Wednesday’s high, 31; Overnight low, -5; 35” snow
THU-MIX OF CLOUDS & SUN, HIGH 22
THU NIGHT-PARTLY CLOUDY, LOW 13
FRI-AM SNOW TAPERS OFF, HIGH 34
FRI NIGHT-LOW 30
SAT-CLOUDY, HIGH 38
SAT NIGHT-CLOUDY, LOW 32
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Speed limits restored in wake of storm….West Penn reveals cause of outage……Causer’s bill to help ambulance companies has been approved in the House….State police warn citizens scammers are very active in the region…
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Speed limits restored in wake of storm….West Penn reveals cause of outage……Causer’s bill to help ambulance companies has been approved in the House….State police warn citizens scammers are very active in the region
Even before Tuesday’s storm began, almost 3500 area residents were plunged into darkness., Black Forest Broadcasting News has confirmed the outage was caused by a West Penn Power blown fuse on a poll. The utility said 929 of their customers in the Roulette and Coudersport area lost power while 2529 Tri-County members were also affected. The lights went out at about 7:25 pm for everyone but was restored a few hours later for West Penn customers. Tri-County’s outage lasted until 3:20 am Wednesday. The rural co-op buys electricity from West Penn which is why Tri-County members were affected. A similar malfunction occurred this past December 4th.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT restored speed limits on Route 22/322 in Juniata and Mifflin counties Wednesday afternoon . In the interest of public safety, speeds had been reduced to 45 miles per hour earlier in the day. In the afternoon, PennDOT restored speed limits for I-80 in Clearfield, Centre, and Clinton counties, I-99 in Centre County, and Route 322 in the Seven Mountains/Potters Mills Gap area in Centre County.
PennDOT encourages drivers to “Know Before You Go” by checking conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA. The site is free and available 24 hours a day, providing traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 850 traffic cameras. Users can also see the status of plow trucks and travel alerts along a specific route using the “Check My Route” tool.
511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.
For regional updates on Twitter, follow www.twiiter.com\511PAStateCOLL
Several area volunteer emergency crews responded to vehicle accidents Wednesday across the region, but details have not yet been released by state police.
With many ambulance companies struggling to keep their doors open, the state House on Monday approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) to increase the Medicaid reimbursement for emergency medical services.
“The current reimbursement rates come nowhere near covering actual costs. In fact, they are more than 200 percent below reimbursements provided by Medicare and commercial insurance,” Causer said. “Ambulance services that care for a high volume of Medicaid patients cannot continue to provide these life-saving services without additional support.”
House Bill 699 would increase reimbursements for Advanced Life Support (ALS) services from $200 to not less than $300, and for Basic Life Support (BLS) services from $120 to $180. The rates were last adjusted in 2004.
“Access to emergency medical services can mean the difference between life and death for many patients, and that is especially true in rural areas where many people live far away from local hospitals,” Causer said. “This is a major step forward in addressing the financial challenges facing our ambulance services.”
Causer noted the Medicaid reimbursement rate was one of several challenges identified by the Rural EMS Task Force he formed with ambulance officials, health care providers and other impacted groups across the three-county area.
The state House has also approved legislation to address another financial concern raised by the group. House Bill 1013 would allow for reimbursement when treatment is provided but transport does not take place. The bill sets the following conditions for reimbursement: The BLS or ALS unit must be dispatched by a county 911 center, and the EMS provider must have rendered care even though the transport was declined.
Both bills are now awaiting consideration in the Senate.
The Pennsylvania State Police would like to remind citizens that scammers continue to conduct illegal activities in the area.
Scams are “easily committed on an unsuspected person.” If not careful, anyone can become a victim, said state police, adding scammers are “smooth talkers” and can get information out of people without them realizing it.
According to state police, everyone understands the dangers of providing credit card information. However, if the proper person obtains a little personal information, they have abilities to commit one of the most popular crimes, identity theft.
“Some victims of identity theft have lost thousands of dollars and in some cases spent years trying to get associated problems corrected,” said state police. While there are many varieties of scams, state police said most involve a telephone call, mail, etc. from a lottery, corporation or a foreign country.
Other scams, state police said, use online selling and auction sites. In most cases, the victim is instructed to cash a check, keep a small portion of the money and send the remaining amount to an address provided. Some scams, state police said, promise a larger cash prize by sending money back.
“The crime is the fact that the prize or product is non-existent and or the initial check is fraudulent,” said state police. If a person sends the amount required by personal check, the scammer not only cashes it and steals the money, but also obtains bank account information.
Another scam, according to state police, has become popular and involves people being called about a family member who is in legal trouble. The scammer usually asks to be quickly wired money for bail or to pay fines. The scammer, state police said, obtains information about family members on social media.
To thwart this scam, state police said people should ask questions of the caller that only a family member would know. These include extended family members’ names, mother’s maiden name, the birth dates of family members, anniversary dates or the names of current or past pets.
“The primary prevent tip to remember is if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” said state police. Anyone who believes they are a victim of a scam should save all information and promptly contact their local police department.
Black Forest Broadcasting News has learned of yet another scam in which the caller claims to be a representative of the victim’s cable TV provider or even financial institution. The tip off is that the caller often asks for the citizen’s social security number which has no bearing on the account. The best policy is to hang up immediately call the cable company or bank directly and ask if such a call was made. If you have caller ID, you may have noticed an increase in calls which purport to be from legitimate organizations or individuals. This is called Spoofing and is often used the harass, defraud or obtain enough information to steal from a person’s account(S). Rep. Martin Causer tells Black Forest House Bill 979 to outlaw phony caller IDs has moved out of the Judiciary Committee and will now be considered by the full House. We know of one case in which a widow received a phone call showoing up with her late husband’s name. Again the best advice is to hang up.