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Issue Home November 26, 2002 Site Home

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

Along The Way... With P. Jay

The 2003 Political Campaign Has Begun

It’s been about six months since tremors started echoing across the Endless Mountains that a move was afoot to oust the present members of the Susquehanna County Board of Commissioners.

It began with a group of influential Susquehanna County politicians from both political parties who were tired of being embarrassed by the actions of the present commissioners. Fueled by reports of lifetime health benefits for elected officials after eight years in office, and heavy financial losses in the county’s retirement fund, the hunt is on for some fresh faces that could take the reigns and move the county forward into the new century.

Perhaps the clincher was the incredulous behavior of Commissioner Gary Marcho who moved into the top seat on the Board of Commissioners after he was appointed to replace the late Joan Stalter. With all due respect to Frank Sinatra, it did not take Gary Marcho long to do things his way.

Who can forget his Halloween Caper? One of the most important public meetings of the year going on in the commissioners’ office is adjourned by Mr. Marcho because some of the principles involved in the issue at hand had not yet arrived. Mr. Marcho said the meeting would reconvene at 11 a.m. and it did. Only Mr. Marcho was not there. Later he would acknowledge reports that he had taken his grandchildren Halloweening.

Then there was the time he took half the office staff from the commissioners’ office away from their desks for a boat ride on beautiful Lake Wallenpaupack. Or the time he was camping at the Bloomsburg Fair while another important commissioners’ meeting had to be canceled for lack of a quorum. Ah, yes, perhaps the end is near, but Marcho Man can always say he did things his way.

Fed up to here with the commissioners’ self-indulging actions and with the county emerging as the laughing stock of the Northern Tier, unhappy campers throughout the county tiptoed to the nearest window, raised it, and yelled, "I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore." (Actually Peter Finch yelled it in the movie, "Network," but you get the point.)

Anyhow, a dissident group calling itself "Citizens for Smaller Government" drew first blood with a series of classified ads in last week’s edition of Mulligan’s Shopping Guide. The first ad I spotted in the paper read: Susquehanna County Commissioners get full pension benefits after eight years of service. Wish we could get the same benefits. Paid for by Citizens for Smaller Government.

The ads get worse or better depending on your personal feeling on the issue. Another one reads: Do you get paid to drive to work? The Susquehanna County Commissioners do. Watch our taxes go up. Paid for by Citizens for Smaller Government.

They tell me there are 20 of these little messages in the shopping guide. But then, who’s counting? Ready for one last ad? It reads: Susquehanna County spends over $13 million but the commissioners only meet twice a month. Watch our taxes go up. Paid for by Citizens for Smaller Government.

Will these ads be effective? Nobody asked me but if they had, I would probably have replied, "Hell, no!" Oh, word of mouth is focusing attention on them but wouldn’t it have been hilarious if the sponsors resurrected the old Burma Shave ads that dotted highways across the country years ago? Those roadside signs were cute and everyone looked for them and read them. Individual signs meticulously spaced along the roadside offered messages like: The one who drives…When he’s been drinking…Depends on you…To do his thinking…Burma Shave.

If only we could roll back the clock, perhaps we would see Burma Shave signs in Susquehanna County.

With tongue in cheek, here are a couple of eye-catching phrases that might have been appropriate for Burma Shave signs: They may not be… Moe, Curly and Larry…But our tax dollars are being wasted…By Lee, Cal and Gary…Burma Shave. Or: With what they do…To spending plans…Should make the commissioners…Also rans…Burma Shave. One more: The sky is blue…The earth is brown…Or is that our commissioners…Spreading something around…Burma Shave. Have a great Thanksgiving Holiday!

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Slices of Life

Me And My Shadow

Mrs. Morris is my helper today. For some reason she thinks she needs to be right with me as I’ve been working on publicity for our church’s Christmas Department Store that is coming up the first Saturday in December. When I work at the computer, she comes in the office and jumps up in my easy (writing) chair to take a nap. However, I didn’t stay there very long as I was doing a short piece, and as soon as I went back to the kitchen table, which is my layout area, there she was at my heels – meowing. If I’m in the kitchen, she thinks she should be eating. I finally gave her a few chunks of roast beef to quiet her down.

I came into the living room to retrieve an advertisement I was working on last night. She came in and jumped up on the couch. There she found one of my ubiquitous Bic pens and sparred with that for sometime before deciding to take a bath and a nap. In between times she’s made several trips outside to check the weather, but because it doesn’t change from one time to the next, she doesn’t stay long.

"Look at Rudy," I chided. "Rudy isn’t afraid of a little cold weather. He’s running around out there having a good time." Rudy is our neighbor’s new cat, and the funny thing about Rudy is that he is as ambitious and active as my neighbor. And Mrs. Morris is as sedentary and round as I am. That seems to bear out the old saying that pets take on the personalities of their owners.

But she definitely wants to be with me today. The first thing this morning as I was getting out of the bathtub, I saw this white paw reaching under the closed door. (Someone got a little over zealous when shortening the door to fit over a (then) new rug.) I dropped the end of my bath towel on the floor near the door. It immediately started to disappear under the door. Because the towel was new and I knew it wouldn’t stand the toenail test, I didn’t continue that game for long.

From that time on, she followed me all day. I think it has something to do with the fact that there were people in and out for five days as my friend Gail and her family were back in the Montrose area when their mother passed away last week. While Mrs. Morris knows and loves Gail, she wasn’t so sure she wanted to be with the others. She would sneak off and find a secure napping place in an upstairs bedroom. But today she has me all to herself and she’s not going to let me get very far away.

Pets probably should just be pets, but they tend to become more than that. They are our children, friends, confidants, and sometime protectors.

I’m trying to figure out a way to spend some winter months in the Chicago area to be near my daughter and son-in-law, and the whole plan revolves around doing it in such a way that Mrs. Morris can be with me. Silly, I know, but no less necessary. For the friendship and comfort she gives me, I will not send her off to be boarded in a strange place. It will all work out I’m sure and wherever we are, Mrs. Morris and I will live happily ever after.

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100 Years Ago – 1902-2002

BRIDGEWATER TWP.: Samuel D. Warriner, of Wilkesbarre, has purchased the farm of Mrs. B.H. Mulford for $6000. He is a son of Rev. E.A. Warriner and is Superintendent of the Lehigh Valley Coal Company. It is a fine, large farm in good condition and with a fishpond on it. It is about 2 1/2 miles northeast of Montrose. AND: A.H. Pickering raised his big barn for the second time Monday; the wind leveled it after the first raising.

SUSQUEHANNA: Homer E. Spencer, miller, has purchased the "Transcript" building. The paper will return to its old quarters on Euclid Avenue. AND: Harry, son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Kane, on Friday afternoon, underwent a successful operation for appendicitis. He will probably recover.

LAKEVIEW: Frank Benson is building a fine sugar house.

SOUTH GIBSON: Henry Manzer, one of the best known residents of this county, died at his home on Nov. 17. He was nearly 83 years of age. Deceased was born in Otsego, NY, Dec. 14, 1819. He was the son of Lawrence and Polly (Price) Manzer. On Feb. 22, 1840, he was married in South Gibson to Mindwell Sparks, who was born in Sullivan Co., NY. The pair rounded out over 60 years together and Mrs. Manzer survives her husband. To them were born five children: Charles H., Truman C., Charity, Harriet E. and Mary. The latter two died in early life. Mr. Manzer was a farmer and at the outbreak of the Civil War, on Aug. 13, 1861, at Harrisburg, enlisted and became sergeant of Co. M, Fourth Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry. He participated in all the battles and skirmishes of this regiment. In June 1862, he was injured by a horse falling on him at Harrison Landing, and was confined in hospitals at Blackwell's Island, NY, and Washington D.C., for nearly four months. He was honorably discharged on Feb. 20, 1864, at Alexandria, VA. His brother, Horatio, served in the union army and his grandfather, Lawrence Manzer, participated in the War of 1812. Mr. Manzer's son, Charles H., enlisted in the same company with him and died in the service in 1861, at Georgetown, D.C. After the war Mr. Manzer resumed farming. He was a member of A.J. Roper Post, No. 452 and always took a great interest in Grand Army affairs.

FAIRDALE: Report of Fairdale School for month ending Nov. 14. Names of pupils receiving 100 % in spelling: Mattie Hewitt, Carrie Shelp, Pearl Fowler, Fannie Shelp, Lillian Rosenkrans, Herman Olmstead, Wilbur Hewitt, Harry Clark, Ethel Sterling. Those having an average of 90 %: Carrie Shelp, Pearl Fowler. Not absent: Lee Robinson, Fannie Shelp, Blennie Very. Nellie Hewitt, Teacher.

MONTROSE: Beginning with Monday, Nov. 24th, the Montrose Bell Telephone exchange is now giving day and night service, Sundays included. The operators are Miss Mildred Holbrook, Bertha Place, day service, and Miss Janet McCausland, night service. Stacy Oakley, manager of the Western Union Telegraph, looks after the messenger service.

NORTH JACKSON: Misses Lena and Mabelle, daughters of Mr. and Mrs. C.F. Whitney, had a miraculous escape from death on Saturday morning. While driving across the D. & H. tracks, a short distance south of the Lanesboro station, they were struck by the northbound express and sent flying by the trackside. They were but little injured. The horse ran away but was unharmed and the wagon was smashed to kindlings.

NEW MILFORD: F.N. Gillespie has sold his mill property and lease of land on which it is located to A.C. Crossley, of Starrucca, who will locate his stick factory here. We understand that the transfer of property will be completed this week and the work of remodeling the building will be started at once. In the spring we are informed that a $5000 plant will be erected. From 25 to 40 hands will be employed.

FOREST CITY: A deal of great importance to Forest City has, it is reported, just been consummated, whereby the Hillside Coal and Iron Co. will mine the coal owned by the Delaware and Hudson in and above Forest City. The Delaware and Hudson gets in return some Erie land down the valley.

OWEGO, NY: A telegraphic machine has been invented by Louis Myers, of Owego, which may revolutionize the methods of sending of messages. The new transmitter, in general appearance, resembles a typewriter and is so constructed that anyone, without a knowledge of telegraphy, can send messages with complete accuracy and with greater speed than the most expert operators of the present system.

BIRCHARDVILLE: Mr. Winner, who drives the stage from Friendsville to Montrose, had the misfortune to lose one of his horses Friday evening. He had just arrived at the postoffice here when the horse dropped dead in the harness.

ELK LAKE:The Shaner barn, which was burned last week, had an insurance of about $400 on the contents and $100 on the building. A horse and colt were burned to death and seven tons of hay, a quantity of oats, rye and buckwheat straw, a carriage, cutter, harnesses and many other valuable articles were consumed. It was reported that human bones were discovered in the ashes, but the reliability of the statement is doubted.

NEWS BRIEFS: The Scranton Tribune says: The transportation of freight and coal over Lackawanna railroad since the coal strike was declared off has been the largest in the history of the company, and the work has been handled without delay or accident. The company is moving 1000 carloads of freight and coal east, and 1000 west from Scranton every day. All this, in addition to the immense amount of passenger business that is being handled. AND: Miss Blackman's history [of Susquehanna County] gives the number of Civil war soldiers accredited to this county as 3,100 and from best possible information there are about 850 still living. Authentic figures as to the number enlisting from this county is hard to obtain, as a great many enrolled outside the county. AND: A weather prophet says that the real cold weather won't set in before the middle of next month, and perhaps not then, for the reason that snakes are still to be seen on top of ground. He says that the ophidian tribe invariably goes into hibernation for the winter at least two months prior to the advent of real frigid weather. That there will be no snow he regards as certain from the fact that the mountain grass and other wild growth is not high enough to insure feed to the birds of the woods, and nature, he argues, is not cruel enough to starve the innocent things.

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AMERICAN LEGION POST 86 Observes Veterans Day: on Monday, November 11, members of the Strider-Teskey Post 86, American Legion, not only observed Veterans Day at the monuments and service board, but also entertained veterans of the Post with beverages and food.

Services at the veterans monuments were held by Post members of 86 and the Sons of the Legion. Reading excerpts from the American Legion Ritual, veterans were remembered with patriotic programs, and with messages read by Commander Peter Janicelli, Chaplain Stan Lindow, Jesse Gow and Lou Parrillo.

Conducting the Veterans Day service (l-r) were: standing – Roger Williams, John Deakin, Britt Cresse, Peter Janicelli, Jesse Gow; seated – Lou Parrillo, Stan Lindow, John Bronchella.

Although the weather was a bit cloudy, a fair number of people attended the short ceremony. Forming the Honor Guard were Roger Williams, Britt Cresse, John Deakin and Bill Deakin.

ISN’T IT ABOUT TIME: that we (someone from Susquehanna, Oakland or Lanesboro) have someone representing us in the courthouse/county seat or any other elected position? It’s been quite some time since a local resident aspired for a county office. According to a recent news release, the jobs pay quite well. For example: the commissioners get over $40,000 a year for a four-year term. Not bad at all. Other posts that pay well include: treasurer, prothonotary, sheriff, recorder of deeds, coroner (and the pensions are "pretty good" too). I understand that we "might" have a Susquehanna resident throwing their hat in the ring for a commissioner’s post. (More on that later.) I do know that Jim Jennings plans on being a candidate for county commissioner. Jim, you know, is our county "watchdog" and is doing a very good job watching the county operations, especially those of the present commissioners. He has been – for several years – very active in watching the tax structure of the county.

A REALLY Sorry Affair: I recently read an article headed, "Century-old law makes disabled veterans pay for disability compensation." A 111-year old law that forces disabled military retirees to give up a dollar of their armed services retirement pay for every dollar they receive in disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs will be the main subject when House members return to Washington. Many veterans are upset with the situation and are demanding that the law be changed, immediately. "It’s not fair," veterans say, "that we should give up some of our money for disabilities suffered in the war."

A LONG TIME COMING: World War II veterans learned recently they are about a year and a half away from seeing the completion of their War Memorial on the National Mall. The memorial will be dedicated on Saturday, May 29, 2004. No doubt, many WW2 vets will attend the dedication, which could be the last great gathering of WW2 vets in this country. A sad note, "Of the 16 million citizens who served in uniform in WW2, fewer than four million are expected to be alive when the memorial is dedicated."

IT’S GETTING LATE! Wouldn’t you like to see your name – and ad – in our 150-year Centennial Book? The book will contain some very interesting articles. It certainly will be a "treasure" to save and hand down to your children, grandchildren, etc. Call me (Lou Parrillo, 853–3835), we can help you. Do not miss this opportunity to have your name and/or ad in this special memorabilia book.

DOCTORS TOLD "Hang On": Governor-elect Ed Rendell told the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association’s 78th annual convention at the Radisson at Lackawanna Station Hotel that doctors should "hang on" because he would outline his plan to reform the state’s medical malpractice insurance system soon.

HELP FOR SMOKERS: The American Cancer Society and the Pennsylvania Department of Health have joined together to launch the Pennsylvania Free Quitline in conjunction with the society’s Great American Smokeout. For more information on how to quit smoking call the Quitline at 1-877-724-1090.

HEALTH PLAN: Pennsylvania has created a new program called adultBasic that will help some 40,000 Pennsylvania adults currently without health benefits. Thousands of Pennsylvanians work in jobs where they can’t get health benefits and don’t earn enough to purchase health insurance for themselves or their children.

Similar to the children’s health insurance program, or CHIP, which covers children, the new adultBasic program helps working adults and their families who do not have health insurance and meet certain eligibility requirements. For more information call Rep. Gaynor Cawley, of Scranton, at 347-0647 or your local state representative.

A FOOTBALL COACH walked into the locker room before a game, looked at his star player and said, "I’m not supposed to let you play since you failed math, but we need you in there. So I have to ask you a math question. If you get it right, you can play."

The player agreed. The coach looked into his eyes and said, "OK, concentrate hard and answer this question: what is two plus two?"

The player thought for a moment and answered, "Four."

"Did you say four?" the coach exclaimed, excited that the player answered correctly. Suddenly all the other players began screaming, "Come on, coach. Give him another chance!"

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Straight From Starrucca

The annual Christmas party of postal workers, called "Quality Work Life Employee Involvement" was held Wednesday night, November 20, with Art Kopp, Starrucca rural carrier, in charge.

Andrea Knox and sons, Ethan and Connor were visitors at the home of her mother, Barbara Glover and Roger recently.

On Sunday, November 24, there was a pulpit exchange between Pastor John Grove of the Starrucca and Herrick Center Baptist Churches and Pastor Brian Lucas of the Thompson Charge of Methodist Churches.

Thanksgiving eve there will be a combined service of Baptists and Methodists, held in the Baptist Church at 7 p.m. Refreshments follow.

Last Saturday I attended a bridal shower for my niece in Scranton. The procedure was a bit different from the usual shower, as we were told not to wrap our gifts. It turned out very well, as all the gifts were displayed with your card attached, and you leisurely walked around and looked at them. Saved time and all that trouble of wrapping paper and ribbon.

This has been a most unusual week in Starrucca. On Monday the 18th, after a funeral service in West Pittston, Ralph Gunderson, husband of Doris, was laid to rest in the Starrucca Cemetery, with a hot luncheon in the Baptist Church social rooms. The Gundersons lived on the old Stearns homestead on King Hill and recently moved when Doris was given a Pastorate in West Pittston.

Tuesday, November 19, the funeral service for Robert Williams was held in the Baptist Church, with standing room only for friends and relatives. Officiating clergy was Pastor John Grove. Interment was in Starrucca Cemetery, with dinner following. My condolences to the whole family.

Wednesday, November 20, after spending five years in a Vestal, NY nursing home, Minnie Brooker’s life came to a merciful end. Services for her were held in the Methodist Church, with Pastor Brian Lucas in charge. I also had a few words to say, garnered from an interview I had with her years ago. She was interred beside her husband, Allen. Dinner was served in the Baptist Church social rooms. Minnie was our oldest Methodist Church member, and was secretary of the Women’s Society for 30 years. She was a woman who survived many trials and tribulations because of her deep faith in a living God, in whose arms she now rests. Again, my sympathy to the entire family.


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