Thursday November 21, 2019

Black Forest Express

Photo by Gerri Miller

Thursday’s high 39; Overnight low, 28







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Obituaries: Lynn Kemp, Millport and Majorie  Ferguson Green, Coudersport

PA Lawmakers consider raising minimum wage….Work of Conservation Districts discussed at Ag committee hearing….Elderly Elk County man arrested for DUI……

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The state legislature is looking at a bill (Senate Bill 79) that would raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage for the first time since 2009. A Senate committee has passed a measure to raise the minimum wage from the state’s current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to $9.50 an hour by 2022. The wage would be raised in four steps: to $8 per hour on July 1, 2020; $8.50 per hour on Jan. 1, 2021, $9 per hour on July 1, 2021; and then $9.50 per hour on Jan. 1, 2022.

This changes Senator Tartaglione’s legislation that originally would have raised the minimum wage immediately to $12 an hour, increasing to $15 an hour by 2025.  She voted in favor of the smaller increase to $9.50 an hour, saying it’s a first step, adding that she couldn’t say no to any increase to minimum wage workers, even if it isn’t as much as she wanted.

The wide array of programs and support services offered by the state’s 66 county conservation districts were the subject of an informational meeting of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee Wednesday.

“Potter County is home to the state’s very first conservation district, established in November 1945. The Commonwealth now has 66 conservation districts that have evolved effectively over the years to meet the needs of their particular regions of the state,” said Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint), chairman of the committee. “They truly are a vital partner with the Commonwealth and our communities in achieving both environmental and economic success.”

McKean County Conservation District Manager Sandy Thompson was one of four presenters at the meeting, outlining for lawmakers the importance of the Dirt, Gravel and Low-Volume Road program administered at the statewide level by the State Conservation Commission and at the local level by county conservation districts.

She explained how the program impacts water quality issues, by reducing the amount of erosion and runoff; saves municipalities money by reducing maintenance costs; and improves public safety. The conservation district offers funding and technical assistance to municipalities but also extends its education and outreach to landowners, businesses and others to share best practices for restoration and maintenance of dirt and gravel roads.

She was pleased by the opportunity to appear before the committee and share her enthusiasm for the work she and her fellow conservation districts managers, employees and board members do.

“The passion of our conservation districts across the Commonwealth is tremendous,” Sandy Thompson said. “We are not in it for the money but because we see a need and want to make a difference in protecting our environment.”

Blair County Conservation District Manager Donna Fisher outlined her district’s efforts, focusing on stormwater management and requirements communities must meet under the Municipal Separate, Sewer, Storm Systems. She highlighted the collaboration the district has helped to facilitate in the effort to best meet the financial and technical needs of Blair County’s municipalities.

Lancaster County Conservation District Manager Christopher Thompson summarized the many programs administered by his district, which is the largest in the state. With a substantial agriculture industry in the county, they offer funding opportunities and technical support for farmers to implement best practices. He also highlighted the county’s work to fight back against the invasive spotted lanternfly, which was first detected in neighboring Berks County and has now spread to more than a dozen counties in the eastern half of the state.

Brenda Shambaugh, executive director of the PA Association of Conservation Districts (PACD), also addressed the committee and shared a video highlighting the history of conservation districts in the state. First established by law in 1945, the districts were charged with the protection of soil, water and related resources on a local level. Over the years, the districts have evolved to cover an array of environmental protection and conservation initiatives, including clean water, agricultural practices, stormwater management, forest management, dirt and gravel roads, invasive species and more. Conservation districts also engage in environmental education initiatives for people of all ages. For more information about conservation districts in the Commonwealth, visit

For full video of the committee meeting, as well as individual testifiers’ presentations, visit

Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint), chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, welcomed McKean County Conservation District Manager Sandy Thompson to the state Capitol Wednesday for a committee meeting to discuss the operations of conservation districts statewide.

State police at Ridgway report DUI charges are pending against a 71 year old Ridgway man pending lab results. Police did not release the suspect’s name but report he was taking to Penn Highlands Elk after being pulled over on the Boot jack Road yesterday afternoon for a summary traffic violation.


Mr. Lynn V. Kemp, 99, of Eleven Mile Road, passed away with his loving daughter by his side on Sunday, November 17, 2019, in UPMC Cole Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Unit, Coudersport.Born on Friday, October 29, 1920 on Turkey Path Road in Oswayo Township, he was a son of Ora C. and Alta E. Jones Kemp.  On June 8, 1946 in Shinglehouse, he married Gwendolyn D. Leone, who passed away on April 5, 2008.Lynn attended Chrystal County School and graduated from Shinglehouse High School, Class of 1937.  He was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II serving from 1942 to 1946 with the 78th Infantry Division in Belgium, Germany, and France, attaining the rank of master sergeant.Lynn worked in the oil and gas fields as a tool dresser, driller and pumper.  He retired from Air Preheater in Wellsville, N.Y. in 1983.  Lynn was also a farmer, raising dairy cows and sheep.Lynn was a member of Chrystal Church since 1932, serving as a Sunday school teacher and church trustee.  Lynn was one of the founding members of Boy Scout Troop 58 which later became Troop 558, where he was the Scout Master for 35 years and was awarded the Silver Beaver.  He was formerly a member and had served as president of the Oswayo Valley School Board and was assessor and tax collector of Oswayo Township for many years.For nearly 50 years, Lynn grew a pumpkin patch, where never a pumpkin was sold but given to any child.Surviving are a daughter, Kay E. Casler of Hamburg, N.Y.; two sons, Pastor Fred E. (Gail) Kemp of Eleven Mile and Stephen C. (Teresa) Kemp of La Plata, Maryland; a daughter-in-law, Deborah Kemp of Midlothian, Illinois; two granddaughters; two grandsons; three great-grandsons; two great-granddaughters; and several nieces and nephews.In addition to his parents and wife, Lynn was predeceased by two sons, Jonathan O. Kemp and James L. Kemp; a sister, Lila E. Higley; and two brothers, Murray E. Kemp and Carrol B. Kemp.Family and friends may call from 9 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday, November 23, 2019, at the Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home, 118 South Union Street, Shinglehouse, where funeral services will follow at noon with his son, Pastor Fred E. Kemp, officiating.  Burial will be in Eleven Mile Cemetery, Chrystal. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice.Lynn’s family has entrusted his care to Kevin J. Dusenbury, funeral director/owner of the Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home, Shinglehouse.To express condolences or share a fond memory of Lynn, please visit or visit the funeral home Facebook page, Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home.

Marjorie Ferguson Green, 100, of Coudersport, passed away Tuesday, November 19, 2019 at her home.Marjorie was known to her family and friends as Marge or Margie.  She was born on September 24, 1919 in Parnassus, PA, the daughter of the late John and Jessie (Simpson) Ferguson.  She married Daniel C. Green, Sr. in 1944 and he preceded her in death in 1985.Marjorie is survived by two loving sons, Daniel C. Green, Jr. of Pittsburgh and Stephen A. Green of Coudersport; and many nieces, nephews, grand nieces and grand nephews.In addition to her husband and parents, Marjorie was preceded in death by three sisters, Gladys Alcorn, Louise Buist and Joyce Hill and two brothers, Everett and Richard Ferguson.Marjorie graduated as Valedictorian from Apollo High School.  She also attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh, where she received a Master’s Degree in English Education.  Marjorie was an English Teacher at Richland High School, Pittsburgh for twelve years retiring in 1982.  During her lifetime of many activities, she volunteered for the Greater Pittsburgh Literary Council, she served on the Board of Coudersport Habitat for Humanity and was a Deacon of the First United Presbyterian Church of Coudersport where she remained a member until her death.According to Marjorie’s wishes, there will be no visitation or services.In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorial contributions in Marjorie’s name be made to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, 800 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 or the First United Presbyterian Church, 402 North Main St., Coudersport, PA 16915.Thomas E. Fickinger Funeral Home of Coudersport is in charge of arrangements.To send flowers to Marjorie’s family, please visit our floral section.