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HIGH COUNTRY CRAFTS: Penfield fair draws in thousands on Sunday

PENFIELD — Hundreds of cars full of eager shoppers from all over the state lined the streets near S.B. Elliot State Park in Penfield Sunday.

The High Country Arts & Craft Fair, now in its 30th year, brought thousands of people to see and shop for the primitive and handmade goods offered.

People were seen walking the rows with wagons or bags packed full of purchased goods.

Clearfield Elks Lodge #540 sponsors the fair each year and offers chicken barbecue dinners. Chicken on the grill could be smelled throughout the park day and onlookers could see members cooking in the smokey netted area as they entered the park.

The event offered live entertainment, including The Moore Brothers, and other food items like pirogies, hot sausage, ice cream and kettle corn.

Last year, around 15,000 people attended the fair, said Joe Waroquier, Secretary and Treasurer of the Elks.

Many samples of homemade salsas, dressings, honey and mustards are offered to the public, almost all of which are made naturally and locally.

In addition to food, crafters of all kinds attend the fair, even a group of women who use traditional wooden spinners to make yarn. Vendors depend on events like this one to not only increase their customer base and sales, but to display their talents, like knitting or sewing or carving, one of the organizers said.

Items offered included chainsaw-carved wooden keepsakes, such as animals dressed in bandannas, potted plants, flags, essential oils and candles, beard products, animal accessories and clothing.

Many sellers of refurbished shutters, windows, ladders, furniture and smaller primitive items competed against one another.

The fair began in 1989 as a platform for local artists and crafters to showcase and sell their products, and has since grown into something much bigger, drawing around 150 vendors this year.

The Clearfield Elks organization distributes event proceeds to local organizations and charities — including the United Way and the American Red Cross — usually raising more than $6,000 to split between them, Waroquier said.

It means a lot to have reached the 30-year mark, Waroquier said.

“People like the arts and crafts, and they’ve been coming back for them from year to year,” he said.

Elk County law enforcement patrols for aggressive drivers

ST MARYS — Local police officers gathered in downtown St. Marys on Monday to stress the importance of safe driving, and to let people know they’re watching.

Elk County law enforcement agencies, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Pennsylvania State Police as well as other agencies throughout the state have teamed up to target aggressive driving.

The mobilization is part of the Pennsylvania Aggressive Driving Enforcement and Education Program and runs through Aug. 26, according to a press release.

Throughout the enforcement mobilization, officers will focus on people running red lights, tailgating, speeding and the Steer Clear Law, which requires a car to slow down and move into the far lane of traffic when there is an incident involving an emergency responder alongside the road. Failure to comply with this law could result in a $250 fine or even a 90-day license suspension, according to PennDOT.

St. Marys Police Chief Thomas Nicklas was in attendance, as were PA State Police Trooper Bruce Morris and Officer Dave Marconi.

St. Marys Police received a grant that allows them to have officers dedicated to aggressive driving patrol each day.

Chief Nicklas said there are three waves of this mobilization throughout the year, with the last one being in April. About 70 hours of patrolling went toward zeroing in on aggressive driving behaviors.

“Motorists in St. Marys were identified as being involved in a higher-than-normal rate of collisions involving aggressive driving behaviors,” Nicklas said in a press release. “These waves allow officers to concentrate solely on these behaviors, in an effort to reduce the number of collisions of this kind, and make driving in our community safer for everyone.”

With this wave, there will be more hours dedicated to these violations, since they received more funding, Officer Marconi said.

Officers target the heaviest traffic times, such as in the morning when people are going to work and in the evening when they’re going home, Marconi said. Most of these violations occur on state highways or four-lane roads.

“A lot of guys come in an hour early or stay after their shift, since a lot of aggressive driving happens during those times,” Marconi said.

According to local PennDOT statistics, “aggressive driving was listed as a cause in 60 percent of Elk County crashes” in 2017. “In St. Marys alone, aggressive driving was listed as the cause in 80 of the 185 total county-wide crashes, which includes 34 injuries and one fatality.”

These high-visibility enforcement efforts tend to work, since if people are aware that patrolmen are out on the roads watching, they tend to pay more attention and drive safer than they normally would, Marconi said.

“PennDOT gives us targets, like stop signs and red lights, to get people to slow down and minimize traffic accidents,” he said. “Once we start getting the word out, and people know we’re out here, people start to slow down.”

Even locations like downtown St. Marys are considered to be heavily congested and high-traffic areas, and it can be easy to miss an important stop or signal.

Last year’s campaign resulted in 27,017 speeding citations, 1,203 occupant protection violations and 2,493 red light violations and 137 impaired driving arrests, according to a PennDOT press release.

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DuBois teenager waives terroristic threats, assault charges

DuBOIS — A 19-year-old DuBois man, who is accused of assaulting and threatening to kill a woman, waived his right to a preliminary hearing Friday before District Judge Patrick Ford in DuBois.

Broc Nilolas Marche, 40 Lilac Drive, DuBois, has been charged by Sandy Township Police with misdemeanor counts of terroristic threats, assault, disorderly conduct and summary counts of criminal mischief and harassment as a result of an incident which occurred at 6:30 p.m. June 28 in the parking lot of Save A Lot on South Brady Street.

The police were called to the scene by a witness who saw a man punching a car window and jumping on the car as it was trying to pull away in the parking lot, the affidavit of probable cause stated. The witness also saw what appeared to be a knife in the man’s hand and reported that he used the knife to puncture two tires on the vehicle during the incident.

When police arrived at the scene, they detained Marche, who had two knives, the affidavit said. The woman involved spoke to the police and said that she agreed by phone to meet with Marche. Prior to the meeting on the phone, Marche made statements to the woman which were threatening in nature, “saying that Marche talked about killing all of them when they met.” She told the police that she had no idea at the time that he meant what he said or she would not have met him.

The woman said she pulled into the parking lot with three friends inside the vehicle. When she pulled into the parking lot, the woman said, Marche appeared out of nowhere and began punching the driver’s side window of her vehicle. She said she tried to pull away and then stopped. She said she remembers Marche putting his hand around her throat, trying to choke her, while she was in the vehicle. Several witnesses stated that when Marche opened the door he began punching the woman. The police did see red marks around the woman’s neck area where she said he attempted to choke her.

Police did not immediately see marks on the woman’s face and stated that she did not remember if she was punched, the affidavit said. One witness also heard Marche yelling at the woman, saying something to the effect of “you wanted it and now you’re getting it.”

Witnesses also stated that after the vehicle stopped, they saw Marche with what appeared to be a knife in his hand. He was observed using the knife to puncture two tires on the woman’s vehicle, the affidavit said.

A passenger in the woman’s vehicle ended up tackling Marche to stop him from his erratic behavior, the affidavit said.

The police stated in the affidavit that they did smell alcohol on Marche while talking to him and Marche did admit to drinking earlier. He was then taken to the Clearfield County Jail in lieu of $10,000 unsecured bail.