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Issue Home April 26, 2005 Site Home

It’s A Boy!
It’s A Boy!
PARSE Meeting
Library Needs Only 11 More Members

Record-Breaking Crowd At Library Auction Night
You Can Go Birding At Salt Springs


It’s A Boy!

On March 21, 2005, a beautiful baby boy, Alex Mason Chacona was born, four weeks early, to Brooke and Jesse Chacona. Alex weighed five pounds, three ounces and was 18 inches long at birth.

Brooke is the daughter of Wendy and Steve Schiffman of Holbrook, New York.

Jesse is the son of Norma and Chris Chacona of RR 3, Susquehanna.

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It’s A Boy!

Rick and Dana Empet, Kingsley, welcomed a son on Monday, April 4, 2005. Alex Timothy weighed seven pounds, four ounces and was 21 inches long.

Maternal grandparents are Carl and Nancy Harvatine, Thompson.

Paternal grandparents are Dale and Peggy Empet, Kingsley.

Maternal great-grandmother is Dorothy Foster, Union Dale.

Paternal great-grandfathers are Arthur Empet, Kingsley, and Charles Wollaston, Kennett Square.

This is the couple’s first child.

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PARSE Meeting

The Pennsylvania Association of Retired State Employees met on April 12, at the Fairdale Methodist Church, for the first meeting of the year 2005. After the reading of the secretary’s minutes and the treasurer’s report, President Alton Arnold called on reports from the Membership Committee and the Legislative Committee. The Membership Chairman, Helen Benio reported 28 new members and introduced Melvin Graham of Susquehanna County as a new member.

Legislative Chairman, Jesse Bacon urged members to continue to write letters to the legislature requesting a yearly Cost of Living Adjustment. The president said he received letters from Senator Madigan, Representative Pickett and Representative Major indicating they would be in favor of the COLA.

President Arnold introduced member Joe Plonski, whose mother Isabell Plonski has recently received an award from the Farm Bureau for her many years of farming. He spoke of the difference in farming from when his mother began farming and the modern farming of today.

Members Jesse Bacon and Bernice Landmesser, who with their spouses, recently returned from Florida. They both gave very interesting talks on the devastation of the hurricanes. Both said that they were fortunate their homes received minimal damage.

The next meeting will be held on May 10 at the Zion Lutheran Church, Dushore, Sullivan Co. To make reservations contact Susquehanna Vice President, John Benio at (570) 278–2380. PARSE urges all state retirees to join our organization and attend the meetings.

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Library Needs Only 11 More Members

The 2005 membership campaign for the Susquehanna County Historical Society and Free Library Association, which kicked off in the fall, had a goal of 1,000 members. Though the rate of joiners normally falls off after January's annual meeting, numbers are still tracked and as of mid-April, had reached 989. "We're only 11 members away from our goal, so we are hopeful that a few more people will join and bring us to the magic number!" says Administrator/Library Susan Stone. Membership drive cards are available at local libraries and online at

Individual members contribute $20 or more, families $30 or more, sustaining members $100 or more, and benefactors $250 and up, but of course contributions of any size are welcomed. One thousand members is a modest goal, considering that there are almost 16,000 registered library users and thousands more who use the Historical Society and museum. Local support is one of the factors used to determine the amount of funding provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – the more local support, the more funding received.

Members of the Association support county-wide library services and the county Historical Society. They receive a quarterly newsletter devoted to the Association's activities and events, and are entitled to vote at the annual meeting in January.

For more information about the membership drive or any of the Association's services, call 278-1881 or visit

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Record-Breaking Crowd At Library Auction Night

The Library's fundraising Auction Night was held on Saturday, April 9. The auction's seventh year had an all-time high attendance, with over 150 people thronging the VFW Hall. The crowd enjoyed a delicious dinner, bid on a wide variety of items, and raised over $8,000 for the Susquehanna County Historical Society & Free Library Association.

As guests arrived, they began enjoying the huge variety of delicious food donated by local businesses: The Holy Name of Mary Confirmation Class, Katie Ruegner, Angel Palmer, and others also made food for the hungry crowds.

Organizer Anna Ruegner had been preparing for many months, requesting items from local businesses, artists and craftspeople, and the selection was outstanding. Dave Coddington's masterful auctioneering kept the excitement high – and the audience in stitches, as he teased and encouraged people to dig deep for a good cause. The enthusiastic audience snapped up every item, including the spectacular dollhouse, an eleven-foot boat, two vacation stays in the Outer Banks, stone wall building, amazing baskets, lovely art, furniture, and crafts, and delicious baked goods. More than a dozen door prizes made the lucky winners happy.

If you saw the enormous furnished dollhouse and missed your chance to bid on it, you've got another chance. In a "surprise ending," the generous purchaser donated it back to the Association, and the dollhouse will be raffled at the Blueberry Festival. Tickets are on sale now at the Library in Montrose.

The evening, supported by the Montrose Rotary Club, raised over $8,000 for the Susquehanna County Historical Society & Free Library Association. "This was another great year for this event, and we want to express our thanks to everyone who made it possible!" said Administrator/Librarian Susan Stone. "In these times of state budget cuts, it's heartening to feel the incredible support from the community that is reflected in Auction Night."


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You Can Go Birding At Salt Springs

As sure as the swallows return to Capistrano, so too have the tree swallows returned to Salt Springs State Park. An early spring migrant, their arrival marks the official opening of the bird-watching season in Northeastern Pa. Binoculars are dusted off, field guides fetched and bird-lovers everywhere take to the woods and fields eager to greet each new arriver like a dear friend who has been away too long.

Forget the stereotyped image of little old ladies in tennis shoes. According to a 2001 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study, over 45 million Americans consider themselves “birders”, and bird watching is approaching a $100 billion industry. While they’re just out to have fun, the fact is that bird watchers in all of their enthusiasm, have greatly stimulated the economy, promoted conservation of open land and environmental regulations and added significantly to the store of biological data on bird nesting and migration.

The Friends of Salt Springs Park are involved in two very important projects to contribute important data to the knowledge about local birds, and to promote birding and nature-based tourism in Susquehanna County.

The 2nd Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas is a 5 year, statewide survey to document nesting species. Upon completion is 2008, the Atlas will show changes in the occurrence and distribution of the state’s nearly 200 species of nesting birds as compared to the first Atlas project conducted in the 1980s. Statewide some 750 volunteers have registered to work on the Atlas, each of them surveying one or more “blocks” (about 9 square miles) throughout the breeding season.

Some 40 volunteers in Susquehanna County, several of whom are Friends of Salt Springs Park board members or members at large are monitoring blocks for the 2005 season, including all of the park lands. Since birds are ecological indicators – which means their presence or absence in certain habitats can relate a lot about the area’s environmental health – this kind of documentation also adds to the understanding of changing environmental conditions.

Susquehanna County has not been subjected to the kind of habitat destruction and environmental degradation that is so prevalent in urban parts of the state. The county’s largely pristine and varied rural landscape, attract not only a diversity of bird life, but also bird watchers and visitors to enjoy the bucolic charms. The Friends of Salt Springs Park have undertaken the development of a Birder’s Guide to Susquehanna County with partial funds provided through the Endless Mountains Heritage Region. The purpose of this project is to promote nature based tourism in Susquehanna County and to introduce both residents and visitors to the joys of bird watching and our local outdoors. The guide will highlight bird watching locations around the county, including Salt Springs and other publicly accessible locations, while helping to promote one of the county’s greatest assets – its natural heritage.

Salt Springs State Park is a great place to start any bird watching adventure, with over 150 species recorded to date in the park’s diverse habitats. Cool, moist hemlock forests surrounding Fall Brook Gorge provide suitable breeding sites for species that often nest much farther north. Meadows attract grassland birds and raptors, and several wetlands provide habitat for more elusive marsh species.

The Friends are offering several programs with birding themes this Spring. A Mother’s Day walk on May 8 and an early morning bird walk on June 18 will aid the beginner in identifying birds as well as provide the more advanced bird watcher with a chance to see unusual species.

Through these projects and more the Friends of Salt Springs Park continue to promote their mission of conservation and environmental awareness in our county. For more information on these projects or to participate in the Breeding Bird Atlas, contact the Friends’ office at 967-7275.

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