Thursday May 28, 2020

Rep. Clint Owlett’s (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) legislation to help expand broadband access across rural Pennsylvania has been approved by the House Consumer Affairs Committee and now goes to the full House for consideration.

“There is no question our rural residents are at an economic and educational disadvantage due to the lack of accessible high-speed internet access, and that’s never been more obvious than over the last few weeks as our schools and businesses were forced to shut down,” Owlett said. “At the state level, there’s been more talk than actual progress on the issue of broadband expansion over the last few years. Fortunately, some of our local utilities are ready, willing and able to bridge the gap. We just need to help facilitate those efforts.”

House Bill 2438 would allow rural electric cooperatives to use their existing infrastructure to deploy fiber lines for broadband service following the footsteps of Tri-County Rural Electric Co-op here in the Black Forest Broadcasting Service Area.

“Just like electric cooperatives blazed the trail for bringing electric service to our most remote areas of the state, they are in a position to do the same for high-speed internet access,” Owlett said. “In my area, Tri-County Rural Electric has embarked on such a project with great results. I hope my bill will help other cooperatives do the same.”

In addition to Owlett’s bill, the committee also approved House Bill 2348, which would create the Unserved High-Speed Broadband Funding Program to create a grant program to help further deploy rural broadband. Owlett is a co-sponsor of the bill.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has announced that expiration dates for driver licenses, identification cards, and learner’s permits, will be extended for Pennsylvania residents in response to statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

Effective May 27, 2020, expiration dates for driver licenses, photo ID cards and learner’s permits scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020 through June 30, 2020, have been extended until June 30, 2020. These extensions are in addition to those announced on April 30, which extended products with expiration dates up to May 31 to June 30.

A camera card is considered a driver’s license, so it is covered by the same terms and conditions extending other driver’s license products. Camera cards with expiration dates within this timeframe are also extended through June 30, 2020.

Additionally, limited services are available at some Driver License and Photo License Centers. For a list of open driver license and photo license centers and the services provided, as well as their hours of operation, please visit www.dmv.pa.gov.

Customers may continue to complete various transactions and access multiple resources online at www.dmv.pa.gov. Driver and vehicle online services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and include driver’s license, photo ID and vehicle registration renewals; driver-history services; changes of address; driver license and vehicle registration restoration letters; ability to pay driver license or vehicle insurance restoration fee; and driver license and photo ID duplicates. There are no additional fees for using online services.

PennDOT will continue to evaluate these processes and will communicate any changes with the public.

More COVID-19 information is available at www.health.pa.gov. For more information, visit www.dmv.pa.gov or www.PennDOT.gov.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., May 27, that there are 780 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 69,417. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19. The number here in the Black Forest Broadcasting Service Area held steady; 16 in Tioga County, 12 in McKean, 6 in Elk, 4 in Potter and 2 in Cameron County. Across the state border, Cattaraugus has inched up to 82 while Allegany County still has 44.

There are 5,265 total deaths in Pennsylvania  attributed to COVID-19, an increase of 113 new deaths. County-specific information and a statewide map are on the department’s website.

There are 576 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 349,990 patients who have tested negative to date. Nearly 1% are ages 0-4;

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 14,990 resident cases of COVID-19, and 2,528 cases among employees, for a total of 17,518 at 596 distinct facilities in 44 counties.(None here in the Black Forest Broadcasting Service Area. Out of the total deaths, 3,469 (66.8%)  have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities.

Approximately 5,216 of the total cases are in health care workers.

A Republican state lawmaker, Rep. Andrew Lewis (R-Dauphin) reveals he has recovered from the virus.

“Throughout this pandemic, our health officials have reminded us that it is likely many of us will contract COVID-19 and suffer mild, flu-like symptoms. On Monday, May 18, I was tested for COVID-19 and on Wednesday, May 20, I was notified that my test came back positive.

“I immediately began self-isolation protocol and contacted the House of Representatives, and our caucus Human Resources department. My last day in the Capitol was Thursday, May 14.

“We worked together and followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s workplace exposure guidelines to determine exactly who I may have been in contact with, and who I may have possibly exposed to the virus.

“I can confirm every member or staff member who met the criteria for exposure was immediately contacted and required to self-isolate for 14 days from their date of possible exposure.

“Out of respect for my family, and those who I may have exposed, I chose to keep my positive case private. Now that I have fully recovered and completed the quarantine as required by the Department of Health, I feel now is the appropriate time to share this information with the public and my constituents and I look forward to being a resource in sharing my experiences with COVID-19 and helping our community navigate this crisis together.

“I feel very fortunate to report I suffered only mild symptoms, a fever that lasted roughly 24 hours, and a brief cough. I feel completely fine and I look forward to fully resuming my duties to the people of the 105th district.”

Mansfield based State Police have arrested a 44 year old Wellsboro  man for physical harassment following a fight with his father  on Brouton Hollow Road in Delmar  Township on the evening of May 16. Police did not release the suspect’s name but say that he went to the home of his 71 year old father  to confront him  over Facebook Messenger and upon arrival, kicked in the rear door causing $150 in damage. The  argument continued inside residence and then the son  allegedly pushed his father one time before leaving  the house. He’s now facing charges in District Court.

Three people are being charged following a melee occurring Sunday night at Valley View Estates in Charleston. Mansfield state police report  that they were called to that location for a report of domestic violence with injuries. Upon arriving at the scene, they discovered that three men had gotten  into a verbal argument which turned physical with all three punching each other. At some point one of the suspects grabbed a pair of scissors and injured one of the others by cutting the victim’s left hand. The fight  continued with one suspect striking the right hand of another with a small sledge hammer.Further in investigation found  one of them was  illegally growing marijuana at the residence.  Two of the suspects, 54 year old Steven Reed of Wellsboro and 24 year oldJoey Tanalewsi also of Wellsboro  were arraigned in front of a district justice and were released on  their own recognizance. James  Thomas of Newark, DE was  committed to the Tioga  county jail in lieu $15,000 bail on harassment and drug charges.

A Barker , New York tractor trailer operator  escaped injury in a one vehicle mishap occurring early Friday morning on Route 15 in Bloss Township, Tioga County.  State please say Andrew Schaffer was traveling through a construction zone where the left lane was closed  with a temporary metal traffic barrier. As he was negotiating his Freightliner on the left curve, the rig struck the metal barrier on the left side of the road traveled about 180 yards stopping  against the metal barrier.

A  Gaines  driver and his passenger escaped injury in  a vehicle fire  occurring Saturday night on Route 660 in Richmond Township.  Troopers explained   that Dustin Price was going east when he heard a loud grinding noise from the transmission area of his 2005 Chrysler Pacifica. The SUV began to smoke and then caught fire Price and his passenger Darren Butler of Wellsboro were able to safely exit the burning vehicle before it was consumed in flames.

A Lewisburg woman escaped injury in a car/ deer encounter occurring on Route 15 in Liberty Township, Tioga County Sunday morning.  Raeona  Bell was going north on Route 15 in the right hand lane when the white tail came onto the road in front of her Nissan Rogue. Bell  was unable to avoid contact but was able to drive the SUV to a safe area. She and her passenger Glen Bell also of Lewisburg  were using seatbelts.

State police  Lewis Run have arrested a 26 year old Smethport  woman for physical harassment for an incident allegedly taking place Monday at around 3am on South Marvin Street  in that town. Police say when they arrived they found that the woman had struck a 29 year old Smethport  man in the face twice with a closed fist during an argument.  She is now facing charges in District Court.

A theft occurring on Artline Road in Eldred Township McKean County is also under investigation by troopers at Lewis Run.  Thieves stole a blue ocean kayak with a black nylon seat and grey paddle belonging to a 54 year old Eldred man sometime this past weekend while the kayak was located on

A 54 year old Bradford man has been arrested for DUI. Police say that when they pulled his Dodge Ram pickup over for a traffic violation on Minard Run Road,  they determined he was driving the pickup under the influence of alcohol and charges are pending.

A 19 year old Kersey Pennsylvania driver escaped injury in  a one vehicle crash occurring Sunday night on Twin Lakes Road in Jones Township, Elk County, Zachary Kinser was going west near the intersection of the Dahoga Road  when he failed to negotiate a left curve in the highway. His Chevy Impala continued westbound i striking Responding troopers determined that the driver was in possession of a junior driver’s license and was operating  his vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Police claim that the front seat passenger also provided a junior driver’s license and  was determined to be under the influence of alcohol, The passenger’s name was not released by police.

 

 

 

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 https://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks 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 http://www.rangeapp.org/ 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: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html.

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: program.intake@usda.gov.

 

For additional information on the Summer Food Service Program, visit PDE’s website at www.education.pa.gov/sfsp 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 wellsborogrowersmarket@gmail.com 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.

 

Tuesday May 26, 2020

Monday’s high, 78; Overnight low, 55

Region moves into Green Re-opening Phase Friday……Number of virus cases in area hold steady…two people jailed after shooting in Elk County……Millerton couple face harassment charges following family fight….Two vehicle theft suspects arrested after two-state chase over the weekend….another, considered armed and dangerous remains at large…

This Is the news we’ve been waiting for: 17 counties, including all five in the Black Forest Broadcasting Service area (Potter, Cameron, McKean, Elk and Tioga) will be moved into the  state’s Green Re-opening phase this Friday, May 29, 2020.

Businesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Updated Business and Building Safety Requirements

Continued Telework Strongly EncouragedAll Businesses Operating at 50% Occupancy in the Yellow Phase May Increase to 75% Occupancy

Child Care May Open Complying with Guidance

Congregate Care Restrictions in Place

Prison and Hospital Restrictions Determined by Individual Facilities

Schools Subject to CDC and Commonwealth Guidance

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Large Recreational Gatherings Remain Restricted

Restaurants and Bars Open at 50% Occupancy

Personal Care Services (including hair salons and barbershops) Open at 50% Occupancy and by Appointment Only

Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities, and Personal Care Services (such as gyms and spas) Open at 50% Occupancy with Appointments Strongly Encouraged

All Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters, and shopping malls) Open at 50% Occupancy

Construction Activity May Return to Full Capacity with Continued Implementation of Protocols

All businesses must follow CDC and DOH guidance for social distancing and cleaning

Monitor public health indicators, adjust orders and restrictions as necessary

Meanwhile,  The Pennsylvania Department of Health has confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., May 25, that there are 473 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 68,186. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19. The number in the Black Forest Broadcasting Service Area has held steady: Tioga, 16, McKean, 11; Elk 6; Potter 4 and Cameron 2. Tioga, McKean and Elk have had one death each attributed to the virus. Across the border, Cattaraugus County has jumped to 81 according to the NY State Health Department while  Allegany County has stayed at 44.

There are 5,139 total deaths in Pennsylvania  attributed to COVID-19, an increase of 15 new deaths. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the Department’s website.

There are 549 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 334,928 patients who have tested negative to date. Of the patients who have tested positive to date, nearly 29% are ages 65 or older. 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 14,690 resident cases of COVID-19, and 2,471 cases among employees, for a total of 17,161 at 594 distinct facilities in 44 counties. None here in the Black Forest Broadcasting Service Area. Out of the total deaths, 3,379 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. Approximately 5,140 of the total cases are in health care workers.

All Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to sign up for AlertPA, a text notification system for health, weather, and other important alerts like COVID-19 updates from commonwealth agencies. Residents can sign up online at www.ready.pa.gov/BeInformed/Signup-For-Alerts

Ridgay based a police have arrested two people in connection to a shooting taking place Sunday around 1 am at 61  Illinois Lane  in Ridgway. State police say they were called to the home on a report of a man being shot. Rachel Chanel Fleeger,  42, of Oil City  told them she and her ex- boyfriend, Jason Matthew Redmond, 34 Ridgeway  were engaged in a verbal altercation when  a physical struggle ensued. Two shots were fired from a nine millimeter Glock handgun. Redmond’s suffereda gunshot wound to the abdomen. Both Fleeger and Redmond were taken into custody; arraigned and remanded to the Elk County Jail awaiting a preliminary hearing.

A 39 year old Millerton  woman and a 42 year old Millerton man have been arrested for physical harassment for a family dispute allegedly taking place on the evening of May 11  on Main Street in Jackson Township Tioga County. Troopers claim they responded to a domestic violence incident and discovered that the couple along with a 13 year old boy had gotten into a heated argument. The father allegedly pushed the son  off the chair and started to yell at him. The  mother then reportedly began kicking the father in the head to make him stop. The son and second person left the residence.  Charges of harassment are pending in District Court.

Area law enforcement authorities are looking for Tyler Stevens, who is suspected in a burglary and theft of a gray GMC Terrain from Ulysses Township. He is considered armed and dangerous and anyone who encounters him or the vehicle is asked to contact 911 or state police. The SUV does not have of a registration plate .

That theft follows a high speed chase taking place Friday in Pennsylvania and New York following the theft of a 2008 Toyota Tacoma Quad Cab from a residence at 1400 Brooklyn Road in Sweden township Potter County. The owner noticed his truck being driven from his property and turning from the Rooks Road onto Brooklyn Road headed towards Coudersport, and he notified 911. A chase ensued going on to Route 449 at the junction of  Route 49. Several people made calls to 911 indicating the vehicle was on the Pushersiding Road.  it moved up into New York state but came back into Pennsylvania and authorities were able to stop  the truck  and apprehend two suspects inside. Their names were not released. The investigation is continuing.

Coudersport based State Police have arrested 23 year old Nicholas Tubbs of Mills for drug possession after trying to make  a routine traffic stop on Route 49 near Kibbeville Road in Ulysses Township  back on May 19 at around 5:45pm. Police Tubbs drove his  2001 Volkswagen Jetta  at a high rate of speed and allegedly threw a mason jar containing about 35 grams of pot. About six miles later, Tubbs pulled the car off the road. During a probable cause search, officers  seized about 27 grams of marijuana and additional drugs and paraphernalia. Tubbs was taken into custody and arraigned before a district judge on numerous charges. He was committed to the Potter County Jail and lieu of $50,000 bail.

A burglary occurring at 692 Plank Road in Sharon Township. Potter County on May 9, remains under investigation by State Police at Coudersport, Thieves  took between $3,000 and $5,000 in cash from the home of  67 year old Elrey Dunshie.

Emporium based  State Police have arrested a 60 year old man from that town for drug possession. after investigating a state parole violation at 231 South Mountain Road in Shippen Township,  Cameron County on May 20 at around 10:30am. Police claimed they found the man whose name was not released to be in possession of suspected methamphetamine and paraphernalia and charges filed in district court.

A criminal mischief occurring at 15 South Woods Road in Sylvania Township Potter County is also being probed by state police at Coudersport. On the afternoon of May 17,  someone damaged a mailbox belonging to Kathleen Breck of Austin. Anyone with information about that is asked to call the Coudersport barracks at 814-274-8690.

A criminal  mischief occurring Friday or Saturday at Accu-Grind  on Silver Creek Road in Jonsonburg is being investigated by State Police at Ridgway.  Vandals broke a large window by throwing a rock through it. No value was given by troopers.