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The parking lot was nearly full when I pulled in front of the country club where my class reunion was being held. But, as if by intent or reservation, there was one spot right on the end of a row of cars. I hadnt wanted to be the first one there like I usually am, but it looked like I was the last.
A breeze had come up and Im hurrying to save my beautician-created hairdo from destruction. Unfamiliar with the building, I arrived first at a locked door and had to backtrack to another, which took me to the bar. There sat the women at a couple of long tables, while most of the men were standing at the bar. A prelude to dinner that would come next.
The first familiar face was that of my best friend from elementary school, and I recognized her because she looked exactly as I remembered her mother. "Phyllis," is said with excitement. She looked perplexed and I added, "Im Shirley Wilcox." Later I sought her out again and we had a good catch-up visit.
With the women mostly glued to their chairs, I headed for the men, and they seemed much happier to see me. I recognized only one! Moving down this line of blurring faces, I got thoroughly hugged and welcomed. If I had passed any one of them on the street, I wouldnt have known them. Ive often thought about that when I was in Smethport. The people I meet in the grocery store and restaurants may be grown-up versions of kids I sat with in classes.
It seemed to be mostly the out-of-towners who came back. They had traveled from all over the United States. Most were retired now, or partially retired. And for being from a small town, economically deprived even in the 1950s, they had done well for themselves.
I was sad to see the first great love of my life listed among the memorials. I remembered those sixth grade phone calls for which I waited breathlessly, and where, after hed made the call, hed talk as much to his dog, Apple, as he did to me.
The man I originally thought I would marry was not there because he was scuba diving halfway around the world. I was disappointed not to see him again and find out what he did with all those brains and talent. Plenty, I guess.
The biggest surprise of the evening was Mike, a tall, stocky, good-looking man with sunny-nature showing all over him. When someone introduced me, I was stunned. I said, "Mike you were that short, skinny kid who tormented us all as we rode the school bus. Now look at you!" He smiled as he acknowledged that I had the right guy. He and his wife were the last people I saw on Sunday morning as we met in a restaurant parking lot. They were headed back to South Carolina.
I wanted a lot more time to talk to these people one-on-one and hear about their children, mates, employment, hobbies; all those little things that make up the sum of our lives. I came away happy and yet, unfulfilled, for not being able to fill in the blanks in that short length of time. And who knows what five more years will bring.
GLENWOOD: Squirrel pot-pie is now all the go.
MONTROSE: The "roughers" in the cut glass factory have been working a couple of hours over time each night this week in order to keep in advance of the "smoothers." Work is coming in more plentiful and it is expected they will work full time when the election is over.
HALLSTEAD: Edward and Ray Hazard, aged 14 and 12, were out shooting last Wednesday, when Ray espied within tempting reach a red squirrel. He had been told that the powder he was using was not strong, so he had used a double amount in loading. After having fired at the squirrel, he found himself holding in each hand a portion of the gun, fragments of which had scattered in every direction. One part was found later in his shirt bosom. He then noticed that his left hand was apparently all blown into ragged pieces and the blood spurting in a large stream. Instantly placing his thumb on the artery he called to his brother who tied a handkerchief above the wounded portion of the wrist in the manner described in school physiologies. This was done so scientifically that Dr. Schoonmaker did not remove the bandage until the operation, in which he was assisted by Dr. Lockwood, amputating the thumb and skillfully taking out portions of the wrist and replacing other injured parts in such a manner that they hope to save the rest of the hand. It is considered a miracle that, under the circumstances, the boy was not instantly killed. When the accident took place the boys were on a hill some distance from their home, which is more than two miles from Great Bend, and the wounded boy would doubtless have bled to death before help could have reached him, had it not been for the presence of mind of his brother, who so successfully stopped the flow of blood.
FRIENDSVILLE: With the decision to erect a new St. Francis Xavier's church, it is time to reflect on the old. The present edifice is fast falling into decay and is one of the oldest churches in the county. As originally built, in 1831, by Edward White and others, it was small and plain. Improvements were made later by Fr. Mattingly, new deceased, who also supplied it with a fine-toned bell, whose notes will likely be heard from the belfry of the proposed new edifice. In the graveyard of the old church are two mounds of historical note. Resting there are Patrick and Ellen Griffin, the parents of the gifted Irish poet and writer, Gerald Griffin, who later became Brother Joseph, of the Order of Christian Brothers. In one of the monastery cemeteries in Ireland, the remains of this gifted man sleep, his gift to the literary world being book after book of pure and excellent thought. A complete description of the new edifice has not reached the newspaper office.
SOUTH MONTROSE: We have heard of Paddy keeping his pig in the parlor, but never heard of any one keeping a cow in the cellar, until one day last week. In bringing his cows from the pasture, one of our farmers missed one from his herd. A search was made but she could not be found. It was continued next day, but without avail. Having occasion to go to his cellar the farmer found his bovine contentedly munching his apples and potatoes. Moral, "Always keep your cellar door closed."
SILVER LAKE: Miss Emily C. Blackman [author of our county's history] visited friends at the lake last week, Tuesday. It was Miss Blackman's first visit in 20 years and the place had changed so much in that time she could scarcely recognize it.
HARFORD: Prof. J. A. Sophia is tearing down the old red shop, one of our oldest landmarks, built in 1824 by Joseph Sweet.
SOUTH GIBSON: Oscar Belcher, after an absence of several years spent in the Klondike, Siberia, and the far West, has returned to his old home at East Mountain, where he will spend some time with his parents.
NEW MILFORD: Carl Tracy Hawley, associate professor of drawing in Syracuse University, returned to Syracuse yesterday after a year spent in study abroad. He will take up his work again in the Fine Arts College at the beginning of the fall term. Honors that are the acme of every artist's ambition were granted in Europe, for in the salon of the French metropolis were hung the pictures which he completed while in France. In addition to this, many of his artistic efforts received recognition in the exhibits of the American Art Association in Paris. His studies were pursued in the art schools of Colarossi and Julian, where the most celebrated of modern painters gather to do their work. Carl is formerly of New Milford.
JACKSON: Miss Matie Curtis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Curtis, a trained nurse in the city of Denver, Colorado, but formerly of Jackson, will spend the winter in California.
BEECH GROVE, Auburn Twp.: Several of the neighbors made a surprise bee for Mrs. Hattie Fuller, Wednesday, and dug over 50 bushels of potatoes. The ladies also took their shears and thimbles and made themselves useful in a general way, all of which was very gratefully received.
HOP BOTTOM: The Auxiliary of the Universalist church will hold a masquerade social in Tennant's Hall, Monday evening, Oct. 31st, in celebration of Hallowe'en. Come and have your fortune told.
GREAT BEND: An attempt to wreck train No. 3 on the Erie just west of this place, was made on Sunday night. The accident was averted by a freight eastbound train discovering a tie upon the track. It was soon removed from the track.
NEWS BRIEFS: The State Game Commission has instructed its wardens and agents everywhere to arrest boys using slings as a weapon with which to kill song and insectivorous birds and already some arrests have been made. AND: "Christy" Mathewson [of Factoryville, PA.], pitcher for the New York Giants, is to be a member of the Los Angeles Pacific Coast league team, until the close of their season, on or about Jan. 1905. AND: The New York City subway opened on October 27.
VISIT OUR WEBSITE, www.susqcohistsoc.org, for back issues of 100 Years.
the Way...With P. Jay
John P. Moses
I hope I never find myself in trouble with the law but Ill tell you this. If I do, I would call John P. Moses. Mr. Moses is the defense attorney for Dr. Stephen B. Scher, who was convicted of the 1976 fatal shooting of Martin Dillon.
My friends, John P. Moses is like... well, Perry Mason in the flesh. Since Mason and Matlock are fictitious, we could never see it but can you imagine a law firm of Mason, Matlock and Moses? Wow! Scotch tape that team on your door, 3M.
Mr. Moses had one of the toughest murder trials any lawyer could tackle. There was little doubt in most minds, including yours truly, that Dr. Scher shot and killed Martin Dillon, his supposed best friend. I use the word "supposed" because a man does not sleep with his best friends wife. During the trial, testimony uncovered the secret (?) affair between Dr. Scher and Mrs. Dillon. They married two years after Martin Dillons death.
Anyhow, Mr. Moses got into a game where a stacked deck was waiting for him. Witnesses, some naive and some professional, bombarded the jurors with testimony that left them with little choice but a guilty verdict. Dr. Schers story and subsequent testimony had more holes in it than a ton of Swiss Cheese. He changed his mind like a chameleon changes colors.
And so, armed with little defensive weapons and a murder case that was gathering dust somewhere in the archives of the Susquehanna County District Attorneys office for 20 years before an arrest and subsequent trial occurred, Mr. Moses suffered what appeared to be a rare loss for him in a court of law. Or did he? Well, it took a few years because the wheels of justice grind slowly but Mr. Moses has won a new trial for Dr. Scher. Despite the stacked deck, the death of some witnesses whose 20-year-old statements were presented at the trial, the Commonwealth has been given 120 days, commencing October 19, to begin Dr. Schers new trial.
Some time ago, I believe it was Yogi Berra who said, "It aint over until its over."
A rare legal action
It isnt too often that we find legal action pending against a tax sale, but the Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau is a respondent in a petition to set aside the sale of a parcel of land. The petitioners are Linda Reilly of Clarks Green and Valerie White of Williamsport.
According to the petition, on September 20, the Tax Claim Bureau exposed a parcel of land owned by the petitioners at a sale of tax delinquent properties. The petitioners allege that the tax sale was illegal and invalid.
In the petition, Ms. Reilly and Ms. White say that the parcel of land was exposed to public tax sale for unpaid real estate taxes for the years 2001, 2002 and 2003. They say they attempted to pay the taxes for 2001 and 2002 but were informed that the upset sale price required them to pay all taxes returned delinquent.
The petitioners have asked the court to set aside the public tax sale and for "such other and further relief as is just."
Public records in the courthouse show that the parcel of land equals one acre and has a home on it along with a detached garage. At the tax sale, it was sold for $30,600 to Donna Fekette and Thomas Lopatofsky.
Best of Luck, Bill
Word has trickled our way that Bill Zick will retire as recycling coordinator at the end of this year. Best wishes for a healthy and happy retirement, Bill.
By the way, in case you did not know it, the recycling center in South Montrose has a meeting room which can accommodate 15 people and is available for civic and other group meetings. For more information, call the center at 278-3509.
What type of protection does the law provide against dangerous dogs? The Dog Law does have a specific statutory provision relating to "dangerous dogs." The statute does not specifically identify any particular breed of dog as being a dangerous dog. Instead, the statute provides that whenever a dog has attacked a person (or killed or injured another dog), the owner of the offending canine may be charged with harboring a dangerous dog. Under the Dog Law, this particular crime constitutes a summary offense, which is generally punishable by a fine up to $300 and/or imprisonment of up to 90 days.
In determining whether a particular animal is a dangerous dog, the court must consider whether the dog: (1) inflicted severe injury upon a human being without provocation on public or private property; (2) killed or inflicted severe injury on a domestic animal without provocation while off the owners property; (3) attached a human being without provocation; or (4) has been used in the commission of a criminal offense. 3 P.S. ß 459-502-A(a)(1). Furthermore, the court will also consider whether the dog has a history of unprovoked attacks or aggressive behavior, or whether the dog has a propensity to attack human beings and/or other domestic animals. If there is a conviction under this statute, the dog is deemed thereafter to be a "dangerous dog."
In addition to the fine and/or imprisonment, the owner of the "dangerous dog" will also be required to obtain a certificate of registration under the Dog Law. Furthermore, once convicted, the "dangerous dog" then faces a rather bleak existence. The convicted canine must be kept in a proper enclosure, together with clear notification to the public that there is a dangerous dog on the property. The owner of the property must also post a clearly visible warning sign containing a symbol that would notify children of the presence of the dangerous dog. The owner is also required to post a bond in the amount of $50,000 to protect against any further personal injury committed by the dangerous dog.
In the event that the owner of a dangerous dog fails to comply with the dictates of the statute, the dog will be seized by law enforcement. In the event that the dangerous dog thereafter attacks another human being or domestic animal, the owner of the dangerous dog is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable by up to 2 years incarceration and/or a $5,000 fine. In addition to the charges against the owner, the dangerous dog will be seized, placed in quarantine for a proper length of time and thereafter humanely killed. The owner of the re-offending dangerous dog must pay for the costs of the quarantine and destruction.
As I was preparing this article, I received a call from a resident who was having problems with a neighbors dogs crossing into her property and exhibiting aggressive behavior. These are common complaints. The Dog Law does provide some remedy. In addition to the Dog Law, the general provisions of the Crimes Code could also be applied to a dog attack. For instance, there have been several cases nationwide where dog owners have been prosecuted for homicide where their dogs mauled and killed small children. Dog ownership is a tremendous responsibility, and, for those unwilling to act responsibly, the law provides some measure of recourse.
Please submit any questions, concerns, or comments to Susquehanna County District Attorneys Office, P.O. Box 218, Montrose, Pennsylvania 18801.
Dear EarthTalk: How serious is the threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria in chicken and other poultry?
Dana Wilke, Chicago, IL
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, 70 percent of all antibiotics in the U.S. are fed to pigs, cattle and poultry for the purposes of sanitation and growth promotion. Meanwhile, humans rely on many of these same antibiotics as medicines to control various bacterial infections. Bacteria in poultry and other livestock exposed over and over to these antibiotics develop increased resistance. The result can be that when people become infected by these same bacteria--such as Campylobacter or Salmonella, the two most common causes of food poisoning in the U.S.--the antibiotics they normally rely on can be useless.
The Keep Antibiotics Working (KAW) campaign, an association of health, consumer protection, environmental and animal welfare organizations, says that antibiotic resistance is "reaching crisis proportions, resulting in infections that are difficult, or impossible, to treat." The campaign asserts: "Overuse and misuse of antibiotics greatly accelerates the proliferation of resistant bacteria." KAW's primary goal is to end the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture.
A recent study published in Consumer Reports found that 49 percent of brand name whole broiler chickens purchased in food stores in 25 U.S. cities were contaminated with Campylobacter and/or Salmonella bacteria. According to KAW, those two strains of bacteria alone cause 3.3 million illnesses and 650 deaths every year. The study also found that 90 percent of the Campylobacter and 34 percent of the Salmonella tested were resistant to at least one antibiotic.
Another recent study, conducted by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and the Sierra Club, found that thousands of people in the Minneapolis area were ingesting bacteria resistant to important antibiotic medicines like Cipro, Synercid and Tetracycline. "As bacteria on food get more and more resistant to the antibiotics doctors rely on for treating infections, it puts patients lives at risk. This study confirms that supermarket chicken can be an important source of drug-resistant infections," says IATPs David Wallinga M.D. "We can't afford to play Russian Roulette with our existing antibiotics because they are rapidly losing effectiveness," he concludes.
CONTACTS: Union of Concerned Scientists, (617) 547-5552, www.ucsusa.org; Keep Antibiotics Working, (202) 572-3250, www.keepantibioticsworking.com; Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, (612) 870-0453, www.iatp.org; Sierra Club, (415) 977-5500, www.sierraclub.org.
Dear EarthTalk: What is the "Roadless Rule" and why are environmentalists in favor of it?
Eliza Scheer, Seattle, WA
The U.S. Forest Service manages Americas national forests for "multiple uses," not just recreation and preservation. And over the past 50 years, one of those primary "uses" has been resource extraction, whereby taxpayer-subsidized leases have been granted to logging, mining and energy companies so they can remove and sell timber, ore, oil and gas. Road building is key to these activities so that heavy equipment can be moved in and out. Needless to say, both the road building and the resource extraction itself are very damaging to the forest ecosystem.
In one of his last acts as president in January 2001, Bill Clinton signed an executive order preventing the construction of roads on large areas of wild lands within Americas national forests. The so-called "Roadless Rule" preserved 58.5 million acres of unspoiled forest land in 39 states. But in July 2004, the Bush Administration revamped the law, giving state governors the final say on decisions about opening up otherwise virgin national forest lands to resource extraction.
Environmentalists cheered Clintons order back in 2001, contending that roads built on forest lands often punch through wildlife habitat ranges, cause erosion and silting of rivers and streams, and destroy the back-country experience for human visitors. Industry, however, argued that it infringed on the Forest Services guiding principle of multiple uses by essentially excluding a traditional user group--loggers and miners. By revamping the law, the Bush Administration gave the nod to industry, despite the fact that, according to the Heritage Forests Campaign, public comment invited by the Forest Service had been overwhelmingly in favor of the Roadless Rule.
Much of the land in contention is in western states looking to bring jobs and money into otherwise ailing economies. The U.S. Forest Service just recently approved its first new timber leases on lands previously protected from development by the Roadless Rule in the lush southeast section of Alaska, where dwindling natural resources and a sluggish economy have conspired to drive unemployment rates to unprecedented highs. Alaskas state leadership has traditionally favored extracting and selling the states abundant natural resources. New timber leases in previously protected sections of Idaho and Wyoming are expected soon as well.
CONTACTS: U.S. Forest Service Roadless Area Conservation Program, http://roadless.fs.fed.us; Heritage Forests Campaign, (202) 887-8800, www.ourforests.org.
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: www.emagazine.com, or e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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