Wednesday November 27, 2019

Tuesday’s high, 52; Overnight low, 45







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

Unemployment went up in all five counties in the Black Forest Service Area last month….more than 1300 bears taken in first two days of four day season…PennDot offers resources for holiday travel….

To hear today’s podcast, click on start buttons below:

Part A:

Part B:

Unemployment increased between September and October in all five counties served by Black Forest Broadcasting. The jobless rate went up a whole percentage point from  5.2% to 6.2% in Potter County. McKean County saw an increase from 5.1% to 5.7%; Cameron which had the highest in Pennsylvania went up from 5.1% to 8.7%; Tioga’s rate increased from 5.0% to 5.5% and Elk’s went up from4.5% to 5.9%. Pennsylvania’s percentage was 4.2% while the national figure remained historically low at 3.6%

After two days, 1,330 black bears have been harvested as part of Pennsylvania’s statewide four-day general bear season, according to preliminary totals released Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

This year’s two-day preliminary bear harvest compares to 1,622 bears taken during the statewide season’s first two days in 2018. In 2017, hunters took 1,310 bears over the same period. Through Monday, bears have been harvested in 51 counties during the statewide season.

Although the 2019 general season is off to a slightly slower start than last year’s, bears taken in the ongoing season raise the total Pennsylvania bear harvest to 3,205 when combined with harvests from a slate of earlier bear seasons including muzzleloader, special-firearms and archery. That total harvest, which will continue to increase, already tops the total 2018 statewide bear harvest of 3,153.

Expanded hunting opportunities provided by new special-firearms and muzzleloader bear seasons and an expanded archery bear season have helped push the 2019 bear harvest. Record bear license sales also have helped: license sales currently exceed 194,000; previously they have held at highs between 170,000 and 175,000. Add to that a statewide bear population of 20,000 and Pennsylvania finds itself with a chance to set a record bear harvest.

The state record bear harvest occurred in 2011, when 4,350 bears were taken.One bear exceeding 600 pounds was taken on the 2019 general season’s second day, Nov. 25. The top 10 bears processed at check stations over the season’s first two days were either estimated or confirmed to have live weights of 525 pounds or more.

Through all 2019 bear seasons, the largest bear was taken on the opening day of ongoing general season. It was a massive male estimated at 813 pounds taken in Smithfield Township, Monroe County, by Victor M. Vassalluzzo, of Kintnersville. He took it with a rifle at 7:15 a.m.

The heaviest bear ever taken in Pennsylvania was an 875-pounder harvested in 2010 in Middle Smithfield Township, Pike County, in 2010. Since 1992, seven black bears weighing at least 800 pounds have been lawfully harvested in Pennsylvania hunting seasons.

The second-largest bear in the 2019 general bear season was a 747-pound male taken by J. Kripp Jr., of Mountaintop. Harvested in Wright Township, Luzerne County, at 7 a.m., the bear was taken with a rifle.

Other large bears taken in the season’s first two days – all taken with a rifle – include: a 696-pound male taken in Penn Forest Township, Carbon County, by Brian J. Borosh, of Jim Thorpe; a 657-pound male taken in Franklin Township, Columbia County, by Nicholas A. Podgurski, of Elysburg; a 656-pound male taken in Hanover Township, Luzerne County, by Dale J. Kobal, of Hunlock Creek; a 623-pound male taken in Beech Creek Township, Clinton County, by Mikael J. Catanese, of Sewickley; a 620-pound male taken in Miles Township, Centre County, by Reuben Kennel, of Turbotville; a 604-pound male taken in Gallagher Township, Clinton County, Steven Z. Rohrbach, of Lock Haven; a 593-pound male taken in Genesee Township, Potter County, by Timothy J. Peskie, of Uniontown; and a 526-pound male taken in Cromwell Township, Huntingdon County, by Matthew R. Miller, New Oxford.

The preliminary two-day bear harvest by Wildlife Management Unit was as follows: WMU 1A, 10 (16 in 2018); WMU 1B, 34 (91); WMU 2A, 2 (5); WMU 2C, 65 (105); WMU 2D, 78 (102); WMU 2E, 32 (53); WMU 2F, 155 (174); WMU 2G, 273 (298); WMU 2H, 45 (55); WMU 3A, 79 (86); WMU 3B, 122 (103); WMU 3C, 46 (39); WMU 3D, 145 (115); WMU 4A, 66 (112); WMU 4B, 29 (49); WMU 4C, 45 (69); WMU 4D, 84 (103); WMU 4E, 18 (44); WMU 5A, 1 (3) and WMU 5C, 1 (0).

The top bear-hunting county in the state over the first two days of the season was Tioga County with 100 bears. It was followed by Lycoming County with 98 bears.

Two-day preliminary harvests by county and region are:

Northwest (188): Warren, 53 (46); Venango, 27 (65); Clarion, 25 (33); Forest, 24 (45); Jefferson, 23 (59); Crawford, 16 (43); Butler, 15 (15); Mercer, 4 (11); and Erie, 1 (14).

Southwest (102): Somerset, 33 (51); Armstrong, 26 (21); Indiana, 19 (28); Fayette, 13 (32); Cambria, 7 (13); and Westmoreland, 4 (7).


Northcentral (565): Tioga, 100 (71); Lycoming, 98 (87); Clinton, 75 (102); Potter, 70 (48); McKean, 55 (38); Elk, 48 (39); Clearfield, 47 (69); Centre, 30 (40); Cameron, 29 (54); and Union, 13 (13).

Southcentral (140): Huntingdon, 44 (70); Bedford, 30 (50); Fulton, 15 (32); Perry, 15 (13); Blair, 14 (17); Juniata, 8 (15); Mifflin, 6 (10); Franklin, 5 (14); Cumberland, 2 (1); and Adams, 1 (3).

Northeast (304): Pike, 58 (38); Monroe, 42 (36); Luzerne, 33 (40); Bradford, 30 (43); Wayne, 29 (26); Sullivan, 25 (24); Susquehanna, 24 (7); Lackawanna, 17 (12); Wyoming, 17 (24); Carbon, 14 (19); Columbia, 11 (16); and Northumberland, 4 (15).

Southeast (31): Dauphin, 13 (25); Schuylkill, 11 (13); Berks, 6 (1); and Lebanon, 1 (5)

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) hasoutlined steps they are taking and highlighted tools available to drivers to make travel as safe and efficient as possible for the upcoming Thanksgiving travel period.

Thanksgiving travelers are encouraged to visit the “Historic Holiday Traffic” page at which allows users to see how traffic speeds on the Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2017 and 2018 compared to traffic conditions during a typical, non-holiday week. Users can choose their region and view an hour-by-hour, color-coded representation of traffic speeds to help them decide the best times to travel during the holiday.

“Our goal is to not just minimize congestion, but to also focus on safe travel by providing motorists with as much information as possible,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “We encourage the public to use 511PA ahead of their trip to plan optimal drive times and to also slow down, buckle up, and to never drive distracted.

PennDOT traffic management staff have analyzed this holiday data and identified locations and timeframes where congestion typically increases dramatically during the holiday and will take steps to try to alleviate congestion and improve safety. The department will also partner with police for increased, strategic enforcement of speed and impaired driving laws.

In the Harrisburg region, PennDOT identified consistent, increased congestion on the Sunday after the holiday near I-81 southbound at the I-78 split in Lebanon County. To attempt to ease this congestion, the department will:

  • On the Wednesday before and the Sunday after the holiday, proactively alert motorists on Interstate 81 and I-78 north and east of the I-81/I-78 interchange of potential or actual delays using travel-time messages on electronic message signs;
  • Proactively alert motorists of potential or actual delays using travel-time messages on electronic message signs throughout the Harrisburg region;
  • Use highway advisory radio messages and electronic message boards to encourage travelers to reroute onto U.S. 22 westbound, which typically has excess capacity;
  • Partner with PSP on concentrated traffic enforcement near this area and to actively clear disabled vehicles from the roadway; and
  • Increase the hours and extend the coverage area that PennDOT’s State Farm Safety Patrol will be on duty and patrolling this section of highway.

In the Philadelphia region, major traffic issues are mostly confined to Black Friday in and around the major shopping areas. Staff identified I-95 in Delaware County, I-76 (Schuylkill Expressway), U.S. 1 near the Neshaminy Mall, and U.S. 202 and 422 near the King of Prussia Mall and the Philadelphia Premium Outlets as areas of increased congestion. To attempt to ease this congestion, the department will use electronic message boards to provide travelers with travel times to major roadways of interest and provide alerts about regional events impacting traffic during the holiday.

In the central region, congestion was identified at the I-80 Exit 161 (Bellefonte) in Centre County on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. PennDOT will:

  • On the Wednesday before the holiday, partner with PSP to monitor the I-80/I-99/Route 26 interchange in Centre County to manage traffic during peak congestion and on Sunday, December 1 from 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM PennDOT staff will manage traffic at the interchange with a flagging operation during peak congestion;
  • Proactively alert motorists of potential or actual delays using travel-time messages on electronic message signs;
  • Activate electronic message signs to reroute I-80 westbound traffic to Exit 173 (Lamar), use Route 64 south and return to I-99 southbound if necessary; and
  • Alert motorists of traffic conditions with highway advisory radio, electronic message signs and the 511PA service.

In the western region, traffic approaching the I-376 corridor east and west of the City of Pittsburgh on U.S. 19/Route 51, Route 28, U.S. 22, I-279, and I-79 will be alerted to I-376 conditions using electronic message boards. Staff will also be monitoring major interstates such as I-70, I-79, I-80 and I-90; and will be advising motorists to use parallel alternate routes, such as U.S. 19, U.S. 40, and U.S. 20, in the event that a major incident occurs on any of our Interstate Highways. In addition:

  • Messages regarding aggressive driving, impaired driving, and buckling up will be posted during the holiday;
  • Travel time messages will be posted leading into areas of identified historic congestion; and
  • Roadwork will be restricted on all interstates throughout the region.

To further increase traffic-data availability for traffic management staff, PennDOT partners with Waze, a real-time crowdsourced navigation app through which drivers share road conditions, to create a real-time dashboard through which staff can receive prioritized reports. As a member of the Waze Connected Citizens Program, the department can receive incident or roadway concern alerts faster and respond more quickly if necessary.

PennDOT will also remove lane restrictions and suspend construction projects wherever possible through the holiday period. Motorists can see active construction projects at before they travel.

Motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 950 traffic cameras.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.