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Issue Home January 4, 2005 Site Home

Learning Express Debuts At Library
Picture Book Contest Begins
Pennstar Supports Make-A-Wish
She Said "Yes" ...
The Spirit Of Giving Lasts The Entire Year

Union Grange Presents Membership Awards
Community Foundation Provides Tsunami Aid
Free Radon Test Kits On-Line

Seniors Encouraged To Plan Ahead



Learning Express Debuts At Library

The Susquehanna County Library has always been a great resource for test preparation books. Now, there is a new way to study for tests like the SAT, GED, ASVAB, and more. At the library's website,, you'll see a link to Learning Express. Register with your 14-digit library card number and you will have access to hundreds of practice tests.

Senior Jacob Horn appreciates being able to access SAT prep on-line through the Susquehanna County Library.

Learning Express goes far beyond the SAT. There are modules on math and reading skills starting in 4th grade and going through middle school to high-school level. AP tests and college prep are covered, as are graduate school exams like the GRE, LSAT, and MCAT. For adults, sections on law enforcement, nursing, real estate, teaching, cosmetology, and civil service exams will be useful for job seekers and career changers.

Once you are registered, Learning Express will keep track of which practice exams you've taken and how you've scored. You can see which sections you need to work on and an explanation of each question.

If you don't have a computer at home, you can use public computers for free at each of the county libraries (Forest City, Hallstead-Great Bend, Montrose, and Susquehanna).

"We are delighted to be able to offer this resource for the first time," says Administrator/Librarian Susan Stone. "Please use it and spread the word!"

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Picture Book Contest Begins

The Susquehanna County Historical Society & Free Library Association is sponsoring the Eleventh "Write and Illustrate Your Own Picture Book Contest" for Susquehanna County students in grades K-12.

Entrants should submit original picture books they have written and illustrated on or before Wednesday, February 23, to the branch or school libraries, or to the Main Library in Montrose by the final deadline of Saturday, February 26. Please see the rules booklet (available at the main library and at the branches in Forest City, Hallstead-Great Bend, and Susquehanna) for complete rules, or visit the web page: An entry form must be submitted with each manuscript. Rules and forms have also been distributed to school libraries.

Susquehanna County Children's Librarian Fran Lyman with some previous Write and Illustrate Your Own Picture Book contest winners.

Winners will be chosen in each of three or four grade categories (depending on the number of entries). The first place entries will be professionally hard-bound and added to the library's collection--with the author and title listed in the library's on-line catalog, and in the state-wide ACCESS-PA database! The first-place winners will also receive their own hard-bound copy (winner makes the copy). Second and third place entries will be paperbound and returned to the authors. All contestants will receive a Certificate of Recognition and personal comments on their books.

"Our collection of great books by young Susquehanna County authors is growing--to date we have well over one hundred!" says Administrator/Librarian Susan Stone. "Stop by your local library to borrow past years' winning books."

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Pennstar Supports Make-A-Wish

Lenox, PA – Pennstar Bank employees in Susquehanna County organized a raffle of goods and services donated by local businesses at the Harford Fair. The total of the raffle and an additional donation from Pennstar Bank made it possible to donate $1,000 for Make-A-Wish recipient Adam Sloat to help fulfill his wish of meeting NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

Pictured (l-r) are: Mary Bedoe, Make-A-Wish volunteer; Linda Bonham, Pennstar Bank; Travis Sloat; Brenda Sloat; Adam Sloat, Make-A-Wish recipient; Robert Welch, Pennstar Bank.

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She Said "Yes" ...

It was just an ordinary classroom celebration scheduled for Miss Brandi Shermerhorn's second graders on Wednesday, December 22, at the Fell Charter School. They would listen to music, do a craft project and enjoy some treats while gearing up for winter break. It was ordinary until Miss Shermerhorn's boyfriend, Jason Miller, showed up at her classroom door asking to speak to her.

Miss Shermerhorn's family members were already in the classroom helping out with the party. She didn't know they were all there for another reason. When she left the room things hit a frenzied pace as Mr. Miller's family members lined up the students and placed signs in their hands. The children were a bit confused at first until they started to read the signs. They started to giggle and jump around as they realized what was taking place. Miss Shermerhorn's family was not in on the surprise so they were ecstatic when they realized what was about to happen. When Miss S. reentered the room with her soon to be fiancee, she immediately clasped her hands over her face when she saw her students holding their special message from Jason, "Will You Marry Me Miss S."

The children were ever so still. Miller bent down on one knee and asked Miss S. to marry him. "She said yes...", one little girl could be heard whispering to her friend. Tears of joy filled the eyes of their family members as the students ran up to give their teacher hugs. As the news spread throughout the school, the classroom filled up with staff, students, parents to offer congratulations to the newly engaged couple. Second graders, Swann and Mikayla both agreed that, "it was fun and exciting because we didn't know what was going on and we were glad we didn't have to keep a secret!" School Principal, Mrs. Munson was the only one who had previous knowledge about the engagement, " I had known for about two weeks and I was thrilled that Jason wanted to include her students in on the surprise. It was another Fell Charter School first..."

The couple plans to enjoy the holidays with their families before they begin to start making plans for their 2005, fall wedding. The Fell Charter School family wishes them well!

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The Spirit Of Giving Lasts The Entire Year

Just like in Santa’s workshop, the elves at Rob’s Country Market in Great Bend are hard at work not just during the holiday season, but all year long. Since July, a Feed-A-Friend barrel has been in place at the front of the supermarket . Since then, customers and employees have donated non-perishable food items with a retail value of almost $500.

Also, through TREHAB’s Feed-A-Friend program , customers donated some $225 by buying $1 donation cards at the store’s checkout registers. The store owner/manager, Rob Robinson, chipped in to round the contribution to $300.

These facts and figures come from the store’s “head elf,” energetic food drive coordinator Gerry Wilson of Hallstead.

Pictured is Mr. Wilson of Rob's Market presenting the check to TREHAB’s Community Services Coordinator Barbara Houlden at the Montrose Food Bank.

“The shopping public should be reminded that hunger is a 365-day event – not just at holiday times.”

Mr. Wilson should know. A former resident of Enfield, CT, he managed the Enfield Food Shelf, a volunteer organization affiliated with the local conference of churches. There, the general public and many organizations donated non-perishable food and household items to help those in need.

Since relocating to Hallstead, Mr. Wilson is carrying on this volunteer activity, and one person who appreciates his efforts is Barbara Houlden, TREHAB’s community services coordinator. TREHAB runs four food banks, located in Montrose, Great Bend and Forest City in Susquehanna County and in Dushore in Sullivan County.

In thanking Rob’s Market and Mr. Wilson for their efforts, Mrs. Houlden also praised the many other individuals and organizations that had contributed to the TREHAB Feed-A-Friend effort during the Thanksgiving season. Besides the thousands of food items donated, money donations amounted to almost $4,500, used to pay for turkeys and hams.

Mrs. Houlden seconded Mr. Wilson’s words about the need for continued donations and other support. “The season for giving,” she notes, “doesn’t happen only at the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays: It truly is a year-round effort.”

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Union Grange Presents Membership Awards

A 50-year membership award and pin was presented to Harriet Himka (above right) by Subordinate Lecturer Gina Evans of the Union Grange #152, for her continuous membership with the Grange. Harriet joined West Nicholson Grange # 321 on April 9, 1948 where she was a member for 34 years. In June, 1982 she became a member of Union Grange # 152 by demit from West Nicholson Grange # 321 where she and her husband, Paul Himka continue to be members.

Paul Himka joined Union Grange # 152 on November 9, 1945 where he was a member until January, 1954 when he left the Grange. In May of 1977 Paul was reinstated as a member of Union Grange # 152 where he has been a 26-year, continuous member since. Union Grange was happy to present him with a 25-year certificate and pin. Paul has a total of 36 years of membership with the Grange. Paul is pictured above receiving a 25-year membership award and pin from Subordinate Lecturer Gina Evans of the Union Grange #152.

Both Paul and Harriet are 25-year members of Susquehanna County Pomona Grange # 7. Both live in East Lynn, Wyoming Co. Paul has lived in Lathrop Township up until 1983. Harriet’s family owned the Golden Mill in East Lynn all her life.

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Community Foundation Provides Tsunami Aid

SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY - Moved by widely publicized human suffering and increased disaster aid requests, the Community Foundation of Susquehanna County is becoming more active in the disaster field. Foundations have a distinct role to play in disasters because of their ongoing relations with grantees through national and international peer groups and associations, long-term perspective, flexibility and convening capacity. Lacking the sizable emergency relief resources of governments and some well-known non-governmental organizations, the foundation nevertheless can make a contribution, for instance, by filling critical gaps in under funded areas like disaster rehabilitation, prevention, research, and education activities. Based on lessons learned from a year-long study by a joint working group of the European Foundation Centre and the Council on Foundations, the local foundation can be more effective and strategic in addressing disasters by following eight principles of good disaster management: 1. First, do no harm. 2. Stop, look and listen before taking action. 3. Don’t act in isolation. 4. Think beyond the immediate crisis to the long-term. 5. Bear in mind the expertise of the local organizations. 6. Find out how prospective grantees operate. 7. Be accountable to those you are trying to help. 8. Communicate your work widely, and use it as an educational tool. A number of practical suggestions for good disaster grant-making flow from these principles.

As a member of the Council of Foundations (COF), an association providing expertise from grant-making to legal issues and more, the Community Foundation is ready to assist in a very worthwhile way. With such significant backing and expertise the foundation is able to determine the greatest need and/or direct charitable donations, as desired by the donor, for specific needs such as housing, food, medical care, infrastructure repairs, and more. In addition, the foundation is able to determine those agencies providing cost effective and worthwhile services to victims. If you are interested in helping the victims of the recent tsunami disaster you can do so through your local Community Foundation. Contributions can be sent to the Community Foundation of Susquehanna County, Disaster Relief Fund, 36 Lake Ave, Montrose, PA 18801. For more information call (570) 278-3800.

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Free Radon Test Kits On-Line

The American Lung Association of Pennsylvania (ALAPA) is helping people keep their New Year’s resolutions to protect their health and their family’s health. In addition to its nationally recognized smoking cessation and asthma education programs, ALAPA announced that it would be providing free radon test kits to the public at its website, while supplies last.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, and it is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking. The only way to know the level of radon inside one’s home is to test for it. The US Surgeon General and the American Lung Association recommend that all homes be tested for radon.

ALAPA is conducting this program under a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and is using the program to mark National Radon Action Month. Every January, the US Environmental Protection Agency and organizations nationwide encourage the public to test their homes for radon and to get radon problems fixed.

Supplies of the free test kits are limited and availability varies according to what part of Pennsylvania you live in. ALAPA asks that interested persons request only one test kit per household. In addition, individuals requesting test kits should be those who do not have a previous test result for their homes. To obtain a radon test kit, persons should go to This offer will be in effect for a limited time and is only available on-line.

Nearly one in fifteen homes nationwide has a high level of indoor radon, and in Pennsylvania, the rates are even greater. The good news is that homes with high radon levels can be fixed. Nearly always, the solution is simple and similar in cost to other typical home repairs.

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Seniors Encouraged To Plan Ahead

From the comfort of home, Seniors can use the cold winter months for an important activity: planning ahead for their future needs. The Pennsylvania Department of Aging is encouraging all older citizens to take time now to think about the future and to consider what their preferences might be should they need outside help to remain at home. Seniors of all income levels are advised to learn about different options of help now to enable them to actively plan for a future best suited to their individual preferences. This planning may also help them avoid a crisis situation in the future that may affect their living arrangement, finances, or other needs.

The B/S/S/T Area Agency on Aging offers free information about resources of help available to citizens who are age 60 or older residing in Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna, and Tioga Counties. Seniors are encouraged to learn about different options of help in the home and community like Home Health Services, Care Management, Home-Delivered Meals, Emergency Response Systems, Personal Care Services, and transportation. Seniors should also know about the Waiver Program which enables many eligible older citizens to receive care at home as an alternative to entering a nursing home.

For family members who would like to assist their older loved ones in detailed planning for the future, the Administration on Aging offers the guide “Face the Facts – Topics to Discuss Now with Your Aging Parents.” To request a copy of this guide or any other free information, call the B/S/S/T Area Agency on Aging at 1-800-982-4346.

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