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Issue Home August 26, 2003 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago

Straight From Starrucca
Along the Way...With P. Jay

Slices of Life

Time To Hit Delete

When my computer slowed to a crawl and my e-mails wouldn’t download, I was sure that the worm had struck. I was telling this tale of woe to my daughter and she suggested that deleting some of my files might be the answer. Just maybe it wasn’t a virus, but too much material for the computer brain to compute. Dreading to do anything but type and save for fear of wreaking havoc with things already set up, I began to take inventory of what I might be saving in there. First I did some arithmetic. I figured out I’d been writing this column since about 1991. That’s twelve years (of nothing) at fifty-two weeks a year. If you do the math, that comes out to about 625 columns. Now granted, they were not all written on this computer, but the last four years were, and even two hundred stories is a lot to store. No wonder the computer brain was slowing down.

Saving the stories to disc is not an easy option because my machine is CD "read only." In order to save I have to buy an attachment which, while affordable, is one more thing to learn how to use. I guess as long as we live we are going to have to keep learning – things we want to learn and things we have to learn. The other option is not acceptable just yet.

Learning is like everything else; the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Remember all we were expected to learn, and did learn, as children? All those spelling words, multiplication tables, chemistry formulas, historical dates? It went on and on. Every day was full of new discoveries and new facts to assimilate. Somehow we mastered them. Then when we got out of school, we had to learn how to do our jobs, how to raise children, keep a budget, and more.

Somewhere in my forties, I remember consciously making the decision that I had learned all I wanted to know and wasn’t going to make any effort to expand my knowledge. Can you imagine such audacity and innocence? Along with that hair-brained idea came the determination that I had all the muscles I needed and wasn’t going to exercise anymore.

I went along for awhile practicing these two tenets and probably taking up the time that I would have been learning and exercising with baking and eating. Those were two things I knew how to do well.

I don’t recall how long I stayed in this mode, but one day I realized that while my mind and muscles hadn’t grown, the rest of me had. Time to change the formula for living.

The information explosion that has taken place this last couple decades is frightening. I do work at staying on top of things in my area of interest and concern, but when I listen to my children and their contemporaries talk, I am barely keeping up with the conversation. It would be very easy to retire into the thinking of my forties again. But then I go visit my octogenarian relatives and realize how knowledgeable they are concerning the news of the day and I am chagrined into at least buying the newspaper.

But more computer knowledge? That may be just a little more than I can handle.

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100 Years Ago

SUSQUEHANNA: On Tuesday Susquehanna had the worst windstorm, accompanied by rain, thunder and lightning, in many years. Scores of shade and fruit trees, telegraph, telephone and electric light poles were blown down, and some streets were blockaded with the debris. Fences, bill boards and sheds went down with the gale; one house was unroofed. The only person injured was Mrs. Harriet Townsend. In closing a window a blind blew shut and smashed a pane of glass, a piece of which entered one of her eyes, and she will probably lose the organ. AND: Howe's Moving Pictures will appear in Hogan Opera House, Sept'r 2, under the auspices of the Oakland Methodist church.

THOMPSON: During the storm on Tuesday morning, Hugh Perry, a well-known farmer of Thompson township, near Comfort's Pond, had a narrow escape from death. While in a field at his work with a harvester, lightning struck the machine, the horses ran away, and Mr. Perry sustained severe injuries. Dr. M. L. Miller, of Susquehanna, was called and rendered surgical aid.

FRANKLIN FORKS: The poverty social netted the Epworth League a little over $7. Susie Green took the prize for the poorest dressed lady, and Tracey Webster for the gentleman; several had to pay fines for dress ups. AND: School commences Monday, Aug. 31st, with Mary Wheaton, teacher. Julia Wheaton will teach at Salt Springs and Alma Smith is to teach the Turrell school.

HERRICK CENTRE: Weston Wilkinson, of Iron Mountain, Montana, is visiting friends here.

ELK LAKE: At a meeting of the Dimock school board the following teachers were hired for the coming term – Dimock, Jessie Titman; Main, Giles Seeley; Conklin, Catharine Cokeley; Creek, Carrie Gray; Parkvale, Homer Smith; Pleasant Grove, Mabell Pritchard; Tyler, A. C. Lowe; Smith, Dora Smith; Elk Lake, Winifred Hoag.

NEW MILFORD: The New Milford graded school opens on Monday, Aug. 31, with the following teachers: C. M. Snyder, principal; Nettie Stilwell, grammar department; Nina Taft, intermediate; Elizabeth Shelp, primary.

LAKESIDE: Samuel Townsend, a farmer, was killed at Lakeside, Tuesday, during the big storm. A barn door blew off and fell on him.

MONTROSE: The gallery at the Village Hall will be open to spectators for 15 cents admission to the Domino dance occurring to-night. The girls will be masked. The Montrose Orchestra will furnish music.

UNIONDALE: A Uniondale woman has found a new use for the telephone. She pulled the baby in its crib up to the phone and laid down the receiver telling central if they heard the baby cry to call her up at a neighbors.

HALLSTEAD: During the races at Hallstead, Saturday afternoon, Secretary Crook stepped to the gates and invited in several poor little boys standing there-all save one, whom he would not let in, and warned not to try to get in. It was a boy who had previously been caught stealing. This was the way Mr. Crook punished the boy and gave him something to remember. He certainly looked punished when his mates went joyously in, and he singled out and thus reprimanded. It looked like an illustration of the dividing of the sheep and the goats.

SILVER LAKE: Mrs. Margaret Keenan, widow of Patrick Keenan, deceased, died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Joseph Kane, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 1903, after a lingering illness. Her funeral was held from St. Joseph's Catholic Church. She was 75 years of age and a pioneer resident of the township, a good Christian woman, a devoted Catholic, an affectionate mother and a kind neighbor. She is survived by her three daughters, Mrs. Patrick Maher and Mrs. Bridgie Murray, of Binghamton and Mrs. Joseph Kane, of Silver Lake.

DIMOCK: A stone quarry is being opened on the large Dolan farm south of Dimock, which promises to be a success.

HOPBOTTOM: Ed. Gardner, thinking he heard some one in his garden one night, was going out to investigate when he slipped and fell, dislocating his shoulder. Two doctors and several men worked faithfully all the morning trying to reduce the dislocation without success. He was taken to the hospital at Scranton, where the shoulder was fixed up.

AUBURN TWP.: The second annual reunion of the Overfield family was held in the orchard adjoining the old homestead, now occupied by "Uncle Ben" Overfield, near Meshoppen, Saturday, August 15. The following officers were elected: President, N. E. Overfield; secretary, Mrs. Albert Overfield; assistant secretary, Mrs. W. T. Dunlap; chaplain, Rev. A. G. Overfield; treasurer, Arthur Dunlap.

BROOKLYN: The band boys, who have been circulating a subscription to secure money to build a hall, are about discouraged; the people do not seem to feel interested enough to help them after they have tried so faithfully for more than three years to keep the band an organization, and have asked for no help. Such a hall as they propose building is what the town needs; there is nothing of the kind here and before they give up trying entirely let us hope the people will respond willingly and generously when asked to help.

JACKSON/NEW MILFORD/SUSQUEHANNA: A rural free delivery route is to be established Oct. 1, as follows-Beginning at the Susquehanna postoffice, it will be through Lakeview, via Holmes' Corners to Steinback's Corners, to the New Milford road; returning, via Bradfords, to Susquehanna. Length of route, 24 5/8 miles; area covered, 13 square miles; number of houses, 110; population served, 500.

NEWS BRIEFS: The female school teachers in Kansas are required to sign a contract not to marry within the time for which the contract runs or permit any courting during their school engagement. AND: The present fad of high heeled shoes and slippers is making business for chiropodists. Don't wear them. Be sensible.

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5K Walk "Earns" $700 For Legion Vets

The 5K walk for the benefit of the Susquehanna American Legion, that took place during the ’centennial week, drew a large number of participants that netted the Legion Post $700 to help care for veterans. With Sigrid Reddon as chairman, there were 42 registered walkers. Each walker received a T-shirt with the names of the sponsors in observance of the borough’s 150th birthday.

Shown receiving the $700 check from Chairman Reddon is Legionnaire and Vet Chairman, Tom Hurley.

Tom Hurley, chairman of the Legion’s "Help A Vet" program couldn’t praise Ms. Reddon and the walkers enough as he said, "I’m very pleased with the effort put forth by Ms. Reddon and her helpers; I know it was a lot of work. My sincere thanks to all that participated in the run. The money will go a long way in helping disabled veterans."

SHERWOOD/KANJORSKI Vote for VA Cut – Two of our congressmen recently voted to eliminate – at least – $1.8 billion from veterans’ health care. Like the millions of other veterans, I, too, would like to know why they voted to take money away from our health program? Legion National Commander Ron Conley charged the proposed reduction could mean more and more vets would be denied medical care, when they need it.

The American Legions in Pennsylvania are "up in arms" over the voting of our two congressmen. Several Legion posts are ready to picket the offices of Sherwood and Kanjorski. Commander Conley urges every veteran in Pennsylvania to write to the two congressmen. Ask them why they voted to cut our medical programs. That will mean that GIs returning from Iraq – and other war zones – will be denied health care. Write now, don’t wait.

WHY? WHY? WHY? Why are gas prices going up and up and up? I haven’t heard of any shortages. As a matter of fact, I read in a national paper a few days ago that Saudi Arabia (one of the largest suppliers) is pumping twice as much oil as usual. Then why are the prices going up? For a couple of weeks, they jumped two cents every third or fourth day. Is it greed? What else could it be? (NOTE: After doing this article, the local gas on the way home was $1.529. The next day, Friday, the 15th of August, it was marked up two more cents, to $1.549. It seems gas keeps going up and up. When will it end? By the time you read this article, it may have jumped another ten cents at the rate they are changing their prices.)

Again, I have not read anywhere that OPEC is doing less and charging more. Have you? The gas stations are getting to be like that "store" that is supposed to be dropping their prices every few hours, only the gas dealers are "raising" their prices every couple of days. (On August 18, a couple of days later, a gallon was $1.589!)

MANY GIs ELIGIBLE For Bronze Star – The Army News Service has reported that World War II veterans who earned the Combat Infantry Badge or the Combat Medical Badge are eligible to receive another award, the Bronze Star, to honor their heroism.

In 1947 the Bronze Star Medal was authorized for all of those who earned a Combat Infantry Badge or the Combat Medical Badge, according to Army regulation 600-8-2, Military Awards. The medal was designed to honor the infantrymen who endured the greatest hardships and the medics who accompanied them on the front lines, officials said.

When the son of a World War II veteran was restoring lost copies of his father’s record, he found out from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis that his father was one of many who had never received the Bronze Star Medal.

Officials from the National Personnel Records Center say that they don’t know how many veterans are eligible for the medal or who still have not received the award, because a massive fire in 1963 destroyed most of the official military personnel files from World War II.

WHEN HIS FATHER died, John told the funeral director to spare no expense. So when a bill for $12,000 arrived after the funeral, John paid it without hesitation. The next month, he received a bill for $85. He paid it, figuring something had been left off the original bill. But a month later, he received another bill for $85. This time, John called the funeral director.

"You said you wanted the best funeral we could arrange," the director told him, "so I rented him a tuxedo."

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Straight From Starrucca

The Girl Scouts achieved their goal when they went wild water rafting on the New River in West Virginia when it was at flood stage. Those going from here were Shannon, Danielle and Cindy Williams and their chaperones, Kristin Potter and Gale Williams.

Bob and Dee Martin have returned from a flying trip to California, where they attended the wedding of Bob’s nephew. They took a side trip to Sequoia National Park, the Mt. Saint Bay Aquarium, and enjoyed a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean while driving down the coast of California.

Visitors at the home of Charles Levchak were Betty McLean of Windsor, NY and Don and Eleanor Smith from Brooklyn, NY.

Al Rodriguez, Herrick Center has assumed the pulpit of the Baptist Church here in Starrucca for a couple of months, until they can find a permanent pastor. Mr. Rodriguez is presently engaged in prison ministry.

The Robert Buck’s have returned from a camping trip to the Mount Joy, PA area. Their campsite was right next to their son Wesley and wife’s, so they could enjoy their grandchildren, which they don’t have much chance otherwise.

Alice and Kirk Rhone have returned from a week’s vacation camping in the Poconos.

A week ago last Sunday, June Downton attended her family reunion, held at Walker Valley, Pine Brook, NY. Attending also were Jennifer and Andy Bennett and two girls, Vicki and Danny Downton, Bill and Peggy Bennett.

Barb and Roger Glover attended the funeral of his cousin, Don Glover, in Binghamton on Friday. Don was the son of Harry and Ruth Glover.

The sisters’ cow, Lily gave birth to a healthy heifer, which they have named Amy.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Ah, the wacky world of politics!

Experience has taught us that politics is played in every form of elective government. Often employment opportunities are extended to friends or relatives of officeholders or to members of large or influential families with voting clout that could impact on the outcome of elections. While we are aware of this, we put up with it because 70 years ago someone said to the victor goes the spoils.

Unfortunately, this political practice is and probably always will be abused. Often I think that the reason I am bald is because of the many times I scratched my head in bewilderment over some political appointments. They used to refer to them as political plums but I have seen some that were more like political watermelons.

Anyhow, last week a notice went up on bulletin boards throughout the courthouse advising employees that a new clerk’s position has been created in the county sheriff’s office. I guess the union compels the county to post these in case any employee would like to apply for the new position. Trust me on this one too folks. Experience has also taught me that, by the time the position is posted on the bulletin boards, someone has been selected and is waiting in the wings for the appointment.

The starting wage for the new clerk’s job is $9.34 an hour plus benefits for a 37.5-hour work week. Considering it is about four dollars an hour above minimum wage, I’d say that’s not a bad deal at all.

Now consider this:

In case you were not aware, 911 emergency dispatchers operate the county’s regular and emergency police, fire and ambulance radio frequencies. They dispatch emergency crews and equipment to all types of incidents, including, but not restricted to, fires; highway, home, industrial and business accidents; assaults; drownings; murders; muggings; rapes; robberies; suicides; heart attack victims and other illnesses, domestic incidents; and, lost adults, children and animals. I am sure this is just the tip of the iceberg because these dispatchers come up against all sorts of weird and unusual circumstances.

On a single accident, a dispatcher may need to call police, fire department personnel, ambulance squad members, an emergency medical technician, additional ambulances if there are multiple injuries, a life flight helicopter if necessary, and tow away equipment. Time is of the essence in emergencies and that means these calls must be placed one after the other ASAP. A dispatcher has to be on his toes during emergencies because he/she may have the lives of many people in their hands. I know first hand that 911 dispatchers are also trained to help instruct callers on administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when the occasion arises.

Last month, the county commissioners hired a 911-dispatcher-trainee at Range 5 on the starting payroll grid. This gave the man a starting hourly rate of $7.48 plus benefits for a 40-hour workweek. If he successfully completes his six-month training period, his hourly rate could be elevated to Range 7 or $8.36. When the new clerk in the sheriff’s office completes her training, she could go from $9.34 to $9.89 an hour.

Here my friends is the entire crux of this week’s column. How can the commissioners justify a $9.34 an hour rate for a clerk and only a $7.48 rate for a 911 dispatcher? Incidentally, both positions require that whomever fills them must join the union.

The starting payroll grid begins at Range 1 which is $6.02 an hour and ends at Range 20 which is $17.41 an hour. When I inquired as to how the starting range of a new employee is decided, I was told by education and experience. Since the rate of pay has already been decided, isn’t that putting the horse before the cart? Or are the commissioners going to hold out for someone they believe is qualified to start at $9.34? Actually, if all goes according to Hoyle, the sheriff is entitled to hire his own help and the commissioners need only to ratify his selection.

One point should be clarified here. The two gals currently working in the sheriff’s department, Donna Evans and Bina Carey, earn their keep. I have never walked in that office and seen them standing around gossiping or sipping coffee. There is plenty of work for them and hiring another person is long overdue. In fact, the position was approved back in January but for some reason the sheriff did not see fit to fill it until now, although it might have been a space problem that has since been corrected.

They tell me the starting payroll grid has the union’s stamp of approval. I have always been pro union but this is certainly the poorest example of union representation I have ever seen. I know some gals who work in the courthouse, pay union dues and do not make $9.34 an hour. If I was a county employee I think I would consider floating a petition for a new election and throw the union out.

And if I was a new commissioner in January, I would take a closer look at the starting payroll grid with an eye at having the department heads who do the hiring justify the starting range.

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Okay, so its summer and dogs and cats are supposed to get fleas right? Wrong. There are a bunch of things we can do to help our friends and because I was just plain sick and tired of putting up with constant flea baths because of this very wet summer, I decided to go out on line and see what I could find. So here goes – by the way I found a few things I really liked because they were more natural. You'll know when you see my "raves" about the site.

First off, you need to completely understand the cycle of a flea's life – I know, yuck, but the more you know the better you can get a handle on what you dealing with so go to to see the life cycle of a flea.

Then check out a government site that is really complete: . After you look at that one, I found some really good information in a couple of messages at There are a number of responses and a number of ideas from people – really, check this one out! with help you with some good basic information – but the best was at Use lavender, rosemary and peppermint oils, friends. There are combinations you can use with ordinary shampoos.

For first aid for your dog check out . and then go to for general dog information. After that little trip I also suggest

Now that Fido and Kitty are more peaceful do something for yourself, so tap on over to and for sports exercise go to For those who fit anywhere the in the exercise categories of novice to expert check this one:

For your lovely skin see: and knock yourself out finding out about all kinds of stuff about your skin. For your nails look at and finally do wonders for your hair at

Well, that all folks – time to go out into the grass and slather myself with lavender oil – hee hee hee. See you all next month!

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