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Issue Home September 28, 2004 Site Home

Ivan Makes His Mark Locally
Community Bank Boosts United Way
County Library Holds Legislative Breakfast
Rush Twp. Bridge Work Completed
Where's My Camper?
Engagement Announced Stone – Burchell
Luncheon Turns Into Evacuee Canteen
Barnes-Kasson Offers LASIK Surgery
Rotary Promoting Goodwill Exchange
"Little Abe" Is Still Trying To Get To Atlanta
PARSE Update
Time And The River Project Underway
Wachovia Foundation Champions Hospice


Ivan Makes His Mark Locally

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Community Bank Boosts United Way

Community Foundation of Susquehanna County is pleased to announce the receipt of a $7,500 contribution from Community Bank & Trust Company. On August 11, 2004 Foundation Board Secretary, Betty Kwader accepted the check gratefully from Montrose Branch Manager Mark Caterson. At the direction of Community Bank’s Board these funds will be used to build the Foundation’s United Way Capital Campaign Fund. The purpose of that fund is to support operating expenses of the United Way of Susquehanna County.

This donation fulfills the first half of a $15,000 United Way Capital Campaign Fund pledge that Community Bank & Trust Co. made in 2003 and will be honoring throughout 2005. Their choice of fund represents support for a very broad range of resident needs in a way that will have a long-term, positive effect on the United Way and the community.

Community Bank & Trust Co. business development officer, David Baker, is hopeful that the bank’s leadership contributions will encourage other businesses and individuals within the community to support the United Way of Susquehanna County’s third annual fund raising campaign which will continue through December 17, 2004.

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County Library Holds Legislative Breakfast

The Susquehanna County Historical Society & Free Library Association held a Legislative Breakfast on Friday, September 17. "We invited our legislators, school administrators, and school board presidents," said Administrator/Librarian Susan Stone, "to familiarize them with our building and services, and to thank them for their support." After enjoying a buffet of home-made baked goods, about thirty people sat down at tables in the Children's Room. Attendees were greeted by Board President Cornelia Page, and heard from a representative sampling of users, from a StoryHour mother to a young man who's used the computer facilities for his education. A packet of information covered the many services and programs available through the Library and Historical Society, and fun "quiz questions" based on the contents were interspersed between the presenters. Mrs. Stone thanked everyone for coming and encouraged anyone who had time to tour the building.

Before leaving, the legislators were presented with large thank-you cards, signed by patrons over the past month, to acknowledge the increase in state funding for libraries this fiscal year (which still represents a cut of 23% over past years, but a much better outcome than the 50% which was originally threatened.) "We hope to make this an annual event," said Mrs. Stone, "to nurture the good relationships we've developed with Susquehanna County decision-makers."

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Rush Twp. Bridge Work Completed

SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY – State Senator Roger Madigan and State Representative Tina Pickett, the Rush Township Supervisors, representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT), and other officials took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday, September 23 in Rush Township, marking the completion of an intersection improvement and bridge replacement project at the intersection of PA Route 706 and State Route 3023 in Rush Township.

State Senator Roger Madigan and State Representative Tina Pickett cut the ribbon on the $2 million intersection improvement and bridge replacement project at the intersection of PA Route 706 and State Route 3023 in Rush Township.

The $2 million project involved replacing the old two-span bridge over Wyalusing Creek with a new two-span concrete beam bridge. A temporary bridge was used to maintain traffic during construction of the new bridge on State Route 3023. Work also included the realignment and reconstruction of State Route 3023 and the reconstruction of the intersection of PA Route 706 and State Route 3023.

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Where's My Camper?

Pictured above is Linda Fields, wading in rushing waters at Green Valley Mobile Home Park, Hallstead while out looking for her camper that disappeared from the high waters. This is supposed to be the field where the old airport used to be, but it looks more like a river. A dumpster is gone, sheds turned at 180 degree angles, skirting gone and much more. Once the waters went down the camper was found standing straight up in the creek across the other end of the field. We don't want to see anything like this for along time and I'd like to say Thank You to the Fire Dept. for getting the boat in here to rescue us. It turned out to be a night that was very terrifying. Submitted by Linda Fields.

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Engagement Announced Stone – Burchell

Robert and Karen Stone of Susquehanna are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Jessica, to Joseph Burchell, son of William and Margo Burchell of New Milford.

Jessica is currently a senior at Philadelphia Biblical University in the Mathematics Education program.

Joseph is currently a junior at Davis College (formerly Practical Bible) in the Elementary Education program.

The couple is planning a spring, 2006 wedding.

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Luncheon Turns Into Evacuee Canteen

The phone rang at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. It had been raining hard for over twelve hours.

On Friday, September 17, the women from St. John’s R. C. Church had spent all day in the kitchen of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, New Milford, preparing for the monthly Good News Lunch, which provides a free hot lunch for senior citizens. The chicken and biscuits had been made and the apple cobbler cooling on the counter when the women departed in the torrential rain.

During the night parts of New Milford began to flood and by 6:00 am police and firemen were evacuating people from their homes. In Hallstead an entire community had been evacuated. The telephone call on Saturday morning asked the obvious question: "Should we go forward with the senior citizen lunch?" It did not take long to decide that we needed to act quickly – not to prepare lunch but to open a canteen at St. Mark’s for the evacuees and the volunteers helping them.

The calls went out and within an hour St. Mark’s kitchen and parish house were alive with people making coffee, bringing in refreshments, and warming up the ovens to get a hot meal ready. Calls had been made to the local police and firemen to welcome them and have them direct those in need to the parish. Soon, St. Mark’s was bustling with volunteers from the Roman Catholic Church and the members of St. Mark’s.

At 9:30 the police arrived at St. Mark’s to tell the busy volunteers that they, too, must evacuate, since it was feared that the earthen dam just north of the parish was expected to break and water would be cascading down the creek that ran beside the church. The police reported that those evacuated were to report to the local high school. In a flash someone said, "Let’s gather up all the food and feed those at the high school." Without a word of discussion volunteers gathered up the chicken and biscuits, the peas and carrots, and the apple cobbler, along with coffee pots, milk, and juice, and all headed for the high school.

Mr. Alan Hall, president of the school board, and Mr. Robert Dietz, principle of the elementary school, with their maintenance staff greeted the food caravan, opened the kitchen, and told the church volunteers to make themselves at home. The Red Cross team arrived and began welcoming in the evacuees. Mr. Dietz summoned the cafeteria staff to help, and a call went out to church members. Soon a full contingent of helpers was on site. By noontime the hot meal was prepared, a prayer of thanksgiving said, and everyone shared the hot food.

Calls went out to the local firehouses and meals delivered to firemen, police, and stranded senior citizens.

By 2:00 p.m. all had been fed and the children were playing games. The fire chief arrived to announce that the water was receding and everyone could return to his or her home. And, he brought the welcome news that the earthen dam had held and St. Mark’s was safe. What a day!

"Well," said Lorraine James, coordinator of St. John’s R. C. team, "it’s a good thing we had a lunch scheduled for today. Guess we never know who God intends to be our guests."

"And, it’s a good thing the churches have been working together for over a year on the lunches," said Wendy Keklak, vestry-person at St. Mark’s, "we have become a team and were able to gather together, agree quickly, and respond effectively and efficiently to a rapidly changing situation. I’m afraid to think of what may happen at our next lunch on October 16!"

There was a laugh as the tired church members slowly departed carrying the empty pots, pans, and coffee pots.

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Barnes-Kasson Offers LASIK Surgery

Barnes-Kasson Hospital, in conjunction with Dr. Lorenzo Pecora, has just signed on to begin providing Laser Vision Correction Procedures, better known as LASIK, beginning in September, 2004 in the Short-Procedure Unit at BK.

Mrs. Sara C. Iveson, Executive Director of Barnes, explained, "I am always thrilled to bring a new service to the community." Iveson went on to say, "Bigger is not always better. We have worked extensively with Dr. Pecora to provide a good value for our patients right in their own backyard."

Dr. Pecora is an Ophthalmologist and a long time consulting member of the Barnes-Kasson Medical Staff. Pecora’s primary practice is in Endicott, New York however he is delighted to serve the patients of Susquehanna County in a convenient location such as Barnes.

When I asked Dr. Pecora to provide more extensive information about the procedure, he had a lot to say. Doctor began by explaining the problem the LASIK Procedure addresses.

According to Dr. Pecora, the cornea is a part of the eye that helps focus light to create an image on the retina. It works in much the same way that the lens of a camera focuses light to create an image on film.

Usually the shape of the cornea and the eye are not perfect and the image on the retina is out of focus (blurred) or distorted. These imperfections in the focusing of the eye are called refractive errors: myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism. Combinations of myopia or hyperopia with astigmatism are common.

Glasses are the most common method of correcting refractive errors. They may be uncomfortable in recreational activities. Thick glasses tend to interfere with peripheral vision and change image size.

Contact lenses offer better peripheral vision and a more normal image size than spectacles but not everyone can tolerate contact lenses. Most contacts require a daily maintenance routine. The use of contact lenses may produce corneal infection.

Refractive surgery includes different surgical procedures aimed at improving the focusing power of the eye. The most common procedures are LASIK and PRK.

The LASIK procedure is performed under topical anesthesia. A thin flap is cut in the cornea. The computer-controlled laser removes the tissue under the flap and reshapes the cornea with accuracy up to 1/4000 of a millimeter. Then, the flap is put into its original position.

LASIK improves the uncorrected vision without wearing corrective lenses in most patients who have the procedure. Over 90% of the patients with low to moderate myopia will achieve 20/40 vision, which is considered the minimum allowed by most states and provinces to drive without having to wear contacts or glasses.

Fast visual recovery characterizes this operation. Most patients achieve good vision the day of surgery and find that their eyes feel fairly normal within a day. However, vision can continue to improve, and best vision can still take two to three months.

Dr. Pecora had offered to provide any further information a prospective candidate may need or want for this procedure. Pecora is also available to provide references from other satisfied patients.

Mrs. Iveson is very pleased with the introduction of LASIK procedures to the list of outpatients services at Barnes-Kasson. She explained, "Small facilities are often ideal for many patients because of the personal attention each patient receives."

Barnes-Kasson has added many new services within the past year including Diagnostic Imaging, DEXA Scanner, MRI, and Nuclear Medicine upgrades.

Mrs. Iveson explained, "Our patients are the focus of all of our efforts. We strive to provide the best physicians and most current equipment to serve our community. And I welcome Dr. Pecora’s service as the newest addition to our services."

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Rotary Promoting Goodwill Exchange

The Rotary Clubs of District 7410 in Northeastern Pennsylvania are seeking four outstanding young professionals to visit the Philippines, from March 1-31, 2005 as part of the Group Study Exchange Program of the Rotary Foundation.

Through this program, teams of professionals exchange visits between paired areas in different countries. During the four-week visit, team members share personal knowledge of their own country and are able to experience the customs, vocations, and lifestyles of the other.

The purpose of Group Study Exchange is to promote international understanding and goodwill through person-to-person contact. While abroad, team members stay in Rotarian’s homes and have the opportunity to meet their professional counterparts. They also give presentations to Rotary Clubs and other groups about their home country.

The Rotary Foundation provides a round-trip air ticket, and local Rotarians in the host country provide meals, lodging, and group travel in their district. Team members pay for personal and incidental expenses.

Young professionals interested in applying should be employed full-time in a recognized business or profession and be between the ages of 25 and 40. Applicants must live or be employed in Rotary District 7410 which covers Tioga, Bradford, Wyoming, Susquehanna, Wayne, Pike, Monroe, Carbon, Luzerne, and Lackawanna Counties.

To receive an application to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity, please contact your local Rotary Club president or Tom Kurosky, District GSE Chairman, at (570) 278–3063. Applications must be received by October 31, 2004.

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"Little Abe" Is Still Trying To Get To Atlanta

This is the story of a young boy, named Abe that was the victim of circumstances and is trying to get back home. Except for the way the dice rolled, this might never have happened to him.

I learned of this story about 10 years ago, from a very elderly lady, who was then in her 90s, and it has fascinated me every since. Her name is Cecelia Davenport. I met her early one morning while having breakfast at the Crossroads Café, near Senoia, Georgia, on the way to the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The Crossroads Café is a larger than normal country café at the intersection of Highways 54 and 16, about 20 miles south of Atlanta and 30 miles north of Columbus, GA. It is frequented by many locals that have a strong heritage in the red Georgia soil.

They serve great southern meals, complete with country ham with red-eye gravy, biscuits and gravy, sausage, bacon, hotcakes, homemade strawberry preserves and – yes – grits.

Ms. Davenport has spent all her life living in Coweta and Meriwether Counties. And all her relatives before her spent most of their lives here also.

"I’ve seen him several times," she said. "He still wears that butternut colored uniform, which has a big tear in the shirt. Once, when it was raining, I even saw his boyish face pressed against one of my window panes.

"And he’s always trying to get back to Atlanta, because of course, that’s where he came from."

To understand this story, one must realize that this particular stretch of road was the main route between Atlanta and Columbus and cities to the west during the Civil War.

My great-grandfather, William L. Jackson, who served in Co. A, 17th Alabama Infantry marched this road many times on the way to battles in Shiloh, Kennesaw, New Hope, and Atlanta, before his unit surrendered at Greensboro, NC in 1865.

Through all the fighting and destruction, neither side knew that the war was drawing to a close in April, 1865. News of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox on April 9, had not reached the soldiers who were fighting in Georgia on April 14.

Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, who had already devastated Atlanta, was just outside Macon, while the last major battle of the war was still raging in Columbus. It wasn’t until April 16th that most of the fighting had ended.

Though foreign to our modern thinking, prior to the Civil War, it was common to find children hard at work in the fields and factories of America. When the war came, many young boys, motivated by either a yearning for adventure, or to get away from daily work tasks, volunteered for service in both armies.

Though considered non-combatants by both sides, the drummer boy was exposed to as much danger as the average soldier. They were usually put out in front of the line, along with the man who carried the flag, so that the drumrolls could be heard.

In the early morning of April 14, the Confederate Army troops were sleeping peacefully in their tents in Columbus, when a surprise assault launched by a massive combined force of Union troops under Gen. James Wilson hit the camps.

By this time most of the Confederates were leaderless and broken. Young Abe and his company were huddled in the rain around the Chattahoochee River Bridge that connects Columbus to Phenix City, Alabama.

"By this time our soldiers knew it was no use to keep on fighting," continued Ms. Davenport. "But the young boy began to play his drum and move out of the trench as he had been taught.

"But no one followed him. The men had been exposed to so much fighting and were so disheartened, that they were willing to be captured.

"When the smoke cleared and the troops came across the bridge, the Union commander sought out the boy to commend him. He found the boy up near the bridge. He laid dead, drumsticks still in his hand, and a bullet through his heart.

"Modern folks today scoff at the tale, it is a tradition handed down from the time of that battle, and there is testimony that will corroborate it."

In attempting to verify the story, I contacted the Columbus newspaper and talked with several old residents of Meriwether County.

The Columbus daily has periodically run articles on the sighting of this boy dating back to 1892. In all the articles, they used quotes from local people who attested to sighting the boy or his ghost several times.

"He is a young boy, kind of pale looking," said M. Robinson of Sharpsburg, GA. "And almost every time he appears it’s late at night when it’s raining. He is always heading towards Atlanta.

"They say he still stays down by the Chattahoochee River and only makes his presence known to those who are friendly towards the southern cause."

Every legend or story like this, they say, has its basis in fact. It is a fact that Gen. Wilson found a drummer boy, dressed in the butternut uniform of his troops lying near the Chattahoochee River Bridge after the cessation of the battle.

The only other thing known about him was that his name was Abe, and that he had joined up with the 2nd Kentucky Division when it passed around the outskirts of Atlanta on the way to Columbus.

More than one resident has told me that from time to time, they have heard the distant roll of a drum. Not everyone I spoke with had heard it, but those who have heard the sound of someone beating a drum are certain of what it was.

Twice, late on Sunday nights after the racing ended at AMS, I have parked in a vacant lot across from the Crossroads Café and listened and watched. Unfortunately, I have not spotted the young drummer boy, or heard the roll of his drum.

But just because I haven’t seen or heard, doesn’t mean he does not exist.

Real, spiritual, or supernatural, the legend of the young drummer boy that is centered around the Crossroads Café remains a strange occurrence, even for those well versed in the mysteries of the Civil War.

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PARSE Update

The Endless Mountains Chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of Retired State Employees (Chapter 15) invites all state retirees from Bradford, Sullivan and Susquehanna Counties to join their organization and learn more about their benefits and what is going on at the state level with their pensions and benefits.

PARSE meets the second Tuesday of teach month. In October the meeting will be held at the Fairdale United Methodist Church, 12:00 noon, with dinner prepared by the church members.

The local chapter is very fortunate to have Mrs. Clara Smith as the Northeast Regional Vice President. She attends each meeting and keeps chapter members informed of anything that might affect retirees at the state level.

Also, each county’s vice president arranges for local speakers to talk on benefits available on the local level for seniors or just an entertaining presentation regarding wildlife, gardening, elder law, etc. In September we were informed about alternatives to Nursing Home Care by Ms. Joyce McCleary from the Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Tioga Counties Area Agency on Aging. She gave us many facts of which we were not aware.

Any retiree wishing information regarding the PARSE organization may contact John Benio, Susquehanna Vice President at (570) 278-2380.

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Time And The River Project Underway

Susquehanna County Conservation District and the Rosemont Inn of Montrose are sponsoring part of a statewide project named, Time and the River, depicting Pennsylvania’s ten major rivers in large paintings. The Friends of Salt Springs State Park, The E.L. Rose Conservancy, Susquehanna County Farm Bureau and the Upper Tunkhannock Creek Watershed Association are partners of this project.

Artist Vincent Carducci has based this project on the Susquehanna County tributaries section on Fall Brook, which runs through Salt Springs State Park. A print edition is planned for one of the nine paintings Carducci is completing of Fall Brook. Mr. Carducci began his residency for the Time and the River project on September 20.

Mountain View High School is the host for this particular project. High school and middle school students will paint, first indoors, then on-site at Fall Brook, with Carducci. Three PBS films on art and the environment will be screened for students of the school district.

Mountain View High School will host a Watershed Colloquium, October 7, 7:00 p.m., featuring an exhibition of these student paintings. The program will also include speakers on the ecology and history of Fall Brook and the upper Susquehanna watershed.

The Susquehanna County Conservation District welcomes the public to attend the Watershed Colloquium for an informative evening and to support local youth.

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Wachovia Foundation Champions Hospice

Wachovia Foundation has chosen to honor June J. Wootton and Earle Wootton’s selection by the Montrose Chamber of Commerce as "Citizens of the Year" with a $7,500 contribution to the Community Foundation of Susquehanna County. The donation will support the June J. Wootton Fund for Hospice and Palliative Care.

"Our mission at Wachovia is to build strong and vibrant communities, improve the quality of life, and make a positive difference where we work and live. Your organization is vital in accomplishing these goals and many others. Wachovia is proud to support your organization’s commitment to the community," commented Robert Richardson, Area Executive Officer for Wachovia’s Northeast Pennsylvania market.

The gift is a fitting tribute to June J. Wootton’s life of dedication to the relief of human suffering. She is a registered nurse who has worked in pediatric oncology. Her greatest commitment since settling in Montrose in 1975 has been to Broome and Susquehanna County patients and families participating in the Lourdes Hospital Hospice program. She has served for 24 years as a volunteer and is currently co-facilitating volunteer training, volunteering on the In-Patient Unit as well as Home Care. She has been an active member of the Speakers Bureau and initiated an Annual Bereavement Service 15 years ago. In 1999, she was the New York State Hospice Volunteer of the Year.

Earle Wootton has served as a bank director for 25 years and is currently a director at Wachovia Bank, Northeast Pennsylvania. He recently retired from work at Montrose Publishing Company. He also had printing and publishing businesses in Susquehanna and Canton, Pennsylvania. Until 1997 he owned local newspapers including the Susquehanna County Independent. Earle has also served as a bank director for County National Bank, Commonwealth, Williamsport; Meridian, Reading; CoreStates and First Union, Philadelphia. During the past few years he has devoted much of his time to establish the Community Foundation of Susquehanna County and the United Way of Susquehanna County.

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