Photos by Dart

2022 Pennsylvania State Laurel Queen Regan Regina and Miss Congeniality (third from left) is shown with first runner-up Miss Central Mountain Ashley Rich (left), 2021 Laurel Queen Jocelyn Renninger and second runner-up Miss Montoursville Ruby Muse (right). See story below.

Thieves steal $200 worth of diesel fuel from PennDot machine in Cameron County….NY driver arrested for speeding for Tioga County hit and run….Another ID theft probed in Elk County….High Court affirms McKean County court designation of sexual offender….PennDot offices closed today for Juneteenth….

Cameron County

The theft of some diesel fuel from a PennDot machine parked at 135 Old West Creek Road in Shippen Township between 7:00am Wednesday and 7:00 am Thursday is being probed by state police at Emporium. Thieves took 35 to 40 gallons from heavy machinery being rented by Cameron County PennDot while it was parked at the intersection of Old West Creek Road and Route 120. The fuel is valued at $210. Anyone with information is asked to call state police at 814.486.3321.

Tioga County

An Elmira, NY driver has been cited for speeding in connection to a hit and run occurring June 10 on Pony Hill Road in Jackson Township. Mansfield based state police said 22 year old Dustin Demaree was driving a 1996 Dodge Ram which traveled through the intersection with Route 549,  crossed through a ditch off the eastern shoulder and struck a tree. Police claim Demaree left the scene without reporting the crash.

McKean County

Both Kane women escaped injury in a rear-end collision Wednesday afternoon in Wetmore Township. According to Lewis Run state police, Destinee Frenz was following too closely and allowed her Dodge Journey to run into the back of a Ford Mustang driven by Shirley Robinson as Robinson slowed to make a turn. Both units were disabled and had to be towed from the scene.

McKean County District Attorney Stephanie L. Vettenburg-Shaffer reported late Friday afternoon that the state Superior Court has upheld a McKean County sentence requiring the 22 year old Gage Ortiz-Rodriquez of Port Allegany to register as a Sexually Violent Predator. Ortiz-Rodriquez was sentenced to 6 years to 12 years in the Department of Corrections on charges of Sexual Abuse of Children; Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse; Solicitation to Commit Sexual Assault; and other crimes after being charged by Chief County Detective Ryan Yingling and Port Allegany Police Officer Tony Tanner with sex crimes against two young boys. He was ordered to undergo an assessment with the Sex Offender Assessment Board.  Thereafter, District Attorney Vettenburg-Shaffer asked the Court to find Ortiz-Rodriquez is a Sexually Violent Predator. DA Vettenburg-Shaffer says the designation as Sexually Violent Predator (“SVP”) imposes additional requirements on those convicted of sex offenses and found to meet the definition of SVP including lifetime registration as a sex offender under the law formerly known as Megan’s Law which is a law aimed at community protection.

Ortiz-Rodriquez appealed the designation and asked the Superior Court to find that the McKean County Judge erred or abused its discretion relating to the hearing and the Court’s findings where the Court found Ortiz-Rodriquez met the definition of Sexually Violent Predator.

The opinion of the Superior Court affirms the Trial Court’s opinion finding that the District Attorney’s Office presented clear and convincing evidence to support the Trial Court’s opinion.

Ortiz-Rodriquez remains incarcerated in state prison as a result of his sentence and will be required to register as a Sexually Violent Predator for his lifetime.

Elk County

Another ID theft is being investigated by state police at Ridgway. Someone used the ID of a 61 year old Kersey woman to file a fraudulent unemployment claim last Thursday.


All driver license and photo centers, including its full-service center in Harrisburg, are closed today in observance of Juneteenth National Freedom Day (Juneteenth). Juneteenth marks June 19, 1865, when union soldiers reached Galveston, Texas – the furthest point in the south – with news of the end of the Civil War. Slaves were previously unaware they had been freed more than two years earlier when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, or that Confederate General Robert E. Lee had surrendered in Virginia two months earlier.Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services, including all forms, publications and driver training manuals, online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, 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; driver license and photo ID duplicates; and driver exam scheduling. There are no additional fees for using online services.

A complete listing of PennDOT driver and photo license center closings in 2022 is available online.

Wellsboro resident crowned 2022 Laurel Festival queen…Regan Regina, a June graduate of Wellsboro Area High School, was crowned the 2022 Pennsylvania State Laurel Queen during the Saturday, June 18 coronation that began at 6:30 p.m. in the Coolidge Theatre at the Deane Center for the Performing Arts at 104 Main Street in Wellsboro.The 80th Laurel Queen was awarded a $3,000 educational scholarship and, as Miss Wellsboro was also named Miss Congeniality by vote of the other queen candidates and awarded a $500 scholarship. She is the daughter of Gretchen Regina and Chad Tennis of Wellsboro and Che Regina of Royersford.First runner-up Miss Central Mountain Ashley Rich was awarded a $1,500 scholarship and second runner-up Miss Montoursville Ruby Muse, a $1,000 scholarship.The Wellsboro Area Chamber of Commerce through the Wellsboro Foundation sends the scholarship funds directly to the college each young woman attends to help pay tuition.

AUSTIN, Pa.—Mary L. Haskins, 90, a lifelong resident of Austin, passed away with her loving family by her side on Thursday, June 16, 2022, in UPMC Cole, Coudersport, after a short illness.Born on Sunday, January 10, 1932 in Austin, she was a daughter of John A. and Eloise A. Mahon Riale. On June 29, 1979, she married Aaron L. “Bernie” Haskins, who passed away on November 4, 2005.Mary attended school in Austin. A hard worker, Mary had many jobs over the years, retiring as Postmaster in Austin. After her retirement, she worked part-time at the Austin Area School in the cafeteria. Mary never let a needy child go hungry, she paid for the lunch of any child who could not afford their meal.Mary was a member of the Austin United Methodist Church where she taught Sunday school. She was a member and past matron of the former Mecca Chapter #217 Order of the Eastern Star in Austin and a former member of Eulalia Chapter #148 Order of the Easter Star in Coudersport, and was a past member of the Moose in Port Allegany. She was a founding member of the Republican Women’s Club in Austin. She was also a Girl Scout leader. Mary’s greatest love was her family, most especially her grandchildren. Two of her great-great-grandchildren, Skyler Burrows and Blake Burrows, took care of her for the last few years allowing Mary to stay in her home.Surviving are two daughters, Connie E. Brundage of Port Allegany and Vicki L. (Don) Ayers of Austin; a stepdaughter, Linda Babcock of Ohio; many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.In addition to her parents and husband, Mary was predeceased by a daughter, Diane Ayers; a stepson, Laverne “Butch” Haskins; a grandson, Bill Brewer: a son-in-law, Larry Brundage; and a brother, John Riale.Family and friends may call from 12 noon to 2pm on Monday, June 20, 2022, in the Austin United Methodist Church, Turner Street, Austin, where a celebration of life will follow at 2pm in the church with Pastor Todd Lamer, officiating. Burial will be in Forest Hill Cemetery, Austin. Mary’s family has entrusted her care and cremation arrangements to Kevin J. Dusenbury, funeral director/owner of Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home, Shinglehouse.To express condolences, light a candle, or share a fond memory of Mary, please visit www.virgillhowardfuneralhome.com or the Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home Facebook page.