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Issue Home September 9, 2003 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

It Will Only Get Worse

In regards to the letter from Mrs. Lois Baker, of New Milford titled, "We Should Have The Right." This should be addressed by all three.

The first is Pump and Pantry; they are responsible for allowing this unruly conduct to go on. They should post "No Loitering," or "Patrons Only" signs and when these hoods come onto their property they should call the State Police, immediately. I assume there is no local police department.

The State Police are too busy? This is "bull"; they are duty bound to "serve and protect." This problem can easily be solved with mutual cooperation between Pump and Pantry, the residents and especially the State Police. Our quality of life should not be affected by young criminals. According to Mrs. Baker, I see several violations of the PA Crime Code: Disorderly Conduct, Public Drunkenness, Criminal Trespassing, Underage Drinking, Harassment, Reckless Driving, Open Containers (alcohol) and most likely, Drug Violations.

The New Milford Boro Council should take steps to enact ordinances such as loitering, open containers, curfew, etc. They should write a letter to the State Police Commander, demanding he address and correct this problem; they should make sure they CC the letter to the State Police Commissioner.

This problem is easy to solve, but someone is passing the buck. I have been a police officer for 42 years and this type of problem will only get worse if something is not done.


Jack Robinson, Montrose, PA

Disappointed With Your Coverage

I was disappointed with the Transcript’s coverage of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee hearing on H.B. (House Bill) 657, August 14 at Shadowbrook (Tunkhannock). Coverage consisted of a news release, by the State Grange on the front page, August 20.

H.B. 657 would amend "Clean and Green," allowing one acre on each property in Ag Reserve and Forest Reserve to be taxed at full, assessed value. Active ag farms would still get a tax break on all their acreage.

Among those testifying only the Grange, which hadn’t met to discuss H.B. 657, and two landowners from Tioga County, who obviously didn’t understand H.B. 657, spoke against H.B. 657.

Dennis Wolff, Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture and John Bell, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, spoke in favor of H.B. 657.

Speaking in favor of H.B. 657 and suggesting other possible needed change in "Clean and Green" were: Jennifer Hoffman – Pennsylvania School Boards Association; Douglas Hill – County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania; Mary Lou McGinnis – Pennsylvania State Assessors Association and Fulton County Assessor; Mary Kay St. John – Bradford County Assessor; Eric Brown – Wyoming County Assessor; Elam Herr – Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS); Jack Walters – Athens Township (Bradford Co.) Supervisor; Jerry Sands – Nicholson Township (Wyoming Co.) Supervisor; Donald Stone – Ararat Township Supervisor; Michael Greene – Thompson Township Supervisor; and myself – Susquehanna County Township Officials Association and Liberty Township Supervisor.

One of the high points was Mary Kay St. John, showing a map of Bradford County, which showed state lands (non-taxable) in brown ink and "Clean and Green" acreage in green. Only the Susquehanna River winding through the county and a few scattered spots were left white. The white area, other than the river are paying taxes at the full rate. Comments were made during the hearing that maps of Fulton, Susquehanna and many other counties would look similar, leaving those small white areas to make up the loss of revenue from all that "green."

H.B. 657 was introduced by Representative Sandra Major, co-sponsored by Representative Tina Pickett and many others. This bill would not only restore a more respectable tax base to our municipalities and school districts, but also help relieve the burden on those that do not qualify for "Clean and Green," while still allowing the full benefit of "C & G" to our farmers and a significant benefit to those in "Ag Reserve" and "Forest Reserve." This would make for a more equitable tax structure.

I would urge all to support Representatives Major and Pickett in their pursuit of a fairer tax structure, via H.B. 657.


Bill Bayne, President

Susquehanna Co. Twp. Officials Assoc.

I Do Not Relent

I regret that it is once again necessary to revisit the subject of the recent debate.

Last week, our New Milford evangelist treated us to a selection of quotes from some of the Founding Fathers. It's importnat that these quotes be properly contextualized.

First, these men were politicians, and as such they uttered some things for public consumption. Particularly by pandering to their pious proclivities.

Second, regardless of what they said, they were far from orthodox in their thinking regarding Christianity. So their concept of God differed from that of today's Fundamentalists.

Third, Patrick Henry was out of step with the majority of our Founders, so his feeling that our government was founded on Christianity is not well taken. Despite his views, the rest of the Founding Fathers gave us a secular Constitution. And the very first treaty enacted by the new United States, the Treaty of Tripoli, stated, "The government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian religion".

Finally, I must defend the honor of Thomas Paine. The quote given last week that he regretted writing "The Age of Reason" is simply bogus! Fundamentalists have shown a long-standing tendency to fabricate "deathbed repentances" of famous critics and skeptics. Similar things have been put in the mouths of Voltaire, Ingersoll, and many others. No scholarly biography of Paine contains this quote; it is something that is repeated in chintzy Gospel tracts whose scholarly criteria are nonexistent. The fact is, not only did Paine not regret writing "Age of Reason", but a dozen years after he wrote it, he produced a sequel, one that dealt brilliantly with the purported Messianic prophecies. And as he lay dying, not only did he not say what Fundies put in his mouth, but when a minister came hoping he'd repent, Paine told him to go away.

I'm sorry that our Evangelist is afraid of some sort of wrath if we fail to make official acknowledgement of her Deity. Why isn't unofficial, free-will acknowledgement good enough? Her Deity sounds like a monster. She should find a new one, one not limited and debased by being defined in ancient Middle Eastern terms. Instead of Yahweh, try "Nature's God", the one Paine and Jefferson believed in. The two concepts are not at all the same.


Stephen Van Eck

Rushville, PA

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