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Look For Our MONTROSE APPLE FESTIVAL SPECIAL In The September 8th Issue Of The County Transcript

Issue Home August 31, 2004 Site Home

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

From the Desk of the DA

Slices of Life

Rebounding For The Reunion

I, who seldom get any bug that goes around, have fallen prey to this latest sore throat/flu-like virus that’s in the air. I’ve consumed more tea this last few days than I usually drink in a year. Regular black tea, green tea, raspberry tea with honey, sugarplum, and even a flu/sore-throat variety. They all help temporarily as they scald the throat while they’re going down. Unfortunately, the symptoms come back quickly. But I will survive. I have to; my family is coming en masse for the Wilcox reunion.

While being under the weather is not something we yearn for, it does bring rewards. And part of those is the opportunity to nap without guilt. I’ve got a permanent body impression on the couch, which will take some time to disappear. Mrs. Morris was originally curious as to why I was on the couch, but now walks in, looks me over and meanders off to find her own napping spot. This is something she can live with nicely. That’s why she and I get along so well.

My original agenda for late August was not napping and drinking tea. Wanting my property to look it's best, I’d planned to do some weeding and planting fall flowers. Most of my flowers are the late spring, early summer variety, and are pretty much gone by now. We know that many got eaten each time they produced new growth. There are a few anemic phlox left and lots of Queen Anne’s lace. I’ve decided that deer do not like the latter. Maybe it’s the strong odor that turns them off. But whatever it is, the deer are leaving them alone, and they have spread all over the property. That is good because they contribute nicely to cut-flower bouquets.

I was glad that I had the foresight to wash some curtains and windows before I went on my sojourn to Chicago. Also cleaned out some kitchen drawers and started another yard sale box. Only this time someone else is doing the selling. I’ve had my share of sales for awhile. I’m now donating to non-profits.

Along with sprucing up my house for the family gathering, I’m also getting together old photographs and snapshots of bygone days. Not that we have many from the 1940‚s and ‘50’s. At that time, about the only camera in the family belonged to my uncle. I think I was the first one in my immediate family to have a camera, which I earned by selling a punchboard. Remember the punchboards? For ten cents or thereabouts you got a chance to punch out a number and perhaps win a prize. My tiny Brownie camera took pictures about an inch square. But I’ve had some of them blown up to a reasonable size. They will be good for nostalgic purposes. It’s always fun to peruse the old photos at family gatherings.

When my photographer uncle and his wife were getting older and uncluttering their home, he brought out big boxes of snapshots and invited me to take what I wanted. I assume he did the same for my siblings and cousins. I didn’t have a lot of time that day, and I didn’t want to appear selfish, so I didn’t get many. I hope someone got them, because he had told me that what didn’t get taken were going to be thrown away. Then he died so soon. I never did hear what happened to his photos.

I'll set out what pictures I have, will fill the tables to the groaning point with everyone’s special foods, and provide the croquet court for a way to work off the main course so there’s room for dessert. And I’ll forget all about this inconvenient bug that temporarily knocked me off my feet and on to the couch. A grand time will be had by all.

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100 Years Ago

BRANDT: It is reported that the Brandt acid factory will be closed for all time, in less than a year, owing to the exhaustion of the wood supply. AND: As an experiment, brick was made on the new yard of the Diamond Brick Co., on Monday.

MONTROSE: Morveldon Plum, the oldest Odd Fellow in the state, died at his home in Hawley on Monday of last week. He was a native of Montrose, having been born in this place 82 years ago. In childhood he removed with his parents to Honesdale and later to Hawley, where for over 50 years he was a prominent and active citizen. AND: John Snell and wife of Grow Avenue have received a double yellow-headed Mexican parrot from the Iowa Bird Co. AND: The annual handicap golf tournament of the Lakeside Country Club has resulted to date in the leadership of J. Woodbridge Riley, in the men's and Miss Mary Edgar in the ladies' contest. The finals are yet to be played. Miss Mary Sayre won the championship of the club.

TUNKHANNOCK: Herman Jackson, an employee of the Hawke Stone company at this place, will go to Panama shortly, where he has an engagement for stone cutting under the employ of the United States government. The job is in connection with the Panama Canal, and the wages paid will be $7 per day. The high price for labor is due to the unwholesomeness of the climate and the scarcity of men who are willing to go there.

HALLSTEAD: A black snake nearly four feet in length was killed recently at the Hallstead chair factory. The snake was evidently attracted by the sound of the machinery, and as he darted in a window across one of the benches, he was killed by a workman. FOREST CITY:Last Saturday afternoon in number two mine at Forest City, Hugh Curran and his laborer, a foreigner, were very badly burned by an explosion of powder. They were taken to the Emergency hospital at Carbondale, where the laborer died Sunday morning. Mr. Curran, although suffering greatly, will probably recover.

SUSQUEHANNA: Co. B 17th Penn'a Cavalry [G.A.R.] will hold its 24th annual reunion on Wednesday, Sept. 7th, at the home of A.M. Griggs, in this place. AND: Miss Charlotte Townsend has accepted a position as assistant principal of the Damascus, Pa., High School.

SOUTH MONTROSE: On Thursday of last week Mr. and Mrs. Percy Ballentine drove to Scranton with their automobile, leaving at 10 a.m., returning home at 6 p.m. While there Mr. Ballentine purchased a fine pair of draft horses.

BROOKLYN: The authorities, to the delight of the public, have notified the Brooklyn condensery company to remove the broken down traction engine and wagon, which have been partially obstructing the highway between here and Hopbottom. AND: The wire has been strung for the new Alford telegraph line. AND: Our staunch friend, Ammi Ely, always takes a great interest in producing exceptionally fine "garden sass," and this year is evidently no exception, as we hear of his exhibiting tomatoes measuring 15" in circumference.

RUSH: J. W. Gray has been at his former home for two weeks, after an absence of thirteen years. He left for Beaver Bay, Minn., where he will begin his 4th year as teacher of the Beaver Bay School on September 6th. AND: Mr. Shadduck, of the Shadduck Clothing House, and daughter, Mary, spent Tuesday in Binghamton.

UNIONDALE: Apples are plenty. Potatoes are cheap. School opens next Monday.

LAWSVILLE: The Southworth reunion was held at the home of Spencer Luce, August 17th; 110 present. AND: The schools at Stanfordville and Lawsville commenced last Monday, both schools retaining their former teachers--Misses Jennie Sprong and Jessie Grieff.

HIGHLANDS [New Milford Twp.]: W. A. Kenyon says he took quite a sweat last Saturday while threshing for Carrington Brothers, near Susquehanna. He bagged 145 bushels of oats in 45 minutes. Next!

SOUTH GIBSON: The postoffice was robbed one night last week. Nothing was known of the burglary until next morning about 8 o'clock, when Galusha G. McNamara, the post-master, went to his store, in which the office is located. In the postoffice department he found that the safe had been blown open and the papers strewn about the floor showed that the robber had made a thorough search for booty. $45 in money had been taken together with a number of registered letters containing money; several checks for small amounts and a pension check for David Michael in the sum of $120.

THOMSON: The fifth annual reunion of the Carpenter family convened on August 18. The day was most beautifully cool and inspiring. The literary program opened with music by Miss Ruth Kennedy followed by Mrs. Mott with choice selections, "My Mother's Prayer" and "The Shelf Behind the Door." An interesting program of recitations was then delivered by Messrs. Rounds, and Albert, Elmer and Stephen Carpenter, Miss Ruth Kennedy and Mrs. Barlow. Among the many good things in this feast was, "How Jamie Came Home," delivered by Miss Ruth Kennedy in her most charming style, after which she responded to two encores. A collection was taken to defray expenses. The sentiment of the convention was unanimous for Prohibition and if the Rum Traffic could be left to it for lease of power there would be no need for any more signers on license petitions.

NORTH BRIDGEWATER: During the thunder shower last Thursday night, about 9 o'clock, lightning struck a hay stack belonging to A.R. Bush and consumed the same, and by the combined help of neighbors they succeeded in saving another stack a few feet away; also the barn which was within 35 feet of the burning stack.

CLIFFORD: The annual reunion of the descendants of the Calendar family was largely attended at Finn's hall, Aug. 23rd.

NEWS BRIEF: The ladies who struggle with the drudgery of dish washing would be interested in the new patent dish washing machine, which with a few quick turns of a crank (the dishes being in a circular tank filled with hot water) are almost instantly made clean. The machine cost, with a new hot water heater and connections, $200 to install.

Visit our website,, for back issues of "100 Years Ago."

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Item: Roofing bid

The Susquehanna County Board of Commissioners were shocked when the lone bid to install a waterproof roof over about one-half of the county office building on Public Avenue in Montrose came in much higher than the estimated cost. C&D Waterproofing Corporation of Bloomsburg submitted the bid of $87.500. The county had guesstimated the cost in or around $50,000. Last week, the commissioners approved a motion rejecting the bid and appear to have been put on the trail of an equally adequate covering at a cost in the neighborhood of $25,000.

The commissioners will contact a Binghamton, NY firm that specializes in spraying roofs with a waterproof coating and gather information required for advertising for bids on the spray job. The project will then go out for bids and, if all goes well, the commissioners will save the county a bunch of money. Not exactly as cute as a Geico television commercial but equally as effective.

Item: Forest City Special Ed

The Forest City Regional Board of Education hired a special education supervisor last week at a cost to district taxpayers of $64,000 plus benefits. I am told by some educators that the move is long overdue and really should have been done several years ago.

Not being an educator, I will accept the wisdom of those who are and let you draw your own conclusions regarding the hiring.

There is however, a disturbing spin-off to this item. There are less than 900 students attending K-12 classes in the Forest City Regional School District and 155 of them will be attending special education classes in the 2004-2005 school year. Based upon a total enrollment of 900 students, one out of ever 5.8 students at Forest City Regional is attending special education classes.

That figure seems alarmingly high. The last number I was able to find in researching the Internet indicated a national average of one in 12 students with disability problems that require attending special education classes. But, then again, we all know that statistics can be compiled to the satisfaction of the statistician. Nevertheless, from here it would seem that the Forest City Regional Board of Education or the district’s superintendent of schools should be somewhat concerned.

Item: Time Clocks

It has been a while since the Susquehanna County Commissioners discussed the possibility of installing time clocks in the courthouse and other county buildings. So, at last week’s press conference, I asked the commissioners what is being done.

I was told that the county’s attorney on union matters advised the commissioners that they cannot install time clocks since there were none in place prior to the union contract. If, in fact that is what their attorney said, I would be shopping for a new attorney pronto. I understand that even the county solicitor did not swallow that opinion.

Item: Open Burning

I could never understand the reluctance on the part of law enforcement officers to enforce open burning laws. It’s as if the police feel that violating this law is just not worthy of punishment.

Well, my friends, I certainly do not find open burning something that can be ignored by lawmen. I have senior citizens complain they cannot open windows because the smoke from neighbor burn barrels comes into their homes and affects their breathing. I have had women complain they cannot hang the wash on the clothes line because of the neighbor’s burning.

And I am sorry to say that I have seen our police officers here in Forest City drive right by illegal burn barrels when the smoke is pouring from them and do nothing. Our Borough Council passed a motion authorizing strict enforcement of the burning laws in the borough. Unfortunately, some of the council members who supported the motion have burn barrels in their own back yards.

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ATTENTION Boro Council, For My Information! In regard to the council’s discussion(s) on the Susquehanna Policemen leaving the borough in order to help quell a disturbance(s) is a no, no. Does that mean that our police cannot leave the borough to answer a call in either Oakland or Lanesboro, in a case of a serious accident(s), or let’s say a shooting? I can see that our police have more to do than answer a fight between a couple of drunks, etc., but please, do not stop them from answering emergency calls to our sister boroughs.

HELP A VETERAN Week – American Legion Post 86, Susquehanna, will sponsor its "15th Annual Help a Veteran Week." According to Chairman Tom Hurley, a new format has been adopted, due to the fact that the handicapped veterans at the Wilkes-Barre Medical Center cannot make the trip this year. In its place Mr. Hurley has announced that Veterans Week will be held here from September 5 through 11.

As in the past, items can be left at the American Legion on Main Street. Wanted are donations of new items. The Post cannot accept used items. Wanted: shirts, pants, socks, underwear, undershirts, bathrobes, pajamas, slippers, personal items such as body lotions, shampoo, spray deodorant, polident, and cash donations.

PLEASE NOTE – again – we cannot accept used items of "any kind." All items will be delivered to the vets at the Vet Hospital in Wilkes-Barre, with the best wishes of health from the Susquehanna area.

BAN WANTED on Smoking – By Pennsylvania Senator Stewart Greenleaf. If successful, the smell of tobacco smoke would disappear in restaurants and other workplaces in the state. He said, "Cigarette smoke is poison and nobody can deny it’s not good for your health." Greenleaf has introduced legislation to ban smoking in all commercial establishments, restrooms, lobbies and schools.

SMALLEST BABY Now A Student – Madeline Mann, age 15, weighed 9.9 ounces at birth. She was just 10 inches long, born 27 weeks into her mother’s pregnancy. She will enter a Chicago high school this year at 15 years of age. The only handicap she has suffered is a case of asthma. She is the smallest baby ever to survive in medical history. The above case has brought to mind the birth of my granddaughter, Courtney Cotter. Born Christmas Day, 1975 in Binghamton Lourdes Hospital, weighing in at 27 ounces, three months premature. Transferred to Wilson Hospital, battled to stay alive, and was discharged several months after medical care. Courtney was not as fortunate as Miss Mann, as she was found to be blind several weeks after birth. She is doing fine now, with a seeing-eye dog, and manages to handle most of her chores. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John (Polly Parrillo) Spry and Terry Cotter.

KILMER "A Walk-On at Penn State" – Ethan Kilmer, son of Lou Ann (Battisti) and Michael Kilmer of Wyalusing is attending the fall camp of gridders preparing for Penn State’s season. As of now Kilmer is relegated to the special teams and plays free safety positions. He is a graduate of Wyalusing High School and weighs in at 224 pounds with a height of six feet, one inch. Last October Kilmer was a walk-on in the Nittany Lions camp, and was asked to report to practice this year, his first venture into football. No doubt, Kilmer will do good, as he inherited a lot of athletic ability from his family, grandparents, Sandy and Joan Battisti, his uncle, Dom (Spin) Battisti, all of Oakland and Uncle John Battisti of Hallstead.


FLORIDA – How about this one! Pete Rose, who has been trying to become eligible for the baseball hall of fame for years, is again in hot water. Mr. Rose owes almost $1 million in back taxes. He owes taxes from 1997 through 2002 for talking appearances, signing autographs and several other money-making ventures. (Several years ago I was at the Hall of Fame where I saw Rose signing autographs. No, I did not want his signature.)

ALBANY, NY – Imprisoned former state senator Guy Velella, jailed for taking bribes up to $137,000 dollars is still a very lucky man. Regardless of his crookedness he will still receive a pension of $80,000.

NEW YORK STATE – Ricky Knapp, in jail for kidnapping and killing 18-year old Linda Velzy, a Oneonta College student in 1977, was seeking parole. The parole board said, "Knapp will stay right where he is for the next two years, and possibly more." It took the board only eleven minutes to deny the sex killer parole.

WASHINGTON – Amid the soaring prices of crude oil, prices may go up again. According to analyst Michael Burdette, "I don’t know why there’s such a fuss, there’s plenty of gasoline on the market and I expect prices to drop in the coming week."

FLORIDA – "The Florida gougers are at work." Since the winds of Hurricane Charlie ripped through parts of Florida, businessmen are ripping off the people. One hotel tripled their prices. Taking a tree off of his house would cost a man $10,500. Over 1,400 complaints have been received by officials.

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From the Desk Of The DA

Dear District Attorney Legg,

Having just read your article regarding all-terrain vehicle use in the area, I would like to know if you have any suggestions about controlling illegal use on public roads in the county. There has been greatly increased traffic of ATVs, dirt bikes and even go-carts of the public road upon which I reside. The vehicles are very loud and travel at fast speeds, sometimes racing each other. We have had them pass our cars and pull out in front of our cars from side roads, causing us to have to brake quickly to avoid them. We have been calling the Gibson State Police about the problem and they have been doing their best to catch them, but I realize that the State Police cover a wide territory, and they must catch the riders on the roads in order to cite them with a violation. This has really become a hazard and a noise problem. We would appreciate any suggestions that you may have.


There are a number of potential avenues to pursue in the hopes of obtaining better enforcement of the Vehicle Code. First, if you have a municipal police force, contact your local municipality and discuss the problem with the township supervisors or borough council members. In the municipalities where there is a municipal police officer, we have had success in apprehending those persons who misuse ATVs and/or snowmobiles. If your municipality does not have a municipal police force, you may want to discuss with the township supervisors or borough council members the feasibility of employing a part-time police officer. Even if the local municipality lacks the funding to employ its own police officer, there is the potential of contracting with another municipality for the police services. For instance, Forest City Borough and Vandling Borough are now in discussion to allow Forest City Borough to provide police services to Vandling Borough through a cooperative agreement. This is an ideal situation for both municipalities, as it lowers the costs of operation, and provides the residents of each Borough with municipal police protection. Where there is a municipal police presence, the enforcement of the vehicle code obviously becomes more manageable.

Another alternative is to contact your neighbors and form a community watch group. Although a civilian cannot arrest a person for a traffic violation, you or another member of a community watch group can provide the state police with the necessary information to effectuate an arrest or citation. It is not necessary for a law enforcement officer to actually observe a traffic violation in order to issue a citation. If a witness can specifically identify the operator of the ATV (or other motor vehicle), and can provide specific testimony regarding the alleged violation of the vehicle code, the Pennsylvania State Police can file a traffic citation based upon the information received from the eyewitness. Where a witness provides such information to law enforcement and a citation is issued based upon the reported observations, the witness must appear at the hearing in the citation to provide testimony about the observed traffic violations. If the judge determines that the eyewitness is credible, the violator will be convicted and fined.

There are a couple reasons why the community watch approach proves to be a difficult enforcement mechanism. First, identification is often a problem. Although a witness may observe a traffic violation, the witness may not be able to identify the operator of the motor vehicle (or ATV). Without proper identification, a citation cannot be issued. Second, many witnesses cannot, for a variety of reasons, attend the hearing for the citation. Without the testimony of the eyewitness, there is no way to sustain the charges. Despite these obstacles, the mere presence and knowledge of a community watch group often provides a deterrent to discourage criminal conduct.

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Dear EarthTalk: Do urban trees really help reduce pollution and clean the air?

John Alderman, Washington, DC

Back in 1872 Frederick Law Olmsted, the granddaddy of American landscape architecture and the designer of New York’s Central Park, proclaimed that trees were the "lungs of the city." While Olmsted’s statement may have been more philosophical than scientific, researchers have since found that city trees do indeed perform important environmental functions like soaking up ground-level pollutants and storing carbon dioxide, which helps offset global warming.

Each year in Chicago, for example, the windy city’s urban tree canopy removes 15 metric tons of carbon monoxide, 84 metric tons of sulfur dioxide, 89 metric tons of nitrogen dioxide, 191 metric tons of ozone and 212 metric tons of particulates, according to David Nowak, project leader of the U.S. Forest Service’s Urban Forest Ecosystem Research Unit. Trees absorb these gaseous pollutants via the tiny pores in their leaves and break them down into less-harmful molecules during photosynthesis.

In Sacramento, California, a public-private partnership called Sacramento Shade spearheaded the planting of more than 200,000 trees around the city in the mid-1990s. In a study assessing Sacramento’s bolstered tree cover, Greg McPherson of the Western Center for Urban Forest Research found that the region’s urban forest removes more than 200,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year, saving taxpayers as much as $3 million annually in pollution cleanup costs.

Meanwhile, the tree cover in New York City helps remove enough airborne toxins to save taxpayers as much as $10 million a year in pollution mitigation costs, according to Nowak. The Big Apple’s five boroughs are home to more than five million trees, covering nearly 17 percent of its public and private land, he adds.

Gary Moll, a vice president at the nonprofit group American Forests, asserts that trees are the "ultimate urban multi-taskers,’ absorbing carbon dioxide and acting as filters, sponges, humidifiers, heat shields and wind blockers. Under Moll’s supervision, American Forests is assessing the costs and benefits of city tree cover across the country. The group uses a combination of satellite data, field surveys and computer modeling technology to measure regional tree canopy and calculate its dollar value.

All told, Olmsted was right in his assessment of the importance of city trees. Indeed, planting trees in urban environments may be one of the best medicines available to help restore our ailing cities.

CONTACTS: U.S. Forest Service Urban Forest Ecosystem Research Unit, (315) 448-3200,; Sacramento Shade, (916) 924-TREE (8733),; Western Center for Urban Forest Research, (530) 752-7636,; American Forests, (202) 955-4500,

Dear EarthTalk: What are "wildlife corridors" and how do they help preserve wildlife and biodiversity?

J.J. Harris, Hilo, HI

Wildlife corridors are stretches of land that connect otherwise fragmented pieces of wildlife habitat. Since many mammals and birds require large ranges of undeveloped land in order to survive, linking smaller habitats together is key to maintaining strong populations. Ecologists consider wildlife corridors crucial because they increase the total amount of habitat available for species while counteracting the fragmentation that has resulted from human activity.

First espoused by Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson in the 1960s and later by environmentalists considered on the fringe, the wildlife corridor concept has since become an institutionalized technique for managing at-risk wildlife populations. The benefits--including greater biodiversity, larger wildlife populations, wider ranges of food sources and shelter, and increased long-term genetic viability due to population interbreeding--are now well known and undisputed by wildlife professionals. Corridor projects have sprung up from coast to coast, in some cases implemented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service itself in the name of protecting threatened and endangered species.

Environmental advocacy groups are also engaged in the creation and expansion of wildlife corridors throughout North America and beyond. The Bozeman, Montana-based American Wildlands, for instance, runs the Corridors of Life project, which uses scientific modeling to locate the best potential public and private lands for conversion to wildlife corridors throughout the Northern Rocky Mountains. According to executive director Rob Ament, the group is working with the government, as well as with private landowners, to protect parcels of land it deems key to conserving viable populations of wild animals.

Meanwhile, the Richmond, Vermont-based Wildlands Project is also committed to the establishment of a connected system of wild areas. Since its founding in 1991, the group has commissioned several scientific studies on the viability of creating wildlife corridors and restoring populations of wolves and other ailing species in different parts of North America.

The wildlife corridor concept is not limited to North America. Central American nations have come together with leading conservation organizations including the World Resources Institute and the Wildlife Conservation Society to create the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor--also known as El Paseo Pantera ("The Panther’s Path")--to link key wildlife habitat from Mexico to Panama. Many conservationists feel that this project is an important experiment "because it is taking place in poor tropical countries where the greatest diversity of life exists but where biodiversity is also under the greatest threat," says preeminent Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki, who hopes that someday the concept can expand to South America, Asia and Africa.

CONTACTS: American Wildlands, (406) 586-8175,; The Wildlands Project, (802) 434-4077,; Mesoamerican Biological Corridor Project, (website in Spanish).

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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