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Issue Home November 23, 2004 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

An Open Letter

We are looking for a copy of a picture of the blizzard of January 12, 1964. The picture in the paper had a car stuck on Main Street, Susquehanna. If anyone has this issue we would appreciate hearing from them – and would like to have a copy of the picture.


Rev. Robert & Janet Harris

RR 1 Box 39 BB

Susquehanna, PA 18847

Response To A Response

The recent letter titled “Response” perfectly illustrates the effectiveness of the Orwellian technique: repeat anything often enough, with confidence, and people are going to believe you! I simply have to take issue with the following points:

1. President Bush may well care about the US casualties. He should, since he sent those young men out there to Iraq under false pretenses believing they were performing a valuable service for mankind. But he appears to be very well pleased with himself, still enjoying all the perks of office.

2. We can grieve with the families of our 1,000+ casualties without pictures. As with the families of 100,000 Iraqi casualties (recent estimate). And feel for the 60,000-150,000 “expendable” civilians of Falluja.

3. Attacks on us since 1979? We tend to think of any attack on US business interests as an attack on the nation as a whole. But our attacks against others in the intervening years have caused vastly more bloodshed. Think of Vietnam, Cambodia, Nicaragua, as well as others where our bombs have been used as retaliation for disagreement. And we don’t do reparations.

4. The President is indeed responsible for that brilliant bonus to business, the denial of overtime pay to numbers of workers who may be depending on those long hours to earn enough to keep their families.

5. The President is also responsible for what is often called an all-out assault on the environment, destruction disguised in deceptive terms and designed to reap financial gain for major corporations. A fresh onslaught is even now in the making, with the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as one target, in spite of scientific studies showing that there can be little real oil gain and much real damage to fragile habitat.

6. The average worker is significantly worse off these days. Many trained workers have been downsized out of their field of expertise and forced to take less skilled jobs. Millions are now subsisting close to the poverty line or below it, including the families of some reservists on active duty who have had to take significant pay cuts (not yet covered by any organized plan).

7. No evidence of presidential lying? What about the biggest whopper of them all, the one that has been so relentlessly flogged that it is accepted as true by roughly three-quarters of the population: that there was a link between Saddam and Al Qaeda, making this part of the war on terror. Authoritative studies have proved there is no such link and never has been, yet the President and Dick Cheney are still using that erroneous justification for their ill-conceived and ill-planned offensive.

8. Rapid growth of the economy? For whose benefit? Outsourcing is doing wonderful things for many underdeveloped countries, and presumably for the company stockholders. Meanwhile our workers are unemployed or downgraded.

9. Those rich people getting tax relief are definitely not “you and me,” unless you are one of the “haves and have-mores” that the President is proud to call his base. The ordinary guy’s check, $300 or so, would not even begin to compensate for lost overtime and reduced buying power.

10. The President emphatically stated (initially) that weapons of mass destruction were his only reason for wanting war. When WMD failed to materialize, Saddam was a bad guy and the world well rid of him.

11. We did not start this war? We most certainly did, to serve private interests of our leaders, who then looted the public coffers to pay for it. It has not made the US more safe, but rather exacerbated anti-American feeling and inspired scores of idealistic “insurgents” to rise up and fight for the honor of their country.

12. Courage of convictions? President Bush is a chameleon. But adamant in one respect: he knows his gut (God-given) instincts are right. No need to look at facts or circumstances or listen to informed advice. The troops are fighting Satan, but can God condone mass murder and destruction on the present scale, where no self-defense can be alleged?

13. The US is “the most helpful, charitable, giving and forgiving, teaching and providing nation in the world?” Not really; examples of our selfishness abound. With the Kyoto Protocol, we had an opportunity to become a major force in reversing human depredation of the environment. We blew it. As if money will be of any use when the human race is extinct.

14. God as the last, best, and only hope for mankind? Sorry, we cannot just sit back and expect him to solve everything for us. He needs honest, compassionate, humane workers in the field.


Faith Stedman Vis

Harford, PA

Free To Good (?) Homes

I am distressed at the number of “Free Pets to Good Homes” ads in some newspapers and just had to write to let people know what happens to many of the pets obtained through such ads. Much too frequently, the Humane Societies and other animal rescue organizations are called in to rescue former “free to good home” pets – if the pets are lucky.

There are very good reasons the Animal Rescue, the Humane Society, and Animal Control all charge an adoption fee for their animals. These small fees in no way begin to cover the cost incurred for medical treatment and upkeep of the pets they adopt out.

Did you know:

People value what they pay for. Pets obtained for free are more likely to be abused and/or discarded because “there are plenty more where that came from!”

So-called “bunchers” gather free pets until they have enough to make a trip to a lab worthwhile, then sell them for $25 a head for experimentation!

Free animals are taken to “blood” pit-bulls – to train fighting dogs how to kill, and to enjoy it!

According to one Humane Society, free kittens are being taken to “new good homes” in some areas – as dinner for a pet snake!

So-called “collectors,” like the woman in Michigan who recently left dozens of cats to die in her locked house, watch the newspapers for “Free to Good Home animals.” These collectors truly believe they are “rescuing” the animals.

Some people answering the “Free to Good Homes” ads really are loving, responsible pet owners. Many, perhaps even most are not. Please, don’t advertise free pets, charge at least $25 to discourage sale to research labs. Please, do take the time to interview each and every prospective owner; the Humane Society or any rescue organization can help you with what types of questions to ask. And please, have mama spayed as soon as the kittens or puppies are weaned.


Rose Marie Whalen

Montrose, PA

Exchange Was Enlightening

On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Susquehanna County Historical Society and Free Library Association, I want to thank everyone who attended our forum on November 4. The exchange of ideas and opinions that took place was enlightening to all of us. The outpouring of support for our efforts gave us encouragement to move on as your stewards in pursuit of a better situation for the two institutions we represent. We are delighted to not only have received multiple e-mails and phone calls offering additional, interesting ideas after the meeting, but also to have received a substantial donation to the building fund for a new library. Our generous benefactors expressed the hope that others might be similarly motivated to make a year-end donation. Anyone who is interested in contributing to this worthy effort, can send a check payable to the Susquehanna County Library, 2 Monument Square, Montrose, PA 18801. If you indicate that your contribution is for the building fund, we will see that it is applied to precisely that purpose.

We appreciate the enthusiastic response to the forum, and the vote of confidence. If anyone has any further thoughts or comments, please contact Sue Stone or myself at the library.


Kim Harwood

Chairman of the Steering Committee

Dangerous Section of Road

There is a bad section of road between Hallstead, PA and Conklin, NY (Rte. 7A); in PA it becomes Rte. 70.

Coming North from Hallstead PA, this section is about 500-1000 feet from the NY-PA line. There is a sign North that says lower speed to 35 mph, no guide rails, and I think one that says rough pavement. Cars going North cross into the Southbound lane to miss this part of the road. With snow and ice coming, it makes the area more dangerous than it already is. Instead of fixing the area, they do a band aid fix, which is truly horrible. It isn't even smoothed out.

I don't know if this is State Route 70 or County Route 70, but it sure would be a shame if someone had to lose their life before something is done about it.

If you could report on this I would appreciate it, as my wife drives this road to work and back every day.


Donald W. Rifenbury

Hallstead, PA

Are Our Children Good Enough

Many concerned parents would like to bring a very important issue to the table. As we all know, our children are the future and how we mold them and the values we instill in them are critical to their future. It gives them the confidence and know-how to be the best they can be. We thank the Susquehanna Junior Sabers (SJS) football program for allowing our children to participate in this program as football players, and cheerleaders. They, meaning SJS have not scrutinized anyone according to race, color, or what last name you have come by, honestly. Everyone has been accepted. Thank you for that.

We, as concerned parents feel that the same rules should apply to the independent competition group that travels nationally to perform every year, as it has for the past four years. The head of the SJS football league has permission to allow these children to travel and perform every year.

This year, a change has been made. The president of the SJS league, also one of the three competition coaches, decided (after four years) that we had to have tryouts. Our children were told, in front of their parents that none of the six judges were going to be any of their three coaches. Our children practiced for three days straight, learning part of a routine and a hello cheer, plus they had to make up their own cheer consisting of twenty-five seconds. These tryouts were open to cheerleaders, as well as football players, who played this season.

For the cheerleaders who have competed steadily for the past three to four years, this is an excitement high. They strive so hard to do their best and compete, against tough competition. They also fund-raise a good 85 to 90% of their money to go. For the most part, parents pay out the rest. This competition has never been put under so much scrutiny as it was this year. Any child that went in the past was always allowed to go, providing they participated in the season’s SJS program. There never were tryouts. These kids were told that it is all about fun. Yet, tryouts were now going to make you or break you, even if you had cheered in the program six years, or four years, or even one year. Then, a football player (the son of one of the coaches) made it. One of the coaches who, mind you, judged all of the applicants even though her son was one of them. In all fairness, any senior cheerleader who participated this season should have automatically been approved and any other up-and-coming cheerleader and football player should have been made to tryout. Several of these participants that didn’t make it have had run-ins with the president of the league. We, as parents feel that is all about whom they like and dislike, regardless of how much our children have to suffer for the ignorance of others. It’s all about fun, right? You’re not the parent that has to console their child when they are told they weren’t good enough, because the coach has a beef with parents. Why are our children good enough for the past three to four years to compete and win trophies, but aren’t good enough now because the coach has issues with parents? They have been told they can tryout a second time... yes, only to be disappointed again, or to be accepted due to empty slots in quota. Our children need to be children and should not be put under this extreme stress and scrutiny, all for acceptance.

What we ask is, are our children good enough, or is it just a sick vendetta imposed upon our children? Who deserves to suffer for this? Our children? We, as parents prefer not to live in chaos.


Concerned Parents,

Names Withheld

On Request

The Golden Years?

My wife and I have lived and worked in Susquehanna our whole lives, spending almost 50 years in the same house on Broad Avenue. As our children and grandchildren are nearly grown, we have become very attached to our two dogs. Most of our neighbors have dogs and this has never been a problem, until the last couple of years. Now, our next door neighbor, who no longer has her dogs, has decided to take exception to ours. While her barking dogs never seemed to bother her, she calls the police whenever she notices ours. Now, the police come knocking on our door with tickets and threats of removing our dogs. It’s to the point where my wife worries when other peoples’ dogs bark, afraid that they will be mistaken for ours.

Is this the reason that Susquehanna supports a police force, while other towns are eliminating theirs? Is this our borough taxes protecting us all from “dangerous” senior citizens? Is this an example of bored police officers, glad for any crank call to action?

Are these our golden years, in a town we have always supported? You tell me.


Guy Clift

Susquehanna, PA

Boys Need Your Charity

A big thank you from all the boys (and from us) to everyone who donated last year to the United Charities Home For Boys. The boys had a good Christmas, thanks to you.

Once again, we ask for your help. Please donate gifts or money so we can give presents to all the boys who live at this home. Together we can make this Christmas even better than last year.

Our Christmas party/fund-raiser will be at the Country Lounge, Main Street, Great Bend, on Sunday, December 12, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

To sponsor a specific child, see the wish list, make a cash donation, or for any info call the Country Lounge 879–4414, Terry Marshman 879–4396, or Mike Gall 853–9019. Gifts or money may be dropped off at the Country Lounge.

Thanks again for any consideration you can offer.


Mike Gall

Susquehanna, PA


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