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

From the Desk of the D.A.

Straight From Starrucca
Software Services
The Healthy Geezer

100 Years Ago

BRIDGEWATER TWP.: Lathan Mack, who lives on the D.T. Brewster farm, it now develops, is the man who holds the lucky number in the “Right of Way” cigar contest. Mr. Mack had not given the matter any particular attention but happening to run over his tickets he discovered that ticket B 1333 was in his possession. Mr. Mack had offered these same tickets to the dealer of whom he had purchased the cigars, T.F. Kelly, for $1, but Mr. Kelly didn’t want to buy. We understand the cigar manufacturers have offered him the automobile valued at $2,500 or $2,000 cash. Mr. Mack is a deserving man and we hope he will secure enough out of it to buy a good farm and live long and prosper. He went to Scranton yesterday to see about the matter.

SUSQUEHANNA: During a row in front of a lunch wagon on Front Street, yesterday morning, Thomas Moran was shot in the thigh by a man named Boynt, proprietor of the wagon. The wounded man was taken to the office of Dr. J.J. Boyle and the bullet probed for, but could not be extracted. No blame is attached to Mr. Boynt for the shooting, as Moran stated he was at the time endeavoring to protect Mr. Boynt from some intoxicated young men and the discharge of the revolver was accidental. AND: The officers of the Susquehanna’s Delaware Division have been removed from Port Jervis to Susquehanna, which means an addition to Susquehanna of about twenty-five families.

WELSH HILL, Clifford Twp.: John G. Jenkins, a native of this place, when a young man, went to Colorado as a book canvasser, going in the interest of J. W. Lyon, who was in the subscription book business. He succeeded so well that he was sent to South Australia in the same business. While there he went into the book publishing business and made a great success. Afterwards he got into politics and became a member of Parliament and later Premier; and now he has resigned that and been made Agent General for south Australia, in London. He is now on a trip to Canada and Washington on official business and will also call on friends in Montrose and Clifford. He is a cousin of T.J. and F.A. Davies and a brother of the late Sheriff Z.D. Jenkins. He is the first native American to hold such stations of importance and honor in that country.

SOUTH MONTROSE: The new station is nearing completion. This will be the most attractive station on the Montrose branch of Lackawanna Valley R.R. between Montrose and Tunkhannock.

JACKSON: Perhaps no other teacher in the United States has so long a record for teaching as has Mrs. Clarissa T. Tracy, who has been a teacher 61 years. Mrs. Tracy was born in Jackson nearly 87 years ago and is a sister of Emerson and Evander Tucker, of the township. For 45 years she has been an instructor in Ripon College, Wis. AND: Rural free delivery, route No. 3, starts from Susquehanna, May 1. It will serve the people in the vicinity of Lanesboro, Comfort’s Pond, Thompson, East Jackson and North Jackson.

ELKDALE, Clifford Twp.: S.E. Lowry is disposing of his stock, poultry, etc., and will move to Forest City in the near future. It is with the keenest regret that we see them depart from our midst, as Mr. and Mrs. Lowry as the best of neighbors and active members of the church and choir in this place.

SILVER LAKE: M.J. Hayes and three sons are kept busy in the Rose saw mill, having a large number of logs to convert into lumber. AND: Charles Eckhech and family have moved to Binghamton and M. McEnery is to take his place at Sheldon Croft.

ALFORD, Brooklyn Twp.: The water tank at this station has been raised and repaired so that the larger class of engines that the D.L.&W. is installing can take water here.

FLYNN, Middletown Twp.: Our graded school is again agitated here and we think the last act passed, granting people the privilege of sending their children to a high school and the fee to be paid by the township, will help our cause.

HOPBOTTOM: A broken rail caused a wreck just below this place Sunday evening. Four coal cars were overturned, obstructing both east and west bound tracks, so that trains were delayed for several hours. AND: Harvey Carpenter, of Lathrop, is driving a fine, new rubber-tire run-about, purchased of Elbert Tiffany. It makes a fine appearance and Harvey is justly proud of it.

RUSH: Henry Zacharias is sawing wood for B.L. Pickett, with his steamer.

MONTROSE: One of the saddest accidents that has occurred in this vicinity for a number of years took place Saturday afternoon. By it Cassius Tallon [step-son of George E. Woodruff, Cliff Street] met his death at the hands of a friend, Lawrence Arnold, a boy about the same age. The boys, in company with Clarence Riker, had been spending the afternoon along the Wyalusing creek, just below town, and had been amusing themselves with a 22-calibre rifle, the kind commonly used by boys, shooting at sparrows, trees and any object that attracted their attention. It was while crossing the Dr. Gardner farm on their return home, young Arnold carrying the rifle, that the tragedy happened. They were passing near Scott’s woods, loitering along after the carefree manner of boys. Lawrence Arnold was giving the small firearm a casual inspection when his finger in some way came in contact with the trigger and the rifle was discharged. The bullet barely grazed the left arm of the boy standing in the line of the leaden missile’s flight and penetrating his side, pierced him to the heart. He wavered unsteadily and the Riker boy, who was standing near him, attempted to keep him from falling, while young Arnold dropped the rifle and ran to his companion’s assistance. “I’m dead,” came the agonizing words from the stricken lad’s lips, and they had hardly passed his lips when he was dead in truth. [The story was related by Arnold and Riker who, overcome by grief and panic-stricken, fled from the scene of the accident. Edward White found the Tallon boy Saturday evening and notified the authorities. On Sunday afternoon Lawrence Arnold finally told his mother about the accident and he and Clarence Riker then told their story to the authorities. The shooting death was ruled an accident]. Further details may be found in the Independent Republican, April 28, 1905.

NEWS BRIEFS: Forty-eight years ago snow fell to the depth of over three feet in Susquehanna county, on April 20th and 21st, 1857. AND: Gov. Pennypacker has approved the bill which provides for a system of humane education, which includes kind treatment of birds and animals. The instruction along this line is to be given to all pupils up to and including the 4th grade. The same law prohibits experimenting with any living creature in the schoolroom.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Some people just don’t get it!

“The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” – Thomas Jefferson

My friends, do me a favor. Will all of you who have attended a meeting of the Susquehanna County Board of Commissioners within the past five years, please raise your hands. Hmmmm, just as I suspected. Less than one percent of the county’s 42,000 residents.

So, how do you keep abreast with what is happening in your county courthouse? Surely as taxpayers you want some idea of how and where your tax dollars are being spent. What’s that? Did you say you read about it in newspapers? Thank you, that’s the answer I was looking for.

Unfortunately, in recent years we have been “blessed” with an array of county employees who believe the less said the better as far as what goes on in the sacred halls of the county courthouse. At the top of the list is our chief clerk who just doesn't seem to understand that county business is public business and that the county commissioners are accountable to the taxpayers. And the way to reach the taxpayers is through the news media.

For example, last week the county’s financial consultants handling the retirement account appeared before the county commissioners to give their quarterly report. I asked again, as I have in the past, if the firm has a summary of the report that could be given to the news media attending the meeting. Just a simple explanation outlining the progress of the fund and the returns on the half dozen investment portfolios the consultants are managing. Needless to say, there were no handouts for members of the Fourth Estate.

Instead, there was this flippant retort from the chief clerk, “They don’t work for the newspapers, they work for the county.” She followed that up by approaching the press table with a copy of a 48-page portfolio review filled with charts and graphs and a sizeable amount of boilerplate that appeared to be inserted for show.

In the 50 years that I have been affiliated with the news media either in newspapers or radio stations, I have attended hundreds of financial presentations, press conferences, forums, seminars, etc., etc. At every one, there was always a press package handed out containing the highlights of the event and even copies of speeches that were made.

Welcome to Susquehanna County!

More on Act 72

We recently told you that school boards across the Commonwealth are reluctant to opt into Act 72 primarily because they fear the thought of allowing taxpayers to vote on school budgets. We also mentioned that there are some legislators in Harrisburg who are sponsoring bills that would force school boards who opt out of Act 72 to sponsor public votes on school budgets.

To date, Representatives Curt Schroder of Chester County and Douglas Reichley of Lehigh County, both Republicans, are sponsoring separate bills designed to ensure the taxpayers have a say in school tax increases. As it stands now, in virtually every district in the state, if the school board approves a tax increase of any size the public has no recourse other than at the ballot box at some distant date.

As one newspaper said in an editorial, “School boards in Pennsylvania are just going to have to learn to operate in an environment of democracy. Instead of telling the people what they will pay for their school system in the coming year, they will have to engage the public in an ongoing discourse on the value of a quality educational program to the community and its citizens.”

Figures released from Harrisburg indicate that under Act 72, the average homeowner is expected to receive a reduction in school property taxes of about $333. In Susquehanna County, per household reduction in property taxes will be $533 in Blue Ridge School District; $242 in Elk Lake; $377 in Forest City Regional; $494 in Montrose; $321 in Mountain View; and, $420 in Susquehanna Community.

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From the Desk of the D.A.

I would like to applaud Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Target Corp. for becoming the first national retailers to join the fight against the production of the illegal drug methamphetamine. This week, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Target announced they will put medicines containing pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient in the manufacturing of the illegal drug methamphetamine, behind the pharmacy counter.

The dangers of the drug methamphetamine and the labs used to make it are very real in Pennsylvania. These retailers are to be commended for their foresight and forward thinking in making it more difficult for this kind of illegal activity to occur.

Methamphetamine and the clandestine labs used to make it, have become a scourge in the narcotic and law enforcement community. A highly addictive drug, sometimes referred to as meth, speed, or crack, methamphetamine is easily and inexpensively made from over-the-counter ingredients found in common cold and allergy medicines. In addition to the community hazards of drug distribution and addiction, meth labs themselves are particularly dangerous. Chemicals used in methamphetamine production give off pungent odors and are highly explosive.

Methamphetamine production, once thought to be geographically isolated to the mid-western United States, is increasingly moving east and into the mainstream. Last year, local law enforcement shut down 106 labs in Pennsylvania, including 3 in Susquehanna County.

Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is home to more and more meth producers – producers who aren’t just small time anymore. Across our nation and in Pennsylvania, there is a disturbing trend of small cells of five or six meth producers/users, who commit countless crimes against the public to fund their meth production activities. Meth is increasingly becoming a Pennsylvania problem, but the criminal justice system alone cannot end the meth explosion. This is a community-wide problem that is going to need a community-wide solution.

These retailers’ decision to be part of that solution will make it harder for drug dealers to get the ingredients they need and make it harder for this dangerous drug to make it to the street. My hope is that Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Target will prove to be a national model and an inspiration to the rest of the industry, demonstrating that we can cut back on meth production and distribution, while at the same time ensuring that cold and allergy suffers will continue to have access to medicines they need for relief.

In Harrisburg, several pieces of legislation have been proposed in the House to restrict pseudoephedrine distribution, including proposals to classify it as a controlled substance and limit its sale to behind the counter at pharmacies. Several other states have introduced and passed similar legislation. The first, Oklahoma, has seen an 80% decrease in its illegal meth lab seizures in the 10 months since it was enacted.

Representative Tina Pickett has proposed House Bill 1311 which would limit the sale of over-the-counter medications which contain ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine to no more than 3 packages or 9 grams per over-the-counter transaction. Also, the bill would require over-the-counter medicines containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine to be sold from behind the counter or through the use of an antitheft device. Public support for such legislation is crucial to the success of the efforts to rid our community of methamphetamine. Please contact your state legislator to voice your support for these common sense solutions.

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

Fickle April departs with its periods of sunshine blocked out by ominous black clouds that dispense minimal showers (in Harpursville, son Dan said it snowed and hailed for a short time) but now we’re in the merry, merry month of May and can expect showers that bring May flowers.

May flowers bring back memories of riding to school in a kid wagon, especially when it was crawling uphill. The girls would jump out and pick a handful of violets or Mayflowers (hepaticas) for the teachers, then run to catch the wagon before it topped the hill. What carefree days!

The scene at grandma and grandpa Buck’s house last Saturday was one of revelry as Mikayla Hargett, daughter of Julie celebrated her eighth birthday with family and friends.

All of the Downton family attended the funeral of Wilford Kirk, brother-in-law of June Downton in Walden, NY a week ago last Friday.

Spirited Seniors of Starrucca met Wednesday at noon for a potluck dinner and to welcome Mr. Delaney from D & S Flowers in Thompson. He spoke to us as to how his business has grown from a small start to a large greenhouse, which he said would be open to the public May 2. He also answered many questions from the audience.

The administrative board of the Methodist Church met at my house last Wednesday night with Brian Lucas, pastor, present. Our church is again in crisis – older members are dying off, attendance is down, sometimes to two or three on Sunday. When there is a supper two or three do the cleaning and legwork to get ready. And there are no new prospects. We have three options: keep it available for weddings, funerals and baptisms, close it altogether and turn it over to Wyoming Conference, or try and keep it open. We await the advice and recommendations of the district superintendent.

When I mentioned flowers, I wanted to tell you what a friend of mine calls a certain yellow flower resembling a dandelion that grows along the edges of the road and stream banks this time of year. She calls them “dancing ponies,” when the real name is “coltsfoot.” Don’t know but what I like her name for them better.


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Software Services

Top 5 Tips for Removing Malware From Your PC

Last time I reviewed the types of malware that can infest your PC. Now that you know what’s out there, how do you get rid of it and keep it out? Here are my top five tips for keeping malware at bay.

First, be sure that you have fairly current antivirus software installed. It doesn’t have to be the current version but it shouldn’t be more than a year behind. For example, Norton Anti-virus did not protect your PC against viruses transferred by Instant Messengers (such as AIM), until the 2004 version. If you watch the sales flyers for places like Staples, Office Depot, Office Max, and Circuit City, you can find antivirus software cheap or free. Yes, you will have to pay for it up front, but a rebate from the software company plus a rebate from the store usually add up to significant savings.

Second, make sure your antivirus software definitions are up to date. What are “definitions”? New malware hits the World Wide Web every day. To keep up, the antivirus software companies have to write new code to detect the malware. This new detection code is called a definition. If your definitions are not current, you’re exposing your PC to infection. Open your antivirus program and look for an Update button or menu item. Update your definitions at least twice a week.

Third, scan your PC. Ok, so now you have antivirus software and updated virus definitions, you’re all set right? Nope, you need to make sure the antivirus software scans your PC thoroughly at least once a week. Think of your antivirus software like soap. You use it all the time to combat viruses when you wash your hands. But once and a while you still need to take a bath and use the soap to scrub all your parts. Most antivirus software has a way to schedule a “full system scan”. Set a scan up to run when you won’t need to use the PC, like late at night. Just remember, the PC needs to be powered on to run the scan!

Fourth, get rid of spyware and adware. Two free programs can be downloaded from the Internet and used quite easily: Spybot Search & Destroy ( and Ad-Aware ( You can donate to the programmer of Spybot or upgrade to the next level of Ad-aware, but the basic version of both programs is free. These utilities should be run at least twice a month and any time your PC acts up. You’ll be surprised at what these two utilities turn up.

Fifth, don’t open files or email attachments that you are not expecting. Never, open email attachments that come with spam. If Grandma sends you the latest Kid Rock Mp3 – guess what? It’s not really from Grandma. Someone grabbed her email id and address book to proliferate spam and malware. On the other hand, if Grandma says she sending you photos from the Craft Fair, well, that attachment is pretty safe to open (if you like crafts).

Lori Martin is owner of Martin Works, Inc. (, Susquehanna, PA.

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The Healthy Geezer

The Healthy Geezer is a new column. It is devoted to the health questions of “geezers,” all of us lovable and quirky seniors who are wondering what is going on with these bodies of ours. It is written by me, Fred Cicetti, a first-class geezer over 60 who’s been writing about health issues for more years than I want to talk about. The column is in a question-and-answer format. If you want to ask a question, just write me at

Okay, here’s the first question:

Q. I’ve been noticing this thing in my eye. At first I thought it was an eyelash. Then I realized the thing was actually in my eye. One of my friends told me it’s a “floater,” and not to worry. What exactly is a “floater” and should I see a doctor?

Concerned in New Jersey

A. Dear Concerned, To allay any fears you may have, I should tell you that floaters are usually nothing to worry about. I have them myself. More than 7 in 10 people experience floaters. Now for some biology.

The lens in the front of your eye focuses light on the retina in the back of your eye. The lens is like the one in a camera, and the retina is like film. The space between the lens and retina is filled with the “vitreous,” a clear gel that helps to maintain the shape of the eye.

Floaters occur when the vitreous slowly shrinks over time. As the vitreous changes, it becomes stringy, and the strands can cast shadows on the retina. These strands are the floaters. They can look like specks, filaments, rings, dots, cobwebs or other shapes. Floaters are the most vivid when you are looking at the sky or a white surface such as a ceiling. They move as your eyes move and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly.

In most cases, floaters are just annoying. When you discover them, they are very distracting. But, in time, they usually settle below the line of sight. Most people who have visible floaters gradually develop the ability to make them “disappear” by ignoring them.

When people reach middle age, the vitreous gel may pull away from the retina, causing “posterior vitreous detachment.” It is a common cause of floaters, and it is more likely in people who are diabetics, nearsighted, had eye surgery, or suffered inflammation inside the eye.

These vitreous detachments are often accompanied by light flashes. The flashes can be a warning sign of a detached retina. Flashes are also caused by head trauma that makes you “see stars.” Sometimes light flashes appear to be little lightning bolts or waves. This type of flash is usually caused by a blood-vessel spasm in the brain, which is called a migraine. These flashes can happen without a headache and they are called an "ophthalmic migraine."

If your floaters are just bothersome, eye doctors will tell you to ignore them. In rare cases, a bunch of floaters can hamper sight. Then a “vitrectomy” may be necessary. A vitrectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the vitreous gel with its floaters. A salt solution replaces the vitreous. The vitreous is mostly water, so patients who undergo the procedure don’t notice a difference. However, this is a risky procedure, so most eye surgeons won’t recommend it unless the floaters are a major impediment.

Many new floaters can sometimes appear suddenly. When this happens, it usually is not sight-threatening and requires no treatment. However, a sudden increase in floaters could mean that a part of the retina has pulled away from its normal position at the back wall of the eye. A detached retina is a serious condition and demands emergency treatment to prevent permanent impairment or even blindness.

What should you do when you notice your first floater? It’s a good time to get that eye examination you’ve been putting off.

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