Friday January 17, 2020

 

Black Forest Express

Photo by Gerri Miller

Thursday’s high, 46; Overnight low, 10; 2” snow

FRI-SUNNY, HIGH, 28

FRI NIGHT-CLOUDS BUILD, SNOW POSSIBLE, LOW 20

SAT-HEAVY SNOW THEN MIXED PRECIPITATION, HIGH 36

SAT NIGHT-LOW 20

SUN-SNOW TAPERS OFF, BREEZY, HIGH 24

SUN NIGHT-LOW 15

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Causer introduces two forestry  bills…Bradford man sentenced 10-20 years for rape & related crimes….Police accuse Emporium resident of faking military service…..Troopers investigate handful of vehicle crashes….

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Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) has introduced two measures related to the forestry industry, including one that aims to bring transparency to the process of establishing forest conservation easements.

House Bill 2148 would establish several requirements that must be met when public funding is involved in an easement purchase. Among the proposed requirements are public notification that an easement is proposed, compliance with a sustainable forest management plan, availability of the land for outdoor recreational activities such as public hunting, and approval of the easement by the Hardwoods Development Council within the Department of Agriculture.

“Forest conservation easements can be a valuable tool for conservation efforts. However, when public resources are used to purchase these easements, taxpayers deserve to know the details of the project before the easement is executed,” Causer said. “The Commonwealth has long had a process in place for designating agriculture conservation easements; we should absolutely be doing the same for forest conservation easements.”

In 2018, the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) loaned $50 million to Lyme Timber Company to help the company purchase more than 60,000 acres of private forestland in five counties. As part of the agreement, the company placed more than 9,000 acres into a permanent working forest conservation easement with the option for the Commonwealth to purchase additional easements on the remaining 50,000 acres over the next seven years. There was virtually no public notice of the project until it was approved by PENNVEST.

In addition to the easement bill, Causer introduced House Bill 2149 which would expand membership on the Hardwoods Development Council within the Department of Agriculture. The bill would add a logger and a forester to the council, provide for representation from all three hardwood utilization groups (HUGs), and guarantee representation on the council by the largest HUG, the Allegheny Hardwood Utilization Group.

Both bills were referred to the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee for consideration.

McKean County Judge  John H. Pavlock  on Thursday sentenced 29 year old  Christopher Ryan Yohe, of Bradford, to a term of incarceration of 10 years to 20 years in state prison.  The defendant had been convicted following a two day jury trial in McKean County Court on August 26 and August 27, 2019, of Rape (Felony 1); Sexual Assault (Felony 2); Aggravated Indecent Assault (Felony 2); Criminal Trespass (Felony 3); Indecent Assault (Misdemeanor 2); Unlawful Restraint (Misdemeanor 1); and Burglary (Felony 1) that occurred in Foster Township.  The defendant will also have to register under the Sex Offender Registration Notification Act, formerly “Megan’s Law,” for his lifetime.  The case was investigated by Patrolman Shaun McDonald and Patrolman Michael Spencer of the Foster Township Police Department.  District Attorney Stephanie Vettenburg-Shaffer prosecuted the case on behalf of the Commonwealth. On June 14, 2018, the victim received a phone call from Yohe in which he stated he wanted to see her. She soon discovered he was in her house when he made the call and then sexually assaulted her. He left the area but was apprehended in Somerset County and was returned to McKean County to face the charges.

Troopers at the Emporium barracks have charged 21 year old Clay Bopucher with numerous crimes related to proclaiming he had been honorably discharged from the US Navy. Felony charges of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, criminal trespass, theft by deception, tampering with public records or information and misdemeanor counts of securing execution of documents by deception and three misdemeanor counts of unsworn falsification to authorities for receiving housing assistance have been filed in district court.

Both drivers escaped injury in a collision Wednesday morning in Lawrence Township, Tioga County. State police report the collision occurred when James Baker of Lawrenceville was traveling south on Route 287 failed to yield while making a left turn on a green light at the intersection with Route 328 and his Hyundai Elantra hit a Toyota 4-Rinner driven by Santana Bradshaw of Tioga, PA. Baker was cited for driving an uninspected vehicle.

No injuries were reported for a St. Marys woman involved in a weather-related accident Thursday afternoon in Fox Township, Elk County. According to Ridgway based state police, a Mercury Grand Marquis driven by Renee Petrunia went off of the snow and ice covered Toby Road and hit an embankment.

A Ridgway woman also escaped injury in a one-vehicle accident Thursday afternoon in Highland Township. Authorities say Megan Lehman lost control of her car when she swerved to avoid a fox on the Toby Road. Her For F-150XLT went off the road and rolled over after hitting an embankment,.