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How Then Shall We Live
"Be brave!" I tell myself as this part of my life plays out. In this age of uncertainty and surprise, there are many things to be brave about. I would rather have had my mate of forty years at my side to reassure, console and strengthen me, but that did not happen, and so I assume the responsibilities that life demands.
There is an old saying that God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform. And so it is. Just when I’d been thinking that it was time to trade cars, I got a call from the man who sold me the car I’m now driving. "Shirley," he says. "I’ve got a low mileage Trailblazer in great condition down here, and I think you’d look good in it. Come take it out for a drive." So I did. It was all he said it was, the price was right and we made a deal.
I was concerned that getting familiar with its steering, brakes and any idiosyncrasies that it has was going to have to happen on my way to the airport as I head out to see my daughter and family for Thanksgiving. That was making me a bit nervous. But I leave tomorrow and the call that the car is ready is yet to come. So it looks like I get to drive my old Blazer that I’m used to this one last time.
Flying, itself, takes a certain amount of courage in this age of world-wide unrest and politically induced color-coded alerts. Military vehicles and uniformed soldiers are very obvious at the airports. Long lines move slowly through checkpoints and scanners. Personal items are confiscated and returned at leisure. Shoes come off, and we are parted from jackets and shoulder bags, including purses. All this preventive action doesn’t give one a serene feeling about flying. But fly we do, because the longing to be with loved ones outweighs any fears.
Then tonight is my first chance to prove my worth as a coordinator at my job when this church congregation hosts several other ministers and their flocks at a union Thanksgiving service. With two choirs and one choir loft, I will need to lay out the floor plan for an inconspicuous juggling act. It has to look effortless; sort of like the swan that is gliding smoothly across the pond, with feet paddling like crazy unseen beneath the water.
Life is a choice. Some folks choose to make everything they do look like a big effort. You know them. The ones who buttonhole you in doctor’s offices, at the PTA meeting, at the office water cooler – belaboring all the terrible things that happen to them, how put-upon they are, how unfair life has been, and on and on.
Then there are others who meet every challenge, obstacle and setback head on as they attempt to overcome, or at least, make the best of the situation. We can’t control what comes our way, but we do get to say how we will face up to it. With Armistice Day just behind us, I think about all the strong and courageous people who have moved on through the many years and many wars that have taken their loved ones. And those who faced their enemies with courage and bravado they must not have felt.
Every day the choice of how we live is ours. And tomorrow depends on how we live today. How then shall we live? With all the courage and goodness of which we are capable.
FRANKLIN FORKS: The young hunters had quite an experience a few days ago. While out hunting the dogs started up three wild cats. The boys succeeded in shooting two of them. One measured 34 inches from the tip of its nose to the roots of its tail.
FOREST CITY: Irving Goodrich and Raymond Bond, two boys aged 16 and 13, broke through the ice on the water company’s reservoir on Tuesday afternoon of last week and both were drowned. Searching parties were out all Tuesday night, but not until Wednesday afternoon at one o’clock was their fate known, when Howard Goodrich and his son, George, father and brother of one of the boys, found the place where they were drowned. A pair of rubbers was found on the shore and a few feet out a skate and the boys’ caps. Help was immediately secured from the town and the bodies recovered. The supposition is that Bond fell in and that Goodrich, in attempting to rescue him, met his death also. Both were said to be able to swim, but their clothes, skates and the icy water handicapped them.
HALLSTEAD: John VanValkenburg and Miss Minnie Waldron, of Unadilla, N.Y., were united in marriage last Wednesday evening by Rev. C. J. Benjamin at that gentleman’s residence. The contracting parties arrived in Hallstead about noon and were greatly surprised and disappointed to find that our laws require a license from the Register and Recorder. The groom was not to be baffled, however, and with becoming perseverance he dispatched an agent across country to Montrose for the necessary papers which arrived in time for the ceremony the same evening. “None but the brave deserve the fair.”
MONTROSE: The Montrose Telegraph and Telephone company have their trunk line with the Tunkhannock and Wyoming Valley Telephone company completed and are now enabled to give service to distant points, as Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Philadelphia, Towanda, Elmira, etc., with their intermediate points and connections. AND: Glenn Nash is preparing to remove his family from Brooklyn to this place.
RUSH: The annual Gentlemen’s supper of the Trinity M.E. church is arranged to be held on Saturday night, Dec. 10th. Bill of fare will be: Hot corn bread, pork and beans, rye coffee, pumpkin pie, doughnuts and possibly meal pancakes.
SUSQUEHANNA: Lampham’s Band, scheduled to appear in Hogan Opera House last Friday evening, failed to materialize.
SILVER LAKE: Supervisor P. R. Kane’s family are again called to mourn. Only a little more than two months ago Bert, the 18 year old son, died suddenly from appendicitis. Last week, Wednesday, word came to them that Frank, the oldest son, had been injured at Schnectady while at his work as foreman of the carpenter shop of the locomotive works of that place. Mr. Kane and daughter, Mary, hurried to Schenectady only to reach there too late to find Frank alive, his death occurring at 1 o’clock Thanksgiving morning. He was 25 years of age. His funeral was one of the largest ever held in St. Augustine’s church.
UPSONVILLE: S. A. Smith and H. F. Smith, with relatives of Wyoming and Lackawanna counties, spent Thanksgiving at the pleasant home of D. J. Osterhout near Dalton, Pa. The aged mother of Mr. Osterhout, who was present at this happy gathering, is the only one now living of the 12 children of Stephen Barnum, Esq., who cleared up and over fifty years lived on the large farm now owned by R. S. Searle, of Montrose.
ST. JOSEPH: The marriage of Mr. Vrooman Gardiner and Miss Anna Shea, of Montrose, occurred in the church here Nov. 23d, Father Lally officiating.
CLIFFORD: The oyster supper given Thanksgiving night by the men of the Baptist church proved a surprising success, considering the rather unfavorable weather. The singing of the Clifford singing society elicited favorable comment, as did the male quartette. The pictures of Pilgrim’s Progress placed on the screen by Rev. Mr. Earl and the explanations were very instructive and well received. The receipts of the evening were about $17.
LATHROP: Pearl Mackey is teaching the Lakeside school. Lena Johnson is teaching Pine Grove school. Ethel Saunders is teaching Maple Grove school. Victor Mackey is working in the jelly mill. Genevieve Mackey is attending school at Nicholson.
AUBURN: Will Quick did his chores one night recently and five minutes later he found his barn on fire. He was fortunate in saving all his stock except two pigs, and all his hay, grain and farm tools went down in ashes. It was insured, yet a big loss. He had no lantern with him in the barn. AND: The recent blizzard did much destruction. Am sorry to say that not one telephone pole from Elk Lake to Auburn Corners was found standing on Monday after the blow.
LITTLE MEADOWS: E. Hartigan and Miss Lauretta Butler attended the dance at Riley’s, at Flynn, also Michael Crimmins and T. Creagh attended.
HOP BOTTOM: By accepting an open date, the people of HopBottom and vicinity will receive a treat of a high order on Dec. 16, when a man of high standing in his line--High by name--Mr. Fred High, humorist, vocalist, ventriloquist, impersonator and dramatic entertainer, will give an evening’s entertainment at Tennant’s hall. This event will be one bubbling over with fun. “How is that for High?” For benefit of the graded school.
New Milford: Bullard’s band and orchestra will give one of their fine concerts in the opera house, Dec. 15.
HONESDALE: An accident occurred about noon Tuesday by which Samuel Stone, of Elk Lake, met his death and Lloyd Harding, of Eaton Twp., near Tunkhannock, was painfully cut and bruised. The men were at work on the State bridge in course of construction over the Lackawaxen, being 30 ft. above the river, when the foreman, supposing all was safe, started hauling up an iron girder by means of an engine. The bridge was heavily loaded with the iron sills and trusses, and the temporary structure on which the men were working was precipitated into the river. Stone fell among the iron and timbers. He was carried to Kroll’s blacksmith shop and from there he was taken to the National Hotel on a cot, where he died about 5 hours later. Mr. Stone was but 19 years of age and was well known in Montrose, having resided with his grandfather, the late Appolas Stone, on Cherry Street, a number of years ago.
A Reporter’s Notebook Knifer Wins
Eric Knifer, one of two county employees discharged in the wake of a State Police investigation into alleged improprieties in the computer technology department, has been vindicated.
It was an impressive win for the Teamsters Union that is now representing most county employees, including Mr. Knifer. As a result, the proverbial fly on the wall tells me that the county must find a position for Mr. Knifer and pay him all wages he lost from the date of his dismissal, including any increments.
Mr. Knifer maintained his innocence from day one but members of last year’s Board of Commissioners discharged him. Apparently the State Police investigation failed to uncover any wrongdoings on the part of Mr. Knifer.
On the go?
Is a county department head about to roll? There is a lot of talk at the water coolers, in the halls, and just about anyplace where two people can buzz-buzz without interruption, that a change is on the horizon in one of the county departments.
If it happens, this one could be a mild shocker. As soon as we can confirm it, you will know it.
A Better Grade Of Franks
John Franks, who I have had the privilege of knowing for a number of years, stopped me as I entered the county commissioners’ meeting room and said, quite calmly, “Joey Franks had an audience with the governor but I bet your political friends did not tell you that.” I responded that he was right and then pointed out that Joey Franks, who is the Democrat Party’s County Chairman, did not tell me either.
“Oh, he won’t tell you,” John said. Make no mistake about it, this column has been mighty critical of Joey Franks. And I suppose it will be critical of him in the future as well. But that doesn’t mean that we would not give Pal Joey a plug now and then if he had a hankering to tell us what he is doing.
It is not uncommon for a newspaper to criticize President Bush when they feel he has done something wrong and to praise him when he does something that pleases the editorial writers. Likewise, anyone who follows this column knows that there can be criticism of an individual here one week and praise for the same individual the next week.
But it is pretty hard to praise someone when it is not called to our attention.
A total of 18,938 voters cast ballots at the recent general election. Of this amount, almost half of them voted a straight party ticket -6,625, Republicans; and, 3,177 Democrats. Absentee ballots favored President Bush over John Kerry, 99-67.
The top three vote getters in Susquehanna County were Congressman Don Sherwood, 14,944; Sen. Arlen Specter, 12,273; and, state Representative Sandra Major, 12,280. President Bush finished fifth, a short distance behind fourth place finisher Tom Corbett.
Congressman Sherwood scored the most lopside win in Susquehanna County, trouncing Veronica A. Hannevig, Conservative Party candidate, 14,944-2,145.
Jeff Is Confident
Roberta Kelly, chair of the Board of Commissioners, tried to breathe a little humor into last week’s press conference, but Commissioner Jeff Loomis got the biggest laugh with his response.
Speaking about the new four year union contract, Mrs. Kelly said the contract will end at the end of 2007.
“Right when we leave office,” Mrs. Kelly said with a sheepish grin on her face.
“When you leave office,” a confident Mr. Loomis quickly replied.
There are various defenses available to a criminal defendant. Some defenses are meant to negate the mens rea necessary to prove the crime, while other defenses are “justification” defenses. There is a significant difference between the two types of defenses. If a criminal defendant is attempting to “justify” his conduct, he is admitting that he knowingly engaged in the conduct, but that the conduct was not criminal because of the circumstances presented, i.e., he was justified in acting as he did. If a criminal defendant is attempting to negate the mens rea element, he is asserting that he did not know what he was doing, or did not know that he was knowingly committing a criminal act.
One such defense is known as intoxication, either voluntary or involuntary. As one might imagine, the defense of intoxication is generally not successful. If a person knowingly consumes alcohol or a controlled substance, then that person is generally responsible for his or her conduct that occurs thereafter during any period of intoxication that may result from the consumption. On the other hand, there are circumstances where persons do not knowingly consume the substance that causes intoxication, i.e., it may have been “slipped” into something the defendant was drinking. In such circumstances, the law may allow for a defense based upon the intoxication because the defendant did not knowingly partake of the intoxicating substance. In such circumstances, the defendant must demonstrate that the substance essentially destroyed the ability to understand right from wrong, as well as the ability to conform one’s conduct to the law.
Recently, the Pennsylvania Superior Court considered an involuntary intoxication defense in a DUI case. The defendant apparently had been prescribed a “patch,” which contained a powerful painkiller. Thereafter, the defendant allegedly consumed a “moderate amount” of alcohol, which she contended that, in conjunction with the “patch,” resulted in a severe reaction. In reviewing the applicable case law, the Pennsylvania Superior Court noted that that the defense of involuntary intoxication was available in a number of instances: “(1) where the intoxication was caused by the fault of another (i.e., through force, fraud, duress or contrivance); (2) where the intoxication was caused by innocent mistake of the defendant (i.e., defendant took a hallucinogenic pill in reasonable belief it was aspirin or lawful tranquilizer); (3) where a defendant unknowingly suffers from a physiological or psychological condition that renders him abnormally susceptible to a legal intoxicant; (4) where unexpected intoxication results from a medically prescribed drug.” Commonwealth v. Smith, 831 A.2d 636 (Pa. Super. 2003).
In considering these criteria, the Pennsylvania Superior Court noted that the defendant voluntarily placed an intoxicant, alcohol, into her body. The mere fact that the mixture of the alcohol and the drug resulted in an unanticipated result does not warrant a finding of involuntary intoxication. Therefore, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the DUI conviction.
In other words, if the defendant had been prescribed the painkiller, and if the painkiller alone had resulted in unanticipated intoxication, such intoxication would have been involuntary and may have supported a defense to the DUI. The defendant, however, knowingly mixed the painkiller and a known intoxicant, alcohol, and the law requires that the defendant be responsible for the resulting conduct. As one can imagine, the defense of involuntary intoxication is extremely difficult to prove and rarely used.
Please submit any questions, concerns, or comments to Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office, P.O. Box 218, Montrose, Pennsylvania 18801.
Dear EarthTalk: What environmental and health problems are associated with the use of chlorine by the paper industry? Is chlorine really essential in the production of paper?
Misty Landletter, Tempe, AZ
To achieve its pearly white color, most paper goes through a bleaching process that uses chlorine or chemicals derived from it (such as chlorine dioxide). The process also removes lignin, a component of wood fiber that can eventually turn paper yellow.
Archie Beaton, executive director of the Chlorine-Free Products Association, says that chlorine produces toxins known as organochlorides, which are released into the environment through the waste discharges from paper and pulp mills. They then settle in the fatty tissues and glands of animals exposed to them, gradually “bio-accumulating” up through the food chain--that is, after one animal consumes another, its body inherits the poisons present in its prey. Humans are also affected. In fact, all women have traces of dioxin, an organochloride, in their breast milk, a disturbing phenomenon of the chemical age we live in.
According to the Natural Resources Council of Maine, which is based in a state that has 34 pulp and paper mills, there is compelling scientific evidence that dioxins can cause cancer, birth and developmental defects, learning disabilities, increased risk of diabetes, decreased fertility, reduced sperm counts, endometriosis, and suppressed immune systems in people. Developing fetuses and breast-feeding infants are particularly sensitive to the harmful effects of dioxin.
Alternatives to conventional, chlorine-bleached papers do exist. According to the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB), “totally chlorine free,” or TCF, paper uses alternative methods, including hydrogen peroxide and oxygen, to bleach paper. One small downside of TCF paper is that it can have no recycled content, because papers used to make recycled paper might have been previously bleached with chlorine. So it is made from 100 percent virgin fiber.
Another option is “processed-chlorine free,” or PCF, paper that not only rids the bleaching process of chlorine, but can also have up to 100 percent recycled content. For paper to be labeled PCF, it needs a minimum of 30 percent “post-consumer” content (paper actually once used and not just trimmings from print shops), and the re-bleaching process cannot include chlorine-containing compounds. It’s not totally chlorine-free, because chlorine may have been in the post-consumer material used to make it.
The third type of chlorine-free paper, “elementally chlorine-free,” or ECF, is the most controversial. It uses chlorine derivatives, such as chlorine dioxide, that CIWMB says can “still produce toxic chlorinated organic compounds, including chloroform, a known carcinogen.” The American Forest and Paper Association claims that many pulp mills across the country have switched to ECF, and it now accounts for 96 percent of bleached chemical pulp production in the U.S. “Dioxin cannot be detected in wastewater being discharged from [ECF] pulp and paper mills,” says the trade group.
CONTACTS: Chlorine Free Products Association, (847) 658-6104, www.chlorinefreeproducts.org; California Integrated Waste Management Board, (916) 341-6000, www.ciwmb.ca.gov; American Forest and Paper Association, (800) 878-8878, www.afandpa.org.
Dear EarthTalk: I've heard about mad cow disease, but what is mad deer disease?
Janet Bristol, Eugene, OR
“Mad deer disease” is a transmissible disease similar to mad cow disease, but it occurs in deer and elk instead of cattle. Called “spongiform encephalopathy,” but also known as “chronic wasting disease” (CWD), it was first discovered in 1967 on a Colorado wildlife research facility. It has since spread slowly through the mule deer, white-tailed deer and elk populations, mostly in western states. Mile Miller of the Colorado Division of Wildlife describes CWD as “an epidemic occurring in slow motion.”
The disease is found mostly in Colorado and Wyoming, where it infects about one percent of free-ranging deer, but about five percent of mule deer on game farms, due to the animals‚ closer proximity to one another which facilitates the spread of the disease. Infected animals have also been found on game farms in Nebraska, Montana, South Dakota and Oklahoma. Game farms sell meat and the velvet from antlers (marketed as a health supplement or aphrodisiac), or sometimes ship live animals to other states to bulk up their supply of hunting targets. Thus one farm with infected animals could potentially spread the disease far and wide.
Some health analysts fear that there could be a link between mad deer disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), a similar type of spongiform encephalopathy that kills humans when brain proteins called “prions” deform, forcing other brain cells to degenerate along with them. Between 1997 and 2000, two deer hunters and a woman who regularly ate venison (deer meat) died from CJD. According to Dr. Ermias Belay of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the three deaths raise concern because of the unusually young age of those infected. All three were under 30, while CJD usually only strikes people older than 45.
While scientists found no conclusive evidence linking the deaths to mad deer disease, they also couldn't rule it out. And a National Institutes of Health report released last year warned that the transmission of spongiform encephalopathy between species is possible: “Infected tissues could be eaten by predators or enjoyed by aficionados of wild game. And carcasses could be rendered for feed that (by error) could find its way to cattle.”
Since 2002, hunters have donated some 200,000 deer and elk kills each fall to scientists looking to tabulate the prevalence of spongiform encephalopathy in American deer and elk populations in efforts to establish links to CJD. But the very states where mad-deer infection is highest also rely heavily on the sale of hunting licenses, making them loath to publicize the fact that eating venison could be dangerous. And indeed, even while scientists continue to look for clues, thousands of hunters and their families continue to eat venison with little if any concern about CJD.
CONTACTS: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (800) 311-3435, www.cdc.gov; National Institutes of Health: Prion Diseases, www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/priondis.htm; National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center, (216) 368-0587, www.cjdsurveillance.com.
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