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Issue Home March 25, 2003 Site Home

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

Along The Way... With P. Jay

Smith Slips Into First Place Ahead Of Pelicci

Well, Lee Smith has done it!

With his performance at last week’s meeting of the Board of County Commissioners, Lee moved into first place on my all-time list of Top Ten Politicians. For the longest time, Lee was stuck in second place behind Sheriff Dick Pelicci. Without a doubt, Dick is one of the cleverest politicians I have ever met.

What did Lee do at last week’s commissioners’ meeting to forge into first place ahead of Dick Pelicci?

For openers, he took a shot at Gov. Ed Rendell because the governor did not attend a dinner in Harrisburg where he was supposed to be the guest speaker. And, of course, since it was a dinner, Lee was there.

"The speaker for the night was supposed to be our new governor," Lee said. "One of his secretaries got up and said the governor sends his regrets but he could not make it. We had a video instead." (Score one point for Smith for the take down.)

Lee then held up a booklet on travel tourism and pointed with pride to the back page where an announcement proclaimed that the I-81 Welcome Center in Susquehanna County was coming soon. (Score another point for Smith managing to steal the credit for a project that was initially fostered a decade ago by then Commissioners Warren Williams and John Blachek.)

And then the clincher.

Lee said that he was approached by people at that dinner who told him that the governor was at an event the week before and no one from Susquehanna County inquired about the Welcome Center.

"That was on the agenda, Lee," Cal Dean said.

"Was it brought up?" Lee asked. "Why didn’t you bring it up?" (Score another point for Smith on the reversal.)

"No, I did not bring it up," Cal responded, "because I was at the head table and he (Gov. Rendell) was fielding questions from the audience."

"Did you bring it up to the governor?" Lee continued. (Score another point for Smith on the press.)

"No I did not," Cal replied. "Why didn’t you attend? Governor Rendell answered questions for four and one half hours." (Score one point for Cal Dean.)

From here it would appear that Democrat Cal Dean would have had more success approaching Democrat Gov. Ed Rendell on the issue than Republican Lee Smith. (Score another point for Smith for getting the most mileage out of the issue.)

The five points Lee picked up were enough to move him ahead of Dick Pelicci by one point.

How did Dick Pelicci stay at the top of the heap for years and years? Consider this:

After his first couple of terms, the Republicans threw in the towel and conceded the Sheriff’s office to a Democrat. This, in a county where Republicans hold a comfortable voting margin at the polls. And yet, in the 20-plus years that Dick Pelicci held the office of Sheriff, he was reelected most of the time without opposition from the Republicans.

The Democrat Party in Susquehanna County is so fearful of Republican candidates, they do not run anyone for row offices (treasurer, recorder of deeds, prothonotary. coroner, district attorney, and now sheriff). The only elective county offices where you can find a Democrat on the ballot is where the office is mandated (minority commissioner, minority auditor, and jury commissioner). However, Democrat Dick ran unopposed against what was an even stronger GOP machine than exists today. And that explains how he stayed on top of my Top Ten Politicians list for years and years.

My top ten list? Sure, you can see it. 1- Lee Smith; 2- Dick Pelicci; 3- Evan Price; 4- Charles Lemmond; 5- Ann Smith; 6- Ivan Burman; 7- Sandra Major; 8- Catherine Benedict; 9- Calvin Dean; 10- Roberta Kelly.

Posthumously – 1- Isabelle DeWitt; 2- Harold Westcott; 3- Carmel Sirianni; 4- Jack Masters; 5- Henry Prince; 6- Don Caterson; 7- Shirley Rosendale; 8- Josephine Marshall; 9- Joseph Walsh; 10- John Fitzgerald.

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Slices of Life

Too Much Salmon

Four nights of salmon patties. Do you think I could have something different for dinner tomorrow night? That is the worst part of living alone; anything you actually cook goes on forever. Oh, I know about freezers, but lots of dishes just don’t taste the same after they’ve been frozen and re-heated.

Last week it was vegetable/venison soup that appeared on the menu every day. Before that I dined on beef stew for more days than I care to remember.

Maybe we need a singles diner’s club whereby we’d each cook one night a week and share the food with several others. I’ve read about families that cook for each other. Whoever is doing the cooking for that night makes double the amount needed for their family and passes half on to a friend. Then the friend reciprocates on a different night. That certainly would spice up the menus.

My hang-up with that idea is that I never think my cooking measures up. Things don’t always turn out exactly as I’ve planned. The gravy is pasty or the potatoes lumpy. The meat might be tender and delicious or tough and tasteless. It’s never twice the same and that is unnerving when preparing food for someone else’s table.

Maybe the reason other peoples’ cooking tastes so good is just that – it’s other peoples’ cooking. I think we tend to get tired of our same old recipes whether we’re cooking for one or seven. Last night after the dishes were done, I went to my shelf that holds dozens of cookbooks and told myself, "Just pick one and get some new ideas."

"Grandma’s Comfort Food Made Healthy" jumped out at me. It was sub-titled, "120 Old-Fashioned Favorites, Now as Good for You as They Are good to Eat." I remembered buying that book at a yard sale, and I also remembered exactly why I bought it. It contained slimmed-down recipes for tuna fish and noodles, one of my all-time favorites, and also chicken potpie. I think I will try the tuna/noodle just as soon as I make something exotic with this 95% lean ground sirloin that is aging (gracefully, we hope) in my refrigerator. At $2.39 a pound, I can’t let it spoil.

Yard sale cookbooks are the greatest. Cookbooks are expensive and the thrill of buying secondhand is that someone else has taken the first hit. By the time a cookbook joins the yard sale goodies, it has been reduced by at least half, and usually much more. That’s why I can feel good about owning these many cookbooks that I seldom use. I also like the inscriptions and comments hand-written in them.

We all have our favorites that we return to over and over. Mine is the basic "Better Homes and Gardens" cookbook that I got for a wedding gift more than forty years ago. It was a gift from a family whose children I cared for and a piece of that family goes with me as I use the book.

One of the reasons I get bored with cooking is the sameness of it in winter. But soon the young dandelions will be peeking through the ground, the fiddle ferns will coil, the leeks will send out their pungent aroma and horseradish will clear the sinuses. Our taste buds will come alive again, ready to enjoy the bounty that nature continually renews, and cooking will once again be an adventure.

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100 Years Ago – 1902-2002

LITTLE MEADOWS: The following retail and wholesale businesses who pay the mercantile tax in Little Meadows are: Thomas Fitzmartin, Cigars; Frank Palmer, Feed; A.D. Brown & Co., General Merchandise; O.M. Garfield, General Merchandise.

GREAT BEND: Edward Ketchum, a young man 23 years of age, committed suicide on Sunday afternoon in the loft of a barn owned by Mrs. Ritter and situated a short distance from the Ketchum home. Young Ketchum, who had worked for some time in the Great Bend, at the chamois factory, went to work in the Erie shops at Susquehanna on the preceding Tuesday returning Saturday night in apparently good health and spirits. Sunday morning he borrowed a revolver from Frank Gifford. The report of two shots was heard in the afternoon by the elder Ketchum from the vicinity of the Ritter barn. Temporary insanity is given as the only explanation of the deed, but by some it is said his rash act was due to a quarrel between himself and a girl to whom he was greatly attached.

MONTROSE: The new store of J.V. Meehan will open on April 1st, at his headquarters in the Mulford store building, lately vacated by N. Warner. Mr. Meehan wishes to announce that he will carry everything in the line of a well-equipped and up-to-date grocery store. He respectfully invites a share of your patronage.

SUSQUEHANNA: Dr. J.J. Boyle, the health officer, is urging the people to clear up and disinfect their homes and to be vaccinated in view of the reported prevalence of small pox in this section. AND: The "Wine, Woman and Song" company will appear in Hogan Opera House on Saturday morning.

JACKSON: The survivors of the noted Pennsylvania Reserves are to have a grand reunion at Harrisburg, June 25-26. Two survivors of that famous command, C.T. Belcher and M.V. Larrabee, reside in Jackson. AND: The Hallstead Baptist church has extended a call to the Rev. Herbert Pease, of Centermoreland, to be its pastor. Rev. Pease was born in Jackson and is a son of Geo. H. Pease and a cousin of Prof. Pease, principal of the Hallstead Public School, and was educated at Bucknell University.

FOREST LAKE: Mrs. Hanna Amelia Griffin is having a telephone put in at her home.

SPRINGVILLE: The proposed new road that was to have gone from near J.O. Lymans down by the quarries, and was let last fall, has been advertised for a re-letting on Saturday, next.

BROOKLYN: Thursday morning, March 19, the steam saw mill of C. Corson burned to the ground. Fearing the barn would burn the cow and colt were turned out of doors loose. The colt ran away and has not yet been found. AND: On March 4th, Willis T. Lee, a son of Mrs. Louesa Lee, of Brooklyn, was appointed a place on the staff of the U.S. Geological survey, Hydropathic department. He thinks his work for the early summer will be in Arizona.

THOMSON: G.F. Spencer, who has sold his patent on steam heaters, intends to move to Scranton in the near future.

LAKESIDE: The graduating exercises of the graded school will be held at the church Friday evening, April 3. The graduates are: Lena Page, Grace Tingley and Earl Tourje. AND: John Morse, a student in a medical college at Philadelphia, is spending a few days with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. S.E. Morse.

EAST BRIDGEWATER: Artie Roper and Anson Curtis caught a 'possim in a deadfall the other morning.

SOUTH MONTROSE: Pupils of the Wells school receiving high marks in spelling and percentage in studies the past month are: In spelling, Lillian Martin, 90; Hannah Martin, 100; Hazel Lake, 100; Hugh Jones, 90; Prichard Jones, 100; In percentage: Hazel Lake, 97 4-9; Prichard Jones, 96 7-9; Hannah Martin, 94, 2-3; Hugh Jones, 93 2-3; Emma Vail, 93 2-3.

NORTH BRANCH, Middletown Twp.: Wm. H. Millard spent the fore part of the week at Towanda and brought home a fine Graphaphone. AND: W.H. Clink has bought him a fine horse. AND: John Bennett, of Jackson Valley, is moving to Montrose where he will keep a boarding house.

NEW MILFORD: U.B. Rice was kicked on the head by a horse. The blow rendered him unconscious and he suffered from the effects for some time, but no serious results followed.

SOUTH GIBSON: James Risley has rented the hotel formerly kept by E.H. Sweet and Charles Bennett, of West Windsor, will occupy the house vacated by Mr. Risley.

FOREST CITY: Henahan & Mahoney have opened a cigar factory in the Brown building.

LENOX:Mrs. Bessie Smith, widow of the late F. H. Smith, whose remains were laid to rest in the Tower cemetery less than three weeks ago, moved to her father's, D.N. Hardy recently, and Saturday night her only child, Lena, who would have been a year old April 2, died of gastric fever. Funeral from D.N. Hardy's residence on Tuesday. Mrs. Smith has the sympathy of all in her double bereavement. AND: In Lenoxville, our schoolteacher, J.B. Handricks, has been compelled to give up his school here on account of the illness of his father, it is said, and there will be no school here for the balance of the term.

UNIONDALE: At a recent library meeting officers were elected for the ensuing year, as follows: Pres., Frank Lewis; Vice Pres., Alice Barriger; Secretary and Librarian, Daisy E. Bronson; Treas., J.F. Bass.

STEVENS POINT: There are persistent reports that there are a number of small-pox cases in Stevens Point, at the extreme eastern end of the county. A man returned from New Jersey, was taken sick, and the neighbors thought it was "the itch." It turned out to be a light form of small-pox and some of the neighbors have it and others have been exposed.

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JERRY WILLIAMS Dead – Another of Susquehanna’s "sports-minded" figures, Gerald (Star) Williams, passed away on March 10, after an illness. Jerry was known as "Star" to his many friends, a nickname that was given to him due to the fact that when this columnist (LCP) owned the Transcript, Jerry was one of my sports writers, and the heading on his column was "Star-Lites by Jerry Williams."

Jerry covered all sports, such as bowling, golf, football, deer-slayers, especially giving St. John’s bowlers plenty of space. Being a lover of sports, he starred on the Laurel Hill basketball court (in the old LAC) in the 1950’s. Not being too tall, the "Star" made up for it with expert ball-handling and a "good eye" for the basket.

While a resident of Hornell, several years ago, he was a constant fan of the Little League and also served as an official of the league. Later moving back to Susquehanna, he could be seen umpiring several softball games.

Although he was a few years older than one of his basketball "opponents," Brian Price at Laurel Hill, there was an ongoing "battle" for who deserved the title "Mr. Laurel Hill Basketball." Not being able to solve the problem, it was decided to let it rest and let both of them believe they were "Mr. LHA."

My sincere condolences to Ceil Ivory, Jerry’s devoted companion and his entire family.

SPORTS SCANDALS – More and more fraud is being found in the sports world. Just recently Coach Jim Harrick of the Georgia basketball team was suspended. One of his star players was taking a phony class, taught by Harrick’s son. St. Bonaventure’s boys cage coach was let go for an infraction. Later the college’s president was ousted. But on a good note, the controversial Bob Knight told Texas Tech he wouldn’t accept his $250,000 salary because he said, "I’m not satisfied with my team’s record this year." The team finished with a 16 win, ten loss record. (Probably good for a lot of other teams.) And add to that, Yankee pitcher David Wells has defamed(!) the Yankee image by telling all in a book. Poor George, he doesn’t like the truth to be told. What was that name (?) that Billy Martin Called George?

VFW CELEBRATES "57TH" – The Great Bend Musa-Stiles Post 6223, on March 1, 2003 celebrated their 57th anniversary as a service club. They, along with the Hallstead–Great Bend American Legion were organized in 1946. Both clubs are noted for their hospitality and gifts to many families, in addition to members. On March 1, the club observed their birthday with a variety show, music, food, door prizes and beverages.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS – On Wednesday, April 9, the VFW Post 6223, Great Bend, will nominate and elect officers for the ensuing year. Members are urged to attend the meeting, open at 7 p.m.

A QUOTE (By Negro pitcher Satchel Paige) – "We don’t stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing."

FORGET ABOUT HIM – Who? Pete Rose, of course. Commissioner Bud Selig’s answer to a reporter, "There’s no hurry to reinstate Rose." I agree. Let him stay out. He agreed to a life ban. If he wasn’t guilty of gambling, why did he agree to the ban? He takes money from kids for autographs – imagine that, charging kids up to $50 for his signature, then he skips paying income tax on his earnings. Why some major league players are going to "bat" for him is beyond me. The latest ex-player is Mike Schmidt. But if you "really" pay attention to most of the major leaguers and the media, not too many care about Rose’s plight. I, for one, don't want him in the "hall." How about you, out there?

PENNSYLVANIA FACTS – State tree, hemlock; capital, Harrisburg; counties, 67; largest counties, Lycoming and Bradford; population, 12,009,000; land area, 45,000 miles; state parks, 116; gamelands, 294; acreage, 2,200,000; bordering states, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia and Ohio; largest cities, Philadelphia (1,436,287); Pittsburgh (340,520), followed by Erie, Allentown, Reading, Scranton (74,683), Lancaster, Bethlehem, Harrisburg and Altoona.

THE "KING" Surveying His Flock – At a recent no-tap tourney held at the Riverside Lanes – with so many teams bowling, male and female – it was almost impossible to gather the top score winners, which there were plenty of. Lane proprietor, Dave Passetti, is shown standing on his pedestal to get a better view of the "action." Also taking in the action and waiting for their turn at the pins are Steve and Theresa Felter.

WANTED! The year, month and date that St. John’s LAC was torn down. Please call Lou Parrillo, 853–3835.

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Straight From Starrucca

I can’t remember a winter when there have been so many school delays or closings. Sure hope the weather soon stabilizes.

Brett Upright, Modena, NY was a weekend visitor at the home of his parents, Carl and Virginia Upright. Grandson Billy Reddon was also there at that time.

The Weldy children, Perri and Misha had a combined birthday party recently, Perri 14 and Misha 12.

Ruth Slocum reported seeing a beautiful bald eagle between their place and Levchak’s last week. Many report seeing wild geese honking. "Have heart, spring’s almost here."

Last Tuesday night the local post office was the scene of the gathering of postal carriers and post masters as the Quality Work Life Group Assoc. met for their monthly meeting. Attending were: Richard Sheldon, Union Dale; Joe White, Pleasant Mount; Gail Mroz, Hallstead; Mr. Evanitsky, substitute carrier; Ann Mead, Lakewood; Ron Allen, Starlight; Don Sheldon, Waymart and Art Kopp, Starrucca, rural carrier.

Donny Sheldon stopped by to see his uncle Roger and aunt Barbara Glover on his way to local post office for meeting. Donny is a former resident of Starrucca.

A week ago Sunday I was surprised and pleased to get a phone call from Tokyo, Japan. Larry Birmelin called to tell me of his coming plans. He has resigned at St. Mary’s International School and is looking for another position outside Japan. He also asked about former associates at the Susquehanna elementary school, and has been in touch with Kathleen McCawley.

Flo Wheatley, Hop Bottom, founder of "Our Brothers’ Keeper" will stop in Starrucca Monday, March 23, and pick up the forty-eight quilts for the homeless that the group has made since January 21.

Those who quilt and those who bought tickets for the quilt raffle will derive great satisfaction from the following:

The Wilkes-Barre Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center was the recipient of a $700 donation from the Starrucca Senior Citizens/Quilters. The gift, to be used specifically for patient programs, was given in memory of Sergeant 1st Class Charles Bradshaw, who had been a volunteer at the medical center for many years. The presentation was made by his wife, Meryl, a member of the group as well as the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary VAVS Deputy Representative at the facility.


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