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Issue Home March 23, 2004 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago

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

Slices of Life

To Taste Again

Do you know about the "aha!" moment when the light goes on and something that has been hidden suddenly becomes clear? I just had one of those. I realized I’m actually breathing out of both sides of my nose at the same time. It’s been a week since I could do that, and it is such a relief.

When we are not in the midst of a cold, we tend to forget how miserable and unaccommodating colds are. But, then a traveling germ gets its foot in the door, and in no time we remember all too well what it’s like.

I can’t even recall the last time I had a cold. Probably the dandy that hit me a year ago last Christmas when I was visiting my daughter and her family. So, I had had plenty of time to forget what I was in for. Subtly it started sending out messages; scratchy throat, desire for a nap, reaching for a Kleenex. Then food began to lose its flavor, a hacking cough started to annoy me, and I was snuffling. A day later I’m all too aware of what’s happening when I can’t breathe if I lie down, everything tastes the same and I’m blowing my nose every two minutes. For something that is not life threatening, a cold packs one awful wallop.

I realized just how bad off I was after I had followed my daughter’s suggestion to steam. She said, "Put some water in a soup pot, add some herbs and when it boils and steams, put a towel over your head, your head over the pot and breath in the steam. It will unclog your sinuses. Besides, it smells wonderful."

So I tried it, using rosemary, the most aromatic spice I owned. Well, the steam did its job, but I could smell nothing. Unbelievable! Today I steamed again and I got a very faint smell. No wonder I was having trouble breathing. I did the menthol-lyptus lozenges routine, even resorted to Coricidin on a couple of occasions, and somehow I gradually got through the night.

Now if my mother were here it would be Vicks Vaporub smeared on my chest, throat and nose. As a kid I always thought that was such a silly thing. But I know it works. If I’d had some in the house last night I definitely would have used it. I've been eating chicken soup, drinking peppermint tea, green tea, black tea, orange juice. Some of which I tasted faintly. But I have to admit that something is helping because I haven’t napped yet today and it’s almost time for Jeopardy. Too late now for a nap. And I’m breathing almost normally again.

I am so glad to get this cold out of the way. With the Easter season bringing hot cross buns and chocolate rabbits, it would be a real waste to not be able to taste two of my favorite things. Actually the hot cross buns were on the market prematurely, and I already indulged in them before the virus hit me. But the homemade ones don’t get delivered until later, and I’d sure hate to miss out on that once a year treat!

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100 Years Ago

MONTROSE: Last Friday night was one of considerable excitement, it being the night set for a special meeting of Rough & Ready Hose Co. No. 1 [and] at 8:30 o'clock there were only four members in sight. These [men] being quite enthusiastic over the meeting, agreed to ring the bell until more came and they did come in "bunches." A highly esteemed citizen thinking the long continued ringing of the fire bell meant that there was a fire down town, notified the man at the electric light plant to blow the whistle, which he did. This was followed by the L. & M. locomotive whistle and pandemonium reigned and the fire companies turned out ready for business. Some of the members of the companies became somewhat disturbed over the matter, but they must allow that No. 1's had the largest turn-out to a fire meeting ever held in Montrose.

HEART LAKE: The people at Heart Lake recently built a pretty little Methodist church and now they are going to have a parsonage. W. A. Brown and wife have given a nice lot.

GREAT BEND: Harry G. More has accepted the position on the Binghamton Republican, formerly held by City Editor Charles Baldwin, of the Binghamton Press. Mr. More, for the present, retains his interest in the Great Bend Plaindealer.

GLENWOOD: A drawing for a watch was held at the home of Monroe Rought, Friday evening. The lucky number was held by John Raleigh. After the drawing the company skipped the light fantastic toe and supper was served. AND: The prospects for a large crop of legal proceedings is very favorable in this section the coming season.

BROOKLYN: Brooklyn has a free library, furnished by the state commission. It is kept at A. S. Waldie's and is open Monday and Friday afternoons.

CLIFFORD: T. J. Wells has taken back the Hotel Gardner property that he contracted to H. Watres a year ago and the said property is to be occupied by Charley Day after April 1, 1904. Charley is a very clever, obliging and industrious fellow; we wish him success.

UNIONDALE: Miss Nell Clancy narrowly escaped being seriously burned while visiting her sister at Susquehanna last week. Her sister's clothing accidentally taking fire, Miss Clancey hastened to her assistance and succeeded in extinguishing the flames. Both escaped without serious injury, although somewhat burned.

FRANKLIN FORKS: Two more of the McGee family have the smallpox. Mrs. McGee is quite seriously ill. The boys had it in much milder form. AND: Daniel Webster, who has been taking a course in steam engineering in the Correspondence School, of Scranton, will go to Plainsboro, N. J., the first of April, to take charge of the engine on the Walker Gorden farm, which is superintended by Henry Jeffers, of Harford.

QUAKER LAKE: A. E. Cole, formerly creameryman at West Lathrop, has moved his goods and family here, where he expects to run a creamery.

HERRICK CENTRE: W. Scott Ogden has bought E. M. Parker's interest in the blacksmith shop.

HOPBOTTOM: The traction engine hauling over six tons of condensed milk from Brooklyn to Hopbottom, broke through the stone bridge that covers the sluice on their way to the station, Monday, causing them to work till about two o'clock Tuesday morning before they could get it out. AND: Mrs. Mary Carpenter has moved over on the east side of the railroad track where she is prepared to do dressmaking.

SUSQUEHANNA: William Kelly, an old Erie employee, met death suddenly in the roundhouse on Monday afternoon. While in a pit under a car, an engine started the car and Kelly was instantly crushed to death; his age was 73 years; he had no near relatives and boarded at Barnes' hotel. AND: A leap year party was held in the parlors of the Oakland Methodist church on Wednesday evening, under the auspices of the Young Ladies' Society.

SILVER LAKE: Some welcome signs of spring; the blue birds and robins are again with us, and the roads open and travel resumed in [on] them--instead of through fields, as has been the case for the last four months. AND: Arthur Hays, who has conducted a store at Laurel Lake, has left to take charge of a store he has purchased at Castle Creek, N.Y.

SOUTH GIBSON: Norton Fancher, of Harford, has opened a barber shop in Hotel Lewis.

HARFORD: E. M. Watson's store was broken into on Saturday night and the usual amount of clothing and cigars was taken.

RUSH: Some of our business men have been busy breaking ice in the creek to form a channel in hopes to avoid flooding the flat and mill-dam. AND: David Shadduck is moving his household goods to the Vandyke building.

NEW MILFORD: Alonzo Barrett, an old veteran who recently moved from Lakeview to Lakeside will, about April 1, become postmaster at that place. Mr. M. Hayden, who has conducted a store at Lakeside and been the postmaster for several years, will retire and return to New Milford to reside. AND: Glenn Dean, the young man who lost his left arm in a railroad [accident] last week, is improving finely. He is able to sit up a short time each day.

NEWS BRIEF: The winter here has been the severest in 20 years and on a branch of the Lacka-wanna, from Alford to Montrose, it was felt the worst. This is a short road in the mountain region, and it took the crew 4 1/2 hours to run ten miles. Time after time they were stalled in the snow, and it took the combined efforts of the section crews and passengers to shovel out the drifts. When the train reached Montrose orders were issued not to attempt the down trip until the snow plow went over the road. When the snow plow reached Alford late in the evening it was ascertained that the crew did not know the location of the crossings on the L & M division. It was after midnight when the agent at Montrose was told to summon John Casey and his men, and told to take an engine and go to Alford to pilot the crew of the snow plow. Casey told them the engine could not go to Alford. He was told to take his hand-car and go. Casey telegraphed, "Impossible." "Can you get there any way?" was the next query. Casey's reply was that the turnpike was blocked with snow, but that he could drive on the track to Heart Lake, and there was no grade crossing between Alford and Heart Lake. Then were issued these unique "meeting orders:" "Conductor, snow plow, Alford. Proceed to Heart Lake with snow plow. Meet Casey with horse and cutter there. E.M.R." "Casey, Montrose. With horse and cutter proceed to Heart Lake and meet snow plow. E.M.R." Casey reached Heart Lake two hours ahead of the snow plow. So hats off to Casey, his horse and cutter. (John J. Wade in Locomotive Firemen's Magazine)

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Straight From Starrucca

Frank Mroczka came to the area before 1980 and was impressed by the natural beauty of the place. So he and his wife, Ruth bargained for a piece of land on Jacob’s Ladder Road, overlooking the valley through which runs the Starrucca Creek. Ruth was delighted with the area (adjacent to Thompson, PA) because it brought back memories of Thompson, Conn., her hometown.

They placed a trailer on their land in 1981 and nine years later replaced it with a new house.

Frank’s early life was centered in Mahanoy City, PA, where he grew up with one sister and three brothers. While in high school, he played football and basketball. He served in the US Army as an electronic device repairman, stationed in Fort Belvoir, VA, Fort Benning, GA, Cape Canaveral, FL, and Korea.

He attended Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ, majoring in Business Administration. Frank found work at General Electric Missile and Space Division in Valley Forge, PA and then at Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, NJ. At ETS he managed the Customer Service Dept., was a scheduler in Operations Planning and Scheduling, and worked as a systems analyst supporting the Test Security Office. While at ETS, Frank served as a loan officer in the Nassau Federal Credit Union for twenty-five years. He retired in 1998.

About the man himself and his wife, for the past eleven years, they have hosted a summer weekend family reunion with relatives from Michigan, Georgia, Florida, and Apalachin, NY. Their only daughter, Ellen, recently spent a vacation in Kenya; she is married to Douglas Kohler.

Ruth enjoys sewing quilts with the Susquehanna Quilters and has received several ribbons at the Harford Fair. She also helps the Starrucca Bag Ladies and is involved with the Starrucca History Group.

Frank’s biggest pleasure is golf; he also loves to hunt and fish and do woodworking. He is a member of the Lake Como Oddfellows, the Susquehanna American Legion, and the Susquehanna Moose.

Frank is the Mayor of Starrucca. As a mayor, his duties are to attend council meetings, to vote to break a tie, to swear candidates into offices of the borough council, to preserve order in the borough, to be on hand for elections, and to participate in activities he believes necessary to help preserve life, health, property, or the public peace. Our mayor is quite tall, has an engaging smile, and is very pleasant and easy to talk to; he’ll have our best interests at heart.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay

More progress in courthouse

Last week I told you the county commissioners appear to be charting a course for progress rather than just sitting back and being satisfied with the status quo. This week the momentum continues as county officials launched another important project.

Aside from keeping files current on the day-to-day business at the courthouse and maintaining a financial account of where your tax dollars are being spent, the opinion here is that the Historical Records Department ranks high on the list of departments worthy of more than just an occasional look-see. Not only is the history of our county preserved by this department, but many critical documents – financial, legislative and judicial – are stored there.

Last week, Chief Probation Officer Jeff Shoemaker and Sheriff Lance Benedict were instrumental in getting a couple of inmates from the county jail to begin some long overdue work in the Historical Records Department. With the blessing of the county commissioners, some old wooden bookcases that might otherwise have toppled over were fastened to walls and three more rows of shelving were installed. I understand more work is planned in that department.

If you own a computer and you don’t think the Historical Records Department is important, go to the internet and take a gander at what the Smithsonian Institute has preserved for future generations.

Oh, yes, one more thought. While I am passing out accolades, credit must be given to Shari Whitney, who runs the Historical Records Department. She helped to obtain financial grants that provided some needed dollars to buy needed equipment in that department.

The continuing saga of Me and John

Previously on Me and John:

I wrote a column stating that the county’s Economic Development Department Committee said it was OK for the county commissioners to dismiss EDD Director Justin Taylor.

John P. Kameen, a member of the EDD Committee, wrote a letter to the editor saying that what I wrote was a fantasy.

I answered Mr. Kameen. I prefaced my comment by reprinting his letter. I then explained where and when I learned that the EDD Committee had initially balked at Mr. Taylor’s firing, then said it was OK.

Mr. Kameen wrote a second letter to the editor insisting that what I wrote was not true. He also said that I did not reprint his letter the way he wrote it.

I called the Transcript and asked our capable gal, Barbara, if she would compare Mr. Kameen’s letter with the letter I printed in my column and see if there is any difference. She checked it, called me back, and advised me that the only difference was that my version had quotation marks in the beginning and end of the letter. The wording was verbatim. (I used the quotation marks to indicate the beginning and end of what Mr. Kameen had written.)

Now, I am not interested in perpetuating this issue because I know many of my readers are saying "so what?" But I am not going to allow someone to impugn my reputation as a columnist. I stand on what was said about Mr. Taylor’s dismissal at a public meeting of the county commissioners. If Mr. Kameen thinks it was an untrue statement, his argument is with the person who said it publicly. And, finally, if Mr. Kameen was so adamant about this matter, why didn’t he attend the commissioners’ meeting when they fired Mr. Taylor and speak up on his behalf? He would also have heard what I heard said at the meeting about the EDD Committee.

‘Nuf sed!

Another Department Head Leaving

I have not been able to confirm this yet but from a reliable source I am told that Michael Villanella will leave his job as district manager of the Susquehanna Conservation District. As told to me, Mr. Villanella has accepted a state job.

The county commissioners promoted Mr. Villanella to district manager effective Dec. 31, 2003 at an annual salary of $32,000.

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ROOD TO ATTEND N. D. – With several colleges seeking the service of Jeff Rood, he has been accepted at Notre Dame University, South Bend, Ind., to pursue a four year term of post graduate work for a Ph.D. in Chemistry. Jeff, now attending Millersburg U, will graduate in May, 2004 from the University. Jeff, one of the school’s track stars, is a member of the track and cross country teams, competing in his four years there. He will commence his studies at Notre Dame in August. He was also accepted at five other universities in the South and East, but Notre Dame won out. Jeff will now be a "Notre Damer." Jeff is the son of Jack and Judy Rood of Susquehanna. He is also the grandson of Ted Gordon, of Turnpike Terrace.

N. Y. S. LAWMAKERS "Living High" – The New York State lawmakers in Albany "really" have it made. They have spent more than $200 million, in addition to their salaries, a news report said. They have used the taxpayers money – over the years – for traveling, car washes, out-of-state trips, cell phones, pagers, UPS deliveries. These are just a few examples of how the legislatures are ripping off their taxpayers. One official paid an employee $14 per month on car washes. Another used tax money to pay $418 for car repairs. Most of them employ at least six to ten people on their staff, paid by tax money (not by the Legislator). No doubt this is happening in several states. This is a good reason why every year they want to raise your taxes. How else are they going to make a decent living (up to $100,000) plus using tax money for their pleasures. (Did you miss your calling? It’s never too late to run for office!)

FREE! FREE! FREE! – The Lanesboro Police department has a large number of "Child-Safe Gun Locks." They can also be used to lock up many other valuable items. No way can a child get his hands on a gun with this lock, unless he gets the key. The locks are a sturdy piece of cable with key lock. They are free. Just contact any Lanesboro Policeman.

IT SEEMS KIND-A-Strange that very few motorists in the country – and around our three boroughs – complain about the gas gouging going on. The other night I was watching the "Riley Program," who pulls no punches when interviewing, a Triple-A official. The AAA didn’t have too many answers in regard to the high prices and (Riley) asked why President Bush isn’t doing something about it. Why is OPEC holding back on their oil?, Mr. Riley asked. Why are we waiting on just President Bush to "do something about it?" Where are our country’s governors, senators, representatives and other high country officials? Are we getting oil from either Iraq or Kuwait? If not, why not? It seems we should get a good supply from Kuwait, being that we saved their country from Saddam’s hands.

U. S. DEFICIT "Climbing" – Figures released by the Treasury Department show a deficit of $226.8 billion in the first five months of their 2004 budget year. The White House expects the deficit this budget year to balloon to $521 billion, while the Congressional budget office is forecasting $477 billion in red ink. (Note – the above figures do not include Iraq or Afghanistan.)

ECONOMY! WHAT ECONOMY! – Our economy depends upon the people – the working people especially. How many are out of work? How many are just making it on a small income? How can the economy get better, if Washington and the 52 state officials sit on their cans and let prices rise, without doing something about it? As has been the case – in the gas world – the less the people and our "governing fathers" do about climbing prices of everything, the more the will keep going up and up.

WOMEN OVERSEAS IN WAR – According to the Veterans of Foreign War magazine, "Women Overseas During Wars" totaled 97,273 at present. In WWI, 10,000 served; WW 2, 18,000; Korean War 800; Vietnam 7,500; Grenada 116; Panama 700; Persian Gulf, 33,365; Somalia 300; Haiti (1994) 400; USS Cole (2000) 42; Afghanistan (to present) 850; Iraq (to present) 25,400. Hostile deaths numbered 32; non-hostile deaths 754.

CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS? – Magazine ads (VFW for one) is promoting the $10 United States Of America Victory Commemorative Medal. On one side of the coin is the picture of President Bush, with the word "Victory." On the other side of the coin we have none other than one of the world’s biggest murderers, Saddam Hussien, with the word "Defeat." Can you imagine the greed of some companies! They at least could have put an American face on the coin, instead of a bearded Saddam. (I wouldn’t take the coin as a gift. Who wants to look at Saddam? Not me!)

FIREMEN GET $$$ DONATION – The Susquehanna Fire Department recently received a large and unexpected donation of $1,000. This money was received from the Knights of Columbus Council 6168, of Beverly Hills, Fla. The award was presented to the fire company by a former member, James McGuane. Mr. McGuane, now a resident of Florida, is a member of Florida K. of C. Lodge.


SMART DOCTOR – A mechanic was busy removing a cylinder head from the motor of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle when a well-known heart surgeon entered his shop. The surgeon was waiting for the service manager to take a look at his bike when the mechanic shouted across the garage, "Hey, doc, can I ask you a question?"

The surgeon, a bit surprised, walked over. The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked, "Doc, look at this engine. I can open its heart, take valves out, fix ‘em, put ‘em back in, and when I finish, it works just like new. So why do I get such a small salary and you get the really big bucks, when you and I are doing basically the same work?"

The surgeon smiled, leaned over and whispered to the mechanic, "Try doing it with the engine running."

"THERE ARE certain signs when you’re old. I walked past the cemetery the other day, and two guys ran after me with shovels."

ASK NOT what your country can do for you, but how much it’s going to cost you for them to do it.

A HAPPY COUPLE – A young man watched an elderly couple sit down to lunch at a restaurant. He noticed that they had ordered one meal and an extra drink cup. As he watched, the older man carefully divided the hamburger in half, then counted out the fries – one for him, one for her, until each had an even number. Then the older man poured half the soft drink into the extra cup and set it in front of his wife. The older man then began to eat, and his wife sat watching with her hands folded in her lap.

The young man hesitated, then approached the couple and asked if they would allow him to purchase another meal for them so that they wouldn’t have to split theirs.

The older man said, "Oh no. We’ve been married 50 years and everything has always been and will always be shared 50-50."

The young man then asked the older woman if she was going to eat. "Later," she replied. "It’s his turn with the teeth."

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From the Desk Of The DA

Given recent events, a number of people have inquired as to the status of homosexual, lesbian and/or gay marriages in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In 1996, Pennsylvania actually enacted a statute that defines marriage so as to exclude homosexual couples. The statute reads as follows: "It is hereby declared to be the strong and long standing public policy of this Commonwealth that marriage shall be between one man and one woman. A marriage between persons of the same sex which was entered into in another state of foreign jurisdiction, even if valid where entered into, shall be void in this Commonwealth." 23 Pa. C.S. ß 1704. Therefore, same sex marriages cannot be performed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Further, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not recognize as lawful same sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.

But what would happen if a marriage license was issued to a same sex couple and a marriage was performed in Pennsylvania? First, as noted above, the "marriage" would be void from its inception and confer no legal rights or standing whatsoever to the couple. Second, there could be potential criminal penalties arising from the actual issuance of the license and performance of the marriage ceremony. The Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor has opined that the issuance of a marriage license to a same sex couple would constitute a violation of ß 5101 of the Crimes Code, relating to the obstruction of the administration of law or other governmental function.

In particular, the relevant portion of that statute reads as follows: "A person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if he intentionally obstructs, impairs or perverts the administration of law or other governmental function by . . . breach of official duty or any other unlawful act." A public official has taken an oath to uphold and defend the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, including ß 1704 that declares that marriage shall only be between one man and one woman. Because same sex marriage is unlawful in the Commonwealth, any public official acting within the scope of his or her public duties who issues a marriage license to a same sex couple would arguably be perverting or impairing the administration of the law, i.e.: the recognition that marriage may only be between one man and one woman. If a public official where to violate ß 5101, the potential penalties include up to two (2) years in prison and/or a potential fine of up to $5,000.

The moral, religious, and ethical implications arising from same sex marriage have been and will continue to be debated. Regardless of one’s personal opinion regarding same sex marriage, the law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is clear that such unions are unlawful and void. A public official has a duty to administer and follow the law, not to flaunt and ignore the very dictates that he or she has sworn to uphold. Public officials who knowingly violate the law, for whatever reason, cannot be ignored without causing substantial damage to the public trust and the law itself. The Crimes Code provides a remedy for any public official who ignores or thwarts the dictates of the law for whatever reason.

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An Inside Look

After having the little tease of spring, I honestly cannot wait for the real warm weather to break out. It seems that one specific issue always seems to pop into student’s minds around this time of the year, and it has been highly discussed among myself and others for as long as I can remember. This issue, that of possibly having a longer lunch period and the option to go outside, never really seems to strike us as a bad idea.

Personally, I believe a little break in the middle of the day from the constant school scenery would do a student body some good. It’s like milk almost, just minus the calories. But seriously, how could getting a breath of fresh air ever be a bad thing? I remember in sixth grade my teacher told the class that everyone should have a recess, and I find myself now a firm believer of that. Also, a longer break from the ongoing studies could ease our minds, our stress, and perhaps even clear our heads a little to let the rest of the information sink in.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we should have two hour lunch periods and the ability to roam around aimlessly. Simply put, an added fifteen minutes to our lunch would work wonders. And the option of going outside? I think the school would find themselves with a much happier crowd of kids on their hands.

Of course, I understand that the school has tried to accommodate us somewhat, such as giving the junior/senior lunch period the option to go to the gym after you eat. Also, I know they are afraid of students leaving the school premises. However, in my opinion, a student body deserves it’s privileges. Extra time could give us a less rushed lunch, and even time to catch up with our friends, possibly decreasing talking during classes. And going down to the gym after we eat is a nice change of pace, but enjoying a meal outside on a beautiful day? That is simply one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard.

A simple trial and error of this would prove most beneficial I believe, because it would give the school the ability to see what could happen with the idea, and the students would be given a glimpse into the possibilities. I’m sure that if given time, we could work out something.

So, I ask you, what could possibly be wrong with a little break from a long day at school? All we really ask is that maybe the faculty and school board could just throw the issue around a little, and possibly come up with a resolution that could keep both sides happy.

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