Friday January 24, 2020

Black Forest Express

Photo by Gerri Miller

Thursday’s high, 40; Overnight low, 21






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Obituary: Margaret Wright, Sweden Hill (Ulysses)

Pennsylvania is addressing human trafficking with stronger legislation….More canines working with McKean County DA’s office…….Florida man arrested by Coudersport state police for “sexting” with two young children….Ridgway state police charged St. Marys man for throwing flashlight at passing vehicle….Troopers at Coudersport are looking for the owner of a truck tailgate…….

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Pennsylvania ranks 10th in the nation in human trafficking, a form of modern day slavery, but the states House  recently passed a package of bills which take aim at this worldwide problem. The legislation is now headed to the Senate.There were nearly 11,000 victims of human trafficking identified in the United States in 2018 and more than 600 were in Pennsylvania, but the fear experienced by victims and the secretive nature of these crimes tell us the numbers are much, much higher.

In addition to a House resolution recognizing January 2020 as National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, lawmakers voted to increase the penalty for patronizing a human trafficking victim and the trafficking of infants to a first-degree felony and would increase associated jail time and fines. The legislation would also expand the list of actionable offenses allowing for expert testimony on the dynamics of sexual violence and victim responses to it and prohibit defendants in human trafficking cases from using a victim’s past sexual history as evidence in their case.

Other bills would strengthen penalties for prohibited activities that, if committed, would constitute the crime of unlawful contact with a minor; expand the list of sexual offenses requiring offenders to participate in the Department of Corrections program of counseling and therapy for jailed sex offenders; and require courts to consider a family member’s human trafficking convictions when deciding child custody cases.

Human traffickers tend to exploit their victims’ vulnerabilities and make them dependent. Those at particular risk of victimization include runaway or homeless youth, recent migrants, people with substance use or mental health issues, or those involved with the child welfare system. Victims are likely living and working in our own communities, but you can help. To report suspected human trafficking, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).

McKean County District Attorney Stephanie Vettenburg-Shaffer announces the expansion of services of the McKean County Detectives Bureau operating out of the DA’s Office with the addition of more canines.  The canines assist law enforcement across the county in locating illegal narcotics, explosives and human remains as well as tracking individuals’  movements through scent.

Canine “LG” is a 7 year old Labrador Retriever trained and certified for narcotics detection through two national associations. Canine”Nico” is a 2.5 year old German Shepherd imported from Czechoslovakia. She is trained and certified in explosive detection through a national association.  “LG” and “Nico” join the DA’s Office and Drug Task Force at various events across the county, most often geared toward children to teach children to say “no” to drugs.  The community may see the dogs at different events and they have participated in Kids’ Fest; Welcome Back events at the Smethport High School; LEAF day events; Fire/EMS Night in Mount Jewett; National Night Out in Kane; and the Black the Blue 5K event at Pitt Bradford. “LG” has assisted law enforcement in searching for drugs at local schools and prisons.  “LG” will be accompanying District Attorney Stephanie Vettenburg-Shaffer in the next school year at different events geared toward elementary school children and he and “Nico” will be starring in their own coloring book warning children to stay away from drugs.

New to the DA’s Office in 2019, are dogs trained in search and rescue.    It takes hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to train a dog.  “Reeba”  is a trail dog “Izzy” is a cadaver and trail dog; and “Dixie” is a trail dog. The dogs have assisted law enforcement and search and rescue teams in McKean, Center, Elk, Potter, Tioga, and Warren counties.  They are certified by the American Working dog and the National Police Bloodhound Association.  Locally, they have found missing persons and tracked an arson suspect in Bradford Township.  These k9s have also been joining the District Attorney at events in the community including the Resource Fair at Pitt Bradford and the Back the Blue 5K event at Pitt Bradford.

If you would like a k9 at your event or school, please call the McKean County District Attorney’s Office at 814.887-3312.

Coudersport based state police have arrested a Florida man for corruption of minors. Troopers allege 38 year old Tarkan Ismailoff if Palm Coast exchanged explicit text messages with two children, ages 10 and 12 just after 9:00 am December e1 at 13 Dry Run Road in Hebron Township in Potter County. He is also charged with dissemination of an intimate image to a minor and unlawful contact with a minor.

Troopers at Ridgway have charged 59 year old Karl Krouse of Wilcox with propulsion of missles with intent to intent to injure in connection to an incident allegedly taking place just before 6:00 pm on January 14 at 1536 Wilcox Road in Ridgway Township.  Polikce claim Krouse threw a flashlight at a 2017 Dodge Ram driven by Donald Nunamker of St. Marys which was traveling on Route219 as Krouse was directing traffic for a truck backing a trailer into his driveway.

State police at Coudersport are looking for a pick up truck which lost a tailgate near 1075 Hurlbert Hill Road in Harrison Township between 6:00 pm Monday and 8:00 am Tuesday. The dark green  tailgate may have come from an older model Dodge truck. Owner may claim at the Denton Hill barracks: 814.274.8690.


Margaret L. Wright, 91, of Sweden Hill, formerly of Ulysses, passed away with her loving family by her side, at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Sharon and Jack Wilson of Coudersport, on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, after a short illness.Born on Wednesday, August 15, 1928 in Ulysses, she was a daughter of Frank and Maude Krusen Hilfiger.  On March 22, 1948 in Ulysses, she married Harold “Bill” Wright, who passed away on August 20, 1994.Margaret was a graduate of Ulysses High School, Class of 1947.  Margaret, along with her husband, owned and operated Wright’s Farm on Sweden Hill, which they purchased in 1952.  She held various other jobs over the years, including working at the former Wright’s Restaurant in Coudersport.  For over 60 years, Margaret graciously opened her home to take in hunters during hunting season.Margaret was a member of Central Grange 1216 in Sweden Valley.  She was well known for her homemade bread and peanut butter pie.  She will be lovingly remembered as a loving wife, mother and grandmother.Surviving are two daughters, Sharon K. (Jack) Wilson of Coudersport and Darlene M. Wright-Villa of Madison, Wisconsin; five grandchildren, Michelle, Daryl, Crystal, Billie, and Elizabeth; seven great-grandchildren, Ashley, Gage, Katie, Brianna, Courtney, Keelin, and Wyatt; two great-great-grandchildren, Bryson and Brynnlee; a sister, Frances Frost of Lampasas, Texas; and many nieces and nephews.In addition to her parents and husband, Margaret was predeceased by a son, Jerry Wright; a daughter, Judy Wright; four brothers, William Hilfiger, Malcomb Hilfiger, Kenneth Hilfiger, and Keith Hilfiger; three sisters, Margaret’s twin, Marian Payne, and Helen Flynn and Barbara Russell.A private family graveside funeral service will be held on Friday, January 24, 2020, in the Ulysses Cemetery with Kathy Boyd, lay speaker of the Sweden Valley Faith United Methodist Church, officiating.A memorial service will be held on a date and place to be announced.In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice.Margaret’s family has entrusted her 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 Margaret, please visit or the funeral home Facebook page, Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home.