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Issue Home October 7, 2003 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Save Our Families

In October, 1998 my children and I found the farm of our dreams and our family moved here in December, 1998. We embraced the wholesome lifestyle of rural Northeast PA and were welcomed warmly by many families. However, coyotes were soon at my door; coyotes of the breed illegal to shoot when they become a nuisance. The families that welcomed me into Susquehanna County were quickly called to protect me and later testify on my behalf as I pursued my life’s dream – to raise my family in a wholesome, rural, farming community.

Coyotes have ravaged me and it has taken until now to be able to find the strength and energy to publicly thank all the good citizens of Susquehanna County for their amazing support.

Since my immediate family lives across this country and overseas, my dear neighbors and church members were there for me first. Numerous professionals and hardworking folks took time from their days to offer support and testimony. Others to whom I am deeply grateful are those that supervised my visits so that I could enjoy some time with some of my children. Many folks have shared their own families’ milestones and joys with me, as I was forced from mine. Prayers and good will have been bestowed upon me, in standard country style. Thank you to all these wonderful people. May God bless your families.

A mother often does not get told what a great job she has done until the children reach adulthood. I have been blessed. Many teachers in Elk Lake School District commended me on a job well done in homeschooling, acknowledging that such diligent and intentional parenting makes their job easier. A guidance counselor told me that he wished more parents would devote so much time to their children. Another outspoken teacher told me I have a right to be involved in their lives and to keep fighting. A principal lamented that it is sad what has been dome to my family. Thank you to the teaching staff at Elk Lake School for your verbal support and prayers. May God bless your families.

Where there is goodness, evil is sure to pursue, like a hungry coyote.

A man appeared on my front lawn one evening, flailing a pistol in my face. As my children watched in horror, he threatened that there were ways to adjust my attitude. The State Police refused to press charges and advised me not to either, because that would make the man madder. He lives in a big house. Has this happened to anyone else, or just me?

Another man threatened to kill me, beat my head in and put me six feet under. He, too lives in a big house.

I asked for a Protection From Abuse and my assailant, did, too. We were both granted them and told to live together. Has this happened to anyone else, or just me?

When I was assaulted again and went to the hospital, the State Police could not find my assailant. Has this happened to anyone else, or just me?

I received a hoax anthrax letter and was scared, based upon past threats. The State Police demanded a confession of me. The letter was taken as evidence by HAZMAT, forwarded to the FBI and paid for by you, the taxpayers. Has this happened to anyone else, or just me?

My children have been ordered to be taken care of by my husband’s paramour. Has this happened to anyone else, or just me?

I have endured supervised visits, at my expense and the expense of you, the taxpayers. Has this happened to anyone else, or just me?

This list is quite long as many of you know.

Domestic violence kills. It kills dreams and families, one day at a time. The offender often continues the assault in the courts, if the victim is not dead yet.

Many victims of domestic violence endure the abuse, quietly until they finally take their own lives. Victims often turn to self-destructive behaviors including drugs, alcohol, suicide or homicide. The past few months have been especially sad for Susquehanna County as we mourned the loss of several young lives, due to domestic violence. According to the soon-to-be approved Susquehanna County Comprehensive Development Plan Update (pages III–14 & 15) "The overall poverty rate and the child poverty increased... Crime rates increased dramatically... especially when compared to the statewide statistics. (% Change in Total # of Crimes reported to the police 1995-2000 Susquehanna 55.6%, PA 5.5 %; % Changed in Reported Serious Crimes 48.5%; % Change in Number of clients receiving homeless assistance, Susquehanna 35%, PA 36.7%" (please see the plan for the details).

These statistics could change dramatically if law enforcement listened to the small, quiet voice of a victim politely seeking peace and solitude from violence. However, violence has been rewarded in this county, especially in the last 10-20 years. That leaves little hope for the children. It is no wonder that, again according to the Plan (page II-2) 62.3% of graduating seniors do not want to live here. That is sad.

It was the canary in the coal mines that forewarned of imminent danger. Perhaps it is our children who warn us of the coyotes at our doors. If the good citizens continue in their daily struggle to provide good, loving, wholesome lives for our children, then evil will be pushed aside. Then our next Ten Year Plan Update, 2010 will perhaps not be so bleak.

Help save our families – one at a time – by supporting the grassroots effort for social justice and peace. Domestic violence brings emotional turmoil and causes monumental financial burdens to the individual families and our county. Donations will be used to ease legal and medical expenses and other related costs to pursue justice for families. The need is urgent for one family and specifically, for maintaining the health of the children. God bless your families. Please send contributions or requests for assistance to: Save Our Families, P.O. Box 165, Montrose, PA 18801.

Sincerely,

Name Withheld

On Special Request

What A Terrible Feeling

On Wednesday, September 24, the refreshment stand for the Blue Ridge Triplets Football Association was vandalized, by "unknown" thugs.

From the list of things taken, it appears (possibly) some adults were involved; adults age-wise, but certainly not mentally.

This organization is run completely by volunteers. Not one person gets paid one penny. These adults do what they do "for the children" in our community. Unfortunately, they missed a few kids. These kids have too much time on their hands. These kids are always around town. They "hang" because they want to and because no one makes them accountable.

What a terrible feeling to know that these people know when the Triplets practice, what they have of value, how to get in and out of the practice area. This is such a violation of the entire organization. If anyone knows anything that will help the State Police, please call them or call a Triplet officer. Call Joe Collins, or Mark Kotar.

Sincerely,

Mary Jane Darrow

New Milford

A Great Deal To Say

On November 4, Susquehanna County voters will be casting their ballots for a totally new slate of county commissioners. The overwhelming number of people that attended the public meeting for the County Comprehensive Plan indicates the heightened interest in the county’s future. The individuals we elect to serve us for the next four years will have a great deal to say about that future.

What do we know about each candidate? What are their priorities? Do they have a vision for Susquehanna County that we can adhere to?

The League of Women Voters of Susquehanna County has invited Roberta Kelly, Jeffrey Loomis, Katherine Shelly and Mary Ann Warren to a Debate of the Candidates on October 15, at 7:30 p.m., Main Courtroom, Montrose. All four candidates have accepted our invitation.

The League would like to invite the voters of the county to join them. Please accept our invitation to learn more about each candidate, to evaluate what they think is important, and to judge their ability to work together to accomplish a constructive effort for the citizens they will represent.

Do not be intimidated by one party’s strength over another, by anyone desiring to run as a team, or by negative rumors that circulate as an election nears, those are unimportant ideas. The reality is each registered voter in Susquehanna County has a right and a privilege to learn about, select, and vote for those candidates that we as individuals feel can best do the job.

Please join League members on October 15.

Sincerely,

Ruth W. Wilmarth, President

League of Women Voters

Please Represent Us

Our local townships try to deliver the best service, at the least cost to our citizens. However, we often find state regulations, which while well intended, make this difficult.

We wish to thank our local state senators and representatives who have often gone to bat for us, while many from downstate do not understand our local conditions and block needed reform.

At the Susquehanna County Township Officials meeting, September 18, we first became aware of a major financial disaster for our areas with dirt (unpaved) roads and the potential for a major safety problem for those who must travel our dirt roads this coming winter.

There are no PENNDOT approved cinders available in this part of the state and the cost of hauling from Southwestern, PA makes that a non option. Most townships have tried PENNDOT’s other anti-skids and they do not work on dirt roads where salt cannot be used in the mix.

Had we been aware of this last October, when we were working on our 2003 budgets, steps could have been taken to shift other expenses to liquid fuels funds. However, at this late date this is impossible for many of us. Many have already paid for cinders out of liquid fuels funds (in the belief they were approved), others have now stopped their orders for cinders, having no funds to pay for them.

Until about nine or ten years ago, we bought cinders that met our needs at the best price we could get. Then, PENNDOT began enforcing the requirement that cinders be PENNDOT approved, in order to use liquid fuels funds.

Let me explain how this affected Liberty Township, as an example. Our cost went from $6.50 to $10.25/ton, which was not the worst part. At our next township meeting, after switching to PENNDOT approved cinders we had approximately twenty people at our meeting throwing tires on the floor that had been ruined by the cinders, which had slag in them and it cuts like glass. We had PENNDOT come out and take a sample of our cinders. After re-testing, PENNDOT said they (cinders) met their standards, which say nothing about slag. The next year we were able to find PENNDOT approved, slag free cinders, but of course they cost more.

Dimock Township planned on putting up a cinder shed this year, using General Fund monies. Now, this money will have to be used (instead) to buy cinders, with no shed to put them in. This means they will have to buy more cinders, as a quarter or more can freeze up and be unusable, depending on the weather.

Other parts of the state with paved roads can use Liquid Fuels Funds for their anti-skid, but those areas with dirt roads (which are generally the poorest parts of the state) cannot. This not only affects Susquehanna County municipalities, but Bradford and Wyoming Counties as well.

We strongly urge all our state representatives to introduce legislation that, at a minimum would relieve us of PENNDOT approval requirements for this year and that this be done immediately. At this late date, townships can wait no longer to take delivery of cinders.

We would also strongly urge the introduction of legislation that would permanently relieve us of PENNDOT standards that do not take into consideration safety, availability, or cost.

We know you (representatives) share our (supervisors) concern for the safety of our citizens and the financial health of our communities.

Sincerely,

Bill Bayne, President

Susq. Co. Twp. Officials Assoc.

American History 101

Fact: The words "separation of church and state" are not in our constitution. Even though a few people wish they were. Fact: American laws are founded on Christian laws. Even if a few people say that they aren’t.

As a matter of fact, the first line of the first amendment was put there because in early America, laws had already been passed that oppressed certain religions. These were called "Religious Tests." In most of the first states, a person had to profess a belief in God and/or be a Protestant, to hold a public office. Our founding fathers saw that our young nation was becoming a type of country that their forefathers had fled from. That is why they wrote Article VI in the constitution. It states, "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." This was followed up in the first amendment with the "establishment clause," which states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

The true Christian laws and our great country’s laws are so intertwined they can’t be separated. What our forefathers saw was that the majority of the people (Christian 83% – 2000 Census) should rule, but that the minority (other than Christian 17% – 2000 US Census) should not, and would not be oppressed. If the first amendment is truly followed, any group should be able to worship and/or put up symbols of their beliefs on public property. Public property is supposed to be for the public (everyone). The first amendment is violated when the government orders the removal of symbols of anyone’s God or religion from public property. At this point, the government is "respecting an establishment of religion," that is, the religion of Atheism.

Like our founding fathers, I believe that a religion should not run the government, but the doctrines of a loving God should guide it. I also believe that the government must not "prohibit the free worship" of anyone’s religion. An example of what is happening in our society today happened to my son and some of his classmates last year, in a public school. They were going to read their Bibles during flex time (what I called study hall). Their teacher told them that reading their Bible was not allowed. (You know, the "separation of church and state" phantom clause.) By saying that the first amendment says that there must be a "separation of church and state" (which it doesn’t), the state actually violates the first amendment, which says that the government cannot "prohibit the free worship" of anyone’s religion.

You cannot separate a person from their beliefs. Our government is run by people who are carrying their beliefs around with them, and I hope those beliefs affect their decisions. Most decisions that are founded on the doctrines of a loving God are good ones, just like the ones our founding fathers used when they drafted the constitution many years ago. They saw to it, with Article VI that a religion could not run the government. They also made sure that the government didn’t oppress a religion, with the first amendment. They didn’t use the words "separation of church and state" because it can be misused, like when a group of eighth graders are told they can’t read their Bibles during their free time because they are in a public school building.

Having a Christmas display on the county seat’s lawn, or having a copy of the Ten Commandments in an Alabama courthouse does not affect the government. These are for the enjoyment of the majority of the American people. I do not see why a few people (a very small percentage of the population) are so threatened when they see a group of people rejoicing in their beliefs. I can only surmise that their anxiety is caused by the uncertainty of their own beliefs.

Sincerely,

Dan Glezen, Jr.

Hallstead, PA

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