Friday May 24, 2019







Black Forest Express


Thursday’s high, 73; Overnight low, 50







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Obituary: Donnie Whitsell, Genesee

One of the drivers involved in 4 fatality collision last month in McKean County was under the influence of drugs and alcohol….Coudersport driver and passenger unhurt after falling asleep at the wheel…fire at abandoned Elk County house was intentionally set. PennDot and various agencies held seat belt program Thursday in Tioga County….Road work will begin Tuesday on Routes 321 and Laurel Mills Road…..

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State police at Ridgway report one of the drivers in a head-on crash in McKean County on April 27 was under the influence of alcohol and drugs.  Four Pittsburgh residents died in the 8:00 am collision when a 2019 Nissan Pathfinder driven by 30 year Ashley Smith traveled across the double yellow lines while going north  on Route 219 in Hamlin Township and was hit by a Ford F-150 driven by Michael Clawson of Mt. Jewett. Police said Clawson was unable to avoid impact.  Smith, 31 Teonna Herring, a 9 year old girl and a 12 year old boy were pronounced dead at the scene. Clawson was flown to UPMC Hamot  for treatment of serious injuries.

A Coudersport driver and his passenger escaped injury last Wednesday night on the Million Dollar Highway in Fox Township, Elk County. According to troopers at Ridgway ,Eric Ditzler was going North on Route 255 just after 9:00 pm when he nodded off and allowed his GMC Sierra to go off the road, hit a utility pole and shearit off. The truck  went down an embankment and  a large wooden swing set before stopping.

The state police fire marshal has found that a fire at a building being demolished was intentionally set Thursday afternoon.  The building was located at 2130 Montmorenci Road in Ridgway Township and volunteer fire fighters were summoned at 1:30 pm.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Highway Safety Network (HSN), Safe Kids Tioga County, the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and the Wellsboro Police Department today met at Laurel Health Systems in Wellsboro to highlight seat belt safety as part of a national “Click It or Ticket” Seat Belt Enforcement initiative running through June 2, 2019.

The goal is to reduce unbelted injuries and deaths on Pennsylvania highways through coordinated enforcement using Traffic Enforcement Zones and Roving Patrols. Traffic Enforcement Zones combine stationary enforcement and checkpoint tactics on roadways with high numbers of unbuckled crashes. Citations will be issued to motorists who are caught unbuckled or transporting unrestrained children.

During the event, nationally certified child passenger safety technicians held a free Car Seat Clinic. Parents and caregivers were able to have their child’s safety seat inspected and received instructions on how to install and use the seat correctly.

Chris Lengle, Program Coordinator with Buckle Up PA spoke at the event. “This project was created to change the behaviors of unbelted occupants and decrease traffic related injuries and fatalities.”

According to PennDOT data there were 14,309 unrestrained crashes that resulted in 378 fatalities and 911 suspected serious injuries in Pennsylvania during 2017.

Pennsylvania law requires drivers and passengers younger than 18 to buckle up when riding in a vehicle. After turning 18, drivers and passengers must wear a seat belt when behind the wheel or in the front passenger seat. Children under the age of two must be secured in a rear-facing car seat, and children under the age of four must be restrained in an approved child safety seat. Children must ride in a booster seat until their eighth birthday.

The effort, which includes 350 Pennsylvania municipal agencies, supplements the national “Click It or Ticket” Mobilization which runs through June 2, 2019. As part of the initiative, PennDOT distributes federal enforcement funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For more information on seat belt safety, visit

 The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) will resume improvement work on Route 321 in McKean County next week. Tree cutting and drainage work on the project took place in fall of 2018. This project will improve ride quality and extend the life of the roadway surface from Route 59 in Marshburg to Sugar Bay.

To perform full depth reclamation work in an efficient manner, a section of Route 321 will be closed starting Tuesday, May 28. The closure will be in place from Route 59 to Sugar Bay and is expected to last through project completion in late July. An official detour will be in place during the closure. The 32-mile detour will direct drivers to use Route 59, U.S. Route 219, Route 4007 (South Avenue in Bradford), Route 4002 (Owens Way in Bradford), and Route 346.

PennDOT is partnering with the U.S. Forest Service on this project– to the benefit of both agencies, as well as roadway users. Upgrades to Route 321 will make removal and hauling of pest-infested and at-risk trees easier and more convenient for the U.S. Forest Service. In turn, the Forest Service will provide tree trimming and tree removal along State Routes in the Allegheny National Forest—allowing for “daylighting” of roadways. “Daylighting” makes it easier for sunlight to hit roadway surfaces, which helps ice and snow melt more quickly.

Overall work will include drainage improvements, roadway milling, asphalt paving, guiderail upgrades, and miscellaneous construction. IA Construction of Franklin, PA is the contractor on this $4.3 million job.


PennDot also announces that full depth restoration on Route 3002 (Laurel Mills Road) near Ridgway is set to begin Tuesday, May 28. This project will prolong the life of the roadway.

The work zone will begin approximately two miles west of Ridgway and continue for nearly nine miles toward the village of Hallton. Flaggers in the roadway will enforce an alternating traffic pattern through most of the work zone, but the road will be closed from the intersection with Arroyo Road to the Irwin Run Bridge.

During the closure, which is expected to last approximately two weeks, traffic will be detoured onto Route 949 and Route 3001 (Belltown Road) before reconnecting with Route 3002. The road will remain open to local traffic, allowing residents to access their homes.

Overall work includes restoration of the roadway, drainage improvements, guide rail replacement, pavement markings and miscellaneous construction.

Grannas Brothers Stone & Asphalt Co., Inc. of Hollidaysburg, PA is the contractor for the $3.7 million job, which is expected to be completed by mid-August.

PennDOT reminds drivers to use caution in all work zones, obey posted speed limits, and always buckle up.


PennDOT encourages drivers to “Know before they go” and to check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles by visiting 511PA is free, available 24 hours a day, and provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 860 traffic cameras.


 Donnie J. WHITESELL, 72, of Genesee, PA, formerly of Andover, NY, died Wednesday, May 22, 2019 in his home. Born September 14, 1946, in Wellsville, NY, he was the son of Irving and Edith Latten Whitesell. He was employed as a farmer and truck driver. Surviving are:  his companion of over 28 years, Betty Knauer;  four children, Sharon (Jeff) Bastianelli of Greenville, SC, Amy Whitesell of Greenville, SC, Deanna (Michael) McIntyre of Whitesville, NY, and Donnie (Chastity) Whitesell, Jr. of Rexville, NY; 14 grandchildren;  several great-grandchildren;  five siblings, Richard (Shirley) Whitesell of Wellsville, NY, Ron (Linda) Whitesell of Independence, NY, David Whitesell of Almond, NY, Thelma “Betty” Patrick of Wellsville, NY, and Darla Williams of Wellsville, NY;  nieces and nephews.  In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his wife, the former Tonya Chase;  and a brother, Milford Whitesell. There will be no visitation or service. Arrangements are entrusted to Olney Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Ulysses, PA.