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Issue Home April 5, 2005 Site Home

100 Years Ago
Along the Way...With P. Jay

From the Desk of the D.A.

Straight From Starrucca
Earth Talk

100 Years Ago

SOUTH GIBSON: Greeley Belcher, of South Gibson, who has been previously engaged in the mining business in Alaska, started last week for the Klondike, where he has a number of claims.

MONTROSE: John Hefferan has purchased the harness shop for a number of years owned by Joseph E. Barney and will hereafter conduct the business himself. Mr. Hefferan is a harnessmaker of many years experience, besides being an affable gentleman. The large patronage of the establishment will unquestionably be continued as he has been practically entirely in charge the past two years, not only during this time demonstrating his ability but making many friends as well.

FRANKLIN FORKS: Frank H. Shafer closed his term of school here yesterday and will put in some of his spare time from now until the baseball season opens up in tossing the ball across the plate and getting in shape to “put it all over” what teams the local nine may come up against. Frank displays good headwork in connection with his speedy curve and his many admirers are expecting, with every promise of their expectations being fulfilled, to see his pitching the coming season surpass the excellent record he established last season.

ALFORD: Perry Sweet was in Montrose on Monday and renewed the Independent Republican for the 41st time, having commenced taking it when in the army, in 1864, then only a boy of 17. Mr. Sweet can be classed as one of our youngest old subscribers, and one of the pleasantest of our many pleasant ones. He tells us he has secured a position with the International Correspondence School in Scranton and will commence his duties shortly.

SILVER LAKE: John Quinn, for 36 years color-bearer of Four Brothers Post G.A.R., gave some facts concerning his interesting life. He was born in England 78 years ago and came to this country when a boy, getting his first glimpse of Montrose 65 years ago. His patriotic ardor caused him to enlist with Co. C, 151st Regt, Pennsylvania Volunteers, which was formed here by the late Major Young. For 17 months our redoubtable old warrior served in the army and that he saw active service is attested to by the three wounds he received during that time. One, which was received at Ft. Donaldson, in repulsing a cavalry charge, he shows with not a little just pride. It is a clean cut saber wound and had it not been for the flag-staff of the colors which he was bearing he would have been minus a hand. As it was the staff was cut in twain and his wrist nearly so, hanging only by a few shreds. Mr. Quinn has the soldier’s love for President Lincoln and recounts with pleasure the review of troops at Belle Plains Landing, where he saw and had the honor of saluting him. Mr. Quinn is the father of ten children--9 boys and a daughter. Seven of the boys and the daughter are now living in Binghamton where Mr. Quinn has been spending a good part of the winter. One son was killed in a runaway accident several years ago and the remaining boy is in Golden, Ohio. He is a grandfather of 37 grandchildren. His strong face and manly, erect bearing have made him always a striking figure, marching at the head of the column of old veterans, with the stars and stripes floating over his head.

RHINEY CREEK: C. L. Bailey has planted his garden. Let’s hear from the man who can beat that! March 31st. AND: The acid factory is closed for cleaning and repairing and A. L. Rose is doing a rushing business with his grist mill.

KINGSLEY: March 31st being the day that W.W. Adams, of Kingsley, was to return from a month’s visit in Cuba, the members of the band, together with his many friends, met at the depot to greet him. As train No. 5 stopped at Kingsley, the band was playing an appropriate piece, and as he stepped off he knew by the many faces that he was welcomed back. They then went to the basement of the Universalist church and had a maple sugar social for the benefit of the band. Mr. Adams deserves a great deal of praise for his untiring effort displayed in the building-up of the Kingsley band.

BROOKLYN: Mrs. Willis Kent took carbolic acid by mistake, Sunday evening, and only by prompt and heroic means was her life saved. Mr. Williams, who lives in part of the house, gave white of eggs and warm water, and Dr. Ainey was soon there and after a long time succeeded in counteracting the poison, although it has left its effects somewhat. AND: The new butter factory started April 1st and received the first morning over 7000 lbs. of milk. The Harford Dairy Co. has leased the plant for five years.

LITTLE MEADOWS: Arthur Deuel, of the State College, is spending his Easter vacation with his mother, Mrs. Jane Deuel.

JACKSON: E. A. Page, one of Jackson’s oldest and the most respected citizens was in Susquehanna Saturday. Mr. Page, at 84, is a well-preserved man, retaining his mental faculties in an eminent degree. He informed the writer that he had been a subscriber to the Democrat for a period if 62 years--a most remarkable record.

MIDDLETOWN CENTER: Miss Harriet Jones has returned home from school at Leraysville. AND: The wood bee at J.F. Golden’s was largely attended.

SUSQUEHANNA: The following notice was posted in the Erie shops: “Beginning Monday, April 3, the shops will work ten hours per day, six days in the week.” The shops have been working nine hours per day and five days in the week for the past eleven months. The difference between the union boilermakers and the company continues unsettled.

CLIFFORD: Business is starting up in all of its branches. E. E. Finn is busy looking after our creamery and the creamery co.’s different skimming stations. Our merchant, Bliss, has put in a full line of groceries on one side of his furniture store. Frank Spedden shipped from Carbondale 280 barrels of apples. Our blacksmiths are doing a lively business and are getting well supplied with summer hardware. Our Stores are waking up from February and March dullness. Mr. Taylor, our popular undertaker, has opened a tin shop. T. J. Wells has purchased a gold, silver, nickel, copper and brass electro plating outfit, also a Royal silver plated by the new process. His dynamos and machinery are of high grade and guaranteed to do first-class plating of all kinds. Our town has no harness shop. It’s a good opening for some one.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Dawn’s Early Flight

Without a doubt, it now appears that the most insecure job in county government belongs to non-elected department heads who serve at the pleasure of the county commissioners.

In the 15 months that the Kelly Administration has been running the county, one department head was fired, another was demoted, a third lost her job because her department was abolished, and the most recent example is the departure of Dawn Watson Zalewski, coordinator of the county’s 9-1-1 Communications Center.

Mrs. Zalewski didn't wait for the axe to fall. She submitted a letter of resignation following a meeting with Commissioners Roberta Kelly and Mary Ann Warren. “I had enough,” she told me. “We have a different philosophy of how the 9-1-1 center should be run.”

Webster defines philosophy as “the general laws that furnish the rational explanation of anything; the inquiry into the most comprehensive principles of reality in general; the love of wisdom and the search for it; practical wisdom.”

So can it be said that philosophers blend common sense with intelligence to generate wisdom? Certainly appears that way from here. And can it be said that that is the formula Dawn Watson Zalewski applied as head of the county’s 9-1-1 Communications Center? Again, it would appear that way.

Mrs. Zalewski has worked at the comm. center since 1973. Fulltime since 1980 and head honcho since 1989. My friends, in case you have not added it up, that’s 32 years of on-the-job experience in communications. Even if she only retained half of what she has learned and observed, there has to be a lot of smarts stored in her brain. And she is only approaching her 50th birthday! One would think an employee with a resume like that would be invaluable. The knowledge; the common sense; the wisdom. It’s all there!

There is no doubt in my mind that the Susquehanna County Commissioners are doing their best to improve county government and our way of life here in a county that is treated so unfairly in Harrisburg. But I cannot help but think they have their priorities mixed up. We can go right back to my constant reminder that if it is not broke, don’t fix it.

Has Mrs. Zalewski made mistakes? Probably! But then, don’t we all make mistakes? Isn't that why they put erasers on pencils? Ask 100 people if we should be losing lives in Iraq and a majority of them will say no. So, in the eyes of many, President Bush made a mistake declaring war on Iraq.

Are the county commissioners qualified to judge Mrs. Zalewski? Probably not. I don’t think any of them are electrical engineers. And have you ever talked to an engineer? They can spend 20 minutes explaining something and when they are through, you just scratch your head and mumble something like, “say what?”

Mrs. Zalewski is not an electrical engineer. If a piece of equipment breaks down, she cannot be expected to fix it. I doubt very much that Chrysler ever asked Lee Iacocca to install a new motor in a Dodge.

Lacking any knowledge of Mrs. Zalewski’s responsibilities, the commissioners must rely on other sources for their information. Sources that Mrs. Zalewski may have rubbed the wrong way during her 30-plus years at the comm. center. Sources who may be envious of her position. Sources who may not appreciate the fact that she is a Democrat in a Republican-controlled county.

Last summer, two of the three commissioners targeted Mrs. Zalewski as another expendable department head but they could not find a reason to dismiss her. So they began a cold war against her. They started passing remarks that Mrs. Zalewski is not getting any grant money for the county. That she has never been held accountable for the grant money she did receive in the past. That she should meet with them on a regular basis and explain what she is doing. And, by the way, she is the only department head who was ordered to meet with the commissioners almost daily.

They were amazed that Mrs. Zalewski just shrugged her shoulders and kept on doing the job she was being paid to do with no gripes. And so, they conceived a plan. They would split her department into two departments and cut her salary by $6,000. They did that last October but Mrs. Zalewski continued to run the 9-1-1 Comm. Center. And the taxpayers ended up with another high-paying department head.

Finally, last Wednesday morning they invited her to a meeting and proceeded to chew her out for one reason or another until she finally had enough and resigned. By the way, Commissioner Jeff Loomis is the liaison between the commissioners and the comm. center and he was not invited to the meeting. He said he was in the courthouse at the time but he knew nothing about the meeting. Mrs. Kelly said he was not in the building at the time of the meeting.

Anyhow, Mrs. Zalewski is gone and the commissioners are going to advertise for a new coordinator for the 9-1-1 Comm. Center. Somehow, I get the feeling they already have made their selection. Without Mr. Loomis’s input of course.

And the big question making the rounds at coffee breaks and lunch periods is who will be next? Well, there aren't that many department heads left but I can think of at least three who better be careful. I won’t mention them because, if I am wrong, I may plant an idea or two in the wrong heads. But you can almost bet the ranch that the axe wielding has not stopped. But it may only be on hold until the Zalewski incident cools down.

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From the Desk of the D.A.

As many of you know, the Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office compiles a monthly list of sentences for each particular month, and then we provide that list to the various newspapers covering the Susquehanna County area. As a result of these efforts, the local newspapers have been providing the sentencing information to the residents of Susquehanna County. A reader recently requested an explanation of many of the common nomenclature used in connection with sentences.

First, the reader sought information concerning the “real” sentence when a defendant is sentenced, for instance, to 4 months to 23 months of incarceration. Whenever there are two figures with reference to a period of incarceration, the lower figure (4 months) references the minimum period of incarceration, while the larger figure (23 months) represents the maximum period of incarceration. After serving the minimum sentence (4 months), the inmate may petition the court (or, in the case of state incarceration, the Pennsylvania Board of Parole) for parole, or release from incarceration, prior to the expiration of his maximum term. With reference to a petition for parole, the court (or Board of Parole) will consider a variety of factors to determine whether an inmate should be released from incarceration, such as the input from the victim(s) of the crime, the prosecutor, and the probation department, whether the inmate has accepted responsibility for his actions, whether the inmate has undergone counseling (or other services) while incarcerated, and the conduct of the inmate while incarcerated. If the court (or Board of Parole) determines that parole is appropriate, the inmate will be released from incarceration upon serving his minimum sentence. If parole is not appropriate, the inmate remains incarcerated, and can re-petition the court (or Board of Parole) at some later date for parole. There are circumstances where an inmate will never be paroled, at which point the inmate would be released upon expiration of the maximum sentence (23 months).

On the other hand, if an inmate is paroled at his minimum (4 months), or at some point prior to the expiration of his maximum (23 months), then the inmate is released onto parole status – a period of supervision subject to various conditions and requirements. If paroled after serving the minimum (4 months), then the inmate would serve the remainder of the sentence (19 months) under parole supervision. If the inmate violates the terms and conditions of his parole, the inmate, after a hearing on the violations, could be incarcerated for any period of time up to the remainder of the sentence (19 months). This particular process can be repeated over and over again throughout the 23-month period encompassed by the maximum sentence. For instance, it is not uncommon for a defendant to be paroled, and then go through several cycles of parole, parole violations, incarceration, and parole again. Thus, the “real” sentence, as requested by the reader, depends upon a variety of factors, with the primary factor being the behavior of a particular defendant not only while incarcerated, but also while under supervision on parole status.

The reader also questioned “point of multiple concurrent sentences.” The reader wanted an explanation of why sentences are “sometimes concurrent and sometimes consecutive.” If two sentences run concurrent, then the sentences essentially become one sentence, whereas where sentences that run consecutive extend the period of incarceration and/or supervision. As to the “point” of concurrent sentences, they are a tool to allow courts to determine the appropriate overall period of incarceration and/or supervision that a defendant requires for the totality of the criminal conduct involved in the cases. For instance, it is not uncommon for us to file five or six separate criminal cases against someone for writing bad checks at different retail establishments. While the defendant may be convicted of writing five bad checks in five different cases, the court could determine that running all five cases consecutive would not be just given the circumstances. Therefore, the court could fashion a sentence that ran some or all of the counts concurrent. Concurrent and consecutive sentences are additional tools for the court to utilize in determining the appropriate length of a sentence and/or supervision of a particular defendant. If you are reviewing a sentence in the newspaper, and want to know the “real” sentence, just remember that concurrent sentences are served together so that the largest minimum and the largest maximum period of incarceration determine the actual sentence, while consecutive sentences require you to add the minimums and maximums together to determine the actual sentence. For instance, if a defendant was sentenced on two criminal matters to 2 months to 12 months and 1 month to 15 months, to be served concurrent, the “real” sentence would be 2 months to 15 months. If the sentences were running consecutive, then the “real” sentence would be 3 months to 27 months.

While I understand the sentencing schemes are, at times, difficult for the public to understand, the bottom line essentially rests with a judge, determining in his or her discretion, the appropriate punishment for a particular defendant after due consideration to numerous factors, such as the facts of the case, the victim’s statements, and the history and background of the defendant.

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

As of yesterday, March 30, Charlie Levchak put the last piece of his 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzle in place and heaved a big sigh of relief.

Easter weekend saw a lot of coming and goings. Tim Rhone and friend, Katerina drove in to the home of his parents from New York City for the weekend. Brother Jeff and friend, Danielle from Delhi, NY came to celebrate Easter with his siblings and parents, Alice and Kirk Rhone.

Joy Mead, Kris Christianson and children, Casey and Richie and aunt, Marie Swartz traveled to Johnson City to pass the day with daughter, Karen Beam and family.

Gale Williams motored to State College, PA to have Easter with son, Scott.

Pete and Vicki entertained a houseful of thirty-one Downton relatives for the day.

Art and Virginia Kopp spent Easter Sunday with daughter and husband, Belinda and Gary Colwell and family, near Great Bend.

Maxine Dickey celebrated her 69th birthday, March 30 with a birthday cake and visits from friends. It wasn’t the pleasantness of the day, but saddened by not having her mother with her, having been deceased several weeks earlier.

June Downton’s brother, Warren passed away and his funeral was in Kingston, NY. Traveling to the services on Wednesday, March 30 were Vicky, Bonnie, June and Jack Downton. Sympathy is extended to the family.

Laura and Ronnie Brownell had a rough start for their short-term vacation in Houston, Texas. They boarded the plane at Avoca and were taxiing down the runway, ready for takeoff when the brakes squealed and the plane stopped with a jolt, turned around and went back to airport to be checked out. A mechanic had to be called to check the tires in case they were damaged by the friction of the braking action. When everything was declared okay, they climbed into the air, arriving in Washington, D.C. to find their plane had already taken off. They had to wait for the next plane and arrived in Houston an hour late. While there they were guests of Ronnie’s sister’s daughter, Deanna who escorted them to the Houston Zoo with her two children. Later, they enjoyed a rodeo. All went well, enjoying the sights and of course, the food and arrived home without incident.

I had a rather fun weekend, too. Holly and J.R. Augenbaugh, York, PA arrived late Friday evening. Betty and Bob Luz, my sister and husband from Lansdale, PA, my son Nelson and wife, Phyllis from Little Falls, NY arrived on Saturday. Sunday all of the above including Dan from Harpursville, NY went out for dinner. Arriving home we greeted David and Michelle Dickey, South New Berlin, NY, Steve Dickey and friend, Laura, Binghamton, NY and James Dickey, home from Cornell University where he will graduate in May. We had fun, but when everybody left the quiet was deafening.


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Earth Talk

Dear EarthTalk: Are there any healthy alternatives to sugar?

Andrew Young, New York, NY

Perhaps since the diet crazes of the 1970s, Americans have been looking to cut back on their intake of sugar. And doctors couldn't be happier, as they consider the prevalence of sugar in our society a root cause of numerous health problems, including the recent trends in obesity and adult onset diabetes.

By far the most commonly used sugar alternative today is aspartame. Most diet sodas contain aspartame, and it is the main ingredient in artificial sweeteners Equal and Nutrasweet, among others. But aspartame itself has been linked to a host of health problems, including Parkinson’s disease, anxiety attacks, depression, and brain tumors. A recent report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services listed 90 documented symptoms associated with aspartame exposure. And according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), aspartame accounts for 75 percent of reported adverse reactions to food additives.

Honey, another popular sugar substitute, contains vitamins C, D, E and B-complex, as well as traces of amino acids, enzymes and minerals. However up to 50 percent of these nutrients are lost, unfortunately, when honey is commercially processed. Also, honey is high in calories and is absorbed by the body in much the same way sugar is, so it’s not good a good choice if you are diabetic.

Luckily for those with cravings for sweets, several healthy alternatives to sugar do exist and can be found at most natural foods markets if not in mainstream supermarkets which increasingly have natural foods sections. For a taste similar to honey with fewer calories, agave nectar–made from the Mexican agave plant–is a good choice. Agave nectar is a fruit sugar, which absorbs more slowly into the bloodstream and is suitable for diabetics. It has a light, mild flavor with a thinner consistency than honey. One organic brand is Colibree. Another comes from Sweet Cactus Farms and can be ordered from their website online.

For baking, date sugar is a good alternative to conventional sugar. Actually consisting of finely ground dates, it contains all the fruit’s nutrients and minerals. Date sugar isn't highly processed, and it can be used cup-for-cup as a replacement for white sugar. Also good for baking is xylitol, which sounds like a chemical but is actually birch sugar. Unlike conventional sugar, xylitol is actually reported to fight tooth decay, and has fewer calories. Both date sugar and xylitol are suitable for diabetics and others who are sugar sensitive.

Another sugar alternative–and one that has grown in popularity in recent years–is stevia, which comes from the stevia leaf in Paraguay. It is about 300 times as sweet as sugar, but has no calories. The FDA considers stevia a dietary supplement, because in its unprocessed form it is very nutritious, containing such vitamins as magnesium, niacin, potassium and vitamin C. But Japanese drink manufacturers have been using stevia as a sweetener for more than 30 years. Because stevia is so concentrated, it is best used as an additive to drinks, cereals or yogurts, and not for baking, as it doesn't have enough bulk.

Contacts: US Food and Drug Administration, (888) INFO-FDA,; Colibree, (866) 635-8854,; Sweet Cactus Farms, (310) 733-4343,

Dear EarthTalk: What is “geothermal” heating and cooling, and how is it environmentally friendly?

John Moran, Cranston, RI

Geothermal (sometimes called “geoexchange”) heating and cooling is a technology that relies primarily on the Earth’s natural thermal energy, a renewable resource, to heat or cool a house.

In winter or in colder climates, the Earth’s natural heat is collected through a series of pipes, called a loop, installed underground or sometimes in a pond or lake. Water circulating in the loop carries the heat to the home where an indoor system using compressors and heat exchangers concentrates the Earth’s energy and releases it inside the home at a higher temperature. In a typical system, duct fans distribute the heat to various rooms. These systems can also provide all or part of a household’s hot water, according to the Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium, a trade organization.

In summer or in warmer climates, the process is reversed in order to cool the home. Excess heat is drawn from the home, expelled to the loop, and absorbed by the Earth. Thus the system is providing cooling in much the same way that a refrigerator keeps its contents cool–by drawing heat from the interior, not by injecting cold air from the exterior. The only additional energy that these systems need, other than the heat from the Earth’s surface, is a small amount of electricity to power the pumps that circulate the collected heating or cooling throughout the home.

“It’s a truly renewable system requiring a minimal amount of energy,” says Lisa McArthur of the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, another trade group. “The temperature underground is constant year round (low 40s in the northern U.S. to the low 70s in the South). If a home needs to be heated in the winter or cooled in the summer, the energy source is in one’s own backyard,” she says.

Depending upon the size and quantity of pumps needed, homeowners can expect to pay a few thousand dollars more for installation than for a conventional fossil-fuel system. But with geothermal, homeowners enjoy reduced energy bills, high reliability and long life. “There is always initial sticker shock, but our clientele is more concerned with the environment and long-term use rather than the initial bottom line,” says Scott Jones, a sales manager at ECONAR, a Minnesota-based heat pump producer.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, geothermal technology can reduce energy costs up to 60 percent compared to traditional furnaces. This means that a geothermal unit will pay for itself in two to 10 years. Subsidies and tax incentives, which vary from state to state, can make the systems even more affordable. Homeowners can check with the free online Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy to see if their state provides any such incentives.

CONTACTS: Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium,; International Ground Source Heat Pump Association,; ECONAR, (763) 241-3110,; Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy,

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


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