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Issue Home May 17, 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

Software Services

100 Years Ago

NEW MILFORD: Ray G. Pratt, son of Col. C.C. Pratt, has joined a United States geological surveying party, with whom he will spend the summer in the Adirondacks.

CLIFFORD: The telephone exchange will be moved next week from the store of L. Rivenburg to the residence of Mrs. B. Lott.

FOREST CITY: F.B. Carpenter, Esq., is planning an extensive western trip and will, if conditions are to his liking, locate in the state of Washington. Mr. Carpenter sees great possibilities in this flourishing and fast growing state, which seems adapted to be the gateway of the Pacific and he believes that in time a city rivaling New York will grow in Puget Sound. The western fever seems to have attacked a large number of our people and while there will probably be no general migration, there are several who are watching with great interest news from the west.

SOUTH MONTROSE: The tragic death of George Ralston, a well-known young farmer of South Montrose, occurred in a remarkable manner on May 3. After dinner he went to a field to plow accompanied by his boy, four years old. He went to a spring for a drink and handed a cup-full of water to the boy, then reached back for one for himself, when he fell dead. The boy staid there half an hour perhaps, then went to the house and told his mother, “Papa is in the spring.” But little attention was paid to the statement at first, but an investigation proved its truth. He had had trouble in his head and had operations and it is thought that the bursting of a blood vessel caused it. He was 43 years old.

HALLSTEAD: The First National Bank of Hallstead opened for business May 1st, and the amount of business being done augurs well for the new institution. Its officers are: Pres., John B. Jones, Wellsville, N.Y.; Vice Pres., Dr. A.F. Merrill, Hallstead; Cashier, W. H. Windus, Hallstead; Directors, J. B. Jones, James Miller, Wellsville, N.Y.; Dr. A.F. Merrill, C. E. Moxley, John Clune, Hallstead; N. H. Parke, Great Bend; and W. H. Windus, Alleghany. A new block is in course of erection for their permanent home. AND: V.D. Hand, proprietor of the People’s Cash Store, and one of the most progressive merchants in the county, has purchased the New York Store in Great Bend and will continue the business in both stores.

SUSQUEHANNA: And now our Borough Council, or a portion of it, we understand, is talking of buying a new chemical engine, with borough funds, to replace the one which didn’t cost the town a cent and which was sold by the company which owned it, because the council would not give it a decent place for housing. That new chemical will be a long time coming we reckon. The chemical engine sold was one of the best made.

BROOKLYN: The senior class of the Brooklyn Township High School will have their Annual Commencement exercises Friday evening, May 5th. The following ladies and gentlemen form the class: Pearl C. Brotzman, Bernice I. Meade, Daisy B. Fish, Ross Tewksbury, Myron O. Tiffany and Tracy V. Stephens.

GREAT BEND: “Wild Marsh,” the young stallion owned by W.J. Day, dropped dead on the street Sunday while being driven. His death was caused by a rush of blood to the head. He was called one of the most beautiful horses in this part of the country, and secured a ribbon at Madison Square Garden, N.Y. AND: An alarm of fire at 11 P.M. Friday brought the whole town out. Five tanks of crude oil were burned on the main line of the Erie, just back of Grace Episcopal church. The houses of Mrs. Fay and Mrs. Tierney were badly scorched. They were covered by insurance.

GLENWOOD: A good sign that summer is here is the way the autos spin along nearly every day. Reckless running should be prohibited, but all the same they make record runs.

KINGSLEY: The Kingsley Chemical Co. started the Acid Factory May 1st after making extensive repairs.

DIMOCK: Urban Barber, who was so seriously disabled by an explosion of dynamite in his face a year ago, rendering him blind, passed through this place this week taking orders for the Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. His daughter, Eva, accompanied him.

SOUTH GIBSON: Mrs. Alvira Pickering passed her 90th birthday April 10. She is in possession of all her faculties and is up to date in the news of the times, taking great pleasure in reading the papers.

AUBURN 4 CORNERS: Ed Blakeslee, of Springville, was through here Monday delivering fruit trees and seeds for Elmer Sherwood, of York State.

HOPBOTTOM: A pubic meeting was held Monday evening in the council room and it was decided that water supply be furnished the town for protection in case of fire.

HARFORD: The first automobile this season passed through Harford on Saturday. Few who drive horses would be sorry if it were the last. AND: The people of Harford are very much elated over the election of G.A. Stearns for County Superintendent.

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP: The death of Timothy O’Shea, a highly respected resident, occurred at his late home on Sunday, April 30th, 1905, after an illness of some time [caused by a wound inflicted some 20 years ago]. Mr. O’Shea was born in Tipperary, Ireland, in 1843 and came to America, 1865. He was married to Miss Mary O’Brien of Syracuse, in 1865. The deceased is survived by a widow and six children. The funeral was held in St. Augustine’s Catholic church on Tuesday, May 2, at Silver Lake. Rev. John J. Lally officiating. Burial in Binghamton.

THOMPSON: Born, to Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Aldridge, of the township, a son, last week. As their former and only child before this was born 19 years ago, this event has caused a little ripple in the community, though “Clare” is quite composed.

MONTROSE: Lathan Mack, who won the automobile given by the “Right of Way” cigar manufacturers, has found a probable purchaser in Scranton and will undoubtedly sell it. Failing in this he will have the machine brought to Montrose.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Blue Ridge generous with the green stuff

The Board of Education in the Blue Ridge School District showed signs of being quite concerned about paying tax collectors from the regional’s participating communities. So much so, in fact, that this will be the last year the six tax collectors will be working for the school district, thanks to the board’s recent approval of a highly controversial motion.

The board’s action is intended to save some money for the district but when I put it alongside something else that occurred in the district recently, I cannot help but wonder if the move is, in fact, a genuine effort to save money. Because, my friends, if the board is so concerned about spending, why fly directors across the country to attend a national conference?

From a reliable source I was informed that last month the school district’s taxpayers paid to send four directors to the National School Board Association’s Annual Conference in San Diego. It’s been about 10 or 15 years since I last flew to California but I can tell you this. It ain't cheap. Neither are hotel rooms in sunny California.

The conference was held April 16-19 which means the directors had to have hotel accommodations for at least three nights and more than likely four. And generally there is a conference fee that sometimes includes a package deal for meals. I guess if I was a taxpayer in that school district, I certainly would be attending a board meeting to get a peek at the bottom line cost.

There is, of course, something good to be said about attending conferences relevant to an elective office. It is very educational and keeps a school district up to date on any changes in laws relating to school districts; information on grants that might be made available; updates on curriculum and classroom techniques; and, a chance to exchange ideas with other directors from other school districts. However, while it is beneficial to have representation at these conferences, does a school district really need to send four representatives?

Most municipalities and school boards that I am aware of usually send one delegate to a conference. That person gathers as much information as possible and brings back pamphlets, films, tape recordings, and just about anything that might be applicable to his community or his school district.

Is the Blue Ridge School District so wealthy that it can afford to send four of its school directors to a California conference?

More on the county’s legal help

Last week we told you the county has engaged the services of Scott Blissman of the Philadelphia office of the ReedSmith law firm to negotiate union contracts. Since then, I received some additional information on the subject that I think you will find interesting.

In January, unbeknown to this writer and other members of the news media that generally cover the county commissioners’ meetings, ReedSmith was retained to represent the county in negotiating union contracts for employees in Children and Youth Services and the Probation Department. On January 19, the billing arrangements contained in a letter from Mr. Blissman to the county were agreed upon over the signatures of Commissioners Roberta Kelly and Jeff Loomis. Minority Commissioner Mary Ann Warren apparently was not available to sign the agreement but she did tell me she supported it.

There is nothing in the minutes of any commissioners’ meetings that indicate the commissioners retained Mr. Blissman at a public meeting. However, attorneys are classified under professional services and apparently employing one doesn't have to be done in front of the press or public.

Since tax dollars are to be used to pay the legal fees, any agreement between the lawyer and the commissioners becomes public information. Like, for instance, the rate of pay.

Paragraph three of the agreement between the commissioners and Mr. Blissman reads as follows: “As we discussed, our services are charged based upon the number of hours expended by attorneys and other professionals at their hourly rates. Legal services provided to the county by ReedSmith attorneys will be billed at the rate of $240 per hour. Any work performed by ReedSmith paralegals will be billed at the rate of $125 per hour. We do not bill our public employer clients for travel time, nor do we require a retainer from our public employer clients.”

Statements for expenses are rendered separately at the end of each month. Some examples of “out-of-pocket expenses” include: telephone charges, copying charges, hotel, air fare, cabs, meals, filing fees, messenger services, mailing, overnight delivery, transcripts, word processing, facsimile charges and, the catch all finale, similar costs.

So there can be no misunderstanding let me assure you that my issue is not with the lawyer that was hired. ReedSmith is one of the world’s most reputable law firms with offices all over the United States and in London. Forget about the jokes relating to Philadelphia lawyers. Lawyers like Scott Blissman are top shelf. But you don’t go to them with a beer pocketbook and expect a bottle of Dom Perignon.

By the way, I understand that Scott Blissman is no stranger to Susquehanna County. Sources tell me that he represented the Borough of Susquehanna Depot during its union negotiations with the borough police department. And I believe Mrs. Kelly was the borough mayor at the time.


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From the Desk of the D.A.

I am constantly surprised with the variety of things that people are willing, or even eager, to fight, litigate and/or contest. For instance, in Reed v. PENNDOT, Billy Reed arrived at a photo license center to obtain a photograph and a photo driver’s license card. A photograph was taken, but Billy Reed’s eyes were closed. The representative of the facility told Billy Reed that a new photograph needed to be taken because PENNDOT will not accept photographs unless the driver’s eyes are opened. Billy Reed, for whatever reason, refused to do so, and demanded that the photograph be used as taken, i.e., with his eyes closed. After demanding to speak to a supervisor, and being told again that the PENNDOT regulations required a photograph with his eyes open, Billy Reed left the facility, and filed a challenge to the refusal of PENNDOT to accept his initial picture, closed eyes and all.

The Commonwealth Court determined that the requirement of a photograph on the driver’s license card was for identification purposes, and concluded that requiring the person’s eyes to be open was a “reasonable rule by [PENNDOT] and is not an onerous burden.” Although this appears to be a common sense conclusion, Billy Reed was not done with his fight.

Billy Reed contended that his constitutional rights were violated. First, he argued that his right to free expression was unlawfully curtailed by PENNDOT’s refusal to accept his closed eyes photograph. Billy Reed also referred to the Declaration of Independence and the assertion that the pursuit of happiness in an unalienable right. In particular, Billy Reed noted that PENNDOT was “currently doing its darndest to upset my happiness.”

The Commonwealth Court, showing remarkable patience with Billy Reed, rejected both arguments, noting that “keeping one’s eyes open and looking straight ahead while being photographed for a driver’s license is a miniscule requirement that [Billy Reed] must deal with if he wants his license.”

Finally, the Commonwealth Court properly noted that there is no constitutional guarantee to the pursuit of happiness, or, as the court noted, “nowhere in the constitution does the government guarantee a citizen the right to his own idiosyncratic vision of happiness which in this case is having his driver’s license photo taken with his eyes closed.”

Apparently, the Commonwealth Court could not resist a final parting shot at Billy Reed. The court quoted a philosopher, Eric Hoffer, noting that “the search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.”

Billy Reed lost his fight, and must, if he desires a license, return for his photograph with his eyes wide open. If this makes him unhappy, he should consider the alternative – no driver’s license. Quite simply, the result of the case is not surprising – but the willingness of a citizen to litigate and challenge this requirement perhaps provides a sad testament to the state of our culture and society. Here’s to you Billy Reed, I hope you find your happy place!

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

Friday, the sixth, Marie Swartz, Joy Mead and Joy’s daughter, Karen Beam and her son, Adam attended a cooking school at SUNY, Binghamton. It was very interesting and informative.

Tuesday, May 17 was the last day for the ladies who make the quilts for the homeless – cleanup day and putting the materials away ‘til September. They didn’t reach their goal of one hundred quilts, but came close with ninety-five. Celebrating the last day, twelve ladies who made the quilts enjoyed a luncheon together.

Spirited Seniors met on Wednesday, May 11, with a covered dish. This is the last meeting in May. Next meeting will be June 8, when Mary Ann Debalko will be the speaker. She will give a talk on raising and training dogs.

The history group met at the cemetery last Tuesday to enhance their project of transcribing all of the tombstones. This is a monumental project. Anyone willing to help can do so by appearing at the cemetery Tuesday, June 7 or call Loreda Everett at 727–2012. There were only three who came out last Tuesday night, Ruth Mroczka, Bridget D’Agati and Loreda Everett.

Mr. and Mrs. Lou Gurske are improving their home by adding a new roof to their domicile.

Roger and Barbara Glover attended the birthday party and confirmation of grandson, Ethan at Chenango Bridge, NY last Friday.

A little belated news – Roger and Naomi Getter hosted a birthday party for son, Chris on April 30 at their home here in Starrucca. Forty people attended, with family coming from Florida and Connecticut. A fun time was had by all.

The Civic Association took upon themselves the cleaning of the Community Hall last Tuesday night. It was a mess from the water pump exploding.

Son, Dan came down last Sunday, mowed the lawn, trimmed the shrubbery and did some other little jobs for me. This is the kind of Mothers Day I really enjoy.

The administration board of the  Methodist Church met at my home last Thursday night with seven members present and the district superintendent, Betty Poe. She gave us options we should think about. We will open our church on May 29 at quarter of ten. No more dinners this summer.


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The Healthy Geezer

Q. Do older people need more sleep?

Drowsy in Milwaukee

A. Seniors need about the same amount of sleep as younger adults – seven to nine hours a night.

Unfortunately, many older adults don’t get the sleep they need, because they often have more trouble falling asleep. A study of adults over 65 found that 13 percent of men and 36 percent of women take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep.

Also, older people often sleep less deeply and wake up more often throughout the night, which may be why they may nap more often during the daytime. Nighttime sleep schedules may change with age too. Many older adults tend to get sleepier earlier in the evening and awaken earlier in the morning.

Many people believe that poor sleep is a normal part of aging, but it is not. Sleep patterns change as we age, but disturbed sleep and waking up tired every day are not part of normal aging. If you are having trouble sleeping, see your doctor or a sleep specialist.

Here are some pointers to help you get better sleep:

Go to sleep and wake up at the same time, even on weekends. Sticking to a regular bedtime and wake time schedule helps keep you in sync with your body's circadian clock, a 24-hour internal rhythm affected by sunlight.

Try not to nap too much during the day—you might be less sleepy at night.

Try to exercise at regular times each day. Exercising regularly improves the quality of your nighttime sleep and helps you sleep more soundly. Try to finish your workout at least three hours before bedtime.

Try to get some natural light in the afternoon each day.

Be careful about what you eat. Don't drink beverages with caffeine late in the day. Caffeine is a stimulant and can keep you awake. Also, if you like a snack before bed, a warm beverage and a few crackers may help.

Don't drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes to help you sleep. Even small amounts of alcohol can make it harder to stay asleep. Smoking is dangerous for many reasons, including the hazard of falling asleep with a lit cigarette. Also, the nicotine in cigarettes is a stimulant.

Create a safe and comfortable place to sleep. Make sure there are locks on all doors and smoke alarms on each floor. A lamp that's easy to turn on and a phone by your bed may be helpful. The room should be dark, well ventilated, and as quiet as possible.

Develop a bedtime routine. Do the same things each night to tell your body that it's time to wind down. Some people watch the evening news, read a book, or soak in a warm bath.

Use your bedroom only for sleeping. After turning off the light, give yourself about 15 minutes to fall asleep. If you are still awake and not drowsy, get out of bed. When you get sleepy, go back to bed.

Try not to worry about your sleep. Some people find that playing mental games is helpful. For example, tell yourself it's five minutes before you have to get up and you're just trying to get a few extra winks.

If you are so tired during the day that you cannot function normally and if this lasts for more than 2 to 3 weeks, you should see your family doctor or a sleep disorders specialist.

If you would like to ask a question, please write

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Software Services

Email Anywhere!

Do you need to keep up on your email while you’re on vacation or otherwise out of town?  There are several ways, but all of them involve having access to the Internet.  If the friends or family members you are visiting have computers, perhaps you can ask to use their Internet connection.  Libraries, airports, hotels and cyber-cafés also have Internet access.

If you’re using an email id from Hot Mail or Yahoo! – you’re using an internet service for your email. These email ids are already set up and you can access your mail from any Internet connection.

If you’re using an email id like,, or, you’re using a pop3 (point of presence) connection. This means that you connect to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and then get your email.  Some Internet service providers (ISPs) include this service.  For example, if you’re an Adams Cable subscriber, you can access your email by going to, click on the Web Mail menu item, and then signing in with your user name and password.  Contact your ISP to see if they offer a service like this.  Be sure to try it before you need to use it!

Most Internet services keep all your email on your provider’s server unless you specifically delete them.  By default email programs (such as Eudora) will download the email from the server and store it on your PC’s hard drive until you delete it. This reduces the amount of space you use on the ISP’s server.

You can force the email program to leave your email on the server. When you do this you can look at the email from any other PC see the email (unless you have deleted it). Explore your email program’s menus. When you find “Options” or “Preferences”, look for a check box titled “Leave mail on server”.  Check this box.  When you get to your destination, go through this again on the PC you are using. If you skip this step, you will download your mail to the destination PC. This is bad for two reasons. First, it means that you won’t have access to those particular messages when you get home. Second, you’re messages are now on a PC that belongs to someone else. So, if you don’t delete those messages, someone else can look at them later and the messages are taking up space on the PC’s hard drive. Finally, because the PC at your destination belongs to someone else, be sure to let him or her know what you changed. 

Please check out and test these services before you leave for your trip.  Also be sure to take with you any web site and/or email address you might need while you’re gone. Have a wonderful trip!

Next time, information on how to tell if that story you were emailed is real or not.

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

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