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Issue Home December 7, 2004 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago
Along the Way...With P. Jay
From the Desk of the D.A.

Slices of Life

And Then There’s Christmas

Day by day the Christmas catalogs arrive. Some offer practical gifts that I will consider, while others bring a whole new world of gadgets to my door. In deference to our dwindling forests and my weariness in bundling these catalogs and taking them to the recycling center, I’ve gotten conscientious about going to the phone, calling the toll free number and requesting that my name be removed from their catalog list. I think that act serves us both well.

But if I’m not ordering many gifts from catalogs, and I’m not a hands-on shopper, how am I going to get my Christmas gifts under the tree? Well, there are several ways.

My first resource is yard sales. It’s really interesting what turns up at these events. I found a perfect gift at one sale; a gift I can’t describe because it will go to a person who could read this column. But then there’s another one that I am very excited about. For you to understand this one, you need a little background.

While talking to a friend who’s a bit older than I am, we were bemoaning the indignities of aging and she said, "With my bedroom upstairs and my bathroom downstairs, some mornings it’s a stretch to get there in time." Laughingly she added, "I’m thinking of getting a port-a-potty for beside my bed."

Well, I was hitting the yard sales one day this summer and found this knock-em-dead painted china chamber pot. So, you know where Santa is delivering that gift. The beauty of it is, she is very artistic and grows many flowers. If she doesn’t use the gift for its intended use, it can always be a front porch arrangement of potted flowers. It will be a great addition to either part of her property.

When planning gifts, I always know that the stove and the oven are good places to start. I’ve been there the last few days, but most of these goodies are headed for sales and bazaars. The actual gifts will be made a little closer to Christmas. Although, with the advent of freezers, we have much more leeway in making food gifts ahead of time. Already there are two loaves of pumpkin bread and a batch of fudge in my freezer, left over from the aborted Thanksgiving trip to Chicago, and awaiting later use.

While I’m not handy at making what have become known as crafts, I do manage quite well with patterns, fabric and a sewing machine. So I intend to spend a few days in pursuit of practical handmade gifts of that kind.

Then, there are the many Christmas bazaars that will be coming up between now and the holiday. One can always find quality gifts at these events.

The biggest boost to my being ready in time for Christmas was Ken Jennings finally losing at "Jeopardy". With his six-month control of that television show, I, along with many others, have been spellbound as he won night after night. It got to be a must see. Would tonight be the night he’d fumble? So, by 7:30 I’d be in front of the TV. Inertia would set in and then I’d find myself turning off the set at ten o’clock or so. The frustrating thing was that on the night he finally lost, I was covering a meeting for the TRANSCRIPT. I had to stay up until one o’clock to see him on a late-night talk show just to be sure he was really done. I think that deserves extra pay.

So, now it’s on to the Christmas gifts. Sift that flour, lift that spoon, push that needle; time is getting short.

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100 Years Ago

“The leaves have turned to yellow,

The porch’s charm has died;

Now Gladys and her fellow

Must lallygag inside.”

LAUREL LAKE, Silver Lake Twp.: Frank McGraw is drawing wood to the Tripp Lake school. AND: Dannie Mahoney and Dannie Coughlin met with a serious accident while making a short turn at Mrs. Lindsley’s store, in Lawsville.

SHANNON HILL, Auburn Twp.: Wm. McGee, of South Auburn, starts for Montana today for his health. His many friends hope he may be benefited by the trip. AND: Clark Dean has gone to Scranton to work.

SOUTH GIBSON: Our stores are in holiday attire. Don’t go out of town for Christmas goods. AND: John J. Potter, of Binghamton, formerly a well-known and popular Gibson boy, is now a successful real estate man.

SUSQUEHANNA: Attorneys Richard J. Manning and E. B. Curtis have formed a co-partnership for the practice of law at Susquehanna. AND: Mary Blake has secured a position with the Chapot-Shirlaw Chamois Co. at Hallstead. AND: “Why Women Sin,” is the attraction at Hogan opera house, next Monday evening.

HARFORD: S. J. Adams has sold his old sugar bush to the Rought & Ballard Co.

MIDDLETOWN TWP.: Harry Jones has purchased the store at Neath. We wish you success, Harry.

DIMOCK: The Dimock Literary Society will give a free entertainment, Saturday evening, Dec. 10; all are invited; they have $49 worth of new books, which are free to everyone.

FRIENDSVILLE: Remember the night of Dec. 26th, St. Francis Xavier’s Bazaar will open on that night. Admission only 25 cents. A pleasant time is expected. All look forward to it with the greatest anxiety. One of the pleasing features will be the music both vocal and instrumental. Proceeds for the new temple of worship, work on which will be commenced early next spring. Door prize given to holder of lucky number. A bountiful repast will be served by the young ladies and all the delicacies of the season will there be found, in sufficient variety, to gratify the tastes of the most refined epicurean. The Bazaar is gotten up for a good cause. Friendsville has in the past assisted most generously in the building up of every Catholic church in this county, why now in its present undertaking should it not expect a helping hand from those whom it so cheerfully and generously assisted. All are invited.

MONTROSE: A Reminiscence from E. R. Smith: Through the kindness of Miss Emily C. Blackman, I received the program of a concert given by the Montrose band in October 1851. How well I remember it--though 53 years have passed--and how genial was the merry company that made up the old Montrose band of those days. It was composed of Theo. Smith, Alex. Smith, Rob’t A. Smith, R. C. Simpson, C. A. Foster, A. P. Keeler, L. C. Keeler, Theo. Lyons and myself. Imagine, if you can, the joy, mirth and gladness that freely flowed in that “merrie companie” at rehearsals for preparation, and how it occurs to one now-a-days that the present generation know naught of “ye goode time.” The weight of years slips from me as I recall those days and think of those dear old friends, now all “passed over,” excepting Theo. Lyons, Chas. Foster and myself. Thanks to Miss Blackman for her kindness for the program and may she have an enjoyable winter. (Some of the songs on the program were: Love Not Quick Step, Bloomer Medley, Dead March, Happy Are We, Sweet the Hour, Ben Bolt Quick Step, Irish Emigrant’s Quick Step, Home, Sweet Home, and more).

FOREST CITY: Reported last week: Constable “Jack” Jones started out from Forest City with a prisoner, Edward Correll, whom he was to put under the guardianship of sheriff Brush. And thereby hangs a tale--one of the Sherlock Holmes variety. Now if you have ever looped the loop from the black diamond village to Montrose, via Carbondale and Scranton, you’ll find it not nearly as exciting as you would imagine. It was this way with Jack. With his undemonstrative captive beside him in the seat, he found the journey long and tedious. The rhythmic rumble of the train and the swaying of the cars produce hypnotic effect, and a few miles this side of Scranton he dropped into a doze. But Correll didn’t, and when the train stopped at Glenburn, so did Correll. It was near Dalton that Jack missed his charge. Then he got off. He hit the pike back to Glenburn, and who should he meet coming towards him but his friend Correll. Correll started to run; so did Jack. Jack ordered him to stop. The woods were near, however, and Correll heeded not the orders. Then the leaden messengers were sent after him and one lodging in the escaping prisoner’s leg brought him to a halt. The prisoner was taken to Glenburn and brought on to Montrose. The examination by the physician showed the bullet to be in the fleshy part of the leg, and at last reports had not been extracted. Unless complications arise there is little danger of the wound resulting seriously. Correll was arrested for larceny, the goods stolen having said to be a couple of boxes of cigars. Mr. Jones is of powerful physique, fully six feet high and weighing over 200 pounds. His features are strong and quite handsome, and he conveys the impression of being a man who would act deliberately and not hastily. He seemed chagrined at his prisoner’s escape and the necessity of shooting to effect a capture, and was reticent in discussing the subject.

NEWS BRIEF: The next great fair will be the Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition at Portland, Oregon, opening June 1 and closing October 15, 1905. The exposition grounds cover a space of 407 acres and include a beautiful natural lake. The United States government has appropriated for it’s building and exhibits $475,000. The approximate cost of the whole exposition is $5,000,000. The exposition will celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the “Oregon country’ now comprising the states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and a large part of Montana and Wyoming.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

And a partridge in a pear tree...

The calendar reads as follows:

Monday, Dec. 13: Refreshments and Cookies!; Tuesday, Dec. 14: Christmas Ornament Exchange!; Wednesday, Dec. 15: Holiday Color Day!; Thursday, Dec, 16: Jingle Bell Day!; Friday, Dec. 17: Office Decorating Contest!; Monday, Dec. 20: Cider and Donut Day!; Tuesday, Dec. 21: Wear your holiday clothes!; Wednesday, Dec. 22: Grab Bag Gift Exchange Day!; Thursday, Dec. 23: Dress Down Day!

Sounds like a couple of fun weeks at a private office or a school doesn’t it? Actually it is a holiday celebration schedule being passed around in the offices of the county courthouse. I have been covering the county courthouse since 1989 and I must say I have never seen the Nine Days of Christmas before.

Give and take? ...

The county commissioners patted themselves on the back for having insisted during union negotiations that new employees complete a six-month probationary period before they are eligible for enrollment in the county’s health insurance program. The commissioners also won (?) the right to increase the co-pay for doctor’s visits, a move that lowered the county’s payments by a few bucks. And the county can shop around for health insurance rather than be forced to offer only Blue Cross.

In exchange for these concessions, the commissioners acquiesced and allowed the four-year union contracts to include 100 percent paid health insurance for the employees and their families. And employees who do not take the health insurance, perhaps because their spouses may have it where they work, are eligible for 20 percent of the annual premiums for not accepting the coverage.

Commissioner Jeff Loomis perceived the 20 percent payoff as an 80 percent savings for the county. Really! Nobody asked me but if they did, I would have simply said, look the insurance is available if you want it. If you don’t want it because your husband or wife has free family coverage where he/she works, we thank you for saving the taxpayers a few dollars.

The 20 percent incentive not to take the insurance can earn an employee a sizable bonus even though the amount is based only on the employee not on family coverage.

No room at the gym...

Without question, the county’s Historical Records Department in the Warner Building is beginning to fill up. Before long, space will be at a premium.

A previous administration recognized this and shored up the floor of the former school gymnasium to accept additional weight of a second story needed for storing important files and documents. Unfortunately, nothing has been done since and recently I was advised that there are no plans to do anything in 2005.

Storing these files and documents is critical and yet the commissioners seem to be stalling rather than creating additional room. Shari Whitney, who heads up that department, has obtained a few grants for some of the work and equipment already in place in the gym.

Why the commissioners are hemming and hawing on such an important item is beyond comprehension.

Congratulations! ...

They say things happen in multiples of three and the third occasion in this series took place on Nov. 27. We are talking about the marriage of Mary Evans, register/recorder, to long-time friend and companion, Bob Winterstein. The ceremony took place in the United Methodist Church in Brooklyn Township.

The new Mrs. Winterstein joins State Rep. Sandra Major and Dawn Watson, 9-1-1 coordinator, who also took husbands not too many moons ago.

Mary has more than 20 years of service with the county and has been register of deeds and recorder of wills since 1992. Congratulations to her and her husband who is a renowned artist and businessman.

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From the Desk of the D.A.

What if you are a passenger in an automobile that is pulled over by the police, and you are requested by the police officer to identify yourself? What if there was a warrant for your arrest, and, if you identify yourself, the police officer will arrest you? This presents a difficult situation for the felon on the run.

In Commonwealth v. Campbell, the Pennsylvania Superior Court considered this exact situation. In that case, the defendant was a passenger in a car that was pulled over by the police. In the course of the traffic stop, the police officer asked all of the passengers for their names in order to identify all of the passengers. The defendant identified himself, and, as a result, was arrested by the police on the outstanding warrant.

The defendant then attempted to suppress his verbal identification, contending that his constitutional rights were violated. In particular, the defendant contended that the police officer “searched” the car through his questioning, and, as a result of that “search,” the defendant’s identification was obtained. The defendant suggested that this “search” was unlawful, and the identification had to be suppressed.

The Superior Court considered whether a reasonable expectation of privacy existed in connection with a person’s identification information. In order to support a constitutional violation, the Superior Court would have to find that the defendant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his name itself. In other cases, the courts have concluded that there is no expectation of privacy in things such as voice samples or handwriting samples as such items are routinely exposed to the public at large everyday. In contrast, a person’s home or automobile are not generally open to public inspection, but offer a person a certain sense of security from which a reasonable expectation of privacy arises. For these reasons, a search warrant is generally needed for a search of a home or car, while a search warrant is not required to obtain voice or handwriting samples.

In considering personal identification information, the Superior Court noted that people reveal their name constantly throughout daily interactions with other persons. Therefore, a person does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their identity. Because one cannot reasonably expect to keep one’s name private, the identification in this case was lawful and the attempt to suppress the information was denied.

The Superior Court did not address the Miranda warning issue, i.e., that defendant was not advised of his right to remain silent prior to answering the question as to his identity. If the Miranda issue were considered, the result would have been identical. Generally speaking, there is no requirement to give a Miranda warning unless and until a person has been arrested, or in custody of the police. In this case, there was a mere traffic stop, where the driver understood that, after providing certain information, the driver would be free to leave and not be placed under arrest. Given these circumstances, the court, in all likelihood, would not have required the police to give Miranda warnings because the defendant was never in the custody of the police.

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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