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Issue Home November 12, 2002 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

You’re All Invited!

You are all invited to come out and see our new guardrails, between West Main Street and the Turkey Woods Road entrance. What a beautiful sight, after two years in the making.

We would like to thank everyone at PENNDOT on this issue, as well as Susquehanna School Superintendent Bill Stracka for his support letter to PENNDOT on this matter. For those of you who rarely travel this route, take a safe ride and see the good work of our Department of Transportation; you will be pleasantly surprised.


Butch Coleman

Susquehanna, PA

Burning Desire To Win

I’d like to introduce you to a member our wrestling team, Brian "Bug" Belcher. Bug is a 15-year old freshman at Mountain View High School. While wrestling in a pre-season tournament, Bug suffered a serious neck injury that has left him paralyzed, from the neck down. He underwent emergency surgery to rebuild the vertebrae in his neck. A couple of days later, Bug had some movement in his hand. They tell me that it is hard to assess how much feeling will be regained until the swelling in his neck goes down. He was doing great but had to be put on a ventilator because of a collapsed lung and pneumonia. I took a bunch of his teammates to see him last weekend for his birthday. Even though he was struggling to talk, he still had the same spirit and attitude that makes him a great athlete and a fun kid.

Bug lives in Nicholson, PA with his older sister, Dawn and younger sister, Amber. Amber has Down Syndrome and is being taken care of by their grandmother, while her mother is with Bug. Bug’s father, Don is a great person who is used to dealing with adversity. Don lost his left arm in a farm injury years ago, but somehow manages to drive an 18-wheeler every day. Bug’s mother, Donna, has been spending her nights in the chair adjacent to Bug’s bed in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. She told me that whenever she gets down about things, Bug picks her spirits up and gives her inspiration... that’s the kind of kid he is.

As an athlete, Bug is a natural. He plays soccer with such speed and aggression that he earned a spot on the varsity team, the only freshman at Mountain View to do so. Their team went undefeated during the season and Bug was the third highest scorer in the entire league. His fellow teammates dedicated the post-season to Bug and everyone wore his number on their arms. Unfortunately, the Eagles lost in the district finals. The team looked good, but everyone knew that there was a huge, empty gap on the field and in our hearts.

Two years ago, when Bug and my son, Matt were in seventh grade, Matt took Bug to State College for a pre-season tournament. Bug never wrestled before and went to watch Matt and a couple of other guys wrestle. Ken Chertow was running a camp at the same time and the caliber of wrestling was outstanding. After the day was over, Bug said, "I could do that better than those guys!" A week after that, Bug began to wrestle.

As most wrestling coaches will tell you, you can teach balance, positioning, technique, etc., but you can’t give someone a burning desire not to lose. Bug is a wrestling coach’s dream come true. During his first year wrestling, he became an instant success and a crowd pleaser. At practice you never knew what Bug would be up to. It seems he could always figure a way out of having fun or making people laugh, and is very successful at it. Prior to Bug’s eighth grade year, he took second place at the Fall Ohio Tournament of Champions and later that year was the District 2 Jr. High Champion. In the finals, Bug won by a point after an incredible scramble in the final 20 seconds. After losing to the same kid at sectionals the week before, Bug practiced with serious intensity leading up to districts. He hates to lose.

The Belcher family has been through a great deal and there is a great deal yet to come. Bug is supposed to be transferred to a special facility in Philadelphia once his health problems are straightened out. The family has been told to expect at least three months of rehab there and possibly up to two years after that. Bug’s reply to that, "No way!"

Now Bug will need that same determination to fight his next battle. So will his family, teammates and friends. Through our tears we can look for inspiration from Brian and pray that his next competition will be a victory, like so many before.

Bug’s family has insurance, but it is limited in the amount it will pay. They have informed Donna to start planning for ramps at home and special transportation. Along with that will be the cost of rehab and the living and travel expenses for the family while Bug is in Philly. Because Donna is with Bug all of the time, she can no longer work her evening job.

Please help the family in their time of need. A donation, of any amount would be appreciated.

A fund has been set up at: The Brian Belcher Recovery Fund, Pennstar Bank, Lenox Branch, Routes 92 & 106, Kingsley, PA 18826.

One of our wrestlers’ parents has set up a website to give people some information about Bug and his progress. Also, information about fund-raisers, raffles and benefits will be updated. Brian’s web page address is: http://home.epix.net/–lapalmer/


Mike Panasevich

Head Coach, Mt. View Wrestling


Family Caregivers Month

Whereas, during this season of thanksgiving, as we pause to reflect on the many blessings that have been bestowed on us as individuals and as a Commonwealth, we are especially grateful for the love of our families and friends. One of the most profound ways in which that love is expressed is through the generous support provided by family caregivers to loved ones who are chronically ill, elderly, or disabled. Caregivers reflect family and community life at its best. They are among Pennsylvania's most important natural resources; and

Whereas, the need for family caregivers is growing. We are blessed to live in a time when medicine and technology have helped us live longer. As a result, persons are living longer and people over 85 are the fastest growing segment of our population. Family caregivers can be found in every city and town in Pennsylvania. There are millions of Pennsylvanians, caring for parents, spouses, lovers, and friends. Approximately 2.5 million Pennsylvania adults are giving care to family members or friends; and

Whereas, family caregivers deserve our lasting gratitude and respect. This month we honor the many contributions that family caregivers make to the quality of our people and our Commonwealth. We pay tribute to the demanding work they do and continue to do for Pennsylvanians.

Therefore, to commend all Pennsylvania family caregivers, and to heighten the awareness of the vital role they play, I, Mark Schweiker, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim November, 2002, as Family Caregivers Month in Pennsylvania and encourage all Pennsylvanians to support their work and thank family caregivers for their loving and tireless work in caring for the people of our Commonwealth.

Given under my hand and the Seal of the Governor in the City of Harrisburg this twenty-second day of October in the year of our Lord two thousand and two and of the Commonwealth the two hundred and twenty-seventh.

Mark S. Schweiker


A Tribute To Marion

I hope you had the privilege and pleasure of knowing Marion Slocum Bedford Burman; if you did, you knew a real lady. Marion was everyone’s friend – wouldn’t know how to have an enemy. She was always the same sweet, genuinely honest person, from the time she was patiently handing out penny candy at the "stand" in Starrucca (listening with such understanding while the children told their stories); to her later life when she delivered Meals on Wheels to the elderly and homebound (where she would always take the extra moment to let all know she really cared).

Marion was a happy human, no matter where she was. She had that sweet smile; be it a little gathering or a long bus trip, she always had something good to say and mostly was enjoying it all.

I wish we could all be like Marion. Wouldn’t it be such a pleasure to see smiles, good deeds and trust in our fellow man, as Marion always seemed to have?

I know her many friends are missing her already, but just remember the good times. I do.

Marion and her husband, Reed were faithful Wednesday drivers at the Lanesboro Senior Center where they came to pick up the meals to deliver. I worked there for 10 1/2 years and they were there before I came and after I left.

Never will she be forgotten.


Alice Gilleran

Former Manager,

Lanesboro Senior Center

It Was An Ordeal

On the night of October 31, at 10:30 p.m., the Oakland water system suffered a complete shutdown, because of a break near the pumping station on Riverside Drive. This break, due to the density of concrete poured around the pumping station, took more than the usual time to find and repair.

We wish to extend our profound thanks to the Oakland residents for their patience and understanding throughout this ordeal. Further, our gratitude to Don Kessler and PA American Water Co. for their most valuable assistance to this boro in this crisis.

It also requires us to recognize the individuals who spent unlimited hours at this site; Roger Holleran, Leo Fisk, Rich MacDonald, flagmen Eric Peltz and Eric Marshall, and Larry Travis and the Tri-Boro Sewer Authority.

Finally, to "Old Reliable" Bill Finnegan, who came to our aid as he has many times in the past. However, this time Bill came out at midnight, with his broken leg in a cast and operated his machine for over a 20-hour period.

In our humble way, thank you, everyone.

Oakland Boro Council

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