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Issue Home March 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

Slices of Life

No Slackers Allowed

This morning I made the last entry in a journal that I have been writing on and off since 1998. When I used that last page, I went back to the beginning and read the whole thing. There were good times and bad times recorded there; a microcosm of everyone’s life.

Stuck in the front cover of that book, I found an outdated magazine clipping that I often use for encouragement when life gets tough, I get lazy or feeling sorry for myself. The clipping is a story about snowboarder Chris Klug. In it Scott Willoughby, the writer, says, "Klug’s resolve has been tested more than once during his 10-year run on the World Cup circuit, but never more than last season, when he returned to snowboard racing only three months after undergoing a liver transplant to stave off the effects of primary schlerosing cholangitis – the degenerative disease ultimately responsible for the life of NFL star Walter Payton."

I have not followed Klug’s career, so I don’t know how he did at the 2002 Olympics, but I have used his example and philosophy to keep me moving. Klug said, "You only have a small window of opportunity in sports and in life. I’m back and I want to prove how strong I am right now." Isn't that a marvelous attitude in the face of such adversity?

Now, he is a celebrity and, therefore, can be a spokesman, but we see that courage and attitude around us all the time. People making the best of what they've been given. It’s very humbling for those of us who have not started life with physical or mental handicaps, or been handed situations such as Klug’s, to see the brave actions of those who have been afflicted. I need these constant reminders to use what I've been given. I get complacent and lazy – want entertained rather than using my time well.

If I need other good examples, I don’t have to look too far. I have two sisters who are in constant motion using their talents, energy and determination. Over the years they have learned many skills as the need arose. Their resumes would be long and diverse if they were to write them.

And I often think about my mother who went from regularly cooking for seven to cooking for a hundred and fifty. With no fanfare, she signed on as head cook at the elementary school. She planned menus, did the reports needed, negotiated for free foods from the state, peeled potatoes, cooked, served, cleaned up and did dishes with minimal help. Two other ladies, one in her seventies, were her helpers. They laughed and talked their way through many hours of labor. And this never seemed to impact the amount of work Mom got done at home. She still cooked canned, cleaned the house, washed the clothes with a wringer washer, did barn chores – ! Amazing. And she didn’t even have the picture of a smiling Chris Klug holding his snowboard to urge her on.

On the top of this clipped article, I have written, "Don’t ever give up!" We all know that it is easier to live up to that motto on some days than on others. But the day we allow ourselves to disengage from the work of the world is the day we become old. Life loses its savor. I know because I've been there and I don’t intend to go back again.

And that beautiful blue jay outside my window this morning is saying, "Yes, yes, yes." He knows all about the adversities of winter, but fluffs his feathers and keeps on trucking. Following his example, I will rouse myself from this comfortable chair and get my computer humming.

Never give up, even in this maddening computerized age!

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100 Years Ago

GREAT BEND: The Chapot-Shirlaw Chamois factory is to have $48,000 expended in improving it this spring. About 100 are now employed in the factory and when the proposed additions are made and new machinery installed it will be the largest of its kind in the world. W.G. Parke and Chas. V. Chapot are to visit France in the near future. They will endeavor to have larger quantities of chamois skins shipped to the plant.

MONTROSE: The congregation of the A.M.E. Zion church has divided, part of the members going with Rev. J.E. Williams, while the remainder go under the pastorship of Rev. Dawson Edwards. The affairs pertaining to the split in the church have not been entirely devoid of excitement and it is the main topic of discussion and argument among the colored brethren. Some dissatisfaction had arisen among the members about the taxation of the church by the conference which was considered too high. AND: Business is booming at the Beach foundry and saw works. Orders for the machines turned out by this well-known establishment are being received in numbers highly complimentary to the works.

SOUTH GIBSON: It is reported that H.T. Taylor was relieved of $150 by his hired man, Floyd Morris. Morris is a general chore man, making a living by doing odd jobs for the farmers. For the past three or four days he worked for Taylor. Early Tuesday morning Taylor prepared for a trip to Forest City where he was to sell his produce. In a vest he had $150 in bills which he was to take along to deposit in the bank at Forest City. The vest he left on a chair while he went out to the barn to feed the horses. When he returned to the house both hired man and money had disappeared.

KINGSLEY: W.W. Adams, station agent on the D.L.& W. R.R., who is enjoying an extended vacation, sailed from New York on March 11th, via Ward Line, for the Island of Cuba. He will visit Havana, Santiago and other important and historic places, traveling perhaps 500 miles on the island. While there he will visit M.S. Lamb, a former Hallstead boy who now holds [an] important position as engineer on the Cuba R.R. During Mr. Adams’ absence J.E. Masters, relief agent, will be in charge at Kingsley.

SUSQUEHANNA: C.E. Whitney, the well-known newspaperman, died at his home last Tuesday morning. He was about 60 years old and is survived by a wife, two daughters and two sons, Mrs. F. Mastin, Deposit; Mrs. C. Curtis, Harford; Charles E. Whitney, Erie; and a boy two and a half years old. Mr. Whitney was one of the best-known and most versatile newspapermen in Northeastern Penna. For years he acted as the Susquehanna correspondent of several vicinity newspapers and city dailies and a contributor to most of the New York papers. He possessed a delightful sense of humor and his snake and bear stories were extremely interesting. He was one of the quartette of remarkable newspaper fiction writers who during the past third of a century did much to call attention to Northeastern Penna. by the charm of their overdrawn bear, snake and wild animal stories. AND: The Susquehanna Tri-Weekly Journal, one of the best papers in this section, is offered for sale by the proprietor, B. F. Pride, who has conducted it for 34 years. It is a well equipped establishment.

FOREST CITY: The moving picture entertainment given by the Alonzo Hatch company in the Opera house Monday night was well attended. Unfortunately a large number of the company were suffering with one malady or another and the specialties were perforce not given. The Enterprise Hose company, under whose auspices the affair was given, had no knowledge of the crippled condition of the company until after the performance began and greatly regret the elimination of advertised features. The moving pictures were good.

BROOKLYN: Burbank and Whitman, who had the contract for building the new factory for the Brooklyn creamery association, have finished their contract and the concrete floor is being put in by the company, C.F. Watrous superintending the work. Watson & Jones, who have rented the buildings for 5 years, have part of the machinery here, and expect to be ready to receive milk April 1st.

AUBURN FOUR CORNERS: C. E. Voss is treating the interior of his store to a new coat of paint. Jesse Conklin is doing the work. At P. C. Bushnell’s there is a nice line of new spring goods. AND: At Auburn Center, Arthur Harrison recently purchased an Edison Home phonograph of Chas. Lake, of Springville.

HARFORD: Geo. Doloway, of Elmira, was the lucky man to draw the prize ticket on the steel range, given with Aderney baking powder at Frank Lott’s. AND: We are to have a village meat market the coming season in the Osborn building, E. E. Lewis, proprietor.

EAST RUSH: A goodly number of young lambs are found straying around this little town. Anyone wanting a good flock just inquire at the postoffice.

NEW MILFORD: S. A. Benninger and Alva Tourje left Monday for New York, from which place they sailed Tuesday for Panama, where they have positions with the government in the engineering department of the building of the big canal, they having civil service positions.

BIRCHARDVILLE: Wm. Flynn is entertaining the railroad men while they are surveying for our new railroad. We think now we are sure to ride on the Binghamton & Southern R.R.

UNIONDALE: Leon Reynolds had one of his fine horses stricken down with a disease called azoturia about 10 days ago. The horse seemed to be paralyzed and had no use of his hind parts, so they loaded the horse on sleighs and hauled him to Wm. Morgan’s shop, which is a good, warm place and Mr. Morgan commenced treating him, and now the horse is walking around nicely. Mr. Morgan should have great credit as a good many said the horse would never get well.

JACKSON: Miss Beva Leonard very pleasantly entertained a party of friends last Saturday evening at progressive Flinch. After a few games had been played and each person had untangled the cob web and found his partner, lunch was served. This was followed by a few other games and at a seasonable hour the guests departed feeling that all had passed a very enjoyable evening.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Getting Hot Over PENNDOT

For quite a few years, I have been making a Wednesday jaunt from my home in Forest City to Montrose, our historic county seat. I take the back roads because they save me time and cut off some mileage. As a freelance writer/columnist, I do not have the luxury of an expense account.

While these back roads may be “over the river and through the woods” as a famous songwriter once wrote, they are state roads maintained by our illustrious state Department of Transportation commonly referred to as PENNDOT. In prior snowfalls, many of them much heavier than last Tuesday night, these roads have been passable, albeit with some exceptions where the areas’s infamous nor’eastern snowstorms can cause sizeable drifting.

Last Wednesday morning when I awakened and took a peek outside, I noticed we had only a light snowfall and saw no cause for alarm. I made coffee, read the morning paper, walked the dog, shaved and showered, and got ready for the 30-plus miles I had to drive to the county courthouse. I headed south on Route 247. I think. I have always been confused by the fact that the compass in my car tells me I am heading west but the highway signs tell me I am going south. You figure it out.

It did not take me long to realize that my decision to drive to Montrose was questionable at best. When I reached the cemetery at the edge of town, I encountered my first snow and ice covered road. At Deadman’s Curve – I didn't christen it that name- in neighboring Clifford Township, I knew I was in for an interesting drive. The wind had drifted across the wide-open area and the road was snow covered, but I managed to navigate the Caravan through the curve with just a few expletives.

As I continued south (?) on 247, I would gladly have traded my car for a horse-drawn surrey with a fringe on top. I have driven in many, many snowstorms in these parts and always found PENNDOT to be pretty good at keeping roads drivable. Not this time, the road was a sheet of ice in spots and snow-covered in other spots.

I took the shortcut at the four corners near the golf course and proceeded north on LR2023. Another snow-covered road that was hazardous to say the least. If you have never driven on it, it is a winding road that could be difficult to maneuver any time but this time it was a challenge. At SR247 I made a right turn and the small hill leading to the blinker light at Dundaff Corners was just about bare except for the shoulders that made it difficult when moving to make room for oncoming traffic.

At Dundaff Corners, I hung a left and then a right on LR2008 and found another snow and ice covered road that was even drifted-in by the Clifford Airport and I had to squeeze my way between the mound of snow and oncoming traffic. A few more choice words over the ice that covered the road the remainder of the way and I was in beautiful downtown Clifford.

Route 106 heading toward Royal was just about bare except for a few spots where the wind caused some drifting. The drive from Clifford to Mountain View School was ok but from there to Route 11 was another experience. And then, came the most interesting part of the trip, Wickizer Road (SR2055) that stretches from Kingsley to Route 167 at Cornerstone Lumber.

Ever traveled that route? If you did, you know that there are no guard rails on the embankment that begins at the bottom of the hill just beyond the railroad overpass and continues for a mile or so. One bad move or an unexpected skid and the car could leave the road, tumble down a 25 or 30 foot embankment and be there for hours unnoticed. And, my friends, believe me the entire length of that road was horrendous.

I reached Route 167, got out of the car, blessed the good earth, and mumbled a few well chosen uh, prayers for the PENNDOT crew and for Gov. Ed Rendell, whose gelastic state budget was probably to blame for the entire fiasco.

Oh, yes, there is a “by-the-way” to all of this. When I reached Route 706, after driving more than 30 miles, I saw my first PENNDOT truck of the day. I was elated. It was like seeing the first robin of Spring. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me or I would have taken a picture, framed it and hung it in the Caravan to show others that PENNDOT does have trucks.

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From the Desk of the D.A.

Recently, there was a criminal spree involving the use of paintball guns to discharge the paintballs at residences throughout northern Susquehanna County. Ironically, the Pennsylvania Superior Court considered a similar situation in In re M.H.M., 864 A.2d 1251 (Pa. Super. 2004). In that case, several high school students from York, Pennsylvania, left school during the lunch period, and proceeded to discharge a paintball gun at a garage and several unoccupied vehicles. The students then proceeded back to school, returned to class and left the paintball gun in the vehicle. After law enforcement was contacted, they searched the juvenile’s vehicle, where six (6) paintball guns were discovered. Thereafter, the juvenile was charged with possessing a weapon on school property, criminal mischief (for the damage to the personal property caused by the discharged paintballs), and the unlawful possession of an air rifle.

The juvenile contended that the charge of possession of a weapon on school property was improper as the paintball gun was not a “weapon” within the meaning of the applicable criminal statute. In essence, the juvenile argued that the paintball gun was incapable of inflicting serious bodily injury, and, as such, should not be considered a “weapon” prohibited on school property. In rejecting this argument, the Superior Court noted that “a paintball gun is capable of inflicting serious bodily injury depending on the force the pellets are emitted at and which part of the body comes in contact with the paint pellet emitted. A paintball gun is capable of inflicting serious bodily injury, such as permanent eye injury and loss of vision. Indeed, in the game in which the paintball gun is used, the participants wear goggles to provide the necessary protection. Thus a paintball gun is deemed as a weapon under this offense because it has the capacity, albeit in a limited way, of inflicting serious bodily injury.” In short, the court concluded that a criminal act had been committed where a paintball gun was possessed upon school property.

As to the charge relating to the unlawful possession of an air rifle, the Crimes Code makes it unlawful for any person younger than 18 years of age to carry any air rifle on the highways unless accompanied by an adult (unless the air rifle has been unloaded and is placed in an appropriate carrying case). The juvenile argued further that a paintball gun was not an “air rifle” as the definition did not specifically include a reference to paintball guns. In response, the Pennsylvania Superior Court rejected that argument, and noted that paintball guns not only constituted a “weapon,” but also an “air gun” under the applicable statutes.

As a result, the juvenile was adjudicated on numerous counts relating to the possession of a weapon on school property, the transportation of the loaded and unsecured air gun in the vehicle, and the criminal mischief relating to the damage that was done to the residence and unattended vehicles. In particular, the possession of a weapon on school property is graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to five years incarceration. A conviction for such an offense also results in the loss of the right and privilege to possess any weapon under federal law.

The recent spree of criminal conduct involving paintball guns and damage to residences involves more than a simple act of criminal mischief. As noted above, if the perpetrators are younger than 18 years of age, they have violated the prohibition relating to the use of an air gun on a highway. In the event that these paintball guns are stored in a vehicle, and then the vehicle is parked on school property, the perpetrators have unlawfully possessed a weapon on school property. Those “pranksters” involved in such activities should be forewarned. In addition to the economic cost of restitution to the victims, the criminal consequences are dire and potentially life long, i.e.: a potential five year period of incarceration and the loss of the privilege to possess or own a firearm.

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 Baptist Sunday School members and their families last Saturday went to the “Y” in Carbondale for a swimming party. Accompanying them was a missionary family from Chile, South America – Mr. and Mrs. Bonilla. When the group returned, they were treated to pizza in the social rooms of the Baptist Church.

A joint service, with a dinner that followed was held at the Herrick Center Baptist Church Sunday, the thirteenth with Mr. Bonilla as the speaker.

On Saturday, the nineteenth, the Sunday School of the Thompson Methodist Church will host a spaghetti supper starting at four-thirty p.m.

Ararat Church will reopen Palm Sunday.

My apology to Danny Downton for announcing that he celebrated his tenth birthday recently when in reality he was an up and coming young man of fifteen. Sorry, Dan, hope you weren’t teased about it.

My grandson, Matt and two friends stopped by Wednesday on their way home to Moscow, PA from Harrisburg. I was delighted to see them, but a rather circuitous route to get home. Matt recently bowled 300 and has a score of 756 for the series.

We have just heard that Sally Herr, a former resident, has passed away.

My sister-in-law, Helen Dickey has also passed away, two days before her 91st birthday, and only a few hours after she was transferred to SNF. Surviving are a daughter, Maxine, a host of nephews and nieces, and myself. Services were conducted Saturday, March 12 by Brian Lucas and Rev. Leon Frank in the Methodist Church in Starrucca, where she was a member for many years. She had a lovely voice and sang in the choir, when we had one. Helen was secretary of the administration board for fifty-five years. She will be buried beside her husband, Arland, in the Union Dale Cemetery where the family has a plot. Memorial contributions may be made to the Starrucca Methodist Church, in care of Joy Mead, RR 1, Starrucca, PA 18462.


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