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Issue Home October 12, 2004 Site Home

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

From the Desk of the D.A.

An Inside Look

Slices of Life

As Seasons Change

The smell of fall is in the air. The feel of fall is in the air. Even before the burning of leaves starts, there is a warm, baked aroma that permeates the whole outdoors.

Fall is my favorite time of year. While most folks wait impatiently for spring because it means summer is coming with all its outdoor activities, I welcome fall as a prelude to the chance to cloister inside to read, write, sew, work on Christmas presents and do other domestic things.

But it’s not only looking ahead that makes me love fall. Scuffing through the dry leaves is a joy unto itself. Color is everywhere. The hydrangeas have reached the perfect pink, the blueberry bushes have turned to scarlet, the sky is as blue as the poets describe it, and houses are artfully decorated with pumpkins and deep-colored, brilliant mums.

Today when I was trying to salvage a sickly mum by planting it in my flower garden, I wandered around the lawn checking out other flowers. Hidden among some high foliage I found my two miniature roses; both the red one and the pink one, given to me by very special people. Each had one bloom. I will keep covering them on the nights when frost is predicted.

Autumn also means it’s time to rummage through the closets and drawers, putting away the shorts and tops and bringing out the sweatshirts, sweaters and corduroys. I learned from experience not to do this too soon, though, because there will be several days of cool mornings and very hot afternoons.

Watching the kids go to the bus stop is interesting at this time of year. Either they are shivering in the morning, or carrying part of their clothing in the afternoon. Many mornings I shiver just to look at them as they stand at the bus stop in shorts and a tee shirt, their arms pulled inside the shirt and hugging themselves to keep warm. No socks also seems to be fashionable now.

With this summer being cooler than some, I didn’t even change all of the storm windows to screens, so there won’t be that much window work to do. I do have to wash inside windows because screens let in a lot of dirt. In fact, I will need to do considerable fall housecleaning before I shut myself in for the winter.

Finding my boots ahead of time is always a good idea. I’ve stood on my back porch more times than one (as the snow comes down and the time of my appointment comes closer) wracking my brain as to where I put my boots last spring.

Time to find the flannel sheets and the heavy quilts. One quilt is on the guest bed, as you know, and Mrs. Morris was back on it today for the first time since the dogs went home a month ago! Their smells must finally be gone. Either that or she’s over being miffed that they came to visit.

My most important fall job this year will be getting my car ready to face the cold weather, ice and snow. It usually isn’t such a big deal, because if the weather is really bad I can stay home. But this year I’m back to work as a choir director in the Triple Cities, and that twice-a-week drive on a real schedule means I have to be ready for whatever Mother Nature sends us.

It may be an interesting winter and I’ll be the one longing for springtime.

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100 Years Ago

RUSH: Daniel Oakes was selling onions through Auburn Twp last week at 80 cents a bushel. He has a truck patch of three acres. We asked him how much he realized from it. Now for the benefit of your readers I will give it just as he told your correspondent. 300 bu. of onions at 80 cents a bu., 238 bu. of potatoes, 500 heads of sorted cabbage, 27 bu. peas sold for $27, and 6 1/2 bu. of buckwheat. It is quite evident that a man with a very small capital can become as prosperous and more so, than those with their hundreds of acres.

AUBURN: Last week Will Donlin let a fellow take his horse to drive to South Montrose and not returning at the time he said he would, Will went for him and found him at Brooklyn, at which place he had gotten in some trouble by doing a little forgery which detained him, so Will got his horse all right, and sent the man to board with Sheriff Brush.

SILVER LAKE: Clarence W. Hill and Caroline Meeker applied for a marriage license.

MONTROSE: E. Tracy Sweet, formerly of Montrose, who has been news editor of the Scranton Tribune for several years, has been appointed managing editor of the paper. AND: Daniel Sommerlott, an employee of the cut glass factory met with quite a painful accident of his right hand while at work on Monday afternoon. He had put on a pair of heavy rubber gloves, which are used by the workmen in dipping the cut glass articles in the acid vat, and did not notice a very small hole in the thumb of the glove, sufficiently large enough for the powerful acid to work its way through to the flesh. Help was summoned and when the glove was removed his thumb was found to be badly eaten, and the pain was intense. At last reports the injured member is slowly recovering and fortunately it will not necessitate amputation. (Daniel, formerly of Germany, married Matilda Galdas, in Philadelphia, on Wednesday, October 5th. They immediately went to housekeeping in a suite of rooms in the Maxey & Bissell block on Church St.)

BROOKLYN: It is estimated that the loss sustained by the burning of the Brooklyn condensery amounts to about $24,000, on which there was an insurance of $17,500. There is considerable indignation felt by the citizens of that town owing to the charge a Scranton newspaper made in stating that the conflagration was a result growing from a grievance between the patrons and the owners. There is a strong probability that the plant will be rebuilt, even though the company lately operating it fails to do so, as many of the most influential citizens are taking up the matter. AND: In Alford, J. M. Decker has put in a new hydraulic cider press, of entirely new movement.

LATHROP TWP.: The report comes from Lathrop that what has every appearance of being human footsteps have been found impressed in the rock at Dale's stone quarry, that place. The footsteps were 20 feet under the surface, nearly the entire covering being rock. The prehistoric man had very large feet, which probably explains why some of the people of that place have such good-sized pedal extremities.

SUSQUEHANNA: A. J. Ryan has returned from Mt. Clemons, Michigan, Mineral Springs, after a sojourn of several weeks, very much benefited in health. His son, Harry, is also much improved and will remain there some time longer. AND: "A Funny Side of Life" was the attraction in Hogan Opera house last Saturday evening.

SPRINGVILLE: F. W. Weiss has sold his grocery and meat business to Fred Risley and will move away in the spring or before. He is away on business now. AND: Stephen Tuttle has purchased a brand new hearse.

EAST DIMOCK: We are informed that Homer Smith, son of W. C. Smith, of Parkvale, and teacher of the Main School, had the misfortune Saturday, while in Montrose at the planning mill, to get some of his fingers cut off.

FRIENDSVILLE: A 12-year-old boy of Martin Clarey's met with quite a serious accident while chestnuting. The lad in some way lost his balance and fell from the tree, breaking both arms, dislocating one shoulder and spraining a wrist. He is under the treatment of Dr. E. L. Handrick, and at this writing is comfortable.

LENOXVILLE: Anyone wishing a new hat will do well to call on our milliner, Mrs. B. E. Clarkson.

JACKSON: Last Friday night the ladies of the M. E. Church served a pie social in Robert's Hall. The young people decorated the hall with fall leaves and pumpkin lanterns.

HALLSTEAD/GREAT BEND: Work on the bridge between Hallstead and Great Bend is now in progress and the span will probably be completed in a couple of weeks. The bridge is closed to traffic and boatmen are kept busy ferrying passengers between the towns.

COUNTY TEACHERS INSTITUTE Entertainment and Notes: Starting Monday evening, the Dunbar Company Male Quartette and Bell Ringers will entertain. During the remainder of the week, Dr. Frank Dixon, will deliver a lecture, "The Threat of Socialism." The Cleveland Ladies' Orchestra will perform and Dr. John Merritt Driver will lecture. A social dance will be given at Village Hall, next Thursday evening, Oct 20th, the last night that the teachers attending the institute will be in town. The orchestra engaged for the occasion has a repertoire containing many new pieces which they say will "make a hit." (Spectators admitted to gallery, 10 cents.) The lady teachers have a treat in store when they visit the store of Jessie B. James on South Main Street. They will find that Dame Fashion has never dealt more kindly with femininity than this season, in giving them beautiful creations in stylish millinery. They will find a line of trimmed and untrimmed hats and an expert New York trimmer to incorporate stylishly and becomingly the many things in feathers, flowers, ribbons and the hundred and one other necessary adjuncts, all contributing to millinery. She also has corsets, girdles, hosiery, toboggans, tam o'shanters and black underskirts.

Visit our web site at for back issues of "100 Years Ago."

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Small Town Living Ain’t What It Used To Be

Many years ago, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania passed a bill allowing public employees to organize and bargain collectively through selected representatives, know affectionately today as unions.

As much as I concur with the need for unions under certain circumstances and in certain working environments, I cannot help but wonder if, in their infinite wisdom, our legislators ever gave thought of how that legislation would impact on municipalities across the Commonwealth. Specifically, I am referring to small boroughs that are struggling to stay afloat amid increasing costs of maintaining streets, garbage collection, fire and police protection, and such ridiculous expenses as paying rent to water companies for fire hydrants that the communities actually own.

I am sure if any of you were asked to name one of the costliest expenses for a family today, your answer would be health insurance. It is a subject that can be heard in discussions from the rustic country stores in the deep south to the plush condominiums in Manhattan. It takes the biggest bite from the smallest Social Security checks some folks are expected to live on month after month.

Oh, sure, both presidential candidates are saying they have a plan to provide some sort of health insurance for every man, woman and child in America. But for how many years have we been listening to this same political rhetoric? And how many presidents, senators and congressmen have come and gone and most of us are still struggling to pay health insurance premiums?

Strangely enough, the same politicians who cannot come up with a suitable health plan that would cover the USA, are getting their health insurance paid by... you guessed it, the American taxpayers. Now, I don’t know about you, but I am getting tired of paying health insurance premiums for Senators Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum as well as Congressman Don Sherwood, all of whom are paid a whopping $158,100 a year plus expenses and annual cost of living allowances. And of course a full benefit package that includes a retirement fund that just happens to be subsidized by tax dollars.

My friends, whether you realize it or not, this habit of making us little folks pay the health insurance premiums for our representatives in Washington, holds true on the state, county and municipal levels as well. It becomes more painful on the county and municipal level where public employees use their union cards as weapons of mass deduction and pursue salary increments and benefits at the expense of their friends and neighbors.

In Susquehanna County, for example, three union contracts recently approved by the county Board of Commissioners, all provide for the county to pay 100 percent of the cost of health insurance premiums for the four years the contracts will be in force. Despite the fact that private industry is demanding that their employees contribute toward the health insurance premiums, the commissioners apparently were intimidated enough by the presence of the Teamsters Union that they simply acquiesced in most of the union’s demands.

Across the Commonwealth, small boroughs preparing their 2005 budgets are faced with escalating health insurance premiums for their full-time police officers. Some boroughs would like to have the police officers contribute to the monthly premiums. But in most cases, even the smallest police departments have joined the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) that is recognized as one of the largest collective bargaining agencies in the nation.

As a result, municipal officials are intimidated at the mere mention of the FOP by their full-time police officers. And so, the taxpayers in these tiny towns must bear the rising costs of the health insurance premiums for all employees because the FOP demands it for their members. Sadly, the full-time officers feather their own nests at the expense of their friends and neighbors who must pay the real estate taxes or lose their homes.

In the Borough of Forest City, which takes up about one-square mile of earth and has a population of fewer than 2,000, the police budget will exceed $200,000 in 2005. And that will not include 24/7 protection. The borough has a small tax base, with only one industry in the community, and a handful of stores and a few professional offices along Main Street.

There was a time when Forest City was, as it is known today, a mile of hospitality. Its people still are hospitable even though they don’t smile in that mile like they did a few years ago. Times have changed in the borough. Doors that were seldom locked years ago are secured today often when the occupants are home. Neighbors that chatted over the backyard fence don’t even know the people in the next yard. And when you do hear them hollering back and forth it’s more than likely a feud rather than a friendly chat. In many instances the fences are so high you can’t see over the top of them. And, my friends, all these changes are a part of what many refer to as progress.

Thank God for the volunteer firemen!

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From the Desk of the D.A.

Under the Vehicle Code, there is a provision indicating that any person "riding an animal or driving an animal-drawn vehicle" are subject to the same duties as other drivers, except for the provisions of the Vehicle Code" which by their very nature can have no application." 75 Pa. C.S. ß 3103(a). What does this mean? Which provisions of the Vehicle Code apply to horseback riders and which do not? The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently addressed the applicability of this provision to intoxicated horseback riders.

The case arose in Mercer County, where the Pennsylvania State Police observed two individuals riding their horses on a public highway. Based upon the nature of their behavior, the Pennsylvania State Police arrested the two riders for driving under the influence of alcohol. The defendants argued that the DUI statute did not apply because they were not driving a vehicle; rather, they were riding a horse. In the alternative, the defendants argued that ß 3103(a) was unconstitutionally vague because it failed to properly differentiate between the different offenses for which a horseback rider may be prosecuted under the Vehicle Code. The trial court agreed and dismissed the charges. Because the issue involved the constitutionality of a statute, the appeal was taken directly to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of ß 3103 and concluded that it was unconstitutional. In making this finding, the Supreme Court concluded that ß 3103 "does not provide a reasonable standard by which an ordinary person may contemplate his or her future conduct." In other words, if an intoxicated person had a copy of the Vehicle Code in front of him and was trying to decide whether he should ride his horse home from the bar, the wording of the statute fails to provide clear notice that his conduct would be criminal. In the absence of such a clear prohibition, the statute was unconstitutional because it was too vague.

Justice Eakin dissented from the decision, finding that "an ordinary person of common intelligence would know that riding a horse while intoxicated would be a violation of [the DUI] statute, just as the same person would recognize that the rider of a horse must stop at a stop sign, ride on the right side of the road, and signal before turning." In conclusion, Justice Eakin used the jingle from the Mr. Ed television show to voice his opposition to the decision:

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,

But the Vehicle Code does not divorce

Its application from, perforce,

A steed, as my colleagues said.

"It’s not vague," I’ll say until I’m hoarse

And whether a car, a truck or horse

This law applied with equal force

And I’d reverse instead.

Please submit any questions, concerns, or comments to Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office, P.O. Box 218, Montrose, Pennsylvania 18801.

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An Inside Look

It’s beyond me how over a month of my senior year has already passed by. It seems like just yesterday we were all walking in the doors greeting everyone we had not seen over the summer. The simple idea that it’s already October and the year looks like it is going to fly by just astonishes me. What amazes me even more, though, is how much there is to do pertaining to graduation, college, and careers thereafter.

I remember when I was a little girl, up until not even a few years ago, I firmly believed that I would move out to California upon graduation and go to Stanford University... and my, my, how things have changed! With the reality of actually choosing a school upon us, everything has to be taken into consideration, and even if everything did come together for me to go to California, I sure would not want to pay for the gas!

So on that note, college bound seniors are faced with seemingly never ending amounts of decisions, with each one being heavily weighed. Whether it be location, price, major, or even sports, everything has to be thought about. One note of advice for any underclassmen hoping to compete in a collegiate sport: get started in the recruiting process early. Trust me, it makes everything ten times easier. However, I know for a fact that I am not quite as stressed out as some may be when it comes to trying to decide what to do after high school, because our school and counselors are an unbelievable help, trying to give us as many options as possible to figure out what it is we’re doing.

Of course, after any three month summer break, it was hard to get back into the swing of things. I mean, come on, who really wants to do homework after having such a long time of carefree fun! But now that we’re here, there is not really anything that can be done, as much as we would like to try. This year we have some more faculty changes, which is normal from year to year, and also a new absent policy. This policy really cracks down on missing school, and although it is being done for our good, it almost seems as though the precious freedom of being a senior is being slowly dominated by control. But hey, at least we got lucky and got out of wearing uniforms!

So, all in all, right now for the seniors Elk Lake is all about the hustle and bustle of planning our futures. It is unbelievably hard to realize that this is our last year, that high school will be over come June. But that is how many months away, and until then, I’m sure everything and everybody will keep us busy with new happenings here at school!

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