The Important Things
What is so rare as an evening in June? And even though you are reading this in July, it still is June as Im sitting on my front porch glider listening to the neighborhood sounds and thinking this must be the most idyllic place on earth. All around the block birds are settling in for the night, telling their tales of the day to one another and, perhaps, making their plans for tomorrow. We have many varieties of birds, thanks to a neighbor who keeps them very well fed and cared for. A chick-a-dee came and entertained me from its perch in the spirea bush. Crows are cawing from the huge pine trees half a block away. Other birds are chirping, singing and sighing in tongues I dont understand or recognize.
Everyones lawn is manicured and very green due to the abundance of rain weve had this spring. Summer flowers are beginning to replace the spring blossoms that did yeomans duty and have now retired to rebuild their energy for next year.
From my vantage point Im realizing what the mailman has known for sometime, that its time to trim the rhododendron and the spirea bushes. They are encroaching from each side of the stone walk, and making an obstacle course, especially on a wet morning. The other nuisance there is the spider web that gets spun from one bush to the other. Nothing like a face full of sticky spider web first thing in the morning. Ive walked into that enough times to know how exasperating it can be.
The walkers are beginning to dwindle as the evening wears on. They come in all sizes. Im always amazed at how fast the neighborhood children grow up. Im sure I saw one of the "children" driving the other day. And as a tall young mother and her tall teenaged daughter go by, I am reminded of those rich, rewarding days with my own tall teenaged daughter. All around me tricycles have turned into bicycles, and now some to cars. I could begin to feel like the old lady on the block. But we all know Im too young for that!
I actually celebrated my birthday again today. Over a month late, this still was a fulfilling get-together of lunch and an overdue catch-up on each others lives. This young woman came into my life unexpectedly maybe seven years ago. I was honored to be her matron of honor a couple years later, and have had the good fortune to be part of her young childrens lives. Time and distance crimp our visitation time, but not our friendship. Today we dined without children, but soon they will all come to visit and my living room will turn into forts, garages, fire stations; whatever the imagination brings forth.
Well, the thunder is rumbling, reminding me of why we have these nice green lawns. It can rain all it wants, but please, not the lightning. I do not like to be alone during a lightning storm. I manage to get through them, but not well. The first thing I do is light the oil lamp before the lights go out. Then Im prepared for whatever comes along. I dont know why a lightning storm now is any different than it ever was, because when my husband was alive, the phone would ring early on in the storm and hed be out restoring electric service all night. Sometimes, if the storm was bad enough, hed be gone several days. But I guess the difference was that I always knew hed be back eventually and make everything right again.
But on this beautiful night, why worry. Storms come and go, but a summer night like this is a joy to be savored.
HALLSTEAD: The Hallstead nine and the Sunnysides, of Binghamton, played a game of baseball in Hallstead resulting in a victory for the Binghamton nine. Again in the afternoon the Hallstead boys were badly beaten in Lawsville. Fred Simpson took them over in his excursion wagon.
GREAT BEND: About 1,000 people attended the races here on the 4th. The attractions were all well executed. Bullard's Band discoursed sweet music. The boxing match was an interesting feature of the event. The receipts were about $300.
LATHROP TWP.: Pearl Mackey has returned home from Keystone Academy, where she graduated and was valedictorian of her class.
HOWARD HILL, Liberty Twp.: Saturday afternoon, while Mrs. Nettie Reynolds was driving the horses hitched to a horserake to the barn, the tongue broke and she fell under the horses' feet and was dragged several rods, tearing her clothing and bruising her body terribly. The Dr. pronounced no bones broken and her many friends will be glad to know that she is at this writing quite comfortable and can move herself slightly in bed.
BIRCHARDVILLE: H. F. Baker's barn burned July 4th, with all his farm implements, harnesses, wagons and other things too numerous to mention. There was only $250 insurance--not enough to pay for the reaper and drill. The Bakers were getting ready to go away when they heard a noise and going to see what it was discovered the fire just breaking through the roof. Mr. Baker succeeded in saving his horses at the risk of his own life. It is a great loss and it is unknown how the fire stated.
WEST BRIDGEWATER TWP.: S. S .Gard and wife, of Wyandotte, Mich., have been spending a few days in town. Mr. Gard was born on the farm now owned by Caleb Bush, where Mr. and Mrs. Gard have been visiting, also calling on A.P. Bush to whom Mr. G. went to school, and Mrs. Amanda Smith, an old school-mate. Mr. Gard's family left here and went west in 1852, and this is his first visit back, but is so much pleased with the old county he is now coming frequently. He is engaged in the lumber business.
AUBURN: Yesterday was a big day at Auburn Corners. Something less than 2000 people were present and took in the grand fantastic parade, which was called superior to any ever witnessed and the ball game was fine, resulting in favor of dads. AND: B. Lathrop and Arthur Bennett, when returning from the festival at Elk Lake, collided with some one's surrey, owning to the darkness and damaged their fine buggies.
JACKSON: D. W. Cole, M.D., has been granted a patent on an improvement in brushes. The doctor is making the necessary preparations to manufacture his patented brushes and will have them on the market by the last of July. He has also been granted a patent on a combined mortiser and boring machine, and will establish headquarters at Jackson for the sale of this machine. The doctor is a hustler and a fine fellow and we wish him success in this new enterprise. AND: At Pueblo, Colorado, June 20, Mrs. W. D. Esterbrook, daughter of John E. Griffis, Jackson, was struck by a bolt of lightning and instantly killed. She and her husband were hurrying home to escape a shower, when he was horrified to see a bolt of lightning appearing like a ball of fire, strike her behind the ear and pass down the front of her body and off at her feet. The grief stricken husband, with a number of friends, accompanied the remains to Mayfield, Kansas, where they were laid by her infant son, Frank, on Friday, June 24.
SOUTH MONTROSE: C. H. Sterling, while setting off fireworks Monday night for his little daughter, accidentally received a small lot of powder in his face, injuring one eye somewhat and altogether destroying his whiskers.
MONTROSE: Ambrose S. Payne has secured the contract for painting the Tarbell House. The large structure will be given two coats. He also painted the large sign which graces the front of Billings & Co's furniture and undertaking rooms, which has attracted considerable attention due to its artistic appearance. AND: You should read "The Red Keggers," "Tillie, The Mennonite Maid," "The Wood Carver of Lympus." The Montrose Library--$1.50 per year, 25 cents per mo.
SUSQUEHANNA: Susquehanna suffered a loss of $20,000 by fire Wednesday evening. The plant of W.B. Maine & Co., contractors, builders and carriage makers, was consumed, as was the residence of George Maine. His barn, planning mill and blacksmith shops were also destroyed. AND: The music furnished by the Laurel Hill Academy orchestra, at the commencement exercises of that institution, reflects great credit on the Sisters and their pupils. AND: Editor Birchard gave the employees of the Transcript a day off on the 4th--which was "meet and right."
NEW MILFORD: During the past week a deer has been wandering through this section, appearing in the oat fields and meadows of vicinity farms. It was seen by Wm. VanCott, Wm. Carey, Mrs. D. W. Shay, Charles Tyler and from there skipped across the country to T. D. Houlihan's, near Upper Lake. There is much speculation as to where it came from but quite likely has wandered from some of our neighboring deer counties or escaped from some deer park.
PARKVALE, Dimock Twp.: Norman Stuart met with an accident to his automobile while ascending the hill here on Wednesday evening; but he succeeded in repairing it enough to enable him to continue on his way to Scranton.
SILVER LAKE: Lewis Hill, son of Henry Hill, was married at the home of the bride in Damascus, N.Y., June 30th, and arrived here on Saturday; they are stopping with Mr. H's father; they will reside in Binghamton, where Mr. H. is employed as electrician. AND: Mr. West has purchased a handsome team of matched horses.
BROOKLYN: Mr. Kirby, manager of the Condensery Co., told the farmer[s] and others that if they would collect the money in that they have subscribed, and place it in the Montrose bank, he and his backers would go on and build the railroad between here and Hopbottom and equip it before calling on them for a cent of the funds.
UPSONVILLE, Franklin Twp.: The Moses Sheilds Co. have secured the right of way through A.P. Sherwood's land and will put in heavy bridges, and use their traction engine to haul stone to their landing at Tingley.
Visit the Historical Society's website, www.susqcohistsoc.org, for back issues of "100 Years" articles.
Union Talks Continuing
Talks are going on now between the county and Teamsters Local Union 229 that represents most of the county employees. The negotiations must have reached some sort of stalemate because an arbitrator, Dan ORourke, has been called in to help finalize the contracts.
Actually the negotiations involve four contracts namely, court related, court appointed, jail and residual employees. There are two other union contracts, Probation Department and Children and Youth Services, but they do not expire with the four presently being negotiated.
The principals involved in the negotiations arent saying much. Roberta Kelly, chair of the Board of County Commissioners, did sound encouraging. "All I can say right now," Mrs. Kelly told me, "is that things look very positive."
According to courthouse scuttlebutt, one of the biggest issues to be settled is health insurance. At the present time, the county is paying 100 percent of the premiums for all full-time employees.
In recent years, private industry has been making its employees kick in a few bucks toward the health insurance premiums. The county has been mulling over a thought that perhaps its employees should also contribute toward their health insurance.
There is another issue that deserves mention although I am not sure what, if anything, can be done about it. The union employees pay a lot of union dues and the non-union employees are given the same money and benefit package that the union employees get and do not have to pay any dues. Somehow it just doesnt seem right.
Help sheriffs and deputy sheriffs
If anyone among you refuses to believe that sheriffs and deputy sheriffs are on the same level with your local police officers, tell them to think again. Or, better yet, if they are planning a visit to the Washington, DC, tell them to visit the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. They can see for themselves the names of sheriffs and deputy sheriffs on the memorial walls that give mute testimony to thousands of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.
As a matter of fact, the first recorded death of a law enforcement officer was Isaac Smith, a New York City deputy sheriff who was killed on May 17, 1792. Deputy Smith was shot to death when he responded to a call that another officer needed backup with an unruly drunk.
In Pennsylvania, some legislators are attempting to recognize the sheriffs and deputy sheriffs by including them in the states Heart and Lung Act. If you believe these men and women deserve to be included in the provisions of the Act write to your state legislators and urge them to support the amendment.
While you are at it, tell your legislators to support another bill in Harrisburg that would expand the definition of occupational disease in the Workers Compensation Act. The legislation adds several law enforcement agencies, including sheriffs and deputy sheriffs, into the coverage, thereby making Hepatitis C an occupational disease. Tina Pickett, one of our state representatives, is a co-sponsor of this bill.
In a sample letter you can get from Susquehanna County Deputy Sheriff Don Bennett, we learn that sheriffs and deputy sheriffs are in direct contact with thousands of prisoners every year who are infected with HIV, Hepatitis C. Tuberculosis and various other communicable diseases. The sheriffs and deputy sheriffs transport prisoners within our own county and out of state. They provide courtroom security, serve criminal bench warrants, domestic warrants, Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders and other civil papers.
Take a moment and do something that will make you feel good. Write a letter to your state senator and representative and urge them to support House Bills 76 and 409.
Last but far from least
At the Susquehanna County Courthouse, a collection is being taken up for Deputy Jail Warden Bill Gregory who is battling cancer. His vacation, personal, sick and donated time is about to run out and he and his family could use a little financial help.
My friends, there is a good chance that you do not know Bill Gregory, but if you were fortunate enough to have met him, you will know what I mean when I sum it all up and say he is one helluva great guy. I dont ask for much from my readers but this is a special case and a very special guy. Please contact Warden Bill Brennan, Julie or Sylvia in the county commissioners office (570-278-4600) if you would care to part with some of that communion money you been hoarding all these years.
BONDS is BRUTAL Barry Bonds, a San Francisco outfielder, according to columnist John Smallwood is totally wrong when he (Bonds) says, "they dont build stuff for blacks." Bonds (it may be over by now) says he will not play in Boston, "too many racists." From what I have been reading the past several years, the racist is Bonds himself. He doesnt associate with the white San Fran players. Several whites have left the San Fran team, on account of him. Smallwood said that a 9-foot statue has been erected in honor of Willie Mays, a black. The San Fran Bay area (where Bonds hits home runs) is named in honor of Willie McCovey, another black. How Bonds can get his helmet on is a miracle, due to his inflated ego. He certainly will never win the "good guy medal." (As columnist Smallwood put it, "Its time Bonds shuts up.")
(NOTE: On June 25, it came out n the papers and on TV that track star/sprinter Tim Montgomery, in a court hearing in 2003 testified that the same people that supplied him with steroids also supplied "Squeaky Clean" Barry Bonds. Notice that Bonds hasnt been playing this year as much as previous years?)
ANOTHER 500 HRs Ken Griffey of the Cincinnati Reds has joined an elite bunch of players, as on June 20 he hit his 500th home run. Once deemed as one of the best players in the majors, illness kept him out of many ball games.
NOT LOW ENOUGH Gas prices, that is. Many national newspaper articles have stressed the fact, that gas distributors are still gouging the public. Oil exports have resumed worldwide. Prices should drop considerably.
PROPERTY Rebates Extended The deadline for Seniors to apply for the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program has been extended to December 31. Eligible applicants include residents at least 64 years old; widows and widowers over age 50; and those 18 or older with disabilities.
CORRECTION For Miss "Tyler" Newspaper errors come in bunches my column is no exception. In the article on "Journalism," written by a Mountain View High School student, her name was misspelled. We had Amanda "Taylor" instead of TYLER. Sorry, Amanda. (A quote years ago went like this, "I dont care what you write about me, but please spell my name right... Keep up the good work, Ms. Tyler.)
"MAYOR" Ed Slater Observes Birthday Former Susquehanna Mayor, (and my personal historian) Ed Slater, on June 23, 2004, observed his 92nd birthday with friends at the P. J. Ohare Pub. Present were Alan and Frances Miller, Marsha White, Mike Boss, Joan Hurley and Joyce Mallery Finch. Furnishing the dinner music were Guitarist Dave Ingerson and wife, Bonnie. Ed, a long time resident of Susquehanna, could always (anyway, most of the time) be depended upon to help with "what happened and when it happened." (Happy Birthday, Ed.) Ed is now a resident of the Good Shepherd Home on Farview Avenue in Binghamton, if friends would care to drop him a card.
"THEY" DONT Believe It! The Bush administration, that is. The Independent Commission investigating the September 11 attacks said that Iraq and Saddam had no ties to the bombings on September 11. The commission said, "No credible evidence has emerged that Iraq was involved in the September 11 strikes." But the Bush administration thinks otherwise; that Saddam was responsible. (Just like we "found" the weapons of mass destruction).
GOOD NEWS For Boxing Fans Mike Tyson, the former heavy weight king, at 38 years of age, has been granted a license to fight in New Jersey and Kentucky. Tyson said (after all the millions he won) he is broke and needs the money to feed his family.
DEPOSIT, NY Suspends Police Department Seven employees of the Deposit Police Force have been put on unpaid leave. They were all part-time employees. According to reports, citizens want more "steady" police protection, with residents not afraid of their own police department. Deposit Trustee Fred Edwards said he heard "complaints of residents calls being ignored and of alleged misconduct. The department should be something the public can look up to and respect." (A personal note: I also believe that police, of any borough, should be the friends of its citizens and not have them believe "they are out to get them." (It would be a nice gesture to have a "meet the police night" here.)
HAVE A LAUGH
PROOF POSITIVE A woman goes to the drugstore and asks for arsenic. "What do you want that for?" the pharmacist asks.
"I want to kill my husband," she replies. "Hes having an affair with another woman."
"I cant sell you arsenic to kill your husband," says the pharmacist, "even if he is cheating."
The woman pulls out a picture of her husband with the pharmacists wife. The druggists face turns pale and he replies, "Oh, I didnt realize that you had a prescription."
GHOSTS DRIVING Hitchhiking on a dark night, a man sees a car coming toward him. When it stops, he hops in the passenger seat. No one is behind the wheel. But, suddenly, the car starts moving. The man looks down the road and sees a curve coming up. He panics and reaches for the steering wheel. But then a hand reaches through the car window and turns the wheel, smoothly navigating the turn. Paralyzed with terror, the man watches as the hand appears before every curve and adjusts the wheel.
When the car finally coasts to a stop, the man gets out and runs to a bar and tells everybody about his amazing experience. Before too long, two guys walk into the bar. "Look, Pete," one says, "its the guy who got in the car while we were pushing it."
SMART BOY On the first day of college, the dean addressed the students. He stressed one rule: "The female dorm is off-limits for male students, and the male dorm for females. Anyone who breaks this rule will be fined $20. Anyone caught a second time will be fined $60. Third offense, $180. Questions?" A young man raised his hand. "How much is a season pass?"
HOW TRUE! Reporter interviewing a 104-year old woman: "What is the best thing about being 104?" She replied, "No peer pressure."
NOT YET! A man is in the hospital after getting drunk and swallowing 120 coins on a bet. Doctors monitoring his situation say, so far, no change.
Is it against the law to feed deer? If a person puts out food, thereby attracting deer to an area, can that person be liable for a subsequent automobile accident caused by the deer being within the highway?
A concerned citizen.
The Game Code makes it unlawful to hunt game through the use of "any artificial or natural bait, hay, grain, fruit, nut, salt, chemical, mineral or other food as an enticement for game or wildlife." There are exceptions to this rule. For instance, for quality management purposes, a landowner can plant certain crops solely for consumption by wildlife. Essentially, the Game Code requires that such areas be removed at least thirty (30) days prior to any hunting activities taking place. Generally, however, you cannot hunt wildlife through the use of bait in any form. The prohibition against the use of "bait" relates to the hunting or taking of game not to a citizen feeding wildlife as a hobby, for enjoyment or whatever. The Game Commission has instituted a regulation prohibiting the feeding of bears, 58 Pa. Code § 137.31. unfortunately, there is no specific provision relating to the feeding of deer. It does not appear that the feeding of deer has any different repercussions than hanging a bird feeder and filling it with birdfeed.
As to the civil liability aspect, I did some quick research on this topic, not only with respect to Pennsylvania cases, but also cases throughout the United States. In this regard, I could not locate a single reported case that would suggest that a property owner could be civilly liable for attracting deer to a feeding area thereby causing increased wildlife traffic across a public highway, which resulted in a motor vehicle accident. There are cases relating to the duties of owners to control domestic animals, such as livestock and dogs, from blocking or running within a public highway. In those situations, an owner could be civilly liable for the resulting accident if it was demonstrated that the owner was aware that the domestic animal was loose and the owner failed to take any actions to protect motorists.
With respect to wildlife, however, the property owner has very little control or ability to monitor the movement of the wildlife. One might suggest that control could be exerted by refraining from feeding the deer to avoid attracting them to that particular area. Even if the deer were not being fed, however, it is likely that they would still be present and crossing the highway. Therefore, it is difficult to demonstrate that the feeding of the deer "caused" the accident, i.e., but for the feeding activities this deer would not have been in the roadway. Any attempt to prove the reason for the presence of the deer would obviously be impossible.
Further, courts would be concerned about extending such civil liability to property owners. For instance, if a court held a person liable for damages resulting from an automobile striking a deer based upon the theory that the person had enticed the deer to the vicinity of the highway through the use of feed, then the logical question becomes how far would such a doctrine extend. For instance, if I had an apple tree in my front yard near the highway, and I knew that deer enjoyed munching on the apples, would I then have a duty to cut down the apple tree? Or prune the apple tree so that deer could not reach its fruit? Or pick up the fallen apples every evening so that nothing would be present to entice the deer? What about a farmer with a cornfield, or even a pasture? What about other animals, such as birds congregating at a bird feeder and then flying into the highway?
In short, there is very little remedy for the neighbor who insists upon feeding wildlife on his or her property, unless such feeding activities attract bear. If discussing the problem with the neighbor proves futile, then drive with a little more caution around the feeding area. Finally, as noted above, during hunting season, you will also have to be careful not to hunt in close proximity to the feeding area. If you were to shoot a deer near the feeding area, a Game Officer might determine that you took advantage of the "bait" and you would be cited for a violation of the Game Code.
Dear EarthTalk: What is Pfiesteria piscicida, and how do these organisms kill fish? Should I be concerned where I swim?
Rachael Monroe, Orlando, FL
Pfiesteria piscicida, a microbe, normally exists in rivers and bays in non-toxic forms, feeding on algae and bacteria. Scientists believe that this tiny creature becomes toxic only in the presence of fish, at which point Pfiesteria cells release a powerful poison that stuns fish and attacks their skin, causing bleeding sores. The attacking cells then feed on the fish tissues and blood. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that millions of fish are killed this way each year.
Pfiesteria growth exploded in the late 1990s in waters that became too "nutrient-enriched," i.e. polluted by sewage treatment plants and by farms that allow excessive runoff of fertilizer and animal manure. In the U.S., the phenomenon seems to be isolated on the east coast, where waters are warmer and less turbulent, supporting more bacterial growth for Pfiesteria to feed on.
Pfiesteria populations have been found from New York to the Gulf of Mexico, with the largest concentrations in the Chesapeake Bay and off the coast of North Carolina. "North Carolina is the best place for Pfiesteria problems because the waters off the outer banks, a series of barrier islands, are shallow, warmer and poorly flushed," says scientist JoAnn Burkholder at North Carolina State University. However, in 1999 Hurricane Floyd scoured North Carolinas shoreline and estuaries, reducing the number of Pfiesteria colonies there.
As to Pfiesterias affects on human health, evidence suggests that exposure to waters or airborne vapors where toxic forms of Pfiesteria are active may cause memory loss, confusion and a variety of other symptoms including skin sores and respiratory and gastro-intestinal problems. However, Pfiesteria is not a virus, fungus or form of bacteria. It is not contagious or infectious, and cannot be "caught" like a cold or flu and there is no evidence that Pfiesteria-related illnesses are associated with the consumption fish.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in cooperation with state health departments in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, have established a surveillance system to collect reports of human illness thought to be related to exposure to Pfiesteria and Pfiesteria-like organisms. This and other ongoing research efforts are expected to further delineate the nature, extent and duration of any Pfiesteria-related human health effects. In the meantime, Burkholder says, "If you see a fish kill, avoid the area and call state biologists to check it out."
CONTACTS: Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology, North Carolina State University, (919) 515-2726, www.pfiesteria.org/pfiesteria/index.html; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, www.epa.gov/owow/estuaries/pfiesteria; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (404) 639-3534, www.cdc.gov/.
Dear EarthTalk: My new home has vinyl blinds, which I once heard emit lead. Should I be worried?
Sheila Gaspers, Raleigh, NC
Manufacturers of vinyl mini-blinds used to add lead as a plastic stabilizer to make the blinds more rigid, and for color retention. Sunlight and heat then broke down the plastic, leaving behind trace amounts of lead dust. After a childs lead poisoning death in Arizona in 1996 was traced to vinyl blinds, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) asked the industry to reformulate the vinyl used in these products to eliminate lead. Many companies, domestic and international, have since switched to tin or other metal stabilizers.
"We are unaware of any mini-blinds made or imported since the summer of 1996 that contain lead as an intentional ingredient," says CPSC spokesman Ken Giles. CPSC guidelines are not legally binding, but they can, under the laws created by the Consumer Product Safety Act, restrict products that expose children to hazardous substances, according to Giles. Children, who may touch the blinds and then put their hands in their mouths, can ingest the lead dust. Symptoms of lead poisoning include anemia, hearing loss, hyperactivity, limited attention span, behavioral problems or learning disabilities. Even small amounts of lead can harm a child's brain, kidneys and stomach.
Blinds can last a long time, and Giles estimates that there are tens of millions of lead-laden blinds still out there. In fact, up until 1996, some 25 million vinyl mini-blinds with added lead were being imported each year from China, Taiwan, Mexico and Indonesia. Because the lead component was not considered a manufacturers defect, the blinds couldn't formally be recalled.
CPSC recommends that consumers with young children remove old vinyl mini-blinds from their homes and replace them with new mini-blinds made without added lead or with alternative window coverings. You can also test for lead in mini-blinds with a home test kit. One popular brand is Lead Check Swabs, available from Hybrivet Systems in Natick, Massachusetts.
CONTACTS: Consumer Products Safety Commission, (800) 638-2772, www.cpsc.gov; Lead Check, (800) 262-5353, www.leadcheck.com;
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