Thursday March 28, 2019

Black Forest Express


Wednesday’s high, 42; overnight low, 24







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Obituary: Dennis Copp, Coudersport (Ulysses)

A state senate committee has approved legislation to help rural fire departments…DCNR advises volunteer fire departments of available programs…A 34 year old Emporium man is accused of assaulting another in a scuffle Tuesday evening….State police in Coudersport advise motorists that they will be conducting sobriety check points….Austin teenager arrested for drug possession…Wellsboro man cited for criminal trespass….

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It takes a lot of chicken barbecues and pancake breakfasts for volunteer fire departments to raise  money for equipment. Now, the Senate Finance Committee has approved legislation that would allow volunteer fire companies to keep more of the money they bring in during fundraisers, according to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Scott Martin (R-13).

Senate Bill 83 would exempt volunteer fire companies from paying sales tax on food and beverages sold during fundraising events, such as chicken barbeques and pancake breakfasts.

Under current law, volunteer fire companies pay the sales tax on all sales during these events. Exempting these events from the sales tax would mirror the approach the state takes toward similar fundraising efforts, such as school sports booster clubs.

“It is a constant battle for volunteer fire companies to raise enough money to get the equipment and training they need to respond to emergencies,” Martin said. “Exempting volunteer fire companies from paying the sales tax on these kinds of fundraisers would provide more time and money for these organizations to focus on protecting our communities.”

Martin said the legislation is a priority because the cost of firefighting equipment and training continues to rise, while the number of volunteers continues to decline. On average, the cost of equipment increases by 4.5 percent every year. A cancer preemption law passed in 2011 also placed additional financial burdens on fire companies.

The bill was sent to the full Senate for consideration.

Meanwhile , it is wildfire season and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is advising rurall volunteer fire departments there are programs to help them obtain necessary equipment.

Federal Excess Property Program

Under the Federal Excess Property Program (FEPP), the DCNR Bureau of Forestry acquires excess federal equipment and assigns that equipment to rural fire departments. The federal government maintains title to property made available through FEPP, and therefore the equipment is considered on loan to the receiving fire department. Only equipment used for fire suppression activities is available through this program. DCNR will license FEPP vehicles for participating fire departments.

Department of Defense Firefighter Property Program

The DCNR Bureau of Forestry acquires excess military equipment and transfers the equipment to fire departments and emergency service agencies. A certificate to obtain title will be made available to recipients of the equipment once the equipment is converted and ready to be placed in service. Fire departments are responsible for licensing these vehicles.

For more information about these federal property programs, contact the local forest district office in which your organization is located.


Volunteer Fire Assistance Grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is authorized to provide financial, technical ,and other assistance to state officials in cooperative efforts to organize, train, and equip local forces in rural areas or communities under 10,000 in population to prevent, control, and suppress fires which threaten:

Human life








Other improvements in rural areas


The key objectives of this program are to save lives and protect property in unprotected or inadequately protected rural areas. Therefore, the selection of the participating agencies must be based on vulnerability and the adequacy of existing fire protection.

This is a cost-share program. Financial assistance on any project during any fiscal year cannot exceed 50 percent of the actual expenditures, including expenditures of local, public, and private nonprofit organizations participating in the agreement. The maximum grant for 2019 is $10,000.

The 2019 grant round will close Thursday, May 2, at 4:00 P.M.

Pennsylvania fire company officers can apply for Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) grants using DCNR’s Grant Portal. Check the directions for the VFA grant application (PDF) before beginning the process.


Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant Eligibility

Grants can be used for:

Purchase of wildfire suppression equipment

Wildfire protective gear

Mobile or portable radios

Installation of dry hydrants

Wildfire prevention and mitigation

Wildfire training


Certain projects involving the conversion and maintenance of federal excess vehicles received from the DCNR Bureau of Forestry and used for fire suppressionA priority will be placed on projects that include the purchase of wildland fire suppression equipment and wildland fire protective gear. Priority also will be given to fire companies which have established goals and objectives and have developed plans to meet them.

Grants CANNOT be used for:

Purchase of structural fire equipment or protective gear

Supply hose larger than 2.5 inches in diameter


Routine maintenance of vehicles not received from the DCNR Bureau of Forestry

Medical services

Ambulance services

Fire police equipment and gear

Search and rescue equipment and gear

Unmanned Aerial Systems


Federal regulations require that all single item purchases costing more than $5,000 be tracked; therefore, purchases of items costing this amount will be limited to new/used 4×4 vehicles, which will be utilized as a Type 5/6/7 Wildland Engine — as defined by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (PDF)Opens In A New Window — with a total cost of $40,000 or less, slip-on/skid units, pumps, and UTVs only.

Due to high demand and limited funding there is a five-year waiting period between years a fire company is eligible to receive grants. However, if a fire company received a $6,000 grant or less in the last five years they are eligible for assistance one additional time as long as the two-year total does not exceed the maximum grant established for the program each year.

Since planning is the key to the efficient and effective use of equipment, personnel, and organization, priority will be given to fire companies which have established goals and objectives and have developed plans to meet them.

Successful recipients will be notified after Monday, July 1, 2019.

Emporium based state police have charged a 34 year old man from that town with harassment. Police did not release the suspect’s name, but say the charges came Tuesday night after an argument between him  and 55 year old man, also from Emporium, escalated into a scuffle on Songer  Lane.

Troopers at the Coudersport barracks are alerting motorists that they will be conducting sobriety checkpoints during April in Potter County.

A 17 year old Austin boy has been charged with drug possession. State police at Coudersport allege when they pulled over the teen’s 2002 Jeep Cherokee on Main Street and Route 6 in Roulette on the afternoon of March 3, they determined he was driving under the influence of a controlled substance. A probable cause search yieled a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Steven Reed,53 of Wellsboro has been charged with criminal trespass by state police at Mansfield. Authorities claim Reed didn’t have permission to enter a residence at 101 Valley View Estates on January 21 when he tried  to repossess a vehicle from an adjacent garage.


God called Dennis W. Copp, 42, a longtime resident of Coudersport and  formerly of Ulysses, home on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, in UPMC Susquehanna of Williamsport, after a sudden illness.

Born on Wednesday, August 25, 1976 in Coudersport, he was a son of Ronald L. and Rose M. Brown Copp.  On June 13, 1998 in Coudersport, he married Donna G. James, who survives.

Dennis was a graduate of Northern Potter School, Class of 1994, in Ulysses.  At the time of his death, Dennis was a water truck driver for GTown Properties in Coudersport.  Prior to that, he worked for Phoenix Drilling #5, Chattanooga Labeling in Galeton, and Campbell Trucking in Galeton.

Dennis was a member of the Roulette Fish and Game Club.   He enjoyed hunting and fishing.   His biggest passion was spending time with family and friends.  Dennis always had stories to tell, a smile to share, and a big heart to give.

Surviving besides his wife are their two sons, Cody W. (Dylan Williams) Copp of Coudersport and Cory J. (Aunnie Osborne) of Genesee; four sisters, Debbie (Paul) Williams of Florida, Darlene Presha of New York, Collene (Tim) Flory of Pennsylvania, and Malinda “Kay” (Ernie) Caldwell of Pennsylvania; a brother, Kris (Julie) Copp of Pennsylvania; and several aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, grandnieces, grandnephews, and cousins.

In addition to his parents, Dennis was predeceased by his grandparents, Clair and Ann Brown; and his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Don and Vivian James.

Family and friends are invited to attend a celebration of Dennis’ life at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 31, 2019, at the Coudersport American Legion, with Pastor Preston L. Hutchins, Jr., of the Shinglehouse United Methodist Church, officiating.  A gathering for a time of remembrance and fellowship will follow.

In honor of Dennis and his passion for truck driving, he will be honored by his fellow truck drivers in a convoy from Goodwin’s Quarry to the Coudersport American Legion via Route 6 prior to the service.  “This will be Dennis’ last run”.

Condolences may be sent to Donna Copp, 22 Liberty Lane, Coudersport, PA 16915.

Dennis’ family has entrusted his care and cremation arrangements to Kevin J. Dusenbury, funeral director/owner of the Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home, Shinglehouse.

To express condolences, share a fond memory, or view a video tribute of Dennis, please visit