Wednesday’s high, 70; Overnight low, 57; .01” of rain

CLOUDY TODAY WITH A HIGH OF 75.

CLEARING SKIES TONIGHT LOW 60

A MIXTURE OF CLOUDS AND SUN TOMORROW, HIGH  72

CLOUDY TOMORROW NIGHT AND LOW 53.

SATURDAY, COOLER, A HIGH OF 50

CLEAR SKIES SATURDAY NIGHT WITH A LOW OF 34.

 Owlett’s bill expanding broadband internet awaiting for Governor’s signature…..Covid cases increase in region….Elk County Fire with undetermined cause results in $150,000 in damage…..Port Allegany man arrested for burglary……https://soundcloud.com/gerri-miller-611294886/22-news-podcast

Yesterday, we reported on legislation from one area lawmaker, Martin Causer, which is designed to help rural EMS  organizations and is awaiting the governor’s signature. Well now another area lawmaker

Rep. Clint Owlett’s (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) bill to help remove barriers to the expansion of broadband internet service in rural areas is on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature to become law.

House Bill 2438 is the product of extensive negotiations to help clear the way for rural electric cooperatives, cable companies or any entity that wants to run broadband cable to provide much-needed, high-speed internet service using the existing infrastructure and easements held by rural electric cooperatives.

“There are many challenges to providing high-speed internet service in rural communities like ours, and one of those is the regulatory red tape that slows down progress and increases costs,” Owlett said. “My bill helps cut through some of that red tape and will go a long way toward helping to bring this much-needed service to the far reaches of our Commonwealth.”

Owlett stressed the bill won’t fix the problem overnight.

“Broadband deployment is still a slow and costly process, but this bill is a significant step in the right direction,” he said. “We are also working on a bill to provide funding to support a variety of efforts.”

Senate Bill 835 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. The measure also calls for additional state and federal funds to support the effort. It is pending further action in the House.

If signed by the governor, Owlett’s bill will take effect in 60 days.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., October 21, that there were 1,425 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 186,297. Here in the Black Forest Broadcasting Service Area the number of COVID cases continues to go up. Tioga  County now has 132; McKean, 78; Elk 102; Potter 39; and Cameron standing at 8 cases. Across the border, Cattaraugus County has 442 cases  and Allegany County has 243

Allegheny County Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh  is reporting an increase of 114 cases and Philadelphia County is reporting an increase of 100 cases.

The number of tests administered within the last 7 days between October 14 and October 20 is 225,406 with 10,226 positive cases. There were 25,152 test results reported to the department through 10 p.m., October 20.

There are 8,562 total deaths attributed to COVID-19, an increase of 29 new deaths reported. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

Mask-wearing is still  required in all Pennsylvania  businesses and whenever leaving home. Consistent mask-wearing is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 according to health officials.

There are 2,167,536 individuals 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 24,830 resident cases of COVID-19, and 5,417 cases among employees, for a total of 30,247 at 1,033 distinct facilities in 62 counties including Elk, McKean and Tioga.  Out of total deaths, 5,666 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities.

Approximately 11,795 of the total cases are among health care workers.

The state police fire marshal investigated  a fire of undetermined origin which caused about $150,000 in damage Saturday afternoon on Dill Hill Road in Ridgeway Township, a wooden frame garage with multiple vehicles inside and other items was totally destroyed. However, there were no injuries. The name of the owne, a 54 year old man from Johnsonburg, was not released.

Minor injuries were reported for a Ridgway woman following a one vehicle accident in Ridgway Township last Tuesday, October 13. Renee Snyder was driving a GMC Envoy which went off the Laurel Mill R oad and struck a perpendicular  embankment The SUV continued to straight into a field where it finally came to rest. The vehicle was drivable from the scene, but Snyder she was taken to Penn Highlands Elk for treatment of injuries.

State Police and Lewis Run are investigating a burglary taking place sometime since October 2 on Woodlands in Liberty Township McKean County. Thieves took two catalytic converters off of a motor vehicle belonging to Bradley Greenman. The converters are valued at $800.

A 32 year old Port Allegany man has been arrested for DUI after police pulled him over on Route 446 near Champlin Hill Road in Eldred Township last Thursday night for a traffic violation. Police say upon further investigation, they determined the driver was under the influence of alcohol while driving a  1997 Ford F 150XLT.

Police did not release the name of a burglary suspect but report  that a 40 year old Port Allegany man was trying to gain access through a locked doo to a residence on Broad Street in at around 3am. The home is occupied by a 35 year old woman and a 25 year old man. Before police arrived the burglar fled the scene but the investigation is continuing.

Coudersport Based State Police did not release the name of a driver, who is now facing DUI charges after troopers pulled a 2002 Buick Century over on Route 44 North near Dry Run Road in Hebron Township early Wednesday morning.  The driver is suspected of being under the influence of drugs.

A case of road rage is being investigated by troopers at the Coudersport Barracks. A 53 year old Wellsville man told police that a suspect brandished a handgun towards him while they were both operating vehicles on Route 6, in Sweden township Potter county last Saturday afternoon. The victim was driving a 2013 Chevrolet Cruze.

A theft occurring on the Mina Road in Keating Township Potter County is being probed by troopers at Coudersport that occurred Monday afternoon. Someone stole property belonging to Richard Davis but no further information was released.