Thursday June 27, 2019

Black Forest Express

 

Early Arrivals                                                                                                                          Gerri Miller

Wednesday’s high, 85; low 53

THU-MOSTLY SUNNY, HIGH 83

THU NIGHT-CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS, LOW 52

FRI-CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS, HIGH 84

FRI NIGHT-LOW 62

SAT-CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS, HIGH 81

To hear today’s forecast, click on start button below:

Obituary: Loretta Hurler, Galeton

Causer praises package of bills to help farmers….Governor Wolf referees squabble between Senate Democrats and Republicans over bill to end $200 a month program for needy…..Mansfield based state police investigate vandalism to lawn ornaments and trespassing…..

To hear today’s complete Podcast, click on start button below:

House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee Chairman Martin Causer (R-Cameron/McKean/Potter) is praising  a comprehensive package of bills that will help Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry grow and thrive.

“Every single person in the Commonwealth depends on Pennsylvania farmers to help put food on their tables,” Causer said. “The agriculture industry also contributes billions to our economy and supports more than a half million jobs across the state.

“For far too long, we have taken these benefits for granted. The bills developed by the General Assembly over the last six months, and the additional $19.2 million in funding for ag-related programs we included in the state budget, are a long-overdue investment in the hard-working men and women who have made agriculture our state’s top industry,” he added.

The initiatives, most of which are now awaiting the governor’s signature to become law, aim to protect the Commonwealth’s food supply and animal health, and combat threats to both crops and livestock; assist farmers with the cost and expertise to further implement best management practices on their farms; support the dairy industry; educate young people about the importance of agriculture; and prepare the next generation of farmers.

Causer is the author of House Bill 1516, which creates the Pennsylvania Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account to ensure the Commonwealth can respond quickly to agricultural disasters, including using animal or plant health officials to contain an outbreak or threat, or providing an immediate response to a foodborne illness.

“With recent and ongoing threats such as avian influenza, African swine fever and spotted lanternfly, it is important we are prepared and able to provide a rapid and well-coordinated response,” Causer said.

He noted two new line items in the state budget will complement the disaster readiness initiative by devoting more funding to protect animal health, a repeated request he has heard from many farmers during his time as chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. The 2019-20 state budget includes $2 million for the Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission and $1 million to livestock and consumer health protection.

“Many diseases have potentially serious consequences for animal health as well as human health,” Causer said. “This is not only an investment in animal health but in public health as well.”

Causer is also the author of legislation that will exempt milk trucks from weather-related commercial vehicle travel bans in the Commonwealth. Under House Bill 915, milk haulers who wish to be exempt during travel bans would have to obtain a decal issued by the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board. The exemption is necessary, Causer said, because cows continue to produce milk regardless of weather and if farmers can’t get their milk to market, they have no choice but to dump it.

A full list of the initiatives is below.

Growing Pennsylvania Agriculture

House Bill 1514

Establishes the PA Farm-to-School Program to provide grants to educate pre-kindergartners through fifth-graders, and their families, about the importance of choosing healthy, locally produced foods; and increase awareness of Pennsylvania agriculture. It replaces an existing grant program with a similar mission.

House Bill 1516

Creates the Pennsylvania Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account to ensure the Commonwealth can respond quickly to agricultural disasters, including using animal or plant health officials to contain an outbreak or threat, or providing an immediate response to a foodborne illness.

Senate Bill 634

Creates the Conservation Excellence Program, granting the State Conservation Commission the authority to prioritize projects and provide technical assistance and funding through a mix of grants, low-interest loans and tax credits to help farmers and landowners implement conservation best management practices.

Senate Bill 661

Provides for state-level Specialty Crop Block Grants to encourage investing in and farming of high-priority crops that are not eligible for the federal grant program.

Establishes the Pennsylvania Agricultural Business Development Center to serve as a resource to help every farmer create a business plan, transition plan or succession plan, helping to ensure farm operations continue to thrive through ownership changes.

Reestablishes the former Agriculture and Rural Youth Development Program into a new grant program to fund youth organizations that promote development in agriculture, community leadership, vocational training and peer fellowship.

Establishes an Urban Agricultural Infrastructure Grant Program that provides reimbursement to an individual who implements a project to improve agriculture infrastructure in urban areas that focuses on aggregation of agricultural products, sharing resources and supporting community development resource.

House Bill 1520

Creates a grant program to reimburse federal meat inspection costs for small or new processors.

Encourages veterans to participate in the PA Preferred and Homegrown by Heroes program to market their veteran-produced commodities.

House Bill 1526

Reestablishes a low-interest loan program administered by the State Conservation Commission in conjunction with lending institutions for the implementation of agricultural and conservation best management practices.

House Bill 370

Clarifies subdivision requirements within the Agriculture Area Security Law.

Senate Bill 338

Increases the allowable width for farm equipment on roads in the Commonwealth.

House Bill 1590

Creates the Dairy Investment Program under the Commonwealth Financing Authority to set guidelines and provide grants to support the dairy industry.

Senate Bill 478

Establishes a tax credit program for existing farmers and landowners who lease or sell their land, buildings and equipment to beginning farmers.

SenateBill 585

Creates the Dairy Future Commission to review and make recommendations to promote and strengthen the state’s diary industry.

House Bill 915

Creates an exemption for milk trucks to allow them to travel during weather-related commercial vehicle travel bans in the Commonwealth.

Ag Budget Highlights

Overall investment in agriculture increases by $19.2 million or 12.7%.

Recognizing the importance of animal health, new line items devote $2 million to the Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission and $1 million to livestock and consumer health protection.

Restores funding for programs eliminated by the governor’s proposal, including agricultural research; agricultural promotion, education and exports; hardwoods research and promotion; and the livestock and open dairy shows.

The House earlier this week approved the state’s 2019-2020 budget before the mandated June 30 deadline. But chaos erupted in the Pennsylvania Senate on Wednesday as it passed a bill to end state funding for a program that provides about $200 a month to the state’s poorest citizens.

The measure, clearly one of the most controversial parts of the 2019-20 state budget package, passed the House last week following a rancorous debate. But that was tame compared to the Senate’s fireworks. Ultimately, Gov. Tom Wolf had to intervene to get the Senate back on the business of passing the 2019-20 budget.

The fracas featured Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County, temporarily seizing the rostrum from Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. It included Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman shouting at Fetterman – “Do your job!” – and yelling so much he later became hoarse. Democrats yelled from the floor, imploring debate to salvage the cash assistance program.

Scarnati decried what he called “chaos” and unacceptable behavior in the Senate.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25), Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34), and members of the Senate Republican Caucus offered the following statement on the Senate’s action during today’s debate on House Bill 33.

“Today the order and decorum of the Senate was ambushed by Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and members of the Senate Democrat caucus, who failed to adhere to the Senate Rules. These rules, which are found in Mason’s Manual, are vital to the operation of this institution, and were unanimously adopted by the Chamber earlier this year.

“When our rules are not followed, chaos takes over.  It was a sad day for good government in Pennsylvania and the actions of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle set a dangerous precedent for the future of an institution that we value so greatly.  When we disagree with one another we must do so in a respectful manner.

“Senate Republicans remain committed to passing a budget and advancing other measures for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians in accordance with the rules of the Senate, and without the displays of partisanship and disrespect that we saw today.”

The Lieutenant Governor  said he viewed Scarnati’s move as a hostile takeover.

Amidst the raucous session, the Senate ultimately approved the bill by a 26-24 vote, with Republican Sens. Tom Killion of Delaware County and Robert “Tommy” Tomlinson of Bucks County siding with the Democrats in opposition. It now goes to Wolf for enactment; however, he has not indicated what he will do with it.

The bill eliminates the cash assistance program, effective Aug. 1. It was projected to cost $54 million in cash payments to individuals most of whom don’t qualify for or are awaiting approval for other assistance.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25), Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34), and members of the Senate Republican Caucus offered the following statement on the Senate’s action during today’s debate on House Bill 33.

“Today the order and decorum of the Senate was ambushed by Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and members of the Senate Democrat caucus, who failed to adhere to the Senate Rules. These rules, which are found in Mason’s Manual, are vital to the operation of this institution, and were unanimously adopted by the Chamber earlier this year.

“When our rules are not followed, chaos takes over.  It was a sad day for good government in Pennsylvania and the actions of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle set a dangerous precedent for the future of an institution that we value so greatly.  When we disagree with one another we must do so in a respectful manner.

“Senate Republicans remain committed to passing a budget and advancing other measures for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians in accordance with the rules of the Senate, and without the displays of partisanship and disrespect that we saw today.”

State police at Mansfield have investigated a couple of minor incidents in Tioga County over the past few days. Vandals damaged lawn ornaments at the home of Aaron Atwell  on 114 S. East Street Knoxville between 11:30 am and 2:30 pm Tuesday. Damage was reported for a solar lawn light valued at $100 and a decorative glass block also valued at $100. And,a 63 year old Wellsboro man told police he saw a trespasser in his barn on the Fischler Street Extension in Delmar Township Tuesday afternoon just before 5:30 pm.

                                                                           Obituary

Loretta J. HURLER, 89, of Galeton, PA, formerly of North Fork, died Sunday, June 23, 2019 in UPMC Cole, Coudersport.  Born September 30, 1929, in Brookfield Township, PA, she was the daughter of Charles and Emma Seeley Gill.  On March 15, 1947, in Harrison Valley, PA, she married Lawrence R. Hurler, who predeceased her in 1980.  Loretta and her husband owned and operated a dairy farm in North Fork.  She was employed by Mapes Woodworking in Whitesville, NY, Cooper-Slide in Genesee, Galeton Production, and Mittie’s Restaurant in Westfield.  Loretta was a member of the former North Fork Methodist Church.  Surviving are:  five children, Bonnie (Robert) Denlinger of Galeton, Larry (Cindy) Hurler of North Fork, Terry “Jake” (Bernice) Hurler of Sabinsville, Ricky (Linda) Hurler of Mills, and June Moore of Coudersport;  eight grandchildren;  12 great-grandchildren;  a great-great-granddaughter;  a brother, Gary Gill of Harrison Valley;  nieces and nephews.  In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by a daughter, Judy Hurler in 1970; two sisters, Jolene Lehman in 1997 and Reva Mitchell in 2018;  two brothers, Charles Gill in 1955 and Richard Gill in 1962;  son-in-law, Marlin “Mud” Moore;  and longtime companion, John J. Shaffer, Jr., in 2003.  Friends may call Thursday, June 27, 2019 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at the Olney Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Ulysses, PA, where Funeral Services will be held on Friday at 11:00 AM.  The Rev. Timothy H. Miller will officiate.  Burial will be in Brookfield Cemetery.  Memorials may be made to the activity funds of Cole Memorial Hospital Skilled Nursing Unit or Sweden Valley Manor.  Online condolences may be expressed at www.olneyfuneralhome.com.