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Issue Home February 18, 2003 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

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

The good…

The former Ames Department Store on Route 706 in Bridgewater Township has been sold. Papers filed in the Susquehanna County Courthouse identify the new owners as Montrose Partners of Albany, a New York Limited Partnership.

Montrose Partners shelled out a total of $2.3 million for two parcels of land totaling slightly more than 10.5 acres. One of the parcels is the site of the now empty Ames Store.

No official word on what plans the new owners have for the site, but one source said there is the possibility that Price Chopper, a widely recognized food chain, may be the next tenant in the Ames Store. There have also been some unconfirmed reports that additional stores will be added in the future.

The bad…

Abraham Lincoln said: It is true that you may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all the time.

But then Honest Abe did not live in Susquehanna County where the county commissioners do an outstanding job of fooling most of the people most of the time. And do you wanna know something? The people keep coming back for more.

Take this year for example. It is an election year and we all know that the commissioners could not be expected to campaign for reelection with monkeys on their backs. And so, taxes did not go up. However, holding the line wasn’t easy.

Not only did they grab most of the money left over from 2002 because of shelved projects, etc., etc., etc., but recently a reliable source said they also took money from the recycling account and applied it to the general fund, a move that may not even be legal.

The bottom line is that the commissioners seeking reelection can boast of not raising taxes this year. Ah, my friends, but wait until next year when there will be no leftover money and, if tradition holds true, the two commissioners seeking new terms are entrenched for another four years.

The Ugly…

My friends in Susquehanna County you would be hard pressed to find a trial lawyer any better than Charles Aliano, our district attorney, who has decided not to seek another term in office.

When you talk about Mr. Aliano in legal circles, no one will dispute this, except perhaps someone who has come up against him and walked out of the courtroom a loser. His performance at the Anil Homily murder trial was impeccable and it was a privilege to sit there and watch and listen to him.

Likewise, Mr. Aliano may leave the courthouse with a new record for absenteeism in the DA’s office and at least one other duty that every district attorney has to perform. He is a member of the Susquehanna County Jail Board. On February 4, the board held its regular monthly meeting. I was later advised that Mr. Aliano may have set a new record for absenteeism for a board member.

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly…

If you think for one moment that being a county commissioner is not a piece of cake, think again. Perhaps in a larger county it can be cumbersome at times, but in a small rural county like ours, a commissioner’s life is just a bowl of cherries.

In Susquehanna County, your commissioners spend more time munching on chicken or hamburgers at complimentary luncheons and dinners than they do in session at the courthouse. Consider this. The Board of Commissioners meets twice a month and the meetings seldom exceed 90 minutes. And that includes time for the commissioners to meet as the County Salary Board.

Oh, they are in the courthouse every day – well, two of them anyway. However, for the most part, they just read some mail, visit with the chief clerk, walk around to make certain they are seen, and, on occasion, meet with someone who needs a favor or a job. And, oh yes, they serve on some additional boards or agencies that may take an additional 10 to 12 hours a month of their valuable (?) time. Who wouldn’t do that for $42,000 a year?

Without question, the opinion here is that is the reason there are 13 candidates so far vying for the three seats on the Board of Commissioners. And get this! If you are fortunate enough to be reelected and serve eight years in any county elective office, when you leave, you take with you a pension and lifetime health insurance.

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Slices of Life

Saying Hello To Number Three

Am I a savant or what? Remember my telling you a few weeks ago that if I were superstitious, I would be looking for the third calamity after experiencing the leaking hot water heater and the ailing automobile? Well, I’m not superstitious and it happened anyway.

Yesterday was laundry day. I love laundry day. One of the best parts of my job as wife and mother was carefully sorting and washing my family’s clothes, bedding, sleeping bags – you name it. No colored clothes ever found their way into my load of white clothing! Many delicate and one-of-a-color things got washed by hand.

Then there was the clothesline. Hanging clothes on my long pulley line, which I approached from a window on the back porch, was a source of comfort and joy. I’d pull the clothes, one by one, from the laundry basket, anchoring them just so with wooden clothespins from a bag I’d made. All was well because I had a family to keep clean and happy.

Sometimes that 100-foot clothesline would be completely full. Clothes blowing in the wind was a sight to behold. And I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed the sight. One day I saw a man on the railroad grade behind my house with his tripod set up, taking pictures of our backyard. What he was photographing was a great mystery until my friend, Ralph Taylor, told me that those photos had shown up at Camera Club. They were of my clothes blowing in the breeze.

After the sun and wind had dried them, then came the dampening and ironing. I tried many ways of dampening clothes, but the best one was an empty plastic Ivory Liquid container, now filled with water and topped with a cork-fitted lid with holes in the top like a salt shaker. I’d sprinkle the clothes, roll each article neatly and stash them all in a plastic bag. When the moisture had been distributed evenly, I’d set up the ironing board and start plying my craft. With everything pressed and folded neatly or hung on hangers, my job was done. And what a source of happiness, contentment and pride I’d feel. Probably one of the reasons I enjoyed this activity, that could have been a chore, was that my husband loved having all his clothes clean and ready in case he suddenly got sent out of town on a job. And he was never hesitant about telling me how much he appreciated my efforts.

Perma press took much of the work and some of the fun out of laundry days. Although I must confess that detailing a perma press white dress shirt with a warm iron, did beat washing, starching, drying, dampening and ironing a cotton one. But white dress shirts at our house seldom graced the laundry basket because they were reserved for weddings and funerals.

So, knowing how I thrive on laundry, you will understand my dismay when I came downstairs this morning and stepped on a soggy carpet in my sock feet. That wet area in the kitchen was extending a couple feet in front of the washing machine, so I knew where my problem was. I had done three loads of laundry yesterday, finishing a small load of white clothes in the evening.

So here we are with the week’s laundry done, thank goodness, a call into the service man, and me telling you my latest tale of woe. Don’t I have a fascinating life?

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100 Years Ago – 1902-2002

BIRCHARDVILLE: The magic lantern show at this place Saturday evening was good, but the attendance was small. AND: Mrs. M.L. Ball has 24 nice hens, Plymouth Rocks and Brahmas, that have had the best of care all winter, but have not laid one egg since Sept. 28. Can anyone give a reason, and the remedy?

SUSQUEHANNA: Richard Scales, a veteran Erie engineer, was killed near the coal pockets on Tuesday afternoon. He stepped off his engine to oil the machinery when the engine of express train No. 1, which was coming into the yard, struck him. Death was instantaneous. He is survived by the widow and several children. AND: Anton Gamer, a well-known tailor of Binghamton, has disappeared, leaving his wife, who was formerly Miss Verna Churchill, of Susquehanna. They had lived in apparent happiness for some time and no cause other than insanity can be given for his curious actions. He left a note saying he was going to enlist in the army, but this is thought to be false, being used to throw searchers off the trail.

UNIONDALE: The Frances Willard Memorial exercises, given by the Temperance Alliance Tuesday evening, were well attended. The selections were appropriate and well rendered.

WELSH HILL, Clifford Twp.: Tom Watkins and Wallie Watkins are hauling telegraph poles to West Clifford.

BEECH GROVE, Auburn Twp.: An attempt to kill two birds with one stone met with a setback last Saturday. Worthy Master B.W. France and wife started to attend Grange, she with a pail of eggs. When within one-fourth mile of Hall the coupling of the wagon broke. The horses moved right on. So did the occupants of the wagon-but not the wagon. It stopped, and they alighted in the mud-eggs and all. Fortunately, no bones were broken-just the eggs. They had to go back home and change their wearing apparel, and were late to the Grange-which does not often occur.

NEW MILFORD: Had it not been for the prompt work of guests and firemen the Jay House would have been destroyed by fire. A lamp fell from the hands of a guest, who was walking in the corridor, breaking it, and the oil spread, burning fiercely, and soon the hall was in flames. By prompt work it was saved; there being no serious loss as a result of the conflagration.

MONTROSE: The "Narrow Gauge" failed to reach here Tuesday, but on Wednesday it made one trip, getting here shortly before noon. The snow was badly drifted all along the route, and some difficulty was experienced in getting through. The first of the week a cold wave, accompanied by snow, reached this vicinity from the West, and throughout the week we have been experiencing severe weather. The mercury hovered around zero all day Tuesday and on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning it registered eight and ten degrees below, while it is estimated that there is over a foot of snow on the level. The entire country was swept by a storm of unusual severity. Snow fell in Louisiana and Texas and the temp's tumbled to a point that brought on much suffering in the usually mild climate. In the West and Northwest the snow was drifted to such a depth and the cold was so intense that railroad trains were stalled and cattle and sheep died in large numbers.

KINGSLEY: G.G. Rought, of Nicholson, and J.W. Ballard, of Binghamton, have bought the Kingsley acid works of Porter & Baylas, including saw mills and contracts for timber. The consideration was $60,000. The factory will not be removed from Kingsley.

LITTLE MEADOWS: The results of the recent election are: Justice of the Peace, E.B. Beardslee; Collector, F.A. Johnson; Auditor, I.R. Beardslee; School Directors, S.A. Pitcher, A.D. Brown; Judge of Election, G. Gould; Inspectors, L. Williams, C.I. Downs; Poor Master, S.A. Pitcher; Burgess, J. Guyles; Council, A.D. Brown, S.A. Pitcher; Road Com., J. Ragan.

FLYNN, Middletown Twp.: An animal came to the Triangle school and scared some of the children. Some supposed it to be a tiger.

RUSH: The Baptists had a wood bee at their church Thursday. The men chopped and sawed, which gave them a good appetite for the dinner the ladies aid society had furnished at ten cents a meal. They got up a nice lot of wood and the ladies took in over three dollars.

GIBSON: Earl Evans has the mumps.

NEWS BRIEF (Continued from last week): Galusha Grow Elected Speaker: From that bright galaxy of mental stars a young Pennsylvanian, only 37 years of age, was chosen, without the formalities of a caucus, to preside over the deliberations of that congress, which made the unparalleled record of appropriating five hundred millions of dollars in less than 15 minutes of time, it being the largest single appropriation ever made to save a nation or protect a flag; and when that congress closed its great career it bestowed a unanimous vote of thanks upon the young and popular speaker. There is one thing which he did that stands out among the deeds of men like the bright star of the morning. The first time he lifted his voice in the capitol he pled for the sons of toll, and the last set speech he will probably ever utter there was a plea for those "whose hearts are the citadel of a nation's power and whose arms are the bulwark of liberty." The Homestead Law: The enactment of the homestead law was due to his intelligent and ceaseless efforts and is the proudest achievement of his useful life. There can be no question as to the paternity of "Homestead Bill." Galusha a. Grow, although a bachelor, is the happy father of that wholesome child. He conceived the bill and he introduced it into congress. He fought its battles for ten years on the floor of the house. He signed the bill as Speaker of the 37th Congress, and by the signature of Abraham Lincoln, it became a law. Nearly 90,000,000 acres of public domain have been permanently occupied under the homestead law, making about 670,000 entries and the beneficiaries number over 7,000,000 of souls. This land has been given to honest settlers and not to land grabbers and railroads. It is an area covering more territory than all of New England and it now represents, roughly estimated, the astonishing value of $15,000,000,000.

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Part Of Old Coach Shops "Resting" In Ole Missouri

Back on June 2, 1982, demolition of the Erie Railroad building in Susquehanna got underway, in preparation for the new shopping center (now completed and known as the "Shops Plaza").

All that’s left of the Coach Shops buildings is a stone wall on Exchange Street, with the town name of Susquehanna etched on top of the frame.

Another part of the Shops is still around. It is a beautiful piece of framework that adorned the top of the Coach Shops office, across from the present post office.

Believed to have been made of wood, by the Coach Shop employees, the inverted "V" shaped framework is in the possession of Susan Perry, who obtained the item when the building was destroyed. Ms. Perry, a former resident of Susquehanna, and the daughter of Susquehanna’s Brig. General Miller Perry, resides in St. Charles, Missouri and often spends summers with her father and friends.

As you can see in the photo above, the framework now rests over the top of her front porch. Ms. Perry (pictured) is very proud to have part of Susquehanna resting on the roof of her home. "Every time I look up and see that beautiful piece of framework, I am reminded of my good ole hometown, Susquehanna," Ms. Perry said.

WANTED! By Centennial Committee: Oldest Citizen in Susquehanna Boro. Saturday, April 19, 2003, is the actual date of the incorporation of the Borough of Susquehanna Depot. To commemorate the date, a small ceremony has been planned. There will be a prayer service and flag ceremony, a plaque presentation, and a presentation of a time capsule to be filled and buried at the end of the July activities.

The "Yesterday" barbershop quartet will perform. The committee would also like to honor the OLDEST citizen in Susquehanna Borough. (Do you know who that is? If so, please call Mary Jo Glover at 853-3657.) The Sesquicentennial books (we are hoping) will be ready for distribution – and sale) – on that day at the cost of $10.00. (Please note: People who have paid $15.00 in advance for the book will be refunded $5.00 when picking up the book.)

WHY NOT "Student of the Month?" During my travels recently, I was not personally asked – but was involved in a conversation regarding "Athlete of the Month" that appears in the Transcript each month. The speaker was quite upset that each month appears an article on "an athlete."

"Why not," the speaker said, "don’t they recognize a student of the month." Such as an Honor History Student, an Honor Math Student, an Honor English Student, etc. "Don’t you think," she concluded and left "that the students deserve as much praise in their academic work as the athletes do?"

NO-TAP WINNERS: The winners of the recent No-Tap bowling tourney held at Riverside Lanes were: top five – Lee Wolf, Tracy Ball, Jeremy Wayman, Terri McDonald and Barbara Wolf.

Lee Wolf defeated Larry Pickering, 300 to 265 to gain a berth in the finals as the men’s high scratch bowler.

300 games (all no-tap) were bowled by: Lee Wolf (2), Randy Reed, Jeremy Wayman, Chris Graves, all of Susquehanna; Dave Strickland and Dan Spencer, of Nicholson; Will Talbert, of Meshoppen; Josh Towner, of Thompson; Donny Heat, of Scranton.

VOLLEYBALL "Stars" – The 2002 Lackawanna Volleyball League local "stars," were: Most Valuable Players, Brooke Hinkley of Blue Ridge and Lauren Lubinski of Western Wayne. All Stars from Blue Ridge were Annette Conigliaro and Brooke Hinkley.

Jennifer Benson of Susquehanna was named to the All Star team, while Bridge Stone of Susquehanna received honorable mention. Blue Ridge girls receiving honorable mention were Mindy Stanton and Alicia Demer.

NEW MEDAL For Korean Vets: The US Defense Secretary’s office says a new defense medal will be issued to military members who served in the Republic of Korea, or adjacent waters, after July 28, 1954. The medal should not be confused with the foreign service between June 25, 1950 and July 27, 1953.

BOWLING’S "Deadeye" a BIG Winner: Winning the recent US Open Bowling tourney in California, Walter Ray Williams, Jr., nicknamed "Deadeye" for his accuracy, not only in bowling, is also an acclaimed champ in pitching horseshoes. His recent win over Michael Haugen, Jr., of $100,000, by a score of 236-198 put his bowling earnings over the $3 million mark.

A NICE GESTURE: Jackie Robinson has been nominated for the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his achievements as the first black player to play major league baseball. Several US Senators have filed the legislation.

A WOMAN WAS reading the newspaper, while her husband was engrossed in a magazine. Suddenly, she burst out laughing.

Listen to this," she said. "There’s a classified ad here where a guy is offering to swap his wife for a season ticket to the stadium."

"Hmmm," her husband said, not looking up from his magazine.

Teasing him, the woman asked, "Would you swap me for a season ticket?"

"Absolutely not," he said.

"How sweet," she said, "Why not?"

"Season’s more than half over," he replied.

A WIFE SOUGHT the advice of a fortune-teller, who said, "Prepare yourself for widowhood. Your husband is about to die a violent death."

The wife sighed deeply and asked, "Will I be acquitted?"

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Straight From Starrucca

Our postmaster, Paul has returned safely from San Antonio, Texas. I guess the change in the weather from sub-freezing to temps in the 80’s was too much for him, as he came back with a cold.

Ronnie and Woody Brownell had themselves a two-week vacation in Daytona, Florida as spectators at the races.

Eleven brave senior citizens came through wind, snow and at times blizzard conditions last Wednesday for the monthly meeting, enjoying a pot luck dinner and three games of bingo.

All of the Downton family converged a the home of Pete and Vicki Downton to celebrate young Danny’s initiation into the teens. His is thirteen.

Son, Dan was down last Sunday and shoveled a path to the burn barrel. Next day the wind-driven snow had filled it up again.

Billy Reddon enjoyed an overnight visit with his grandparents, Carl and Virginia Upright.

February 22 there will be a men’s prayer breakfast at nine o’clock at the Baptist Church, with Rev. John Grove presiding.

I have been asked to announce that the Starrucca School reunion will be July 26 at the community hall. Attendees are asked to bring any pictures they might have relating to the school, and also an item for the white elephant table.


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Food For Thought

It’s time to vote with your dollars again. Grocery store chains in the Binghamton and Scranton areas are now carrying irradiated beef. Price Chopper and Wegman’s are two of them. Supposedly, the meat is wrapped differently, and is marked with the radiation symbol. I hope that is enough to alarm people, so that the meat will go unpurchased.

The idea behind food irradiation is to kill harmful bacteria and biological contaminants that should not be in our food to begin with. To me that is the key. Those contaminants should not be in our food to begin with.

This is not a naive statement. I am very much aware that there are things in our foods already that should not be there. Like antibiotics, and steroids, and preservatives, and pesticide residues, and herbicidal residues, and heavy metals, and altered genes.

So lets just heap some more toxins into the pot. All so that some rich corporation can increase their profit margin.

Why am I so opposed to irradiated foods?

1) Irradiation changes the nutritional value of the food.

2) Irradiation changes the chemical compounds in the food.

3) Irradiation changes the physical properties of the food. (Remember the term "denaturing" from your high school science class. That is what you do when you cook an egg, you denature the protein. Irradiation denatures foods also.)

4) Irradiation creates new chemical compounds. In beef, it creates benzene. Benzene is known to be carcinogenic. (I wonder what benzene and mercury and fluoride make when mixed together?)

While the FDA, (the Food and Drug Administration) is giving approval for irradiation of all types of foods, from produce, to milk, to meat and poultry, its own toxicologists are not fully behind the project. While dozens of studies have indicated problems is laboratory animals who are fed irradiated foods, the FDA pushed forward with approval based on five studies supporting its safety. So once again, we are the guinea pigs. More importantly our children and future generations of our children are the guinea pigs.

If we could access the information, the research studies showing no safety concerns for food irradiation are probably funded by the food irradiation industry. The food irradiation industry has strong support from the Department of Energy (the DOE). The DOE has a lot of nuclear waste that needs a home.

Susquehanna County already voted down a low level nuclear waste dump several years ago. So now it should be put in our foods?

You have the choice to vote it out again. Simply don’t buy it. Your dollar votes more than your pencil in an election booth. Take the time to tell the stores involved that you are specifically choosing not to buy those products. You can call them, write them, e-mail them, or tell them in person. Just get the message through.

You can also boycott foods, particularly processed foods, manufactured by the companies marketing irradiated beef. Tyson Foods, Cargill and IBP are the largest.

If the cattle yards would be cleaned up, the problem would be resolved, without further toxifying our foods. If the diet fed the cattle were changed slightly, the problem would clear up also. Combine the two.

In the meantime, you can buy your meat and produce from a local farmer, and have it processed locally, to the benefit of all.

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