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Look For Our BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL SPECIAL In The August 4th Issue Of The County Transcript

Issue Home July 27, 2004 Site Home

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

From the Desk of the DA
Earth Talk

Slices of Life

The Secret Recipe

My favorite grocery store is changing right before my eyes. Every time I go in there, fixtures have been ripped out and replaced by new ones. Sometimes the ends of the aisles are cordoned off because of major work being done. But gradually it’s coming together and looking very nice.

This week there were big sales. The "ten items for ten dollars" took my eye because there’s not much today that you can buy with a dollar. I carefully looked over the flyer to see what ten things I needed. Most of them were not products I use, but two important things caught my eye; peanut butter and Hershey’s candy bars – the big bars, that is! Now for a person on a low fat diet, these would not appear to be staples on my shopping list. But here’s the thing. I make these melt-in-your-mouth, easy peanut butter bars that use those two ingredients. And usually each of those items is $1.69. So, big savings here. I bought five jars of peanut butter, five candy bars, and there were my ten products. The Hershey bars immediately went in the freezer. Too dangerous to have them sitting around. Because I have very little cupboard space, the peanut butter is going to the basement shelves. Then when I need to make cookies for some reception, party or bake sale, I’m all set. No running out to the store for one or two items. Not with the price of gasoline.

I’ll probably get busy tomorrow and make one batch for the freezer, working ahead for the family reunion. I wrote the invitations today and there could be up to sixty people. Not likely, because some live far away, but you never know. My brother will be coming from New Mexico, my daughter and son-in-law (and dogs) from Chicago. Others are scattered out around Texas, Washington, New York, Kentucky and many parts of Pennsylvania.

I suppose this also means that I should be doing some housecleaning. You know those places where you don’t think to look when you’re here by yourself every day. White curtains that get duller and duller as the dust collects in the pleats. Ceiling fixtures that we don’t see because we seldom look up. And, of course, the top of the refrigerator. I always think that because I can’t see it, no one else can. It takes major scrubbing to get it clean because it’s so near the stove and grease has a way of sifting upwards and settling there to catch the dust. But we don’t want to clean too soon and have to do it again before September.

September was always the month my brother visited from the west because Mom’s birthday was September 1. And even though she’s gone now, the Labor Day weekend reunion has continued. She would like that. Having her family together was very important to her.

And now I’m going to let you be part of the celebration by sharing the cookie recipe. Mix together 1 2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs and 2 cups confectioner’s sugar. Add 1 1/4 cups peanut butter and one stick of melted butter or margarine. Mix thoroughly and pat firmly into a 9x13 pan. Do not bake. Melt an 8-ounce Hershey Bar and spread over the top. Let the candy harden before cutting. Do not refrigerate to hasten the process. Cut into bars. ENJOY!

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100 Years Ago

DIMOCK: Percy Ballentine has just purchased a new 24-horsepower Pierce touring car. It is the most powerful machine in this section and is capable of going at a very high rate of speed. AND: At the recent contest for the most popular young lady, held at Dimock last Monday night, Grace Nobles received 566 votes and Eva Bailey 515 votes. The prize was 24 pieces of silverware.

ELK MOUNTAIN: During the severe thunderstorm on Tuesday of last week the barn of Oliver Chandler on Elk Mountain was struck by lightning. In the barn at the time were nine young gentlemen tourists, who went there to seek shelter from the storm. Fortunately the only damage done was a few splintered boards and some people badly frightened.

MONTROSE: Are you interested in muslin underwear? Read's store might interest you. AND: For a pleasant trip go on the Presbyterian-Episcopal Sunday school excursion to Lake Carey next Tuesday. There will be no changing of cars, or long and vexatious delays and the train can be boarded at the new terminal on Post Street. Fare for adults 50 cents, children 25 cents.

VESTAL CENTRE: Amos Roberts, who now resides in Waterville, Minn. is visiting his brother here. This is his first visit to this section of the country since he went west over fifty years ago, most of which time he has resided in Waterville. A native of Montrose, he left in 1851, when 21 years of age, and although advancing in years looks well and healthy and is still engaged in active business.

LAWTON: In accordance with the unanimous vote of the survivors of the 141st Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry, the 21st annual reunion of this gallant command will be held at Hotel Haire, Lawton, on Aug. 31. The house affords excellent accommodations, is surrounded by extensive grounds, and the rates for members and their families are only 25 cents per meal and 25 cents each for lodging.

SUSQUEHANNA: Miss Lizzie Brooks, a missionary in the Indian Territory field, is visiting at her former home here. AND: Miss Hurley and Miss Moran of this place, who are novitiates in the Convent of St. Rose de Lima, in Carbondale, will in August make their final vows as Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

ELK LAKE: Miss Helen Powell is indisposed, owing to a severe cold incurred through riding on the lake in a fog.

SILVER LAKE: A letter from J. Cairn Simpson was mailed at Oakland, Cal., July 18 and arrived at Montrose on the 22nd--a pretty rapid trip, when compared with the time taken when Mr. Simpson first went to California to live nearly 30 years ago. The welcome sound of the postman's bell has not been heard for some days, the bell having lost its tongue. It is hoped that the loss will soon be repaired.

HOPBOTTOM: Last Sunday evening a freight train ran off the track about a mile and a half below town; two cabooses and a carload of meat went down the embankment; it was 4 o'clock next morning before things were righted. No one was injured.

HOWARD HILL: Our mail carrier has a new U.S. mail wagon.

KINGSLEY: The Sunday Schools in this vicinity will unite in an excursion on Aug. 2nd, to Nay Aug Park, Scranton. Rates reasonable; trains 2 and 5.

LANESBORO: The machine shop, blacksmith shop and one pattern house of Barnes Brothers' foundry, was destroyed by fire Thursday, July 21. The plant was one of the old landmarks in Lanesboro, having been built in the early fifties and for many years was one of the most important industries of that place. The fire is supposed to have been of incendiary origin, as there had been no fire in the building on the day previous. The property was uninsured.

HARFORD: During a severe shower at Harford, lightning struck the farmhouse of B. D. Sherwood, doing considerable damage and shocking the inmates. It was several hours before Mr. Sherwood was able to move.

FLYNN, Middletown Twp.: If present conditions continue there won't be one Republican to be found by election time in this neck of timber.

WEST LENOX: The drilling machine puffed out of this place Saturday morning after drilling a 160 ft. well for A. W. Miles. AND: Guy Empet, a lad only 9 years old, pulled a pickerel to the surface of the water, which was estimated by those who saw it to weigh 3 1/2 lbs. anyway. That shows there are some nice fish in our pond yet.

AUBURN CENTRE: Arthur and Harry Reimel, Thos. Sheridan, Cliff Young and Fred Rifenbury, took in the Niagara Falls excursion last Saturday. AND: The Auburn Centre Creamery Co. will consider it a favor if the person or persons would kindly return the roll of barb wire to them now, as they are in need of it.

GREAT BEND: James Munson, with a party of boys, is camping upon the island and the Chichester Brothers are camping down the river.

NEW MILFORD: A game of ball played on Monday on Bayle's flat between New Milford and Heart Lake, resulted in a score of 27 to 14 in favor of the former. The condition of the ground was more the result of a large score than poor playing.

NEWS BRIEF: Monroe and Pike county farmers are not only dead against red devils and fast driving, but seriously object to having their corn fields ruined. Recently an automobile partly stopped at a hotel near Bushkill, leaving an auto as they supposed securely outside. In some manner the machine began working and bounded at a terrific pace in a nearby cornfield, tearing up several acres of corn and finally ran into a side hill, burying the machine in sand. The machine was badly wrecked. Hotel proprietors along the famous Milford road are complaining of the injury to their business by the auto craze. This once popular drive, extending over 40 miles, from Water Gap to Port Jervis, has been practically ruined on account of the danger with timid horses and this to a large degree cuts off the revenue heretofore derived by the hotels from [horse] driving parties.

Visit our web site, for back issues of 100 Years.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

I continue to support the Readdressing System that appears to be developing into a highly controversial issue mainly because I believe if it saves one life it is worth the little bit of aggravation it can create. However, I cannot help but wonder why this so-called life-saving program has been so poorly handled from its originator, the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), down to the county level where the simple ABC’s of the program are so difficult to come by.

My original impression was that this project was attached to a somewhat obscure piece of legislation developed by a congressional committee or a handful of state politicos in Harrisburg in dire need of some favorable publicity. What better program can a politician present to his constituents than a program designed to save lives?

But then I find out that this is not a federal or state mandate.

"There is nothing mandated by the Commonwealth," Mark Wood, at the Susquehanna County Communication Center said. "The Commonwealth has not come out with anything that says we have to do it.

"We are following the National Emergency Number Association. The idea is to standardize everybody so that emergency services can get there quicker."

So now I find out that the Readdressing Program was not born in Washington or in Harrisburg. It seems to have originated in Arlington, VA, where NENA is headquartered.

There is an 800 number listed for NENA so I called it. A woman answered. I identified myself and asked to speak to someone about the Readdressing Program. She knew nothing about it but suggested that I talk to Rick Jones, who is NENA’s operations issued director. I said fine and asked her to transfer me to his office. She tells me that Mr. Jones is not at that office and gives me a number to reach him. Now I get an 815 exchange and no more 800 numbers.

"815," I asked, "where is that?"

"Illinois, I think," came the reply.

I called the number and I get another polite gal at the other end of the line. She tells me Mr. Jones is not in and asks if I would like to leave a message in his voice box. I accept, leave a brief message (because now it is my quarter or dollar or whatever) and my phone number. At deadline time, Mr. Jones still had not returned my call.

I made one final effort to reach someone at NENA. I found its web page, perused through it and found a listing entitled, Press. So I clicked on it expecting to get into a newsroom of some sort where I could research press releases or, with any kind of luck get another 800 number to call for a public relations person. Guess what? The page was blank. Whiter than the neighbor’s bed sheets on wash day.

I went to NENA’s home page and under the headline, "What is NINA?", I read: "We are NENA. We are more than 7,000 members and 46 chapters strong –a membership dedicated to saving lives. We work every day on a single, yet vital mission: providing an effective and accessible 9-1-1 service for North America. In short, we are a membership dedicated to making 9-1-1 and emergency communications work better. We measure our success in the lives that are saved by 9-1-1 each day.

"NENA’s mission is to foster the technological advancement, availability, and implementation of a universal emergency telephone number system. In carrying out its mission, NENA promotes research, planning, training and education. The protection of human life, the preservation of property and the maintenance of general community security are among NENA’s objectives."

My friends, how can we argue against an organization with such noble objectives? However, for an organization that appears to be so communication oriented, one would think that its web pages would contain volumes of information on what has been done and what is being done to improve emergency responses. I found that type of information sorely lacking in NENA’s web pages.

Actually, I did find one reference to the readdressing program. NENA will sell you a book that explains it. For $40.

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Due to a short "vacation" in the Barnes-Kasson Hospital over the past week, "NewsBeat" will not be seen this week. See you next week. Enjoy!

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From the Desk Of The DA

In a recent publication (On the Road, Spring 2004), there was a list of different punishments for drunk driving in other countries. Here are a few of the examples:

In Australia, the names of drunk drivers are printed in newspapers under the caption, "He’s drunk and in jail."

In Malaysia, the driver is jailed and, if married, the spouse is jailed.

In the United Kingdom, Finland and Sweden, there is an automatic jail term of one year.

In Turkey, drunk drivers are driven twenty miles out of town and forced to walk back ten miles.

In Bulgaria, a second drunk driving conviction results in capital punishment.

In El Salvador, your first offense is your last – execution by firing squad.

The same publication contained the following humorous story: In a poorly judged attempt to convince his wife he was sober enough to drive, a 29-year old man pulled up to a State Police barracks in his pickup truck, parked illegally, and demanded a sobriety check. He failed the Breathalyzer test and was taken into custody. "Basically," an amused officer explained, "his wife won the argument."

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court considered whether the use of a canine to detect controlled substances in a stopped vehicle without obtaining a search warrant was lawful. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that so long as the law enforcement officer has "reasonable suspicion" that a crime is being committed, a canine "sniff" search of the vehicle is lawful without the need for obtaining a search warrant.

As a public service, the Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office has teamed up with the Northeast Pennsylvania Auto Task Force to provide a free VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) Etching Service. VIN Etching is an effective security measure aimed at preventing theft of a motor vehicle because the Vehicle Identification Number is etched upon all of the visible glass surfaces of the motor vehicle. A professional car thief will notice the VIN etching and will be less likely to steal the vehicle as it becomes more difficult to resell or dispose of the vehicle. If you are interested, please bring your vehicle, along with a valid registration, to the Forest City Fire Department, 340 Main Street, Forest City, PA on Friday, August 6, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The service will cost you nothing, and some automobile insurance companies give discounts on insurance premiums for vehicles that have received this service.

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Dear EarthTalk: How can I convince my co-workers to switch from Styrofoam cups to reusable mugs?

Jennifer Quintana, Miami, FL

The best you can do is give them the facts: Styrofoam, Dow Chemical’s trade name for its blown foam polystyrene product, gained widespread popularity in the 1970s as an inexpensive and effective insulating material for disposable cups and containers. Polystyrene became ubiquitous throughout our on-the-go society, holding everything from coffee to fast-food hamburgers, and functioning as insulation in product packaging.

Initially, Styrofoam manufacturing required the use of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to blow the styrene into its final hard foam form. Today, following the CFC ban that came with the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depletion in 1989, Dow instead uses carbon dioxide and pentane as blowing agents. That switch may be sparing the ozone layer, but pentane is a highly flammable chemical that contributes to smog, so the industry has essentially traded one evil for another.

Another problem with Styrofoam is that it does not biodegrade well and can leak toxins into the groundwater under our overstuffed landfills. Additionally, millions of tons of polystyrene get incinerated and end up as airborne toxic ash.

But just in case water contamination and clouds of toxic ash are not valid-enough reasons to convince co-workers to switch to reusable mugs, then maybe the potential health effects of Styrofoam will have an impact. As early as 1972, researchers identified potentially toxic styrene residues in a majority of Americans sampled. By 1986, styrene was found in 100 percent of all samples of human fat tissue taken as part of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Human Tissue Survey. Researchers found that Styrofoam cups lose weight when in use, meaning that styrene is oozing into the foods and drinks we consume. It then ends up stored in our fatty tissue, where it can build up to levels that can cause fatigue, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, blood abnormalities–and even carcinogenic effects.

Strangely enough, it was Ronald McDonald himself who woke up millions of Americans to the environmental and health impacts of polystyrene. After many years of pressure from advocacy groups including the Citizens‚ Clearinghouse for Hazardous Waste (now called the Center for Health, Environment and Justice) and Environmental Defense, McDonald’s phased out Styrofoam packaging for its hamburgers in 1989 in favor of the paperboard containers we are so familiar with today.

Yet the McDonald’s decision was voluntary, and still today polystyrene does not appear to be on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) radar screen as a potential contaminant. Without any regulation on the production and sale of polystyrene products, the only way to stave off its negative environmental and health impacts is to act locally, one office cubicle at a time.

CONTACTS: Dow Chemical, (800) 441-4DOW,; Center for Health, Environment and Justice, (703) 237-2249,; Environmental Defense, (212) 505-2100,; The Polystyrene Page,

GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; or submit your question at:, or e-mail us at:

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