…One vehicle accident probed in Elk County…Childline report being investigated…Philadelphia woman arrested for drug possession in Ridgway….Proposed bill would expand agricultural easement program…

Elk County
A Wilcox driver escaped injury early Saturday morning in a one-vehicle accident in Jones Township. State police said Daniel Spuck was going north on Stoney Hill Road when his Buick Reatta drifted off the road, hit a culvert, struck an embankment and flipped onto its roof sliding to a stop.

No details have been released but state police at Ridgway say they are investigating a Childline report. The victims are listed as two Ridgway girls, ages 12 and 14.

State police at Ridgway arrested a 29 year old Philadelphia woman for drug possession Sunday afternoon in Ridgway Township. Troopers did not release the suspect’s name but say when they searched 2013 Chrysler after stopping her on the Montmorenci Road they found a small amount of marijuana.


Senator Doug Mastriano (PA-33) officially introduced legislation, SB 288, to expand Pennsylvania’s successful Agriculture Conservation Easement Purchase Program. In recent years, more and more prime farmland has been lost to development. According to Penn State’s College of Agricultural

Sciences, acres of farmland in Pennsylvania fell by 6% (7.3 million acres) between 2012 and 2017. The number of farms dropped by 10% (53,157) over that same period.
Pennsylvania’s successful Agriculture Conservation Easement Purchase Program is a nationwide model for farmland preservation. Under the easement program, 58 participating county programs receive state funds for the purchase of agricultural conservation easements. The easement limits the use of the property to agricultural purposes and the landowner is financially compensated for the sale of the easement.
Since 1988, the program has purchased permanent conservation easements on 5,979 Pennsylvania farms, covering 606,215 acres in 58 counties. Due to the popularity of the program, annual farm applications far outnumber the amount of available funding.
SB 288 will increase annual funding to the program by earmarking 10% of PA’s realty transfer tax revenue to go toward the easement program, equating to an average infusion of over $80 million in additional annual funds for farmland preservation. The bill also expands the eligibility of farms by reducing the minimum subdivision size for preserved farmland from 50 acres to 25 acres and allows parcels less than 10 acres that are adjacent to preserved land or used to produce crops unique to the area to be eligible.
Ariculture provides a $135.7 billion annual economic impact, represents close to 18% of Pennsylvania’s gross state product, and employs nearly 580,000 people with combined wages of $27 billion.
SB 288 has the full support of Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and has been referred to the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee for consideration.