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Issue Home December 17, 2002 Site Home

Hop Bottom Celebrates Christmas
Susky Boro "Lights Up"
Big Bucks Bingo At PACT Meetings
2003 Dog Licenses Now On Sale
Habitat Dedication In Susquehanna
Jo Gillette Is Local Success!
Blue Ridge Senior Center Update
Former Local Has Two New Books
She's A Swimmer!
PA Tobacco Sales To Kids Drops

Hop Bottom Celebrates Christmas

More than 50 residents of the Borough of Hop Bottom joined together for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony on December 1 at 7:00 PM. Gathering on the grass island on Route #11 by the blinker light at it's intersection with Main Street, it was noted that the town tree has grown to a height of almost 14 feet reaching into the sky. Families with young children and a number of local officials, including Janice Webster, President of Hop Bottom Borough Council, waited for the arrival of Santa Claus. The merry, not-so-elfin holiday figure showed up after hitching a ride on one of the Hop Bottom Hose Company's fire trucks.

Rev. Kim Bode of the Borough's Grace Lutheran Church claimed not to be the coordinator of the event, but good-naturedly led the group with a few Christmas carols and a prayer.

The Borough Mayor, Paul Henry, "threw the switch" to light the tree, as Santa went through the crowd shaking hands and sharing smiles inviting all to join him at the Fire Hall for hot beverages and cookies.

On December 1, Brent and Blake Reed shared time at the Nativity Scene on the Route #11 island in Hop Bottom.

However, the true centerpiece for the occasion was the life-sized Nativity Crèche. It was with wonder and awe that children and adults alike reflected on the scene depicting the birth of the child Jesus in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. Those traveling through this part of Susquehanna County at Christmas time will be pleasantly greeted by the sight of the tree and the nativity scene that remind everyone of the reason for this season.

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Susky Boro "Lights Up"

Some very hardy souls braved the frigid weather to attend the fourth annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in front of the Veterans’ Service Board in Susquehanna on Friday, December 6.

Emcee Ward Stanford welcomed those attending the evening’s program, and turned the microphone over to Rev. Ken Bitler. Rev. Bitler’s prayer noted that, in these times, Jesus’ light is needed to vanquish darkness from our community and from the world.

The Susquehanna Community Elementary chorus performs Christmas carols at the tree lighting ceremony.

Cub Scout Pack 81 led the Pledge of Allegiance, assisted by leaders Kathleen Hilling and Judy Boerner. The Scouts made a presentation of wreaths they had made as a den project, to add cheer to the holiday.

Mr. Stanford then led the gathering in singing the Star Spangled Banner, and introduced the Susquehanna Community Elementary School chorus, who sang several carols under the direction of Mrs. Updyke. They were followed by a folk group from St. John’s Church.

Borough council president Ron Whitehead had the honor of "hitting the switch" to turn on the lights on the tree in front of the Service Board. Mr. Whitehead extended Mayor Kelly’s apologies for being unable to attend, and thanked the Susquehanna Community Development Association for hosting the ceremony. He commended the community for their spirit of giving, not only at Christmas, but at other times during the year when there was a need. "I’m proud to be part of this community," he said, and asked that those serving in the military be remembered in everyone’s prayers.

President of the merchants’ association Chet Walker invited all to partake of hot chocolate and cookies at the fire hall, following the ceremony. He thanked all of the groups and individuals who had contributed to the festivities. "This is just an example of what we can do," he said, and added that the association looks forward to making next year’s ceremony "bigger and better."

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Big Bucks Bingo At PACT Meetings

The Susquehanna County Family Community Center in New Milford has been hosting "Big Bucks" Bingo Nite and Pizza Party PACT's (Parent and Child Together Time). On December 4, there was a full house of families who ate pizza and played bingo. Winners get a Susquehanna County Family $5.00 Buck that they can turn in for a small prize, or let them accumulate to get a bigger prize. Prizes consist of school supplies, stuffed animals, games and books. It is great fun for kids and adults of all ages.

Eddie Proppe, Susquehanna checks over the prizes he can win at Susquehanna County Family Community Center's "Big Bucks" Bingo Nite.

Christmas PACT will be "Santa and a Sundae" on Friday, December 20, 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Susquehanna County Family Community Center, Joines Building, Junction Rts. 11 & 706, New Milford. This PACT activity was so successful last year it was decided to make it a tradition. Enjoy a make-it-yourself sundae while Santa reads some stories and the elves help to pass out some surprises that you won't want to miss.

For more information reservations, call Susquehanna County Literacy at 278-9027 or 465-2880.

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2003 Dog Licenses Now On Sale

Treasurer, Cathy Benedict holding Rusty

Susquehanna County Treasurer, Cathy Benedict, announces that 2003 Dog licenses are now on sale in the treasurer's office. As of 12/12/2002, we still do not have our shipment of tags from the state supplier, however you may send in your application with the proper fee and the tag will be mailed to you at the expense of the Department of Agriculture. You may check our website or call 278-4600 x130 or x132 for the status of the delivery of tags.

Dog licenses must be purchased by January 1st of each year for all dogs 3 months and older. Licenses are only good one year for the county in which the dog resides. You must be 65 to qualify for the senior citizen discount. You must have proof of a disability to qualify for a disability discount - as an SSDI card.

For the convenience of the citizens of Susquehanna County we have sub-agents who sell dog licenses around the county from mid-January until June 30. Call the above phone for an agent near you.

If you find a lost dog, please note that the contact name and number on the back of the tag is the treasurer's and not the owner's. Please call the treasurer(278-4600x130), the humane society(278-1228)or, after business hours, the county EMA (278-3841) for owner information. You may also check our website for a list of dog owners.

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Habitat Dedication In Susquehanna

Susquehanna Mayor Roberta Kelly, and Fred Johnson, pastor of the First Baptist Church in the Depot, joined with Pearl Benson in dedicating Ms. Benson's house on West Main Street, the second completed project of Habitat for Humanity of Susquehanna County. Mayor Kelly said she would "do anything to help" Habitat's efforts in the community, which, when the house is sold to Ms. Benson, will benefit by resuming its place on the tax rolls.

The Benson family and just a few of the happy volunteers.

Pastor Johnson offered a welcoming prayer that the house and the Benson family will also benefit each other, show the value of caring in this community, and help to glorify the Almighty through the work of Habitat for Humanity.

George Hill, founder of the county affiliate of Habitat, led the dedication gathering that provided a housewarming, and a heartwarming welcome to Ms. Benson and her family from all of their co-workers who have put in hundreds of hours apiece over two years to make this old house a home. The extended Benson family had a significant share in that work, and they were all recognized by Mr. Hill, and by Priscilla Allen, chair of Habitat's Family Support arm, who has helped to guide the project to completion and to prepare the family to accept their new responsibilities.

Ms. Benson read a letter she wrote some months ago expressing her gratitude, and her pride in Habitat's -- and her own -- accomplishment. "[My life] was so hard it seemed like a never-ending battle and now everything is working out for the best," she wrote. "Habitat for Humanity is an organization that seems too good to be true; but it is true, and these are people who really care about people."

It was a wet and dreary day, and there was promise of snow, but inside the Benson family's new home there was plenty of warmth and light among the many workers and family members who wished Ms. Benson well. Among them were Ed Phoenix, Emerson Whitehead, Jim and Bette Rae Bucci, Ted Ahrends, Todd Moffet, and Gary Housel, thinking of all the others who have given their time and energy to the project. Many thought of Dave Ambrose, project leader at the outset, who died suddenly after getting everything started. The ceremony was dedicated to his memory.

A tradition in Habitat for Humanity is that new partner families are presented with a Bible at the dedication of their new home. The Missionary Society of the First Congregational Church of Harford provided the Bible, which was presented to Ms. Benson by Marcia Housel, President of the society.

A Christian-based, non-denominational charity, Habitat for Humanity seeks to make "simple, decent houses" available to families who need them and are willing to work for them. Houses are sold at cost, interest free, to qualifying applicants. The Susquehanna County affiliate is looking for properties for building or renovation, and seeking applications from families. The Borough of Susquehanna and the Benson family are now partners with Habitat, and, with the support of Mayor Kelly and the Borough government, Habitat's work can continue to flourish in this struggling community.

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Jo Gillette Is Local Success!

Jo Gilette, Great Bend, completed her GED at the TREHAB Learning Center, then went on to pursue training as a medical assistant.

Jo Gillette, Great Bend, has come a long way in one and a half years. Jo entered TREHAB's WIA Dislocated Worker Program in August, 2001. A few weeks earlier, she had been laid off from Flextronics International, Inc., in Conklin, NY.

She came to TREHAB interested in getting her General Equivalency Diploma (GED), as she had never finished high school. For months she worked hard at the TREHAB Learning Center in Great Bend to improve her skill levels in preparation for the GED test. She took the test in early November – and passed.

After looking into various professions and job opportunities, Jo decided to pursue training to become a medical assistant. She attended Allied Medical and Technical Careers in Scranton for six months, passing all her courses. She then did a two-month externship at Endless Mountains Health Systems in Montrose to get hands-on experience. In early October, Jo began working for the United Health Services Hospitals in Binghamton, NY, as a medical assistant in the laboratory.

"Jo truly displays the qualities of perseverance and determination," says Cambria Ely, TREHAB's Career Advisor at the Learning Center in Great Bend. "Her hard work and great attitude have proved to be a winning combination to get her where she wants to be."

Jo is currently working full-time and also studying to take the test to become a fully certified medical assistant.

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Blue Ridge Senior Center Update

Welcome to Great Bend and the Blue Ridge Senior Center. It's the fun place!

I think you all know how much we love food. Well Ed Collins ( Judy's hubby) made some delicious soups - yes homemade clam chowder ( both kinds, Manhattan and New England), chicken soup, chili, and home made biscuits. There was a large group out and we could have our choice of any or all, then homemade rice pudding, made by Alice Smith and Audrey Lahoda. Everybody went home so full and satisfied.

Had another "dirty bingo" party. Pizza, and bingo, you know how dirty bingo works, it's a laugh a minute.

Chances for our beautiful quilt were sold in the People's Bank lobby and not long ago we had the drawing; the winner was Irene Conklin.

Our rooms are decorated for fall and Halloween, colorful leaves, pumpkins and even a pumpkin tree. It looks very festive.

Halloween - a time for dressing up and trick or treating. No one dressed up this year for our party, but we had a great time anyhow. The table decorations were especially nice, Marion Neimire made some outstanding table centerpieces. There were black cats, witches, pumpkins, very clever and admired by all. Also favors were by each place setting, they were filled with candies and made by Linda Potter. It was a fun day, a covered dish lunch, games, bingo ,prizes - much laughter. On that day the meals on wheels take outs had adorable Halloween favors made by Mary White, Doris Florence, Maron Meimier and Alice Smith. A fitting end to October.

Did I tell you Alice Gilleran has been here helping out, while Betty K. is away. Well Alice keeps on our toes, not only do we get our tummies full, but Alice G. is improving our minds. I am full of facts and figures; ask me about the Statue of Liberty or Minnesota, I have answers. There is usually a quiz or a fact sheet. Keep it up, we are never too old to learn.

On election day a group went to Humbies for breakfast. We were closed.

No holiday rivals Thanksgiving in its simple rituals of family and food, and speaking of food - "Why did I eat so much?" "Where is the Alka-Seltzer?" Yes, it was turkey time here at the center, a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings from turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie. Had a record number of people out. It was so good to see Helen Randall, she and son, Richard have been with us several times lately. We had music by Charlotte Wescott at the organ, sang a couple songs, a holiday poem was read and then the feast.

We were closed several times during November, due to elections, veterans day and the Thanksgiving holiday week-end. One of the special things during the month was a "mystery trip." David Hughes took a van load of people to a candle factory in Fenton, NY. They were given a demonstration on candle making, how the color is put and adding the scent, etc. The shop had many items to sell besides the candles. I was told it was a wonderful day and a complete surprise.

Mary Jayne Westbrook spoke about arthritis treatment one day. Many are afflicted with this aliment and some good tips were given.

The year is almost over; as I write this I am thinking of Christmas. At this time I send Holiday Greetings to all.

Take care, be with you in 2003!

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Former Local Has Two New Books

Some years are remarkable when highlighted by the publication of a new book by a local author. The year 2002 features two books by Peggy Bancroft (locals may remember her as Margaret Thomas, formerly of E. Church St., Susquehanna), of South Sterling, Greene Township, Pike County’s historian, with the arrival in late spring of her thirteenth, "distant Days, an Adventure in Remembering" and in November, her fourteenth publication, "More Distant Days."

The latest book is highlighted by a four-color cover with an original photograph of a neighboring National Historic Landmark, the Starrucca Viaduct of Susquehanna County, near Lanesboro. The author grew up in Susquehanna and the viaduct has always been of particular interest to her.

Of interest to Hawley area residents is the dedication of the latest book to Kate Hunt, of Hawley. The book also contains something very unusual in Bancroft books: a page of photographs showing the "evolution of an Author," from 1921 (complete with ever-present Teddy Bear) to 1938, while a student at Mansfield University, to 1996.

Wayne, Pike, Monroe and Susquehanna Counties are represented in the latest publication. The canoe of Wallenpaupack Indian fame; Horace Greeley’s noble experiments; Indian trails; the People of the Beech; Milford as a place to be admired; the blizzard of 1888; and even Pike’s famous hermit are all a part of the stories woven into "More Distant Days."

In addition, there are stories dealing with social customs of the past including "What Did a Woman Need to Know?" in days of yore. "Spelling Was Another Matter" and even stories about cooking are a part of what used to be in "our still remembered olden days."

Books are available at Agway and The Keeping Room in Greentown; Nancy’s Barn in South Sterling; the Newfoundland Library; the Wayne County Historical Society in Honesdale; and Theo Price in Mountainhome. All of Bancroft’s books may be found in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in the Allen County Genealogical Department of the Library.

The retired editor of This Week in the Poconos Magazine is busily at work on a new book for 2003: "Gray-M Cracker’s Song."

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She’s A Swimmer!

Anna Marie Sheehan, of Orlando, Florida, great-granddaughter of Helen M. Oakley and Foster H. Oakley, New Milford, recently passed her swimming test. She was tossed into the water in her play clothes and swam like a fish. Anna’s great-grandparents are glad babies are taught to swim to protect against accidents. Anna is 23 months of age.

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PA Tobacco Sales To Kids Drops

Random, unannounced inspections of Pennsylvania retailers selling tobacco products have indicated a significant drop in the number of illegal sales to kids. According to Roselyn Hibbard, Prevention Supervisor for TREHAB’s Drug & Alcohol Programs, this is an important milestone, not only because it indicates that minors now have less access to tobacco products, but because the inspections, required by the federal government, are a condition for receiving federal drug and alcohol-treatment money.

Since last year’s round of inspections, the percentage of illegal sales to minors has decreased from 27.9 percent to 14.5 percent, and places Pennsylvania well under the federally-required non-compliance rate of 20%. This means that the grant money from the tobacco settlement to Pennsylvania can continue to fund the substance abuse prevention and treatment activities of Pennsylvania’s single county authorities (SCAs), including the Susquehanna County Drug & Alcohol Commission.

The Susquehanna County SCA has subcontracted with other county organizations, including TREHAB, to implement the prevention and cessation activities funded through the grant. According to Ms. Hibbard, TREHAB is assisting with a number of projects including: a youth tobacco survey; smoking cessation groups; teen peer education and other school-based programs; working with the county’s Smoke-Free Coalition; and participation in BUSTED, a statewide youth-led anti-tobacco movement involving teens ages 14-17.

For more information on tobacco prevention and cessation projects and activities, call the Department of Heath’s toll-free helpline 1-877-PA HEALTH, or visit the PA PowerPort at, Keyword: "health". Launched last June, the Department’s special toll-free Quitline is 1-877-724-1090.

For more information on TREHAB’s smoking prevention/cessation programs, contact the D&A Prevention Program at 278-5229.

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