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Issue Home January 14, 2003 Site Home

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

Along The Way... With P. Jay


The unusual amount of snow we have gotten so far this winter has prompted a number of inquiries concerning snowmobiles operating on streets and highways. Permit me to set you straight on this highly controversial subject.

It is unlawful to operate a snowmobile or an ATV on any street or highway that is not designated and posted as a snowmobile or an ATV road by the governmental agency having jurisdiction. As in most cases, there are some exceptions. For instance, a snowmobile or an ATV may be operated on highways and streets during periods of emergency when so declared by a policy agency having jurisdiction.

Recently I overheard one elected official ask if there are any signs in his community prohibiting snowmobiles or ATVs on the streets. My friends there is no need for signs. The law states that snowmobiles and ATVs cannot be operated on any street unless the street is designated as a snowmobile or ATV route period.

That is how the law reads and there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. So how come we see many snowmobiles roaring up and down the streets and parked in front of restaurants and gin mills? Recently one municipal cop said the area doesn’t have that much snow anymore so let the snowmobilers have a little fun. In another municipality, the top cop can be spotted whizzing up and down the streets in his own snowmobile.


There will be a couple of new faces on the Susquehanna County Planning Commission in the near future.

At last week’s meeting of the Board of Commissioners, Matthew Curley was reappointed to another term on the county Planning Commission. Mr. Curley represents the townships of Silver Lake, Franklin, Forrest Lake, and Liberty.

Two other members of the commission, Rowland Sharp and Paula Mattes will be replaced. Commissioner Gary Marcho said Mr. Sharp declined a reappointment and Mrs. Mattes is not being reappointed because she is now employed by the county. Mr. Sharp is the representative for Ararat and Thompson townships and for the boroughs of Susquehanna and Thompson. Mrs. Mattes represents the boroughs of Friendsville and Little Meadows, and the townships of Apolacon, Choconut, Middletown and Rush. Expansion

Sheriff Lance Benedict is not wasting any time getting things done in his office. In only his second year as sheriff, Lance already recognizes what his office needs and has taken steps to get them.

He has already been given the green light to hire another office girl, something that should have been done many moons ago. His present office staff, consisting of Donna Evans and Bina Carey, has been overworked and underpaid for years. And he is expanding the office space and will finally end up with a private office.

Lance is part of the new breed of young and energetic politicians that seem destined to assume control of county government. You can add Sue Eddleston, county prothonotary, to that list and, before too long, look for some young blood on the Board of County Commissioners.

And then there’s Jason Legg

Another up and coming prospect who is going to make his mark in county politics is Jason Legg, current first assistant district attorney, who will probably become district attorney next January.

The prediction here is that when Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans retires, District Attorney Jason Legg will become Judge Jason Legg. In fact, it may not take that long if the county’s judicial system is ever expanded to two judges.

The 2003 County Budget

Another hot topic in the county courthouse these days is the belief by some people that the 2003 county budget has a few questionable line item transfers. In fact, one individual told me a couple of the transfers may be downright illegal.

Of course this is Susquehanna County where little things like manipulating budget figures are quietly corrected behind closed doors and no one is the wiser.

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Slices of Life

Nothing New Under The Sun

For months I have been pondering what to do about a dentist. Mine had moved to the Scranton area and my debate was whether to follow him, even though it meant an extended drive, or to make an alliance with another local dentist. Knowing that sometimes when you have a major dental project ongoing, appointments may be frequent but short, I was tempted to go local. But then I knew what an excellent dentist mine was and how well he had cared for these aging teeth, and I really didn’t want to change. So I procrastinated as a cavity began to form. When making my monthly list of things to do, I put "decide on dentist" in the first week’s column.

Braving the slippery streets following the big snows, I started downtown to do errands. I parked my car in a snow bank, got out and put my nickel in a frozen meter with a handle that didn’t turn, and walked around town. As I went by the office of a dentist I didn’t know, I went in and inquired if he was taking new patients. He was, and I made an appointment. When I gave the receptionist my name, her head came up with surprise and interest.

"Are you the lady who writes in the paper all the time?" she asked.

"Yes," I admitted. "I’m Mrs. Morris’ mother."

I am always flattered, but a bit amused when people suddenly recognize me from my byline. It’s not like it’s rocket science I’m doing here. I sit on the couch, in my writing chair, at the kitchen table, or, in summer, on the front porch, and turn out stories about my life. Which, by the way, is your life. That’s why people identify, because mates, children, pets, trouble, laughter, chagrin are all universal things.

While doing dishes tonight (another universal pursuit) I was listening to Fresh Air where Terry Gross was interviewing novelist and screenwriter Richard Price. He said, "Good writing is writing that shows me myself."

He’s right, of course. It helps us understand who we are as we read about other people’s lives. What do we identify with in their story? How are we the same or different than those people we are reading about? Do we see ourselves in their lifestyles, jobs, hard decisions, heartbreaks, triumphs over tragedy? When it comes to people there is "nothing new under the sun."

I can’t tell you how many people have stopped me in the grocery store to say, "That story you wrote about ________ (you fill in the blank), that’s exactly what I remember from when I was a kid. I could have written that."

And then they honor me by sharing their stories. They are right. They could have written that if they had been so inclined.

I am fascinated by people; all kinds of people. Maybe that’s why I have never been unduly impressed with money and the things money can buy. Whether we live in luxury or poverty, we all laugh and cry, sleep and work, give and receive, share aspects of good and bad. We are all human and therefore universal. That’s why we repeat the same stories over and over with minor variations and that is why you read "Slices of Life." And I thank you.

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100 Years Ago – 1902-2002

STARRUCCA: Coran, the 19 year-old son of John Davis, while attempting to board a freight train to go to Thomson, was thrown under the car and two wheels passed over his leg crushing it below the knee. Dr. E.L. Ward, of Starrucca, assisted by Dr. McNamara, of Thomson, and Dr. Downton, amputated the limb above the knee.

MONTROSE: The ice on Jones' Lake [Lake Montrose] is about 14 inches in thickness and a cake the regular size weighs over 100 lbs. Hart Bros. have been busy cutting for various parties the past week and there is a continuous line of teams waiting for ice throughout the day. The sleighing is perfect and as the ice is of excellent quality the work is being pushed to the utmost.

AND: About 20 young men of this place have formed a club for the promotion of indoor athletic sports with quarters in the rink. They indulge in such sports as wrestling, boxing, indoor baseball, basketball, etc.

SPRINGVILLE: Some time ago it became necessary for Mrs. Geo. Bushnell to have some "store" teeth. Recently they began hurting her gums so much that it was thought their use would have to be discontinued, and an investigation was made which revealed the fact that a whole upper set were growing again.

RUSH: The primary class of Trinity Methodist Sunday School were entertained by their teacher, Mrs. S.B. McCain, at her home on Saturday afternoon. Among the young ladies and gentlemen present were-Misses Ella Wilcox, Helen Adams, Faith Devine, Anna Garrison, Martha Hendershot and Masters Frank Terry, Raymond Smith, Earle Canfield, Warren VanDyke, Homer Canfield, Frank Williams, Lee Garrison, Clarence Williams, Paul McCain and Clifford Devine.

SUSQUEHANNA: Trustee Harrison Conklin, of Montrose, on Monday afternoon sold at auction the residue of grocery stock of John Duffy-late a grocer in this place, who is a bankrupt. The goods sold for $1.25.

FRANKLIN FORKS: A large number of young people attended a party given by Messes May and Julia Wheaton, at their house at Salt springs, with music, games and an advertisement-guessing contest. Miss Alice Smith and Frank Cole won first prize, Miss Lillian Church and Sidney Dearborn second and Miss Blowers and Miss Hunsinger won the consolation prizes. A delightful luncheon was served. AND: Nellie Hickok had the misfortune to freeze her feet quite badly while out coasting on last Saturday evening.

UNIONDALE: Benjamin Curtis, who has been in the west for the past four years, has returned to his "father's house."

BROOKLYN: George Terry is a businessman, and is also kept busy with his large and growing trade, and superintending the telephone business. It is surprising the amount of business done in the telephone office here. But a few years ago when there was a line in town the business did not pay and the company cut down the line and gave up the business. Now with the local and long distance, one is kept busy most of the time, attending the phone.

BRANDT: The new works of the Brandt Clay Product Co. are progressing rapidly. They expect to be ready to make brick by April 1st.

JACKSON: On New Year's day, as is their usual custom, the children and relatives of Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Barrett gathered at their home in West Jackson. Mr. and Mrs. Barrett are among the few of Jackson's first settlers who still survive and they have reached the advanced age of 83 and 85 years. This enjoyable event was attended by 47 of their immediate relatives, among who were Mr. & Mrs. Wm. Hazen and son, Binghamton, Mr. & Mrs. Ed Barrett, Windsor, and Mr. & Mrs. A.C. Barrett, New Milford.

BIRCHARDVILLE: The neighbors gathered at Mrs. G.B. Strange's Saturday, Jan. 10th, and got out about 15 cords of wood for her, for which she is very thankful. AND: Mrs. A.J. McKeeby lost a pair of shell back mittens at the Grange meeting. Finder please leave at Hosford's store.

GLENWOOD: Dame rumor says that Patrick Hefferon is going to take unto himself a charming young bride. The bride-to-be has a large farm, well stocked with poultry, cows, horses, sheep and pigs. Good for you, Patrick.

CLIFFORD: The members and congregation of the Baptist church gave their pastor's wife, Mrs. C.C. Gillett, a black silk dress as a Christmas present. AND: Arnold Green, who died Dec. 18, was one of our kind Christian neighbors, a life long resident of this place. He was our undertaker before the Rebellion, also door and sash manufacturer. About the year 1865 he sold out his undertaking business to B.F. Wells, of this place. From that time he has lived a quiet, retired life. For many years he has been a leading member of the Clifford M.E. church. He buried his wife, who possessed a beautiful Christian spirit many years ago; he has also buried one son and one daughter and has two sons and two daughters left to mourn their loss.

LENOXVILLE: It sounds old fashioned to hear the saw mill running again. Almond Doud, our veteran sawyer, is still one of the best.

ELK LAKE: The Grange is in a flourishing condition and is taking in new members every week. AND: The patrons of the East Rush creamery are getting ice from the lake and the ice is about a foot thick.

NEWS BRIEFS: Put away your Ping Pong board and balls for the newer absurdity is out-blowing soap bubbles is the new thing. It is said to strengthen the lungs, increase the circulation of the blood, harden the muscles, brighten the mind, enliven the imagination, cure warts, remove freckles, purify the conscience, elevate the morals, create riches, fill the missionary boxes, sweeten an onion breath, decrease the price of beefsteak and ice, abolish monopolies and do a lot of other good things. AND: The Grand Grill, 28 Chenango St., opposite the Stone Opera House, is the most popular dining room in the city, where nothing but pure food is served at popular prices on the European plan only. "Order what you want and pay for what you order." It is really the "home for the hungry." The first time you come to Binghamton call in and see us. Oysters a specialty.

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POSITIVELY Your Last Chance: We have extended our solicitation of "Centennial ads" to the end of this week. Some have promised to give us "congratulation ads" but evidently have forgotten to follow through. Want to see "your name" in a book that will be talked about for years? Now is your chance. Just call me (Lou Parrillo). I will draw up an ad for you, at a price you can afford! My number is 853-3835. Do it, now!

A Mother Prays

Somewhere, Dear God, within this tragic world of Thine,

There is a boy, a precious lad, protect him please, he’s mine.

To some perhaps, he may appear to be a boy like all the rest,

But they can never know the things I’ve planted in his breast.

Why, You remember Jimmy, God, he knelt here at my knee,

And bowed his sleepy little head and lisped his prayer to Thee;

I never trained the boy to fight, I taught him only good,

And, why he wanted so to go, just can’t be understood.

The evil men who planned this war must feel ashamed tonight

As they look out upon the world – bloodstained – a sorry sight,

I hear they bombed Your churches, too, where Christians used to kneel,

And so... when Jimmy marches off... You know just how I feel.

I’m awful anxious ‘bout him, God, and yet, "Thy will be done,"

You understand my feelings for You gave your only son;

My hands are tied by distances, o’er land and ‘cross the sea,

I can but bow my head and pray, "Watch o’er my boy for me."


What a distinction: Houston, Texas, for the third year in a row, has been named the Fattest City in the country. 55 cities were interviewed.

OHIO "Buckeyes" National Champs: I may be a little late with this, but am thrilled that the Ohio lads upset Miami – a big favorite to win the national title, 31-24.

NEED A Car? Introduced recently – the Rolls Royce. They start at the "low" figure of $333,000. The manufacturers expect to sell 400 this year in the United States.

TAKE The Chill Off: Older Americans can get help with heating bills and with weatherization of their homes by calling, toll-free, Home Energy Assistance at 1-866-674-6327.

EMPLOYEE THEFT "Getting Worse." About one in four business owners are being ripped off by their employees, states a recent survey. Over a short period of time, one owner was ripped off for over $100,000.

OIL PRICES "Way Up." While President Bush is recommending another tax cut, gas and heating oil are going up and up. So said one taxpayer, "We will save on taxes so we can (maybe) pay our oil bills."

A 300 GAME On TV: On January 5, I had the good fortune to watch Norm Duke bowl a 300 game on TV – good for $10,000. He finished second, worth $20,000 and a $30,000 evening.

FUGITIVE CAPTURED: Edward Morris, 37, charged with killing his wife and three children and dumping them in a forest was captured. He killed his wife, Renee 31, Bryant 10, Alexis 8 and Jonathan 4. They were found by hunters in Baker City, Oregon.

HELP For Physicians: Governor-elect Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania has unveiled a plan to help doctors with malpractice suits, through health insurance companies.

VERY BAD TASTE: Two assistant district attorneys in Gretna, LA, were rebuked for wearing ties decorated with a hangman’s noose and the Grim Reaper at a hearing in a capital murder case.

SHARPTON "Is All We Need." Of late, the Democrats are having a very difficult time and all they need right now is Al Sharpton running for President of the United States. Isn’t he the same Sharpton who was involved in a phony rape charge, several years ago in Poughkeepsie?

YUENGLING Beer Fined: Yuengling Beer of Pottsville, PA, has been fined for violating the Clean Water Act, federal officials announced. The brewery had too much metal and too much acid in water discharged from their factory. They were fined $137,000.

PAWC Requests Surcharge: How about this? The Pennsylvania-American Water Company is requesting a four-cents per day surcharge (from their customers) to protect its facilities against terrorist attacks. State Representative Phyllis Mundy is demanding an investigation into the matter.


TWO YOUNG BOYS spent the night at their grandparents’ house the week before Christmas. At bedtime, they knelt to say their prayers. The youngest one, eyes closed, started praying at the top of his lungs. "I pray for a new bicycle," he shouted. "I pray for a new Nintendo..."

The oldest brother leaned over and nudged the boy. "Why are you shouting your prayers?" he asked. "God isn’t deaf you know."

"No," the boy replied, "but Grandma is!"

IT WAS CHRISTMAS and the judge was in a merry mood. "What are you charged with?" he asked the defendant.

"Doing my Christmas shopping early," the man answered.

"That’s no offense," the judge said. "How early were you doing this shopping?"

"Before the store opened," the defendant replied.

HAD THE THREE wise men been three wise women, they’d have asked directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole and brought practical gifts.

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Straight From Starrucca

Son Nelson picked me up in York, PA, on way home from Florida. Arrived in Starrucca Tuesday, January 7, quite a bit later than expected because of tractor-trailer accident on I-81. So it was, stop and go traffic for may miles northbound. Felt sorry for those in the southbound lane, as they were backed up at least five miles or perhaps more. Snow banks in Thompson and Starrucca reminded me of days of yore when winter was really what one would expect it to be.

June Downton and Bonnie Downton were enjoying Christmas Day at Paul and Karen’s on Jacob’s Hill, but became stuck in the ditch when ready to come home so had to stay all night.

Saturday following Christmas, all of Charlie Levchak’s family gathered at the homestead for their annual seasonal get-together. Rounding out the family circle were Chuckie and Shelly Levchak, Kirkwood, NY; Carol and Gary Robideaux, Tunkhannock; Jennifer Barnes and two sons from Ohio; Cynthia and Gary Brown from Massachusetts and Cathy Daum and two sons, Windsor, NY.

Mark and Joan Swartz took off for Peoria, Illinois for a week’s vacation with their daughter and granddaughter.

Wendell Swartz has been blessed with clearer sight after he had a cataract removed in mid-December. Expects to have the other eye done in mid-January.

Holiday visitors at the home of Roger and Barb Glover were Mike Smith and Terry Anderson, local, and Andrea Knox and two boys, Ethan and Connor. The Glovers spent Christmas Day with Michael and Michelle Peters, Kirkwood, NY, and were fortunate to make it back home – one lane open from Lanesboro to Starrucca and that was on the wrong side of the road. Luckily, they didn’t meet anyone.

All of Francis and Marie Swartz’ family gathered at the home of daughter Sandy and Marty Ostrander in Castle Creek, NY, for a joyous holiday and family reunion on Sunday after Christmas. Marie Swartz and son, Matt were also snowbound at daughter Susie and Richard Cottrell’s Christmas Day and had to stay overnight.

Seniors met last Wednesday. The treasurer reported that seven hundred dollars was collected from the quilt raffle and turned over to Merle Bradshaw, who is director of social activities at veterans hospital in Wilkes-Barre, and will be used for the veterans. Thanks to all who bought tickets. The money goes to a worthy cause.


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