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Issue Home March 4, 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

Somehow it just ain’t right

Anyone who does not believe there are some wide disparities in Susquehanna County government needs only to take a close look at the county’s recently adopted Miscellaneous Compensation Schedule.

Without question, one of the most incongruous disparities is in mileage compensation. For example, a witness at a trial is paid five dollars a day and seven cents a mile for driving to the courthouse. A juror is paid nine dollars a day and 17 cents a mile. A county commissioner gets a salary in excess of $42,000 a year and 36 cents a mile when he uses his personal vehicle for county business.

Is this what is referred to as "liberty and justice for all?"

As Jim Jennings pointed out at last week’s meeting of the Board of County Commissioners, a tax collector is paid $3.70 for each county bill that is mailed. If a mailing should contain three tax bills the tax collector is paid $3.70 per bill. But, in some instances one of those bills, the occupational privilege tax, could amount to less than the $3.70 paid to the tax collector.

Perhaps the county should consider doing away with the occupational privilege tax if the tax collector is the only person making money on it.

Election day workers are paid according to the number of ballots cast in their respective voting districts. If there are 150 votes or less, the judge of elections is paid $65 for the day while the inspector and any clerks or constables working at the polls get $60 for the day. If the vote exceeds 150 and is less than 500, the election judge is paid $70 and the other workers are paid $65. If the vote is between 501 and 1,000, the pay increases to $75 and $70 respectively. And finally, if the vote is over 1,000, the pay for the day becomes $80 and $75.

Now, if you happen to work at the polls in a municipality where the population is less than 500, such as Friendsville or Union Dale, there is no way to qualify for the extra bucks.

Is there extra work involved as the number of ballots cast increases? Well, there are more voters to sign the book, more paper ballots to hand out, and more votes to count at the end of the evening. But all poll workers must remain at the polls from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election day and through the vote count when the polls close in their respective districts.

Oh, yes, if you work as an election night worker at the county courthouse the pay is $50 for the night but if you work with the Election Return Board or the Resolution Board, the pay is $40 a day.

Why such a complex system? Ask the county commissioners. They set it up that way.

County borrows big bucks

At its last meeting, the Board of County Commissioners agreed to obtain written proposals to purchase a Tax Revenue Anticipation Note (TRAN) in the amount of $850,000.

TRAN’s are not uncommon in county and municipal government. At the beginning of a new year, the county and/or municipal coffers become extremely low on cash so the state allows for borrowing what is needed to keep the ship afloat until the current year’s real estate tax dollars begin pouring in.

But $850,000 is a big nut and the law states it must be paid off during the fiscal year in which it is borrowed. And so, while the commissioners bit the bullet and did not raise taxes in 2003, thanks to the fact that it entered the year with $1 million left over from last year, the sky just doesn’t quite look as blue for 2004.

Just to set the record straight

In the last edition of The Transcript, you may have read a letter to the editor from Cathy Benedict, our county treasurer. In it, she chastised me for not publishing the fact that the county pension plan is set by state law.

On more than one occasion I referenced the fact that state law dictates the county retirement system and I am quite familiar with Act 96 of 1971. In all fairness to Mrs. Benedict, I mentioned this at last week’s Salary Board meeting and she did apologize.

However, that is not the issue Jim Jennings raised at a recent Board of County Commissioners’ meeting. Mr. Jennings asked the commissioners to cite the law that qualifies elected county officials to receive paid lifetime health insurance upon retirement. To date, he has not received it.

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Slices of Life

Mining The Minds

Talking to those who have many life experiences behind them is like mining rich veins of gold. We come away with treasures that make our lives more content, centered and wiser. To say nothing of happier.

I have been in a snit about many things. (Ah, yes, I do get that way.) A dear friend must have been sensing that, because she called me to say, "I’m going to be alone for dinner on Saturday night and I hope you can come eat with me."

Of course I went. This wise and warm "mother" fed me a delightful home-cooked meal, talked about many things in which we share interests, and then said, "I’m going to tell you what my late husband used to tell me when I got where you are." Mountains out of molehills.

I defended my turf a bit with "but, but," and then I realized that he and she were absolutely right. In many cases I was making mountains out of molehills. And my life was much poorer because of it. Sometimes the best thing to do is forget your own agenda and just go with the flow.

Then there’s my wise and wonderful "mother" in Chicago, whom I inherited through my daughter’s marriage. She capsules her wisdom in Yiddish sayings that she then translates for me. I never can remember the Yiddish, nor wrap my tongue around it, but I do retain the essence. One of my very favorites is, "Not to talk is to talk." Silence on a subject can say volumes. We talk on the phone, and when certain subjects come up, one or the other will say, "Not to talk is to talk," and we immediately size up the situation and have a laugh. My daughter says, "She is so wise and calming. I don’t know what I’d do without her."

While my Chicago friend is elderly, I’ve found that age has no direct bearing on understanding. I have contemporaries and even those younger than I am who seem to have a great understanding of life and how to maneuver through it successfully. My daughter is one of those, as is her friend. So I get lots of first-hand and second-hand wisdom.

Through the years many wise and comforting mentors have passed from my life; my mother, grandmother, husband, friends from church, former teachers, just to name a few. At my age, I guess I have also done a bit of mentoring, but it still seems like I’m the one searching for answers, not giving them. I never can be that sure of what is good for someone else’s life and situation. But I’d better start working at this knowledge because, when the silver begins to shine in our hair, we’re expected to have some wisdom amassed under it.

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100 Years Ago – 1902-2002

NEW MILFORD: On Saturday night, Edith Howard, aged 12 years, was drowned here, and it was not until an early hour Sunday morning that that the body was recovered about a half mile from where she fell in the water, on Johnson's flats. Her father, Charles Howard, had just removed from Franklin to New Milford, and it being necessary to obtain some milk she started out alone after it. A bridge spans a creek near the center of the town and she had to cross it on her way. The bridge is narrower than the street, so instead of the sidewalk taking a straight course it turns off at an angle shortly before reaching the bridge. The street lamps were not lighted and being unfamiliar with the place she kept going directly ahead. In another instant she fell, screaming, into the torrent, which had been greatly swollen by rains, and melting snow, and was swept down the creek. A searching party was immediately organized, finding her as stated above. She was an only child, her mother having died some time ago. The remains were taken to Franklin for interment.

UNIONDALE: Fred W. and Edgar J. Crandall, who were born and lived at Uniondale until grown to manhood, but for the past 20 years have resided near San Jose, California, will pay a week's visit to Susquehanna county and visit old friends. Fred is engaged in raising and packing fruits and Edgar sells real estate and mining stocks. Continuing this trip Fred will visit Germany, France, Scotland and England, expecting to return about May 15. Each is married and have families.

FRIENDSVILLE: On Thursday night of last week at about 11 o'clock, a large barn belonging to Thomas Byrne, including its contents, was destroyed by fire. Out of a herd of 32 cattle 27 were burned to death, and all the hay, wagons, sleds and farming implements were destroyed. When the fire was discovered it had gained such headway that it was impossible to check it. There was only a small insurance.

MONTROSE: John V. Meehan has sold his blacksmith shop to his brother Joseph, of Rush, and after April 1st will conduct a grocery store in the location now occupied by N. Warner (the Mulford building). Leo Lannon, formerly with N. E. Bissell, has accepted a position in his new store. AND: Olin B. Tingley has rented the store room formerly occupied by Philip Marks and will soon open a five and ten-cent store, together with a stock of useful household articles. AND: The Montrose House is to be leased to E. Hibbard, of South Montrose.

SUSQUEHANNA: Burgess John V. O'Connell and the new Common Council were sworn into office on Monday evening. There is a deadlock in the vote for President of the Board, between W. Epes and James Lannon, and a deadlock in the vote for Thomas Doherty, the present incumbent, and Wm. A. Skinner, candidate for borough attorney. The following were re-elected: T.J. McMahon, chief-of-police; Wm. Allpaugh, borough treasurer; Daniel Lynch, borough sec'y; Stephen Mahoney, street commissioner. AND: The Standard Oil Company's pipes, which cross the river at Tuscarora, between this place and Windsor, on Saturday evening, sprung a leak, and it is estimated that 5,000 barrels were lost. On Sunday, the river was covered with oil and the odor was very strong.

FRANKLIN FORKS: The ice banked up against the bridge over Stony Brook on Saturday morning-that one could not get to the bridge from the Forks side of the creek, and only for the hard work of George Hickok and son Earle, the bridge might have gone out. The water ran down the road past the M.E. church, and the yards near were filled with large cakes of ice.

HOPBOTTOM: The Foster Mattress Co. is rushed with orders.

LAWTON: Hugh McGovern, while returning from a call the other evening, was startled by a wild cry on the tree above him. Running to his house he seized his gun and returned, shot the animal, which proved to be a large cat of M.A.Wood's.

AUBURN: We will soon be connected with the outside world by telephone.

THOMPSON: Charles Chandler, the wild man of Thompson, was on his way to jail yesterday, handcuffed to Constable Fred Empet, of Thompson, and another officer. Chandler has been demented for some time. Of late he amused himself in threatening and attempting to kill all his relatives in order to obtain their possessions. He himself is estimated to be worth many thousands of dollars. The man was arrested at the insistence of his relatives on the charge of assault and battery and committed to jail to await the action of the grand jury in the case.

CHOCONUT: Thomas Coyle and family are moving to Friendsville where Mr. Coyle expects to take charge of the creamery. AND: Miss Winifred Stanley, who has been confined to her bed on account of illness, will soon be able to attend to her duties again as teacher at the Graves' school.

CLIFFORD: We are well supplied with blacksmiths, but lack a good harness-maker and shoemaker. AND: Several of our young people attended the social at the Dundaff rink last week. Fine music furnished by James Brownell and wife.

BROOKLYN: Eighty-one solemn strokes of the church bell floating over the hills, Friday morning, Feb. 20, gave sad announcement to the people of Brooklyn that another familiar and venerable landmark had been removed from our midst. Albert Rezin Gere was born in Brooklyn, on the farm now owned by Wm. R. Caswell, April 29, 1822, being the only son of Stephen and Abigail (Olney) Gere, and grandson of Capt. Rezin Gere, who was killed in the terrible massacre of Wyoming, July 3, 1778. Albert's childhood and all his mature years were spent on a farm, nearly 50 years in the same home. In 1845 he was united in marriage to Sarah E. Tewksbury, who with the eight children born to this couple, survive him. Today that home is shadowed by a venerable chair vacant. The wise, cautious counsel of loving husband and father, so unassuming, yet so tactful and sympathetic, is sadly missed. A large gathering of friends were present to manifest kind respects to an esteemed neighbor, a worthy citizen, and a man exemplary in all the relations of life. The casket was bourn to its final resting place by the six sons, amid the tolling of the bell, whose solemn notes added deeper impress to the loss we all have sustained.

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"It’s Time For Us To Act"

Is Adams Cable Gouging Their Customers "Big Time"

Not only are we being gouged by the gas people, but it seems that Adams Cable is taking the lead in ripping people off. Not only did they raise our rates (about) another $13 to (about) $36, but they are forcing channels on us that are not worth the powder to blow them to H---!

Tell me, Adams & Co., what in heck will I do with another 38 channels. In order to watch all of the listed channels, we would have to stay home from work and sit in front of the TV, at least all day and most of the night.

Come on, you folks that will be affected by the increases and don’t like them, get off your seats, write letters to Adams, write letters to the Transcript, write letters to your borough council - better still call your councilmen. Tell him or her what you think.

This is only the first step for Adams. How about in a couple of months? How much more will we be gouged? Pray, tell...

Adam now has 99 stations on their brochure. How can anyone find time - even if they are retired - to watch that many channels? Personally, I think it’s a disgrace to "almost force" customers to take the $30-plus service. If you take the $11-plus service, you actually get "nothing" that you care for.

Again, I would like to know the channels we will get for the $30-plus fee and what will we get for the $11-plus fee. I will tell you - again - you will not get much for the lower fee. We must do something about it!

About the PROTESTERS: During the past couple of weeks, protesters by the thousands are/were condemning the United States for wanting to go to war against Iraq. I, also am against a war, with any country. But, why are the protesters protesting against the United States? Why are they not protesting against the countries that harbor terrorists? Why don’t they protest against Iraq for not living up to past agreements? Why is France "dead-set" against the United States, after we saved their hide during World War II? Let them (protesters) go to Iraq and demonstrate against Sadaam. I’m not saying the US is "all" right, but we sure as heck are fighting to rid the world of terrorists and not (right now) getting much help from countries that have been helped by the United States. Even the English people (England) should be ashamed of themselves. Where would they be without the US’ help during WW2? Sure, they are against war. So are we. Demonstrate against the terrorist countries - not their own government that is trying to get rid of the terrorist countries.

Let’s demonstrate against the countries that harbor terrorists, criminals, and especially their leaders. No, we don’t want war, but let’s help our country with its plight.

GAS SITUATION: Many motorists are asking, "Why are gas prices so high?" According to Senator Charles Schumer of New York, "It appears as if price gouging is taking place across the country." Also, Jeff Sunstrom, a spokesman for the AAA said, "We feel that most of the increase has been due to fear of speculation more than any change in the supply or demand for crude oil or gasoline." The Associated Press reported that wholesale gas prices have increased only 14 cents over the same period that the dealers have increased their prices by 56 cents a gallon - in the $1.60 to $1.75 range. (If that isn’t gouging, then I don’t know what is.)

NEW RULES For Hunting: The Pennsylvania Game Commission is considering new rules that would change the way hunters apply for antlerless deer licenses. The new rules would require hunters to mail applications for antlerless deer licenses to Harrisburg, instead of the treasurer’s office in the county where they want to hunt.

NEW SEAT BELT Rules: A new Pennsylvania law requiring children under the age of 8 to sit in booster seats while riding in cars may save lives, but car owners and taxi drivers claim the fines (if necessary) will hurt them. Fines of $100 will be assessed if the law is broken.

NIXON’S TAPES: President Nixon had no sinister purpose when he taped several conversations in his oval office, said one of his former aides. The aide said it was "simply for history." But in the long run, the same tapes of 1971 eventually helped Nixon lose his presidency.

A GREAT "Money Maker": In effect, in London, is a law that all motorists into Central London will pay an $8 fee. The toll will cut the volume of traffic and raise (maybe) $208 million a year. (Wow, maybe we can charge Oakland and Lanesboro residents coming into Susquehanna. Perish the thought, we can get charged for going to their boroughs.)

A GREAT QUOTE: Dave Bristol, a major league manager, posted the following bulletin, "There’ll be two buses leaving for the ball park tomorrow. The 2 p.m. bus will be for those of you who need a little extra work. The empty bus will leave at 5 p.m."

ANOTHER QUOTE: This one by Oprah Winfrey, "Turn your wounds into wisdom. You will be wounded many times in your life. You’ll make mistakes. Some will call them failures, but I have learned that failure is really God’s way of saying ‘excuse me, you’re moving in the wrong direction.’"

MORE QUOTES: (By John Wooden, famous basketball coach) "It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts." (By George Horace Lorimer) "You’ve got to get up every morning if you are going to go to bed with satisfaction." (By Jerry West) "Confidence is a lot of this game - or any other game - if you don’t think you can, you won’t."

ANOTHER QUOTE: (By Bobby Knight) "Everyone has the will to win, but few have the will to prepare." (By Ed Macauley) "When you’re not practicing, remember that someone, somewhere is practicing, and when you meet him HE will win."

JUST A LAUGH: Wife, "Honey, I am to be in the amateur theater production. What would people say if I were to wear tights?" Husband, "They would probably say I married you for your money."

A man goes to his doctor and the doctor says, "Look, I’ve given you a full physical exam, and I can’t tell what’s wrong with you. But I think it might be due to heavy drink!" The patient replies, "That’s okay, I’ll come back when you are sober."

A foursome of senior golfers hit the course with waning enthusiasm for the sport. "These hills are getting steeper as the years go by," one complained. "These fairways seem to be getting longer, too," said one of the others. "The sand traps seem to be bigger than I remember them, too," said the third senior. After hearing enough from his senior buddies, the oldest and wisest of the four of them, at 87 years old, piped up and said, "Just be thankful we’re still on the right side of the grass!"

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Straight From Starrucca

Last week a friend and I were returning from Honesdale, and as we were coming down King Hill we saw a herd of deer standing on the edge of the pond at John and Lana Box’s acreage. When I got home I called Lana and told her what we’d seen. She said she counted forty-two. One of the herd only had three legs and had been coming there for five years. She said she has become very friendly with them.

As long as I’m telling about wildlife, I heard yesterday that the PA Game Commission had come and removed the she bear and its cubs that had been such an attraction for viewers that had worn a beaten path to its lair, beside a fallen log in Ararat Township. People came at all hours of the day and night (with flashlights) to see the bear in hibernation. At times the bear would raise its head, open its eyes and go into repose again. Many from Starrucca were excited to see her so far out in the open. For safety’s sake, I’m glad the Game Commission transported the bear elsewhere. I was denied seeing her, as I was told it would be too risky for me to negotiate the path, as it was snowy and icy.

A little more on wildlife. The peacock which arrived last summer from goodness knows where, is alive and well this winter and has become a part of the turkey flock.

Pastor John Grove has accepted the emergency maintenance position with the council vacated by the passing of Gary Williams.

A baby boy, six pounds and eleven ounces, came into this world February 14 at Lourdes Hospital. His mother, Shannon Martin has named him Zachary Robert. What a precious valentine!

Wendell Swartz, accompanied by Fred and Sharel Rhone, daughter Renee and Kent and Johanna Swartz were in attendance at the Lincoln Day diner held in Hamlin.

Alice and Kirk Rhone spent a weekend recently with sister, Helen and Bob Stone in Pitman, New Jersey.

Don Hazelton, King Hill, passed away at his home this past week.

Virginia and Carl Upright spent a weekend recently with son, Bradley and wife in Williamsport, PA.

Friday, February 28 was a momentous day for Mary Pat Costello and Brent Upright, longtime friends, when they appeared before the Justice of the Peace in Windsor and exchanged wedding vows. Witnessing the ceremony were Carl and Virginia Upright. Both were former residents of Starrucca. They will reside in Windsor. May you share many years of happiness and contentment. I couldn’t wish it for nicer couple.

There were nineteen men who attended the breakfast prayer service at the Baptist Church February 22.


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Food For Thought

The topic of vitamins is discussed frequently, particularly the issue of natural vs. synthetic vitamins. One school of thought is that there is no difference between a natural vitamin and a vitamin synthesized from chemicals in a lab. And, of course there is a group who believe that there is.

From a strictly chemical point of view, there is no difference in the actual elements that make up either natural or synthetic vitamins. The body, though is organic. And from an organic chemistry perspective, there are differences.

When a compound, or molecule of a substance is formed, in nature or in a test tube, it will form in two shapes, a left and a right handed mirror image, called levo, or left and dextro, or right. The left or right handedness has to do with where key elements are placed around the molecule, to the left or the right of a specific bond. These particular elements are usually the key to the chemical nature of the molecule. When a substance is formulated, and then dissolved into a solution, the right and left handed forms will be reproduced. They are usually found in specific ratios, depending on the particular substance.

The body can only use one of these configurations, depending on the substance involved. The particular configuration allows the substance to fit into specific receptor sites, in a specific way in order for the body to use it. Sometimes the mirror image will not lock into the receptor site, and so it just gets excreted as a waste product. Other times, the mirror image will lock in to the receptor site, but will not activate the appropriate response, and the body cannot use it. Nor can it be released from the receptor site, but locks it up so the body cannot use the right molecule either. Then it becomes a toxin to the body, an energy drain.

Glucose, the body’s primary energy source, is dextrose, a right handed molecule. Many artificial sweeteners mimic the mirror image of glucose, and are levo or left handed, because while the body can taste the sweetness of it, the left handed shape cannot be locked into the receptors to be used as an energy source.

L-Dopa is another common compound that illustrates the mirror image concept. L-Dopa is used to treat Parkinson’s Disease. It is a left handed chemical compound that works on specific receptors in the brain to help control movement.

Vitamins also have this left and right handed configuration. In nature, the specific left or right configuration is produced in the right ration. When we consume natural foods or natural vitamins we get the right configuration.

When the substances are manufactured in a test tube, we get both configurations. Sometimes, in processing, the opposite configuration will be removed, and the tablet or capsule is packaged. However, in order to absorb the nutrient, the tablet or capsule must be dissolved, or digested, and in dissolving, the compound will automatically revert to both forms. And so, the body is left with one that it cannot utilize. Hopefully, it will just flush out of the body without becoming a toxic residue.

The other primary difference between natural and synthetic vitamins is the co-vitamins and co-enzymes. In nature, a food has all of its vitamins, co-vitamins, enzymes and other co-factors right there with it, usually in the right ratio for optimum absorption by the body. Without the co-factors, the body cannot use the vitamin, and may even deplete other vitamins and mineral reserves in an attempt to use it; kind of like a football team of all quarterbacks.

Vitamins require a team, its co-factors. Synthetic vitamins are usually isolated vitamins. There is no team work. And so the body cannot use them.

Sometimes, the body has some of the co-factors hanging around, so it can use the vitamins for a while. The person feels better.

When the co-factors are depleted, the body not only can no longer use the vitamin, but may have created other imbalances or deficiencies in the process of trying to use it. The person begins to feel not good, or becomes ill. Then one concludes that vitamins don’t work.

Keep in mind also, that not all of the co-factors have been recognized yet. As our technology improves, more co-vitamins and co-factors are recognized, and acknowledged as essential.

Think about the difference in taste and texture of a fruit or vegetable grown in your own garden and consumed fresh, compared to one purchased from a larger grocery chain.

Not all of the differences can be fully explained. There are subtle differences in vitamins too, that the body recognizes even if the laboratory does not.

Thank you to all of you who have let me know that you are reading my column. At least I know that some people are thinking. The fluoride article in particular caused some wheels to turn.

One last fluoride question: If fluoride in the drinking water is responsible for fewer cavities, and better dental health, why do the people who grow up in the inner city areas, the lower socio-economic areas, still experience the highest incidence of dental caries? I would think that they are drinking more of the fluoridated water provided because they are less likely to be buying specialty water at $2.00 or more for a liter bottle. While some of them might have a water filter, I doubt if it is the reverse osmosis type which would remove the fluoride for them.

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