Thursday June 11, 2020

Wednesday’s high, 92; Overnight low, 65; .16” of rain






Photo by John Eaton

Sally and Jeff Jones of Between Two Rivers Maple Products are shown with their homemade maple syrup, maple cream, maple sugar and maple candy. They are not wearing masks in this photo but do wear them during market hours. They are among the many vendors at the Wellsboro Growers Market which is open Thursday afternoons throughout the summer.


Two area lawmakers introduce bills to  help broadband expansion…..Covid cases creep up in region…State police at Coudersport and Mansfield investigate possible child endangerment cases….Suspected rape of young Austin girl under investigation

Two area lawmakers have sponsored legislation to improve broadband in rural Pennsylvania. The state House has approved Rep. Clint Owlett’s (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) legislation to boost broadband access across rural Pennsylvania.“Owlett said “The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our schools, businesses and health care system has shone a light on just how badly our students, families, business owners and medical providers need broadband service, and they need it as soon as possible.” House Bill 2438 aims to help expedite the process and control costs by allowing rural electric cooperatives to deploy broadband service under their existing easements. The bill also authorizes cooperatives to allow other providers to access their easements. Finally, if a cooperative chooses to use an easement for broadband services, other providers would automatically have the right to use the easement for broadband purposes as well. The bill now goes to the Senate.

The House has  also approved legislation authored by Reps. Martin Causer (R-Cameron/McKean/Potter) and George Dunbar (R-Westmoreland) that would create a grant program to boost investment in the service.

“Reliable, high-speed internet service is not a luxury; it is a necessity,” Causer said.

House Bill 2348 would create the Unserved High-Speed Broadband Funding Program and fund it, in part, by repealing the Mobile Telecommunications Broadband Investment Tax Credit. This credit is currently limited to $5 million per year and is available to mobile telecommunication providers to invest in broadband equipment in Pennsylvania. Under the bill, the $5 million would instead be directed toward a grant program.

Under the bill, the grant program would be administered by the Commonwealth Financing Authority. Along with the $5 million appropriation called for in the bill, additional state and federal funding could be directed to the account and used for grant awards.

Entities eligible for grants would include nongovernmental entities with the technical, managerial and financial expertise to design, build and operate high-speed broadband service infrastructure within this Commonwealth; and rural electric cooperatives or local development districts in the Commonwealth. Any nongovernmental entity that qualifies for a grant would have to invest from its own funds at least 25% of the project cost.

Preference would be given to projects in the most unserved areas of the Commonwealth as defined by the Federal Communications Commission’s minimum speed requirements and to projects that already have federal funding allocated to them. The House also approved House Bill 2438, which would allow rural electric cooperatives to use their existing infrastructure to deploy fiber lines for broadband service. Both bills now go to the Senate for consideration.

On behalf of the millions of Pennsylvanians who remain out of work and who are struggling every day to feed their families, pay their bills and protect their livelihoods, today the House passed a resolution to end the COVID-19 emergency declaration with bipartisan support.

“Since early March, Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth have dealt with the heavy hand of government as a result of this declaration,” House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom) said. “The governor has used the power afforded to him under this declaration without input from the Legislature, suspending state laws, spending money without legislative approval, and his most unfair action of all, shutting down the family-sustaining careers of millions of Pennsylvanians.”

Under the Pennsylvania Constitution, the General Assembly has the authority to terminate a state of disaster emergency at any time by concurrent resolution. Upon adoption of the resolution, the governor must issue an executive order or proclamation ending the state of disaster emergency. Yesterday’s  House vote completes the concurrent resolution process.

“Today’s vote reflects the actions of millions of Pennsylvanians who are already back at work, social distancing and making their own choices to protect themselves while also providing for their families and promoting equality for every resident of the Commonwealth.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., June 10, that there are 410 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 76,846. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19. Cases keep creeping up in the Black Forest Broadcasting Service area. Potter County now has 12 cases; McKean, 13; Tioga 19; Elk, 6 and 2 in Cameron County. Pennsylvania now has a recovery rate of 72%. Across the border, Cattaraugus County has 96 and Allegany  County, 52.

There are 6,062 total deaths attributed to COVID-19, an increase of 48 new deaths. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the department’s website.

There are 631 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 467,329 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 16,309 resident cases of COVID-19, and 2,845 cases among employees, for a total of 19,154 at 623 distinct facilities in 45 counties. Out of the  total deaths, 4,199 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. Approximately 5,837 of the total cases are in health care workers.

Mansfield based State Police have arrested a 25 year old Wellsboro  man for strangulation following an altercation Tuesday evening on South First Street in Knoxville borough. The suspect whose name was not released is accused of strangling a 21 year old Wellsboro man during an argument.

Troopers  at Mansfield are continuing to investigate an endangering welfare of children on Seymour Hill Road in Sullivan township last Friday evening. Police claim that two children,  a six year old boy and a nine year old boy from Sullivan Township were home alone and the investigation is continuing.

 Minor injuries were reported for a passenger in a collision occurring Monday evening in Richmond Township Tioga  County. According to Mansfield base state police, the collision occurred as Eion Hicks- Lee of Blossburg was attempting to enter Lambs Creek Road from a closed US Army Corps of Engineers road to travel south and Stephen Rios of Mansfield was traveling north on Lambs Creek Road. Hicks-Lee pulled out in front  of Rios and his Kia Spectra  struck the right front corner of the Toyota Corolla driven by Rios. Minor injuries were reported for Daniel Knowlton of Mansfield who was riding  in the Hicks -Lee unit.

State police did not release details but say that a Ford Explorer, driven by Louise Keller of Troy and a Chevy Silverado driven by Randall Smith of Mansfield collided at the intersection of Route 6 and Mainsburg Road Monday afternoon.

Troopers didn’t release the name of the driver of a 2018 Hyundai Accent, which wrecked on Ore Bed Road  in Richmond township Tuesday . The driver was unable to see the road due to the sun and her Hyundai Accent went into a ditch where it came to rest. The female driver was wearing her seatbelt and escaped injury.

29 year old Dustin Lockwood Williamsport has been arrested by Mansfield base state police for criminal trespass.  beliefs claim that he drove an ATV onto a field along Route 660 in Covington Township, owned by Clifford Frost,  Lockwood Williamsport  allegedly drove his ATV onto a field which was properly posted against trespassing.

State police at Coudersport  are investigating a reported rape taking place last Friday morning on Foster Street in the borough of Austin. Police  say that the victim is a 13 year old Austin girl and the investigation is continuing. Troopers are also investigating the discovery of two firearms which do not have serial numbers. They were located along Howard Road in Harrison Township on June 1. One is a sawed off shotgun.

State Police at Coudersport  are continuing to investigate a report of reckless endangerment also on Howard road in Harrison Township. Saturday night troopers investigated a report of a gun shot being fired at that location and the investigation is continuing. Anyone who can shed light on the incident is asked to call the barracks at 814-274-8690.

Troopers are also probing a possible endangerment of a child occurring in Coudersport borough Sunday at around 5:48am on Saturday Main Street in Coudersport. Troopers say that they were called to that location when two young children were observed running on the sidewalks in the borough and troopers responded and returned the children to their home and the investigation continues.