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Snow pelts DuBois, impacts travel

DuBOIS — The worst of it had passed by mid-afternoon, but by then yesterday’s snowstorm had already exacted its toll: roads were caked in snow, complicating travel.

The National Weather Service received its first reports of snow at 4:30 Wednesday morning from the DuBois Regional Airport. By 9, the NWS had received reports of two and half inches of snow accumulating in the region.

The snow briefly gave way to a wintry mix before noon, but resumed in the afternoon as temperatures continued to drop.

“The worst of the storm has just about passed,” NWS Forecaster Mike Dangelo said yesterday around 1 p.m.

DuBois City Manager Herm Suplizio said plows first hit the streets Wednesday at about 7 a.m. and continued to plow throughout the day. He said plows focus first on clearing paths to the hospital and schools, then main roads and finally side streets.

“The guys we have plowing do an excellent job,” he said.

In response to the weather, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation temporarily reduced speed limits on several roads throughout the north central region. In Clearfield, Centre, and Clinton counties, the speed limit on I-80 was reduced by nearly half to 45 miles per hour.

In a press release, PennDOT noted that while snow plows would be tending to the roads throughout the day, their goal was to keep roads passable, not to completely remove ice and snow.

The weather also prompted the closure of the DuBois Area School District for the day, as well as the rifle match and gymnastics clinic scheduled for after school.

In Curwensville, Borough Council President Sarah Curulla to issued a snow emergency in response to the weather. In announcing the emergency, the borough asked all residents and businesses to keep their vehicles off the streets so that snow might be removed.

The press release for the emergency noted that the borough could tow vehicles impeding snow removal or emergency service access.

The Clearfield County Department of Emergency Services said dispatchers received 11 reports of car accidents Wednesday.


News
Sandy Twp. tables Aqua new development modification request

DuBOIS — The Sandy Township Supervisors tabled taking any action on a request from Aqua Pennsylvania Inc. for a Treasure Lake planned residential development modification application for well treatment facilities to be located on newly consolidated Aqua property adjacent to Barbary Coast Court.

Solicitor Greg Kruk said the township has received transcripts from the public hearing held Jan. 15.

“It is ready for your review and if you are going to take a view of the premises you certainly have that opportunity to do so,” Kruk said. “I suggest you talk with your manager or staff to see when there is a convenient time for you to do that. You do have to notify the parties that you are going to do that so they have the right to have their representatives or themselves present.”

“Am I understanding correctly when Aqua came to us they were asking for an exemption to be able to do that in a PRD modification,” said Supervisor Dave Sylvis. “Do we have the right to tell them where they can do that?”

“No, you are dealing with just a modification request for these four lots,” Kruk said “Your answer is either yes or no.”

Sylvis noted that Barbary Court Coast residents, Robert and Betsy Hooven, are not against the project but their location.

“They (Hoovens) want it but not in their front yard,” said Sylvis.

Supervisor Mark Sullivan asked if the township can impose conditional uses.

“That will be something we discuss,” Kruk said. “I’m not sure the answer of that at this point. Here is their request. And it’s either yes or no for a modification. That’s the way I understood it.”

According to the project narrative, Aqua Pennsylvania is proposing an upgrade to the existing Well N23 treatment facility that serves the Treasure Lake residential community. The upgrade to the water system in order to accommodate the higher water production rates and to update the water treatment system. The Well N23 treatment facilities will be located on a newly consolidated Aqua property adjacent to Barbary Coast Court.

Aqua is requesting a modification to the Treasure Lake PRD to allow the consolidation of Lots 92, 94 and 95 in Section 7A to be approved and their use to be changed from residential to utility services, according to previously published Courier-Express reports.

If approval is granted, Aqua proposes to construct a water treatment facility on the consolidated lots. The properties are located off of Barbay Coast Court within Treasure Lake PRD.


Local
Deer tests positive for CWD in Pine Creek Township

BROOKVILLE — The body of a deer killed along Route 322, near Pine Creek Elementary School, has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease.

According to Jefferson County Treasurer Jim “Moon” VanSteenberg, the deer was found along the stretch of highway between the school and the Bob Olsen farm in Pine Creek Township.

Route 322 in Jefferson County is included in the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Disease Management Area (DMA) 3. The most recent report from the Game Commission says that 51 deer from the 2017-18 hunting seasons have tested positive for CWD. All have been within the DMAs. Forty-eight were within DMA 2, in southcentral Pennsylvania, and three were within DMA 3, which covers northcentral Pennsylvania.

With increased cases of CWD in the wild deer, the Game Commission is also increasing its testing. “There seems to be testing a lot of road kill,” VanSteenberg said.

During the past hunting season, the Game Commission offered free CWD testing for hunters harvesting deer within the DMAs. The free testing offered hunters a way to have their deer tested prior to consuming it, and it provided the Game Commission with additional samples to better pinpoint areas where the disease exists, so specific problem spots might be addressed.

Successful hunters within DMAs dropped off heads from more than 1,500 deer in designated boxes. About 1,000 of these samples already have been tested for CWD, with the results reported to hunters.

But the majority of samples collected still are being analyzed.

CWD is spread from deer to deer through direct and indirect contact. The disease attacks the brains of infected deer, elk and moose, and will eventually result in the death of the infected animal. There is no live test for CWD and no known cure. There also is no evidence CWD can be transmitted to humans, however, it is recommended the meat of infected deer — or deer thought to be sick — not be consumed.


The Associated Press 

In this file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, left, and running back Le’Veon Bell celebrate on the sideline after a Steelers touchdown against the Cleveland Browns in Pittsburgh. The Steelers remain hopeful they can reach a long-term deal with Bell.


Katie Weidenboerner / AP Photo, Garrett Cheen, The Livingston Enterprise 

This July 28, 2004 file photo shows a white-tailed deer passing through a field near Pine Creek, Mont. 


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Aqua could build well station at another location, TL couple says

DuBOIS — There are other locations Aqua Pennsylvania Inc. can build a proposed well station on Barbary Coast Court in Treasure Lake, according to nearby resident Robert Hooven.

At a Jan. 15 public hearing held by the Sandy Township Supervisors regarding a request from Aqua Pennsylvania Inc. for a modification to an existing planned residential development in Treasure Lake for a proposed water filtration plant, Hooven said there was discussion regarding other locations that had been explored by Aqua.

“The Aqua representative stated that 10 other locations had been considered,” Hooven said at Monday’s supervisors’ meeting. “After further questioning, four of those locations were at one site. This equates to the possibility that only two other sites may have been considered. To make a statement that 10 locations were considered was an attempt to deceive and mislead the residents and this board.”

Some of the structures in Treasure Lake used by Aqua are the size of a spring house or a back yard shed, said Hooven, noting that many were placed before the homes and recreational properties were built.

“None of these structures compare in size or activity that this new proposed facility,” Hooven said. “The declaration of restrictions were developed for the purpose of enhancing and protecting the value, desirability and attractiveness of our properties. These restrictions ensure subdivided lots are for residential purposes only and no structure should be placed or permitted to remain on these properties other than a single family dwelling.”

The proposed structure has a 2,800 square foot footprint, Hooven said.

“I assume this campus will include a high chainlink fence with barbwire accessories lacing the top,” Hooven said. “This property would reflect the appearance of a prison exercise yard not a home. The newly constructed Aqua facility at Treasure Lake is a small scale reproduction of this facility. If calculated using the the newly constructed facility at Bimini and considering the high chain link fence, this new development on Barbary Coast Court could be as large as 8-10 times the size of the building, which would cover over 25,000 square feet or more. This is more of a reason not to build on residential numbered lots in close proximity to a home.”

This industrial sized building plan for Barbary Coast Court with truck activity and turnarounds has no business being built on what is determined to be residential lots with close proximity to someone’s home, Hooven said.

A land development plan for Aqua Pennsylvania Inc. for a Treasure Lake Well Station was approved last month by the Sandy Township Planning Commission. The land development plan is contingent on approval by the township supervisors for a Treasure Lake planned residential development modification application for the Well N23 treatment facilities to be located on the newly consolidated Aqua property adjacent to Barbary Coast Court.


Local
Public forum about grocery stores to be held in St. Marys

ST. MARYS — The City of St. Marys and the St. Marys Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a “Grocery Store Availability” Town Hall to receive comments and suggestions from residents and business owners at the St. Marys Public Library Basement at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21st.

St. Marys Mayor Lou Radkowski said the goal of the meeting is “to try to take some of that input to let the Chamber hear those concerns to work with local businesses or to help bring someone in so they know what is needed in the town.”

The city, with a population of about 13,000, is currently served by a Save-A-Lot market, as well as multiple small corner markets, butcher, and specialty shops. There is also a Walmart Supercenter in nearby Fox Township.

In the past decade the city has lost two sizable grocery stores — BiLo and Shop ‘N Save.

“A lot of people stop us and talk about what we want,” Radkowski said. “We do have options but obviously folks want something else.”

According to an online map from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, St. Marys is considered a low-income census tracts where a significant number or share of residents is more than 1-20 miles from the nearest supermarket, according to information from 2015.

Radkowski said the city’s role in is to create a forum where people can be heard by organizations, such as the Chamber, who are better equipped at attracting new businesses. But, perhaps more importantly, to invite smaller local businesses to use the forum as a form of local market research to help bolster their business to meet the needs of consumers.

“My hope is that this is a new way to engage the community without the formality of a council meeting,” Radkowski said of the public forum.

Seating is limited, so those interested in attending are asked to send an email with contact information to info@stmaryspa.gov. Officials say this will not reserve your seat, but if there is a high demand a second session may be scheduled.

The Children’s Room also located in the basement level of the Library will be available during the event to make it easier for families to attend.