Canton High School Teacher Faces New Charges Stemming From May Crash

The Canton Junior Senior High School teacher who is facing charges stemming from a February incident in which a man passed away after overdosing in her home is now facing drug charges in connection with a May crash.

According to the Pennsylvania State Police, 35-year-old Nicole Leann Gordon of Towanda was traveling on Valley View Road in Wysox when her 2010 Hyundai Genesis rolled over after failing to drive along a right hand bend in the roadway. That crash occurred on May 10th at about a quarter before midnight. Gordon, who was wearing her seat belt, was uninjured. The vehicle, however, was towed from the scene.

Charges were filed against Gordon on Tuesday, May 24th, in the office of Magisterial District Judge Fred Wheaton. Court documents state that Gordon faces the following four misdemeanor charges related to the crash: DUI: controlled substance-schedule two or three-first offense; DUI: controlled substance-impaired ability-first offense; intentional possession of a controlled substance by person who is not registered; and use or possession of drug paraphernalia. In addition, she faces the following three summary charges: Careless driving; disregard traffic lane, and driving at safe speed.

Gordon waived her preliminary hearing for charges related to the overdose death of Wade Sparbanie a day after the crash. Sparbanie overdosed in Gordon’s home in Sheshquin Township on February 15th, 2016. Gordon’s 7-year-old daughter was also present in the home when Sparbanie overdosed. Gordon faces multiple charges in that incident, including four counts of Use/Poss Of Drug Paraph, one count of Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, one count of Tamper With/Fabricate Physical Evidence, and one count of Obstruct Admin Law/Other Govt Func.

A police report states that the following items were found in Gordon’s home by investigators: several empty glassine baggies that people use for heroin; syringes; a spoon containing white residue; a rolled up $20 bill containing drug residue; a pill bottle containing Zolipdem; a bottle of Cyclobenzine, which is a muscle relaxer; and two utility blades. In addition, drug paraphernalia was found in the kitchen garbage. According to police, the finding “indicated a possibility someone put the paraphernalia in the trash after dinner and/or just before or during the victim’s death.”

According to police, Gordon allegedly denied that she used drugs at first. Later, Gordon allegedly told police that she did use drugs. Gordon also allegedly said that she hid the paraphernalia after she discovered Sparbanie unresponsive in a bedroom. She called 911 after finding Sparbanie. Prior to Sparbanie being found unconscious, he said he did not feel good after he took a Xanax. Gordon’s formal arraignment for the February charges is on June 2nd in front of Bradford County President Judge Maureen Beirne. Please remember that the accused is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Gordon is currently suspended from teaching.


2016 Gmeiner Regional Art Exhibition

Pictured is "The Owen Boys - A Tradition of Honor" by Randy Owen of Mansfield. Completed in 2015, this three by four-foot oil on canvas will be on display in the 2016 Gmeiner Regional Art Exhibition beginning this Sunday, June 5.
Pictured is “The Owen Boys – A Tradition of Honor” by Randy Owen of Mansfield. Completed in 2015, this three by four-foot oil on canvas will be on display in the 2016 Gmeiner Regional Art Exhibition beginning this Sunday, June 5.

WELLSBORO—The 2016 Gmeiner Regional Art Exhibition will open this Sunday, June 5 with a reception from 2-4 p.m. The winners will be named and awards presented at 3 p.m. The Wellsboro Art Club is providing refreshments. Admission to the reception and gallery is free to the public.

“The 2016 Gmeiner Regional Exhibition is a platform for creatives,” said Gmeiner Director Anna Wales. “At this show, we will see artwork from artists who enter every year as well as new faces. Among them are several featured in the Studio exhibit in February, others who have studied here at Drop-In Drawing Nights and members of the Wellsboro Art Club. This show fits perfectly into our annual cycle of exhibits,” she said.

On display will be works by 38 amateur and professional artists. They are from communities in Bradford, Lycoming, Potter and Tioga counties in Pennsylvania and Chemung and Steuben counties in New York. Of the works to be exhibited, seven are digital, fiber and comic art, five are jewelry, 14 are photographs, seven are drawings, 10 are oil paintings, seven are acrylics, five are watercolors, two are mixed media and two are sculptures.

Kathy Rice Cummings, a prolific oil painter from Tioga, Pa. is judging the show. She is a retired art teacher and former student of the late portrait painter, Thomas Buechner.

Between June 6 and 26, the exhibit will be on display from 2- 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, June 8-10, 15-17 and 22-24 and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, June 11 and 12, 16 and 17 and 23 and 24. Admission to the gallery is always free to the public. The gallery will be closed to the public Mondays and Tuesdays during the month.

Private tours of the exhibit are available to anyone – families, Scouts, art clubs, curious painters, church groups, etc. To schedule a private tour, contact Director Anna Wales at

Hills Creek and Cherry Springs State Parks June 3 & 4 Activities

This Saturday, June 4, the public is invited to attend the Star Party at Cherry Springs State Park to view the Milky Way. Hills Creek State Park is providing free programs this weekend, too.

Star Party at Cherry Springs
The Astronomical Society of Harrisburg is sponsoring the Cherry Springs Star Party this Thursday through Sunday, June 2-5. Astronomers will be set up at the park’s Astronomy Observation Field to view the night skies and listen to speakers who are experts in astronomy and astrophysics.

During this pre-paid, pre-registered event, the public is invited to look through different telescopes set up on the Astronomy Observation Field to view the stars one night only – this Saturday, June 4, from 8-11 p.m. Cherry Springs State Park is 15 miles from Coudersport on Route 44 in Potter County.

Bring a small flashlight with a red lens. The park’s Dark Sky Team volunteers will assist by providing visitors with red cellophane and rubber bands to convert flashlights with white light to red; white light is not permitted on the field.

The volunteers will also assist visitors in getting to Astronomy Field. Light sticks, strategically placed, will identify the 30 to 40 astronomers who have volunteered their scopes for the public viewing.

On a good night, thousands of stars can be seen along with planets, nebulae and distant galaxies. The entire Milky Way stretches from horizon to horizon and the view is spectacular. Even under partly cloudy skies, many wonders of the Milky Way can be observed and enjoyed. If it is raining or totally overcast, the public viewing night will be cancelled.

The concession stand will be open and food and hot drinks will be for sale.

All visitors who are not registered to attend the star party will be asked to leave the park by 11 p.m.

For more information, visit the Cherry Springs Dark Sky Fund/Association website ( or call 1-814-435-1037.

At Hills Creek
Hills Creek State Park, located about seven miles northeast of Wellsboro in Charleston Township, is hosting three free one-hour programs this weekend at the Nature Center area, which is located in the campground between B and C loop.

Squirrel Wars
This Friday, June 3 at 8:30 p.m., examine man’s ongoing struggle to cope with gray squirrels. Practical solutions and humorous attempts will be shown.

World of the Beaver
Learn more about the beaver that inhabit Hills Creek Lake and how important this amazing rodent was through history this Saturday, June 4 at 8:30 p.m.

Bears in Pennsylvania
This Sunday, June 5, at 9 p.m., find out how well bears are doing in Pennsylvania. With the largest average weights, an earlier breeding age and larger litter sizes, black bears that live in this state exceed those living anywhere else. Why is this happening?

Canoe Tour
This Sunday, June 5, meet at 6 p.m. at the beach area to go on a 1½-hour canoe tour of Hills Creek Lake to explore its history and management and discover wildlife along the way. Boats, paddles, and personal flotation devices will be provided. Participants are welcome to bring their own equipment but are still asked to register. To participate, register by calling the office at (570) 724-4246 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays.

Gold Medal, Wondra, Signature Kitchens Flour Recall

Gold Medal Flour logoSome Gold Medal, Wondra, and Signature Kitchens flour has been recalled. These products may be contaminated with E. coli O121. The flour was sold at the following stores: Albertsons, Safeway, Acme, Vons, Shaws, Randalls, and Jewel. Around half of 38 people across 20 states that have become ill due to E. coli reported making something with flour at home before getting sick. You can read more about this recall here.

Elmira NY Man Passed Away in May NJ Small Plane Crash

A man from Elmira, NY, was identified as the pilot who passed away in a small plane crash last month.

According to a New Jersey Herald report, 59-year-old Lu Chen passed away in the 1966 six-seat Cessna plane. The plane was found in Wantage, NJ, on Thursday, May 19th. He was the only person in the plane.

According to an initial report by the National Transportation Safety Board, Chen did not file a flight plan and the plane was not reported as being missing. However, according to a New Jersey Herald report, Chen had let an employee know that his trip would last a week. Chen began flying at around 9:43 p.m. on Monday, May 16th. The plane took off from the Rome, NY, located Griffiss International Airport.

The plane crashed about an hour after it took off. Three days after the plane had crashed, it was discovered. The plane was located approximately 200 miles from where it originally took off. The plane was able to be tracked via the emergency beacon that activated when the plane crashed.

The plane’s wings were torn off and it was upside down. According to Bill Martin, a Civil Air Patrol Major, the plane was likely attempting to land in a field when it hit a tree a line.

Chen received his FAA third-class medical certificate on October 26th, 2013. At that time, he had flown for 300 hours total. The FAA registry states that Chen received his private pilot’s certification in November of 2009. At this time, how Chen passed away is not known. The cause of the crash has also not been determined at this time. The Tioga Freedomist extends our thoughts and prayers to the family of the deceased.

Alcohol Not Allowed on Tioga, Susquehannock State Forest Lands June 4th

STPR Rally logoAccording to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), any and all alcoholic beverages will not be allowed on Tioga and Susquehannock State Forest lands on Saturday, June 4th.

This ban is in conjunction with the 2016 STPR Rally (Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally). If you would like more information, you may call the Tioga State Forest District Office at (570) 724-2868 from Monday-Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m.

Wellsboro is Semifinalist in National Contest to Win $25,000

Wellsboro PAWellsboro has been named as a semifinalist in the 2016 America’s Main Streets contest being held by the small business movement Independent We Stand.

The public voted from 25 quarterfinalists, and the semifinalists are narrowed down to 10. A panel of judges will pick a winner on Thursday, June 2nd. On Friday, June 3rd, at 10:00 a.m., the Grand Prize Winner will be announced.

The Grand Prize winner will get $25,000. The $25,000 will be used revitalize the town and for activities focusing on “buying local”. In addition, the winner will receive a $1,000 certificate to STIHL equipment, a $500 Tire Pros certificate to use towards a set of Continental tires, a $500 shopping spree, an Alignable small business social media “Neighborhood”, and a special plaque worth $100. The winner will also get recognized on the social media channels and public relations outreach of Independent We Stand.

Wellsboro was founded in 1806. It is Tioga County’s county seat. If you would like more information about Wellsboro, you can visit You may also call 570-724-1926 or email To learn more about the America’s Main Street Contest, you can visit

Shinglehouse Woman Loses $3,000 in Tractor Scam

A Shinglehouse woman lost $3,000 after she bought a tractor she never received.

According to the Pennsylvania State Police in Coudersport in a report, the 49-year-old woman was instructed to send an unknown person(s) $3,000 for a 2007 John Deere Tractor. However, the woman never got the tractor. The incident occurred on Fairgrounds Road in Sharon Township sometime from Friday, May 20th, and Thursday, May 26th, between the hours of 11:40 a.m. and 4:04 p.m.

If you have any information about this theft, you are asked to call the Pennsylvania State Police in Coudersport at (814) 274-8690.

Man Thrown From ATV in West Branch Township Crash, DUI Suspected

One person was injured when they were thrown from an ATV in a suspected DUI crash that occurred in Potter County’s West Branch Township on Sunday, May 29th.

According to the Pennsylvania State Police in Coudersport in a report, a 22-year-old man from Lancaster was driving a 2005 Honda Rincon in a south direction on Notch Road. After the man performed an unknown maneuver, he was thrown from the ATV and landed on the roadway. The ATV rolled over before rolling down an embankment on the roadway’s west side. The crash occurred about .5 miles to the south of West Branch Road at approximately 6:00 p.m.

The man, who was not wearing a helmet, suffered head and shoulder injuries of unknown severity. He was taken to Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital via Galeton Ambulance. The man was charged with a moving violation, and DUI charges are pending the results of a blood test.