Monday July 20, 2020


The state senate has approved a bi-partisan bill to change the probation system…..Virus cases continue to increase in the region…..Motorcyclist.. killed in Tioga County collision….Passenger hurt after falling off motorcycle due to medical condition  near Cross Fork…Ridgway based state police arrest two for DUI….

Sunday’s high, 94; Overnight low, 61; 1” of rain weekend total, from thunderstorms






The Senate approved a bipartisan bill today to improve Pennsylvania’s probation system by addressing serious flaws that have trapped nonviolent offenders in a cycle of incarceration without improving public safety.

Senate Bill 14, sponsored by Senator Anthony Williams (D-8) and Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46), would begin to restore the probation system to its original purpose of being a pathway out of the criminal justice system.

Under the bill, courts would have stronger guidelines and restrictions on imposing new sentences of incarceration on probationers. Incarceration would be reserved for individuals convicted of new crimes and more serious technical violations. The bill also creates incentives for probationers to succeed through credits for good behavior, such as maintaining a job and performing community services.

Currently, technical violations that are not actual crimes – such as being late for an appointment, traveling out of state or being unable to pay fines and restitution – can lead to excessive extensions of probation or prison time that far exceed the original sentence handed down at trial. The cost to incarcerate these individuals is far greater than the cost of supervision, resulting in wasted taxpayer dollars without any benefit in terms of public safety.

The bill also creates a mandatory probation review conference after three years for misdemeanor convictions or five years for felony convictions, with a presumption that probation will be terminated unless the individual does not qualify. The review could occur earlier based on the good conduct of probationers and on the achievement of educational, employment and other goals.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., July 19, that there are 786 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 101,027. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19. Here in the Black Forest Broadcasting service area cases continue to move up. Tioga  County has 32 McKean 25; Elk 37; Potter 19; and Cameron 5.  Across the border into New York State. Cattaraugus County has 145 cases and Allegany 71.

Allegheny County PA near Pittsburgh  is reporting an increase of 138 cases and Philadelphia is reporting an increase of 182 cases.

The number of tests administered within the last 7 days between July 12 and July 18 is 146,701 with 5,552 positive cases. There were 20,212 test results reported to the department through 10 p.m., July 18. These results represent the total number of tests administered.

There are 7,015 total deaths attributed to COVID-19, an increase of 8 new deaths reported. One death has reportedly occurred in Elk County. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the department’s website.

Mask-wearing is required in all businesses and whenever leaving home. Health officials say consistent mask-wearing is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

There are 637 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 926,352 patients who have tested negative to date

Most of the patients hospitalized are ages 65 or older, and most of the deaths  (69%) have occurred in patients 65 or older.

The department is seeing significant increases in the number of COVID-19 cases among younger age groups, particularly 19 to 24-year-olds. The changing COVID-19 case demographics, as there are more cases in younger age groups than in those 50-64 and 65+. The following regions have seen significant increases among 19 to 24-year-olds in each month from April to present in July:

  • SW – Approximately 5 percent of cases in April to approximately 21 percent of cases so far in July;
  • SE – Nearly 5 percent of cases in April to approximately 18 percent of cases so far in July;
  • NE – Nearly 6 percent of cases in April to nearly 17 percent of cases so far in July;
  • NW – Nearly 7 percent of cases in April to 12 percent of cases so far in July; and
  • NC – Approximately 7 percent of cases in April to 13 percent of cases so far in July.
  • SC – Approximately 7 percent of cases in April to nearly 13 percent of cases so far in July.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 18,638 resident cases of COVID-19, and 3,599 cases among employees, for a total of 22,237 at 788 distinct facilities in 59 counties including Elk and McKean Counties. Out of the total deaths, 4,803 (69%)  have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities.

Approximately 7,507 of the total cases are in health care workers.

One person was killed in a collision occurring Sunday afternoon on Route 6 and Shippen Township Tioga County.  State police report. 53 year old Joseph Jones, no address given, was pronounced dead at the scene after his Harley Davidson motorcycle collided with a Ford E350 van driven by an 18 year old whose name was not released. A passenger on the motorcycle a 55 year old woman was flown to Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre. Neither she nor the operator were wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, which occurred when the van entered Route 6  from a parking lot on the north berm. Jones  tried to avoid the collision but was unsuccessful. There were four passengers in the van and the extent of their injuries was not provided by police who are continuing to investigate the collision. Route 6 was closed for a several hours after the collision and traffic was detoured around the crash site.

A Catawissa Pennsylvania woman was hurt when she fell off a motorcycle on the Coudersport Pike in Lycoming County Saturday afternoon. Marie Elaine Murray Admire was riding on a Yamaha Raider operated by her husband Robert Admire when she suffered a medical emergency and fell off the bike onto the right shoulder. She was taken to Williamsport General Hospital by Kettle Creek Ambulance.

State  police at Ridgway have arrested 75 year old Frederick Frank of Johnsonburg for terroristic threats. Police claimed that last Wednesday evening Frank threatened to shoot a 25 year old Johnsonburg man if he did not stop riding his dirt bike.  Charges were filed  in District Court.

James Drauker, 49,  of Brockport has been arrested for DUI after being stopped by troopers from Ridgway on July 8, at County Line Road and Route 219. In Horton Township.  Drauker  was pulled over for an alleged traffic violation and after being arrested, was taken to Penn Highlands out for a blood draw which he refused.  Charges of DUI have been filed  in District Court.

Troopers  at Ridgway have arrested 48 year old Edward Covel of that town for DUI after stopping him on Route  219 and State Drive in Horton Township on the afternoon of July 3. He was pulled over for driving with a suspended license and was taken to Penn Highlands for a legal blood draw, which he also refused.  Charges are being filed in District Court. Refusal to submit to chemical testing in Pennsylvania can result in a one year driver’s license suspension and up to three days in jail on top of DUI charges.

 A criminal mischief occurring on Toles  Hollow Road in Eulalia Townshp  last Friday morning is under investigation by Coudersport based State Police.  Marlene Fantasky  told troopers her riding lawnmower was used and damaged by an unknown person. Anyone with information is asked to call the barracks at 274 8690.