Two McKean County inmates arrested for sneaking drugs into jail….Investigation continues in Elk County camp burglary….Penn State study shows plowing fields does not harm no till crops….

McKean County

McKean County  District Attorney Stephanie L. Vettenburg-Shaffer reports that two separate inmates have been charged with taking controlled substances into the McKean County Jail following their sentencings on unrelated charges. By two separate criminal complaints filed on December 13, 2022, County Detective Linda Close has charged Francis Kramer with 1 count of Contraband (Felony 2) and Possession of a Controlled Substance (Misdemeanor).  Detective Close has also charged Jose Robinson with 1 count of Contraband and Possession of a Controlled Substance.  KRAMER appeared before the Honorable Christopher G. Hauser for a sentencing hearing on November 23, 2022 for charges including Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer and Endangering the Welfare of a Child.  The Judge ordered him to appear at the McKean County Jail on November 25, 2022 to commence his sentencing. The criminal complaint alleges that he was placed in a “dry” cell following his processing at the jail and, three days later, a controlled substance was found in a plastic baggie.  ROBINSON was sentenced by the Honorable John H. Pavlock on December 1, 2022 on unrelated drug charges and was taken to the jail that same day following his sentence.  The criminal complaint alleges that he brought contraband in the form of a controlled substance when he came into the jail. Both KRAMER and ROBINSON were arraigned by Magisterial District Judge William Todd who set bail at $10,000 and scheduled their central court/preliminary hearings for December 22, 2022.

Elk County

Pennsylvania State at Ridgway continue to investigate a burglary at a camp located at 1069 Montmorenci Road, Ridgway Township, Elk County that occurred sometime between 04/16/2022 – 06/10/2022. Thieves  entered the camp  and stole the following: – 12 gauge Benelli shotgun, camouflage coloring, unknown serial number – 30-30 Winchester lever action rifle, unknown serial number – .32 gauge revolver, unknown make, model, serial number – $200 in coins in a purple Crown Royal velvet bag. Anyone with information regarding this crime is asked to please contact PSP Ridgway at 814-776-6136 or anonymously contact the Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers Toll Free at 1-800-4PA-TIPS (8477) or online at  All callers to Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers remain anonymous and could be eligible for a CASH REWARD for information that leads to an arrest, the solving of a crime/cold case or the location of a wanted person/fugitive or missing person.


Many no-till growers are reluctant to implement any soil disturbance due to concerns about negative impacts on soil health. However, a new study by a team of Penn State researchers suggests that plowing fields once after five years in a crop rotation that includes coverage with cover crops and perennials can maintain soil health and provide other benefits. Experts say there are many benefits to no-till agriculture, but one of its downsides is that growers repeatedly use herbicides to kill the cover crops and perennials in their rotations. For instance, a 2017 survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed that 67% of crop acreage in Pennsylvania was managed with no-till and 24% with cover crops.

 In the six-year experiment conducted at Penn State’s Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center, researchers contrasted two cropping systems: a continuous no-till system using herbicides, and an integrated weed management system using strategic inversion tillage and fewer herbicides. They measured soil health indicators, such as levels of desirable soil carbon and water-stable aggregates, which refers to a desirable soil-clumping quality that promotes soil porosity, facilitates water and air infiltration, reduces soil erosion and enhances growing conditions for plant roots and soil organisms.

The experiment was conducted in a Northeast dairy farm rotation consisting of winter canola or canola plus oats followed by a rye cover crop; soybean followed by a rye cover crop; and corn grain or corn silage, followed by three years of perennial forage of alfalfa and orchard grass planted with a companion small grain.

In findings recently published in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, the researchers reported that they sampled soil at two depths — 2 inches and 6 inches — for total carbon and bulk density. They discovered that, despite initial smaller soil health values in the strategic tillage system following inversion tillage, all properties except labile carbon were similar in both systems after two years of perennial forages in the sixth year of the rotation. Labile carbon is the fraction of soil organic carbon with most rapid turnover times and hence is most available to soil microbes.

The findings suggest that growers can avoid the expense of applying so many herbicides and avoid contaminating their ecosystems by implementing very limited strategic tillage. And in the long run, the health of their soils will remain largely unchanged and protected.

Researchers found — but did not report in this paper — that in years when slugs were problematic, slug populations and slug damage to the crop that was planted after the tillage was significantly lower because tillage disrupts their populations and likely destroys eggs the slugs laid Tillage can knock back the slug populations.

Upcoming events—See our calendar of events for more

December 31,  Deer Family—Elk Country Visitors Center

9am-12pm, Join  staff as we learn about the elk and their many cousins that live in North America. If you have any questions, please contact our Con Ed staff at (814) 787 – 5173                      Emails: Ben Porkolab

December 31: New Year’s Eve Stargazing Walk—Cherry Springs

6:30-7:30, One hour in person  1.5 mile walk. Snowshoes will be available if necessary. No pre-registration required.  People of all ages are invited to join the park educator for the free, one-hour, in-person, 1.5-mile New Year’s Eve Stargazing Walk along level ground in the night sky public viewing area. Snowshoes will be available if conditions require. Learn about winter constellations and folklore along the way with a laser-guided tour of the night sky. The program will end by 7:30 p.m. leaving time for New Year’s Eve plans. Wear warm clothes and sturdy winter boots. Registration is NOT required. For more information about this free program, call 1-814-435-1037 or email

January 1: First Day Hike—Sinnemahoning State Park

10 am. Meet at Pavilion No. 1 FMI:

January 1: First Day Hike—Lyman Run State Park

1:00 p. Meet at Lower Campground Parking lot. FMI: