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Issue Home April 13, 2004 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago
Along the Way...With P. Jay

From the Desk of the DA

Slices of Life

To Be Fourteen

Watching the outdoor clean-up going on across the street, I’m amused, nervous, nostalgic and, most of all, envious. The young man doing much of the labor is probably somewhere around fourteen, dressed in shorts on this chilly day and is now standing in a full garbage can tramping down the debris so he can get a little more inside.

I fully expected that garbage can to tip over when he was half in and half out. Not ever having the greatest balance, and even less now, I held my breath until he jumped down, unscathed. Height of any kind is paralyzing to me.

I remember all too well when, as a youngster bothering my more adventuresome brother and sister, I was lured into the haymow. Navigating the built-in ladder where now each round was packed with hay was tricky on the way up. But when it was time to come back down, I was paralyzed.

"Just throw your leg over the beam and feel for the top rung," my sister said. Tentatively, I reached my foot over.

"No, I can’t do that," I cried as I quickly pulled my leg back. Several starts and stops later it registered that if I was ever going to get out of that hot, sticky, bee-buzzing haymow, I had to follow through.

In a desperate last attempt, I threw my leg over the beam and felt the rung. Trying to get hold of anything with my hands proved futile and I came crashing down between the haymow and the loaded hay wagon. I landed in a sitting position and wasn’t seriously injured, but I have to wonder if this might have contributed to my aging back discomfort.

So it was with trepidation that I watched the stomp-down dance in the garbage can next door. However, he didn’t have quite as far to fall as I did. But I do admire his lack of fear.

And I envy his young, internal thermostat that allows him to wear shorts in 40-degree weather. I’m sitting here near the heater in a tee shirt, pullover sweater, and a flannel shirt. And I’m not perspiring.

At fourteen, I was riding on the hay rake as Dad drove the tractor round and round the field. Ever so often, I manually lifted the trip-handle so that the rake teeth would drop their load. It was an easy, repetitive job that allowed the mind to wander and I well remember my thoughts. I was really thin, but as I would sit in my shorts on that hay rake, my bare, skinny thighs would spread out where they hit the seat and I would use the between-dumping time to admire my shapely legs.

Fourteen was also about the age when I desperately wanted to be a majorette. I was tired of umpah-pahing on a heavy French Horn as we marched from the school to the football field on Saturdays, did a half-time show, and then marched back. The majorettes got to wear those skimpy costumes (which would have shown off my "shapely" legs), those cute little bellhop hats, and to strut their stuff all over the football field. I was stuck in long wool pants, et al. But I never quite had the courage or skill to try out for majorette.

But there were good times, and to look back at gangling fourteen and have any good memories is a real gift I’d say.

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100 Years Ago

FOREST CITY: Festus Madden's trial for the murder of Patrick Fleming in Forest City, on Christmas morning, commenced in the County courts Monday afternoon. Madden was arraigned before the court and pleaded not guilty to the charge. Highlights: It is alleged that Fleming was intoxicated and threatened the Madden home with snow and other missiles, and produced a gun. Madden came out, when shots were exchanged, Fleming using a revolver and Madden a shotgun. Each fired two shots, one causing the death of Fleming. / Upon calling the roll of prospective jurors it was ascertained that a number of the men drawn for jurors had failed to put in an appearance, either through dislike in serving on a case where capital punishment might be involved or disinclination, and these the judge fined $5 each. / Calvin Lincoln, of Forest Lake, was accepted by both sides and was the first juror to take a seat in the jury box. / Judson Savory, of Jackson, had an opinion when he read the account, but has forgotten what that opinion was; let it drop. Accepted by Com'th and passed over to defense, who accepted him. / Sheridan Pierce and his son, Frederick, of Susquehanna, sat in the jury box together. This is the first time in the history of Susq. Co. that a father and son sat on the same murder case. Verdict: Sheridan Pierce, the foreman of the jury, in response to the formal inquiry of Prothonotary Titsworth, as to whether they had arrived at a verdict, replied, "we have--not guilty." The defendant was at once congratulated by his attorneys and he then stepped over and shook hands with such of the jurors as were in reach, and as he and his wife were about to leave, Mrs. Madden turned back towards Judge Searle and said, "Thank you, Judge." with happiness beaming all over her face.

ELK LAKE: B. A. Risley recently purchased a phonograph and is enjoying it.

HERRICK CENTRE: William Pickering, who with his family expects to leave for California the last of the month, resigned his position on the school board. His successor has not yet been appointed. AND: The two ladies who have been occupying the old Barnes school house have been removed to the Hillside Home at Scranton and Truman Dunn has contracted for the building and land.

GLENWOOD: Lost, lady's hunting case gold watch, between Clark's Green and Lenoxville. Finder please inform Miss Ida Decker, of Glenwood, and receive reward. AND: Members of Capt. Lyon, Post No. 85, G.A.R., will meet in their hall, Saturday, April 30th, to arrange for decoration day. As the comrades' ranks are thinning out, we would like to see all interested there, on that day. AND: A paper is being circulated to purchase a cow for George Ransom, whose only cow died a few days ago. A little from each one will help the poor man out.

MIDDLETOWN: Miss Sadie Reilly, who has closed a very successful term of school here, has accepted a position as teacher near Cortland, NY. AND: In Flynn, hay and cider are the two scarce commodities in the village, at present.

FOREST LAKE: Sap season has done well and is doing yet.

HOPBOTTOM: The Young People's Auxiliary Society will hold a maple sugar social at the home of W. E. Brown, Wednesday evening, April 27th. Proceeds to be used toward buying a new carpet for the Universalist church. All are invited. "Flinch" and "Panic" will be the games of the evening.

BRANDT: It is probable that the working force in the chamois tannery at Brandt will be doubled during the present season. Scranton capitalists are the principal owners of the industry.

SPRINGVILLE: The Hawke Stone company's quarry was the scene of a terrible, if not fatal, accident Tuesday just prior to the noon hour. U.D. Barber, foreman of the quarry, was preparing to remove a mass of top rock by means of dynamite, when an explosion accidentally occurred and he was blown some distance, his eyesight apparently destroyed and his face burned and blackened in such a horrible manner as to render him unrecognizable. He was alone at the time of the accident, which makes it impossible to learn any details. The theory advanced is that in his hurry to touch a blast off before dinner he accidentally dropped a match in a hole containing a charge of powder, which exploded. Mr. Barber is a steady, industrious worker, aged about 40 years, and has a wife and family who are dependent upon him for support. The possibilities of his surviving are not of the brightest. [U.D. Barber died in 1943]

MONTROSE: An alarm of fire was sounded Wednesday, just before noon, and the fire companies responded with alacrity, but when it was discovered that the building on fire was the old Jessup farmhouse at the top of Bank hill, which has long been a dilapidated condition, the house was allowed to burn, precaution being taken to guard the surrounding property. The house was occupied recently by Italian workers engaged on the Lehigh Valley extension and it is thought that matches left by them in the house were nibbled by rodents, thus causing the conflagration.

SUSQUEHANNA: Erie Engineer, Henry C. Pettis, of the Oakland Side, who lost both legs while on duty in January 1903, on Monday, resumed work on his engine. AND: On Monday, a 58-ton electric Erie turntable replaced the old hand turntable; it required two steam derricks and a large force of men 18 hours to make the change; the old table was taken to Greenwood Lake.

FRANKLIN FORKS: Two of the small pox patients have been fumigated and clothed in a new suit and released from the house. AND: We have a new blacksmith; John Dillon is working with Fred Knapp in his shop.

NEW MILFORD: The young ladies of St. Mark's church are rehearsing the three-act comedy-drama, "Diamonds and Hearts," which will be presented at the Opera House on Friday evening, April 22nd. The rehearsals are under the able management of Mrs. J. H. Safford, whose splendid efforts in the past have proven so satisfactory in the production of the drama in New Milford. Cast members are: Beatrice Howell, Mary Talbot, Henrietta Hayden, Jane Boyle, Katherine and Ralph Shields, Roy Shadduck, Merritt Hayden, A. L. Hawley, Lester Stark and Merle Shelp.

SILVER LAKE: Our new supervisor, P. R. Kane, is out trying to fix the roads, which are in a very bad condition.

GREAT BEND: Calvin Towner is suffering from an old wound received in the Civil War. It is feared he may lose his left arm.

NEWS BRIEF: No doubt a lot of good people will be horrified to learn that the popular game of flinch is nothing more than the Chinese gambling game of fan tan, with a few changes to make it easier

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

It ain’t easy

So you think it’s easy writing a column,
Think I can just sit here and write volume after volume;
Well let me tell you friends it ain’t that way,
‘Cause there are some weeks when there’s nothing to say.
This week for instance Jeff is kind of low-keyed,
And I think Roberta’s writing a new county creed;
And Mary Ann Warren is still a grinnin’,
Been that way since she heard she was winnin’.
In the commissioners’ office look for Suzanne,
Don’t say I told you but she’s really Diane;
Julie and Mendy are the gals at your service,
And don’t mess with Linda ‘cause you’ll make her nervous.
At that place they call Prothonotary,
Linda and Peg are awake and merry;
While in the next room Sue and her bunch,
Are trying to figure out what to have for lunch.
Across the hall is the Register and Recorder,
Where it seems like things are always in order;
In the basement you’ll find Teri and the Pirates,
And Derek Smith’s out somewhere chasing a virus.
In the Probation Department see what they’ve got,
Lester, Fischer, Gulbin and Goff;
Then there’s that big guy named Jeff Shoemaker,
And a gal named Marlene who is a candy maker.
Cathy Benedict works hard on the books,
And Patsy Oleniacz still has her good looks;
The jury commissioners are there every day,
And they must do something ‘cause they both get a pay.
The Sheriff’s office is a busy place,
But you can check out the curtains with the fancy lace;
The boys in maintenance make the furniture that’s neat.
And of course the judge is in the Penthouse Suite,
Then there’s Shari who knows her history,
But what some people do is really a mystery;
I see them parading through the halls,
Like weekend shoppers in area malls.
And Ed’s at the door watching them come and go,
While the auditors are busy keeping track of the dough;
And on the second floor is the DA and his crew,
Debbie, Lorraine, Kathy and Erica too.
But the courthouse isn’t always buzzing with news,
Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose.
Sometimes a news tip just fizzles right out,
And I find myself with nothing to write about.

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ONE MORE CALL "For HELP" – I have a photo in my possession of the 1934 Susquehanna High Football team, coached by Professor Joe Yurkewitch, Paul Baker and Joe O’Connor. I need "names" to put to several players, so that we can publish the photo. Can you help? If so, call me at 853–3835. A few of the players are – Red Cleveland, Don Baker, Huntley Holmes, Lee and Earl Watkins, Frank Toth, Fran and Phil Radicchi, Art Linquist, plus about 20 more.

FOUR AMERICANS MUTILATED – That was the headline carried by most newspapers in the country on April 1, 2004. (No, it was not an April fool joke.) Iraqis (while we are trying to bring peace to their country), are actually killing the Americans trying to save them. On March 31, they killed four Americans, dragged them through the streets and then hung two of them. Talk about barbarians, we have them in Iraq, no doubt. How long is this to continue? I do believe, even when we withdraw, peace will not come to Iraq. Too many terrorists are involved who want to run the country. It was a disgrace to see Iraq children dancing in the streets, as the four Americans were burned in a car and then two of them hung. The children were jumping with joy. Is that what we are sacrificing our men and women for? Are the Iraqs helping us to bring peace to their country? If so they had better – soon – teach their children why we are in their country. (Note: two days later, two more Americans were killed.) How much longer can we stay in Iraq without the United Nations help? How can we save a country, when the Iraqis don’t want the United States in their country? It’s been a big mistake so far!

AREA STUDENTS In "Who’s Who" – Janelle M. Mead of Great Bend, PA, and Catherine Holleran of Harford, PA, have been included in the 2003 edition of "Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges." The students are selected on academic achievement, community service, leadership in extracurricular activities and potential for continued success.

Miss Mead is a graduate of New Milford Blue Ridge High School and of the University of Scranton. She will graduate in May and will be a Elementary School teacher. She is the daughter of William and Paulette Mead of Great Bend.

Miss Holleran is also a graduate of Blue Ridge High School and of the University of Scranton. She will graduate in May. She will pursue a career in Elementary Education. She is married to Tom Holleran and is the daughter of Frank and Catherine Zeffer, of Harford.

RICH THOMPSON "A Big Leaguer" – Rich Thompson, Montrose High School graduate has been signed by the major league baseball team the Kansas City Royals. He is on the 25-man roster. He will be with the team to start the season. Rich is an outfielder.

FIREMEN FUND "FUN" – The Susquehanna Firemen, along with guests – male and female – at the Riverside Lanes on Saturday, March 27, held a No-Tap tourney for the company’s benefit. The tourney drew an "overflowing crowd," young and old to help the firemen. The Scotch Doubles affair was won by Steve and Theresa Felt, with scores of 260, 253, 254 for a 767 total. Coming in second were the father and son team of Lee and Sean Wolf, with a 698 total. Representing the Thompson Hose Company were Chad and Christine Wallace. No doubt this was the Wallace’s first time at bowling, as they finished last with a 291. But it’s "Hats Off" to the Wallace’s for taking part in the Firemen’s Benefit.

LET’S (I) HOPE SO – Donnie Collins, a noted sports writer, has picked the Philadelphia Phillies to win in the East Division. I, for one hope so. The Phillies have added offense and good pitching to their roster. The "new" team has been put together by General Manager Eddie Wade (formerly of Carbondale and the nephew of Susquehanna’s late Hugh Brady). Collins calls the team one of the best in recent years.

SCHOOL Scholarship Scams – Can you afford (financially) to pursue higher education? According to several news reports, "when it comes to getting financial help, you shouldn’t have to pay money to get money." Many scams that prey on students are around. Some financial companies are on the "up and up." Many are not. Be careful who you deal with. Regardless of whether it’s a scam or not, if they’re charging you money, it’s not in your best interest. (If you suspect a fraud call the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-382-4357.)

DEER HARVEST "4th High" – Commonwealth hunters recorded the fourth highest deer harvest in state history, including the second highest antlerless deer harvest, during 2003-04 seasons, according to figures released March 18 by the PA Game Commission. Hunters took 464,840 deer – including 322,620 antlerless deer and 142,220 antlered deer – during the slate of deer seasons that ran from October 4, 2003 through January 10, 2004. During 2002-03 season, hunters harvested an all-time high of 517,529 deer. Hunters were praised for reporting their kills, thus records were easily kept.

MY MONEY – Late one night in Washington, a mugger wearing a ski mask jumped into the path of a well-dressed man and stuck a gun in his ribs. "Give me your money," he demanded. Indignant, the affluent man replied, "You can’t do this. I’m a US Congressman!"

"In that case," the robber said, "give me my money!"

DOG VS. MAILMAN – The postman and a dog stood eyeing each other at the gate when the lady of the house came to the door. "Don’t be afraid of the dog," she said, "she’s a female, and she likes you."

"Madam," replied the postman, "the mere fact that she’s a female dog does not assure me that she has any affection for me. I’m a mail man, not a male dog."

WHAT A SHAME! An old man walks into a bar, sits down and starts sobbing. The bartender asks, "What’s wrong?" The old man looks at the bartender and says, "I married a beautiful woman two days ago. She’s a natural blonde, 25, intelligent, a marvelous cook, a meticulous housekeeper. And she’s extremely sensitive to my wants and needs, very giving, my best friend and intensely passionate in bed."

The bartender stares at the old man for a brief moment and says, "But that sounds great! You have what every man wants in a woman, so why are you crying?"

The old man looks at the bartender and says, "I can’t remember where I live!"

POOR DAD – A little boy wakes up at 2 a.m. and calls for his mom to come into his room. "I can’t sleep. Will you tell me a story?" he asks.

His mother replies, "Let’s wait until your father gets home. I’m sure he’ll have a good one to tell."

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From the Desk Of The DA

Since 2002, the Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office has been conducting tobacco compliance checks to deter the sale of tobacco products to minors. This program is required by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and, without a compliance check program, Susquehanna County would be in danger of losing funding for certain programs. Susquehanna County Detective Debra Millard, through a contractual agreement with the Susquehanna County Drug & Alcohol Commission, provides the law enforcement component in connection with the tobacco compliance checks.

Under current law, law enforcement may use a cooperating juvenile to attempt to purchase tobacco products from various vendors. The District Attorney’s Office has developed a set of guidelines that are strictly adhered to: the juvenile must be between the ages of 14 and 17; the juvenile cannot provide any false information; and the juvenile is told to wear an outfit that he or she would regularly wear to school. Finally, the juveniles all participate voluntarily in this program.

As part of the compliance check, an adult witness enters the store first and gains a position where the witness can easily view the attempted purchase of tobacco. Thereafter, the juvenile enters the store and attempts to purchase a tobacco product. If there is a sale of tobacco, then the juvenile is removed from the store and a citation is issued for the unlawful sale of tobacco to a minor. If there is no sale of tobacco, the employee is verbally congratulated and told that they have successfully completed a tobacco compliance check.

In calendar year 2002, 80 compliance checks were performed throughout Susquehanna County with 58 stores passing (72%) and only 22 stores selling tobacco products to a minor (28%). In calendar year 2003, 214 compliance checks were performed throughout Susquehanna County with 186 stores passing (87%) and only 28 stores selling tobacco products to a minor (13%). Thus far in 2004, 74 compliance checks have been conducted with 64 stores passing (88%) and only 9 stores selling tobacco products to a minor (12%). As the statistics demonstrate, the tobacco compliance check program has had a dramatic impact upon the sale of tobacco products to minors throughout Susquehanna County.

Since the inception of the program, the District Attorney’s Office has provided training programs (developed by the Department of Health) to local retail owners to assist them in providing the proper training to assure that employees check for proper identification and avoid selling tobacco products to a minor. As demonstrated by the statistics, the education and awareness provided by this program has resulted in a dramatic decrease in the sale of tobacco products to minors.

As with any program of this type, there are unfortunate consequences associated with any failure of a compliance check. Both the owner and the employee are charged with a violation of the applicable statute. The offense constitutes a summary offense with no potential for incarceration. The potential monetary fines, however, are substantial. As to the employee, the fines range from $100 up to $1,000. As to the owner, the fines range from $100 up to $5,000. The amount of the fine depends in part upon the number of prior convictions for the sale of tobacco to minors. If a retail establishment has a written training program, and actually utilizes that program to train its employees, the retail establishment can use that policy as a defense against a citation for selling tobacco to a minor. As to the employee, many establishments have a strict policy of terminating employment where a sale of tobacco to a minor occurs.

It is my fervent hope that all of the compliance checks in the future will be successful. My definition of success does not depend upon the number of citations or offenses that we can successfully prosecute. Rather, I define success as a 100% passage rate wherein the Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office does not prosecute any employee or owner for a single violation of the relevant statute. We have made substantial strides in that direction over the past two years. We appreciate the hard work and dedication demonstrated by the business owners throughout Susquehanna County in attempting to eradicate the sale of tobacco to minors. With continued hard work and vigilance, together we can make Susquehanna County a community where minors simply cannot purchase tobacco products.

Please submit any questions, concerns, or comments to Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office, P.O. Box 218, Montrose, Pennsylvania 18801.

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Dear EarthTalk: I still have asbestos siding on my house and want to remove it. How do I do so and dispose of it properly?

Marian Masters, Bowerston, OH

In some cases, the safest thing to do about asbestos siding may well be nothing at all. Before the 1970s, asbestos mineral fiber was frequently used in schools, homes, factories and public buildings as insulation, shingling and other components. Asbestos was popular because of its resistance to corrosion and fire. Health researchers discovered, however, that some forms of asbestos dust, when inhaled and lodged in lung tissue, can foster a variety of lung diseases, including lung cancer. Symptoms usually don’t occur until 20 to 30 years after exposure, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pollution, Prevention and Toxics.

Asbestos-containing products were banned in 1989, but that decision was overturned in 1991. However, certain asbestos-containing products – flooring felt, rollboard and corrugated, commercial or specialty paper – remain banned.

Asbestos is dangerous only when the fibers are released into the air, so the EPA recommends checking materials regularly, without touching them, for tears, abrasions or water damage. "Sometimes, the best way to deal with slightly damaged material is to limit access to the area and not touch or disturb it," according to the EPA’s website. Check with local health, environmental or other appropriate officials to find out proper handling and disposal procedures for your area. The EPA warns that if asbestos material is more than slightly damaged, or if you are going to make changes in your home that might disturb it, such as remodeling, you need to hire a professional.

CONTACT: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pollution, Prevention and Toxics, (202) 566-0500,

Dear EarthTalk: What ever happened to the Adopt-A-Rainforest programs that were so popular in the early 1990s?

Chris Marlowe, Scotch Plains, NJ

Several environmental organizations still sponsor programs that allow the conservation-minded to help protect development rights in the rainforest. However, some of these programs have expanded their focus and now combine land purchase with financial support for local community groups promoting sustainable forest management. "The only change in our Adopt-A-Rainforest program has been in the selection of projects we support but not in the philosophy," says Julianne Schrader, education program coordinator at Rainforest Alliance.

The money Rainforest Alliance raises (around $20,000 each year) supports conservation groups based in tropical countries that are working to stop local rainforest destruction. Sometimes these groups use the funds to purchase land, but if no appropriate forest is available, the money is used to hire, train and equip park rangers, fund environmental education programs, create buffer zones for wildlife and maintain ranger stations and other park facilities. "In the past, we had our land purchase projects separate from other community conservation projects. The land projects were often more popular, but now many donors let us designate their funds to the projects with the greatest needs," says Schrader.

The Rainforest Action Network’s "Protect-an-Acre" program, established in 1993, also donates money it collects to local groups, indigenous tribes, human rights and other organizations, mostly in the Amazon Basin. The grant money is used in a variety of ways, including securing protected areas and land titles, sustainably harvesting medicinal plants and exploring economic alternatives to logging. The Tropical Rainforest Coalition funnels donations to its "Save-an-Acre" program to small preserves in Belize, Ecuador and Trinidad. Fifty dollars will buy – and protect – one acre of rainforest.

Adoption programs aren’t for rainforests exclusively: The Nature Conservancy’s "Adopt-an-Acre" program is centered on the purchase of 150,000 acres in Chile’s Valdivian Temperate Forest that would preserve a corridor of habitat between existing national parks.

CONTACT: Rainforest Alliance, (888) 693-2784,; Rainforest Action Network, (415) 398-4404,; Tropical Rainforest Coalition,; The Nature Conservancy, (703) 841-5300,

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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