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Issue Home November 19, 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

Scribbling From A Columnist’s Notebook

For some time, I have been commenting about Commissioner Calvin Dean’s most quotable quotes. And, being true to form, Calvin came through again at last week’s meeting of the County Board of Elections. In case you did not know it, the county commissioners also make up the Board of Elections, except in the years that their terms expire and they are running for re-election.

Anyhow, there was a complaint filed with the election board concerning an alleged violation of election laws in Ararat Township. Barney Wilkins, county coordinator for the Ed Rendell campaign complained to the board that David and Diane Burman removed Rendell campaign signs.

After Mr. Dean made the motion to refer it to the district attorney’s office for investigation, Commissioner Gary Marcho said that Mr. Wilkins has witnesses who observed the Burmans taking down Rendell political posters.

"Well, the thing is," Mr. Dean said, "the Board of Elections has to take some action and it is up to the district attorney’s office to investigate and maybe in five or six years or maybe seven, we will get an answer. But at least we are doing our part."

While Mr. Dean was being a bit facetious he was making a point. About five years ago, the election board referred a complaint of alleged violations in Auburn Township to the district attorney’s office. The board is still waiting for a report on that investigation.

Any doubts that the tourism business isn’t bad in Susquehanna County could be removed by a recent report on the county’s three percent room tax. For the period of January 1 to September 30, the total tax collected in the county was $23,814. Doing some quick arithmetic and with three months yet to be reported, hotels, motels and B&B’s in the county should take in about a million bucks just in room fees this year. That’s not a bad piece of change for a rural county without a shopping mall.

The Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau will get the lion’s share of the tax. However, the tax now pays the EMVB for the county’s participation in the bureau’s effort to promote tourism as one of the principle industries in the Northern Tier. Before the county commissioners approved the three-percent room tax, the money paid to the EMVB came from the county taxpayers.

Commissioner Gary Marcho is beginning to talk like a politician who is getting ready for a reelection campaign. He is ripping a page from fellow Commissioner Lee Smith’s book on how to be a politician and everyone knows one of Lee’s first lessons is to be cordial and tell your constituents what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear. Like a new daddy handing out cigars, Mr. Marcho is beginning to pass out accolades and now and then you can even catch him with a smile on his face.

I’m told that some ranking county Democrats who didn’t lift a finger to help Ed Rendell didn’t waste a moment journeying to the nearest Rendell victory bash. I didn’t see it so I cannot attest to it but I am not surprised by it. There are some Democrats in Susquehanna County whose behavior on election night can only be compared with a bunch of kids who put on masks when they go trick-or-treating on Halloween night.

The Susquehanna County Assessment Department is getting a new truck. The county commissioners opened the bids for the four-wheel-drive pickup last week and will award a contract after a review of the bids. This will be the third pickup truck for the department and, as explained by the commissioners, the department will get to keep the Plymouth Neon that is good for town driving but lousy in the boondocks.

Susquehanna County’s 2003 budget will be available for inspection in the office of the county commissioners on Dec. 6. Commissioner Marcho made the announcement last week, but the Marcho Man did not say whether taxes will go up next year.

Most county residents are bracing themselves for a sizable county tax increase because of the need for the county to pump $367,000 into the Employees’ Retirement Fund to cover stock losses. Then, too, the county added a number of high-priced employees to the payroll and is now picking up the total cost of health insurance for all county employees.

If the tax increase does come, look for the commissioners to blame it on the union. And, trust me on this one my friends that just ain’t necessarily so. Will the union be a contributing factor to any tax hike? Probably, but not totally.

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Slices of Life

A Very Special Lady

My friend Lena Felton died last week. At a hundred years of age she was still a beautiful lady. I had been to visit her a few days before her passing, and I marveled at her smooth peachy skin. She had a new perm and her white hair framed her face. While I was with her, a card arrived from her daughter, Gail, with a picture of the two of them taken at Lena’s birthday party a couple months ago. I knew she was reading the card silently, as her lips formed the words. She smiled and seemed very contented.

Then word came that she was ill. In two days she was gone. But I am left with wonderful memories.

Thoughts of Lena usually center around her kitchen, for that was her realm. It was not a big kitchen, but it contained everything she needed for a contented day. Bright, freshly laundered curtains framed the windows that looked over the back yard where she picked the wild blackberries for her scrumptious pies and jams, and where she once confronted a whole swarm of yellow jackets. She got the berries, but she lost the battle with terrible stings over all her body.

But one of the reasons I felt such a kinship with her was that we shared a determination to use anything from the wild to feed our families and friends. One colorful local woman would bring all kinds of wild berries and fruit that Lena would "put up" and they would share the bounty. She canned anything that came her way, and her cellar shelves were a sight to behold.

Her baking was a thing of legend, as she tried countless new recipes for her Montrose Independent editor husband to share at work, for bake sales at the many service organizations he belonged to, as well as for their friends. While she did love to clip and try new recipes, her old standbys were eagerly sought. German chocolate cake, apple pie, feathery sugar cookies and soft molasses cookies were all favorites among the recipients.

I also recall her love of jokes, and clipping of those from the Grit magazine. She not only clipped them, she remembered them, and told those jokes with great relish. I often think about the box of clippings that were headed for a yard sale, and my husband said, "You can’t put those in the sale. I will buy them."

Pastor Bob of radio fame was her spiritual friend and she listened to him and supported his ministry faithfully. He would write to her and on at least one occasion made a visit. Lawrence Welk was her other hero. She loved that show and watched the re-runs for years.

In my linen drawer is a set of sheets and pillowcases with lavish crocheted edgings that she had made and gave to me. There were no idle minutes in her days. If she was sitting down, her fingers were moving, making bedspreads, doilies, edgings – all kinds of crochet.

Lena was a bustler; always doing something. When she did sit down to visit, ensconced in her special chair, her feet hardly hit the floor. She was little, but mighty.

I did not know her in her early years, having come into her life when she was in her sixties. But these thirty-some years, in some ways, seem like a lifetime, and in other ways, have gone by very quickly. She was a good friend and role model for me. I will miss her. Rest in peace, my friend.

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100 Years Ago – 1902-2002

HOPBOTTOM: It is reported that Humphrey Lord, who was [mysteriously] killed by the cars two weeks ago, willed one-half of his property to a Mrs. Bronson and that the people in Lathrop are very much wrought up over the matter.

LENOXVILLE: Lenoxville should have a young peoples society. Other small places with fewer young people than we have seem to support a good society and derive much benefit from it. Why should not we?

SOUTH AUBURN: The Graphaphone entertainment held in the Grangers' hall by P.E. Treible, last Saturday night, was favored by a full house and enjoyed by all. AND: John Gross has sold his team to T.R. Place. John looks rather lonesome now-a-days. AND: At Auburn Corners M.L. Lake lost a fine cow last Saturday. Cause, an apple in the throat.

FRIENDSVILLE: The members of St. Francis Xavier's parish will hold their annual Festival and Supper on Thanksgiving night. A delightful and bountiful spread will be served up by the ladies of the parish. Good music will be in attendance. Nothing will be left undone to make the occasion agreeable and pleasant for all patrons. Adm. 25 cents.

LEMON: A genuine wild cat was killed by Ollie Ward, in the rear of the school house in Lemon, near Lake Carey, last week. It is thought that this was one of the wild cats that Engineer Deubler and his fireman, of the Montrose railway, stopped their train for and went out and had a fight with.

GREAT BEND: Namon T. Boorn, of Windsor, was struck by an Erie fruit train east of the Main street crossing, Sunday evening. Mr. Boorn, who was driving across the tracks, turned his horse directly in front of the approaching train, which was going at the rate of 30 miles an hour. The wagon was struck in the rear and was completely demolished. The horse and wagon were thrown 60 feet down an embankment against the creamery. Mr. Boorn, however, had disappeared. About 11 o'clock there was a telephone message received that he was at Red Rock Tower, three miles east of Great Bend, and uninjured. The following morning Mr. Boorn returned to Great Bend apparently none the worse for his experience. He says that he was so frightened that he ran up the track and when he recovered his senses, was at Red Rock. The horse also escaped without a mark.

SUSQUEHANNA:Hatch's moving pictures appeared in Hogan Opera House on Tuesday evening, under the auspices of the Susquehanna band. The "My Island Prince" Co. appeared in Hogan Opera House on Wednesday evening. Daniel Sully will appear in Hogan Opera House on Friday evening, Nov. 21, in "The Parish Priest" a star attraction.

WELSH HILL: Among those who attended church here from a distance last Sunday, we noticed the following: Mrs. James McAlla and Gene Tinker, of Elkdale; Dr. Davis and wife, of South Gibson; Robert Richards, Pittsburg; Henry Jones, Denver, Col.; John Jones and Merryl and Robert Jones, Elkdale.

BROOKLYN: The place known as the David Kent farm, where the Kent family was reared, and which was in the Kent name for about a century, has now passed out of the family into other hands.

THOMSON: Fred Tyler came home from the lumber woods with typhoid fever and is being attended by Dr. McNamara.

RUSH: The community is saddened to learn of the death of the little 8-year-old daughter of George Pickett on Monday night. An operation for appendicitis had been performed and the child seemed on the road to recovery when unfavorable developments set in and death resulted quite suddenly.

SOUTH GIBSON: A Thanksgiving cantata is being rehearsed under the direction of the Epworth League with Mrs. G.R. Resseguie, as instructor, and will be given in the M.E. church, Wednesday evening, Nov. 26. All know the ability of Mrs. Resseguie as musical instructor and a fine thing is expected. The months will be represented by 12 persons in white suitably adorned-ranging from 7 to 20 years; the year by Mrs. Nellie Brundage. Excellent solos and quartettes will be included. Admission 20 and 10 cents.

MONTROSE: On Tuesday afternoon the case of Dr. J.G. Wilson vs. the Boro. of Montrose was called for trial and the plaintiff's case was heard until Wednesday noon, at which time defendant's council moved for a compulsory non-suit. At the opening of court Thursday morning the court refused to enter the compulsory non-suit and the Boro proceeded to put in its evidence. The case grows out of the smallpox at the Gilbert home last winter and has attracted considerable attention, owing to the prominence of Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert and the terrible circumstances of their death. Dr. Wilson brings his suit to recover the sum of $200 for fumigating the Gilbert home and the Presbyterian church. The borough alleges that under the law it is not liable for the bill. The jury verdict for plaintiff for the full amount of his claim with interest.

FOREST CITY: Alfred Chambers, who was badly hurt in the mines, died in Emergency hospital, Carbondale, Wednesday, Nov. 12. The old man, beside his external injuries, was injured internally and his death was due to the latter. The deceased was well-known in Forest City and his death will be regretted by all who knew him. The body was taken to his late home for interment.

KINGSLEY: W.T. Byram and E.C. Tingley, of Hopbottom, are painting the churches in this place.

NEWS BRIEFS: It is said that the latest fad now is to send your picture to those of your friends on whom you cannot find an opportunity to call. AND: Instead of putting food into the oven to keep it warm for the late comers, try covering it closely with a tin and setting it over a basin of hot water. This plan will keep the food hot and at the same time prevent it from drying up. AND: Eggs are still soaring upward in price; the dealers paying 26 cents per dozen and scarce at that price. Dairy butter brings 23 cents per pound and potatoes 60 cents per bushel.

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ENDLESS MOUNTAIN MARINE CORPS Celebrates Its 227th Birthday: Marines all over the world are celebrating the 227th birthday of the United States Marine Corps, but none with more pride than those of Susquehanna County that are members of the Endless Mountain Detachment 881, of Hallstead.

Meeting on Saturday, November 9, in the VFW Hall, Great Bend, Detachment 881, their ladies and guests, after partaking of a delicious dinner served by the Ladies of the VFW Auxiliary, Commandant Frank Kwader called for a moment of silence for departed comrades, those lost in action, Prisoners of War and all those unaccounted for.

Pledge of Allegiance was led by Ellis Hobart and the opening prayer recited by Chaplain John F. Fitzgerald II.

Fred Boerner and Ellis Hobart read messages from State Commandant John Moyse. Mr. Moyse (in part) wrote, "Those who know and understand the true meaning of ‘Once a Marine, Always a Marine.’ The principles and purposes having been etched in the hearts of all Marines become more brilliant and polished each year at this time and seem to reflect a renewed sense of pride, respect and commitment in all Marines."

Ellis Hobart, in another message renewed the pledge, "Once a Marine, Always a Marine, Until the Great Commandant Above Calls Us Home."

Commandant Kwader – in a nice touch – called upon every Marine present, to comment on an important part of their life in the Marines. Many interesting stories (some comical) were revealed.

So as not to be snubbed, Mr. Kwader also called on the only two Army veterans present, John Bronchella, County Veteran Service Officer and Lou Parrillo, of the County Transcript.

Mr. Kwader told several stories while a Marine, and was pleased to be able to celebrate the Marines’ 227th birthday, dating back to 1776 and noted it was the oldest military organization in the country. Closing he said, "The older we get, the more emotional we get. Unites States soldiers say 9/11/01 has made Americans more thankful to those who have served."

Marine Bits

Cutting the birthday cake, doing the honors were, the oldest Marine present, Warren Nau; the youngest, Mark Blacknell, visiting from Camp Hill, along with his wife, Linda.

Each of the ladies present were given lovely red flowers.

A moment of silence was observed in the memory of the great Ted Williams, of the Boston Red Sox, who served in the Marines during the height of his baseball career.

Officers of the Marines: Frank Kwader, Commandant; First Vice, Fred Boerner; Second Vice, John Benson; Adjutant/Paymaster, George Dutcher; Sgt. at Arms, Ellis Hobart; Judge Advocate, Dave Bolles; Chaplain, John Fitzgerald II; Trustees – Warren Nau, Leslie Schell and Rev. Harmon Manderville.

(A personal note: we had the honor of sitting at the same table with Mr. and Mrs. Andy and Lisa Mazzanti, of Springville, who are connected with the printing industry, thus making for a great conversational evening. Mr. Mazzanti – in addition to being a Marine – is a member of the Governor’s Sportsmen’s Advisory Council.)

HALLOWEEN PARTY WINNERS: A Halloween parade and party, sponsored by the American Legion Post 86 and the Susquehanna Lions Club on October 27, drew a large crowd – mostly in costumes – that formed at the Veterans Memorial Board in the Shops Plaza. The "paraders," led by the Susquehanna Community High School Band (also in costumes) marched to the Susquehanna Firemen’s Hall, where the children – after the awards were handed out – were treated to cider and doughnuts, hosted by the Auxiliary of Post 86. Cash prizes were given to over 25 children, donated by the Lions and Legionnaires.

The top winners were: Grand Prize – Chelsea Ayres as "Dorothy"; Second – Chris Ayres as "Scarecrow"; Cutest – Alexia Presley as an "Angel"; Most Creative – Kayle Decker as "Sponge Bob"; Littlest – Rachel Ballard as a "Duck"; Scariest – Nicholas Lloyd as "Troll".

(Included in the more than 100 children parading, several adults were "neatly" dressed; including a "NUN," whose name has been held out – by request.

I NEED SOME HELP: I have a large photo of the Laurel Hill Academy basketball team of 1967-1968. I do have the names of the players. They were coached by the late Jimmy Hurley. What I need is a little history of the team during those years. Any volunteers?

HATS OFF to Blue Ridge Girls, who ended their volleyball season with a 16 win, one loss record. Undefeated in the regular season, the lone loss came at the hands of Williamson in the opening round of the PIAA Class A tourney. Coach Diane Dean remarked, "We can’t be prouder of our girls, they did a great job all year."

IN THE MAIL: Had a nice letter from the Clarence (Izzy) Benson family, of Lexington, NC. The former residents are looking forward to our upcoming, week-long activities to be held July 12 through the 19th, the borough’s 150th birthday. Mr. Benson asked, "Why not hold the annual dinner/dance reunion of the Susquehanna/Oakland/Lanesboro graduates during the week-long observance in July?" (There you have it, Izzy. Will let you know if the SOL committee can change the date from June to July.)

BLUE RIDGE LL NEEDS HELP: Blue Ridge Little League is soliciting funds for lights on the Hallstead Boro Little League softball field, located on Route 11. Susquehanna Boro Little League Field installed lights in 2001. Tax-deductible donations can be made to: Blue Ridge Little League, c/o Angie Wolf, P.O. Box 34, Hallstead, PA 18822.

PACE/PACENET applications available: Income limits for individuals is $14,000; for married couples, $17,500. For PACENET: between $14,000 and $17,000 for a single person; between $17,200 and $20,200 for married couples. PACE seniors can get their prescriptions for $6.00. For more information call toll-free, 1-800-225-7223.

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Straight From Starrucca

Those of you interested in the habitat management and population trend of our state bird, the ruffed grouse, will hear a wildlife biologist from the Ruffed Grouse Society speak on these subjects with a slide presentation at the Heritage Valley Center, Mayfield, November 20 at 7 p.m.

Starrucca Borough landowners, please send in the survey that you received recently, even if the deadline is passed. Everyone’s input is needed in order to augment the comprehensive plan now in committee. Remember all comments are confidential.

Sixteen senior citizens were present at meeting last Wednesday. After a potluck dinner and a business meeting, Ed Sidorski and I gave some humorous stories, then bingo was played. Our next meeting will be December 12. We will have turkey and whatever potluck appears. Around three hundred luminaries will line the borough roads Christmas Eve, a project of the seniors.

A week ago Sunday, to celebrate her daughter Mary Pat Costello’s birthday, Doris Davidson, Charlie Levchak, Brent Upright, Jim and Debbie Kelly, Ruth and Lee Slocum and little Johnny all got together and treated Mary Pat to a lovely and lively birthday dinner.

Gladys Stephens stopped by recently for a pleasant visit. She’s getting all her calls in before she hibernates for the winter.

A combined Thanksgiving service will be held at the Baptist Church, November 27, at 7 p.m. Brian Lucas, Pastor of the Methodist Church, will give the sermon. Refreshments will be served afterwards. On Sunday, November 24, there will be a pulpit exchange between pastor Lucas and Pastor John Grove of the Baptist Church.

Imagine someone running from Starrucca to Susquehanna, back again, then to Stevens Point, and back again to Starrucca. This approximates the twenty-six mile run that Julie Rhone Hargett participated in, in Washington, DC in October, when she was one in 18,000 runners in the AIDS marathon. She was one in the first 10,000 at the finish. Congratulations, Julie.


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Food For Thought

Since the 1950’s vegetable oils and margarine based on vegetable oils have been pushed on the American public, and animal based fats and oils have been represented as harmful.

The reasons we have been advised to eat less butter, red meat, eggs, and all foods associated with animal fats was for prevention of heart disease and high cholesterol which was thought to cause heart disease.

We were told to eat less fat altogether, and to eat mostly fat that was polyunsaturated, and vegetable based, such as margarine and shortening.

Most Americans followed this regimen. Many still do. However, heart disease has continued to rise. Many of us, particularly those with weight problems as well as heart or cholesterol problems began to avoid fats altogether. Heart disease still continued to rise.

Recently, some of the original research from the 1950’s on this topic have been reviewed. In 1954, a young Russian researcher named David Kritchevsky published research on the effects of feeding cholesterol to rabbits. Adding cholesterol to a rabbit’s diet caused the rabbit to develop atheroschlerotic plaques which blocked the arteries and caused heart disease in rabbits. From this research, it was extrapolated that saturated fats were harmful and polyunsaturated fats were beneficial.

In the same time frame, other scientists were studying saturated fats, such as butter and coconut oil, and monosaturated fats, such as olive oil, palm oil, and lard. They were also studying the sudden rise in heart disease in western society. In 1910, heart disease caused 3,000 deaths per year. By 1960, it caused 500,000. And has continued to rise.

To what can we attribute this change?

There were many factors contributing to the increasing mortality by heart disease. Improved sanitation, and the advent of antibiotic use had greatly decreased the rate of death from infectious disease. Improved housing, and improved transportation were also contributing factors. All allowed people to live longer. The last factor studied was change in diet.

Our diet included much more processed food. More grain. More vegetable based fat.

Statistically, Americans were eating more margarine, shortening, and polyunsaturated fats, and processed meats and cheeses. Some scientists concluded that we needed to return to a more traditional diet to control the rising rate of heart disease.

Other research at the time confirmed this theory. Studies of other more vegetarian cultures revealed similar rates of arterial plaque, with lower rates of heart disease. This lead to the conclusion that thickening of arterial walls is a natural process, totally unrelated to diet or disease.

By 1956, the American Heart Association, and the AMA were fully behind the vegetable oil fat fad, with corn oil being the predominant choice for lowering cholesterol. (In the 1990’s, the choice was changed to canola oil.) TV ad campaigns, magazine ads, all touted vegetable oils and grain products for heart health.

Meanwhile, research was still failing to link high cholesterol and heart disease, in fact it was showing that as many people with low cholesterol had heart disease as those with high cholesterol. In fact, many of the head researchers of these studies were dying from heart disease themselves.

When comparisons were made between the traditional American diet in the early 1900’s and the diet in the 1960’s, early Americans ate at least three times as much saturated fats.

They consumed three times as many eggs, two times as much butter. The modern diet had a similar amount of shortening, but four times as much margarine and three times as much vegetable oil. Cold cereal had become the number one breakfast food. Bread was now bought in the store, not made in the home. Soy was now the number one source of vegetable oil.

Proctor & Gamble had acquired the US patent rights to hydrogenation in 1909. Hydrogenation is a process of saturating fats with hydrogen atoms to make them more or less solid at room temperature. This polyunsaturating vegetable oils. It is a process that changes the whole nature of the fats, by changing the direction of the bonds. It is this process that produces the currently controversial "trans" fats.

The human body can utilize very few trans fats, in very limited amounts. It can utilize the trans fats normally found in the normal amounts in naturally occurring fats, such as butter. The human body cannot utilize the trans fats in margarine, and shortenings and in processed foods.

Other studies performed during the same time frame showed that plaque in the arteries was not the real problem with heart disease, but rather the tendency to form blood clots which then blocked the restricted arteries. Trans fats tend to increase blood clotting, thus significantly contributing to heart disease, not reducing it.

So we have been hyped again. Cholesterol is studied by feeding it to a rabbit. Cholesterol is an animal fat product. Rabbits are vegetarians. When the rabbit develops plaque in it’s arteries, the study is extrapolated to humans, to not consume cholesterol. (Why don’t we do a study feeding people only rabbit food and see if it cleans out the arteries?)

Then when studies showed the harmful affects of trans fats, the American Heart Association in 1968, formulated a statement warning the public about trans fats and cholesterol. However, this warning was never made public because the shortening industry, lead by Proctor & Gamble had it repressed.

So for more than 30 years the American public has been told to consume more polyunsaturated fats to prevent heart disease, and has had no significant reduction in mortality from heart disease. Furthermore, we have seen a significant rise in obesity, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and other chronic debilitating disease.

The unspoken resolution to this dilemma is: Eat natural, traditional foods, including fats. Avoid overly processed foods, especially those containing polyunsaturated fats and partially hydrogenated fats, such as margarine, shortening, and foods containing these things, like crackers and snack cakes. Avoid totally artificial foods such as non-fat fats, and artificial sweeteners, such as diet salad dressings, fat free cookies.

Think about what you are putting into your mouth. That ice cream commercial that asks why you would eat ingredients that you cannot pronounce really says it all.

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