Wednesday May 27, 2020

Photo by Judy Bliss Spaeth

State House approves a temporary budget….Free meals available this summer for students in need….Number of virus cases slowing down….McKean County has added one while others hold steady…Wellsboro’s Growers Market opens Thursday…..Drug arrests made in McKean County….Eldred man accused of violating Protection From Abuse order…..

As Pennsylvanians are facing one of the most challenging years in a lifetime, the House of Representatives is advancing a temporary budget that was developed in response to the unique circumstances facing the Commonwealth.

On Tuesday, the House passed a temporary budget that appropriates state funding for the next five months. The General Assembly will appropriate the final seven months of the fiscal year later in 2020.

The plan passed in House Bill 2387 does include some 12-month appropriations, including to statewide education. PreK through 12th grade, special education, career and technical education and higher education line items are all fully funded for the next year.

The general appropriation for the temporary budget is $25.8 billion, with level funding throughout the budget based off current year numbers.

The General Appropriation bill, and more than a dozen separate appropriations bills, advance to the Senate for further consideration.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has  announced the sites where children can get free nutritious meals through the 2020 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds the program, which PDE administers. Last year, Pennsylvania children received more than 4.5 million meals from approximately 2,400 food program sites, with $13.5 million in USDA support.

Many students who receive free or reduced cost meals during the school year through the School Breakfast and National School Lunch programs lack access to healthy and nutritious food during the summer months and are at risk of hunger. Limited access to nutritious food during the summer can have an impact on learning all year long and can make students more susceptible to illness and other health issues. There are several ways to locate a participating summer meal site:

  • Call the “211” phone number for the National call center.
  • Call “1.866.3Hungry” or “1.877.8Hambre” to find the place and time of free meals.
  • Log onto for locations and times where free meals are to be served.
  • Text “FOOD” to “877877” to find out the nearest SFSP site near your location.
  • Log onto that is an app used to locate places and times where free meals are served.

The Summer Food Service Program, which began in 1976, is a federally funded child nutrition program designed to reach those who are age 18 or younger in economically disadvantaged areas. People over 18 who are mentally or physically handicapped and participate in public or nonprofit private programs established for the disabled are also able to receive free meals at the Summer Food Service Program sites.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:

A complaint may also be filed at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) Fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) E-mail:


For additional information on the Summer Food Service Program, visit PDE’s website at or call 800-331-0129.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., May 26, that there are 451 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 68,637. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19. Here in the Black Forest Broadcasting Service Area, McKean County went up to 12. Tioga held steady at 16; Elk at 6; Potter at 4 and Cameron at 2. Across border, Cattaraugus County held at 81 and Allegany County at 44.

There are 5,152 total deaths in Pennsylvania  attributed to COVID-19, an increase of 13 new deaths. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the Health Department’s website.

There are 551 patients who have a positive serology test and either COVID-19 symptoms or a high-risk exposure, which are considered probable cases and not confirmed cases. There are 339,835 patients who have tested negative to date. Most of the patients hospitalized are ages 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 14,857 resident cases of COVID-19, and 2,505 cases among employees, for a total of 17,362 at 594 distinct facilities in 44 counties. None are here in the Black Forest Broadcasting Service Area/ Out of the total deaths, 3,395 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities.Approximately 5,159 of the total cases are in health care workers.


The Wellsboro Growers Market will open for the 2020 season this coming Thursday, May 28 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the front lawn of the First Presbyterian Church at 130 Main Street in Wellsboro, next to the Green Free Library. Customers are asked to wear face masks, maintain six feet of distance between themselves and others and have fun.

Among those offering goodies will be Liz McLelland of Yorkshire Meadows who will have scones, shortbread, lemon curd, carrot cake, and assorted cookies and pastries, along with Hillstone Farms with assorted meats and Staggering Unicorn with wine sold by the bottle.

The  Growers Market is usually a rain or shine event. When there are rain showers, vendors will stay outside under the trees. If there is a downpour or constant, heavy rain, the market will be canceled. Due to the coronavirus, the Church Fellowship Hall cannot be used when the weather is bad as has been done  in the past.

The market will be held every Thursday from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. through October, weather permitting. For updates on who and what will be at the market, email or visit the Wellsboro Growers Market Facebook page.

State Police at Lewis Run arrested two New Jersey residents for drug possession after stopping them on Route 59 in Corydon Township,  McKean County Monday afternoon. Police said they pulled the Chevy Silverado over for a traffic violation and upon investigation determined the driver and passenger were both in possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia. One is a 30 year old man from Pitman, New Jersey and the other a 31 year old man from Elmer, New Jersey.  They are facing charges in McKean County District Court.

 Lewis Run State Police  have charged 20 year old Trevor Tadder, of Eldred Township with drug possession after they looked at a vehicle sitting in a residence on Windfall Road last Saturday morning around 9 am where drug paraphernalia was found the day before. Upon making contact with the vehicle owner a strong odor of marijuana was present according to police.  Tadder allegedly produced a bag of pot and a subsequent search reportedly turned up a glass marijuana pipe. Charges against Tadder are also pending in District Court.

Troopers at Lewis Run are also continuing to investigate a violation of a protection from abuse order allegedly occurring just before 9:00 am last Thursday in Eldred Township. A 26 year old Eldred man is accused of violating the order put in place for  a 24 year old Eldred woman. He was taken to the McKean County jail where he was committed.

 Ridgway based a police report a Reynoldsville  woman escaped injury in a car/deer encounter  last Friday night in Benezette Township, Elk County. Kimberly Dickey was going west when she swerved her Jeep Grand Cherokee to miss a deer. The Jeep went off the road and hit a ditch where became disabled it had to be towed from the scene.