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Issue Home November 21, 2001 Site Home

Along The Way... With P. Jay
Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago
Straight From Starrucca


Along The Way... With P. Jay

One Final Election Thought

When I turned 21, I was living in Indianapolis and, even at that youthful age, I had my priorities. The first thing I wanted to do was walk down to the corner pub and have a glass of beer – legally for a change. Having accomplished that, my second priority was to drive down to City Hall and register to vote.

At City Hall, I got my first introduction into the wacky world of politics.

"If you want to register to vote," the girl behind the desk said, "you will have to pay the poll tax. It’s only three dollars."

Only three dollars! Hell, in 1953 three dollars could buy eight gallons of gas, three pounds of ground beef, a loaf of bread, a quart of milk, a pack of cigarettes, and two packs of Twinkies. Besides, I didn’t have three bucks on me.

Not every state had a poll tax. It was more common in the southern states where it was a highly successful way to keep indigent black people from the polls.

Thankfully, there have been two significant changes in the voting laws since the 1950’s. On January 23, 1964, the United States ratified the 24th Amendment abolishing the poll tax; and in 1971, the voting age was lowered to 18.

There was another significant political event in my life in 1971. I was mayor in Mt. Olive Twp., New Jersey at the time, and I was seeking reelection. I lost by two votes, 1619-1617.

I tell you these things to lay the foundation for criticizing the inexcusable behavior of some Susquehanna County voters in the November 6 General Election and to show you just how important every vote can be.

In the election, the following "cuties" were noted:

Mickey Mouse received write-in votes for auditor in Thompson Township; school director in the Montrose Area School District; supervisor in Forest Lake Twp.; and, District Justice.

Bart Simpson received a write-in vote for the Elk Lake School District Board of Education. Other write-in votes for school director in Elk Lake went to "Anybody Else," and, "Anybody But Him."

In New Milford Borough, "Someone Else" was written in for mayor, while "Anyone Else" received a write-in vote for tax collector in Hallstead, and John Doe received a write-in vote for District Justice.

As a former political editor, experience has taught me that there will always be write-in votes for cartoon characters, movie stars, famous criminals, and non-existent fictional characters such as "Someone Else." In fact, Susquehanna County voters are probably better behaved than most political beats I have covered in the past.

But the fact remains that some of you out there are wasting valuable votes while making a mockery of one of the most important privileges we are accorded here in the good old U.S. of A. What would you do if you were refused the right to vote?

I wonder how many Florida voters in last year’s Presidential Election cast ballots for Mickey Mouse or some other fictional characters. Who knows? It might have been enough to have made a difference in the election outcome.

How It Will Be Decided

Well, it is now a fact. Incumbent Republican Supervisor Robert Alexander and his write-in challenger, Jim Hunter, finished in a dead heat for the one spot to be filled on the New Milford Twp. Board of Supervisors. Each man received 187 votes.

There is talk that one of the candidates may file for a recount. If that happens and the vote remains tied, the winner will be decided by a domino selection. The county Board of Elections will put two dominoes on the table, face down and each candidate will select one. The one who picks the domino with the number one on it will be the next township supervisor.

The Board of Election has fixed November 28 at high noon in the courthouse as the time and place for breaking ties and determining winners of the Nov. 6 municipal elections.


In a recent column I mentioned that the county realizes about $70,000 or $80,000 from one tax mill. Actually, it’s more like $700,000 or $800,000. Sorry about that.

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Slices of Life

The Compromise

It was a madhouse at the clinic this morning. I couldn’t find my isolated spot in the waiting room and had to disrupt a young boy who had his legs spread across the aisle and his feet on a chair on the opposite side. A young woman was telling a stranger that she didn’t know anything about one of the latest developments in the news because she worked nights and didn’t have time to watch television. She thought she would be a good candidate for jury duty because she doesn’t know anything that’s going on in the world.

I’m usually a target for these conversations because people tell me that I have an open, accepting face – whatever that is. The other reason is that I am interested in people’s stories and I am usually the one initiating the conversation. But this morning I had a birthday card to get written and addressed, so I mostly listened with one ear to conversations swirling around me. And I tried not to breathe too deeply because there was obviously a lot of colds and flu in that hot, crowded room.

As so often happens, I was very tempted to leave because I was there only to talk to the doctor about some tests, the results of which I already knew because I had called ahead. Just as I snapped my notebook shut, capped my pen and was ready to bolt, my name was called, and so I was a captive.

Now at least I’ve been weighed and sent to my little cubicle where I can breathe more deeply and spread out a little. The nurse is taking my blood pressure and my pulse, talking all the time. How can she listen, count and talk all at the same time. I don’t ask what the results are because I really don’t want to know. A little voice in my head keeps saying, " This is a mistake. You don’t belong here."

As I silently finish that sentence, the doctor appeared. And I was right. I shouldn’t have been there, because we had to have "the conversation" again. The one that goes like this. He, thumbing through my chart, says, "Your cholesterol numbers look really good."

She says, "Now that I’ve gotten my cholesterol down to such good levels, can I quit the Pravachol?"

He says, "No. It’s the medicine that is keeping your numbers down that low."

She says, "I think it’s the ‘Eat Fat, Lose Weight’ eating program that’s doing it."

He says, "Well, maybe both. But you did have a heart attack and you need that medicine to prevent it happening again."

She interrupts with; "I didn’t have a heart attack. I had a plugged blood vessel," knowing full well that she’s splitting hairs here because she was minutes away from the heart attack before the cardiologist intervened with angioplasty.

And so we argue it out yet again. He wins. (Probably I win, too, if the truth is known because I keep taking the medicine and I’m still alive.)

But I do not swallow those little pills happily. I keep thinking about my grandmother who lived well into her nineties with probably nothing stronger than Lydia Pinkham’s tonic. And my mother whose only medicine was a potent mustard-ointment that could blister the skin on her forehead when she used it to ease her migraines. What happened to my generation that we are expected to need prescriptions for everything? I really want to be one of those pioneer women, but I just don’t have the courage. So I compromise somewhere in the middle, take what medicine I have to, reluctantly, and try not to have too many tests so I won’t find out anything I don’t want to know. What we don’t know can’t hurt us. Right?

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100 Years Ago – 1900-2000

CLIFFORD/GREAT BEND: T.J. Wells, of Clifford and Robert Ferguson, of Great Bend, who went to Harrisburg last week as jurors in the United States court, were drawn on the jury to sit in the condemnatory proceedings brought by the United States in regard to the battle ground of Gettysburg, with a view to making that historic spot the property of the Federal government. Messrs. Wells and Ferguson, together with the other jurors, will, in pursuance of their duties, visit Gettysburg on December 9.

LAWSVILLE CENTER: Thursday, Thanksgiving evening, the Lawsville Ladies Aid Society will furnish, in Creamery Hall, a Thanksgiving supper consisting of all the delicacies of the season. Roast turkey and roast chicken will be served in addition to all the other good things for which the ladies of Lawsville are noted. There will be a fish pond in one corner of the hall for all those who enjoy that kind of sport to indulge in. Come and bring your lady and enjoy a good supper and learn to fish.

SUSQUEHANNA: Burglars broke into St. John's Catholic Church on Monday morning at 2 o'clock. They thoroughly ransacked the sacred edifice, but secured no booty. They afterwards attempted to enter the parochial residence but secured nothing. AND: The Journal makes the excellent suggestion that the matter of the site for the new borough building be decided by popular vote at the borough election, to be held in February next. In the meanwhile, in the language of the immortal Grant, "Let us have peace."

BROOKLYN: Farmers are improving this fine weather in getting their work in shape for winter, therefore trade is quiet and our storekeepers are having a much-needed rest, except our new hardware merchant who is rushed putting up stoves. Along the many sold was a fine new range to Mr. Lemon.

RUSH: Wilbur Terry, the harnessman, is working day and night to keep up with orders for new harness. His work has attracted the attention of farmers and horsemen throughout the whole neighborhood. Mr. Terry has taken first premium on his harnesses at Wilkes-Barre, Towanda, Binghamton and Elmira. He is also prepared to do all carriage and other upholstering.

GLENWOOD: Harry Potter, who has been working in Gelatt during the summer and fall, is home for the present.

HERRICK CENTER: The box social held at the school building Friday evening last was a decided success. About $30 was cleared which will be used to buy window shades for the school building.

DIMOCK: Mrs. Mary L. Hinckley was presented with a gold-headed cane on her 85th birthday, November 18th, by her son, J. Fremont Hinckley and daughter, Mrs. Daniel Horton.

JACKSON: The recent election of L. Dow Benson, Esq. Of Jackson, to the office of County Surveyor, is the fifth time he has been thus honored, though it has not been continuous. He has, however, served continuously as Justice of the Peace since 1856, a period of 45 years, a service perhaps without parallel within the borders of the State.

AUBURN CORNERS: The M.E. church will hold its annual oyster supper, Nov. 26th, at the home of Ed Lemon. Mr. Lemon has a large home and will be able to accommodate all that come. He also has plenty of stable room for your horses. A good time is anticipated.

FOREST LAKE: John J. Kane, a prosperous farmer of Forest Lake, has just treated his wagon barn to a neat coat of paint. The building, which was erected over 60 years ago, was formerly a schoolhouse and was used 33 years for that purpose. Nearly 17 years ago Mr. Kane had it moved to his premises. In its new dress it resembles the old house, when Mr. Kane was a student within its walls. The last term he attended there were 95 scholars and the instructor was Patrick McTigue, now a prominent wholesale dealer of Binghamton. Sacred memories cluster round the old house, and John, who has much veneration for it, will preserve it in memory of his school days, and early manhood, while life with him shall last.

ARARAT: The mystery in connection with finding so much valuable property in the possession of the two Ararat old maids (names withheld), who recently applied for aid from the town, deepens. After receiving their application and calling and discovering a box filled with valuable merchandise in their possession, and while the poor masters were looking for a drayman to remove them, goods estimated at two truckloads were removed by unknown parties and all trace of them are utterly lost. The women still have "nothing to say" in regard to this or any other matter at all connected with the case. The goods recently auctioned off represented a period from 1860 to the present day. Some articles were manufactured within the last two years, especially in regard to the sacks of sugar and salt and the farming utensils and the large number of beads and other small articles usually carried by the Arabian pack-peddlers. The only articles thus far traced to an owner are a couple of pair of boots, identified by Mr. Kenedy as having his father's price-mark on them, but his father retired from business 38 years ago. Inquisitive persons have been digging up the garden at the rear of the house and though several small articles have been found, nothing of importance has been unearthed. By reason of their living over the borderline, for a sufficient length of time, Herrick township is forced to take charge of the women and their effects. The burden will not be a heavy one, as nearly $400 was realized from the auction sale, which together with the $200 found in their possession, will be used toward their support. Many who are acquainted with all the circumstances, think this is merely one house of many on a line of underground railway for stolen goods.

NEWS BRIEF: Jewelers' clock signs usually indicate 8:15, that being the hour when our first martyred president, Abraham Lincoln, breathed his last. A movement has been inaugurated to induce jewelers to change their signs to indicate 3:55, the time when President McKinley was shot by Czolgosz.

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Straight From Starrucca

The Spirited Seniors of Starrucca met last Wednesday in the Baptist Church social rooms, and enjoyed a potluck dinner. At the following business meeting, they decided to make a tradition of lighting up the village with luminaries on Christmas Eve. There will be a meeting the fourth Wednesday in November. The second Wednesday of December we’ll make up plates of cookies to be delivered to shut-ins. They also decided to have only one meeting in January, February, and March on the second Wednesday of the month.

Francis and Cathy Buck were again at the festivities in North Carolina, when the clan gathered to make apple butter outdoors over an open fire. Even though the weather was cool, the simmering apples, cider and spices gave off a delicious aroma; everyone was having so much fun, the cooler weather didn’t discourage them.

There’s a new baby girl on our street. The little miss has two siblings, all belonging to Corinne and Dwayne Slocum. The birth happened a few weeks ago and I just failed to report it. Congratulations.

The Methodist Church will close for the winter after worship services November 25. Worshippers are free to attend church at Thompson at 11 a.m.

Last week I received six plants from the National Arbor Day Foundation, dug trench in my perennial garden, and put them in. The next day I went to put more dirt over them, and a fence. Lo and behold, there wasn’t a stick there. The deer had eaten every one.

Geneva Rhone is now at SNF at Barnes-Kasson.

Gary Williams was operated on for a brain tumor last week. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Last Tuesday, daughter Nancy and husband Don, Mt. Cobb, PA, came for a visit and to drive home my old car, which I had given her in return for them painting my house next spring, as they are professional painters.

Hope the holiday gave you many reasons for giving thanks.


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FOUR LOCAL FAMILIES COMPLAIN – Letter to NewsBeat, November 11, 2001: We have a problem here on Franklin Avenue. For five weeks now we have been getting our homes rocked; with kids throwing rocks at our homes. They also hit my car (Ron Testa) and dented the fender. I am so afraid of my windows getting broken, I put up 4x8 sheets of plywood to protect them. A stone barely missed one of my front windows and dented my aluminum siding.

My neighbor’s (Joe Roberts) house was hit and some vinyl siding on his house was broken.

Another neighbor (Ciro Magliulo) on the corner of Vine and Franklin Avenue, had his house hit, too. Neighbor Beverly Cameron had her house hit as well.

Myself (Ron Testa) and Joe Roberts called the local police, several times. They did nothing. They (the police) told us if we caught the kids to hold them and call the police. We also called the State Police; they said it is Susquehanna Boro Police’s responsibility to take care of such matters.

We are very upset with this situation. If the local police will not help, who are we supposed to turn to?

Signed, Ronald Testa, Beverly Cameron, Ciro Magliulo, Joe Roberts.

IN THE MAIL – (answer) – Low income Home Energy Program Assistance (LIHEAP). The proposed incomes are: family of one, limit $11,597; family of two, $15,674; family of three $19,751; family of four, $23,828. Each additional person, add $4,530. If you qualified last year you will get an automatic mailing of the application.

AVOID SCAMS – Older Americans are the number one target of con artists. The files of the Pennsylvania Securities Commission and other state securities agencies are filled with tragic examples of seniors having been cheated out of their savings, retirement distributions, and even equity in their homes. To prevent seniors from scam artists, Pennsylvania has published a book on how to cope with crooks. Protect yourself by calling toll-free, 1-800-600-0007 and ask if the "caller" is legitimate. The book is free. You can get it by calling the above toll-free number.

DID YOU KNOW? – In 1994 a man named Mullah Mohammed Omar believed God was calling him to save Afghanistan from the warlords. Omar gathered a group, including Afghans and uneducated men from refugee camps and religious schools in Pakistan, to form Taliban. Taliban means "students of Islam." The Taliban started out as a group to promote peace, law, order and pure Islam religion in Afghanistan, but turned into an extremist organization that believed faithlessness should lead to punishment; as severe as stonings and executions. Afghans joined the Taliban, hoping to end the war with other tribes. Restrictions placed on Afghans by Taliban might come as a shock to most Americans. Some of the restrictions are: Afghans are barred from listening to music, watching movies, television, and videos. Certain haircuts are forced upon the youths. Women are banned from working outside the home, except doctors and nurses in hospitals. Women are not allowed out of their home without a close relative and are not allowed to make contact with male shopkeepers, doctors and non-family members. Women must also wear long veils to cover them, head to toe.

Osama bin Laden, who is being sought by the United States – a billionaire and believed to be financing terrorists and the Taliban – was banned by several countries, but offered Taliban $3 million to live there and take over Kabul. They have been present there, ever since. (Not for long, I hope.)

Getting back to the Taliban customs – no cosmetics, bright colored clothes, high heel shoes or flared pants are allowed. Violations of the dress codes could result in public whippings or verbal abuse. Loud laughter is banned, because women should not be heard. All windows are painted in homes, so women cannot be seen from the outside.

No doubt, the women – and men – of Afghanistan will be real happy when the Taliban are ousted from their country. Let’s all pray that happens real soon.

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Are you ready? The holidays are here. Right now. There is a turkey baking or you are wondering what to do with the turkey leftovers; so go to At this site you will find out probably more than you ever knew existed about our favorite American dinner bird.

And, following Turkey Day, there comes "Deer (Hunting) Day". I suggest that you check out Here you can find out where, when and how to hunt anything. To this I will add, keep your powder dry and may your arrow find its true mark.

Lest we forget what we are thankful for, and how to express that thankfulness, please visit www./ He will also give you some help with any holiday "blues." You will find the Serenity Prayer at this site.

It is no secret that we in the Northern latitude can suffer from SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder (which bring on the blues), so go to if you believe it affects you.

Now is the time to start thinking about fresh Christmas trees. You will like the following sites which serve up a potpourri of just about everything you might want to know. To pick a good tree for you go to Then off you go to decorate it with advice from Go to their Library for information. Also, at the first tree site, if you scroll to the bottom you will find more information out about interesting and fun stuff, than there are needles on a tree!

Okay, here are the greeting card and inspiration sites I would suggest; first rule of the day is to have fun! There are a number of good ones, the one with an "X" is one that I would say should be for adults to see. Without further ado:,,, (it even has cellular greetings),,,, (all about animals), "X"

And, then I found this neat site: This is billed as Tommy's List of Live Cam Worldwide. It is a very unusual site and changes images in many places in a very timely manner. The Pocono PA site was one I checked out for my own information.

Well, gotta get the bird in the oven, my cats are looking at it very strangely, and the pumpkin cooking for the pie. Maybe I'll run into you on the Net!

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