Tuesday February 6, 2018

East Branch of Fishing Creek looking north

Monday’s high, 30; Overnight low, 10; 1.75” snow






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BFB News  Headlines (Tuesday February 6, 2018)US Supreme Court rules against state Republicans…..Penn State schedules free webinar next week on finding common ground about gas drilling….slippery roads blamed for several accidents…..Westfield man accused of stealing jewelry from Middlebury Center home…..next on-air report after 12:06 pm on www.blackforetbroadcasting.com

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The US Supreme court yesterday upheld a Pennsylvania Supreme court ruling outlawing a congressional map redistricting plan put forward by the Republican controlled PA legislature.

– Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and Speaker of the House Mike Turzai have issued the following statement regarding today’s ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States:

“Today Supreme Court Justice Alito denied our stay petition for the Congressional Map Redistricting case.  We understood when requesting the stay that this is a rarely used remedy, but given the chaos caused by the state Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the state’s congressional map, we believed the request was necessary.

“It is astounding that fourteen days after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled the map to be unconstitutional, the Justices have still not issued a majority opinion.  This irresponsible approach handicapped Justice Alito by not providing him with more information, just as it has handicapped the Legislature.

According to Scarnati, the state supreme  Court had the matter  on  November 9, 2017 – giving it over 10 weeks to reach a decision.  But  gave  the legislature only  19 days to redraw and adopt the Congressional Districts. Scarnati says that  In the past, when the Supreme Court  found  redistricting unconstitutional in the past, it afforded the General Assembly four months to make corrections. With yesterday’s ruling, the legislature has only four days to submit a plan to the Governor for his approval. Leaders have not indicated if they will submit a plan or just give in to the ruling.

Democrats have argued that the GOP plan gives an unfair advantage to Republicans but Republicans contend the state supreme court ruling benefitted Democrats.  Scarnati claims the plan is lawful and the courts should not be involved.

“We still do not believe that there was a violation of the state Constitution, that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court can direct us to draw a new congressional map, or that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has the authority to draw a new Congressional District Map under the Pennsylvania Constitution or United States Constitution.

Scarnati promises co-operation  saying  “We will do our best to comply with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s January 22nd order, but may be compelled to pursue further legal action in federal court.”


The challenge and importance of finding common ground in public discussions about the ongoing implications of shale energy development will be the topic of a web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension.


The one-hour webinar, “The Value of Strong Stakeholder Engagement,” will be presented by Thomas Murphy, co-director of the Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15.

In a society that finds itself increasingly polarized on many topics, it sometimes can be difficult to find middle ground on issues that impact our lives personally or the communities where we live, noted Murphy. This is particularly the case in public discussions of the implications of shale energy development.

“The expectations, perceptions, concerns and benefits expressed by those involved in the development of this energy resource continue to shape and impact the outcomes of shale-gas-related projects,” he said. “Thus there’s a need to engage people and groups in dialogue that has a foundation built on science-based facts and trends.”

tHe presentation is part of Penn State Extension’s Shale Education Monthly Webinar Series. Upcoming webinars include the following:



–March 15: “Research on Natural Gas Foam as a Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid,” presented by Griffin Beck, research engineer with the Propulsion and Energy Machinery section of Southwest Research Institute.


–April 19: “Hydraulic Fracturing Test Site: Field Test Site in the Permian Basin Dedicated to Environmental Safety and Stimulation Efficiency Research,” presented by Jordan Ciezobka, senior engineer with Gas Technology Institute, and Gary Covatch, petroleum engineer with the U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory.


–May 17: “Trends in Natural Gas Indexation and Price Transparency,” presented by Dexter Steis, executive publisher of Natural Gas Intelligence.


The webinar is free, but registration is necessary. To register, visit the Penn State Extension Natural Gas Events webpage at http://extension.psu.edu/natural-resources/natural-gas/events. More information is available by contacting Carol Loveland at 570-320-4429 or at cal24@psu.edu.


Previous webinars, publications and information also are available on the Penn State Extension natural-gas website (http://extension.psu.edu/naturalgas), covering a variety of topics such as liquid natural gas; seismic testing; methane emissions; water use and quality; Marcellus and Utica basins; natural gas reserves; gas-leasing considerations for landowners; legal issues surrounding gas development; and the impact of Marcellus gas development on forestland.

Slippery roads continue to be a traffic hazard across the region. . A Lawrenceville family was not hurt Saturday  evening in an accident on the East Lawrence Road in Lawrence Township. Jaymi  Hall was going west entering a slight right hand curve when her GMC Envoy went out of control on the snow and ice covered pavement. Hall over-corrected sending the SUV across the road and into a fence before traveling down an embankment and rolling over. Police said Hall, and  her husband Matthew were using seatbelts and two young boys, ages two and five were in child safety seats. Alyssa Cole of Knoxville escaped injury Saturday morning when her Ford Fusion slid off of Route 49 in Deerfield Township, Tioga County during a snow storm. The car skidded to the other side and collided with a fiberglass post and poly braid electric fence, slid across the corner of a field and continue  through the fence sliding sideways across a yard until it came to rest against a tree. A few minutes later, a Nissan Pathfinder went off of snow covered Route 15 in Richmond Township and hit a guardrail. Since the SUV  could be driven away and there were no injuries, the accident is considered a “non-reportable’” and the driver’s name was not released.

A Westfield man has been arrested for burglary by state police at Mansfield. Authorities allege 24 year old Ryan Sackett went into the home of Jolanda and Morgan Fitzwater on Route 249 in Middlebury Center last Friday evening through an unlocked door. He is suspected of  stealing 40 rings and three necklaces from a bedroom dresser.