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Look For Our HARFORD FAIR SPECIAL In The August 18th Issue Of The County Transcript

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Letters to the Editor Policy

Milk Prices Collapse Further

As we predicted during last spring, prices paid to area dairy farmers took another serious nose-dive on August 1. The price that is always announced first is the Class I price (milk used for bottling). Actually, during the last 60 days, June 1 to August 1, the Class I price has dropped from $24.38 per cwt. down to $17.87 per cwt.; a $6.51 per cwt. drop. (This equates to 56¢ per gallon.)

Remember all the fanfare the news media gave to the spike in milk prices on May 1? I wonder if the same amount of attention will be given to the big decline in milk prices?

On August 1 the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board reduced the minimum price out of stores by 25¢ per gallon – down to $3.00 (Northeastern PA). The price had already dropped dramatically on July 1. As usual, the entire decline will be felt by local dairy farmers.

It will be September 18 before the farmers experience the large decline. The only good news is the wholesale price of cheese had rebounded somewhat, and prices should level off by September.

The yo-yo prices that consumers and dairy farmers have experienced in the spring and summer of 2004 should convince Congress that something has to be done to price milk differently.

Milk used for ice cream did not take the big jump as did the milk used for bottling and cheese. Actually, the milk used for ice cream didn’t go up half as much as milk used for cheese. Between January 1 and May 1, milk used for cheese went up 77¢ per gallon, but in the same time-frame milk used for ice cream only went up about 30¢ per gallon.

Two years ago we reported that some ice cream manufacturers were making containers less than 1/2 gallon. These containers usually end up in the same area as the 1/2 gallon containers in the stores. Some people argue that consumers want the smaller containers (less than 1/2 gallon) in exchange for not raising the price of ice cream. I think the practice is very deceptive. Shucks, if anyone wants a smaller container of ice cream, buy a pint.

Does this mean we will see a one pound block of cheese marketed for 12 ounces or a pound of butter going for 14 ounces and a gallon of milk being marketed in 3 quart containers? We admit the yo-yo pricing of milk becomes very difficult for many manufacturers, and they should support us for a new pricing formula.

As usual, dairy farmers are wondering about their pay prices. It looks like their settlement checks on August 18 could be around $16.30 per cwt. – Boston price. But, their advance check on August 25 could be as low as $13.31 per cwt. However, if your handler pays you the advance check predicated on the Class III price, then the pay price would be $14.85 per cwt.

In addition to the collapse in milk prices, weather conditions are still playing havoc with our farmers. With the farmers’ prices going down and their costs going up, this can only mean harder times for the majority of farmers. Once again, the time is overdue to start correcting the inequities facing our dairy farmers.


Arden Tewksbury

Meshoppen, PA


Serving Our Communities

September 11, 2001 was a turning point for the world of Emergency Services. Emergency personnel responded to the twin towers and put their lives on the line to rescue those inside. Many people from the community and from all over the United States volunteered their time to come and help. Some volunteered a few hours, days, weeks and some volunteered for months. This turning point brought people together. People did whatever they could to help others during this tragedy.

Today, a siren whistle blows and the emergency service personnel’s pager starts to beep; someone is in need of help. Volunteers from the local fire and ambulance company are being notified of an emergency. The emergency may be a fire, motor vehicle accident, heart attack, diabetic problems, or a situation in which a person needs help. The siren whistle blows and the pager starts to beep once again. Still, no one is responding to the emergency. This happens a third time and still no volunteers. Finally, another company, located many miles away, is now being paged to assist during the emergency. This scenario happens too much.

Many people complain that it takes so long for the fire company or ambulance to respond during an emergency. It’s about time that we stop complaining and make a difference. Only the people in the community can improve their fire and ambulance company, by volunteering more and complaining less.

There are people who feel they cannot volunteer because they have no knowledge of what they can do to help. Volunteers are not just fire fighters and ambulance personnel. Volunteers are people who make sandwiches and coffee or provide beverages for firemen during a fire, help at fundraising activities, wash emergency vehicles, and serve on committees. Volunteers can serve as a president, secretary, treasurer, or be on the board of directors. The list of possibilities goes on.

What if it happened to you? A loved one is having a heart attack, you call 911, they stop breathing. It takes an ambulance almost an hour to get there. What if you wake up in the middle of the night and your home is on fire? The closest fire company is twenty minutes away. Your young child starts choking. No one is close enough, willing, or able to help. September, 2001 was a turning point, people volunteer to make a difference. Susquehanna County needs more turning like that kind of change. We all need to work together, as volunteers to make our community a better place.


Karrie Phelps

New Milford, PA


Hit The Nail Squarely

Mr. Pendrak’s letter on the Uniform Corruption Code hit several nails squarely on the head, but it was a bit vague on liability. When the roof falls in, etc., the homeowner sues everybody, including the township. Very true.

When the township or COG has a monopoly contract with a sole provider of inspection services, it behooves the township to be sure it is fully indemnified by its inspector. The legal minimum of liability is $1 million. That is nothing but the ante. Trial lawyers don’t like to bother with suits for less than $10 or $20 million, especially if there’s a death or injury.

Is your monopoly contractor insured for $10 or $20 million? Is your township an "additional named insured"? Will your township’s errors and omissions pick up where the sole provider’s insurance leaves off? Your best bet is to operate at arm’s length from building inspectors by posting the list of all 84 state-certified agencies. You can still get sued, but now you have a good defense. You were not holding hands with a monopoly contractor. You were not receiving an administrative surcharge on the inspection fee (a hidden tax). If you do solicit money from private insurance agencies, you had better invest it in more insurance. You will need it.


David A. Kerr, Jr.

Friendsville, PA


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