Thursday June 25, 2020

 

 

Wednesday’s high, 81; Overnight low, 48

SUNNY TODAY WITH POSSIBLE POP UP SHOWER HIGH 79.

PARTLY CLOUDY TONIGHT WITH A POSSIBILITY OF SOME RAIN LOW OF 56.

MOSTLY SUNNY TOMORROW HIGH OF 81

CHANCE OF SHOWERS OVERNIGHT A LOW 62

SATURDAY AND SUNSHINE AND THUNDERSTORMS HIGH IN THE LOW 80S.

MOSTLY CLOUDY SATURDAY NIGHT LOW OF 65.

Photo by John Eaton

This photo of Hills Creek State Park Complex Natural Resource Specialist Tim Morey with a park telescope was taken in October of 2017, well before the Covid-19 pandemic struck the United States.

In-person programs are slowly being returned to four of the eight state parks in the Hills Creek State Park Complex, according to  Tim Morey, natural resource specialist. Two of the four, including Lyman Run and Leonard Harrison, will not have events posted on the state parks events calendar though they may have a few programs for campers. In-person programs for Cherry Springs and Hills Creek will be posted periodically.

At this point, in-person educational programs are limited to a maximum of 25 participants based on state coronavirus protocols including in-person stargazing programs at Cherry Springs, which have been attended by 500+ people in the past. There will be no telescope viewing until further notice

Cherry Springs is offering a combination of virtual and in-person programming starting today and continuing on Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. a 30-minute virtual program will be offered for those planning to take a trip there to camp and see the stars. They can join park staff on Skype for a slide show presentation about things they should know about Cherry Springs before their visit.

The park will have  a 30-minute, in-person short walk this Saturday, June 27, at 6 p.m., to introduce registrants to the history and future of Cherry Springs. The walk is not strenuous and is not a hike. Registration is required and will be limited to the first 25 people who register. It is important for families to register as a group if more than one member is going. To register, visit https://events.dcnr.pa.gov/cherry_springs_state_park/calendar. All participants must follow CDC guidelines and take a mask with them in order to attend. Programs may be cancelled due to severe weather.

A virtual telescope workshop for those who have a telescope but still haven’t figured out how to use it is being planned. As a follow-up, those who participate and are still having trouble with their telescope can schedule a one-on-one virtual session to find out why it isn’t working or how to get the most out of it.

The virtual workshop is also for those who are Interested in purchasing a telescope and want to find out what to look for and what to avoid. They are invited to join park staff for a short overview of the variety of telescopes available and to find out which type might best suit their needs.

All parts of the virtual telescope workshop will be conducted online. There will be no in-person presentation. Those who have a telescope and register to participate will need to use a smart phone or tablet so they are mobile and can move around.

All virtual telescope workshops will be posted on the Cherry Springs event calendar. In the meantime, those who are interested are invited to contact Tim Morey by emailing him at tmorey@pa.gov to let him know the days and times a virtual telescope workshop could be held that would work best for them and their families.

Working to prevent waste and fraud in the state’s Medicaid program, the state House today approved Rep. Clint Owlett’s (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) bill that would prevent improper payments.House Bill 2354 is designed to identify, detect and prevent improper payments before they happen by establishing a searchable database that would help identify organizations, individuals and entities that are not eligible to receive funds from a Commonwealth agency. The bill is modeled after the federal Do Not Pay law.

A November report by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicated Pennsylvania made more than $2 billion in improper payments to the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medicaid. If left uncorrected, these improper payments would require a $930 million repayment to the federal government.

Owlett noted the state of Oregon saved $286 for every $1 it spent after enacting the Do Not Pay law.  In addition to the savings that come from preventing the improper payments themselves, the bill would also save the Commonwealth the costs associated with trying to recover those payments.

Owlett’s bill is one of six introduced earlier this year in response to a grand jury report on fraud in Pennsylvania’s Medical Assistance Program, also known as Medicaid, released by Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office and a report recently released by the House Government Oversight Committee.

Other bills in the package include:

House Bill 2350, which would require any provider which seeks to operate in the Medicaid program use either a National Provider Identification number or register for a State Provider Identification number.

House Bill 2351, which would increase penalties for making a false claim against the Medicaid program.

House Bill 2352, which would create a state version of the federal False Claims Act to recoup additional funds from false claims made against Medicaid.

House Bill 2353, which would require state agencies to assess their program expenditures to determine how susceptible they are to improper payment.

House Bill 2355, which would require any Medicaid Managed Care Organization to enter into an agreement with the Department of Human Services to allow the department to recoup any Medicaid funds which were sent on a provider preventable condition.

With the exception of House Bills 2350 and 2352, the remaining measures in the bill package are now pending Senate consideration.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., June 24, that there are 495 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 83,191. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19. Here in the Black Forest  Broadcasting Service Area Tioga has 23; Potter  has gone up to 14; McKean has 15; Elk 10 and Cameron 2. Across the border in New York State, Cattaraugus County has gone up to 120 and  Allegany County is holding at 58,

There are 6,515 total deaths attributed to COVID-19, an increase of 54 new deaths. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the department’s website.

Mask wearing is required in all businesses in yellow and green phases of reopening. Consistent mask wearing, even in counties in the green phase, could have lasting benefits as a COVID-19 surge is possible this fall.

There are 632 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 608,217 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 17,394 resident cases of COVID-19, and 3,103 cases among employees, for a total of 20,497 at 671 distinct facilities in 49 counties—none here in the Black Forest Broadcasting  Out of the total deaths, 4,467 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. Approximately 6,303 of the total cases are in health care workers.

Coudersport based  State Police have arrested a 32 year old Roulette  man for manufacturing drugs. Troopers explained that this past February 16,  at around 5:15pm state police were dispatched to 46 River Street in the village of Roulette for a  structure fire. Once the fire was put out.  Authorities entered the home to conduct an interior investigation of the fire and during that investigation, methamphetamine lab materials were discovered and removed.  After several months of searching for Adam Sallade  was located and charged with offense including the manufacturer of controlled substance. causing a chemical reaction to the manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of precursors for the manufacturer of methamphetamine and other related crimes. He was committed to the Potter County Jail. Sallade was arrested June 15 been arrested for drug possession State Police claim that they discovered methamphetamine  and drug paraphernalia on his person while they interviewed him on Second Street in Sweden Township .

State Police at Coudersport  have released details about one vehicle crash occurring last Friday on the North Brookland  road in the Ulysses Township. Craig Whitmer of Ulysses was driving a Ford F 150XLT and due to a medical condition he could not lift his legs to hit the brakes. The truck continued straight hitting  a tree. He was taken by Tri-Town Volunteer  Ambulance to UPMC  Cole for treatment of minor injuries.

Two people have been arrested for a criminal mischief  occurring on Elk Lick Road in Wharton  Township Potter County on first of May just after 5pm. Troopers  claim that  Matthew Harlacher  of Dover, Pennsylvania and James Vanatta Nana from East BerlinPA  fired shots into a building owned by National Fuel Gas several times. Police say that information received at the scene was used to identify the suspects who are facing charges of reckless endangerment, criminal conspiracy, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief.

Ganelle  Jones, 30, of Tioga has been arrested for physical assault or an incident allegedly taking place Monday night at a house on North Hollow  Road in Sweden Township Potter  County. Troopers claim an investigation into a domestic violence incident resulted in charges being filed against Jones who  is charged also with harassment in addition to simple assault.