Thursday April 18, 2019



 Black Forest Express


Wednesday’s high, 60; Overnight low, 48







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Obituary: Golda McCrackern Portersville

BFB Headlines (Thursday  April 18, 2019)Volunteers sought for tree planting April 27 near Cross Fork….Kettle Creek State Park  plans annual Spring Birthday Festival next month……Saturday morning birding walks are being held at Hills Creek State Park…..Coudersport driver unhurt in one-vehicle accident earlier this month in Allegany Township…Drug charges pending against driver stopped at Sobriety Checkpoint and alleged child abuse in Eulalia Township being investigated by state police and Potter County Children and Youth….Next on-air report after 12:06 pm today on

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Our focus earlier this week was on pests—ticks and the spotted lantern fly. Today, it’s birds. The Susquehanna River Valley Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society is seeking volunteers to help plant native trees and shrubs on state forest land in Potter County Saturday, April 27.

The tree-planting project coincides with Arbor Day weekend and is part of the Greenlick Grouse and Woodcock Habitat Project near Cross Fork. The project is aimed at creating young forest habitat vital to ruffed grouse, woodcock and dozens of other wildlife species. The Ruffed Grouse Society, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and Shell Appalachia have established a  partnership to carry out the multi-year project habitat initiative on Susquehannock State Forest.

Planting bars, beverages, and lunch will be provided. Participants will meet at Ole Bull State Park at 9 a.m. before traveling to the project site.

Those interested in assisting with the work day are asked to email RGS chapter habitat coordinator Joe Sulikoski at to ensure adequate lunch supplies and planting tools are available.

Volunteer organizations, students seeking community service hours and conservation-minded groups and individuals are welcome to join the RGS and its partners to help create healthy forests on public lands.

Kettle Creek State Park will be celebrating the spring migration with the “5th Annual Birding Festival” to be held Saturday, May 18 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm in the day use area of the park.

Falconer John Kuiken will be bringing live raptors, many of which represent species found in this area.   Programs focusing on raptor identification, adaptations, and the sport of falconry will be held at 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm near the day use playground.   Pontoon boat tours, focusing on the habitat features in and around the Kettle Creek reservoir that attract waterfowl and other species of birds, will be held at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm.  The boat will load at the dock by the boat launch. Space is limited and will be first come first served.   Life jackets will be provided.

Participants can make crafts or build a bluebird house throughout the day at stations located adjacent to the day use parking lot.  There will also be stations that will focus on teaching the proper use of binoculars, dissecting owl pellets, a comparison of birds’ and humans’ adaptations, and basic bird identification.  Park staff will also be setting up spotting scopes and assisting park visitors with viewing waterfowl and raptors.

Bird walks will begin at 10:00 am.  The walks will cover several habitat types in the season for migrating songbirds, waterfowl, and raptors, as well as year round resident species.

Participants are encouraged to bring a take a lunch and use one of the many picnic tables in the area.

Parking will be in the day use parking lot at the boat launch and there will be an information table set up near the boat launch.  Come dressed for the weather.  If you have binoculars, journals, field guides, or birding related material, feel free to bring them.  The festival will happen rain or shine, but may be cancelled in the event of severe weather.  Please contact the park at 570-923-6004 for more information and event status.

If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to disability, please contact the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks at 1-888-PA-PARKS (voice), 717-558-2711 (local or international voice), or 711 (AT&T Relay Services).  With at least three days’ notice, interpreters for people who are deaf or hard of hearing are available for educational programs.


Those interested in assisting with the work day are asked to email RGS chapter habitat coordinator Joe Sulikoski at to ensure adequate lunch supplies and planting tools are available.

Volunteer organizations, students seeking community service hours and conservation-minded groups and individuals are welcome to join the RGS and its partners to help create healthy forests on public lands.



CAPTION FOR Female Common Merganser.jpg

Photo by Sean Minnick

Sean Minnick took this photo of a female common merganser sitting on top of a wood duck nesting box at Hills Creek State Park during the Saturday, April 13 birding walk.



The Tiadaghton Audobon Society is conducting Saturday morning birding walks now through May 25.

Members Gary Tyson and Rich Faber led the second Saturday morning birding walk, April 13,  at Hills Creek State Park at 111 Spillway Road in Charleston Township, about seven miles northeast of Wellsboro. The walks are free and open to the public. They provide an opportunity to see the water and woodland birds that live in or migrate through the park. Coming up this Saturday, April 20 is the third bird walk. “We expect to see warblers arrive in full force, including new species we haven’t seen yet this year,” said Sean Minnick.”The osprey is continuing to build its nest. We also saw a female northern cardinal sitting on her nest and a pair of black-capped chickadees making a nest in a hole in a dead tree,” said Minnick. “In total, we saw 34 bird species during the April 13 walk, nine of them for the first time this year,” Minnick said. “The nine included the double-crested cormorant, broad-winged hawk, yellow-bellied sapsucker, northern flicker, northern rough-winged swallow, ruby-crowned kinglet, brown-headed cowbird and our first warblers of the season – the pine warbler and yellow-rumped warbler.” The other 25 bird species were identified on both the April 6 and 13 walks. All 34 species were also reported in 2018.”Those on the April 13 walk saw three migratory bird species that had stopped in the park on their way from wintering in the Southeastern United States to their summer locations. They were: the double-crested cormorant, which summers in the Great Lakes Region of the U.S.A. and Canada; and the ring-necked duck and ruby-crowned kinglet, which summer in Canada.

“We also saw 20 bird species that live at Hills Creek year-round,” Minnick said. They included: the American crow, American goldfinch, American robin, bald eagle, black-capped chickadee, brown creeper, brown-headed cowbird, Canada goose, common merganser, dark-eyed junco, downy woodpecker, eastern bluebird, great blue heron, mallard, northern cardinal, northern flicker, red-breasted nuthatch, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch and wood duck.

Also identified on April 13 were 11 bird species that are spring, summer and/or fall residents at Hills Creek, including the broad-winged hawk, eastern phoebe, northern rough-winged swallow, osprey, pied-billed grebe, pine warbler, red-winged blackbird, song sparrow, tree swallow, yellow-bellied sapsucker and yellow-rumped warbler.

For the Saturday, April 20 bird walk meet at the park office at 111 Spillway Road, Wellsboro. The walk will begin promptly at 8 a.m. Registration is not required. Everyone is invited to participate, including first timers to experienced birdersTake  binoculars and cameras and wear weather-appropriate, subdued clothing and sturdy walking shoes. For those who do not own binoculars, the Tiadaghton Audubon Society has 20 pairs available for adults and children, ages 7 and up.

The walks are slow-paced and cover a limited distance. “They can last two hours depending on how many birds we are seeing,” said Minnick. Upcoming walks will be on Saturdays, April 27 and May 4, 11, 18 and 25.


For updates and local birding information, visit or or email For information about Hills Creek State Park, call the park office between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays at 570-724-4246.

Coudersport-based state police late yesterday released details about an accident occurring on Friday April 5 a few minutes before 8:00 am. Troopers report 28 year old Lorice McKenzie was going East on Route  49 in Allegany Township and failed to slow down for road conditions (it was raining at the time). Her 2011 Chevrolet Cruze went off the road and collided with a fence owned by Michael Rigas. The car continued for about 80 yards after impact before stopping .

Troopers did not release the name of a motorist  suspected of  driving under the influence of drugs after being stopped at a Sobriety Checkpoint at the intersection of Route 6 West and Buckler Drive in Roulette Township a few minutes before midnight last Saturday night. Police said when they interacted with the driver, a strong odor of marijuana emitted from the 2014 GMC. A subsequent search allegedly produced drugs and drug paraphernalia.

State police at Coudersport also report they are working with Potter County Children and Youth for a suspected case of child abuse on Mitchell Hollow Road in Eulalia Township last Thursday evening.


Golda J. McCracken, 94, of Portersville, died Friday, April 12, 2019 at Concordia Lutheran Ministries of the Good Samaritan Hospice, Cabot, PA.Golda was born on March 7, 1925, in Ulysses, the daughter of the late Harry and Eleanor (Mitchell) Woodcock.  She was the wife of Arnold McCracken, who preceded her in death on July 11, 2001.  Golda attended Robert Wesleyan and Houghton College in New York State where she studied to be a teacher for students with learning disabilities.  In 1947 she moved to Oakdale Kentucky.  While in Kentucky she meet Arnold McCracken and they married in 1952.  In 1964, after 17 years and 7 different homes in Kentucky, her family moved to Portersville, PA where she taught at the Portersville Christian School.  She was born and raised in Potter County.   She was a member of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and a life member of the God’s Country Free Ministry, Coudersport.Golda is survived by two sons and a daughter-in-law, Melvin L. McCracken of Portersville; Wesley R. and Marlene McCracken of Slippery Rock; a daughter and son-in-law, Esther E. and Sam Evans of Ft. Worth, TX; grandchildren, Rodney N. McCracken and his companion Carol and Renee’ A. and her husband Jim McDevitt and a long time special friend, Heidi Moore.   In addition to her parents and husband, Golda was preceded in death by a brother, Frank Woodcock.Family and friends are invited to a visitation Friday, April 19, 2019 from 4-7:00 pm at the Thomas E. Fickinger Funeral Home, 210 North East Street, Coudersport, and Saturday from 10-11:00 am at the God’s Country Free Ministry, 1237 E. 2nd St., Coudersport where the funeral service will follow at 11:00 am with Pastor Peter Tremblay and her nephew, Rodney McCracken, officiating.  Burial will follow in the Raymond Corners Cemetery, Allegany Township.