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Emporium man arrested after trying to commandeer a helicopter….PennDot and PSP participate in “Click it or Ticket” this holiday weekend….House committee approves Owlett’s bill to equalize disaster assistance…Detour begins next week on the North Hollow Road in Potter County…..

Today’s Podcast:

 An Emporium man has been jailed on numerous charges relating to an attempt to steal a helicopter Thursday morning on Route 120 in Shippen Township. State police explained 39 year old Michael Roberto tried to steal a 2018 Ford F250 Supercab  parked at the barracks then left the scene and later returned and tried forcefully to gain control of a 1979  Bell Textron helicopter under power by troopers at a landing zone. Several troopers were present during the incident.  Roberto  was committed to the Potter County in lieu of $50,000 bail after being arraigned  for risking a catastrophe, theft of movable property (the truck and aircraft), reckless endangerment, public intoxication, disorderly conduct and possession of drug paraphernalia. The chopper is owned by Helicopter Applicators Inc. of Gettysburg.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), and Highway Safety Network (HSN) are urging motorists to drive safe this Memorial Day weekend  which is the unofficial start of the summer travel season. The agencies are working with municipal police departments and other safety partners across the commonwealth to participate in the National “Click It or Ticket” (CIOT) Enforcement

Mobilization running through June 5. In 2021 there were 12,672 crashes in Pennsylvania where at least one occupant was not wearing a seat belt, resulting in 378 fatalities. In 2020, it is estimated that 94% of unbelted occupants, or 305 people, who were killed in crashes while traveling in passenger vehicles, including cars, small trucks, vans, and SUVs, could have survived if they had been buckled up.PSP data from 2021 indicated during the four-day Memorial Day weekend, troopers investigated 844 crashes that resulted in eight fatalities and 183 injuries. State Police also cited 1,025 individuals for not wearing seat belts and issued 144 tickets for not securing children in safety seats.

Pennsylvania law requires any occupant younger than 18 to buckle up when riding in a vehicle, as well as drivers and front-seat passengers. Children under the age of 2 must be secured in a rear-facing car seat, and children under the age of 4 must be restrained in an approved child safety seat. Children must ride in a booster seat until their eighth birthday.

The House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee has  approved a resolution sponsored by Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) to help ensure fairness in federal disaster assistance eligibility. House Resolution 179 calls on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to update its per capita impact indicator and thresholds to ensure all citizens and communities impacted by natural disasters are treated fairly.House Resolution 179 affirms the FEMA public assistance program would provide financial support for municipalities following the issuance of a presidential declared disaster and encourages the updating of the per capita amounts on an annual basis in accordance with overall cost adjustments and any population changes. In addition, FEMA thresholds should also consider the severity and magnitude of the natural disaster in addition to the obligations of the local, state and federal agencies.

“When Tropical Storm Fred wreaked havoc in Tioga County and across the border in Steuben County, NY, last fall, it caused millions of dollars in damages,” Owlett said. “FEMA approved disaster recovery assistance in New York, but not here in Pennsylvania. It’s unfair and has only served to prolong the devastation our communities experienced.

“Severe storms and flooding don’t recognize state or municipal boundaries,” he continued. “They threaten lives and livelihoods in communities of all shapes, sizes and locations. The people, businesses and local officials who are impacted deserve equal access to recovery assistance.”

The measure now goes to the House for consideration.

PennDot  is alerting area drivers about the coming closure and detour for a Potter County Bridge on State Route 4013 (North Hollow Road). The bridge spans the Allegheny River in Allegany Township. On Wednesday, June 1, PennDOT expects that State Route 4013 will be closed at the bridge and a detour will be in place. The detour will make use of Route 49, Route 44, and Route 6/East 2nd Street in Coudersport. All construction is anticipatedto be completed while the detour is in place. Construction is expected to finish by mid-October.

Replacing the bridge will improve its rating from poor to good. The 66-foot bridge dates from 1917 and carries an average of 477 vehicles each day.  Work activity will include removal of the existing two span bridge, construction of a new single span bridge, full depth paving on both sides of the bridge, approach work, base drain, guiderail updates, and miscellaneous items.Clearwater Construction, Inc. of Mercer, PA is the contractor for this $928,000 job. All work is weather and schedule dependent.