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Issue Home December 2, 2003 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago

Along the Way...With P. Jay
Food For Thought
An Inside Look

Slices of Life

Black Friday

Did you brave the crowds and go shopping on Black Friday? For the longest time I couldn’t understand why the busiest shopping day of the year would be called "black". Black had connotations of something bad, and how could a shopping day as busy as the Friday after Thanksgiving be called bad? I’m not sure when I finally heard or figured out that announcers were calling it black as in the financial expression of being in the black. In other words; making money.

If my memory is correct, I’ve experienced that shopping frenzy day only once. Being very naïve, one year we bundled our young kids into the car and went to the Oakdale Mall the day after Thanksgiving. Expecting to look around and maybe do a little Christmas shopping, we set off in high spirits. Even before reaching the parking area, we should have realized that something was amiss. The line of traffic at and from the red light was unprecedented (in our experience). Creeping toward the mall, we were amazed that the lower lot looked very full. When we reached the main entrance of the parking area, we couldn’t believe our eyes. Lines of cars were traveling at a snail’s pace around and around among the parked cars. There seemed to be absolutely no open spots. Where and when we did finally get parked, I don’t remember. But I do recall that getting close to a counter in any store in the mall allowed my impressionistic children to witness all the atrocities Dear Abby used to write about when she described shopping with her friend in women’s department stores.

That one time was enough to keep me away from all stores on Black Friday. Not a good shopper anyway, that would be way too much to bear.

But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t started shopping yet. On a day trip I bought a beautiful handmade gift at a little craft shop. It’s been stuck away for awhile now. I’ve bought some stocking-stuffer gifts from local merchants. They, too, are in the Christmas drawer awaiting the making of the stockings.

I like to shop through the year. When forced into the intensive shopping, I come away with things I shouldn’t have bought, with no standard of gifts among members in the same family. Some are too extravagant; some less than ideal. There is always the temptation to just buy something so I can get out of the crowds.

I’ve discovered that real shoppers always have a wallet full of coupons clipped from the daily papers, or given out at department stores during the previous shopping tour. I have enough trouble just remembering where my shoulder strap purse is, without shuffling coupons.

Real shoppers are also walkers. And as they stride purposefully through the aisles, their heads are on swivels, lest they miss a 30%- off rack. Ten minutes of this and I am dizzy, exhausted, confused, hungry and looking for the lady’s room.

This week I needed a couple things I couldn’t buy locally, so I went to Vestal – twice! I not only don’t "shop", I can’t even concentrate enough to get what’s on my list. So you can see why Black Friday is definitely not a day for me to get excited about.

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100 Years Ago

HALLSTEAD: Beginning with Monday next, the government will establish a rural free mail delivery route between Hallstead and Upsonville.

SUSQUEHANNA: The December attractions in Hogan Opera House will be: Mary Emerson in "His Majesty and the Maid;" Stetson's "Uncle Tom's Cabin;" "The Fatal Wedding," and "Why Woman Sins" ["Why Women Sin?"].

MONTROSE: The telephone line from Montrose to Elk Lake and East Rush is now open to the public and subscribers of the Montrose Telephone & Telegraph Co. will have that addition to the lines they can use without extra charge. The parties with phones installed are: Frank Wells, Chas. Stedman, J. G. Cart, E. E. Stevens, Frank Gray's house and store. More to follow soon. This is one of the best lines the company has put up, being metallic circuit and in first class shape. AND: The Lehigh Valley train was unable to reach here last Friday evening owing to the derailing of the work train near the Ballentine mansion and the passengers were obliged to return to Tunkhannock. A moving picture and kinetescope company was on the train with the intention of giving an exhibition here, but the accident made it impossible for them to reach town. This makes the second time they were foiled in their endeavor to reach this place.

SILVER LAKE: Col. and Mrs. West entertained a party at dinner on Thanksgiving. The dining room was tastefully decorated with evergreens and Xmas berries, the table with cut flowers and similax. Col. West's display of old cut glass and silver was much admired, especially an egg-castor, cups, spoons and castor all of heavy silver lined with gold, inherited from Mrs. Allison – Mr. West's grandmother; and a massive solid silver pitcher given to Capt. James West, Col. West's father by Jenny Lind.

SOUTH GIBSON: The entertainment here last week was a success. Miss Cruser delighted the audience with her recitations; the singing by Mrs.Will Dodge and Mrs. Wallie Watkins, of Welsh Hill, was fine. Morgan's band discoursed some fine music; the speaking by the children and singing by our home singers were also highly appreciated.

RUSH: E. Steward has been in very poor health all the fall. His neighbors and gentlemen friends have concluded to give him a bee, to get up wood, Thursday, Dec. 10, and are requested to come early armed with tools and teams to work with. The Aid Society of the Baptist church will furnish dinner; all ladies are invited to come well laden with good things to eat. AND: A short time since a marriage notice appeared in the Democrat purporting to report the marriage of Geo. Quinn and Cecil Zacharias, of Rush. It turns out that the notice was spurious, as no such wedding took place. It may be of interest to persons who think it "smart" to send such notices to a newspaper for publication that there is a strict new law against it and we think plans are now set in motion whereby some of these persons will be made an example of before they realize just how funny it all is.

SOUTH AUBURN: The Linaberry reunion on Thanksgiving Day was held at the home of Earnest Carlin. AND: In Auburn, John McGaven [McGavin] has rented and is now running the Ed. Cavanaugh blacksmith shop. He is a young man of good habits and is well liked, which means success to both blacksmith and customers.

FAIR HILL, Jessup Twp.: The ladies of Fair Hill will serve a chicken pie supper at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. F. P. Shelp, Friday evening, Dec. 11th. The proceeds will be used to defray the expense incurred in painting the church building. Everyone welcome. Come.

SPRINGVILLE: Last Saturday E. Stevens was having a load of fodder put in his barn, the team standing in the lower door. Without warning the floor gave way and came down. The team was frightened and backed out, escaping injury. Mr. Stevens received a blow on the shoulder that rendered the arm helpless. His carriage, which was in the barn, escaped serious injury.

JACKSON: Frank E. Benson, general manager of the Northeastern Telephone company is extending the line from Gelatt to South Gibson.

GELATT, Gibson Twp.: The Gelatt brothers, of Gelatt, have this season with one team, threshed over ten thousand bushels of grain.

BIRCHARDVILLE: Fred Birchard met with quite a painful accident while skidding wood, he was caught between two logs and his legs were badly bruised below the knee. Fortunately no bones were broken.

SOUTH MONTROSE: Monday morning the west bound train switched two cars heavily loaded with corn into the South Montrose Lumber Co's switch. The brakes failed to work, the cars crashing into a store room adjoining the office, telescoping them and bursting the steam pipes used for heating the office. At the time a steam pressure of 200 pounds was turned on filling the room with steam. Worden Allen, a son of the proprietor and Miss Jennie Wells, book keeper, who were in the room at the time, narrowly escaped death by jumping from the window. The following day the company sent a gang of carpenters to repair the damage done.

ARARAT: Raymond Smith and Miss Mary Graham were united in marriage by Rev. Mr. Whalan, at the Baptist parsonage in Carbondale, the 19th.

FRANKLIN FORKS: Geo. Hickok recently built a large shed for a covering for his logs and shingle blocks at his mill. He is doing a thriving business in his shingle mill.

CHOCONUT: Wednesday, Nov. 25, occurred the marriage of Frank Burke, of this place, and Miss Mary Heavey, of St. Joseph, at the St. Joseph church, in the presence of about 40 invited guests. John Mooney was best man and a sister of the bride was bride's maid. After the ceremony they all repaired to the bride's home, where an elegant dinner was prepared for them. The bride received many useful and beautiful presents, including $150, presented by her father. Soon after dinner Mr. and Mrs. Burke left for a trip to Niagara Falls and other points of interest. AND: Our creamery closed Saturday and if report be true we will have to look up a new creamery man for next season, as Tommy says there is more money in running a creamery at New York than at Choconut Valley.

NEWS BRIEFS: City gunners in Monroe county have shot several black hogs which they thought were bears. A farmer who owned but one of these animals labeled it with "This is a hog." AND: The finest wine ever drank by mortal man was given Pope Leo during his last days. It was 250 years old and worth $2,000,000 a bottle, $274,000 a glass or $200 a drop.

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Mr. BASEBALL "Has Left" – After an illness, Wendell "Mr. Baseball" Swartz, of Starrucca area and Wayne County, passed away on Saturday, November 15, 2003. Among his many feats as a Starrucca resident was the maintaining of a local team and playing a big part in the forming of the Wayne County Baseball League that sent many of its players to pro baseball. Wendell wore many hats. He served as mayor of Starrucca for ten years. Was a Republican committeeman and a member of the Eastern Milk Producers and a president of the O & W Snow Trails.

But I do believe his biggest achievement, due to one of his greatest loves, "baseball" was induction in the Wayne County Sports Hall of Fame in 1994, the first year it was organized. His love for the sport was endless. On many occasions we – whether in person or on the phone – would discuss local players that went through the Starrucca and Susquehanna teams. Many players from Susquehanna performed for the Starrucca team.

On one occasion Wendell invited me to go along on one of the "Fames" induction ceremonies and baseball game. The game was rained out, but Wendell and his wife, Marguerieta, took us on a tour of the sports complex, featuring many sports notables. I could see the delight in Wendell’s voice as he explained things to me, which I also delighted in knowing.

Yes, Wendell may be gone. But without a doubt he will be remembered – as a promoter, not only in the Starrucca area, but all over Wayne County. I, too, will miss "our" conversations, for as manager of the Susquehanna team, we had a lot to talk about. As sometimes it is said, "Our loss will be Heaven’s gain." Wendell may already be forming a baseball team. (My sincere condolences to Wendell’s family.)

VETERANS "Are Coming" – Veterans from the Medical Center of the Wilkes-Barre Vets Hospital will make their annual trip to the Susquehanna American Legion Post on Thursday, December 11. They are due to arrive at 11 a.m. and will be entertained at the Post in Memorial Hall. Chairman Tom Hurley is urging veterans of all wars to visit the post and the vets on that day. Many will be in wheelchairs, accompanied by hospital personnel. They will be at the post for about three hours. Remember, December 11 at the Susquehanna Legion Memorial Hall.

CENTENNIAL ORDERS "Very Slow" – Just about a week ago the ‘Centennial Book Committee – the SCDA – reported that orders were coming in very, very slow. Only about a hundred have been ordered. The committee must have at least 300 orders to get a new printing. If you plan on ordering a book, please do it now. Do not wait. The number to call: (570) 853–4729.

JIM CORSE Advances – Jim Corse, former Susquehanna Sabers standout athlete, now Blue Ridge Raiders athletic director, has been named boss of the Lackawanna Wrestling League. He replaces retired Lou Pilch of Valley View.

ANOTHER "Hall of Fame" – Hall of Fame’s are being organized all over the place – except Susquehanna County. Just recently, the Sidney, NY Alumni Sports Hall of Fame organized and on November 28 will induct its first four members; one from the track and field, two from wrestling, one from the football coaching ranks. (Again, so many good athletes in Susquehanna County; they will only be remembered by relatives and friends.)

BASEBALL "Checkup" a Joke – So say the heads of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The WADA criticized the testing system of baseball and scale of penalties for steroid use that will start next March. It’s a joke said the WADA. Baseball will give baseball players five chances before any big action is taken. First a slap on the wrist, then a little stronger as time goes on. The WADA, under Olympic sports rules says: an athlete faces a minimum two year ban for a first steroid positive and a lifetime ban for the second. Baseball thinks they can cure the use of steroids by fining the players large amounts of money. No way! What’s $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 or even 100 thousand dollars to a player making $25 million and up. Not only are the current players playing with a livelier ball, they are also using "helpers" to attain "high marks."

SLOT MACHINES "Are A-Coming" – So says Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. Rendell believes his state will pass a bill to allow slot machines at racetracks by the end of the year (as a Christmas present to the gamblers). Rendell said he will sign the bill, immediately.

NO ROOKIE HONORS – Hideki Matsui, Japanese fielder for the NY Yankees was left off the All Rookie Baseball Team and lost the honor of American League rookie of the year. Many sports writers did not vote for Matsui, claiming he was playing pro ball in Japan, and is not a rookie. He had a good year with the Yankees, but still was not eligible, according to many sports writers with a vote. (What do you think. Should he have been recognized as a rookie?) I sincerely believe the sports writers ignored Matsui, because he is a Steinbrenner’s Yankee.

LADY BOWLERS "Still Hot" – Melanie Lee, a member of the Twilight League at Riverside Lanes, has kept up the "hot" bowling of the ladies during the past several weeks. On November 6, 2003, she put together games of 211, 259, 269 for a 739 series, that included 25 strikes. (Not bad at all!) Melanie is the wife of Paul Lee, who is a star bowler in his own right. But on Monday, November 17, Paul could of used Melanie, as he was whizzing by some "lone pins." Prior to the 739, Melanie was averaging 195. (Nice bowling, Melanie.)

GREAT AMERICAN SMOKEOUT – Your clothes smell, your hair smells, your house smells, you’re short of breath. Is this the way the rest of your life is going to be? The American Cancer Society, on November 20 held the "Great American Smokeout" Day. Although "Smokeout Day" is past, it is never too late to quit. Nationally, smoking kills more people than alcohol. Have you given it a try? Try it for a couple of days, you may be surprised at what you can do if you put your mind to it. Prolong your life, quit smoking now.

CORRECTION! CORRECTION! In my November 5 NewsBeat I stated that the state’s lottery money is used for education. Not so. It is used for Senior Citizens Programs. (My thanks to George and Joyce Burdick for catching my error.)

ANOTHER CORRECTION – In an earlier NewsBeat item (I was informed was wrong). It stated that Mr. Bush wanted 87 million dollars to battle the war in Iraq. It should of read: "Mr. Bush wants 87 billion dollars to further his cause."


A LONGER Ladder – A woman called the fire department a burglar was trying to get in her house through the bedroom. She was told to call the police. I don’t want the police, she said. My bedroom is on the second floor and the burglar needs a longer ladder.

A FOOTBALL Star – The coach says I’m a Triple Threat. He’s never sure whether I’m going to fumble, run the wrong way, or jump offside.

NOT TOO DISTRAUGHT – A distraught man was seated on the steps outside a funeral parlor, weeping and crying, when a friend came by and asked why he was crying. My wife died two days ago and I can’t stand the thought of sleeping alone. Things will change, said the other man. You may meet another lady and fall in love again. Yeah, said the sobbing man – but what about tonight?

NOT FOR YOU –John was dying at home in bed when he smelled his wife cooking an apple pie. Dear he called, I would like a piece of that apple pie before I die. We can’t do that said his wife, the pie is for family after the funeral.

The Gambling Dog – A fellow was about to enter a bar when a dog said to him, Mister, wanna make some money. The man couldn’t believe his ears. He said to the dog, you can talk, yeah, said the dog, and we can make some money inside. You bet that I can talk, bet as much as you like. Inside, after the bets the dog wouldn’t talk. The man lost hundreds of dollars. Outside, the man said why didn’t you talk? The dog answered, we will go back there tomorrow night and make a killing, we will be able to get five-to-one bets.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Election 2003

I will never understand those people who write in cartoon characters and other fictitious names on election ballots. Guess they just don’t realize they are making a mockery out of one of America’s most precious gifts – freedom of choice; our right to select officeholders for most of the important elective positions in government.

This year it appears Spongebob, a new character – at least new to this writer – may have topped the list of the ridiculous write-ins. And, of course, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck were also written-in on some ballots as well as such traditional names (?) as "Anybody Else", "Anybody But", and, "Nobody."

Besides displaying a lack of gratitude for the privilege of voting, people responsible for writing-in these names don’t understand that they are creating more work for the county Board of Elections.

`Nuf sed!

More on Clifford audit

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has concurred with the findings of the Auditor General’s audit of Clifford Township’s 2001 Liquid Fuels Funds. Last week we told you that almost $38,000 in liquid fuel money was spent under highly questionable circumstances such as renting of equipment without advertising for bids.

Dave Krisanda, PENNDOT’s community relations coordinator in Dunmore, got back to me as promised and said Clifford will have to reimburse its Liquid Fuels Account.

"They don’t have to send a check to us," Dave said, "but they will have to put the amount listed in the audit back in their liquid fuels fund and prove to us that they did it."

This means that Clifford will have to take some $38,000 from its general fund and deposit it in the liquid fuels account. What effect this will have on the township’s 2004 municipal budget remains to be seen.

Dave also said that, while the state will be reviewing the township’s procedures to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again, it does not appear that what the township did was intentional.

New Councilman in Oakland

David Dibble, a write-in candidate for a seat on the Oakland Borough Council, defeated incumbent Councilwoman Cynthia Beavan by two votes, 49-47. Beavan was appointed to a vacancy on the council and was on the ballot as a Republican candidate seeking to retain her seat on the governing body.

What’s in a name

The county commissioners flagged a motion to change the official title of the Susquehanna County Soil Conservation District to Susquehanna County Conservation District.

Commissioner Lee Smith said the name change caught him by surprise. "I did not know this until today," he said. Smith said he would prefer the name be changed to Susquehanna County Soil and Water Conservation District because of all the attention the agency gives to resolving water problems.

The motion was put on a back burner until the commissioners can discuss the matter with officials of the Soil Conservation District.

In Forest City

The borough has not had an assessor in a number of years but it appears that one will be joining the town’s official family in January.

Ruth Jones of 801 Delaware Street received one write-in vote for the position and that was enough to get her elected. She was notified by the county Election Board that she can take the oath of office as the borough assessor if she files the necessary acceptance forms which she has done.

I commend her for her willingness to serve and for filling an important role in borough government. It will be interesting to see how the governing body reacts to her arrival as a member of the borough’s official family.

And the winners are...

A team from Susquehanna County won the annual Law Enforcement Tournament in Tunkhannock in the finals of the recent 3-on-3 basketball competition.

Sparked by the outstanding play of Al Smith, probation department, the team edged South Abington Police 20-17 to earn the first place trophy. Other members of the team included District Attorney-elect Jason Legg; Jim Gulbin, probation department; and, Trooper Josh Weller of the Gibson State Police Barracks.

Congratulations guys!

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Food For Thought

The dairy farmers.

If you know me at all, you know that the plight of the small family farm, in particular the dairy farm, is one of my crusades. Even if you do not believe that the small family farm is a worthy cause, for your own benefit, you need to pay attention to what is happening in the food industry today.

There is a milk by-product: milk protein concentrate or MPC, which is basically powdered milk protein, which is used in our foods. It is in a wide variety of food products: corn curls, macaroni & cheese mixes, stove top meals, salad dressings, bread mixes, cake mixes, cheese crackers, margarine, non-dairy creamers, etc., etc., etc.

The problem with MPC is that it is being imported from third world countries as an industrial use or animal use product and then is being used to manufacture our food. Yes, animal feed being used in our high priced convenience foods.

I do not understand how this is being allowed to happen, but I do understand the why of it. It is money. Using imported MPC’s keeps the price of the product lower for the manufacturer, meaning more profit. (This has not affected the price paid by the consumer, however.) These MPC’s are being imported from the same countries who have contaminated produce, which have actually caused severe illness and death recently. There is a reason they are qualified for industrial use and animal feed, not for food. The industrial use is for manufacturing things like glue, starch, paint, etc. We need to challenge that we are finding these MPC’s in our foods.

Using MPC’s in food manufacturing keeps the price the dairy farmer gets paid for milk much lower. Imported MPC’s make it appear that milk is produced in excess in this country. If no imported MPC’s were used, then more real milk would be used and the supply would not meet the demand.

Using MPC’s to manufacture foods not only affects the cost of production, it also affects the quality of the food itself. Have you ever noticed that the processed cheeses, like pre-grated cheddar or mozzarella, and American cheese, do not have the same texture they used to? Have you noticed they don’t melt the same way? Try this: place some American cheese on a single slice of bread and grill it slowly and watch what happens. It doesn’t actually melt. It gets soft, with this shiny top surface, as if it is waxed or plasticized.

Expensive brand names are not a guarantee of a higher quality product. Kraft foods and Land o’Lakes are some of the primary manufacturers involved in this illegal process. As a consumer, we need to start paying attention. Read the labels of some of the products in your kitchen. If it says powered protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate, casein concentrate, be aware that it may contain MPC’s. If you find some in the foods you normally buy, do a little research (i.e. read the labels in the store) before you buy a new brand. And, also let the store know, and let the manufacturer know.

If not to help the farmer, do it for your own health and safety, and for that of your children.

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An Inside Look

Elk Lake High’s sports teams always got due recognition where it was needed, such as with newspapers, trophies, announcements, and so on. However, we never had the personal recognition of varsity letter jackets. Until now, that is.

Sure, our teams have gotten memorabilia from the sports they participated in, but now having the chance to get a varsity letter jacket with corresponding pins really makes a difference. I know personally, from being a starter on the varsity softball team that it would be nice to go somewhere and people would know where I stand in my sport.

Needless to say, I know the sport-playing part of the student body is happy with this new addition. A lot of people have been pushing for it, teachers, parents, coaches, and students alike. So with the decision to include this part of varsity sports into our school, the group that has been waiting for this will definitely be thrilled, as I am.

Not everything that goes on here in school is bad, such as with things like this. The availability of these jackets to our players will not only make the starters happy, but another result may also be to produce more competition to do well. That in itself could and will improve the teams, because in order to get a jacket, you have to hold a set amount of time started and played in the games or matches. So in other words, this ought to make things interesting.

I’m sure there are those out there who don’t understand why getting this honor is such a big deal, and I suppose that’s reasonable. Quite simply, our school has been out of this trend, and just having the ability to walk into someplace and have people know who you are, where you’re from, and just how good you are, means something. Nobody likes braggers, but these jackets can really boost up the confidence around here.

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