Main News
County Living
Church Announcements
Dated Events
Military News
Subscribe to the Transcript

Watch This space for information on upcoming events in Susquehanna County.

Please visit our kind sponsors

Issue Home November 25, 2003 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago

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

Slices of Life

And Life Goes On

This seems like an odd time of year to be making jelly, but that is what I’m doing tonight. At least I’m preparing the juice that will become jelly tomorrow.

I’ve had these elderberries in the freezer for a few years and decided it was time to find out if they were still good. So I took out a plastic bag full of the tiny, gritty berries a couple days ago, and thawed them out in the refrigerator with the bag sitting in an empty bowl in case it had developed a leak. It had, and I congratulated myself on my foresight. The berries looked perfectly good, so I made a big pie. It came out of the oven just as I was ready to leave for a meeting. But the time I returned, it was just slightly warm – the perfect way to eat it. So I cut myself a medium-sized piece and savored every bite. When it cooled completely, I wrapped pie plate and all in aluminum foil so I could deliver the slightly sticky gift to its intended pie-lover early the next morning.

When I went to bed, I set my alarm for 6:30 because I don’t move fast in the morning. Mrs. Morris and I had a restless night, so when the alarm buzzed, I shut it off and fell back to sleep. We all know that the best sleep comes after it’s time to get up. The next time I woke up it was eight o’clock. I jumped out of bed, threw on semi-clean clothes from the day before, washed my face, brushed my teeth, fed the cat, grabbed the pie and took off. I didn’t want my friend to leave the restaurant before I got there and left the pie in his car.

Anyone who knows my habits would realize right away what a sacrifice I made to leave the house without taking a bath. My normal morning ritual is get up, feed the cat, make coffee, drink coffee while I sit in my easy chair either reading or writing. An hour later, I’m ready to take a bath, get dressed, make my bed, eat breakfast and get on with my day. That’s why I don’t have a real job. It would interfere with my morning ritual and we can’t have that!

That was the beauty of living with my husband. He didn’t care how I spent my day. As long as all his clothes were washed, ironed and put away, his supper was ready when he got home from work, and I didn’t nag, my days were mine to use or misuse as I wanted. His most frequent and heartfelt evaluation of me was, "What I really like about you is that you don’t bug me." I thought that was the supreme compliment.

Amazing what power association has. When I took those berries from the freezer, a flood of memories washed over me. All of his gathering, gardening, and wine making came back, along with those particular years after his retirement when he gathered with his friend who received the pie I just baked. I remembered that my husband and I picked berries together even before he was my husband. And the memories of all this were as bittersweet as those tangy little elderberries I was cooking up tonight.

And life goes on.

Back to Top

100 Years Ago

SPRINGVILLE: Tuesday morning neighbor Comstock drove up to the mill and jumped out and went inside. His team, however, conceived the idea of coming back unassisted. A phone message from there notified down town people that they were coming and they were stopped. No damage was done.

HARFORD: The Epworth League will hold a box and weight social at the home of H. A. Robbins on Friday evening, Dec. 4th. Ladies are requested to come and bring boxes; come and get your lady by the pound.

SUSQUEHANNA: Former Auditor-General Levi G. McCauley, an old-time resident of Susquehanna, is a Republican candidate for State Senator from Chester county. AND: The Erie is building snow fences along the Jefferson Branch.

SILVER LAKE TWP.: Laurel Lake is frozen over, which is quite unusual for this time of year. AND: Sister Mary Genevieve Morrissey died in Mt. St. Mary's Seminary, Nov. 20th, 1903. Sister Genevieve was formerly of St. Cecilia's Academy, where she was Assistant Superioress. She was also directress of schools and had charge of the music classes. Sister Genevieve was a woman of superior intellect and all who were privileged with her acquaintance found in her a true friend and splendid model of Christian virtues. Her birthplace was at Silver Lake and she entered the Order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at the early age of 15 and was a nun for 45 years. [Sister Genevieve also taught at the Laurel Hill Academy in Susquehanna.]

LANESBORO: The Bell Telephone company were made to remove some unsightly poles and also to change the location of several which interfered with traffic.

MONTROSE: McCausland's drug store is now lighted by gasoline, a device having been installed which gives not only a brilliant light but makes its use almost absolutely safe. AND: The sleighing about town the past week has been quite good and our citizens have been making the most of it, especially the younger ones. Charles Sprout bears the honor of being the first one out on runners. The jingle of sleigh bells is always a pleasing sound and their merry chime lent an additional charm to the Thanksgiving Day festivities.

THOMPSON: The 600 tons of coal, which in a recent wreck was precipitated down a steep embankment near Thompson, has all been removed by vicinity farmers and nothing now remains but a lot of charred timbers and twisted iron and steel of the sixteen coal cars that were derailed there last September.

GIBSON: Elmer S. Chamberlain, while digging a well on his farm, discovered a vein of mineral paint 8 feet in width and 10 feet in depth. Mr. Chamberlain had some of the rock assayed by a prominent assayer who pronounced it first-class mineral paint. Mr. Chamberlain will organize a stock company for the purpose of developing the "mine" and getting the paint on the market. AND: In South Gibson a lamp exploded at the home of Jesse Pickering. Mr. Pickering, being absent, his wife bravely fought the flames and put out the fire but not until one sleeping room and its contents were burned.

FOREST CITY: Thursday afternoon of last week, as Morris Rounds was hauling a load of hay through the streets of that borough, three youngsters pulled out an armful of hay and setting it on fire applied it to the load. The natural result was that the entire quantity of hay was consumed and it was only by calling out the fire department that the wagon was saved. Mr. Rounds and team also had a narrow escape. What ought to be done with boys that commit such acts? You can't lynch 'em. AND: William P. Jones, a widely known citizen, was killed in the slope of the Hillside Coal and Iron company on Thursday afternoon of last week. A great mass of roof rock fell upon him. Mr. Jones was about 40 years of age. He was one of the earliest settlers in Forest City and was generally esteemed throughout the section in which he lived.

NEW MILFORD: Chicken thieves have been operating quite extensively among the poultry fancieries in this place. Several people lost from five to a dozen fowls. Last week it developed that a dealer had bought a large number of chickens from a local character and one of those who had suffered the loss of several fine fowls examined the buyer's flock and located his property among the bunch. It is understood that a warrant has been sworn out by the gentleman who bought the fowls, for the arrest of the seller.

FAIRDALE: There will be an entertainment in the M. E. Church, Friday evening, Dec. 5th, by the famous Peake Sisters from Alaska, assisted by Sheen Brothers' Quartette.

CLIFFORD: The ladies aid society said, "Let there be light" and the result is six new Rochester burner lamps for the chandelier, a hanging Rochester for the choir and a large student lamp for the pulpit of the Baptist church.

UNIONDALE: A report is circulating that Judge Purdy, of Honesdale, has purchased twelve hundred acres of land on the mountain east of Uniondale and has contracted with Edson and John Carpenter to sink six holes therein in search of dusky diamonds.

FRANKLIN FORKS: Inspection of G.A.R. Post was to have been held on Saturday, but owing to the non-appearance of the inspecting officer, it was postponed. But not so with the supper as that feature was carried out.

NEWS BRIEFS: Mistleto [mistletoe] was sacred because its berries grow in clusters of three--emblematic of the Trinity. Individuals used to hang bits around their necks as a safeguard from witches, but in modern times it leads us toward witches of a more attractive kind. The maid that was not caught and kissed under the mistleto at Christmas would not be married within one year, so the tradition goes. According to the old rules the ceremony is not properly performed unless a berry was pulled off after each kiss and presented to the maiden. When all the berries were gone the privilege ceased. AND: Captain Sanford of the Salvation Army, of Binghamton, will be in the county seat on December 1, gathering clothing, magazines, books, newspapers, rubbers, etc., from your homes. Anything you have in that line kindly have ready, and thus help the Salvation Army to help those who need help. The farm hands from the surrounding country go into the city and seek for employment and help. Thus you may aid us in caring for them. People are sufficiently acquainted with the Salvation Army to know that they are the leading society of the world to help the unemployed and to feed the hungry. 10,000 men are sheltered by the Army every night throughout the country; they have nowhere else to go.

Back to Top


Headlines Announce Closing Of BKH Maternity Ward

News that we never expected to hear; the closing of the Barnes-Kasson Hospital ward. Just a couple of years ago, thousands of dollars were spent in the building of a new maternity ward. A beautiful ward, second to none, is to be closed. Why? Many improvements have been made over the past several years to the hospital. Several new buildings have been added.

Recently a new MRI building has been built. If money is/was available to add all of the new buildings to the hospital, why isn’t there a source to help keep the baby ward open?

We just can’t simply lay back and let the ward close. We simply can’t let pregnant women run to Binghamton or Scranton in that condition. That could be disastrous to not only the expectant mother/parents, but also to the community.

Like Dr. Warren DeWitt said, "I ask all residents of our – and surrounding communities – to contact their representatives, state and local, to help us in our quest to deliver safe and much needed prenatal and delivery services to the women of Susquehanna County."

Let’s not lose the maternity ward. It is one of the most needed units of our hospital. Give this a big thought: pregnant women getting up in the middle of the night, having to travel between 25 and 50 miles. That would be terrible, especially during the cold and winter nights.

Contact your representative now – don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact anyone that you know that can help. Let’s save the baby ward!

BATTISTI KIN A Penn Stater – Ethan Kilmer, a six foot, one inch 220 lb. Junior, recently transferred from Shippensburg University to the Penn State football squad as "a walk-on." Kilmer, a Wyalusing High School graduate, was a standout in basketball, scoring over 1,000 points and a 2x District gold and 2x State Medalist in the high jump.

Could be Kilmer may be just the football player that Joe Paterno is looking for. Ironically, he never played football past the ninth grade, but impressed Paterno enough to be on the 2004 roster.

Currently, he’s enrolled in the Sports Medicine program with full NCAA eligibility. He dressed for his first game against Ohio State as Number 90 and is looking forward to next season.

Ethan is the son of Michael and Lou Ann (Battisti) Kilmer, of Wyalusing and the grandson of Sandy and Joan Battisti of the Oakland Side, Susquehanna.

(A personal note: if Ethan follows in the footsteps of his uncles, I’m sure he will make it. His uncle, John Battisti of Hallstead, starred on both the football field with the Susquehanna Town team and on the baseball field. His uncle, Dominic, starred on the Susquehanna Town baseball team for several years; his grandfather, Sandy, was a topnotch softball player and played with the Old Timers for several years.)

TOYS AND BOOKS For The Children – The Altar and Rosary Society of St. John’s Catholic Church, Susquehanna, will sponsor their second annual Toy and Book Sale at the Church hall, Jackson Avenue. Proceeds from the sale will be used to purchase toys and books for children at Christmas time. Proceeds from last year’s sale was used to purchase gifts for the children this year. This year’s proceeds will be used to purchase gifts for the children for next year. The sale will take place on Friday, December 5, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, December 6, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Toys new and like new and books can be purchased at affordable prices. Free refreshments, Christmas music. Remember the dates, December 5 and 6. The public is invited "to buy."

FATHER BOB Simon at Notre Dame – Father Bob, pastor of St. John’s Church, on Saturday, November 9, attended the Notre Dame/Navy football game at South Bend. Did he bring the Irish good luck. Evidently he did, as the ND’ers were having a poor season, they managed, with just a few seconds left, to break a 24 all tie with a 40-yard field goal, to give them a 27-24 win over Navy. No doubt, Father Bob and thousands of other ND fans at the game were deep in prayer when – with time running out – D. J. Fitzpatrick (a good Irish boy) kicked the 40-yard three-pointer that gave the Irish the win. (Did the prayers help? Who can say they didn’t?)

WHAT ABOUT N. Korea – According to a news service headline, "Why is the US Worried about North Korea." North Korea has the fourth largest military in the world, with an estimated 1.2 million armed forces, and the world’s second-largest special-operations force.

Last year, North Korea admitted that it had been developing nuclear weapons and "more powerful weapons" and had expelled UN monitors.

The United States and many other countries, including China and Japan, are concerned that if North Korea has nuclear weapons, it will use them.

BC/BS Worth $370 Million! Want More Money – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Northeastern Pennsylvania asked state regulators for permission to raise non-group subscriber premiums from 5.3 to 12 percent, effective in January.

The Wilkes-Barre based health insurer said lower federal reimbursements, an older area population and other factors contributed to its need for a hike. Opponents said the company should tap into its $370 million surplus to make up for added costs. A decision will be made by insurance regulators later.

MEAT PROCESSOR CHARGED – Following a two-year investigation, the PA Game Commission filed charges against Kevin and William Naugle, co-owners of a Luzerne County meat processing business, for the unlawful possession of deer and sale of processed deer meat. The Naugles are a participant in the Hunters Sharing the Harvest Program, and there is a concern that some of the deer meat allegedly sold was donated by generous hunters for a program aimed at helping feed needy Pennsylvanians.

A GOOD EXCUSE – Do you have a good excuse for coming in at three o’clock in the morning? Yes, Dad. The party was raided!

THREE SMART COWS – The farmer made a practice of loading his three cows in the wagon every Friday to visit the neighbor’s bull. Finally, the neighbor sold the bull. About noon the next Friday, the farmer looked out the window, two of the cows were in the wagon and the third one was hitching the mule to the wagon.

THE NOON WHISTLE – I used to quit plowing for lunch everyday at noon. Did you have a wristwatch? No! How did you know when to quit. The whistle down at the sawmill blows every noon. I would quit 30 minutes before I heard it.

A PREACHER WITH FAITH – Floodwaters forced a preacher to his second story. A fireman with a motorboat offered a ride. The preacher refused. The water got higher. The preacher went to the attic. A National Guardsman wanted to help. No, said the preacher, God will help me. More water. The preacher went to the roof. A helicopter came along. No said the preacher, God will save me. The preacher drowned. At Heaven’s gate he asked St. Peter why the Lord didn’t help him. Don’t blame the Lord, St. Peter said, he sent you a fireman, a National Guardsman and a helicopter. You refused them all.

Back to Top

Straight From Starrucca

Election returns finally: tax collector, Delores Martin; auditor, Kirk Rhone, George DeBalko; constable, Charles Levchak. The town council stayed the same.

A former resident, Ray Kopp, has achieved a lifelong dream. He now owns and pilots a thirty-foot sailboat. Virginia Upright, his sister, staying at her son, Brett’s, Modena, NY for a few days, met Ray at Catskill, NY. He had started his watery voyage at Cayuga Lake, entered the Erie Canal to Albany where he sailed down the Hudson River to New York Harbor. He plans to winter in Charlestown, NC and go to school to earn his captain’s license. Then he will be able to have tours and taxi service.

Charlotte and John Keyser of the Nethercott Inn are busy starting to prepare for the holiday season. Decorating has begun throughout the inn. Once again, they will be hosting their annual Christmas Open House and Tour, which benefits the Susquehanna Children’s Christmas Bureau, on December 7 from 1 to 5. Admission to the tour is an unwrapped gift for a child of any age.

Nelson and Phyllis Dickey came down from Little Falls to attend the funeral of Wendell Swartz and returned home the same day.

The postal workers held their annual meeting Tuesday, November 18 at the Nethercott Inn. Nineteen were present.

The Civic Association had a short meeting Wednesday night, November 19. All tickets for the drawing of a complete Thanksgiving dinner were brought in and the lucky person will be notified November 22.

His voice is stilled in the town council, the Civic Association, history group, Republican committeeman for Starrucca, and the powers that be in Wayne County. Wendell Swartz succumbed after a freak accident at his home November 15. His funeral was held in the Methodist Church in Starrucca, November 19, with Pastor Brian Lucas the officiating clergy. The church was filled to overflowing and about one hundred twenty-five were served dinner. He will be sorely missed.


Back to Top

Along the Way...With P. Jay

There is a problem in Clifford

Clifford Township officials aren’t talking about it – at least not at public meetings – but there is a problem in the township. A financial problem that might threaten the township’s long-time string of annual operating budgets without a tax increase.

At the core of the problem is an audit of the township’s Liquid Fuels Tax Fund for the year ending Dec. 31, 2001. Almost $38,000 in liquid fuel money was spent under circumstances that prompted a recommendation from the Department of the Auditor General that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation should determine if the township should reimburse its Liquid Fuels Tax Fund the money expended under some of the questionable findings.

This year, the township budget amounted to $372,000. This includes an appropriation of $180,000, which is about 48 percent of the total budget, for road maintenance. If PENNDOT tells the township to put that 30-something thousand back where it belongs, the township will have to take the money from the general fund and deposit it back into the liquid fuels account. And while it is just a matter of juggling money from one township account to another, it could impact on the general fund or, at the very least, on the amount of money the township will have left at the end of this year to pump into the 2004 budget.

I asked Dave Kisandra, PENNDOT’s communication man in this area, to check on the matter for me but he apparently got tied up and could not get back to me before my deadline.

Of the $38,000 that may have been spent under questionable circumstances, about $35,000 appears to have been used for equipment rental. He did get back to me after my deadline and promised more information in time for next week's edition.

"During our audit," the Auditor General’s office said, "we noted that the township expended $34,965 from the Liquid Fuels Tax Fund for the rental of equipment. We further noted that the township did not advertise for bids for the equipment rental."

The equipment rentals apparently were not made in compliance with the advertising, bidding, and contract requirements of The Second Class Township Code. The code requires that purchases over $10,000 must be "advertised, bid, and awarded by contract." The code further states that the proper procedures should not be evaded through piecemeal purchases.

"It looks as if the township did not comply with the township code," Sandy Williams, assistant director of communications at the Auditor General’s Office, told me. Williams also said the AG’s office always provides municipalities with an opportunity to respond to an audit.

"We have not received a formal response from the township," she said, "and they have known about this since May."

In the audit report, a second finding reveals that the township did take bids for the purchase of anti-skid material and on Sept. 25, 2001, awarded a bid to "Vendor A" at a price of $7.90 a ton. However the report notes that on Dec. 11, 2001, the township paid $1,800.24 from "Vendor B" at $8.65 a ton, resulting in an overcharge of $156.09 from the lowest per ton bid.

In yet another finding, the AG’s office noted that Clifford purchased stone at various times throughout the audit year. The audit report states that the bid price for the stone was $3.75 per ton but the vendor charged the township four dollars a ton resulting in an overcharge of $1,212,84. The AG’s office recommended that the township dip into its general fund to reimburse the Liquid Fuels Tax Fund the amount of the overcharge.

"Good internal control procedures require the recalculation of vendor invoices," the report reads, "and the comparison of bid prices versus billing prices prior to issuing payment. Adhering to these procedures significantly reduces the risk of overcharges occurring and remaining undetected.

Federal Tax Liens

The Internal Revenue Service has filed the following tax liens in the Susquehanna County Prothonotary’s Office: Herbert Kilmer, RR 1, Nicholson, $228,034 for tax period ending Dec. 31, 2001; D&R Steel Construction, Little Meadows, $22,709 for tax period ending Dec. 31, 2002; Philip J. and Barbara Pass, RR 1, Union Dale, $3,875, for tax period ending Dec. 31, 2000, and $2,388 for tax period ending Dec. 31, 2001; Patrick Mankovich, Forest City, $2,761 for tax period ending Dec. 31, 1995, and $4,391 for tax period ending Dec. 31, 1996.

Back to Top

News  |  Living  |  Sports  |  Schools  |  Churches  |  Ads  |  Events
Military  |  Columns  |  Ed/Op  |  Obits  | Archive  |  Subscribe