Tuesday March 24, 2020

Black Forest Express

Monday’s high, 49; Overnight low 33, .54” of precip. (rain & snow)






LOW 33.


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…Department of Health confirms more than 600  virus cases in PA….Residents of Seven Counties (none here) ordered to “stay at home”…..Businesses affected by virus mitigation can apply for low interest loans…Adjustments made to Unemployment insurance to help workers…Central PA Food bank distributing groceries and meals….Dagus Mines man accused of stealing items from his parents’ home……

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The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., March 23, that there are 165 additional positive cases of COVID-19, and one new death in Montgomery County, bringing the statewide total to 644 in 34 counties. County-specific information and a statewide map are available hereOpens In A New Window. All people are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital.

“Our notable increase in cases over the last few days indicate we need everyone to take COVID-19 seriously,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Pennsylvanians have a very important job right now: stay calm, stay home and stay safe. We have seen case counts continue to increase and the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home.”

Statewide, there are 644 cases of COVID-19 reported from commercial, hospital and state labs. There are 6,595 patients who have tested negative, and 3 total deaths. With commercial labs being the primary testing option for most Pennsylvanians, data is not available on the total number of tests pending.

Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Issue ‘Stay at Home’ Orders to 7 Counties to Mitigate Spread of COVID-19

Order Effective a in Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Monroe, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties– Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today issued “Stay at Home” orders to Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Monroe, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties, as the state seeks relief to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19.This order takes effect at 8:00 PM on Monday, March 23, 2020, and will continue until April 6, 2020.All schools statewide will also remain closed through at least April 6, 2020.“The number of cases continues to grow and so we must take further steps to stop the spread of this contagious and dangerous novel virus to protect the public’s health and mitigate the risk to our hospital system,” Dr. Levine said. “There is one way to make sure people don’t need to be hospitalized and we don’t strain our health care system: Stay calm. Stay home. Stay safe.”

Individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following allowable individual activities and allowable essential travel:

Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, or the health and safety of their family or household members (including pets), such as obtaining medicine or medical supplies, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home

Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves, for their family or household members, or as part of volunteer efforts, or to deliver those services or supplies to others to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences

Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running if they maintain social distancing

To perform work providing essential products and services at a life-sustaining business

To care for a family member or pet in another household

Any travel related to the provision of or access to the above-mentioned individual activities or life-sustaining business activities

Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons

Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services

Travel to return to a place of residence from an outside jurisdiction

Travel required by law enforcement or court order.

Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the commonwealth

The following operations are exempt:

Life-sustaining business activities

Health care or medical services providers

Access to life-sustaining services for low-income residents, including food banks

Access to child care services for employees of life-sustaining businesses that remain open as follows: child care facilities operating under the Department of Human Services, Office of Child Development and Early Learning waiver process; group and family child care operating in a residence; and part-day school age programs operating under an exemption from the March 19, 2020 business closure Orders.

News media

Law enforcement

The federal government

Religious institutions

Individuals experiencing homelessness are not subject to this order but are strongly urged to find shelter and government agencies are urged to take steps needed to provide shelter for those individuals.

International students, foster youth, and any other students who would otherwise experience displacement or homelessness as a result of campus closures are exempt and may remain in campus housing.

At this time, law enforcement will be focused on ensuring that residents are aware of the order and informing the public of social distancing practices rather than enforcement. To report a noncompliant business, contact your local law enforcement agency’s non-emergency number or the nearest Pennsylvania State Police station. Please do not call 911 or the Department of Community and Economic Development to file reports. Law enforcement officers should refer to Business Closure Order Enforcement Guidance available online.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should visit: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/.

Businesses impacted by coronavirus and efforts to mitigate its spread are now able to apply for disaster assistance loans available through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) according to Rep. Clint Owlett.“While we have to prioritize the health and safety of our citizens, we also must recognize the devastating impact mitigation efforts are having on small businesses across our region and the Commonwealth,” Owlett said. “ SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.

The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for nonprofits is 2.75%.

SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

Businesses may obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired), or by e-mailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Loan applications can also be downloaded at www.sba.gov/disaster. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Completed applications should be returned to the local DLOC or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.The deadline to return economic injury disaster loan applications is Dec. 21, 2020.A s early as next week, the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) is expected to start taking applications for its Small Business First Program, which has $60 million in funding available to provide zero interest loans to small businesses with 100 or fewer full-time employees. Loans of up to $100,000 will be available to small businesses to use as working capital. In addition to a 0% interest rate, there will be no application fees and the terms will include no payments and no interest during the first year of the loan.

The Commonwealth has also made several adjustments to its unemployment compensation (UC) program to help displaced employees as well as employers. Employees may be eligible if:

Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19.

Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19.

You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19.

You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts.

Also, the standard one-week waiting period has been suspended. Applicants are encouraged to apply online for quicker processing at www.uc.pa.gov.

Employers are also eligible to seek relief from charges. Additional information is available at www.uc.pa.gov.

For additional information about COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, visit www.RepOwlett.com/coronavirus.

The agency partners of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank are providing groceries, take-out meals and a dose of hope to people in need. Alternative distributions are scheduled at many different locations with significant precautionary procedures in place to protect clients, staff and volunteers. People who are hungry and families that rely on food assistance should still seek help when they need it. Visit the “Find Food” page on www.centralpafoodbank.org to find the closest program or call 717-547-6336 for information.

Due to a generous response from the community, we do not need any more volunteers. Those who want to help our mission, financial contributions do the most good. A virtual food drive is set up online to take donations at www.centralpafoodbank.org.

The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is committed to meeting the elevated need that we believe will be developing as the COVID-19 situation continues, and we want our communities to know that the health of our clients, employees, volunteers, and other friends are our top priority.

A Dagus Mines man has been arrested for stealing things from his parents’ home while they were in Florida. 43 year old Michael Knepp has been charged with burglary, criminal trespassing, theft and receiving stolen property. State police at Ridgeway allege that Knepp  entered his parents’ home at 140 Scotland Street in Fox Township on March 18 and  stole some frozen meatballs and chocolate chips. Police said Knepp was warned to stay off his parents’ property while they were away. Police said Knepp was worn to stay off his parents property while they were away. The case remains open pending further court proceedings.


Jeanne E. Fickler Hawkins, 101, of Coudersport, peacefully passed in her home on March 22, 2020.She was born August 23, 1918 in Coudersport, daughter of J. Leon Fickler and Anna O’Donnell Fickler.Jeanne was preceded in death by her parents, five sisters, one brother, her eldest son, Bill Hawkins Jr., and a step granddaughter.She is survived by her three sons, Bud and wife Diana, Jeff and wife Sue Ellen, Chris and wife Kathy.  Jeanne has five grandchildren, Ruby, Ellie, Zac, Amber, and Ian, as well as four great grandchildren, Joshua and Allison Copley, Hudson Hawkins and his little brother expected this September. Jeanne was also proud to collectively have over fifty nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and great great nieces and nephews.After her marriage to Willam Hawkins Sr, Jeanne enjoyed 24 years of military life which allowed her to travel to many exciting places throughout the world. She lived in six different states, in three foreign countries, including a year in Panama, three years in Newfoundland, and three years in Tripoli, Libya, Africa.  She later returned to Coudersport in 1968 to continue raising her 4 boys and enjoy being surrounded by family and friends.Jeanne was employed at Citizens Trust Bank for a number of years, Nannied for several different young children throughout the years.  She enjoyed bowling and playing cards. Her most special moments were preparing home cooked meals for her family and friends, and her bake goods brought them back often! Christmas was her favorite holiday and she had a live tree every year up until her death. She was revered by many for her countless stories, wealth of knowledge, from a memory that was unwavering. Having lived over a century, those that knew Jeanne best, know that she died a legend in their hearts.A Celebration of Life will be planned for a future date. Jeanne’s wish was that any contributions be given to the Potter County Historical Society, 308 N Main St., Coudersport, PA 16915.The family has entrusted the Thomas E. Fickinger Funeral Home 210 North East St. Coudersport, PA 16915 with her arrangements. To share your fondest memories of Jeanne or to sign her guestbook, please visit www.thomasfickinger.comTo plant a tree in memory of Jeanne E. Hawkins, please visit their  tribute store.