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Issue Home February 15, 2005 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago
Along the Way...With P. Jay

From the Desk of the D.A.

Straight From Starrucca
Earth Talk

Slices of Life

Her Turn

Poor Mrs. Morris. It was her turn to go to the doctor, but she didn’t know it yet because I never said the word out loud as I was preparing my strategy. For weeks I had been fussing to myself, and anyone else who would listen, that she was losing weight, while constantly standing by her food bowl or yowling and running after me anytime I was in the kitchen. It seemed like I was constantly washing those aluminum cat food cans with the razor sharp edges. How could she be getting so thin? And her beautiful soft fur looked dull. In my mind that was definitely a sign of dysfunction somewhere. To top it off, she was limping.

So I pondered. Would I go through that ordeal of getting her to the vet, or would I wait awhile? Wait, I did until a visiting friend agreed with me that she looked a little peaked.

The reason we wait, of course, is that she senses where she’s going long before we get there. What is it that tells her at eight o’clock in the morning that she has an appointment at one? Sensing it gives her a good chance to hide, or to get far under a bed where it is almost impossible to get her out.

Up to this point it’s always taken two of us to get her to the doctor; me to hold her and someone to drive the car. But awhile ago I bought a cat carrier, planning to make it her home-away-from-home, so she could travel with me.

For weeks, I left the cage door open with catnip scattered inside. She, who loves catnip, was not interested. I took the top off and scattered treats inside. She’d warily jump in but only long enough to gobble her heart-shaped goodies. Then she was out of the area. This cat conveyance sat in my dining room for days, getting attention only when the new supply of goodies went in. It had become clear that she was not going to be a traveling companion. She was planning to continue to stay home so that I would continue to feel guilty for leaving her.

But this day I was determined to get some good out of this expensive equipment. I retrieved it from the basement and put a few treats inside. I also set it on a table so it was at a comfortable level for me to reach. I took the top off so I could just set her in and not be pushing her through a little opening. Then when the clock said twenty minutes before the appointed hour, I made my move. She was conveniently standing by her food bowl. In one swoop I had her in my arms, and before she knew what hit her, she was in the carrier. I tightened all those little plastic widgets that hold the top and bottom together and we were on our way. Early, because the operation had gone so smoothly.

Well, maybe not as smoothly as I thought. I noticed with consternation that in getting the top on so deftly, I had realigned the door and it was disengaged at the top. I held it closed as I carried her to the car and set the cage with that part against the back of the seat. She had missed that she had an escape route! When it was time to move from car to office, the bottom of the door also gave way. Now I was holding it all in place! But we made it. Again I placed the carrier with the door up against the back of a chair and she was not aware.

As for the encounter with the doctor, she was a good as could be expected. Actually just seemed to take it in stride. And you all will be happy to know that she was declared healthy. There should be many more Mrs. Morris stories to entertain her faithful fans.

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100 Years Ago

FOREST CITY: The temporary structure of St. Stanislaus’ church was burned to the ground early Saturday morning. About a month ago the members of the church contributed a bell and organ and other additions were completed and they were beginning to feel a sense of contentment while awaiting the erection of their new structure, which is to be started about the middle of April. The new church is to be built of brick and stone and in size will be 105x52 ft. The loss is placed at $1,500 with an insurance of $800.

CLIFFORD: It is strange, but true, nevertheless, that at the present time we only have in Clifford three single young men, says a writer from that place. Is it any wonder that our young ladies look elsewhere for husbands? AND: Last week, several of our nearby farmers were busy filling a car at Carbondale with apples. They had to draw them from 8 to 10 miles through the snow and blizzard, with the thermometer near zero. W. H. Hasbrouck broke down in a snow drift with a load and T. S. Morgan went to his assistance with his horses and sleigh and took his load through, leaving Royal after 3 p.m. He had the load of apples at the car in Carbondale before 6 p.m. Tommy is a hustler.

SPRINGVILLE: S. O. Culver is selling nursery stock for the Stark Bros. N. & O. Co., and is offering four and five-foot apple trees for 13 cents each, and the other fruits at half the usual prices of other nurserymen.

KINGSLEY: Mercury registered the lowest here on Tuesday morning--20 degrees below zero.

UNIONDALE: The Carpenter Bros, Edwin and George, are prospecting for coal on the mountains east of our borough. They have their steam drill in operation and hope to find a good paying vein sooner or later. This is on the tract of land controlled by Judge G. S. Purdy and others of Honesdale. Should coal be found on this tract our town would be “right in it,” so to speak. There is not much doubt that it exists somewhere in the strata of this mountain. AND: J. J. Walker, of Tirzah, and Miss Pearl M. Wells, of Elkdale, were united in marriage on Wed., Feb. 9, 1905, at the M. E. parsonage, Uniondale, by Rev. W. E. Davis.

SILVER LAKE: Mr. Foster, the stage driver, is the only one who makes out to get through drifts in all kinds of weather. He has missed only one trip this winter.

BROOKLYN: The Christian Endeavor Society of the Presbyterian Church has made arrangements for a concert to be given on the evening of Washington’s birthday, Feb. 22. The program will be rendered entirely by Welsh singers, members of the famous choir which won the $5,000 prize at St. Louis. We congratulate the people of Brooklyn and surrounding villages upon having this opportunity to hear the best singers in the best choir in the whole land. General admission 25 cents.

MONTROSE: Frank Davies went to Hopbottom Monday. He started off in great style with two horses prancing; in the air, that is. One didn’t want to go at all, but when Frank had turned out Church St., they went “a flying,” and Frank holding the ribbons like a Jehu of old. AND: The banquet tendered by the members of the bar of Susquehanna County to Wm. M. Post, Esq., on his 80th birthday anniversary, took place at the Montrose House, [Church Street], on Feb. 10. A beautiful silver pitcher, said to be valued at $75, was presented to Mr. Post as a testimony of the high regard in which he is held by his brother lawyers. It is very fitting that Mr. Post’s 80th anniversary day should be thus celebrated and he is deserving of all the good things that come to him--an able lawyer, a courteous gentleman, a loyal, affable, and genial son of Susquehanna county.

SUSQUEHANNA: John J. McGinty has succeeded Wm. F. Moran as proprietor of the Central House.

LITTLE MEADOWS: Fred Zimmers is hired to run Iron Bridge creamery this summer.

HARFORD: The death of Mrs. Fowler Peck, of Kearney, Neb., occurred at the home of her son at Amherst, where she was spending the winter, Jan 29. Former residents of Susquehanna County, Mr. Peck was one of the first to inaugurate the county fairs--first at Montrose and afterward gave part of his farm for the location of the Harford fair grounds. The pupils of the Orphan school at Harford will remember Mrs. Peck for her many generous acts of kindness and for her interest in their behalf.

GLENWOOD: Our popular stage driver, Silas Aldrich, has secured the mail route for another four years. He proposes to give better service, if such a thing can be, and all comers and goers will find Mr. Aldrich a courteous gentleman in every sense of the word.

HIGHLANDS, New Milford Twp.: Our school teacher, Miss Bertice Carpenter, received word that her mother was sick, so there was no school Friday afternoon.

FAIRDALE: Bone-setter Sweet is expected here this week to remove the bandages from Robert Strange’s hip, which was broken a short time ago.

LAWTON: The writer was through Lawton recently. There is a force of men working on the new railroad at that place and it now looks as though they mean business. They are now surveying at St. Joseph.

ALFORD: Alford now has two stores, Archie G. Betts having built a new one on the west side of Montrose street, and stocked it with groceries, &c., and is busy waiting on his friends.

JACKSON: Chas. Lee, a veteran circus man, died at Canton, Bradford county, recently, of paralysis. Many years ago he traveled with Dan Rice, acting as strong man, or “giant,” and later was proprietor of the old “Gerry House” at Jackson.

FRIENDSVILLE: Michael Foran, of Cincinnati, whose health is quite impaired, returned with his brother, Richard, to this place.

Don’t forget to check out our website, for back issues of 100 Years Ago. Take advantage of the automatic indexing feature.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Help Wanted!

Know anyone who would be interested in a year-around job with no pay, no benefits, and very little recognition? A job that could be extremely dangerous and even life threatening at times?

What’s that? You say you don’t know anyone foolish enough to work under those conditions. Come, now, of course you do. He’s the guy or gal next door, across the street, or around the corner. He’s your volunteer fireman!

Unfortunately, there are still some of you out there who associate firemen with block parties, parades and beer. And rightfully so, – at times. But they are also the guys who climb out of the sack at 3 a.m. when the temperature is hovering around the zero mark and respond to an alarm of fire. They can be seen hosing down an accident site, cleaning snow away from covered fire hydrants, polishing Engine One, or knocking on your door during an envelope drive.

Perhaps we do not pay enough attention to them, but who responds to just about any emergency in your community? If your answer isn’t firemen, then you are not at the scene. Whether it is a cat high in a tree, a child with a foot caught in a storm drain, or a broken water line flooding a rec. room, chances are your local fire company is there.

When there are brush fires in 90 degree temperatures, your firemen are there fighting them. When there is a house fire during a snowstorm, your firemen are there. When there is a parade, your firemen are there. And what draws the most attention at parades? Ask the neighbor’s six-year-old and he’ll answer the fire trucks.

Now, stop for a moment and think about this. Imagine your town without a volunteer fire company. If the municipality had to staff a paid fire company, imagine the impact on your real estate taxes. If your town did not have a fire company, imagine the increase in your fire insurance. And, worse case scenario of them all, imagine your home on fire and no fire company to respond.

Something terrible is happening to volunteer fire companies across the Commonwealth and, perhaps, the nation. Something that could bring about some of the problems outlined in the previous paragraph. We asked you to imagine your town without a volunteer fire company. Well, if conditions keep going as they are today, this could happen mighty quick. Most fire companies have excellent fire fighting equipment. And most dedicated volunteer firemen learn to use the equipment as well as the latest fire fighting techniques at fire schools and seminars.

So what’s the problem? Putting it as plainly as possible – a lack of volunteers. You can have the most modern, up-to-date fire fighting equipment ever made but it is useless if it sits in the firehouse because there are no volunteer firemen to man the controls. You can have the most sophisticated, computerized methods of getting to the scene of a fire but if there are no volunteer firemen to read the printouts, forget it. You can have new fire fighting apparatus or perhaps a new firehouse but without the volunteer manpower, what good is it?

My friends, it may appear kind of late for a New Year’s Resolution, but make one more anyway. Resolve that you will ask one member of your family to visit his/her local firehouse and consider becoming a volunteer fireman. Whether it be a brother, sister, uncle or cousin, if one member of each family would volunteer, it would help to perpetuate the volunteer fire companies across the Commonwealth. Because whether you want to believe it or not, there is a shortage of volunteer firemen and ambulance personnel. If volunteers do not come forward, the protection you now have could end before too long. That comfortable feeling you take to bed at night because your volunteer fire company is there could turn into nightmares if that company suddenly is gone.

Before you ask yourself, what do you know about fighting fires, understand a couple of things. Firemen attend more volunteer fire schools and related seminars and instructional classes than any other volunteer group you can name. There is a great concern for your safety as a volunteer fireman and you are taught the latest fire fighting techniques and how to cope with the most hazardous of fires. Don’t think you are going to join and the fire chief is going to shove a hose in your hand and say something like, “When the water comes of of the nozzle, aim at whatever is burning.” You will be taught how to fight a fire and protect yourself at the same time.

And, finally, my friends, consider this. You do not have to fight fires to become a member of your volunteer fire company. Help is welcomed in a number of ways. You could help keep your firehouse clean. You could polish the equipment. You could sell hot dogs or pizza at the annual fireman’s picnic. The list of needs is endless.

Won’t you please consider volunteering your services to one of the most important causes in your community? Call your fire chief and let him determine how you can be of service to the volunteer fire company. You will feel good about yourself and the fact that you are contributing time and energy to keep your family, friends and neighbors safe.

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From the Desk of the D.A.

Since 2002, the Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office has been conducting tobacco compliance checks to deter the sale of tobacco products to minors. This program is required by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and, without a compliance check program, Susquehanna County would be in danger of losing funding for certain programs. Susquehanna County Detective Debra Millard, through a contractual agreement with the Susquehanna County Drug & Alcohol Commission, provides the law enforcement component in connection with the tobacco compliance checks.

Under current law, law enforcement may use a cooperating juvenile to attempt to purchase tobacco products from various vendors. The District Attorney’s Office has developed a set of guidelines that are strictly adhered to: the juvenile must be between the ages of 14 and 17; the juvenile cannot provide any false information; and the juvenile is told to wear an outfit that he or she would regularly wear to school. Finally, the juveniles all participate voluntarily in this program.

As you may recall, in a previous article, I outlined the great strides that have been made in Susquehanna County in prohibiting the sale of tobacco to minors. In particular, the statistics demonstrate that the compliance check program is having tremendous success. In calendar year 2002, 80 compliance checks were performed throughout Susquehanna County with 58 stores passing (72%) and only 22 stores selling tobacco products to a minor (28%). Up to June 30, 2003, 214 compliance checks were performed throughout Susquehanna County with 186 stores passing (87%) and only 28 stores selling tobacco products to a minor (13%).

We recently completed the statistics for the last “wave” of compliance checks running from July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2004. During that time period, 213 compliance checks were performed throughout Susquehanna County with 201 stores passing (94%) and only 12 stores selling tobacco products to minors (6%). Therefore, in reviewing the statistics, in a two-year period, the success rate has risen from 72% to 94%, while the failure rate has decreased from 28% to 6%. We take great pride in these figures, as well as the overall success that the compliance check program has produced.

The local retailers deserve credit for the manner in which they have worked hard to train employees to take the necessary steps to prevent the sale of tobacco products to minors. Since the inception of the program, the District Attorney’s Office has provided training programs (developed by the Department of Health) to local retail owners to assist them in providing the proper training to assure that employees check for proper identification and avoid selling tobacco products to a minor. Many local retailers have embraced these policies and implemented them so as to avoid the sale of tobacco products to minors. As demonstrated by the statistics, the compliance check program and the hard work and dedication of our local retailers has transformed Susquehanna County into a community where proper identification is required prior to the purchase of any tobacco products. To the local retailers, I say thank you for a job well done and keep up the good work.

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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Straight From Starrucca

The senior citizens finally met on Wednesday, February 9, with seven present to enjoy the potluck dinner. Not too much business, except the next dinner will be March 9. Thank you notes were read from folks who received the tins of Christmas cookies. Bingo was played and after visiting awhile, the seniors called it a day.

Sympathy is extended to Alice and Bob Gilleran on the passing of her mother, Anna Hobbs.

Helen Dickey had the misfortune to fall twice in her home, injuring her ribs, arm and the second time, her head, so doesn’t feel too peppy at this time.

Tim Rhone and friend, Katerina, New York City were weekend guests of his parents, Alice and Kirk Rhone. Tim is manager of a Patagonia clothing store in the city.

Art Kopp, our R.D. mail carrier, celebrated his birthday February 14.

I had lots of company this week. Rosemary Cosentino spent Saturday afternoon. Madeline Thorn brought lunch and spent the afternoon on Sunday. Son, Dan from Harpursville, NY, the same day. My grandson, Matthew Chesik and friend, Tony came Wednesday and brought my car back, which had been gone since last June when I fell. Daughter, Nancy and husband, Donny also came at the same time and they all had lunch with me. So good to see people when one doesn’t get out much.

I hope all of you are making yourself acquainted with President Bush’s plan to overhaul Social Security. Please write your Congressman and tell him how you feel. There are many articles in the papers and magazines giving the pros and cons of his plan, to help you make up your mind.


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Dear EarthTalk: I would like my children to start eating organic foods. Are there any organic products that young children would enjoy?

Amanda Seth, Rockland, ID

A recent study by the Environmental Working Group found that each day more than one million children ages five and under ingest unsafe levels of pesticides from food consumed at home.

“Infants and children are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of pesticides, which can include cancer and nerve damage. Typically, the younger a child is, the greater the degree of susceptibility,” says environmental health researcher Linda Bonvie. “Each exposure to a toxic chemical adds to a kid’s body burden, and since children can't de-toxify as well as adults can, they need to be protected from pesticides and environmental poisons wherever possible,” she adds.

Fortunately, organic foods designed especially for kids are turning up more and more in home kitchens and on school lunch trays. Whole Foods markets, for instance, offers an entire line of organic foods for kids. “Many of our shoppers wanted to provide kids with organic food choices, but a lot of traditional foods didn't appeal to a kid’s palette,” says Whole Foods brand manager Linda Boardman. Whole Kids products, including organic peanut butter, string cheese and flavored applesauce, among other items, are available at Whole Foods stores in 28 states as well as in Canada and the UK.

Meanwhile, other national natural foods grocery chains such as Trader Joe’s and Wild Oats offer a wide range of foods safe for kids to eat, including organic juices from R.W. Knudsen and Santa Cruz Organic in flavors ranging from apple to tropical. Stonyfield Farm’s YoBaby organic yogurt is available for babies and toddlers, and the company’s colorful tubes of YoSqueeze are designed for easy lunch box-packing.

It’s best to also avoid breakfast cereals laden with sugar and preservatives. One good alternative is any of the cereals – including Amazon Frosted Flakes, Gorilla Munch, Koala Crisp and Orangutan-O’s – made by Envirokidz, which uses less sugar and all organic ingredients in its products.

For snacks, kids can choose from a wide range of organic choices too. Planet Harmony offers organic jellybeans, fruit snacks and gummy worms, and Country Choice Naturals sells organic animal cookies. And parents shouldn't forget that fruit from any organic farmer’s market can also satisfy a child’s sweet tooth.

Indeed, with such an abundance of organic choices, there is no reason for any child to go hungry in order to avoid pesticides, preservatives and sugars.

CONTACTS: Environmental Working Group, (202) 667-6982,; Whole Foods Markets,; Trader Joe’s,; Wild Oats,; R.W. Knudsen,; Santa Cruz Organic,; Stonyfield Farm,; Envirokidz,; Planet Harmony;; Country Choice Naturals;

Dear EarthTalk: What has been causing holes in the Earth’s ozone layer and what is being done about it?

Marcin Wasilewski, Delray Beach, FL

Chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), of which there are many variations, are the prime culprits in the depletion of the Earth’s ozone layer. The ozone layer is composed of ozone molecules, which bind together in the Earth’s stratosphere to serve as Earth's sunglasses, shielding us from damaging ultraviolet rays. Meanwhile, CFCs, commonly used in refrigerants and aerosol sprays, are virtually indestructible and linger in the atmosphere, destroying ozone molecules faster than they can regenerate.

The problem is most acute over Antarctica where, in 2004, an area more than nine million square miles--or two-and-a-half times the area of Europe--was affected. Australia, North America and Europe are also at great risk from ozone depletion. The greater exposure to ultraviolet light resulting from a thinning ozone layer leads to increased skin cancers, eye cataracts and lowered disease immunity. Ozone depletion also causes damage to ocean ecosystems, reduces agricultural yields, and may be affecting the reproductive abilities of some amphibians, especially frogs whose populations are depleting rapidly around the globe.

In 1987, 24 countries signed the Montreal Protocol, an agreement to reduce CFC production worldwide through a phase-out of 96 different chemicals. CFC production is now banned in most countries, and use began to decline after peaking in 2000. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, which oversees implementation of the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer should be able to repair itself by 2050 as long as CFC production trails off as planned.

Despite widespread ratification and implementation of the Montreal Protocol, some environmental groups do not think enough is being done to protect the ozone layer. For one, black market trading in CFCs is a big problem that perpetuates the discharge of these chemicals into the atmosphere. And a growing number of scientists are concerned that newer, increasingly popular chemicals such as n-propyl bromide and halon-1202, neither of which are controlled by the Montreal Protocol, could contribute significantly to ozone depletion. N-propyl bromide is used primarily as a degreasing solvent in metal cleaning, and halon-1202 is used in military fire-fighting equipment. In fact, the presence of halon-1202 in the atmosphere has increased five-fold since the late 1970s.

“At the moment I believe we do not have a big problem with these new substances,’ says MIT professor Mario Molina, who is credited with discovering the problem of ozone depletion from CFCs in the 1970s. “But we cannot be complacent. If enough of them are manufactured and emitted, we will delay the recovery of the ozone layer quite significantly.”

“Early recovery is possible with an aggressive commitment,” agrees Beatrice Olivastri, CEO of Friends of the Earth Canada. “Governments need to stop rolling back legislation for a total ban on these chemicals.”

CONTACTS: Montreal Protocol,; United Nations OzoneAction Programme,; Friends of the Earth Canada, (613) 241-0085,

GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit your question at:, or e-mail us at:

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