Thursday December 2017

Wednesday’s High, 14; Overnight low; -10; no snow





To hear today’s forecast, click on arrow below.

 Famed author James Patterson award;s two Wellsboro store employees with grants…PennDot announces almost 400 bridges have been repaired or replaced this year….DCNR says there is plenty to do outdoors this winter…..Area fire departments respond to furnace leak at glass plant in Port Allegany…..State police warn residents about deadly drugs appearing in the region….St. Marys woman arrested for shoplifting at Walmart…

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Photo by John Eaton

Kris Dickinson (left) and Kasey Cox Coolidge hold a copy of the letter signed by James Patterson and Oren Teicher that each one received along with a check.  “It’s very clear that you have gone above-and-beyond in your work as a bookseller. We hope that this check will allow you to continue doing good work in your store and in your community,” the letter reads. 

 On Monday, Dec. 18, multi-million dollar bestselling author James Patterson announced the names of more than 300 independent booksellers receiving grants totaling $350,000, up $100,000 over previous years, as part of his Holiday Bookstore Bonus Program and two Tioga County residents were among the recipients.

Patterson partnered with the American Booksellers Association to distribute the funds, which were awarded to individual booksellers in amounts ranging from $750 to $1,250. The full list of the recipients is at Among them are Kris Dickinson and Kasey Cox Coolidge both of From My Shelf Books & Gifts at 7 East Avenue in Wellsboro. Both were anonymously nominated for a Patterson Holiday Bookstore Bonus Program award.

The grant application asked one question: “Why does this bookseller deserve a holiday bonus?” Patterson personally selected winners from bookstores all across the country. Many of the recipients are from areas hard hit by natural disasters, including Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, Copperfield’s in Napa, and various stores in Florida. Nominated booksellers were praised for their perseverance, as well as for their contagious enthusiasm, skilled hand-selling, innovation, and, most importantly, dedication to books and reading.


American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher said, “With this expansion of his Holiday Bookstore Bonus Program, James Patterson continues to demonstrate his extraordinary commitment to literacy and independent booksellers. In a year that has proved so challenging to many booksellers because of natural disasters, we are even more grateful. Thanks to his ongoing generosity, over twice as many independent booksellers who are working so hard to serve their communities by connecting authors and readers of all ages will receive well-earned bonuses.”

In 2016, Patterson donated $250,000 in holiday bonuses to 149 independent bookstore employees across the country; in 2015, he donated $250,000 in holiday bonuses to 87 bookstore employees. In 2014, he awarded $1 million in grants to 178 independent bookstores that were recognized for doing an outstanding job of fostering a love of reading in young children. He has had many generous philanthropy programs supporting community literacy. Over the past decade, Patterson has given away over a million books to students and visited hundreds of schools to advocate for youth literacy.

PennDot and its development partner, Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners, expect to finish the 2017 construction season with the opening of its 390th bridge this week. When this multi-year project is completed, PennDOT will have replaced 558 structurally deficient bridges with its Rapid Bridge Replacement Project

2017 Rapid Bridge Replacement Project successes include:

  • PWKP has completed 212 bridges so far this year, with another 6 scheduled to complete before the end of year, for a total of 218 completed bridges in 2017.
  • 96 percent of all bridge replacements on time or ahead of schedule.
  • 284 bridges are now under maintenance responsibility of Walsh Infrastructure Maintenance for the next 25 years.
  • PWKP construction teams have worked a total of 1,464,901-man hours.
  • Over 500 subcontractors have performed work on the project.

Bridge replacements to date across 61 counties in Pennsylvania include:

  • 241 single span bridges
  • 12 multiple-span bridges
  • 129 box culverts
  • 8 Pipe culverts and arch bridges

The Rapid Bridge Replacement Project is an $899 million public-private partnership (P3) awarded by PennDOT to PWKP. PWKP includes, Plenary Group USA Ltd. and Walsh Investors, LLC, which are providing financing and long-term management; a joint-venture construction team of Walsh Construction Company and Granite Construction Company; HDR, Inc., which is the lead design firm; and Walsh Infrastructure Management, which will provide maintenance for a 25-year period upon completion of the bridges.

To see the bridges included in the statewide initiative and to learn more about the Rapid Bridge Replacement Project and P3 in Pennsylvania, visit Additional information on the project, the team, and how to bid on the project can be found at www.parapidbridges.comor by calling the project hotline at 877-444-9990 or email

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says with the arrival of winter, there is plenty to do outdoors and there are plenty of ways to find out more.

Winter Report: To find out if your favorite PA State Park has favorable conditions for winter activities, please check the State Parks Winter Report at  The Pennsylvania state parks Winter Report allows winter outdoor recreation enthusiasts to monitor snow and ice conditions with state parks.  The Winter Report is updated weekly (at a minimum) by state parks during the winter season. The report lists the ice thickness and what ice activities are available at that park. Sometimes a park can have ice, but if it is not thick enough, then the activities are not available. The report also lists the snow depth and what snow activities are available at that park. Sometimes a park can have snow, but if it is not deep enough, then the activities are not available. This easy-to-use website allows you to search either by park or by specific winter recreation activity.

Snowmobile Information:  When snow conditions allow, snowmobile riding is permitted on designated trails and joint-use roads on DCNR lands.  The public can access maps and trail conditions through the DCNR web page at To see information on current trail conditions by county, justscroll down. For trail maps, click on the icon of the specific map you need.  Trail information will be updated by 12:00 noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the snowmobile riding season.  The snowmobile trail conditions can also be access by telephone, toll free, at 1-877-766-6253.

Winter Loaner Program at Sinnemahoning State Park: Explore Sinnemahoning State Park in the winter with the Get Outdoors Loaner Program.  When enough snow covers the trails, a limited number of cross-country skis and snowshoes will be available for use within the park, with staff on hand to loan equipment and assist borrowers. Snowshoes and skis will be available Tuesday through Saturday between 9:00 a.m. and 2 p.m., when sufficient snow covers the trails.   Sizes are limited, but most adult sizes are available.  There is no fee for this loaner program, but donations are requested.  A driver’s license and valid credit card must be provided in order to borrow equipment. Orientation and brief instruction will be provided upon request at the time of loan. For more information or to confirm size availability, call the Park Office and Wildlife Center at 814-647-8401.

Attend A Program To Learn A New Skill: Are winter sports new to you?  Attend a beginner’s class at your local PA State Park or a Winter Festival.  Many introductory programs are offered including snowshoeing, cross country skiing and ice skating.  To find programs and events near you, please visit the DCNR Events Calendar at  You can search for specific outdoor activities using the search tool on the bottom right of the page,

Several area volunteer fire departments responded to the Ardagh Glass plant in Port Allegany Tuesday night as a precaution when a furnace developed a small leak. Star Hose volunteers were dispatched at around 10:00 pm. Firefighters from  Smethport, Roulette, Coudersport and Westons Mills, NY were summoned under the mutual aid system. All units were back in service about 45 minutes later. There were no injuries.

Pictured above are stamp baggies associated with the recent overdoses. Red beetle on left; Blue Thumbs Up in center; no image on right baggie.

State police across the region are advising citizens to be on the lookout for  suspicious baggies holding dangerous drugs which have resulted in three recent overdoses, one of them fatal. Three users in Clearfield County to our south were revived. The fatality occurred in Clarion County. Authorities say the overdoses are the result of suspected Fentanyl being sold as heroin or as an additive to heroin. Authorities say the region is being flooded with a deadly cocktail that will cause an overdose and most likely lead to death. Anyone who comes across suspicious packages should contact local police.

A St. Marys woman is facing retail theft charges according to state police there. Troopers did not release the 29 year old woman’s name but assert she took $31.16 in merchandise  from the Walmart store Saturday afternoon without paying for the items.