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Issue Home May 10, 2005 Site Home

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

From the Desk of the D.A.

Straight From Starrucca
The Healthy Geezer

100 Years Ago

ST. JOSEPH: M.D. Sweeney is the proprietor of the noted spring which he discovered on his farm many years ago, and from whose source gushes forth the most pure and sparkling water in that section of the country. This spring is very old, a century or more, and was made by the Indians who had a trail through that picturesque valley at that time. It is possessed of wonderful curative qualities and at the urgent request of friends interested in the matter, Mr. Sweeney has placed the water on sale in the larger cities and towns. It is 50 cents a case and includes six bottles containing three gallons of the water. Best of references furnished on application. Send for a trial case to M.D. Sweeney, at St. Joseph, Pa., and he will deliver one or more cases for 50 cents per case at your door.

MONTROSE: Mrs. Sara Burgess, widow of the late J.W. Burgess, a former proprietor of the Tarbell House, died at the home of her son-in-law, W. H. Whyte, at Hotel Terrace, Scranton. Mrs. Burgess came of old Revolutionary stock and her ancestors were among the first settlers of the Wyoming Valley. Her great-grandfather went to join Washington’s army, leaving his wife and son in the old fort at Forty Fort. They were there during the massacre, but managed to escape death by hiding in the woods until after the slaughter. Mrs. Burgess is well-remembered in Montrose and had visited friends here only a few weeks ago, when she appeared in good health. AND: A wagon loaded with three tons of oats and drawn by J. C. Harrington’s large team of blacks went through the floor of W.A Harrington’s livery stable Wednesday morning. Luckily, as the heavily loaded wagon crashed through the planking the horses plunged forward simultaneously and the kingbolt broke, thus saving them from a fall of several feet. The wagon escaped injury and outside the damage to the floor little harm was done.

AUBURN 4 CORNERS: A.B. Tuttle and son of Springville, are repairing the belfry and steeple of the M.E. church. AND: In South Auburn: Tuesday being the 14th birthday of Elmer Benninger, a few of his young friends were invited in to take tea with him. AND: Quite a large body of men attended the raising of John Treible’s barn on Saturday.

FRIENDSVILLE: Bids are requested on the new St. Francis Xavier Catholic church. With the passing out of existence of the old structure, to be superseded by a place of worship more commodious and modern in style, gives evidence that the pastor and people are intent on keeping abreast of the times in beautifying and improving their pleasant little village.

UPSONVILLE: Ralph Smith, of Binghamton, is home and will be our traveling tea man this summer. Arthur Hunsinger, who traveled for this firm, will work in a tea store in Binghamton.

UNIONDALE: The commencement exercises will be given at the M.E. church this Wednesday evening. There are but two graduates this year--Misses Alice Carpenter and Bessie Furman.

LATHROP: There will be a warm sugar social at the Grange Hall on Saturday evening, May 13, for benefit of Lakeside M.E. church. All are invited.

HARFORD: The hen business is booming here, quite a number of new buildings going up here in the village. AND: The Harford cemetery has a population of 1,600 dead, while the village has not more than 200 living.

SUSQUEHANNA: Miss Ella Stamp was recently cured of a terrible cancer by Dr. S. Andral Kilmer, of Binghamton. AND: Those who have anything to donate to the Susquehanna band and baseball fair are requested to leave same at B. S. French’s stationery store.

LANESBORO: The late Simon H. Barnes, who was considered one of the wealthiest men in Susq. County, left an estate variously estimated from $100,000 to $200,000. The will of deceased named his wife, Anliza Barnes, executrix. Mrs. Barnes is not in strong health and we learn indirectly, that to avoid the immense responsibility which her late husband’s will brings upon her, she has placed the settlement of the estate entirely in the hands of S.P. Quick, of Windsor.

CLIFFORD: Our Supervisor Snyder has put up a fine road from Clifford to Lenoxville via Royal. AND: Rev. F. B. Earl is not only an able devine but a first-class horse farrier.

THOMSON: The managers of the Northeastern Pa. Telephone Company were in town Saturday looking up the business of the company the past year. Their annual meeting comes here the 8th of June and this is quite a gathering, composed as it is of the stockholders, which number over 600, and they all seem to have the familiar “Hello.”

HALLSTEAD: The First National Bank of Hallstead [now Peoples National Bank], capitalized $25,000, [and] commenced business. Landlord Clune, of the Mitchell House, has offered to erect a building for the institution. In the meantime, business will be transacted in quarters already secured. AND: C.W. Banks will erect a building adjoining the cash store on Main St., for the First National Bank.

GREAT BEND: Earl Ames, who has been employed as a porter at the Central House for some time, hired a horse and wagon belonging to W. B. Hamlin and drove to Binghamton, where he sold the rig to B. O. Moffit for $145. He was arrested and is now in jail.

FOREST CITY: The baseball season opened and patrons of the sport had a chance to view the work of the locals on one of the finest diamonds in this section of the state. There is some dispute as to the score of Saturday’s game. The Taylor Reds claim the score was 10-8 in their favor, but from reliable witnesses of the contest we have been informed that the score was a tie 9-9. Kelleher pitched the first two innings. He was not in form and the Taylor lads landed on him for seven runs. In the third inning the new pitcher McMannamum went into the box and for the next seven innings he made the hearts of the fans throb with joy, the way he shot ‘em over. Monroe, our new catcher is certainly a find. Canterbury was not in the game and Garman played shortstop. He is a fast player. Willis was in his regular position in left field, and the fans say he’s all to the good. Hughes was at second base; Miskell held down third very creditably. Kelleher did great work at first base. Troy was in center field and Lewis played right field.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Home, Home on the (Price) Range

In case you are not familiar with the county Board of Assessment, it consists of the three county commissioners, none of whom have any knowledge or experience in real estate values. Usually they rely on input from one or more of the county assessors who do have some training on the subject. But the final decision on an appeal rests with the commissioners when they are in session as the assessment board.

This having been said, let us take a look at an example of your assessment board at work.

On April 1, 2004, the board held a hearing on an appeal from Sandra Conklin whose sprawling five-bedroom mansion is nestled on 43 acres of land in New Milford Township. At the time, the market value of the home and accompanying acreage was listed in the county books with a market value of $600,200 and an assessed value of $300,000. The Clean and Green Market Value was $556,000 and the Clean and Green Assessed Value was $278,000.

According to the minutes of that hearing, Mrs. Conklin’s attorney, Bert Goodman, pointed out that the home was unique in that it was constructed of old barn boards. He said a home of similar specifications had sold for $300,000. Mrs. Conklin said the value of the house should be between $475,000 and $525,000. Assessment Officer Rick Kamansky produced an article from a 2002 magazine that was advertising the Conklin house at a construction cost in 2002 of $1.5 million.

On a motion by Commissioner Jeff Loomis, the meeting was continued until May 13, 2004. At that session, assessment officers, Jennifer Pisasik, Rick Kamansky and Tom Button said they had re-measured the house and corrected the square footage only. Mr. Kamansky recommended that the market value be lowered. On another motion by Mr. Loomis that was unanimously approved, the market value was set at $507,600, a reduction of $92,600, and the assessed value was dropped from $300,000 to $253,800. The Clean & Green Market Value was lowered to $463,500 and the Clean and Green Assessed Value was set at $231,700.

Recently the home was featured in a real estate insert of a Binghamton newspaper and on the Internet. The price, $1.9 million.

Insecure Security

It has been more than a year since the Susquehanna County Commissioners agreed to begin feasibility studies of two needed county projects. The commissioners are batting a cool .500, having completed one of the projects but totally lax in getting the other one started.

The completed project promised by the commissioners is now up and running. Or, perhaps I should say it is running up and down. I am referring to the recently installed elevator that is now taking folks to courtrooms on the second floor.

The disappointment is the unfulfilled pledge to tighten security in the courthouse and the county office building on Public Avenue. To date, we have not seen anything in the courthouse that could be even remotely construed as a tightening of security.

The security problems in the county buildings need immediate attention. The longer the commissioners procrastinate, the more dangerous the situation becomes.

New 9-1-1 Boss?

Word has it that Arthur Donato Jr. has been tapped from among the ranks of 9-1-1 dispatchers to replace Dawn Watson Zalewski who resigned last month. If this is true, it would appear the county commissioners have vindicated themselves somewhat for the shabby treatment they accorded Mrs. Zalewski.

Mr. Donato has been a part time dispatcher at the 9-1-1 communications center for some 18 years and has earned the respect of his co-workers as well as police and fire officials around the county. While it still does not dilute the questionable behavior of the commissioners toward Mrs. Zalewski, it does show some smarts were applied when it came to picking her successor.

Wow! A Philadelphia Lawyer!

When the county got rid of Richard Goldberg as its labor attorney, the opinion here was that it was one of the best moves ever made by any county commissioners. The man was seldom available when he was needed and it seemed he was always trying to negotiate contract agreements from vacationing spots all over the universe.

Correct me if I am wrong, but at the time of Goldberg’s departure, it was said that Michael Giangrieco, the county solicitor, would replace him. In fact, I seem to recall the commissioners boasting about the savings that would be realized by using Mr. Giangrieco, who was given an additional $10,000 to become the county’s union attorney.

Now we are advised that the county has engaged the services of one Scott E. Blissman, a Philadelphia attorney, as its attorney for negotiating union contracts and Mr. Giangrieco is the attorney responsible for resolving union grievances. While we are told that Mr. Giangrieco is doing yeoman’s work settling many grievances, as might be expected with a Philadelphia attorney on board, contract talks with the probation departments (adult and juvenile) and the county jail employees are in limbo. Both contracts expired in January.

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From the Desk of the D.A.

What type of protection does the law provide against dangerous dogs? The Dog Law does have a specific statutory provision relating to “dangerous dogs.” The statute does not specifically identify any particular breed of dog as being a dangerous dog. Instead, the statute provides that whenever a dog has attacked a person (or killed or injured another dog), the owner of the offending canine may be charged with harboring a dangerous dog. Under the Dog Law, this particular crime constitutes a summary offense, which is generally punishable by a fine up to $300 and/or imprisonment of up to 90 days.

In determining whether a particular animal is a dangerous dog, the court must consider whether the dog: (1) inflicted severe injury upon a human being without provocation on public or private property; (2) killed or inflicted severe injury on a domestic animal without provocation while off the owner’s property; (3) attacked a human being without provocation; or (4) has been used in the commission of a criminal offense. 3 P.S. § 459-502-A(a)(1). Furthermore, the court will also consider whether the dog has a history of unprovoked attacks or aggressive behavior, or whether the dog has a propensity to attack human beings and/or other domestic animals. If there is a conviction under this statute, the dog is deemed thereafter to be a “dangerous dog.”

In addition to the fine and/or imprisonment, the owner of the “dangerous dog” will also be required to obtain a certificate of registration under the Dog Law. Furthermore, once convicted, the “dangerous dog” then faces a rather bleak existence. The convicted canine must be kept in a proper enclosure, together with clear notification to the public that there is a dangerous dog on the property. The owner of the property must also post a clearly visible warning sign containing a symbol that would notify children of the presence of the dangerous dog. The owner is also required to post a bond in the amount of $50,000 to protect against any further personal injury committed by the dangerous dog.

In the event that the owner of a dangerous dog fails to comply with the dictates of the statute, the dog will be seized by law enforcement. In the event that the dangerous dog thereafter attacks another human being or domestic animal, the owner of the dangerous dog is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable by up to two years incarceration and/or a $5,000 fine. In addition to the charges against the owner, the dangerous dog will be seized, placed in quarantine for a proper length of time and thereafter humanely killed. The owner of the re-offending dangerous dog must pay for the costs of the quarantine and destruction.

As I was preparing this article, I received a call from a resident who was having problems with a neighbor’s dogs crossing into her property and exhibiting aggressive behavior. These are common complaints. The Dog Law does provide some remedy. In addition to the Dog Law, the general provisions of the Crimes Code could also be applied to a dog attack. For instance, there have been several cases nationwide where dog owners have been prosecuted for homicide where their dogs mauled and killed small children. Dog ownership is a tremendous responsibility, and, for those unwilling to act responsibly, the law provides some measure of recourse.

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

Almost time again for final exams. Do any of you remember grandparents or great-grandparents say that they only had an eighth grade education? Following are some final exams given in Salina, Kansas in 1895. How will you fare?

Geography – one hour: 1. What is climate? Upon what does it depend? 2. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean? 3. Describe the mountains of North America. 4. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspen Wall and Orinoco. 5. Name the republics of Europe and their capitols. 6. Why is the Atlantic coast colder than the Pacific coast in the same latitude? 7. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the rivers. 8. Describe the movements of the Earth. Give the inclination of the Earth.

U. S. History – one hour: 1. Give the epochs into which U. S. history is divided. 2. Relate causes and results of the Revolutionary War. 3. Show the territorial growth of the United States. 4. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas (Penna.). 5. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the rebellion. 6. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849 and 1865.

Arithmetic – one and one quarter hours: 1. Name and define the fundamental rules of arithmetic. 2. A wagon box is two feet deep, one foot long and three feet wide; how many bushels of wheat will it hold? 3. If a load of wheat weights 3,942 pounds, what is it worth at fifty cents a bushel, deducting 1,050 pounds for tare? 4. District 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school, seven months at $50 per month and have $104 for incidentals? 5. What is the cost of 40 boards, twelve inches wide and sixteen feet long, at $20 per meter? 6. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre; the distance around which is 640 rods? 7. Find a bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at ten percent? 8. Write a bank check, a promissory note, and a receipt.

Could any of us have passed this exam in 1895?

Hide the calculator and stay away from computers.


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The Healthy Geezer

Q. Do grandparents get more colds than seniors without grandchildren?

Sniffling in Schenectady

A. I was unable to find any specific data on grandparents and colds. However, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases reports that, in families with children in school, the number of colds per child can be as high as 12 a year. NIAID also reports that all people older than 60 average fewer than one cold a year.

Put those over-60s in those homes with school children and it doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that the number of colds in grandparents will jump significantly.

Any grandparent will tell you that being around their little treasures has made them sick. My five pre-school grandchildren are generous with all the viruses they get from their friends at daycare and play. My personal physician, also a grandfather, says that one of the problems is that these walking petri dishes come up with new germs older people haven’t developed antibodies for.

What are you supposed to do when one of the darlings comes up to you with a runny nose and asks for a hug? Well, if you understand the hazards, perhaps you can formulate a plan that works for you around the treasured children of your children. Obviously the best course of action is to stay away from grandchildren when they have colds, but any grandparent knows that’s next to impossible.

There are two ways you can catch a cold:

1. Inhaling drops of mucus full of cold germs from the air.

2. Touching a surface that has cold germs and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

So, avoid close facial contact with your ailing grandchildren. Use some restraint. If the child needs comfort, limit yourself to hugs that don’t put you in the position of inhaling their germs.

Washing your hands thoroughly and often is important. Washing with soap and water doesn't kill the cold virus, but removes it. The scrubbing is more important than the soap.

Also, if you can, try to avoid touching your face after you have been around a child with a cold.

Rhinoviruses can live up to three hours on your skin, and on objects such as telephones and stair railings. Cleaning environmental surfaces with a virus-killing disinfectant might help prevent spread of infection.

Where are these viruses found most often? No, not in the bathroom. The worst room in the house for germs is the kitchen. And the greatest concentration is found in sponges and dishcloths.

Laundering a dishcloth doesn’t eliminate germs. And putting a sponge through the dishwasher makes it look clean but doesn’t remove the infection. Instead, moisten the sponge or dishcloth and microwave it for two minutes. Then you'll have safe, germ-free tools to use.

These tips will help, but the reality is that you’re going to catch some colds. They’re the price of being a caregiver. It’s the price you paid as a parent. Now you’re having a second chance for all that love...and all those germs.

If you have a question, please write to


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