Five Tioga County Students Compete for 2016 Laurel Queen Crown

Five Tioga County high school students are among the 28 Pennsylvania students competing for the 2016 Laurel Queen crown.

The Laurel Queen will be crowned during the 75th annual Pennsylvania State Laurel Festival. The festival takes place from Saturday, June 11th to Sunday, June 19th.

Anya Nance from Richmond Township is representing North Penn-Mansfield Junior-Senior High School. Nance was on high honor roll for all four years of high school. She was also a member of the North Penn-Mansfield Student Council or four years. She was in band and was the president of chorus during her senior year. She was the secretary of the  North Penn-Mansfield High School Chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America during her senior year. She was on the North Penn-Mansfield Chapter of the National Honor Society for three years and was the historian. She also represented North Penn-Mansfield Junior-Senior High School as a Youth Leader of Tomorrow candidate. She was picked to compete as an alto in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District No. 8 Chorus during her junior year. She was named to the PMEA All-State Vocal Jazz Ensemble in her junior and senior year. Nance was on the track team during her freshman and sophomore year. During her freshman year, she was a cheerleader for the boys’ basketball team. During her sophomore year, she was on the Mansfield Tigers Girls Volleyball Team. During her junior year, she was a member of the Ski Club. She sings in the Holy Child Catholic Church Choir. She volunteered with the Tioga County Special Olympics for four years. She held two Community Blood Bank blood drives at North Penn-Mansfield Junior-Senior High School for her senior project. Nance is planning to attend Bloomsburg University starting in the fall.

Britta Berguson from Blossburg is representing North Penn-Liberty Junior-Senior High School. She was on the honor roll during all four year of high school. She was also the Class of 2016 secretary. During 10th grade, she was a National Honor Society inductee. During her senior year, she was the National Honor Society secretary. She was on the girls’ varsity volleyball team and the and basketball team for four years. During her junior and senior year, she was on the softball team. She was on the track and field team during 9th and 10th grade. She received a s the Northern Tier League athlete of the year nomination. She was also a WETM-TV athlete of the week. She is also a Tioga County Sports Hall of Fame inductee. She represented North Penn-Liberty Junior-Senior High School as a Youth Leader of Tomorrow. She was a Flaming Foliage queen candidate during her senior year. She was a member of Peer Helpers for two years. During her junior and senior year, she was a member of the Key Club. She volunteered for the Special Olympics for four years. Berguson is planning to attend Keuka College in the fall.

Samantha Bailey from Wellsboro is representing Wellsboro Area High School. She was on the distinguished honor roll during all four years of high school. She was a member of the cross-country team, band, and jazz band for four years. She was the cross-country team captain during her senior year, and she won a coach’s award during her junior year. She was in the advanced students Enrichment program and was a part of the spring musical for all four years of high school. She was on the track team for three years. She won the cross-country specailty fall all-star award. She was a National Honor Society member for two years. She was a member of the women’s choral ensemble during her junior and senior year. She was a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions during her sophomore and junior year. She was a Connectors Plus student mentoring program member during her senior year. She was a member of the Dickens Choir and the Long Distance Running Club during her senior year as well. During her freshman, sophomore, and junior years, she was a Student of the Month. As a junior, she was a Young Chemist of the Month. As a senior, she was a Social Scientist of the Month. She was also a Wellsboro Business and Professional Women’s Club Girl of the Month during her senior year. She is the Hare Raisers 4-H Club vice president. She volunteers for Special Olympics and Goodies For Our Troops. She plans to attend Elizabethtown College starting in the fall.

Sarah Bates from Osceola is representing Williamson High School. She was on the honor roll during all four years of high school. During her senior year, she was the president of the National Honor Society. She was also the Class of 2016 secretary and the salutatorian. She received the 2016 President’s Award for Educational Excellence. She was the Future Business Leaders of America co-treasurer. She earned 16 college credits while attending Williamson High School. She was on the student council for four years. During her junior year, she was the treasurer of student council. During her senior year, she was the president of student council. She was the 2016 Williamson High School PIAA District IV Outstanding Female Athlete. She was also the Female Nominee for Williamson for the 2016 Northern Tier League Athletic Directors Athlete of the Year. She represented Williamson High School for the 2016 Tioga County Sports Hall of Fame. She was on the varsity volleyball team for four years. During her senior year, she was the captain of the volleyball team. She also played for the Elkland Girls Softball Association. She volunteered for Special Olympics for four years. She is a Community Blood Bank distinguished donor. She plans to attend Shippensburg University beginning in the fall.

Lauren Johnson from Knoxville is representing Cowanesque Valley Junior-Senior High School. From 9th through 11th grade, she was on the honor roll. In 12th grade, she was on the high honor roll. She was a member of student council. She played tennis during all four years of high school. She was the secretary for the Class of 2016 during her sophomore year. During her junior and senior years, she was the co-historian. During her sophomore, junior, and senior years, she was a member of chorus and the Drama Club. During her junior and senior year, she was a member of the National Honor Society. During her junior year, she was on the prom committee. During her senior year, she was a member of the Outdoors Club. During her sophomore and junior years, she won an outstanding student athlete award. She is a Relay for Life, Special Olympics, and Vacation Bible School volunteer. She plans to attend Messiah College beginning in the fall.

 

PA Route 6 Alliance Recommends Tioga County’s Pine Creek Rail Trail For Cyclists

By User:Ruhrfisch (photo taken and cropped by self) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
Pine Creek Rail Trail. Photo by User:Ruhrfisch (photo taken and cropped by self) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Tioga County’s Pine Creek Rail Trail is one of six bike trails the PA Route 6 Alliance recommended for cyclists after PA Route 6 was designated as a touring bicycle route by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

Known as Bike Route Y, PA Route 6 has many hills, beautiful landscapes, and equally stunning towns. Terri Dennison,the PA Route 6 Alliance Executive Director who made the six bike trail recommendations, said the following about Route 6, “The trip across Route 6 will only improve in the next few years… We are excited about the potential. By making the ride safer, connecting with other bike trails and offering more access points, this plan will open up more opportunities for our small businesses and towns.” The improvements Dennison is talking about include a future Master Bicycle Plan on Route 6 that PennDOT is planning.

The six bike trails recommended by Dennison all connect to Route 6. The bike trails were recommended because of the Corridor’s heritage and history that can be discovered while traveling on the bike trails.

The first bike trail Dennison recommends is Ernst Bike Trail in Crawford County. The bike trail used to be part of the Meadville-Linesville Railroad. There are five miles of paved trails that stretch from Park Avenue Plaza to Route 19. Ice Age glaciation imprints can be seen, as can French Creek Valley, which is Pennsylvania’s most biologically varied body of water.

The second bike trail recommended by Dennison is Corry Junction Greenway Trail in Erie County. This 7.5 mile interstate trail goes all the way to New York. The trail goes through Brokenstraw Valley. The Climax locomotive and rail cars were invented and manufactured in Corry. The logging industry used the locomotive and rail cars from 1888 to the 1920’s. Cyclists might need to dismount on some areas of the trails due to inclines and some of the crossings not meeting the grade of the road.

The third bike trail Dennison recommends is Crook Farm Trail in McKean County. This 3 mile look trail is on crushed limestone. The grade of the trail is near level. There is off-road parking on Bolivar Drive between Route 219 and Tuna Creek. Located on the trail’s north end, the Crook Farm Historic Site includes a 19th century restored farm house, a tool house, a train depot, outbuildings, and a one-room schoolhouse,

The fourth bike trail recommended by Dennison is Tioga County’s own Pine Creek Rail Trail. The Pine Creek Trail, located in Pike Creek Gorge, stretches 62 mies. This bike trail goes through the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. Being mostly flat, the trail starts at Wellsboro Junction and goes to Jersey Shore, PA. The trail runs through the State Forest lands of Tioga and Tiadaghton. The trail goes through Pine Creek for 55 miles. Several waterfalls can be seen from the Pine Creek Trail.

The fifth bike trail Dennison recommends is Delaware and Hudson Trail in Lackawanna County. The trail is made of cinder, hard-packed dirt, and original ballast. A mountain bike is recommended for this trail. Cyclists may need to walk their bikes on the sections that have steep inclines and big chunks of ballast. The Lackawanna River runs parallel to the trail for a few miles. There are trees on either side of the trail in some areas.

The final bike trail recommended by Dennison is the McDade Recreational Trail in Pike County. This bike trail runs throughout the majority of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The northern most access of the trail is Milford’s Milford Beach. The river, streams, forests, farm fields, and striking landscapes can all be seen on this bike trail. The difficulty of the trail ranges from simple to arduous. The trailheads are  separated from between a half mile to five miles. Most of the trailheads go along the free bus route for the trail. The bus route is in operation during the weekends in the summer.

Mountain biking is allowed on the forest roads that are a part of the Allegheny National Forest, as well as state forests along Route 6. If you would like more information about bike trails in Pennsylvania, you can visit the PA Route 6 website at paroute6.com or the Explore PA Trails website at explorepatrails.com.

One Injured After Fire Breaks Out in Liberty Township Detached Shed

Photo by Star Hose Company #1 on Facebook
Photo by Star Hose Company #1 on Facebook

One person was treated for smoke inhalation after a fire broke out in a detached shed in Liberty Township on Sunday, June 12th.

According to Port Allegany’s Star Hose Company #1, the fire broke out at approximately 6:20 p.m. at 5211 Route 155. The shed was fully involved when Chief 320 arrived on scene. Firefighters were able to contain the fire, and it did not spread to any other structures. The fire was put out in about one hour. A resident suffered minor smoke inhalation, but he was able to be treated on scene.

The Port Allegany and Smethport fire departments helped at the scene. Chief 320, Chief 3, Engine 33, and Squad 3 were the first to respond to the fire.

Two Injured, One Seriously, in DUI Suspected Delmar Township Crash

Two people were injured, one seriously, in an accident that occurred Wednesday, May 8th, in Delmar Township.

According to police, 20-year-old Michael S. Hockenberry of Wellsboro was driving a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado in a north direction on Dantz Run Road at speeds that were considered to be unsafe. Hockenberry lost control of the vehicle when he tried to drive along a curve in the road. The vehicle spun around before traveling across the road. The vehicle moved to the berm and hit a tree. The vehicle was still rotating when Hockenberry was thrown from the vehicle through the passenger window. Then, the vehicle rolled over. The vehicle traveled for about 60 feet down an embankment and rested in a wooded area. The crash occurred at about 2:05 a.m.

Hockenberry, who was not wearing his seat belt, was seriously injured. He was taken to Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital to be treated. Hockenberry’s passenger, 28-year-old James D. Akeley of Covington, had minor injuries. Akeley was wearing his seat belt. Hockenberry was charged with a moving violation, and he might also face other charges. Police suspect alcohol may have contributed to the crash. The Tioga Freedomist extends our thoughts and prayers to the families of the injured.

Mansfield Man’s License Plate Stolen

A Mansfield man’s license plate was stolen from his vehicle over the weekend.

According to the Pennsylvania State Police in a report, a license plate was stolen from a parked vehicle belonging to 40-year-old Aaron L. Baker sometime from Friday, June 10th to Saturday, June 11th, between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. The vehicle was parked at 30 Black Top Lane, Lot 74, when the theft occurred.

If you have any information about this theft, you are asked to call the Pennsylvania State Police in Mansfield or Crime Stoppers at (800) 472-8477.

 

Car Hits Deer in Delmar Township, No Injuries

No one was injured when a car hit a deer in Delmar Township on Saturday, June 11th, 2016.

According to the Pennsylvania State Police in Mansfield in a report, 27-year-old Robert Huba of Union, NJ was driving a 2006 Hyundai Sonata in a north direction on the right lane of travel of SR 287. The car hit a deer that ran out onto the roadway. The crash occurred about 525 feet to the south of Sweet Briad Road at approximately 5:10 a.m.

Huba, who was wearing his seat belt, was not injured in the crash. The car had disabling damage.

Wellsboro School Board Eliminates Four Jobs

Wellsboro HornetsOn Tuesday, June 7th, the Wellsboro Area School District school board decided to cut four jobs in order to avoid raising taxes and balance the 2016-2017 budget.

The following three positions are scheduled to be eliminated on July 1st: the full-time special education secretary, the full-time head custodian, and the part-time custodian. The elimination of the full-time special education secretary will save $39,000, while the elimination of the two custodian positions will save $56,718. The board members are scheduled to take action on the elimination of the positions at the board meeting next Tuesday.

Head custodian Ralph Toph will still be employed full-time because of his seniority. However, there will be a reduction in his salary. Full-time custodian Janet Hale will have part-time employment and she will not be on salary or have benefits. Part-time custodian Richard Ralph will be furloughed and will not have employment or salary. By July 1st, the full-time special education secretary position will be vacated due to retirement. The responsibilities of the special education secretary might go to other people on the secretarial staff. The elimination of these four positions should save $205,058.

Although the full-time Wellsboro High School assistant principal position was not a part of the June 14th agenda, the salary and benefits for the position were removed from the 2016-2017 budget. The salary for this position is $109,340. As of December 24th, 2015, when Rob Kreger became principal, the position has stayed open. David Krick retired on December 23rd, 2015.

At the May 19th budget and finance committee meeting, board members discussed the possible elimination of the full-time federal programs coordinator/director of curriculum and instruction position in order to keep the high school assistant principal position. The full-time federal programs coordinator/director of curriculum and instruction position is held by Pat Hewitt, who is also the acting Superintendent. During the work session on June 7th, Board President Matt Feil said the responsibilities could go to the high school assistant principal position. It is not known if Hewitt would then become the assistant principal.

The 2016-2017 expenditure projection is $25,262,680, while the income is $24,727,592. The district has a projected shortfall of $535,088. The district will use $423,870 from the retirement reserves. Unassigned fund balances will be used for the rest of the $111,218 shorfall. According to business manager Bonnie Thompson, there is $107,000 estimated in surplus funds from the 2015-2016 school year. However, Thompson noted there were more bills that had yet to come in. According to Thompson, there is a $1,086,231 projected budget shortfall for the 2017-2018 school year. For the 2018-2019 school year there is a projected budget shortfall of $1,632,394. For the 2019-2020 school year, there is a projected budget shortfall of $2,195,308. For the 2020-2021 school year, there is a projected budget shortfall of $2,741,450. Thompson advised against not raising taxes due to increases in contracts.

At this time, a property tax increase is not expected for the 2016-2017 budget. Property owners in Tioga County will have a millage increase of 0.032. That will bring the millage to 17.8440 from 17.8120, or 0.18% increase in taxes. For instance, a property assessed at $100,000 would see a $3.20 increase. Property owners in Lycoming County will have a millage decrease of 0.227. That will bring the millage to 13.7570 from 13.9840, or a 1.65% decrease. For instance, a property assessed at $100,000 would see a $22.70 decrease.

The following people attended the work session on Tuesday evening: Feil, Duane Cotner, John Hoover, and Tim McCratic (he attended via speaker phone). The following people were absent: Sue Judlin, Chris Gastrock, Stewart Burrous, Denise Sherman, and Wayne Hackett. The meeting was held at the Large Group Instruction room in the high school.

 

Vehicle Enters Tioga River in One Vehicle Crash, No Injuries

A Tioga teen was uninjured when the vehicle he was driving entered the Tioga River on Wednesday, June 8th.

According to police, the 16-year-old male was driving a 2005 Pontiac Montana in a south direction on State Route 287. After the teen fell asleep, the vehicle veered off the roadway and traveled onto a grass berm. The vehicle traveled for approximately 180 feet. Then, the vehicle hit some trees and entered the river. The driver was able to get out of the vehicle. The vehicle became fully submerged after the driver got out. The crash happened at about 4:20 p.m.

The driver faces a careless driving violation.