Friday September 7, 2018

Black Forest Express

Photo by Gerri Miller

BFB Headlines (Friday September 7, 2018) Measure to increase pipeline safety introduced in state senate…..Wolf administration plans to replace several fire towers….Burglars steal $38,000 worth of items from Tioga County home….Criminals take landscaping equipment and tin roof from Cameron County sheds….Tioga County teen arrested for lying to state police about alleged rape….Westfield resident accused of threatening elderly woman…

Thursday’s high, 83; Overnight low, 63; .24” rain

FRI-MOSTLY CLOUDY, CHANCE OF SHOWERS HIGH 74

FRI NIGHT– LOW 56

SAT-MOSTLY CLOUDY, CHANCE OF SHOWERS, HIGH 68

SAT NIGHT-CHANCE OF SHOWERS, LOW 52

SUN-MOSTLY CLOUDY, CHANCE OF STEADY RAIN, HIGH 66

SUN NIGHT-LOW 54

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Measure to increase pipeline safety introduced in state senate…..Wolf administration plans to replace several fire towers….Burglars steal $38,000 worth of items from Tioga County home….Criminals take landscaping equipment and tin roof from Cameron County sheds….Tioga County teen arrested for lying to state police about alleged rape….Westfield resident accused of threatening elderly woman….

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Pipelines are a major concern here as they crisscross the region. A Montgomery County lawmaker has introduced legislation to improve pipeline safety. The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee has  approved SR 373 sponsored by Senator John C. Rafferty, Jr. (R-44) and Senator Andy Dinniman (D-19) that would establish a bipartisan, bicameral legislative commission that would be charged with recommending improvements and developing legislation to enhance the safety, oversight and interagency coordination in the transport of oil, natural gas and other hazardous liquids through pipelines in the Commonwealth.

“Natural gas extraction has increased dramatically over the last decade, resulting in the construction of new pipeline infrastructure to transport hazardous liquids, gases and other byproducts in large quantities through densely-populated areas of Pennsylvania,” Rafferty said.  “As a result, many landowners and communities have experienced the negative aspects associated with poorly-managed pipeline construction, including sinkholes and spoiled wells.”

He added that the high-pressure pipelines also present a major safety hazard since they are in close proximity to homes, schools and population centers.  Rafferty specifically pointed to continued problems with the Sunoco Mariner East Pipeline Project, which forced the state to repeatedly suspend construction  due to safety concerns.

“These recurring incidents demonstrate a clear need for exploring legislative measures that will improve management, increase safety and advance oversight of pipeline construction and operations,” Rafferty said.  “Knowing that more of these major pipelines may be built, and the issues we have with the Sunoco Pipeline, it is crucial that we form a value-adding commission to ensure the residents of this Commonwealth have a right to safe communities and benefit from regulations and laws that enhance their safety and protect the environment.”

“While the Sunoco Mariner East Pipeline Project has brought the issue of pipeline regulation, or lack thereof, in Pennsylvania to the forefront, it’s only the tip of the iceberg as more and more pipeline projects are either on the horizon or already underway,” Dinniman said. “I appreciate Senator Rafferty’s cooperation and support on a number of pipeline safety bills currently advancing in the legislature. The commission offers an opportunity to build on that progress and for lawmakers to work together in the spirit of bipartisanship to ensure that the pipeline safety concerns of residents throughout our region are heard and addressed.”

Senate Resolution 373 is  now being considered in the full senate.

Wolf Administration officials recently visited the newly constructed fire tower at Big Pocono State Park in Monroe County to highlight readiness for wildfire prevention and suppression in Pennsylvania.

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is responsible for prevention and suppression of wildfires on Pennsylvanian’s 17 million acres of state and private woodlands and brush lands, and mountaintop fire lookout towers continue to provide an excellent vantage point for spotting wildfire smoke along the horizon and conveying fire locations to firefighting crews.

The 40-foot high Big Pocono Fire Tower was constructed last year. Because of its historical significance, the original tower was moved to the grounds of Gifford Pinchot’s summer residence at the U.S.D.A. Forest Service’s Grey Towers National Historic Site in Milford where it will be used as an exhibit.

This year more than 1,800 acres have been impacted by wildfire in Pennsylvania in a total of 686 fires.

In September 2017, DCNR began a $4 million project to replace 16 forest fire lookout towers on state forestland. Many of the original towers were constructed in the 1920s through 1940 and needed to be replaced. E2 Project Management out of Rockaway, N.J., designed the project; the contractor is Lycoming Supply in Williamsport.

DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry maintains a fire-detection system, and works with fire wardens and volunteer fire departments to ensure they are trained in the latest advances in fire prevention and suppression.

The department owns 50 fire towers that are still standing. About 20 still are actively staffed in periods of high fire danger, and that number is growing as replacements come online. Pennsylvania also uses fire surveillance from planes and people on the ground, but fire lookout towers continue to be the safest and most cost effective means to pinpoint wildfire locations and notify crews without delay.

Burglars cut off  the master lock on a garage door at a Union Township home and made off with some $38,000  of items between July 8 and 11 from the home of Theodore Smith at 3004 Ogdensburg Road in Roaring Branch. A list of items appears below. Anyone with information is asked to call state police at 570.662.2151.

State police at Emporium are investigating a theft in Shippen Township. Criminals stole the tin roof off of a building at 115 Four  the Four Mile Road between August 15 and 30 They also stole a Snappe push mower, and  lawn roller, from another outbuilding by smashing a window. Value of the stolen items estimated to be $170 damage while causing $5 in damage.

A Tioga County juvenile female has been arrested for making false reports to law enforcement authorities and unsworn falsification to authorities. On June 21, the girl made  a false written statement claiming she had been raped. But an investigation found she was lying with the intent of implicating the male.

Harassment and criminal trespass charges have been lodged against 51 year old Andrew Hummel of Westfield. State police claim that on the evening of June 26, Hummel trespassed on property owned by 77 year old Sherell Boom also of Westfield and then approached her in the parking lot of the Westfield Tops on the afternoon August 30 and made derogatory and threatening statements to Boom.

Coudersport based investigated two vehicle crashes within minutes of each other Wednesday night. Weston Ihrke of Angola, NY escaped injury when his  southbound Ford F-150 hit a deer while making a left hand curve on Route 144 on the Germania Road in Abbott Township. Makayla Currier, 18 of Coudersport also escaped injury when her Oldsmobile Cutlass hit an embankment on the Steer BrookRoad when she swerved to avoid a rabbit. The sedan crossed the road, hit an embankment and then returned to the northbound lane before stopping along the right shoulder.