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Issue Home April 20, 2004 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Sign Theft Is Serious

April 19-24 is "Rural Road Safety Week." Obviously there are many safety problems with our rural roads, so where do we start? Our County Communications Center, in conjunction with the townships and boroughs will be readdressing our entire county for 9-1-1 emergency services. Why, you ask? For example my address is RR # 1 Hallstead; my neighbor to the West is RR #1 Brackney and my neighbor to the South is RR #3 Montrose. Even given our box numbers, who could find us in an emergency? Now, I could tell you that we all are near the intersection of Tripp Lake and Jones Creek Roads, but guess what! The signs have been "stolen," which brings me to the point of this letter.

Readdressing will require renaming a number of roads, so that there is a continuity of names across township and borough lines. This will require that we install new road name signs and replace the many missing signs. Each time a sign is replaced, the average cost is about $100.00 for materials and labor. One township alone has forty missing signs, as of April 6, which will cost the township approximately $4,000.00 of your taxpayer dollars. If current trends continue, some of the replaced signs will be gone within twenty-four hours and many within a few weeks. The time and dollars spent could be better spent. You may be asking yourself, why do we need the signs; why not leave them down and save money?

I wish everyone could spend a shift at the 9-1-1 center; it is amazing the people who call for help and don’t know the name of their road, or even what municipality they live in because they have never seen the missing road sign, most of which also include the municipality name.

Now, imagine you’re an ambulance, fire, police or a mutual aid company (from out of the county or state) and not familiar with the area; you’re trying to locate a person having a heart attack and there are no road name signs.

The Susquehanna County Township Officials Association has decided to offer a $1,000.00 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those stealing or damaging township road signs (see the advertisement in this paper).

Please remember, it could be you or a loved one having that heart attack. Please call the State Police at (570) 465–3154 or 465–3156; or your municipal police with any information on any stolen or damaged signs; this includes road names, stop signs and warning signs. Together, we can put a stop to this serious threat to our safety, wasted time in an emergency, and the time and money of the municipalities.


Bill Bayne


Susquehanna County Twp. Officials

The Missing Viaduct Marker

I believe most of the people in our community, and indeed in surrounding towns as well, are and have been aware of the historical marker relating to our very popular and famous Starrucca Viaduct.

To refresh our memory, this marker was positioned just south of the viaduct between the guardrails and the creek. It is possible, perhaps probable, that many are not privy to the fact that the marker has been missing a year or so.

I've been told by a local resident that, to their recollection, as a time frame, the marker was found to be missing roughly during the period of the stone wall reconstruction next to the creek.

Of course we consider this action to be an affront, not only for the disregard of respect for the viaduct and its historical significance but for all of us who place such a high value on our viaduct and its environs.

It's puzzling to understand why anyone would take the chance of removing such an item since, by its very nature, it would obviously be self incriminating should it be observed by others.

We would like to make a special appeal to the person or persons responsible for the removal of the marker to return same in any manner you may deem suitable.

We would be very much appreciative of the return of this important item. Redemption is "good for the soul" we're told. Please try it, you'll like it.


George Burdick

Oakland, PA

Captures The Heart

My brother, Guy Clift subscribes to the County Transcript for my husband. I can't tell you how much we enjoy reading it. I lived all my childhood life in Susquehanna, on Jackson Avenue. I graduated high school when it was on Laurel St. and our Principal was Dr. Greenwalt. While I was in high school I worked at Ryan's 5 and 10 cent store; they chose me because I didn't eat candy and they had a great candy counter! I married Harry Ward Benson, of Church St., who was killed in World War II in Germany leaving behind a baby girl, Dayle just 2 months old. I worked to care for her at the local Grand Union when it was on Main Street as a butcher, then up on the hill as a grocery clerk. Susky to me is the most beautiful town in USA and I hold so many cherished, fond memories of it... It’s my home. What wonderful days they were growing up with all great loving people. I am writing to tell you that reading the paper sometimes brings tears to my eyes. It’s just so down to earth and friendly, capturing the heart of the vicinity.


Janet Clift Baxter

Freeville, NY

How Long Can We Hang On?

As most of you have been reading in the papers in the last couple of weeks, Great Bend/Hallstead Volunteer Ambulance is in a lot of trouble. Are we the only one in a lot of trouble? No! Volunteers are very hard to find anymore, especially when it comes to Emergency Medical Services. The requirements by the state of PA to run a certified Basic Life Support Ambulance in this day and age are very stringent. Other ambulance organizations are also in trouble with staffing their services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, due to a decline in volunteers. They also will be in the same circumstance as us in the future, if you ask them they will agree. Why? Because this is the nature of this business.

Our members and I have been attending a lot of meetings with officials from Emergency Medical Agency, at the state and local level, Great Bend Township, Great Bend Borough and Hallstead Borough to exchange information, as our organization views it. This, sometimes is not how everyone else views the information, meaning a reader of a newspaper article.

Without going into great detail, again, the process that Great Bend/Hallstead Ambulance is going through is somewhat complicated, but to explain to a reader it comes down to this. Your ambulance service has a law to follow, under the PA licensing process for running an ambulance service. We must follow these procedures to remain licensed in PA, to run our ambulance service. Due to the decline in active membership, we are having a very hard time meeting these state requirements. At an information meeting, held in the Susquehanna County 911 conference room, I was amazed by the turnout. Why? This was a meeting, first of all that was to be held for the elected officials in which Great Bend/Hallstead Ambulance provide coverage for, to answer questions about how we are going to continue to provide coverage for these areas.

Second of all, our organization never received an invite to this meeting. We invited ourselves, after attending a Great Bend Borough meeting and finding out about this April 7 meeting. This is all water over the bridge, but our organization must disclose that this is the second meeting of extreme importance that we were not notified of. We have disclosed this, now and like I have stated, it’s water over the bridge. Let’s move on.

Last of all, after the meeting on April 7 our members were very shocked at all the interest and attendance of a meeting in which only borough and township officials were invited. We thought that the meeting got too personal with what the intent of the Great Bend/Hallstead Ambulance future might be.

So, this is what we are looking at. Great Bend/Hallstead Ambulance members held a "business" discussion at a special meeting on March 21, to actively discuss a possible merging of our organization with Broome Volunteers. This decision was held primarily for the manpower problem that exists. They offer Advance Life Support to our Eastern part of county, which we do not have now 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is the best asset to our community. Our organization is only in the talking stage with Broome Volunteers, right now. But, this is a business decision that our organization will have to make.

We heard recommendations from borough and township members to set up a Board of Directors. This is an excellent idea. Where have you been for the last 20 years? Borough members Jerry MacConnell and Michelle Giangrieco were commenting on how they could not understand how our ambulance service got in this shape and how, if there was a board of directors this may not have happened. You must understand that a board of directors does not go on ambulance calls, so it may help, but we are not sure about that.

Membership drives was also brought up. The last membership drive, trying to get community support for the ambulance was about one year, four months ago, open to the public and held at the American Legion in Hallstead. We had about 15 to 20 members attend, Robert Meadows from the EMS Agency, four people from the community. "0" members from the Borough Council or Township Boards were in attendance.

It was suggested that we need to contact old members on our rosters and get them running again. Well, don’t think we haven’t tried. We have called them, bugged them, to be exact. Any former certified EMT’s can have their certification reinstated by completing 24 credits of continuing education. Former members are encouraged to contact an active member to discuss this option.

We are all in this for the same reasons. We need a Great Bend/Hallstead Ambulance and we need to depend on an ambulance to show up when you call 911. Let’s stick to that, and put the politics aside. Great Bend/Hallstead Ambulance has the best of everything. We have excellent equipment, excellent vehicles, excellent members, are still financially sound, with a nice building. Who could ask for more? We are! We are asking for members, lots and lots and lots of members who are willing to take the 120 hours of courses required to become an (EMT) Emergency Medical Technician. The organization will pay the expenses associated with your training.

Anyone who lives in Great Bend Borough, Great Bend Township, or Hallstead Borough and would like to join our ambulance organization can call John Brant at 879–2725, Randy Ball at 879–2185, or Brenda Pruitt at 879–2843 for an application.


John Brant

President, Great Bend/Hallstead Ambulance

Your Vote Has Power

Election time is quickly coming upon us. The right to vote and voice our choice is one of the freedoms we enjoy in this great country of ours. Our freedoms are not just because of good luck in this country. Our freedoms came from work and blood that was shed from generations before us.

I would think the best way to thank the ones who sacrificed for all of us here today, is to go to the polls on April 27 to vote. If you are a registered voter, you should take the time out of your hectic schedule, for a few minutes, to go to your poll and vote. Make it a priority to yourself. Polls in Pennsylvania are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

If you think your vote doesn’t count, consider the November 4, 2003 election. Almost eight million Pennsylvania voters had the chance to vote in the contest for Pennsylvania Superior Court, when judicial candidate Susan Gantman captured the last of the three open seats by less than one hundred votes; the closest statewide race in Commonwealth history.

I have, personally had the opportunity to meet all the statewide candidates up for election. These candidates have all been endorsed by their respective party.

Remember September 11, 2001, when this country was violated and freedoms were forever taken from so many on our own soil.

Don’t underestimate the power of your vote.


Diane Elliott

Towanda, PA

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