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Issue Home February 10, 2004 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago

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

Slices of Life

Enjoying The Mail

It takes so little to entertain some of us. Me, I love getting the mail. I know exactly what time I can expect the mailman’s footsteps on my front porch, and I’m at the front door shortly after he heads on up the street. It’s not that I always get something important. Many days it’s just advertisements, but even those can prove beneficial.

Today, for instance, in my stack of mail I found something called "Alternatives". I’m sure many of you also received it. But did you read it cover to cover? These medical things are very intriguing to me. I know before I open them that they are intended to cost me money, but I still can’t resist perusing them.

Take, for instance, the one I got a couple months ago. An advertisement for Dr. Susan Lark’s "Guide to Optimal Health and Balance for Women". I signed on at what I thought was a rather exorbitant cost, and each month I now receive the latest news and tips for a healthier lifestyle. And there are many good suggestions – most of which are reminders rather than revolutionary ideas for me because, being that I’m a medical junkie, I’ve already read them in some one of my other books.

The magazine format advertisement that came today is very tempting. I actually took it into the living room where the afternoon sun was warming the couch, and I sat there and read the whole thing. It was particularly timely, because earlier in the day I had paid for my $320 bag of two prescriptions, both of which I’d been telling myself I would gradually eliminate from my life. The ad couldn’t have arrived on a more auspicious day. And, once again, this come-on was a reminder rather than a revelation. But I was tempted to order it. I suppose to strengthen my resolve that diet and exercise were enough. Here is Dr. Williams telling me emphatically that lowering my cholesterol won’t save me from a heart attack, and that my daily aspirin not only won’t save me, but can actually increase my risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as destroy my vision. Now that’s rather hard to take. And for only $49.95, he’ll give me all the details. I’ll have to ponder that one awhile, but it did give me something to think about.

The mailman had also brought me an envelope that looked suspiciously familiar. There was my name and address but no return address, and the envelope looked like it had been folded. Yes, that was familiar all right. My own SASE which I had included when I sent a short piece to a national magazine. That rejection had about the shortest turn-around time I’d ever seen. But I consoled myself with the fact that an editor (or her secretary?) had actually written me a letter thanking me for my submission and encouraging me to try again. I will.

And, now, what’s this on the bottom of the pile? A many-paged epistle from a friend I’ve had since college. We haven’t seen each other for five years, but we keep in touch with occasional phone calls and these long letters that get started and then may lie dormant for a week or more before we finish them and get them in the mail. We update each other on our daily lives. She longs for some of my freedom, and I envy her intact family. But from our different perspectives, we keep our friendship vital and fulfilling.

A couple expected monthly bills and a few more ads are all that remain in my stack of mail. I recycle what I can, lay aside the letter for re-reading several times, and keep the aforementioned medical advertisements for possible consideration.

All in all, I consider that a good day at the mailbox. A few checks would have been nice, but they, too, will arrive in due time. Once again, my mailman has made my day.

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100 Years Ago

NEW MILFORD: While E. J. Lindsey and wife were returning from Hallstead, Feb. 5th, they saw a large ball of great brightness pass through the air in range of A. Geer's residence, and seemingly dropping down in the woods beyond, and out of sight. It looked as large as a bushel basket.

RUSH: Wm. Hendershot has rented the Watson Dayton farm.

SUSQUEHANNA: There is a solid field of ice in the river, averaging 2 feet in thickness, between Lanesboro and the headwaters near Cooperstown. Should this ice go down with a freshet, the damage on the lowlands will be very great. AND: John Tooley, an old resident and veteran of the Civil War, has sustained a stroke of paralysis.

BROOKLYN: A. S. Waldie and F. B. Jewett have made arrangements to have electric lights put into their residence from the condensery and a proposition to light the whole town from that plant has been made, and if the people would interest themselves the company will furnish light for the whole town. For a town its size, there are few that get ahead of Brooklyn in progress and enterprise.

ARARAT: Pastor Crane filled his place at the Presbyterian church last Sunday. There have been no services for 2 months owing to the illness of the pastor.

FRANKLIN FORKS: Wm. Bridger, of Iowa, was a guest of S. Stillwell last week. Will was brought up and educated by Mr. Stillwell of this place and is doing honor to him. He is doing a flourishing business in egg packing in different portions of the west and is associated with a Mr. Hathaway, of Binghamton. He is cordially welcomed on a visit to his old home.

LAWTON: The Lawton Grange has the honor of being the banner grange of the county, having 196 members enrolled and 17 applications on hand. AND: Lumber is being drawn for the creamery to be erected here; parties from Allentown are to put up the plant.

SPRINGVILLE: Maple Lodge had its banquet at Kelly's hotel, recently. There were nearly 90 present, and the occasion was greatly enjoyed. The supper proved that Mrs. Kelly and her assistants know how to cook and serve for such gatherings. AND: A. D. Shoemaker, having sold his farm to Frank Dodge, will go to Kansas soon. His family will remain for the present.

MONTROSE: A "pan-cake toss" was given by the ladies of Zion church, last evening. AND: At the prize waltz contest in Village Hall, the couple awarded the first prize, a gold medal, H. E. Walton and Miss Mae Porter; the second prize $2.50, went to Charles Sprout and Miss Lillian Thompson.

HARFORD: The annual meeting of the Harford Agricultural Society was held in Odd Fellows' Hall, Monday evening, Feb. 1. Total receipts for the Fair (with last year's balance) were, $2,036.22.

HALLSTEAD: A few years ago the late N. T. Mitchell had a tame bear chained to a post near his barn. In the fall bruin dug a hole beneath the barn and to the length of his chain, undermined a hay mow. On the succeeding Feb. 2, some people watched to see if the superstition about the bear coming out of his hole on that date would be verified, and sure enough about noon out came the bear and to this day you cannot make Hallstead people believe that bears do not regulate the weather.

ELKDALE: Joel Stevens is 98 years of age and has always lived in Elkdale.

GREAT BEND: Levi Banker's team was tied to the metal post in front of the Kistler block in Great Bend when they became frightened and as they were tied with considerable length of rope they wound around the post and almost instantly both horses were thrown down, breaking the tongue of the sleigh and portions of the harness as well. AND: Pete Rinehart, who lived for many years in the Egypt tract of the county, in Great Bend Twp, about 3/4 mile from the main Susquehanna road, was found dead in the shanty he called his home on Monday, his death having occurred on Friday, and his wife, who was ill, having remained alone with the body of her husband for four long days, with scarcely any food or fuel excepting that which the neighbors had provided. W. A. Kenyon, on Monday, found Rinehart and his wife suffering from cold and hunger and both of them ill. He informed the poor authorities of Great Bend township of their condition, but nothing seems to have been done for them only what their neighbors did. Pete was given Christian burial on Tuesday and his wife was taken care of by her neighbors.

AUBURN TOWNSHIP: C. A. Dean has been engaged as butter maker at the Jersey Hill creamery, which is undergoing some repairs and which will be ready for business in the near future.

NORTH BRANCH: The people of Middletown were greatly shocked on Thursday of last week to learn of the death of Miss Anna Curley of Flynn, which occurred at her home. The funeral was held from St. Patrick's church, Rush, on Sunday, Rev. B. V. Driscoll officiating.

HEART LAKE: The big ice house at this place is more than half full. This has been a very hard winter to gather ice on account of so much snow. Several teams have been kept busy scraping the snow since before new years. About 80 men are employed.

HOPBOTTOM: On April 1st, Dr. E. E. Tower and family will move to their hold home at Loomis Lake near Hopbottom, to spend the summer. His work for the State Live Stock Sanitary Board will continue the same as heretofore. A telephone will be placed at his residence as soon as possible which will connect with Brooklyn, Montrose and other points, and all cases reported will receive the same prompt attention as before.

NEWS BRIEFS: The lower parts of Wilkes-Barre were inundated by the backing up of the Susquehanna river Tuesday and from that city to Sunbury many towns have been flooded and thousands of dollars of damage done. An even more disastrous flood is anticipated, as the ice is gorged in many places in a manner which defies all artificial means of removing it. AND: The following persons are drawn as jurors for the term of United States court beginning in Scranton, Feb. 29: Grand jurors--Frederick Terboss, Hallstead; W. H. Wilmot, Gibson. Petit jurors--W. H. Foote, New Milford; Wm. Kendrick and H. C. Miller, Susquehanna; John West, Auburn Four Corners; Charles Moses, Brackney.

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Straight From Starrucca

Senior citizens will meet at the regular time Wednesday, February 11. This is a potluck dinner meeting, so cook up all your choicest recipe and come along. Also, Jim and Winnie Soden will be there to collect metal can tabs. If you have any, bring them along.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lunt have returned from Florida where they spent a week with her parents. They are getting along in years and both are wheelchair bound, but Bob and Ruth tried to raise their spirits and see that they were as comfortable as can be.

June Downton has returned home from CMC Hospital in Scranton, where she was treated for a heart condition.

Congratulations to Dee Martin, who has been recently appointed Postmaster at Poyntelle, Wayne County.

My son, Dan was down from Harpursville for a visit last Sunday.

How about a hot cup of tasty tea and a cookie to stave off cabin fever and the winter blues. Tea certainly has had a growing influence on our lives, from its introduction from China in 1670 to the present. The latest thing is to use green tea as an exfoliate for your face.

Cheerio, and Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

The Revised County Budget

The Susquehanna County Commissioners appear to have a workable county budget in place for this year but we will not know for certain until we see whether some sorely needed improvements will be completed in 2004.

For instance, there are some roof leaks that need attention. Then, there’s that broken generator in the courthouse annex that is supposed to provide emergency lighting when there is a blackout, but it doesn’t. And, oh yes, the hot water faucet in the downstairs men’s room hasn’t spit out an ounce of water hot or cold in years.

The gymnasium in the courthouse annex was supposed to have a second floor added to it a few years ago. The braces were installed in the floor below to handle the added weight, but nothing was added. In the meantime, the historical records department is running out of storage space and some records that should be kept there are scattered about the courthouse like dust in the wind. Well, that may be a slight exaggeration, but you get the picture.

Last week we mentioned that increased security measures are being talked about by the county commissioners. If they plan on doing what I hear through the corn stalk (more corn stalks than grape vines in Susquehanna County) it will not improve things too much.

The proper way would be with individual TV monitors with cameras at each entrance to the courthouse and the county office building on Public Avenue and reasonably-sized screens for each monitor. That way a security guard could witness all goings on without the need for a magnifying glass on a single screen cut in four equal parts. But, then again, nobody ever said Susquehanna County strives to do things the proper way. Y’all know them that did are no longer on the payroll.

And, of course, there’s the public address system for meetings. Would be nice to hear what’s being said at all times instead of catching a word here and there.

Back to the budget. It took some courage to have three new commissioners tackle a budget that was grossly under-funded in some departments, increase appropriations where needed, and raise taxes a half mill. But it was a necessary evil and it appears to have been accepted by understanding county taxpayers.

Commissioner Jeff Loomis accepted the challenge of reworking the budget and deserves most of the credit for the revised edition. After Loomis operated on the budget, Commissioners Roberta Kelly and Mary Ann Warren joined him in putting it back together again. The commissioners held the real estate tax increase to a half mill and increased anticipated revenue from other tax sources by more than $150,000.

Other areas where increases are noticeable include a fund balance carryover of $1.5 million compared with $1.3 million in the original budget and an increase in real estate tax revenue from $4.3 million to $4.8 million.

Some standout appropriations made by the new commissioners (the figures in parenthesis – where available – are from the original budget): County Jail, $1.7 million ($1.6 million); county buildings, $610,225 ($412,305); tax assessment, $431,076 ($421,469); Sheriff’s Department, $397,078 ($412,305); Economic Development, $127,483; and, Recycling, $176,871.

Total expenditures in the revised budget amount to $17,289,944 and total revenue is estimated at $17,313,786.

Another Department Change?

There is a persistent rumor bouncing off the walls of the courthouse that another department head is about to get be-headed. Word has it that it will either be a demotion or kind of a forced retirement.

We also hear that a maintenance man who was fired last year and was due to be reinstated later this month may not be back to work after all. As usual, no explanation accompanies rumors but if we learn more, you will be the first to know.

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ARE OUR ATHLETES Worth Remembering? – Evidently not. Every month the Susquehanna County Transcript publishes a photo of the "Athlete of the Month." Whether it be football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, softball, wrestling or "what have you," will the honored athlete be remembered by the readers of the paper? In talking to a sports friend, he too was curious why there is no interest in all of Susquehanna County to form a Sports Hall of Fame. He said, to his knowledge, Susquehanna County is the only county in Northeastern Pennsylvania with a "Hall." Wayne County has one. Upstate New York (Afton, Deposit, Bainbridge, Sidney, etc.) has one. The Binghamton area has all kinds of "Halls," that take in all sports. The athlete can be remembered by the "young and old" with his or her name in the "hall" for the feats they are famous for. Like today – they will be remembered for a short time. (My friend thought maybe, just maybe a few of the county’s sports-minded figures would come forward and form some sort of a "starting" committee.)

GLEZEN TO CATCH For BU – Devin Glezen, Blue Ridge School senior (New Milford) who, for the past several years starred as the Blue Ridge catcher, has accepted a scholarship to catch for Binghamton University. "I was looking at a lot of other schools, six, seven hours away," she said. "A half-hour away is way better. Having my parents be able to come to my games is an extra bonus." Glezen already catches a pretty good pitcher in high school teammate Brittany Pavelski, but she’s also caught a number of Division I pitchers with her summer traveling team, as well as Barb Cook, who pitches for UConn and really hums the ball. "She basically broke in my new glove for me last year," Glezen said. "It probably took her four sessions. Depending on the glove, it normally takes four weeks of regular practice."

Miss Glezen, while in high school, in addition to softball, also took part in the basketball, soccer and volleyball programs. Asked about her schooling at Binghamton University, Devin, being an "all-around sports athlete" may study sports medicine, etc. She is the daughter of Dan and Peggy Glezen of Hallstead.

"THEY" Finally Admit It – The Republicans and the Bush/Powell administration finally have admitted (almost 100%) that weapons of mass destruction are nowhere to be found in Iraq. I must say, the search for the destructive weapons have caused a lot of heartaches, with so many of our service men and women losing their lives. Now, after all that the USA is spending millions (billions) of dollars to bring Iraq back to a normal life. (We finally got Sadaam, at a cost of hundreds of USA lives.)

INMATES TO Pay For Board – The Beaver, PA prison board has been asked by its jail warden, William Schouppe, to approve a fee to help cover booking costs and uniforms. The plan could bring in $100,000 to help with overall expenses. (It is believed that other cities are planning on doing the same thing.)

DEER SEASON The Same – State Game Commission of Pennsylvania have decided not to pursue a longer deer-hunting season. It is expected to approve the regular season – two weeks – from November 29, the Monday after Thanksgiving.

FEDERAL BUDGET "Frightening" – The federal budget will reach 477 billion dollars this year. Over the next ten years, cumulation deficits are likely to add almost $2.4 trillion to the national debt, the CBO estimate said.

DO YOU KNOW HIM? – At 22 he failed in business; at 23 was defeated for the Legislature; at 24 failed again in business; at 25 was elected to Legislature; at 26 his sweetheart died; at 27 had a nervous breakdown; at 29 defeated for speaker; at 31, defeated for elector; at 34 defeated for Congress; at 37 elected to Congress; at 39 defeated for Congress; at 46 defeated for Senate; at 47 defeated for vice president; at 49 defeated for Senate; at 51 years of age he was elected President of the United States. (Answer at end of column.)

WWII MEMORIAL "Room Rates" – Special American Legion room rates, during the unveiling of World War II Memorial Board. The ad reads: room, $104; tax $10.14; parking $12 a day per vehicle. According to the magazine they are "special rates." So, say for – at least three days – it could cost a former serviceman $377.25. And if they bring a family, it could cost him/her a bundle, just to see their Memorial Board.

FORMER RESIDENT In Hospital – Mrs. Anna (Plutino) Adornato, 94, a former resident of Susquehanna, is a patient in a Kearney, NJ hospital. She is the widow of Philip Adornato. After residing in the community for several years, the Adornatos moved to New Jersey. Mrs. Adornato’s present address is 492 Chestnut Street, Kearney, NJ 07032. She would appreciate hearing from her friends. Cards can be sent to the Kearney address. (Note: Mrs. Adornato is the aunt of Mrs. Anna (Plutino) Binder, a resident of Turnpike Terrace.)


DOC, I HAD a terrible dream last night. I dreamed I went to heaven and went to St. Peter. St. Peter asked if I ever cheated on my wife. No, I said, and he gave me a big luxury car to ride around in. As I was going down the highway, I saw a lady on a bike with two flat tires. It was my wife.

I GOT GOOD NEWS and bad news about the house I’m buying. What’s the good news. They accepted my offer of $500,000. What’s the bad news. They want fifty dollars down.

A MAN ASKED directions to the post office. His friend said, that was Rev. John Jones. How can he show me the way to heaven when he can’t even find his way to the post office?

WATCH THE CAR – A couple of years ago my fortune teller told me I had a big, expensive car in my future. Was it true? Yep. The next day I got hit by a Lincoln.

SMART CHICKIE – Say, cutie, what’s your telephone number? It’s in the book. Great, what’s your name? That’s in the book, too.

ANSWER "Do You Know Him?" He was President Abraham Lincoln.

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Dear EarthTalk: Can the mercury contained in some seafood harm a developing fetus?

Midge Wilson, Utica, NY

Methyl mercury–emitted by smokestacks and released to the environment from common household products like old thermometers–is a persistent heavy metal that ends up in rivers, lakes and oceans and accumulates in the tissues of fish and animals, including people. "Just one seventieth of a teaspoon of atmospheric mercury can contaminate a 20-acre lake for a year," says Michael Bender, executive director of the Vermont-based Mercury Policy Project.

According to a 2001 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, one in 10 American women of childbearing age is at risk for having a baby born with neurological problems due to mercury exposure– this means at least 375,000 babies a year are at risk.

Most states, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have issued advisories about eating fish that may have high levels of mercury in their tissues. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that women can safely eat 12 ounces per week of cooked fish. A typical serving size of fish is from three to six ounces. However, the FDA advises pregnant and nursing women, and women of childbearing age who may become pregnant, to not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish, which contain high levels of methyl mercury.

In December 2003, the FDA released test results showing that the Albacore "white" canned tuna has three times the mercury levels as the "light" tuna. "FDA’s tests confirm earlier findings that white tuna has far more mercury than light," says Bender. "Yet inexplicably, the FDA still refuses to warn women and kids to limit canned tuna consumption–like 12 states have already done–even after their food advisory committee recommended this over a year ago."

CONTACTS: Mercury Policy Project, 1420 North Street, Montpelier, VT 05602, (802) 223-9000,; U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville MD 20857-0001, (888) 463-6332,; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water Science and Technology (4301T), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460,,

GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit your question at; or e-mail us at

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