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Issue Home March 9, 2004 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago

Straight From Starrucca
Along the Way...With P. Jay
From The Desk Of The D.A.

Slices of Life

Renewed To Carry On

Isn’t it amazing what a couple of sixty-degree days can do for the spirit? Mrs. Morris has been ecstatic. She can’t believe her good fortune when she wanders outdoors and can actually see bare ground. I noticed that she went over to our neighbor’s driveway today to help him with whatever he was doing. His new little dog looked equally happy that his feet weren’t freezing in the snow.

I think what a boon this must be for all the dog walkers. I give them so much credit. They are a hardy bunch; out at the crack of dawn, bundled up against the cold, faithfully walking dogs that would probably rather be lying by some heat source. I do love dogs, but I am not a candidate for dog owner. They take way too much work for me. Mrs. Morris is demanding when it comes to food and deciding what time I should get up, but other than that, she’s pretty easy.

With the snow basically gone, I’ve been out checking the daffodils that are shooting up beside the driveway. Without question they will get snowed on again and I’ll be sure that this year they won’t bounce back, but they will. That always amazes me.

I’ve also taken advantage of the lack of snow to see just how much clean-up is needed in the back yard. Huge tangled canes of bamboo, artichoke stalks, last summer’s tall flower stems, branches from the forsythia bush, small limbs from the pear tree. And that’s just what I can see from the driveway.

One encouraging thing is that the leaves all got raked last fall. Some years I have piles of those blown around.

I have not ventured as far as the berry bushes, but I have fears that they will not be in good shape. Every morning there have been fresh deer tracks. I could see where they entered the back yard from the railroad grade, went first to the blueberry bushes, then zigzagged back to hit the forsythia. From there they cut back across the lawn to the edge of the garden where some tall stalks were still standing. Then back across to the pear tree to paw the ground, apparently searching for over-looked pears. Back across the lawn one last time and up the driveway.

I’ve always hoped to be awake at just the right time so I could see them silhouetted against the snow. But I’ve decided it must be in the wee morning hours, as I’m not an early-to-bed person, and when I’ve checked from the kitchen window before retiring, I’ve yet to see a deer.

Mrs. Morris and I both agree it’s great to have the sun warming the kitchen in the early morning. Her Highness stretches out in the sunshine patch on the kitchen floor. I choose the chair by the window. That hot sun coming through the glass leaves no question that spring can’t be far away. Time to get the seeds ordered, the peat pots ready. There will be many more cold, snowy, windy, rainy days. But having been touched by the sun and warmth for even a little while, we can survive. Nothing like sunshine in winter to warm the heart and give us courage to carry on.

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100 Years Ago

AUBURN TWP.: A second rural free delivery route with a starting point at Meshoppen, will be opened April 1. The route traveled will include South Auburn, Doolittle and a portion of South Auburn Township.

HALLSTEAD/GREAT BEND: The steel stringers and girders have taken the place of the wooden ones in the Hallstead-Great Bend county bridge, and the entire structure has been re-planked. The ice on the river was thick enough to permit even the heaviest loaded vehicles to cross between the two towns in safety, thus giving the workmen full swing, as interference from passing traffic was eliminated.

CHOCONUT: James Mooney will sell, March 21, at his home in Choconut, horses, wagons and farming implements.

MONTROSE: The fiery steed of Mr. Samuel B. Rogers ran away on Tuesday morning. Mr. Rogers had hitched up his colt and went into the house. The horse realized that it was untied and without waiting for Mr. Rogers, started from the barn at a terrific rate. Consternation was created along Lake avenue when the terrified residents saw the animal rushing headlong down that thoroughfare. Mr. Rogers followed shortly afterwards in a special conveyance, and upon arriving at his office found his horse had stopped in front and that no damage was apparent. It is claimed, for the horse, a 2:03 clip while coming down Jail Hill.

FRANKLIN FORKS: The report reached Montrose Monday that a son of Wallace McGee had the smallpox, he having contracted it in a lumber camp where he had been employed. Dr. Caterson has the family in charge and as they have been strictly quarantined since the discovery of the disease, no great fears of its spreading are entertained, although it is said some have been exposed.

SUSQUEHANNA: The ice went out of Drinker creek Monday afternoon, taking some small buildings down stream. AND: The new Common Council organized on Monday evening. D. J. Connors, of the 4th Ward, was elected president; Thomas J. McMahon was re-appointed chief-of-police; William Allpaugh was re-appointed borough treasurer; Stephen Maroney was re-appointed street commissioner; and W. A. Skinner was appointed borough attorney.

ELK LAKE: James Justin's brown team took a flying trip from the Lake postoffice, home, on Thursday; damage--broken pole and whiffletrees. AND: James Hoag has purchased a residence in Sayre and expects to move his family there as soon as he disposes of his property and store here.

EAST DIMOCK: Mylie Birtch, who sold his farm, intending to go west, has rented Almira Reynolds' farm in West Brooklyn.

HOPBOTTOM: About 25 widows are living in this borough, and more looking for rooms. AND: Parley Wright and family have moved back from LaGrange, Ill., and now live on a farm in Lenox.

RUSH: Jessie Hasting, having just finished an apprenticeship with the most stylish dressmaker of Tunkhannock, has returned and taken rooms at the home of Uzal Kinney, where she will be prepared for work after the middle of March.

UNIONDALE: The Herrick and Uniondale Temperance Alliance gave an interesting program at the Methodist church, last Tuesday evening.

LINDAVILLE: Some of the changes that will occur about April 1st are as follows: Mr. Pickering to A. L. Roper's farm in Lathrop; Isaac Grannis, near Hillsdale; Benjamin Green to Horace Brewster's farm in Bridgewater; Frank Tiffany to his farm in this place; Bert Kinney to the Johnson farm in Lathrop.

HOWARD HILL, Liberty Twp.: George LaSure has a 3 year-old colt and it is the opinion of all that he is the largest and best colt in the township for his age.

ARARAT: Notwithstanding the cold weather our old people are wintering well. Aunt Susan Baldwin, over 90, is with M. V. Walker; Mrs. Margaret Sawtelle, 89, is with her daughter, Mrs. Eli Avery; Mrs. Freelove Brooks, 84, is with her son F. F. Brooks.

HARFORD: Rev. Walter Blackmar, who so ably filled the Congregational pulpit last Sunday will preach here again next Sunday. There should be a large congregation for Mr. Blackmar comes very highly recommended and is also a candidate to fill the vacancy of pastor in the church.

LENOXVILLE: Much sympathy is expressed for Mr. Charles Price and family, who were obliged to leave their home on Tuesday, because of the heavy rain and an ice gorge in the East Branch near their house. For some time huge blocks of ice have been piled up to within a few feet of the bridge, and it was thought that when the ice moved out the bridge would also go. The gorge failed to go after the rain and the water turned across the road, flooding Mr. Price's house and barn to the depth of six feet, and sweeping all smaller buildings before it. One end of the bridge settled down, while the other still remained at a late hour on Tuesday evening. All travel by the turnpike through that place is stopped for a time. The stage came wandering over the hill on its way to Lenoxville, startling the neighboring farmers out of their winter drowsiness. Truly, the point is hard to decide, which is more destructive, fire or water.

NEWS BRIEFS: Prof. Foster predicts another severe storm period from the 17th to the 21st of this month. AND: The Stone Opera House at Binghamton will be opened the middle of next month. AND: Many of the towns along the Susquehanna river have been menaced by the high water caused by the gorging of the ice the past few days, among those most seriously affected being Bloomsburg, Danville and Wilkes-Barre. At the latter city the streets nearest the river are flooded to the depth of several feet and boats have been in constant use as a means of travel. In many cases families have been made homeless, but in no instances have lives been lost, although some narrow escapes are reported. A number of bridges have been carried away and it is feared that others will follow. Railroad traffic has been suspended in some cases and attempts at making anything like schedule time has been abandoned. The water is higher than at the disastrous flood of 1902 and it is feared that the greatest damage is yet to follow.

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Straight From Starrucca

Paul and Karen Downton made his grandmother, June Downton, very happy when they took her to the arena to a concert in which Allen Jackson and Martina McBride were the stars.

Donald and Jeanne Kurz, Port Washington, Long Island, were guests of June Downton recently.

Senior citizens will meet Wednesday, March 10 for a potluck dinner in the Baptist Church social rooms.

Civic Association met on Tuesday, March 2 but there were not enough present to conduct business. Please try and come to meeting next month, first Tuesday in the month because we have to plan for Easter baskets.

Robins have been seen in various places around here but none have appeared in my backyard yet.

Virginia and Carl Upright went to Rochester, NY to attend the wedding of her sister, Lori, to James Walker on February 14, also the date of Virginia’s birthday. While the Walkers were spending their honeymoon at a bed and breakfast at Seneca Lake, Virginia and Carl stayed in their beautiful beach house on Lake Ontario, where they luxuriated for five days.

Brett Upright was home from Modena, NY last weekend.

Joe Brownell was hit by a car while traversing a street in New York City and ended up on the hood of the car with, luckily, just a few scrapes on his legs and arms.

Town council met on Monday night and the new mayor, Frank Mroczka, sat in for the first time. I have interviewed Frank and the text will be in the news shortly.

Helen Dickey will observe her 90th birthday on March 10. I think at this time she is the oldest person in Starrucca.

I looked out the window this a.m. and a whole flock of female goldfinches were around the feeder. These little signs of spring make one a little more hopeful that the back of winter is broken.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Ah, the sweet (?) smell of politics

The new Republican-controlled Lackawanna County Board of Commissioners is proposing some sweeping changes that could impact on residents of the Forest City area.

At a recent meeting, majority Commissioners Robert Cordaro and A.J. Munchak passed a resolution that would allow them to dissolve the Lackawanna River Basin Sewer Authority (LRBSA) and take over the sewer system. The next step is the passing of a required ordinance and poof! No more LRBSA.

The sewer authority has never been one of my favorite agencies because, up until now, it hasn’t done much for my hometown of Forest City. However, it has always been user friendly in keeping the quarterly process fees at $45 for more than 15 consecutive years without an increase.

If the Lackawanna County Commissioners get their hands on the authority, it would be a new source of revenue for them. And, of course, unlike the Board of Directors currently running the authority, increasing the rates periodically could pump money into the county coffers without raising real estate taxes.

There is a move afoot to head off the takeover and it makes a lot of sense. Spearheaded by Director Joseph Garrick of Vandling, the plan calls for municipalities serviced by the LRSBA to file lawsuits against abolishing the authority. Garrick’s theory is based upon the simple but highly effective theory that, if it isn’t broken, why fix it?

The municipalities could cite the stable user fees as an example of a true non-political agency that is concerned about its customers. It’s a valid point. How many utilities can you name that have not increased rates in more than 15 years? And, in the case of Forest City, an argument could be made over the fact that a county-controlled sewer authority could arbitrarily set higher fees for the borough because it is not in Lackawanna County.

Oh! Did I mention that the LRBSA happens to have about $500,000 stashed away in its vaults for unexpected maintenance problems? And as we all know, repair or replacement costs can eat up a lot of money in a hurry. If Lackawanna County takes control of the sewer authority, the 500 G’s just might find its way into the county’s general fund and future repairs could lead to future rate increases.

One more thing. The LRBSA has not completely abandoned Forest City. The authority and the borough have been named plaintiffs in a lawsuit over sewage overflow finding its way onto private property. The authority has managed to secure a grant that will pay some 55 percent of the repair costs and will pick up the tab for half of the remaining 45 percent. That leaves Forest City with only 22.5 percent to pay and I, for one, am hoping the deal is sealed before Lackawanna County assumes control of the authority.

Say Cheese

At a recent visit to the Mapping Room in the Susquehanna County Assessment Office, I could not believe what these aging eyes were staring at. Alongside one of the huge storage cabinets was a mousetrap, complete with a tempting chunk of cheddar on it.

I find it difficult to believe that a 17 million-dollar-business cannot afford the services of an exterminator to get rid of the pesty varmints that apparently have established residency in the basement of the county courthouse.

You don’t suppose... nah! One of the field appraisers wouldn’t assess the home of a field mouse. Or would they?

Federal Tax Liens

Uncle Sam has filed small business/self-employed federal tax liens in the county courthouse against the following individuals: Timothy R. Lizotte of RR 1, Hallstead, $31,201; Kenneth F. Collins, Chase Avenue, Hallstead, $16,436; and, Michael V. O’Neill, Forest City, $3,759. A happy ending?

Talks are going on that could bring about an amicable solution to a problem that was expected to be another lowering of the boom in one of the county departments. More on this when we learn what the bottom line will be.

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GILLERANS GET "Farm Certificate" – The Century Farms Program of Pennsylvania, of which 1,900 farms have been certified for the program includes the Gilleran Farm, Starrucca. Recently the Gillerans, Robert and Alice, were presented a Century Farm Certificate. To qualify for the award – a farm must be owned by the same family for 100 years; a family member must currently live on the farm on a permanent basis; the farm must consist of at least 10 acres of the original holding or gross over $1,000 annually from the sale of farm products. (Congratulations, Bob and Alice.)

VITAL CERTIFICATES Increase – Pennsylvania's fees for vital records have increased to $10 dollars and death certificates, $9. Another component of the vital records changes is that there will no longer be wallet or miniature certificates issued. Also, the state will still provide a free copy of a birth certificate of newborns and death certificates will still be $2 through the county registrar for 30 days following a death.

NEW DUI LAWS – Pennsylvania's new DUI blood alcohol has been changed from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent. First offenders at 0.08 will not lose their license, but will be subjected to fines and probation. No matter which way "you look at it" if found drunk you will pay for it. (Best of all, if you are too drunk to drive, call a friend.)

PEARL HARBOR Survivor Dies – Leonard (Lynn) Boyd of Harford, PA, died Sunday, February 22, 2004. Mr. Boyd was a paratrooper during the Pearl Harbor bombing. He was a member of the Hallstead–Great Bend American Legion Post and the Great Bend Musa/Stiles Post 6223. Contrary to published reports, Mr. Boyd was one of three remaining Pearl Harbor survivors in Susquehanna County. The other two are John Clirehugh of New Milford and Joseph Brienza of Hallstead. (Note: According to Mr. Clirehugh, Windsor has a Pearl Harbor survivor and at least two more in the Binghamton area.)

DID YOU KNOW? The coalition of road construction businesses, farm groups and labor unions, three months ago began pushing for an 8 cent gas tax in Pennsylvania. This sure is bad timing for "Harrisburg, etc." as the gas prices are escalating fast enough. Steve Miskin, spokesman for the House Republican leadership said, "I’m not certain what is the need for it."

BB GUNS Are Dangerous – They are dangerous to a degree that a 17-year old Pittsburgh boy – in a robbery – was using a BB gun when he was shot 13 times. "It’s a shame," said one officer, "we had a tragedy over a toy gun."

DAVE MISSES A "300" – Dave Passetti, prop. of Riverside Lanes, left two pins standing in his quest for a 300. 298 isn’t bad, but it’s not 300. Dave, who totaled 740 for night in the John Baumann League, during one period of his three games had 21 straight strikes. (Not bad at all, Dave, I’m still trying to get three in a row.)

ON THE STREET Question – "Why don’t the local State Police have a toll-free number to call? Frankly, I don't know. But I do believe that a toll-free number to the trooper barracks would be used by every "Tom, Dick and Harry" for no good reason, just to call the barracks. It would be nice to have a free number we could call to report an "illegal act."

WOW! WOW! WOW! Do you know how many billionaires we have in the world? According to Forbes magazine, 64 more billionaires have been added, making the Bs list 587 worldwide, with 277 in United States; Germany 52, Russia 25, Japan 22, Canada 17 and United Kingdom 17. Five of the Bs are associated with WalMart stores. The richest, William Gates III, $46.6 billion; next, Warren Buffet, $42.9 billion, both of the US. Next billionaires range from $23 Bs to $20 Bs. Strange, isn’t it, that so many live in poverty, with ten billionaires having a bank account of (combined) 255 billion dollars. Remember, this is only the holdings of 10 Bs. Men make up 534, while the women have 53.


SMART KID – A little boy wanted $100 for toys very badly, so he prayed about the money for weeks, but nothing happened. He decided to write God a letter requesting the money. When the postal authorities received the letter to "God, USA," they decided to send it to the president. The president was so amused that he instructed his secretary to send him a $5 bill. He reasoned that $5 would be a lot to a little boy. The boy received the $5 bill and began to write a thank you note to God. "Dear God, thanks for sending me the money. However, I noticed for some reason you sent it through Washington, DC, and those jerks deducted $95 in taxes."

BEER GUZZLER – After a worker drowned in a vat of beer at the brewery, a coworker commented that he never had a chance. "I wouldn’t say that," said a witness. "He got out twice to go to the bathroom."

QUICK THINKING – Two lawyers walking through the woods spotted a vicious looking grizzly bear. The first lawyer immediately opened his briefcase and pulled out a pair of sneakers. "You’re crazy! You’ll never be able to outrun that bear," the second lawyer said. "I don’t have to," the first lawyer said. "I only have to outrun you."

THE PERFECT MATE – At a local bar, a young woman told her idea of the perfect mate to some friends. "The man I marry must be a shining light among company. He must be musical, tell jokes, sing and stay home at night." A cynical man overheard and spoke up. "Lady, what you really want is a television set."

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From the Desk Of The D.A.

As I campaigned for office last year, I had the opportunity to answer so many questions concerning the criminal justice system and the role of the District Attorney, as well as general questions regarding criminal law. The prosecution (and defense) of criminal cases tends to interest the public more than any other area of the law. A whole genre of crime novels and movies has emerged to satisfy this interest in crime and justice. After my election, I spoke to the Susquehanna County Transcript concerning a potential column for the residents of Susquehanna County to provide periodic updates as to the operation of the District Attorney’s Office, as well as to provide a potential forum for residents to question any aspect of the criminal law or the criminal justice system. The Transcript has been kind enough to add a column dedicated to this very purpose.

Therefore, I am pleased to announce the Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office will provide a weekly column to the Transcript. To assist in generating topics for the articles, any persons with questions, concerns or comments are invited to submit those items in writing to the Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office, P.O. Box 218, Montrose, Pennsylvania 18801. In addition to answering written requests from residents, this column will also provide general information concerning the criminal law and criminal justice system. Given certain professional ethical rules, however, I cannot discuss any pending or active case.

I hope that this column can provide a meaningful service to the residents of Susquehanna County. The success of the column, however, depends largely upon feedback from readers to let me know the different topics that need to be addressed. I look forward to hearing from you.

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