and 15. It’s valued at $1300.

Minor injuries were reported for a Sinnemahoning driver after a one vehicle crash last Thursday afternoon in Wharton Township. Michael Haynes was going south near Elk Lick Road when his Chevrolet CK 2500 went of the Wharton Road and hit a culvert where it became disabled.

A Kane motorist was seriously hurt Tuesday night when his Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled over onto its side after striking a guardrail. John Marconi was going south on the Montmorenci Road in Ridgway Township when he lost control of his Jeep when he looked down to answer his phone. Marconi was taken by ambulance to Penn Highlands Elk for treatment of moderate injuries.

A hit and run on the Dingman Run Road in Hebron Township was investigated by state police at Coudersport. An unknown southbound vehicle went off of the road and hit mailbox just north of the Snyder Road at around 1:00 pm November 25. The driver left the scene without reporting the damage.


Groves E. “Grover” West, 85, of Shinglehouse, passed away on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, in Olean General Hospital, Olean, N.Y., after a short illness.

Born on Wednesday, September 5, 1934 in Millport, he was a son of John R. and Pauline M. Presher West. On January 4, 1959 in the Millport United Methodist Church, he married Janice E. “Janie” Taylor, who passed away on April 15, 2005.

Groves attended school in Millport and Shinglehouse. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army.

As a teenager and young man, Groves worked for his father’s gas and oil well drilling business. After serving his country, he was employed by Nichols Drilling in Shinglehouse. He and his wife moved to Ohio, where he was employed by Flanigan Brothers as a gas and oil well driller, followed by Perkins and Summers Drilling Company, Armstrong Drilling, and Cubby Drilling. Returning in 1980 to Shinglehouse, Groves worked for the family business, West Brothers, which is now Gas Field Specialists. Groves was a hard worker who started at the bottom and completed his gas and oil career as a work over operator.

Groves was a member of the First Baptist Church in Shinglehouse; was a member of the New York State Oil and Gas Association; and along with his wife, was a charter member of the former Oswayo Valley Lions Club in Shinglehouse, where they were very active in club functions. Every year Groves and his family made their annual trip to “Jamboree in the Hills”, a country music gathering in St. Clairsville, Ohio. Groves greatest love was his family, especially his grandchildren, who were such an important part of his life.

Surviving are six children, David L. (Juanita Blau) West of Shinglehouse, Edward R. (Sandi Perkins) West of Franklinville, N.Y., Katherine E. Hays of Olean, N.Y., Michael R. (Vera) West of Shinglehouse, Steven G. (Jamie) West of Prairieville, Louisiana, and Renee A. (Shawn) White of Shinglehouse; twenty-four grandchildren; thirty-one great-grandchildren; a brother, Lee (June) West of Hinsdale, N.Y.; and many nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents and wife, Groves was predeceased by a daughter, Deborah L. Slutz; five brothers, Loyd, Lynn, Burdett, John, and Jerry; and five sisters, Mary, Virginia, Lucille, Louise, and Myrtle.

Family and friends may call from 6pm to 8pm on Monday and from 11am to 1pm on Tuesday, February, 4, 2020, at the Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home, 118 South Union Street, Shinglehouse, where funeral services will follow at 1pm with the Rev. Russell J. Horning, pastor of the First Baptist Church, officiating. Burial will be in the Pauline M. West Cemetery, Millport.

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

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First Baptist Church, PO Box 68, Shinglehouse, PA 16748 or to the Shinglehouse Volunteer Ambulance Association, PO Box 98, Shinglehouse, PA 16748.

Groves 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 Groves, please visit or the funeral home Facebook page, Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home.


Thursday January 30, 2020

Black Forest Express

Photo by Gerri Miller

Wednesday’s high, 35; overnight low, 6







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Obituary: Lois Fitzgerald, Coudersport

The Game Commission is accepting comments on its draft of a new Elk Management Plan….Two area schools receive cafeteria grants…..Potter County Commissioners looking for younger residents to help with the 2025 plan…..Mansfield driver cited for speeding and driving without a license following crash in Covington Township….Snowy road conditions blamed for Elk County accident…..Eldred man arrested for drug possession following police stop and prescription medicine stolen from Wellsboro mailbox….

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The Pennsylvania Game Commission has released a draft of its new Elk Management Plan, a document that, when adopted, will guide the agency’s elk management program through 2025.The plan is in draft form and available to view at It can be accessed through a link in the Quick Clicks section.The 2020-2025 Elk Management Plan focuses on maintaining a healthy and sustainable elk population, creating quality habitat and employing strategies for mitigating elk-human conflicts. In addition, there are goals related to educating and informing an interested public about elk and elk management. The new plan also highlights several research needs including methods of estimating populations and surveying hunter opinions about elk management.Comments about the plan will be accepted from the public through Feb. 21, 2020, and can be emailed to or sent by mail to: Elk Management Plan, Bureau of Wildlife Management, Pennsylvania Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg PA 17110-9797.A summary of public comments received, and any changes made in response to the comments, will be included in the final version of the Elk Management Plan, which will be presented to the Game Commission’s Board of Commissioners for approval at the board’s April meeting.

Grants were awarded to two area school districts Tuesday to help with the purchase of needed equipment,  according to Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint)

The Austin Area School District in Potter County was awarded $16,629 for a walk-in cooler.  The Bradford Area School District in McKean County was awarded $22,746 for a combination gas oven to be located at George G. Blaisdell Elementary School. The grants, which come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, The funding is awarded to schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program and have 50% or more of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Schools often use the grants to purchase new refrigerators, freezers, stoves and dishwashers.

Across the state, more than $925,000 in funding was awarded to 72 schools.

Potter County Commissioners are seeking young adults who are residents of Potter County, who are interested in becoming more involved in their communities by serving on a steering committee for Project 2025.

Project 2025 is the county’s newest initiative to encourage community pride and participation, promote growth and migration to Potter County, and reverse the steady population decline.

Committee members will advise county leaders on the direction and implementation of Project 2025. Those willing to provide their voice for the county’s future should contact Community Development Director Ellen Russell at (814) 274-8290, extension 209, or by emailing by Friday, Feb 14.

State police at Mansfield don’t  know if a Middlebury Center driver was hurt in a one-vehicle crash early last Saturday amorning in Del,are Township. Lane Gee was going north when his Jeep Cherokee went off Route 287 and hit some guardrails. Gee left the scene before troopers arrived.

Troopers at Mansfield have cited a Blossburg driver for failing to be licensed and speeding  after his Ford Taurus wrecked on East Creek Road in Covington Township Sunday afternoon. Jawelle Brown lost control of  his westbound Ford Taurus on the snow and ice covered dirt road. The car went off the road and hit a tree. Brown walked to the Blossburg Borough police office to report the accident. He and his passenger, Taaj Dallas were not hurt.

A St.Marys driver also escaped injury in a one-vehicle crash early Sunday morning in Fox Township, Elk County. Lung Ho was traveling north on the Toby Road when Acura MDX slid off of the snow covered Toby Road and struck a tree.

Emporium based state police have arrested 20 year old Caleb James of Eldred for drug possession after pulling over his 2006 Ford F-150 on Route 120 near Taggert Lane in Shippen Township early last Thursday morning. Troopers claim a glass pipe was in plain view and a probable cause search allegedly turned up two pipes, a metal marijuana container/grinder and a small amount of suspected pot inside.

The theft of some prescription medications from a mailbox on Wilkins Road in Duncan Township sometime over the past month. An undisclosed amount of Levoxine and Venflaxine belonging to a 67 yar old Wellsboro woman were removed from her mailbox her mailbox between December 26 and 29. Anyone with information is asked to call state police at 570.662.2151.


Lois Irene (Hall) Fitzgerald, 86, of Coudersport, formerly of Perrysville, OH, passed away Monday, January 27, 2020, at UPMC Cole Long Term Care Facility, Coudersport.Lois was born on February 23, 1933 in Aliquippa, PA the daughter of the late Ephraim W. and Evelyn (Pence) Hall.  She married John L. Fitzgerald on July 20, 1951 in Decatur, IN and they celebrated 36 years of marriage until his passing on January 9, 1988.Lois was a wonderful homemaker and worked at the Mohican Youth Academy in Loudonville, OH.  She was a member of the Eulalia Chapter of the Eastern Star.  Lois enjoyed her family, reading, gardening and wintering in Florida with her sister Marie.Lois is survived by two sons, Douglas (Tammy) Fitzgerald of Maricopa, AZ and Loren (Sharon) Fitzgerald of Coudersport, PA; a brother Robert (Beverly) Hughes of Shepherdstown, WV; a sister, Carol (Larry) Secoy of Perrysville, OH; grandchildren, Chance, Heather, and John Fitzgerald, and Savanah Hembree-Fitzgerald.  She is also survived by special friends, Betty, Kevin, and Ally Dean of Loudonville, OH; a nephew, Eric (Tonya) Parker of Perrysville, OH, and a niece, Kara Hughes of Ashburn, VA.In addition to her parents and husband, Lois was preceded in death by a sister, Marie Hall.Friends and family are invited to pay tribute to Lois’s life on Thursday January 30, 2020 from 6 pm – 7 pm at the Thomas E. Fickinger Funeral Home, 210 North East Street, Coudersport, with a funeral service to follow with Rev. John Kallerson officiating.  A committal service will be held Monday, February 3, 2020 at Greenlawn Cemetery, Perrysville, OH.


To send flowers to Lois’ family, please visit our floral section.

Wednesday January 29, 2020

Black Forest Express

Tuesday’s high,34; Overnight low, 25







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Obituaries: Mitchell Rubak, Shinglehouse (Bucks County); Richard M. “Dick” Coudersport; Rose Hapler, Shinglehouse (Doylestown)

DCNR accepting comments on ATV Trails proposed changes….PennDot holding job fair today in Coudersport….One passenger slightly hurt in Tioga County collision….Downstate driver unhurt when pick up truck hits an elk in Elk County…..

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The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) this week will outline proposed changes to its internal policy on ATV trails on state forest lands to the Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council for public comment.

Pennsylvania currently has more than 260 miles of ATV trails in state forests. The department is reviewing its policy to respond to increasing demands for riding opportunities, local and county government interest in expanding recreational tourism, and legislative there was a moratorium on new trail development in the current policy, the revisions now authorize DCNR to consider new ATV trails and connectors on state forest lands.DCNR plays a multi-faceted role with ATVs: registering their use statewide through a cooperative agreement with PennDOT; managing registration-generated fees for maintenance, enhancement, and enforcement of trail opportunities on state forest lands; and distributing grants to provide new recreational ATV trails and facilities. DCNR contracted a 2016 survey of ATV users on their views of recreational opportunities. There were more than 4,800 responses, with results indicating a strong desire for more long-distance trails that are geographically dispersed. Pennsylvania has around 285,000 registered ATVs. On state forest lands, ATV riding is allowed only on designated trails.The Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council released a report in January 2019 to provide recommendations on how DCNR and others could enhance motorized recreation in Pennsylvania (PDF).The meeting will take place on Wednesday, January 22, from 10 a.m. to noon in Room 105 of the Rachel Carson State Office Building, Harrisburg. Public comment is taken at the end of the meeting. Written comments also are welcome, and can be submitted to deadline to submit comments is March 27.More information about ATV riding is on the DCNR website

Prospective employees are invited to attend and apply at a job fair that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation District 2 is hosting from 1-6 p.m. Jan. 30 at the PennDOT Potter County Mantenance Office, 7 W. Locust Street, Coudersport.During the job fair, applicants can learn about job opportunities that PennDOT offers. PennDOT staff will be on hand to help with on-line applications and attendees are encouraged to take  their resume. Available positions include: Construction Inspectors, Highway Maintenance Workers, Equipment Operators, and Semi-skilled Laborers, Engineering Technicians, Civil Engineer Trainee, Engineering Internships, and College student summer workers.

A Middlebury Center driver escaped injury in a one-vehicle crash early Saturday morning in Delmar Township, Tioga County. According to Mansfield state police, Lane Gee was going north on Route 287 when his Jeep Cherokee went off the road and hit a section of guardrails with the right  front quarter panel before coming to rest on the road.

One passenger was slightly injured in a collision on the afternoon of January 20in Richmond Township, Tioga County. Troopers report the collision occurred when Melanie Hurley of Blossburg turned her Jeep Liberty  left out of the C&N Bank and drove in front of a Jeep Cherokee driven by Nancy Nichols of Wellsboro  . Both drivers were unhurt as was a 7 year old boy in the Nichols Jeep, however a second passenger Jessica Carpenter declined treatment for a minor injury.

No Injuries were reported for a Westport, PA driver whose pick up collided with an elk in Jay Township, Elk County a little after midnight on January 22. Authorities say George Sporny was going west on Route 555 when his Dodge Power Ram encountered the elk.


Mitchell H. Ruback, 81, of Shinglehouse, former of Bucks County, passed away unexpectedly in his home on Friday, January 24, 2020. Born on Wednesday, March 9, 1938 in Philadelphia, he was a son of Benjamin and Sarah Levin Ruback. On June 6, 1959 in Philadelphia, he married Carolyn Schonwetter, who passed away on February 23, 2008. Mitchell, along with his family, owned and operated The Doughmen Soft Pretzel Bakery in Montgomeryville.Mitchell was an active member of the Oswayo Valley Senior Center in Shinglehouse. He loved being with his family, friends, and loving companion, Gladys Ramsey.Surviving are two sons, Scott D. Ruback of Wyalusing and Andrew L. (Diane) Ruback of Shinglehouse; four grandchildren, Leslie Rhoads, Joseph Ruback, and twins, Ben and Adam Ruback; two great-grandsons, Sean Rhoads and Justin Rhoads; a sister, Elaine (Alan) Klawins of Willow Grove; and nieces and nephews.Mitchell was predeceased by his parents and his wife.Friends are invited to attend graveside funeral services at 2 p.m. on Monday, January 27, 2020, in Maple Grove Cemetery, Shinglehouse.In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Shinglehouse Volunteer Ambulance Association, PO Box 98, Shinglehouse, PA 16748.Mitchell’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 Mitchell, please visit or the funeral home Facebook page, Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home.To send flowers to Mitchell’s family, please visit our floral section.

Richard M. “Dick” Welk, 81, a longtime resident of Coudersport, passed away on Saturday, January 25, 2020, in UPMC Cole Skilled Nursing and Rehab, Coudersport.Born on Tuesday, April 19, 1938 in Bart Township, Lancaster County, he was a son of Walter and Ruth Thompson Welk. On July 16, 1993 in Coudersport, he married Margit Ann Winterberger, who survives.Dick graduated from high school in Lancaster. He was employed by Air Preheater in Wellsville, N.Y. until his retirement.Dick was a past member of the Coudersport Golf Club and a past member and past president of the Potter County Snowmobile Club in Coudersport. He enjoyed snowmobiling, hunting and fishing.Surviving in addition to his wife are two children, Tammy (Dale) Kopp of Lancaster and Richard Welk, Jr.; several grandchildren; a sister, Judith Webb of Lancaster; and two nieces whom he adored.In addition to his parents, Dick was predeceased by a daughter, Cynthia Welk; a sister, Arlene Rineer; and a brother, Wayne Welk.In keeping with Dick’s wishes, there will be no public visitation or funeral services.In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Coudersport Volunteer Ambulance Association, 122 East Second Street, Coudersport, PA 16915 or to the Coudersport Volunteer Fire Department, 171 Port Allegany Road, Coudersport, PA 16915.Dick entrusted his care and cremation arrangements to Kevin J. Dusenbury, funeral director/owner of the Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home, Shinglehouse.To express condolences or share a fond memory of Dick, please visit or the funeral home Facebook page, Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home.

Rose A. Hafler, 81, of Shinglehouse, formerly of Doylestown, passed away unexpectedly in her home on Saturday, January 25, 2020. Born on Monday, January 23, 1939 in Norristown, she was a daughter of Jacob F. and Rose A. Dellanglo Yorgey. On January 28, 1984, in Elkton, Maryland, she married Larry C. Hafler, who survives.Rose was a graduate of Collegeville Trappe High School in Collegeville. She was employed as a case aide for the Area Agency on Aging located in Doylestown and retired as a coordinator from the Senior Volunteer Program Department in 2001.Rose was a member of the Shinglehouse United Methodist Church, an active member of the West End Trail Blazers Snowmobile Club in Roulette, and a former member of the Potter County Trail Busters in Shinglehouse. She enjoyed hunting, fishing, archery, camping, boating, and snowmobiling. She loved to fish in Canada. Her greatest love was her family and her beloved Chocolate Labrador, Dusty.Surviving in addition to her husband are ten children; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; a brother; three sisters; and many nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents, Rose was predeceased by a sister; and four brothers.In keeping with Rose’s wishes, there will be no public visitation or funeral services.In lieu of flowers, memorials in Rose’s name may be made to the Shinglehouse Volunteer Ambulance Association, PO Box 98, Shinglehouse, PA 16748.Rose entrusted her care and cremation arrangements to Kevin J. Dusenbury, funeral director/owner of the Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home, Shinglehouse. To express condolences or share a fond memory of Rose, please visit or the funeral home Facebook page, Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home.