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Issue Home January 21, 2003 Site Home

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

Along The Way... With P. Jay

Moments To Remember

I know three people in Susquehanna County who will never forget January 16, 2003.

With the thermometer hovering around the 20-degree mark, Sheriff Lance Benedict; Mary Evans, recorder of deeds; and, Sue Eddleston, prothonotary/clerk of courts, were among a contingent of county Republicans who stood in line for more than an hour waiting to get inside the University of Scranton’s Byron Recreation Center where President George W. Bush was scheduled to speak.

While all three admitted they were froze by the time they got indoors, none of them had any regrets. And why would they? These are three staunch Republicans whose hero was coming to town. I remember standing in line in similar weather conditions more than 50 years ago waiting to get into a Hank Williams Sr. concert. You can never duplicate moments like that.

"The only other time I was that cold," Mrs. Evans said, "was when I went to Scranton a few years ago to see the Steamtown Marathon."

And what about the President’s speech?

"I was impressed," Mrs. Evans said. "He came here and spoke on a very, very important issue."

"It was interesting," said Mrs. Eddleston, "to think that here in Scranton, Pennsylvania, was the President of the United States. And he was so down to earth. I thought he was fair in what he would like to see proposed."

Without a doubt, Sheriff Benedict made the quote of the day: "The only ones that weren’t impressed were the attorneys."

Marcho Out

From very reliable sources comes word that Commissioner Gary Marcho has definitely decided that he will not seek another term. We are told that Marcho Man is frustrated by the treatment he has received from the Republican Party and the press.

I don’t know how he managed to start on the wrong foot with some of the GOP’s top guns, but as a member of the Fourth Estate I can tell you that his faux pas did him in. If Mr. Marcho thought that he could pull off all the shenanigans that he managed to cram into a year and not have the press write anything about it, then he is not as smart as I thought.

Meanwhile, Lee Smith, Mr. Marcho’s Republican colleague (?) on the board has sent out letters seeking support for his bid for another term. Ever cognizant of the fact that it was he and Mr. Marcho who razed historic Colonial Hall a dozen years ago, a controversial move that is still criticized today, Mr. Smith puts dressing on that wound before his opponents open it up.

"I am the first to admit," he writes, "that all decisions that I have been a part of are not popular with all people, but I feel that my record shows that I try to represent the voters to the best of my ability."

Kelly & Stella In?

She hasn’t made if official yet but I understand that Mayor Roberta Kelly of Susquehanna Depot will seek the Republican nomination for county commissioner.

Also from Susquehanna Depot comes word that a gentleman by the name of Albert Stella is thinking about running for county commissioner. Mr. Stella is a Democrat.

From the Minority Party

The closest I have come to hearing anything from the Democratic Party was John Franks’ letter to the editor some weeks ago. The one in which he presented me with a pair of elevator shoes as a make believe Christmas present. Of course, I don’t expect to hear anything from the party leaders because there are none.

Some Democrats have told me they would like to have a candidate from the Forest City/Clifford area since Mr. Marcho’s departure will leave that end of the county without representation on the Board of Commissioners. But so far, there are no takers.

Democratic commissioner candidate, MaryAnn Warren, now a New Milford councilwoman, was born and raised (or should it be reared?) in what is known as the Greater Forest City Area, so the base is at least partially covered. And there’s Jim Jennings, one of the GOP candidates, who lives in Brooklyn Township, which can also be considered a tie to the Forest City/Clifford area.

Calvin Dean, the current Democratic minority commissioner, has not made it formal but you can bet the ranch that he will seek reelection. Life has never been better for Mr. Dean since he became a county commissioner. While he hasn’t brought anything to the table worth a grain of salt in seven years as a commissioner, he enjoys the healthy salary and the bit of respect that he and Rodney Dangerfield have been searching for all their lives.

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Slices of Life

Waiting For Number Three

I’m sure that you have all heard the expression that bad things happen in threes. Well, last week I had one and two, and now, if I were superstitious, I’d be waiting for the third event. Let me explain.

I don’t go into my cellar every day; only when I need to take down garbage, visit the freezer, bring up full jars or take down empties – things like that. But for some reason I made a trip down there last Monday. Being in the area of the hot water heater, and seeing puddles of water on the floor, even my unmechanical mind knew what was going on. Upon closer investigation, it appeared that the water was collecting on top and running down the side. I followed my first line of defense, which is to go to the electrical panel and shut off the breaker. Number two is call the plumber, who is also a neighbor and a friend.

You know those horror stories about not being able to get a plumber to make a house call? Not in this case. In no time he was there checking things out.

"You’ve got a pinhole leak in the tank," he said. "The pressure is pushing the water up under these flaps. (He didn’t say flaps, of course, because he’s a plumber and knows the right terminology.) He continued, "I’ll send the boys up tomorrow to install a new heater."

And he did. Early the next morning they arrived, shoveled a path to the cellar door, took out the old, installed the new, and I was back in business.

Then on Tuesday, when the weather warmed up a bit, I, and everybody else in Montrose, decided to wash some of the salt, grime and ice off our cars. When I was about finished, while bent down looking under the car to make sure I’d gotten the wheel wells cleaned, I saw this thing hanging down where nothing should be. It looked like a black plastic canister that you might keep in your car for garbage. Only this one had hoses of some kind growing out of it. Well, automotive novice that I am, even I knew that should not be there.

The intriguing part of this was that for some time a jagged rusty piece of metal had been flapping in that area. I had asked a mechanic about it and, not unduly concerned, he had said, "Oh, it’s not doing anything. It just seems to be an extra piece of metal."

Now I was suspicious of that answer. I didn’t think that General Motors would add an extra, heavy piece of metal to a vehicle for no reason. My suspicion was not unfounded. When I took my car to the garage and the service manager surveyed the bottom from his creeper, he was quick to figure out that the hanging-down metal had once been a brace that held in place the now hanging-down canister. And after tying it up, he sent me off to a body shop to get it fixed. That’s tomorrow’s excitement!

It was an expensive week, made bearable by having such competent people looking after me. But now I suppose I should be waiting for the third unfortunate thing to happen, because we all know that trouble comes in threes!

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100 Years Ago – 1902-2002

SUSQUEHANNA: Mrs. Sophia [Benson] Brigham, aged 88 years, died at her home in Susquehanna Monday morning, Jan. 19, after a long illness. She was one of a family of 13 children and was the first girl born in Jackson township. Two sons, Emery Houghton, of Susquehanna and Nathaniel Houghton, of Binghamton, survive; also three brothers, Coryell Benson, of Susquehanna; L.D. Benson, of Jackson, and A.M. Benson, of Cleveland, O., and two sisters, Mrs. Anna Starkweather, of Susquehanna and Mrs. Eliza Moxley, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. AND: We understand that a number of Front St. businessmen are about to be taken into custody, on charge of stealing ice. A big water tank of the Erie, in that locality, overflows, and a pillar of ice several feet in thickness and about 40 ft. high has formed. Then citizens, when they want ice, beat the dealer by taking an axe and hacking out a chunk.

HOPBOTTOM: While walking the tracks at Foster [Hopbottom], on the Lackawanna road, Thursday evening of last week, Frank Ritter, residing at that place, was struck by a passenger train and sustained injuries which resulted in his death about an hour later. His death was unexpected as his only apparent injury was a compound fracture of the leg. Owing to the fact that Ritter did not regain consciousness after receiving the injury, no details of the accident are known. He was walking the tracks toward his home when the southbound train struck him and he was hurled along the track about 25 feet before he fell to the side. The train crew cared for the remains and took them to Scranton. Ritter was admitted to the Lackawanna hospital at 8:10 o'clock and died five minutes later.

MONTROSE: An elegant Saturday night lunch will be given at Sprout & Brewster's, Jan. 24, from 5 till 8 o'clock. Look over the menu: Soups: Chicken, Ox-tail, Tomato, Cream of Celery. Roast Turkey, Celery, Cranberries. Oysters: Stews, Raws, Fried, Plain. Sandwiches: Schweitzer, Ham, Egg, Oyster and Sardine, Cream Cheese. Ice Cream: Coffee, Vanilla, Pistache. Fancy Cakes, Crackers, Coffee, Cocoa, Milk AND: Quite a quantity of pork was shipped on Tuesday via the L & M railroad, shippers paying 8 cents. Calves have commenced to be among the shipments, for which they were paying 10 cents, dressed.

NEW MILFORD: About fifty people from Susquehanna County, a number of them being from New Milford and Heart Lake, left for Lake Hopatcong, N.J. to work for the Mountain Lake Ice Company. L.O. Farrar has charge of the work.

BROOKDALE: A company to the number of 50 gathered at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Bailey, Jan. 13, to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. After a short talk by their Pastor, Rev. Vale, of Waverly, a sumptuous dinner was served, after which the time was spent most pleasantly in visiting and singing. A reminder of the event was left in the form of a collection of $57, with best wishes of all for many happy returns of the day.

STEVENS POINT: The rumor that David T. Spears, who was reported to have perished in a wreck at Rowlands, has visited his father at Stevens Point, is untrue. Mr. Spears was a brakeman on an Erie coal train, which was wrecked at Rowlands, Dec. 30. He was supposed to have been in the caboose at the time but nothing could be found in the ruins to prove that a human being had been burned. He was the only train hand missing and the case still remains a mystery. His father, Thomas Spears, who resides at Stevens Point, this county, states that he had neither been seen nor heard from and if he is alive the family has no knowledge of it.

SILVER LAKE: Neil [Cornelius] Giblin shot a wild cat in Lynche's woods. AND: A party of 20 young people enjoyed a sleigh-ride to Brookdale, Friday night, to attend a dance in the Tingley Hall.

NORTH BRANCH: Alva Johnson has traded farms with Orvel Ellsworth, at LeRaysville, and expects to move there the first of March.

WEST AUBURN: James Yonnker, while cutting down a tree, met with an accident so serious as to necessitate the amputation of his leg about four or five inches below the knee. The tree, instead of falling as he expected, was fastened by wild grape vines to other trees at the top and swinging around crushed his leg between that and a sapling. He was immediately taken to Sayre where amputation was found necessary.

GIBSON : Monday last a daughter, aged 6 years, of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Resseguie, who was seriously ill with diphtheria and who was afflicted with spasms, was, by her grandmother, Mrs. Emory Resseguie, given by mistake, a dose of carbolic acid. Death resulted in a short time. The child's grandmother is almost crazed with grief at the result of her error, although the physicians say that the child could not have survived, had not the poison been administered. The funeral occurred Thursday and was largely attended.

PENSIONS GRANTED: The following pensions have been granted through the agency of M.H. VanScoten, of Montrose: Original, Jacob E. Rice, of South Montrose, Company G, 13th Regiment P.I., for disabilities received in the Spanish-American War, $6 per month with back pay amounting to about $250. Elizabeth Bennett, widow of Miles Bennett, late of Stevensville, $12 a month; Edwin A. Leonard, of Cooperstown, N.Y., $14 a month; Isaac N. Corbin, of Apolacon, $8 a month; Thomas Conlon, of Flagstone, Pa., $14 a month; Chas. W. Stanton, of Rush, $24 a month; Joseph C. Shadduck, of Rushville, $17 a month; J.S. Rifenbury, of West Auburn, $10 a month; Wm. H. Fordham, of Carbondale, $14 a month.

HALLSTEAD: Ernest Crabill, former pitcher for the Binghamton baseball nine, has arrived in Hallstead, accompanied by Mrs. Crabill, to take charge of the Baptist church for two months. The pulpit was left vacant by the death of the Rev. Mr. Watkins. Mr. Crabill is known as the "pitcher evangelist."

NEWS BRIEFS: A nearby pastor preached on Sunday from the text: "Is the world growing better? It is. Right here in Susquehanna county it is not necessary to lock ice-houses in the winter. AND: A domestic training school is to be opened in the hospital at Wilkes-Barre to teach young women the art of housework in all its branches.

AND: Mince pie was formerly called mutton pie, as mutton was used instead of beef in making it. The term mince was applied in derision by the Puritans, who refused to partake of it.

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Oakland Boro Council Votes "NO" For Ad In ‘Centennial Book

PLEASE, PLEASE! Tell me WHY the Oakland Boro Council, according to its secretary, Cindy Cordner, called the State Boro Association, to find out if it was/is legal to send a "congratulatory message" to Susquehanna Boro on its 150th anniversary as a community.

I understand that NOT all council people were against the ad. But, due to a certain few they had to go "statewide" to find a reason NOT TO wish Susquehanna a "Happy Birthday" this coming July.

They went to all that trouble just not to spend $30.00, the cost of a good-sized, six-inch ad. The council DID NOT have to use their name in the ad. I/we have "complimentary ads" from both Great Bend and Hallstead Boros.

Not to get the councils involved – the Great Bend/Hallstead ads read – in short:

"The PEOPLE of Great Bend/Hallstead Boroughs extend congratulations and good wishes to the people of Susquehanna Borough on their 150th anniversary."

YES, the councils are paying for the ads, but extended congratulations through their people.

(A note to Oakland Boro council: this is not a project of Susquehanna Boro Council but the project of a group of people who are leaving no stone unturned to celebrate our 150th birthday.)

For the small sum of $30.00 – why did you have to have a legal opinion? I do believe if the council was AFRAID to use money to wish Susquehanna a Happy Birthday, the committee would have given them a FREE one, so they wouldn’t be breaking (?) the law.

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY" John: Come January 27, 2003, a well-known resident of Hallstead, John Battisti (formerly of Susquehanna) will be celebrating his 90th birthday. John, prior to moving to Hallstead, was very active in Susquehanna sports, being a member of the Tri-Boro Town baseball team and also of the Susquehanna softball league.

He is a charter member of American Legion Post 357, Hallstead–Great Bend. He served as a medic during World War II.

At the present time, John and his wife, Catherine, are spending a few weeks with their son, John, Jr. in Louisville, KY. The Battisti’s also have a daughter in Cortland, NY, Ann and John Finamore; two brothers, Sandy and Joan Battisti and Dominic Battisti, all of Oakland Borough.

Friends wishing to send the Battisti’s a birthday card, their present address is: John Battisti, 4001 Woodmont Park Lane, Louisville, KY 40245. (Happy birthday, John. Hope you see many more. May God bless.)

BOWLING AT ITS BEST: Jim Chase of Newark Valley, NY, well-known to several of the area’s senior bowlers, on January in a Binghamton bowling house, scorched the pins for games of 289, 300, and another 300 for 889, considered to be the all-time high in the Binghamton area. The previous high was bowled by Kevin Smith on games of 300, 279, 300 for 879 on December 5, 1995. Chase opened with ten strikes, a spare, followed by 24 strikes. Not a bad night!

TRESSEL NO. 1: Who else could the Coaches’ Association pick? Tressel, in his second year at Ohio State, did what a lot of other coaches couldn’t do, as his team whipped Miami 31-24 in two overtimes, to win the national championship.

Eddie Murray and Gary Carter are the new Hall of Fame baseball inductees. Good choice. But how could the committee leave off Ryne Sandberg and Andre Dawson? Easy. Pete Rose got 18 votes. How can anyone vote for a man that is not eligible for the "hall"? 18 wasted votes!

EDUCATION Secretary: Gov. Elect Ed Rendell picked Vicki Phillips of Lancaster over Superintendent John Williams of Scranton as State Education Secretary.

TAX CUT Coming? President Bush has a proposal that will put an extra $1,000 in the pocket of every taxpayer. The sooner the better. For as fuel oil prices go up and up, we will need the money to pay for it. Strange, isn’t it, as soon as the gas dealers read "oil is limited" the prices go up. Several days ago I read oil went down two cents, the prices stayed the same. How come?

WHO CAN YOU TRUST? A former Chicago police chief was sentenced to six years in jail for his role in swindling the town of Cicero out of $12 million through a mob-related insurance scheme.

FAMOUS (people) QUOTES: "Always be sincere, even if you don’t mean it." – President Harry Truman. "How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was." – Satchel Paige (baseball pitcher).

WORTH Repeating: In Great Falls, Montana, police called a 22-year old man "half nuts." The man, while trying to hide a gun shot off his right testicle after a gang fight in a parking lot.

TOP SPORT Stories by Sports Illustrated: No. 1, New England Patriots over St. Louis Rams, 20-17 in the Super Bowl; No. 6, Notre Dame football with a 10-2 record; No. 10 (my favorite), the Anaheim Angels defeating the favored San Fran Giants, four games to three for the baseball championship; No. 11, Lance Armstrong, for the fourth time won the Tour de France. Also, boxing champ Lennox Lewis whipping "bad boy" Mike Tyson, the deaths of Ted Williams, Enos Slaughter, Leon Hart, Darryl Kile, Jack Buck, Roone Arledge, Hoyt Wilhelm, among others.

PENNSYLVANIA Facts: Nickname, Keystone State – during Colonial times Pennsylvania was the middle colony of the original 13 colonies (there are six states above it and six states below it). It held the colonies together like the "keystone" in a window or door arch. Motto: Virtue, Liberty and Independence. Entered the Union December 12, 1787. State animal, whitetail deer; state beverage, milk; state bird, ruffed grouse; dog, great Dane; fish, brook trout; flower, mountain laurel; fossil, phacops rana, a small water animal; insect, firefly; song, Pennsylvania. (More facts later.)

BASEBALL Facts: For all his greatness Babe Ruth won the American League MVP only once as a Yankee – 1923 when he batted .393, with a league-high 41 home runs and 130 RBIs. No player walked as much as Mickey Mantle in the World Series, with 43. Mantle also holds a series record of 40 RBIs and 18 homers. Babe Ruth also holds the Major League record for highest career slugging percentage, with a cool .690. Nolan Ryan, MLB strikeout king, also holds the record for most walks, 2,795. The All Star game MVP award was split for the first time, in 1975 by Bill Madlock and John Matlack.


After being away from home on business the week before Christmas, Tom thought it would be nice to bring his wife a small gift. "How about some perfume?" he thought.

A cosmetics clerk showed him a bottle that cost about $50. "That’s a bit out of my price range," Tom said.

The clerk returned a moment later with a smaller bottle, costing $30. "That’s still quite a bit," he groused.

The clerk brought out a tiny $15 bottle. "What I mean," he said, "is I’d like to see something real cheap."

The clerk handed him a mirror.

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Straight From Starrucca

Those who know Jim Herr, formerly of Starrucca, will be unhappy to learn that he had a stroke and is in a coma at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, NY 10901.

Open house for townspeople was held New Year’s Eve at Nethercott Inn. About twenty-five people gathered to welcome the new year.

Toni Foy spent the holiday with her fiancé, Philip Vessey and his mother, Downsville, NY.

Spoke with Clinton Glover on the phone recently. Said there was no snow in Illinois.

Billy Reddon, son of Brenda and Bobby Reddon was pleased to have his grandparents, Virginia and Carl Upright present to celebrate his sixth birthday.

Some real estate deals have closed in Starrucca. Renee Warden bought Jim Herr’s house on the corner, and Mr. and Mrs. DeBalko have purchased the old Stearns place on King Hill. There is another pending but closure not ‘til end of February.

I think we’ll have snow banks ‘til May unless this cold weather breaks soon. Hope you all stay warm.


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Okay, folks this is the time of the year I have to be real creative and get you to do something you might not think of doing. But, actually are you tired of the snow yet? If you are, as much as me, I decided to give you a few more ideas about getting away. Then I will share with you some places that are not only fun, but may actually help you get a job to pay for all your frolicking!

So, take a plane or a train – more fun than a bus and let's think about using the following sites to help us get to where we would rather be than here, shoveling all that white stuff the Christmas song Bing Crosby made famous – "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas." If you were dreaming, then I put the travel plans that had to be put on hold right in your lap... but, I digress!

First, find out where you would like to go. So, go to your computer and visit Here you will 1,000 towns to explore. For free travel guides and guidance see It's a pretty complete site for a lot of stuff you might want to know. For travel information see This will help you with some of your decision making.

Now, pick your conveyance. If you are planning to go by plane, I suggest This site will "link" you to major airline information. At, all you have to do is click on the airline logo to get a particular airline's facts and prices, etc. Want travel tips for airplane travel? Do see this page has a lot of useful things you might want to know.

If you are not a "fly guy or fly gal" you will enjoy the following railroad sites. You can get to the Orient Express at and take 360 virtual tours. If you crave the salty air and sand dunes use For purple mountains majesties – look at and go right to a bunch of "high" places in the Rockies.

So, still bored and need a job to pay for everything, for job interviews look at For tricky job questions, check out And, so what do you want to know? Check out Oh yes, and find out how fast you type at,htm.

What if you want to know about yourself? Are you subject to job stress, try this: The following site, will give you a Myers-Briggs personality type quiz. I actually found a site that will give you your work style color and it was so fun: and for sheer exploration of all your facets try one of the 35 quizzes at

Well now, that should keep you busy for a while. I'll see you next for the season of love (around Valentine's Day). I'm going to try that typing test again, right now!

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