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Issue Home October 30, 2002 Site Home

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

Along The Way... With P. Jay

Marcho Man Strikes Back!

Susquehanna County Commissioner Gary Marcho apparently has decided to retaliate against the news media for the bad press that he has been receiving of late. Bad press that was created by the lackadaisical approach he has taken regarding his responsibilities as a county commissioner and his absentee record at important county meetings.

For the past 12 years that I have been covering the commissioners and the county courthouse in general, the only time the press paid for copies of documents containing information that reporters felt should be quoted verbatim was when Joan Stalter was chair of the Board of County Commissioners.

Even when the Marcho Man succeeded Mrs. Stalter, copies of resolutions approved by the commissioners, as well as letters and other documents made public at meetings were readily available at no cost. And, I might add, that is how it should be.

Before I go any further, I ask you to consider this:

Let us imagine that you are publicity chairman for your civic or social organization. Your objective is to get news of your activities in the press so that the public is aware of what you are doing with any money received via fundraising events or whatever. You painstakingly prepare a news release and deliver it to the area newspapers and ask them to please publish it free of charge in their next editions. Then, as you are leaving, you turn to the person who just took your news release and say something like, "Oh, I almost forgot. You owe me 50 cents for copies of the two pages in the news release I just gave you."

Well, that is what Commissioners Marcho and Lee Smith have decided to do. It happened without warning last week. The commissioners passed three rather lengthy resolutions and I asked the usual question, will copies be made available for the press. I was assured they would be. After the meeting I told Chief Clerk Suzanne Brainard that I would pick up my copies after lunch. Later when I went to the counter in the commissioners’ office, I was told the charge for the copies would be 25 cents a page for a total of $11. I balked and Mrs. Brainard double-checked with Commissioners Marcho and Smith. Both of them reaffirmed their position that copies of any documents must be purchased by "everyone, including the press" at 25 cents a page.

Already I can hear some of you saying to yourselves, "Who does this guy think he is, wanting copies for nothing when the rest of us have to pay for them." And, of course, if I wanted copies for my personal use I would agree. But this is not the case. These are local reporters offering the county commissioners the opportunity to inform their constituents of what they are doing for the cost of a few sheets of copy paper. This week’s large volume of pages to be copied was the exception rather than the rule. At most meetings it is generally two or three sheets at most.

My friends, I don’t know if you realize it, but Susquehanna County is very fortunate to have three weekly publications. Three outlets where you can vent your anger or frustrations in letters to the editor. Three outlets where you can publish, without charge, the accomplishments of that son or daughter who is earning honors at college or has been promoted on his/her job. Three outlets that will publish, again without charge, announcements of upcoming events in your church, school, or civic organization. Three weekly newspapers that pay reporters to go out and cover meetings that you will not attend but wait anxiously to read about. And unlike the daily newspapers, three outlets that will publish wedding announcements, and the births of your children or grandchildren, all without cost. Does this mean we must support the newspapers by endorsing everything they publish? No! However, it does mean that you have outlets that a lot of communities wish they had. The savings of tax dollars in legal advertising by using the weekly papers instead of daily papers is in the thousands. The savings in advertising costs for the business community by using a weekly newspaper is even greater and, in the case of The Transcript, this is a paper that reaches more Susquehanna County readers than any other newspaper – daily or weekly. I could go on and on about the advantages of having the services of weekly newspapers available to you, but I am sure by this time you get the picture.

And speaking about pictures, how many of you out there are familiar with the Where’s Waldo books by Martin Hanford? Usually the cover will feature a whole bunch of people and the objective is to find Waldo who is in the picture somewhere. It has become so popular there is a Where’s Waldo?" game on the Internet. Anyhow, Susquehanna County Republican Chairman Ivan Burman brought the house down with this gem.

Mr. Burman was acknowledging the nice crowd that attended the dinner at the Mountain View Restaurant in Clifford. He digressed for a moment and said that the author and publisher of the Where’s Waldo books had contacted him. He went on to explain about the books and that he was honored that they were considering Susquehanna County for a sequel to the Where’s Waldo books. He said the county version would be entitled, "Where’s Marcho?"

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Slices of Life

Getting To Know You

You may have caught a few scenes from the popular television show, Drew Carey’s "Whose Line Is It, Anyway?" Well around here this week it was, "Whose House Is It Anyway?"

For a couple weeks I had been subtly preparing Mrs. Morris for company. Each day as we conversed, I’d casually drop in the name, Scarlet, and the fact that Scarlet was coming to visit soon; Scarlet being my daughter and son-in-law’s adorable, loving, hyper, noisy dog. Mrs. Morris listened half-heartedly to my pronouncements. Having never seen Scarlet, or a Scarlet, the word didn’t mean anything to her.

Finally the day they were arriving, I stopped at the bedroom door where the famous cat was grooming herself on a freshly laundered white bedspread.

"Today’s the day, Mrs. Morris," I said. "That cute little dog, Scarlet, is coming to visit and I want you to be a good hostess. Share your toys and your space."

I sensed that she had begun to understand. She gave me a haughty and disdainful stare and immediately went back to cleaning her shiny coat and depositing gray fur on the bedspread.

Soon Scarlet appeared and it took no time at all for her to make herself at home. She went for Morris’s food dishes, so we set them out on the back porch and closed the door. I was worried that a direct confrontation would result in Scarlet with scratches on her nose, and my children saw it as Morris being nipped by the dog. So it seemed rather important to keep them apart. We needn’t have worried. Queen Morris was so contemptuous of the whole situation that she spent most of her time on the top stair to the attic, coming down only after Scarlet retired behind the closed bedroom door at night. Then Morris would eat and go outdoors. When she came in, and was sure the coast was clear, she would sneak into my bedroom, hop onto my bed, go round and round several times and finally settle down in the crook of my bent knees. She was safe until morning when the avoidance pattern would start again.

Scarlet, meanwhile, was making herself very much at home; sleeping curled up in my writing chair, her head on a pillow. Or she was stopping by me for pets and hugs. And she is so adorable, who could refuse? In the living room she chooses stuffed animals from the toy basket, and sleeps on the couch or on a pillow on the floor. There’s nothing more precious than a sleeping animal – or child! Remember?

Three days of visiting and it’s time for the company to go home. We humans considered this first meeting a great victory. No one got scratched or nipped, and house routine went on – sort of.

When they all left early this morning, Mrs. Morris crept out of the bedroom and down the stairs. She looked all around the dining room while half-hidden by the stairway door. Cautiously she moved through her domain, glancing nervously about and smelling everything as she went. I brought her food and water dishes back into the kitchen, and she began to sense that life, as she knew it, had returned. I told her what a good hostess she was and added, that because she’d been so good, she could look forward to another visit from Scarlet someday. She wasn’t impressed.

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100 Years Ago – 1902-2002

MONTROSE: The "Black Diamond March," which has just been composed by H.A. Lyon[s], of Sayre, is winning great praise wherever it is played. Mr. Lyon[s] is a former Montrose boy, his father, M.A. Lyon[s], being engaged in the drug business here. He is a member of the R.A. Packer Band and is at present in the Civil Engineering Department of the L.V.R.R. The march will be sent to any address, postpaid, for twenty-five cents. AND: The Bell telephone company is making arrangements to connect South Montrose, Dimock, Springville and other places between Montrose and Tunkhannock, directly with its new exchange in this place.

HALLSTEAD: "It is the darkest just before the dawn." With the chair factory working all the men they can find room for; the silk mill contemplating doubling the size of their plant in the spring; work going on at the gas well; the chamois factory running steadily, and the railroad men all coming back here, there is a prospect of Hallstead having a boom to make up for the depressed feeling that has existed during the past year. AND: Hallstead people celebrated on Tuesday evening of last week the order of the D.L.& W. Company to make Hallstead the terminal of the freight runs. Cannons boomed, bonfires were lighted and the Hallstead Band discoursed music. There was good feeling all around, not only because of the increased business for Hallstead, but because the strike was over.

NEWS BRIEFS: George Hull, maker of the famous Cardiff Giant, died Wednesday morning, Oct. 22, in Binghamton, says the Susquehanna Journal. The famous hoax that he originated created a sensation throughout the entire country more than thirty years ago. He conceived the scheme of fashioning a giant. After considerable labor he had an immense figure of a man carved from a solid rock. This he buried and, about a year later, caused it to be found. The Cardiff giant, as it was called, became very famous, men coming from all parts of America and Europe to view it. The fraud was finally discovered, but not until Hull had become rich. He, however, died poor. [The Cardiff Giant is on display at the Farmer's Museum, Cooperstown, New York]. AND: The manager of the Williamsport telephone requires all unmarried young women, securing employment at the exchange, to sign an agreement not to marry in three years. He claims that the enforcement of this restriction is the only way in which he can keep good help; for otherwise, about the time a girl becomes expert, she marries.

LAKEVIEW: The Burdick brothers, with their steam thresher, threshed 138 bushels of oats in one hour and forty minutes.

CLIFFORD: No people, outside the striking miners, are gladder to see the strike settled than are those who pastured mine mules for the coal companies in the vicinity of Welsh Hill, Elkdale and Clifford. The mules destroyed the trees, by eating the bark as high as they could reach, knocked down stone walls, ate the fence posts in such a manner as to allow the wire on the barbed wire fences to fall, destroyed crops, and even killed domestic animals, besides making themselves general nuisances. While the price paid for keeping them was fair, it is doubtful if any who have kept them this summer could be hired to do so again.

FRANKLIN FORKS: Mrs. A.M. Snow has a fine lot of canary birds of which she would like to dispose.

AND: A.M. Snow and others occasionally spend a day in setting telephone poles. AND: Fred Knapp met with a terrible accident on Thursday of last week. In going up stairs in his mill his coat caught in a pulley wheel drawing him in and carrying him over a shaft and wheel. His coat and shirt were torn off. His left arm was broken several times, one bone broken in the right one, his legs were both pulled out of joint at the knees and the ligaments torn loose. He is as comfortable at present, as one could expect.

SUSQUEHANNA: The old Erie hammer shop building is to be transferred into a tube shop.

JACKSON: Alva Roper, Jackson's oldest resident has just passed the 91st year of his age. He is a farmer by occupation and formerly lived in Brooklyn, this county. Hale and hearty, he now bids fair to complete a century of life.

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP: The Howard, Wilber and Chalker school districts are being consolidated by moving the Chalker schoolhouse to a place near Addison Fish's. The people generally are very indignant over it as the papers show that were circulated, being five persons for the change and forty against. The Chalker school house (now torn down) was built by the people about 50 years ago and some years ago was burned down and rebuilt by the school directors, and the church people were given the privilege of holding meetings there by building the foundation; and there has been meetings held there for a good many years, but the five wise men thought that some of the children could walk or have to be taken by their parents more than five miles to school, no matter how drifted the roads were. Did Governor Stone have anything to do with this move by cutting the school fund down?

HERRICK CENTRE: Alick Hathaway, who is driving team for W.H. Fletcher, of Herrick, at North Jackson, where Mr. Fletcher has a lumber contract, hauled 5,910 pounds of bark from the woods to Lanesboro with a team of four year olds. He expects to haul an even sixty hundred and then demand the belt.

NEW MILFORD: Some New Milford young men have organized a football team. The team consists of the following young men: Robert Wilkinson, Merle Shelp, Maurice Hand, Fred Whitney, Lee Tiffany, George McConnell, Bert Howell, Leslie Stark, Joe Dale, Ray Ainey, Allie Turner, Corliss Bradley, Harvey Grinnell and Louis Smith.

GREAT BEND: Conductor C. U. Stoddard was killed by Lackawanna train No. 3, at Nicholson, at 2:30 o'clock, Oct 25. Mr. Stoddard's train had been sidetracked. He stepped on the westbound track in front of No. 3 as it came along, and was killed. It was his first trip since the settlement of the coal strike. A widow and one child survive.

FOSTER [Hopbottom]: Mystery surrounds the strange death of H.F. Lord, of Foster, Pa., who died at the Lackawanna hospital Saturday night, which the Lackawanna company detectives and relatives of the deceased man are unable to solve. Several incidents enter into the strange disappearance, accident and death, which afford abundant room for speculation. [More next week.]

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PLANS FOR SUSQUEHANNA SESQUICENTENNIAL During Summer of 2003 In "High Gear": The actual incorporation date of Susquehanna was April 19, 1853 – 150 years ago this coming year.

On Saturday, April 19, 2003, the anniversary date, a tentative program has been set with a ceremony, etc.

Starting Saturday, July 12 with a "Ball," the celebration will continue every day of the week and end on Saturday, July 19, with many, many events, including fireworks. More information on the celebration will be publicized at a later date.

According to the "tentative program," this will be "one old home week" you, your relatives and friends will never forget. Remember the dates: April 19, will be the official opening. July 12 it will continue for a week.

In order for the Sesquicentennial to be a great success, the committee will need plenty of help, from "everyone." Right now the committee is soliciting ads for a Sesquicentennial book. It will contain box ads, line ads of Memorial Donors, Business Patrons and Donors.

If you care to place "an ad" and have not been approached, please call: Lou Parrillo 853-3835; Mary Jo Glover 853-3637; or Pam Hennessey 853-4538.

SUSQUEHANNA AND HALLSTEAD SAL’s United In Sieben Fund-Raiser: On September 27, the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 86 of Susquehanna and Squadron 357 of Hallstead united in a fund-raiser for Devon Sieben, of Hallstead. Devon is a kidney transplant patient with special needs.

Approximately 130 shrimp and chicken dinners were sold, raising nearly $600.00 to assist Devon with his medical bills and additional expenses.

The SAL Squadron 86 are committed to helping children with their development. This may be scholastic, emotional or physical development. Each year, Squadron 86 officers and members award a $100.00 bond to a graduating senior of Susquehanna High School, who has excelled in helping younger children. The award is given in memory of Marty Wood, son of Mrs. Marge Wood and the late Edward Wood.

The SAL strongly urges any SCHS senior to utilize criteria and apply for this award, given out on class night.

SAL wishes to thank volunteers and patrons for making the fund-raiser a huge success.

Parents of Devon Sieben are Paul and Tina Sieben. Grandparents are Dale and Dee Jesse, Mr. Jesse being Squadron 357 commander. Several SAL members of Squadron 86 witnessed the presentation of the check, along with Squadron 357 members.

VETERANS DAY "Club Together": The Susquehanna American Legion will again, on Monday, November 11, Veterans Day (formerly Armistice Day) entertain veterans of their Post 86. Titled "Veterans Getting Together on Veterans Day," the Post will, on the eleventh month and the eleventh hour, meet at the Veterans Memorial for a short remembrance. Following this event the veterans "Club Together" will return to Memorial Hall.

If you (a veteran) attended last year’s "Get Together," you were not disappointed. The festivities will start at 12 noon. As in the past, veterans unable to find transportation will be "picked up" by the transportation department of Barnes-Kasson Hospital. Need a ride? Call 853-3542. (All veterans are welcome to attend.)

FREE LIFE Insurance is available to all American Legion members. A $1,000 free life insurance is offered to all Legionnaires. However, it is not automatic. You must fill out a form. The forms are available at Susquehanna Post 86, through the office of Scott Darling, post adjutant.

DID YOU KNOW? (I didn’t): Jackie Mitchell, of Tennessee, a minor league pitcher, at 17 years of age, became the only woman to strike out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. The incident happened in 1931, when the New York Yankees, on their way to spring training stopped for an exhibition game against the Chattanooga Lookouts. Despite the strikeouts, the Yankees won the game, 14-4. Days later, the baseball commissioner canceled her contract, ruling that the game was too strenuous for women. (That commissioner should be around today, for many women are just as good as men, some better.) Have you seen the girls play basketball? How about some of the softball pitchers! Just a couple of years ago, a young lady by the name of Tara McGriff pitched a no-hit, no-run, four-inning game against the local Ole Timers team. (We barred her after the fourth inning.) Note: a baseball film is in the works for the above game. LeAnn Rimes will play Ms. Mitchell.

KEEP KIDS SAFE: With children’s abductions in the news, we asked how we can keep kids safer: always know where your children are; don’t leave small children alone; role-play often, let your kids tell you what they’d do if a stranger asked for help in different situations; tell kids they should always get their parent or another adult if a stranger asks them to go somewhere; teach kids to say "no" and to follow their instincts to get away; teach kids to be wary of "normal-looking" strangers, too.

KEEP BONES STRONG: At least 80% of people with osteoporosis, the bone-thinning disease, are women. This is because estrogen production, which helps protect the skeleton, wanes after menopause, causing rapid bone loss. However, even before you’re menopausal, you’re especially vulnerable to osteoporosis if you: have a family history of the disease; smoke cigarettes; are very thin; have an eating disorder, such as anorexia; have fewer than normal menstrual periods; use medications such as corticosteroids or anticonvulsants. All women 65 and older – as well as some younger women at risk – routinely should be evaluated for osteoporosis with a bone densitometry scan.

RISKS OF SMOKING: Researchers at the Society for Women’s Health Research report that women aren’t being educated about the basic, critical facts concerning prevention and disease management – particularly where tobacco is concerned. Of the 962 women interviewed, 68% of the smokers were unaware that they are at greater risk for developing lung cancer than are men who smoke the same number of cigarettes. More than half of the women also didn’t realize that smoking predisposes them to heart attack earlier than it does men.

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Straight From Starrucca

Notice to all goblins, ghosts and other weird creatures; you are to meet at the Starrucca Community Hall at six o’clock on Thursday, October 31, to enjoy a Halloween party with others of your ilk. You can take part in the grand march at 6:45, fish, bob for apples, string a necklace and all good things. See you there.

Has anyone in Susquehanna found an unusual cane? It is a small tree limb and the knot forms the handle. I evidently left it in one of the businesses downtown. If you have seen it, please call me and let me know. It is a family heirloom and not mine.

The senior citizens are selling chances on a red, white and blue full-sized, tied quilt. Call Vivian Baker for tickets.

June Downton, along with daughter, Peg and husband, Bill, Lakewood, attended the wedding of her niece, Robin Henry, in Pine Bush, NY a week ago Saturday.

After the harvest supper at the Baptist Church last Wednesday night, Anna Young spoke of her intervention work with women prisoners at the Lackawanna jail in Scranton. Her counseling is intended to help the women re-enter society. She also brought along samples of art work done by the prisoners. It was an informative talk.

Robert and Lillian Buck spent a week ago Thursday with Wesley and Amy Buck and children in Port Treverton, PA. On Friday they all traveled to Harrisburg where they met their son, Blain and all traveled on to Strasburg. Melanie, Paul and Eric lee joined them on Sunday.

The beautiful, historic Strasburg Inn was the setting for the October 19 wedding of Blain Buck and Ranee Pursell. The ceremony, which was held outside in the courtyard of the inn, was very heartwarming, as the couple exchanged vows and dedicated their marriage and life together to God. It was their wish that they could share this love with all those they love and hold dear. Ranee’s bridesmaid was Laura Walker, a college friend from Georgia. Blain’s best man was Wesley Buck and his son, Glen was ring bearer.

The occasion was special since it marked the first time that all of Blain’s cousins on the Buck side have been together for several years. Unfortunately, his cousin, Louann was unable to attend due to being hospitalized; she was missed by all. On Sunday, the whole family (minus the newlyweds) enjoyed a ride on the steam train at Strasburg before returning home.

Here is the horror story I promised for Halloween; last of the life in the 1500’s vignettes.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination of lead and alcohol would sometimes knock people out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wail to see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a "wake." England is old and small, and they began to run out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and take their bones to a house and reuse the grave. In reopening these coffins, one out of 25 coffins was found to have scratch marks on the inside, and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they thought they would tie a string on the wrist and lead it through the coffin and up through the ground to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night to listen for the bell. Hence, on the graveyard shift they would know that someone was "saved by the bell" or "he was a dead ringer."


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Food For Thought

I have come to the conclusion that America is not the "land of golden opportunity." It is the land of complacency. As a society, we revere complacency. And will go to bizarre lengths to not allow our boats to be rocked. I have recently come to realize that we can no longer afford to be complacent. Not as individuals. Not as a community. Not as a nation.

The intent of this column is to create a ripple, wake at least one mind, get someone to think independently. Independent thinking has been the bed rock of this nation. We have abandoned that concept, except in the entrepreneurial sense. We need to reawaken it in all aspects of our life.

Several years ago, I read an article about a team of scientists who received a large amount of grant money to study infertility in alligators. They suspected some environmental toxin was affecting the fertility of male alligators.

My thoughts at that time were that infertility was not just a problem with alligators, or we would not have fertility clinics sprouting all over the country. So why do we need to spend grant money (translated as tax dollars) to study an obvious problem.

Now last week, I read an article relating mercury toxicity to infertility problems in people. Current statistics rate 17% of our population to be infertile. One of the primary sources of mercury in our diets today is seafood. The food touted to be good for our hearts is now contributing to infertility world wide. Even the farm raised fish which is what most of us are now eating, is contaminated with mercury from industrial pollution.

Mercury is highly toxic in very small amounts. It tends to accumulate in the body, so the higher the position on the food chain, the more likely the fish is to be contaminated. It also accumulates in the human body.

Mercury can enter the body in many ways, not just by ingestion. It can be absorbed through the skin or mucous membranes (nose, mouth). It can also be absorbed by breathing in the vapor.

Many of the forms of mercury commonly used in the past, such as mercurochrome and merthiolate, have been removed from the market, once the toxicity was realized. However there are still common sources of mercury besides fish.

Mercury in the form of thimerosal is used as a preservative in vaccine serums multi-dose in saline solutions, contact lens solutions and the like. Single dose or single use packages do not require the use of preservatives, while multi-dose packages do. The cost is a little more in the single dose packaging. The cost in the long run to the consumer, to the taxpayer, to the environment, to future generations far out weighs the initial difference. Choices should be made available.

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