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Issue Home November 11, 2003 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

A Very Special Ministry

This year as we celebrate the sixth anniversary of our Grapevine Ministry at South New Milford Baptist Church, we would like to make more people aware of this very special ministry. The Grapevine Ministry is here to reach and minister to the deaf in a hearing world. South New Milford Baptist Church services, which are interpreted for the deaf are Sunday mornings, at 11:00 and Sunday School at 9:45, Sunday evening service, at 7:00, and Wednesday, at 7 p.m. For the younger children, we have Patch the Pirate Club on Wednesday nights, at 7 p.m. For teens, there is Word of Life Club on Wednesday nights, at 7 p.m. There are opportunities for people of all ages to be included.

If you do have a young child, help for the parents is only a phone call away. We have a 21 year old deaf lady who would love to work with little ones and teens. She is also available to teach parents (or anyone interested) how to sign. In addition, we have a mother who has raised a deaf child. She is a wonderful source of knowledge about this topic, and is always ready to lend a hand.

At the present time, the oldest deaf person at South New Milford Baptist is a retired young man who really enjoys "hearing" in his own language. He doesn't know a lot of sign, so we interpret for him through repeating what the pastor or other speaker is saying, so he can read our lips.

There are many ways of hearing and sign language is one of them. The deaf love to hear through sign. So please, if you know someone with this need we would really love for you to call us or visit. You may call 570-278-2084 and ask for Audrey or Amber Lynne, or call South New Milford Baptist Church at 570-465-7246 for more information. The church is located on Route 848, approximately one-half mile west from the Gibson Exit off Route 81.


Nancy Van Cott, Church reporter

What Was Missing

In this letter you will learn many things that will be important for you to be a good parent. Parenting is not an easy thing and sometimes a guide is needed. Sorry, kids don’t come with instructions.

The first thing that is one of the most important parts of parenting is knowing everything your kids do, and everyone they are friends with. No time should be unaccounted for; bedroom and playroom doors should be open; computer usage needs to be monitored; parents should check on their kids’ and their friends’ activities; make sure that the families your kids are involved with share the same rules for safety. The more time you spend supervising your kids and their friends, the less likely inappropriate behaviors will happen. Families with addiction problems are not homes where your kids should spend time without you being present.

Moms and Dads need to be careful about sending conflicting messages. For example, don’t yell at your kids for lying, especially when they hear you lie to the bill collectors; don’t try to teach your kid to be honest, especially when they see you collecting welfare and working under the table or cheating on your income tax; don’t try to teach your kids about obeying the laws, especially when they see you stealing and doing drugs. You cannot expect your child to do right, when you are doing wrong. If you think they don’t see what you’re doing, you’re wrong!

Now I need to talk about what parents don’t ever want to believe or even deal with. Sexual abuse is a hard subject to deal with, but it is happening more and more, especially among kids, and might be avoided with proper handling.

Your home and the homes your children visit should not have pornographic materials. That includes movies, books, or sex figures/toys. If you don’ think we know where you hide this stuff, you’re wrong again! When things like this get in a kid’s mind, he or she believes that what they are seeing is OK and that is how they are supposed to act. The younger we are and the more often we see this stuff, the changes become greater that we will begin to seek satisfaction this way.

Please get help for your alcohol, drug, gambling, and porn addictions. Your problem takes up so much of your time, it leaves little room for making sure your kids are OK. We’re not OK. We know something is not right, but we don’t dare tell anyone about it. We spend more time worrying about you, that it leaves little time for learning, playing, and behaving well. Your addictions prevent you from seeing when we are at risk for exploitation. Your addictions may contribute to you abusing your own children.

Remember, your kids are more likely to be sexually abused by a family member, or friend than a stranger. I know I was. These people will make sure that you trust them first, before they abuse your child. Never believe it can’t happen in your family, because it can. Some of the behaviors I was showing as a victim were isolating behaviors. I appeared to be immature compared with my peers. I felt different from my peers and could not make friends. I started to stay away from my parents, always feeling alone, not able to tell them what was happening, and found I fit in better with younger children. I remember wanting to fit in, to feel love and friendship, and I found this need could be met with younger friends. As a perpetrator, I felt the same kinds of feelings that I did as a victim. I was taught how to be a perpetrator when I was young. Just like a child is taught how to drink, do drugs, physically abuse others through the example of others, I was no different. But, I wish I was.

Sex offending has a cycle, just like most other parts of life. The first part would be engagement. This is the part of the cycle where problems within the family system cause a child to feel alone or rejected with family and peers. This makes the child vulnerable to a perpetrator. Next is when the offender begins to groom, or get the child to trust or look up to him or her. Then comes the assault. This is when the offending takes place and the child becomes a victim. After that, the offender moves to the concealment stage. This is where the offender may bribe or threaten the child not to tell.

Knowing your child well may help you to notice the subtle changes in their moods and behaviors. Remember, your child may be afraid to tell you what’s happening, so it’s important to assure them of their safety and your love for them.

So when you really look at the whole part of offending, you, as a parent should always keep a close eye on your children. As a sex offender, I see (everyday) the suffering I’ve caused and wish that I could take back what I’ve done. As a sex abuse victim, I remember the fear that I am only now beginning to face. As a human being, I’m working very hard to redeem myself to my victims, their families and my community. I hope this letter will help.


A Recovering Offender

Name Withheld

Hats Off To Them

What is home health nursing care? I had never heard of it.

But, after a major operation, one of three in the last three months, I found out.

When I was sent home from the hospital, Barnes-Kasson Hospital Home Health took over. They checked the healing of my operation and discovered my blood had an infection from the illness and I was given antibiotics by IV to kill the virus.

This was all done in my home, by home health care, for fourteen days!

When we had an electrical blackout, that made me feel I had had it, they came to treat me and reassure me I would be OK.

They were always caring and cheerful even though their working hours were hectic, long and always different; they had to put up with me (and others like me) who were sometimes very grouchy, challenging and insulting.

Without home health care, our hospitals would be fuller and we wouldn’t be able to send patients home early, knowing they would be in good hands.

God Bless the Barnes-Kasson Home Health Care personnel!


H. K. Clague

Sherman, PA

Not A Parade Without Spectators

The scariest, prettiest, most original Halloween characters came to Montrose to join in the annual Halloween Parade, sponsored by the Montrose Area Kiwanis Club.

Over two hundred children took part in this annual tradition of parading the streets of Montrose, from Andre’s to the Montrose Fire Hall. Leading the parade was the Montrose High School Band, who later entertained outside the fire hall. At the fire hall refreshments were served and judging of costumes for various categories was carefully done. All participants left with a bag of goodies.

Thanks to all who came and those who watched, because it’s not a parade without spectators. Special thanks to the Montrose Borough, Elk Lake and Montrose Key Clubs, Montrose High School Band, Montrose Firemen and Fire Police for their help.


Sue Heed, Sec.

Montrose Area Kiwanis

Thank You, Superintendent Stracka

This December, 2003, Mr. William Stracka, Superintendent of Susquehanna Community Schools, will retire after 28 years in the Susquehanna School District. He became elementary principal in 1975, succeeding Principal Michael Martin at the Laurel Street Elementary School. In 1983, Mr. Stracka became Superintendent upon the death of one of his mentors, Superintendent Kenneth Andrews.

After enduring two teacher strikes (as elementary principal) in the 1980’s, Mr. Stracka was able to bring the district into harmony with six-year professional and staff contracts that allowed for smooth year-to-year operations and no "labor strife." His uncanny understanding of people in general and his compassion for staff members who were having difficult times with health or family tragedy is exceptional. He never lost "the common touch," and is at ease in dealing with people at all levels, a trait few people can claim.

Mr. Stracka credits former Susquehanna High School Principal, the late Mr. Edward Buchla, with helping him become a successful administrator. From the beginning, Mr. Stracka was a man after Principal Buchla’s own heart... big, compassionate, caring and no-nonsense. People always knew where they stood with both because they always told things "like they were."

During Mr. Stracka’s 20 years as Superintendent, he brought about a large number of changes within the Susquehanna School District, from teacher and staff negotiations to building renovations and additions. Under his direction, and with little tax increase, he renovated the high school and the elementary school, put on additional rooms in each building, including a "state of the art" high school computer lab that is second to none in Pennsylvania. All of the renovations were done without disruption, delay, cost overruns, or loss of instructional time.

Also included in the renovations was the upgrading of the athletic facilities – new bleachers on the football field, a new and improved wrestling room, a weight training room, and dugouts on the baseball fields. His most recent project was the installation of security cameras in the elementary and high school buildings.

One particularly effective program that Mr. Stracka brought into the district’s elementary school is the "Hooked on Fishing, Not Drugs," which he learned about at a superintendent’s conference. The program has been running for about 15 years and has turned a number of students into avid fishermen. Working with (now retired teachers) Mr. Patrick Schuler, Mrs. Elizabeth Keller, and Mrs. Cecelia Furkay, Mr. Stracka instituted a field trip – a day of fishing (and outdoor education) for the third grade classes. Mr. Schuler through his contact with Camp Starlight in Wayne County set up the site, while the district provided the fishing poles, tackle boxes, and a lunch of hot dogs and hamburgs for every third grade student. Parents were invited to come along to take part and to help with the supervision. As the program has grown, about 90% of the parents (mostly fathers) have gone along on the trip. In addition, as part of the preparation, Mr. Raymond Testa, SCSD Business Manager, provides a lesson on the different species of fish that students might catch, bringing into the classroom a sample of each – perch, large mouth and small mouth bass, blue-gill, walleye, sunfish, bullheads, etc. The students learn about fish and get to put their knowledge to work in a fun way. They get to keep the tackle, hopefully insuring a lifelong love for the sport of fishing, along with a respect for the environment. Needless to say, the program is a huge success of which Mr. Stracka and staff are justifiably proud.

A good part of the reason for Susquehanna’s successes is that Mr. Stracka was always well prepared and kept the school board well informed about any issues that the board had to take under consideration.

On a more personal note, Mr. Stracka came to us from Blakely, PA where he excelled in football and was chosen "All League," as an end under the watchful eye of another one of his mentors (and PA Hall of Fame Coach, Jack Henzes, Sr.). From Mr. Stracka’s stories, we "came to know" Coach Henzes without ever having met him.

After high school, Mr. Stracka went on to East Stroudsburg for his college degree and became a teacher and football coach at Dunmore High School. Three of his former players are now coaching in the NFL.

Mr. William Stracka’s story doesn’t end there (or here). He is married to his high school sweetheart, the former Dale Parry. They have two sons, Steven and Michael (a Bloomsburg University graduate and Millersville U. senior, respectively), who both share their father’s love of football, hunting, fishing, four-wheeling and the great outdoors.

A little known fact about William Stracka is that he is also a "chess aficionado," having developed a love for the game during his college years. He expects to get back to the chessboard during his retirement, perhaps even looking for some "on-line" competition.

So, Mr. Stracka, be assured that your dedication and your administrative excellence did not go unnoticed, or unappreciated. We commend you; we thank you, and we wish you a long, happy, and healthful retirement. You’ve earned it and you deserve it. We’re glad that the "Blakely Bear" stopped here at the SCSD.


The SCSD Board of Education,

James Bucci, President

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