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Issue Home March 16, 2004 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago

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

Slices of Life

Appreciating Nature

The sun is shining brightly, bringing with its warmth, a hatch of tiny insects that are swarming outside my window. At first I thought they were dancing snowflakes, which could very well be possible in mid-March. After watching this whirling ball for awhile, I got up and went to the window, peering through the slats of the venetian blind to be sure of what I was seeing. It was insects all right, and they seemed to be doing their choreography all around the pear tree. Hope that’s not a significant finding, as I have enough trouble with insects infecting my pears. Something stings the newly forming fruit each year, leaving hard stone-like spots in them. I know that spraying at the appropriate time of year would take care of this, but I’m adverse to having any more chemicals on my food than absolutely necessary.

Then after the pears begin to ripen, I have to protect them and the nearby raspberries from Japanese beetles and yellow jackets.

The yellow jackets made their presence known again recently. As I was going down the back steps, I saw paper-like material in a couple spots on the steps. I thought, "That looks like part of a yellow jacket nest. But why would it be on the steps when the nest is in that open pipe by the driveway?"

When I looked up to see if perhaps wasp nests were raining from the sky, I spotted the offending material; three individual nests under the eaves. These must be spin-offs from the overcrowded nest in the pipe. It probably wasn’t a good idea to let the original colony propagate. I know from experience how testy they can become. Last summer they ran me off from my flower garden more than once.

I like to co-exist peacefully with all nature, and that’s what I was trying to do with the yellow jackets. Men would offer to get rid of them and I’d say, "No, they are all right there. They aren’t bothering me."

And they weren’t for quite awhile. But when fall came and they began crowding one another, it was a different story. They would literally chase me. Finally I called in one of the offers and had the nest sprayed. Talk about nasty insects! But who wouldn’t be under those circumstances? However, they have re-colonized and it looks like I am going to have to go into termination mode again.

Thinking about insect pests always reminds me of picking potato bugs on the farm as a kid. It wasn’t enough that we had to weed those long rows of potatoes in the early morning dew as I’ve told you, but later in the season it would be time to pick the bugs off the plants, dropping each one into a can filled with liquid. As adults we used gasoline for their wet grave, but I’m not sure what was in our cans as youngsters. I only remember that any fieldwork was foreign to my lady-like (translate that "lazy") ways. Didn’t like the sun, hated getting dirty or sweaty, and didn’t much like any physical labor. I can’t say that I’ve changed significantly.

Looking out the window or from my seat on the front porch is still an ideal way to appreciate nature.

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100 Years Ago

MONTROSE: The Athletic association's base ball team intends to start in this season with brand new suits of a style and color that, when fitted to the athletic forms of the players, will draw the girls from the top-most seats of the grand stand. The home team is going in with the determination to "do everything that comes along," and "Uncle William's clover patch" will undoubtedly be the scene of some very pretty games the coming season. It might be a good plan to commence taking deep breathing exercises now, in order to be in a proper condition to "root" for the boys.

HALLSTEAD: John Allen, a well-known farmer residing near Hallstead, on Tuesday evening of last week, mistook the door leading into the cellar for the entrance to an adjoining room and fell headlong down the stairs to the bottom. He was very badly injured and notwithstanding the best of care, death resulted the following morning. AND: Proprietor J. E. Clune, of the Mitchell House, is preparing to greatly enlarge and beautify it. An addition the same height as the main building on the side towards Mr. Langley's residence will be 80 x 60 feet. There is to be a dining room 40 x 60 feet, a large sitting room which will face the river, and also a large reading room on the same floor. The public rooms are to have floors of inlaid marble tile and steel ceilings. It will be both a summer and a winter resort; already several rooms have been engaged for next winter by people who come for a part or all of the winter.

UPSONVILLE [Franklin Twp.]: Another heavy rain fall has swollen the streams so as to make it impossible to travel with any kind of a rig. Hiram Stoddard, returning home from Hallstead, Monday, succeeded in getting his load as far as Shields' Farm and was compelled to leave it there and drive the team home by Upsonville until the water in the road had subsided enough to get the load. The flats are all under water near J. B. Lott's farm, and water in the road was 4 feet deep. AND: Chas. Gathany, of Midvale, recently purchased a fine span of grays of A. Snow, near the Forks. Charles will work for Tiffany & Loomis in the Excelsior factory.

AUBURN TWP.: Prof. [Hamlin] Cogswell, of Mansfield [formerly of Auburn Twp.], has written the music and Miss Lizzie Ogden Smith the words to a new song entitled, "I Love Thee, Sweetheart."

SPRINGVILLE/Lathrop Twps.: The action brought against Springville township for sheep found dead in that township by Mr. Marcy, a resident and tax payer of Lathrop, has been terminated in the Superior Court by a decision reversing the lower court. The case is interesting to farmers and township officials because the main point at issue was whether the township where the sheep were found dead or the township in which the owner resided and paid taxes should be held liable for the sheep killed. The decision, of which word was received on Thursday, will obligate the township in which the owner of sheep resides and pays taxes to reimburse him for loss of sheep killed by dogs in another township. Thus, Lathrop township will be responsible for Mr. Marcy's sheep killed by dogs and found in Springville township.

HARFORD: Mrs. Jennie Gambol and daughter, Julia, and son George, started for their home in Kansas, on Tuesday.

SOUTH GIBSON: A coming event will be a Klondike Fair, to be given by the Epworth League, as their regular monthly meeting to be held in Band hall on Thursday evening, March 24. A number of miniature claims will be sold, each one possessing more or less value, the contents of which will be discovered when worked by the purchaser. Warm maple sugar will also be sold.

NEW MILFORD TWP.: On Wednesday afternoon Glenn, the 16-year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred W. Dean, was the victim of a cruel railroad accident which resulted in the loss of his left arm. He attends the graded school and at the close of the afternoon session he went to the depot and boarded a slow moving freight train to ride to the summit bridge near his home. He jumped on the side of a box car and when passing the iron bridge was struck by a projection and thrown from the car when about in the middle of the structure. In some manner unknown, the wheels passed over his arm severing the hand and crushing the member to within a few inches of the shoulder [and] he fell between the ties on the outside of the rail, landing upon the ice. No one witnessed the accident, and he was first seen by a train employee walking up the track, acting strangely. The man who saw him walking away immediately informed tower operator T. McCarthy, who walked down to the bridge and found the young man's hand lying beneath the bridge on the ice. McCarthy followed him up the track and overtook him at the Phinney crossing where he was taken in a sleigh to Dr. Snyder's office. Dr. Snyder, not being at home, he was taken to Dr. Ainey's and he too was away from home, attending a meeting of the pension board at Susquehanna. Dr. Clements was called and he attended to his wants until Dr. Merrill's arrival from Hallstead, who had been requested to come by phone. Dr. Clements skillfully performed the operation, removing the arm at the shoulder while Dr. Merrill administered the ether. The young man is now resting quietly, and if no complications set in will have a speedy recovery.

ELK LAKE: Sixteen years ago this month we had snow banks ten feet deep.

BROOKLYN TWP.: During the past winter there has been 90 days of good sleighing in succession. AND: An article by Dr. Robert S. Breed, entitled, "The Changes Which Occur in the Muscles of Beetles During Metamorphosis," recently appeared in the Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. Since the publication of this paper, Dr. Jules Anglas, of Paris, highly commends Dr. Breed's work and requests the use of some of his plates for use in writing a general account of Metamorphosis among insects for the Review Generale des Sciences. Dr. Breed is the youngest son of Mrs. E. S. P. Hine, of Brooklyn and is in charge of the Biological Department of Allegheny College.

BRANDT: At [a] Trustee's sale, the plant of the Brandt Clay Product Co. was sold to Andrew Blank, Jr., of Brandt, in consideration of about $35,000. The works will soon start up again.

NEWS BRIEFS: Scranton has a population of 115,000, covers an area of 179 square miles and the assessed valuation of its real estate is nearly sixty-three millions of dollars. It has forty-one public schools, five libraries, four theatres, four hospitals, twelve banks and eighty-eight churches. Twenty-three miles of paved streets are within the city limits and it has sixty-three miles of sewers, while in the city's employ are sixty-five policemen, sixty-three firemen and sixty letter carriers. AND: A dozen of the largest straw hat manufactories in the United States were destroyed in the Baltimore fire, and it is claimed the price of this style of headgear will soar upwards. It may be necessary to ring in some of the Panamas of two years ago, but let us hope that the demand will be supplied without resorting to such extreme measures.

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Straight From Starrucca

News from the sisters; Mr. Gerald Holbrook, a Gregorian Chant instructor, is coming all the way form Lincoln, Nebraska. He will be giving them an intense workshop in the "Ward Method" of Gregorian Chant from March 18-20, in preparation for the feast of St. Benedict on March 22.

Two young ladies will be traveling to the priory from Oklahoma, to take part in the course and to discern a possible vocation to the sisters’ way of life.

Last Tuesday night, the history group met with Loreda Everett in charge. We talked about the houses and their original owners that will be featured on a walking tour of Starrucca on July 22.

One of the important issues discussed at the Spirited Seniors meeting was the high cost of prescriptions. Val Tilton explained to us the "share card" program sponsored by the drug company "Pfizer." This is for middle and low income families. If interested, ask your druggist about it.

Also, a dinner is being planned for April 22 to raise money for the candles for the luminaries at Christmas time.

Several of us got together and planned a little get-together for Helen Dickey on her 90th birthday, Wednesday, March 10. Present were Joy Mead, Marie Swartz, Marie Soden, myself and a surprise visitor, my son, Nelson.

Pete and Vicki Downton recently spent ten days on vacation with Florence and Denny Downton in Sun City, Arizona. They enjoyed going to Hoover Dam and to Las Vegas for a few days. Weather was great and they even got in a few games of golfing together.

Congratulations to the eighth grade boys’ basketball team. Dan Downton, son of Vicki and Pete plays on the team. They just finished their season February 19 with a division championship and two gold medals for the tournament they were in. Vicki and Pete want to thank the coaches, David Lee and Bob Keyes for the great job that brought these honors to the team.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Only in Forest City Regional

As of this writing, folks in the Forest City Area are still buzzing about the sudden departure of School Superintendent Bernice Lukus and the shabby treatment she received from the Board of Education.

Everyone knew the board had previously agreed not to renew her contract when it expires in June, which is a helluva reward to give to a dedicated employee with more than 30 years of service to the school district. However, no one expected that five board members, including three of the four who are new this year, would give Board President Tom Baileys the green light to phone Mrs. Lukus at the school last week and advise her to pack up her belongings and leave the premises.

I talked to two board members who supported Baileys and both of them refused to discuss the issue. Baileys was in a hospital getting a hernia repaired and could not be reached for comment prior to our deadline.

The action appears to be completely illegal according to the Pennsylvania Public School Code and the State Sunshine Law.

Section 508 of the School Code: The affirmative vote of a majority of all the members of the board of school directors in every school district, duly recorded, showing how each member voted, shall be required in order to take action on the following subjects: Appointing or dismissing district superintendent, assistant district superintendents, associate superintendents, principals, and teachers. Failure to comply with the provisions of this section shall render such acts of the board of school directors void and unenforceable.

There is a long list of subjects included in the section. I only mention the superintendents, principals and teachers, because, in this matter, the other subjects are irrelevant.

Section 705 of the Pennsylvania Sunshine Law: Recording of votes – In all meetings of agencies, the vote of each membership who actually votes on any resolution, rule, order, regulation, ordinance or setting of official policy must be publicly cast and, in the case of roll call votes, recorded.

If six directors of the Forest City School Board took it upon themselves to arbitrarily allow Mr. Baileys to dismiss Mrs. Lukus last week, clearly any action taken would be illegal.

Enough said on the issue until one or all of the directors who allegedly approved Mr. Baileys’ action comes forward with an explanation on what certainly can best be described as a highly controversial issue. I can tell you that the three directors who told me Mr. Baileys did not discuss the matter with them are Dr. Henry Nebzydoski, Tom Heller, and Marge Schwartz.

Commissioners getting it done

The county commissioners weren’t at liberty to discuss the particulars, but they did say at last week’s press conference that they were able to settle a union grievance at a savings to the county of approximately $4,000.

Another move involving the county Retirement Fund is expected to take place soon and again at a nice savings. More on this when the deal is completed.

It is nice to see some positive things generated by the commissioners. Prior to this administration, we haven’t seen much progress generated from the commissioners’ office.

You gotta see this

Next time you are in the county courthouse, check to see if Commissioner Jeff Loomis is in his office. If so, drop in on him and take a gander at his new desk. It is fantastic. A gift from his better half, it is a curved metal desk with four elephant heads for legs. G.W. B. himself would be proud to own it.

But that’s not all! On one wall is an elephant mural and on another wall is a framed picture of G.W. Any doubts about Jeff’s political affiliations are clearly erased with a visit to his office.

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UNITED CHARITIES THANKFUL – The United Charities Home for homeless and wayward children of West Hazleton, PA, would like to thank everyone who contributed gifts, money, etc., to the home over the past Christmas.

"This truly was the boys’ best Christmas ever in the leanest of financial years. The time, effort, and money you spent was apparent in the boys’ faces when they opened their gifts. You touched all of us – staff and children alike – with your love. We feel truly blessed to have you as part of our family.

"Again, thank you for your generosity. We look forward to giving these kids a reason to smile again this coming Christmas." The UCH Administration.

(NOTE: The United Charities Home houses 64 children. The children are from all walks of life, such as abused children, orphans, homeless kids, and children left to find their own way in life. During the Christmas holidays, several interested area citizens banded together and put on a drive for the home.

THE "MESS" GETS BIGGER – Now that the Democrats have a presidential candidate in John Kerry, the Republicans – President Bush, that is – is compiling a campaign fund of over 100 million dollars to woo voters. What! Have both the Republicans and Democrats forgotten that although "the war is supposedly ended in Iraq" nearly every day members of our armed forces are being killed. Starting now, the "BS" will fly, instead of concentrating on ending the killings in several parts of the world. We will hear how "I will do this for the people if elected," then they’ll do as they please. Take Pennsylvania for instance. A pack of cigarettes runs $3 and up. That’s not enough, the state wants to add another 8 cents. No doubt, the conflict in Iraq will now go on the "back burner," while the Dems and GOPs tour the country selling their wares. What is taking us (United States) so long in getting peace in Iraq? The longer it takes, the more blood will be shed. Why are we dragging our feet? According to several news correspondents, "we are not pushing hard enough to get it (war) over with. Where is the United Nations? What are they doing to help? Haiti is going wild. Who cares, but the United States has sent thousands of Marines to quell the uprising. (Will we work to help stop all of the fighting, or will we campaign to get our man elected?)

HAVE YOU! HAVE YOU! Ordered your Centennial book? If not, you’d better hurry. The Centennial committee needs a lot more to sign up. They have well over a 100 people that have registered for a book or two. We need 300 altogether, to get more books published. Don’t wait until the last minute to order – then forget. Do it now! The books – a marvelous piece of work about Susquehanna’s history – will make a great gift for someone, especially former residents. What better gift can you give a relative or a friend on their birthday, Easter, Christmas, anniversary? Or, any occasion. Call now – Joyce at 853–4729. She will gladly take your order(s). I just took another look at my Susquehanna Centennial book 1853–2003, and didn’t realize at first, how much there is to read – and see – about the area. You will be amazed – the cost: only $10.00.

GET RICH QUICK – While in Jail! (Wilkes-Barre) – A Luzerne County Correctional officer was caught selling three packs of cigarettes to an inmate for $35. In turn, the inmate was selling the cigs – individual to inmates – earning $100 to $120 profit. (Are you still smoking?)

REFINERIES AT FAULT – Why, after all these years that gas prices were going up and down, not a word was said about the large number of refineries closing. They have been closing since 1981. They say that is the big reason for the high gas prices. Why then, didn’t the "powers to be" do something about it? Why isn’t something done today? (It doesn’t take a mastermind to figure out why the refineries stay closed.) How else are they going to rip us off. OK, if you’re in the $50,000/$100,000 class, but how about the little guy – under $20,000? And, there are a lot of them. (Like I said before, it’s a waste of time to call or write your representative.)

THE BOWLING Roundup –Kids on a rampage – Over the past couple weeks, some great scores have been bowled at Riverside Lanes, not only by adults, but also by three high school students. First off, the adult, Jack Beamer rolled his fourth 300 league game on February 24 with other games of 235, 225 for a 760 total. (A little birdie told me that Jack won’t be satisfied until he catches up with his dad, Chuck, who has eight 300 games.)

On the children’s side, the following three seem to have inherited the bowling skills of their kin. 14-Year old C. J. Felter bowled a 248. He is the son of Steve and Teresa Felter. Andy "Little Nipper" Napolitano, 15 years old, just missed the charmed circle of 700 by 2 pins, bowling games of 255, 196, 247 for 698. He is the grandson of the late George Napolitano. 16-year old Matt Wolf bowled games of 198, 232, 223 for 653. He is the son of Ray Wolf. (Congrats, to all.)

HOW ABOUT THE ABOVE – Don’t you believe that the three students – along with Jack – will be more than happy to see their name and scores in print. They can save the item and show their families "how good they were." (Do you have something you would like to see in NewsBeat? I’m at 600 Turnpike Terrace, or it can be left at the Transcript.

ADS IN SCHOOL BUSES! – Brian Unger of Pittsburgh, owner of a company, said "if he had his way the inside of all school buses would carry ads promoting colleges, toothpaste and warning against drugs." This, he said "will generate a lot of money for the schools." (The outside of the buses will stay yellow.)

SENIORS GETTING HELP – Pennsylvania Attorney General Jerry Pappert, has received $1.6 million from a price-fixing drug company. The company was slapped with a $100 million fine. The money Pennsylvania received will go to the PACE fund to help seniors with their prescriptions.


I know everything it takes to be a politician. Liar. That’s one of them.

Last time I went to vote, a fella pulled a gun on me and asked if I was going to vote Democrat or Republican. What did you tell him? After I thought about it, I told him to go ahead and shoot.

If you were elected president, what would you do about defense? I’d paint it the same color as de house.

Politics wouldn’t be bad if we could get rid of the politicians.

How can you tell if a senator is lying? His lips are moving.

"The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for 30 years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found."

A young girl asked her father if all fairy tales begin with the words "Once upon a time."

"No," he replied. "A whole bunch begin with the words ‘If elected, I promise.’"

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From the Desk Of The DA

Pennsylvania has a new law regarding the offense of driving under the influence (DUI). As of October 1, 2003, the legal blood alcohol content for operating a motor vehicle was reduced from 0.10% to 0.08%. In order to demonstrate a DUI, it must be demonstrated that the alleged offender had a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or greater. For a person under 21 years of age, the limit remains 0.02% blood alcohol content or greater. For a person operating a commercial vehicle, the limit remains 0.04% blood alcohol content or greater. With the exception of a first offense, a conviction for DUI will carry a minimum license suspension of 12 months. Further, any second offense DUI carries a mandatory imposition of an ignition interlock device upon restoration of driving privileges. The ignition interlock is a device that hooks to an automobile that requires a potential driver to submit to a breath test prior to operation of the vehicle.

As of February 1, 2004, the new law also created a three-tiered system for DUI offenses. Each tier has different punishments and requirements based upon blood alcohol content. Generally, the first tier offenses are considered less serious, while the third tier offenses are considered the most serious. Further, the punishment for the offense also depends upon any prior DUI convictions that the offending driver may have on his or her record. For example, an offender within the third tier would face a mandatory period of incarceration of 72 hours if convicted for the first time, while the mandatory period of incarceration would increase to 90 days if the offender had a prior DUI conviction. The new law also mandates counseling services for most DUI offenders to address any underlying alcohol abuse problems, and, hopefully, to avoid repeat offenders. The rate of recidivism in DUI cases is staggering.

In Susquehanna County, approximately one-quarter of all arrests and prosecutions relate to DUI offenses, with many of the offenders having prior DUI convictions. Clearly, these offenses present a serious danger not only to the operator of the motor vehicle, but also to any other individuals in the vicinity of the intoxicated driver such as passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians. At sentencing for DUI offenders, I regularly remind the offender that he or she is fortunate that no one was seriously hurt or killed as a result of the reckless conduct. For instance, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of three years incarceration, in a state correctional facility for any person who kills another human being while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

Finally, I recently had the opportunity to supervise a young man performing community service imposed as a result of a DUI offense. The young man stated that he had seen billboards that stated: "DUI. You cannot afford it." Unfortunately, he never really thought about the billboard or put a price tag on the costs. If you were to kill or hurt someone while driving under the influence, the costs (both emotional, financial and penal) would be terrible. In this young man’s case, fortunately there was no accident or injuries. After paying for an attorney, paying the fines, costs and supervision fees, and losing his license and begging for rides from friends and family, the young man told me that he wished he had paid attention to those warnings. Hopefully, others will.

Please submit any questions, concerns, or comments you have about our legal system to: Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office, P.O. Box 218, Montrose, Pennsylvania 18801.

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