Wildfires have been running rampant throughout the region….Inspection stickers stolen from Tioga County dealership….Cell phone stolen from Turtlepoint home……Bradfford man accused of entering Mt. Jewett apartment illegally…Pennsylvania has reduced Covid requirements for some….Sweden Valley Manor announces more relaxed rules and over four million vaccines doses have been administered in Pennsylvania….N


Yesterday we reported on wildfire suppression grants being made available to rural fire departments such as those located in the Black Forest Broadcasting Service Area. It is wildfire season—the combination of the melting of the snow pack, dry vegetation gusty winds,  and warm temperatures are the ingredients for wildfires. Area departments have been kept busy over the last week responding to wildfires. Yesterday alone, fire fighters responded to two wildfires in Tioga County erupting within minutes of each other. A garage was destroyed Charleston Township when flames spread from a brush fire. An estimated four acres of land was blackened in Liberty Township. At least two more wildfires were reported in Tioga County late Monday afternoon. And the investigation  is continuing into one occurring Sunday evening in Wharton Township Potter County Austin Volunteer Fire Chief Jamie Rooney told Black Forest Broadcasting news, that fire destroyed three sheds, a mobile home used as a camp and damaged two other camps in addition to grass and woodlands. Austin volunteers were summoned at around 7:30 pm and remained on the scene until 11:00 pm. Volunteers from Emporium, Coudersport, Roulette and Port Allegany responded under the mutual aid system. Fortunately there we no injuries. A camp owner whose camp was spared told Black Forest Broadcasting “I would like to take an opportunity to thank all of the volunteer firefighters who helped save as much of our camps.  I think I can speak for all of the camp owners.  Real hero’s don’t wear capes and fly around, they are the hard working people who protect us.”

Tioga County

Mansfield based  State Police are investigating a burglary taking place last week between March 16 and 17th on South Main Street in Richmond Township. Thieves stole  inspection stickers from the Blaise Alexander dealership valued at $40 and the investigation continues.

McKean County

A McKean Pennsylvania driver has been arrested for drug possession by State Police at Lewis Run.  While on normal routine patrol Sunday afternoon along Route 59 in Corydon Township, they observed a 2016 Mazda committing summary traffic violations and they pulled  the car over and allegedly determined that a passenger Joseph Chestner was in possession of a controlled substance and charges are being filed in District Court.

Drug possession charges are pending against 23 year old John Brown of Randolph New York after troopers stopped a 2020 Hyundai Elanta on Franklin Street at West Main Street in Smethport borough Sunday afternoon.  Officers allegedly found the driver was in possession of a controlled substance and related paraphernalia.

A 43 year old Eldred woman has been charged with physical harassment for an incident allegedly taking place early Sunday evening on Route 46 in Keating Township.  Police claimed that the 43 year old woman whose name was not released pushed a 43 year old Smethport woman and a 49 year old Eldred man during an argument.

A theft occurring last Saturday on Route 155 in Annin Township McKean county is also being investigated by State Police at Lewis Run.  Someone stole a cell phone belonging to Susan Sykes of Turtlepoint at around 1:30am.  Anyone who has information is asked to call the Lewis Run barracks at 814-368-9213. It is an a white 6S plus valued at $300.

Troopers are continuing to investigate a theft by deception victimizing a 75 year old Shinglehouse woman on March 13. Police say that the theft occurred through online hacking but did not reveal any details.

The theft of some vehicle parts in Liberty township McKean County over several month’s period of time remains under investigation by troopers at Lewis Run. Sometime since May 1 2019 theives made off with vehicle parts belonging to an elderly couple ages 69 and 67.

Criminal  trespass charges are being filed against 25 year old David Cabisca of Bradford. State Police claim that they found that Cabisca was  inside an apartment on West Main Street in Mount Jewett Borough late last week without the apartment dweller’s knowledge or consent. Cabisca  was arraigned before District Judge William Todd who set bail at $15,000. In lieu of bail Cabisca was committed to the McKean  County jail.

Without releasing details State Police at Lewis Run say they are investigating a theft occurring on Main Street in Otto Township last Saturday morning.

Both people involved in a domestic violence argument are being charged with physical harassment by State Police at Lewis Run.  Troopers report that a 34 year old Eldred woman and 30 year old Smethport man became involved in an argument which turned physical.  Now both are facing charges in District Court.


Sweden Valley Manor announces visiting restrictions have changed. Residents’ family and friends are welcome back and families will be receiving a detailed letter on the updates. Things that are the same include all visitors must enter through the designated entrance wear a mask and call ahead to set up a scheduled visit time; contact the care community for visitation hours. Visits can now take place in some resident rooms, common areas and outside but visitors  must stay in the selected area. Residents can choose to touch their visitors if the resident is vaccinated.  there will be a limited number of visitors that can visit at a time. There are  no age limits as long as a visitor can wear a mask. Pets are now allowed to visit. All visitors are encouraged but are not required to be tested prior to a visit and there can be no eating or drinking during the visits. Masks must remain on everyone.


Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam has amended the existing Universal Face Coverings order, issued on November 17, 2020, to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People. The amended order went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 17, 2021 and will remain in effect until further notice.

“The vaccines that are currently available across the state and country are highly effective at protecting vaccinated people against severe and symptomatic COVID-19,” Acting Secretary Beam said. “Research has shown that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection and potentially less likely to spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to others. However, there is still more to learn about how long protection lasts and how much vaccines protect against new variants of the virus, so some prevention measures will continue to be in place for all people, regardless of their vaccination status.”

According to the CDC, there are several activities that fully vaccinated people can resume now, as low risk to themselves, while being mindful of the potential risk of transmitting the virus to others. Those activities include:

Visiting with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing;

Visiting with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing; and

Refraining from quarantine and testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic.

However, it is important that fully vaccinated people continue to take precautions in public like wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing; avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings; get tested if they experience COVID-19 symptoms; follow guidance issued by employers; and follow travel requirements and recommendations.

Individuals who are fully vaccinated should also continue to wear a mask, practice physical distancing and follow other prevention measures when visiting unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease and when visiting unvaccinated people from multiple households.

People are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 more than two weeks after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series or more than two weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine. It is important to remember that the current mitigation Orders are still in effect and that physical distancing and capacity requirements for gatherings must still be followed.

While vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited, the Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable, and efficient. To keep Pennsylvanians informed about vaccination efforts:

The Your Turn tool provides a way to register to be alerted when it’s your turn to be vaccinated.

A commonwealth COVID-19 vaccination guide explains the current process for getting one. Pennsylvanians with questions about the vaccination process can call the Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258.

Vaccine provider map to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you.

All of the locations that received vaccine and how much they have received can be found on the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution webpage.

Vaccine dashboard data can also be found on the website to find more information on the doses administered and showcase demographic information.

Pennsylvanians can provide feedback on the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan by clicking on the Plan Feedback Form square under Popular Vaccine Topics here.

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

– The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., March 22, there were 1,578 additional positive cases of COVID-19, in addition to 2,342 new cases reported Sunday, March 21, for a two-day total of 3,920 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 988,435.

Here in the Black Forest Broadcasting service area the rate of infection is leveling off. McKean county now has 2355 confirmed cases; Tioga 2214;  Elk 1290. Potter is  holding steady at 837 and Cameron steady at 179 confirmed cases. Over in New York State Cattaraugus County has 4654 confirmed cases and Allegany County 2984.

There are 1,554 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19. Of that number, 320 patients are in the intensive care unit with COVID-19. Most of the patients hospitalized are ages 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older.

The trend in the 14-day moving average number of hospitalized patients per day is about 4,600 lower than it was at the peak on December 25, 2020. The current 14-day average is also below what it was at the height of the spring peak on May 3, 2020. However, the decrease in hospitalized patients has stalled.

Statewide percent positivity for the week of March 12 – March 18 stood at 6.5% better than the previous week.

The most accurate daily data is available on the website, with archived data also available.

As of 11:59 p.m. Saturday, March 20, there were 14 new deaths and as of Sunday, March 21, there was 1 new death identified by the Pennsylvania death registry, reported for a total of 24,789 deaths attributed to COVID-19. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

Pennsylvania hospitals began receiving shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine the week of Dec. 14 and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine the week of Dec. 21. The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine was first allocated to Pennsylvania the week of March 1, and the commonwealth is using it for a special initiative involving educators. Vaccination numbers for Pennsylvania do not include Philadelphia, which is its own jurisdiction, or federal facilities, which are working directly with the federal government.

Vaccine providers have administered 4,311,118 total vaccine doses as of Monday, March 22.

1,529,898 people are fully vaccinated; with a seven-day moving average of nearly 84,000 people per day receiving vaccinations.

2,884,556 people are partially vaccinated, meaning they have received one dose of a two-dose vaccine

This week, a total of 5,235,140 doses will have been allocated through March 27:

281,010 first/single doses will have been allocated this week.

253,970 second doses will have been allocated this week.

To date, of the 5,235,140 doses allocated through March 27, we have administered 4,311,118 doses total through March 21:

First/single doses, 97 percent (2,884,556 administered of 2,986,765 allocated)

Second doses, 64 percent (1,426,543 administered of 2,248,375 allocated)

Mask-wearing is required in all businesses and whenever leaving home, even if fully vaccinated. Consistent mask-wearing is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

There are 121,526 individuals who have a positive viral antigen test and are considered probable cases and 639 individuals who have a positive serology test and either COVID-19 symptoms or a high-risk exposure.

There are 4,058,854 individuals who have tested negative to date.

In licensed nursing and personal care homes, there are 68,861 resident cases of COVID-19, and 14,065 cases among employees, for a total of 82,926 at 1,566 distinct facilities in all 67 counties. Out of total deaths reported to PA-NEDSS, 12,834 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. A county breakdown can be found here. Note that the number of deaths reported to NEDSS is not exactly the same as the COVID-19 related deaths reported by the death registry. The number of deaths among nursing and personal care home residents and employees is taken from the PA-NEDSS death data, as this information is not available in the death registry data.

Approximately 26,074 of the total cases are among health care workers.