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Issue Home May 31, 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

HARFORD: The annual memorial service held in honor of those who fell in the Civil War was held this year in the Congregational church. A fine congregation attended, including the Methodist minister, Rev. E. E. Pearce, who assisted in the preliminaries of the service. The anthem and hymns were most tastefully rendered and the highest encomiums were pronounced on the sermon preached by the pastor, Rev. Wm. Usher. In eloquent words the preacher showed how the principle of the text, fruitfulness through sacrifice, pervaded all nature and operated in relation to individuals, families and nations and particularly the United States in connection with the War of the Rebellion. A number of grand army venerables were present, both in uniform and as civilians. It was a service that will not soon be forgotten.

BROOKLYN: F. B. Jewett is remodeling the barn on the Dr. Chamberlain property. The house, which is one of Brooklyn’s landmarks, and has been in Mrs. Chamberlain’s family for many generations, will be made over new this summer.

LITTLE MEADOWS: Mr. and Mrs. Boland, of this place, are rejoicing over the arrival of a young son. AND: Mr. Hannen gave a dance Monday evening. A large crowd was present. The music was by James Hickey and son, Michael.

ELK LAKE: Bert Thomas has purchased a new portable gasoline engine of I. Estus, the agent here. Bert has made no mistake in buying a Badge engine. AND: Mr. Quackenbush and family, of Scranton, are occupying their new cottage at the lake.

ARARAT: Following is a list of people of Ararat who have passed the age of 70 years. When the size of the place is considered, the longevity of the residents of this mountain town is remarkable: Wm. W. Cobb, 70; James P. Wademan, 72; Jones W. Walker, 72; Leonard O. Baldwin, 73; William Harris, 75; Mrs. Samantha Slocum, 76; Mrs. Minerva Carpenter, 76; Mrs. Olive Bushnell, 77; Mrs. Amanda Ferris, 78; Mrs. Desdemonia Borden, 76; Mrs. Georgiana Avery, 79; David Miller, 79; Rolla Carpenter, 80; Abner B. Avery, 80; Mrs. Emily Williams, 81; Mrs. Deborah Dexter, 83; Mrs. Caroline Yarns, 84; Mrs. Freelove Brooks, 85; Mrs. James Beaumont, 85; Mrs. Margaret Sartell, 86; Mrs. Hannah Burman, 89; Edward Atwater, 89; Mrs. Susan Baldwin, 94. Average over 80 yrs.

KINGSLEY: A band draws more than simply the small boys and girls. It gets everybody out, quickens their step, and makes the old feel young. Tuesday was the Kingsley band’s first appearance in Montrose, but they played like regular veterans at the business. They made “bang-up” good music. Come again.

DIMOCK: Dimock Camp Meeting will be from Aug. 23d to 31st. The boarding tent will be conducted by Fred. A. Risley, of Springville, and the barn by Simms and Beeman of Black Walnut.

FOREST CITY: A number of the High School graduates have gone to Uniondale to register as students of the Uniondale summer school, under the direction of Prof. B. W. Pease. AND: William Owens, of the firm of Taylor & Owens, has purchased a pacing horse with a record of 2:24. Mr. Owens expects to enter the horse in the new park in the near future.

HERRICK TWP.: It seems our cherished idea that Elk Hill is the highest peak in the State has been erroneous. As noted by an article from the “Scranton Tribune” there seemed to be a conflict on the question. The “Tribune” wrote to the U. S. Geological Survey asking for detailed information and this week received reply to the effect that the highest point in the State is Blue Knob, in Bedford county, the altitude of which is 3,136 ft. This would seem to settle the matter adversely to us, but still the old Elk Hill is high.

THOMSON: Thomas Walker, our veteran shoe dealer, was relieved of 65 pairs of shoes last Thursday night, and the burglars left no trace to indicate whence they came or whither they went.

CLIFFORD: C. G. Stevens, department store merchant of Lenoxville, came up here Monday p.m., to show his new gasoline motor car.

AUBURN FOUR CORNERS: The Ladies’ Aids of Auburn charge are expected at the M. E. parsonage on June 6, to do some needed work. The gentlemen will accompany them.

UPSONVILLE: Andrew Reynolds went to Hallstead on Tuesday, May 22nd to do some shopping. An automobile frightened his team and they plunged into a barbed wire fence, injuring Mr. Reynolds very badly. Mr. Wheaton kindly removed him to his home near the Forks. The wagon was demolished.

MONTROSE: The C. J. Post house on Bank street has been thoroughly renovated and improved, and will be occupied by W.W. Gilchrist, a celebrated Philadelphia artist, this summer. He has taken premiums in the Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, and will give lessons this summer to those wishing to avail themselves of the opportunity. Mrs. Gilchrist was Miss Lucretia DeSchweinitz, formerly of this place, and her sister will also spend the summer with them.

NEWS BRIEF: “For Better Roads” The last session of the legislature passed a bill appropriating $6,000,000 for good roads in Pennsylvania, which has been signed by the governor. Any township in the state may use its portion of this money by paying only one eighth of the cost of building of a section of road agreed upon. For example, if a piece of road were to cost $2,000 the township would pay $250, the county $250 and the state the remainder or $1,500. It should be remembered that these roads when built will last for many years without repair and at all seasons be hard and dry. One horse on these roads will draw as much as 5 on the ordinary country dirt road. AND: The automobile owners of Susquehanna county will do well to carefully peruse the following summary of the Grim automobile bill which has been approved by Gov. Pennypacker. “The bill regulates the speed limit of automobiles to a mile in six minutes in cities and boroughs, a mile in three minutes in the country; requires operators to take out a license for which they shall pay $3 to the State Highway Dept.; requires the machine to carry a light in the front and back; regulates the proceedings of action against offenders and prescribes a penalty of from $10 to $25 for the first offense, and from $25 to $100 and 30 days’ imprisonment for the second offense. The fines are to be used for the improvement of the public road within the municipality in which violations of the act may be committed. The bill goes into effect Jan.1, ‘06, and no person under 18 yrs of age may take out a license.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

School Director Wants Higher What?

The more one scrutinizes elected officials in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the more one considers what others believe. There must be something in the water! The most recent “I cannot believe he said that” occurred last week at a special meeting of the Forest City Regional Board of Education. (See a report of that meeting elsewhere in this week’s edition of The Transcript.)

“I think we need higher property taxes,” board member Henry Nebzydoski blurted out. No, it was not just a slip of the tongue. He believes a higher real estate tax would discourage out of area people from buying property in Northeastern Pennsylvania. He said 75 percent of the landowners in Wayne County do not live in the county and views that as a problem.

Frankly, the opinion here is it should be construed as an asset not a liability.

Consider this. If I own acreage in any Northeastern Pennsylvania county and do not live there it means I am paying county, municipal and school taxes and not requiring too much in the way of services. I am not at every meeting of the local governing body looking for better roads or asking when the town is going to catch up with the new century and install city water and sewers. More importantly, my friends, if I own land and I am not sending my kids to school in Northeastern Pennsylvania the school district is making money on me.

Now let’s look at what happens if I build on that land and I have two school-age children. Chances are the school district is losing money on my home. In Forest City’s K-12 regional school system the cost to educate a student for a single school year is more than $9,000. Unless it is a multi-million dollar mansion, how many new homes in the Forest City Regional School District are paying $9,000-plus in school taxes? If the state and federal governments pay half the cost, it still means other landowners must chip in to help pay the educational costs of those two children.

“Good strong property tax doesn't hurt,” Dr. Nebzydoski concluded, in his speech against Act 72 and, more specifically, a provision in it that allows taxpayers to vote on school budgets that exceed the annual inflation rate plus an additional 4.2 percent.

If school boards across the country are compelled to put their annual budgets before the public for approval why shouldn't the same thinking apply in Pennsylvania? School board members will tell you that voters, and more specifically senior citizens, will not approve a tax increase under any circumstances. In all the years I was a homeowner in New Jersey, I can count on one hand the number of times I voted against a school budget and I did not have children attending any schools in my regional school district.

“We are pretty responsible with our money,” Dr. Nebzydoski said. Hmmmm, maybe so. But if the good doctor is so sure that he and the rest of the school directors have put together a budget with very little fat in it and they are willing to defend that budget at a public hearing that precedes any public vote on it, the belief here is that the public will also support it.

Some board members expressed the feeling that the taxpayers will defeat school budgets year after year after year. They believe school buildings will deteriorate because there would be no money for preventative maintenance. Drive by any public school in New Jersey where the taxpayers vote on the school budget every year and see if it is deteriorating. The feeling here is that if the school directors present their constituents with a workable budget that includes the necessities and a minimum amount of frills, the voters will approve it.

On the other hand, if the school directors behave like those in Blue Ridge School District where more than 8,000 tax dollars were spent to send four directors to a convention in California, then the taxpayers have a right to reject a budget with such frivolous appropriations.

Forest City School Director Al Dyno pointed out that there is no limit on how high school taxes can be raised.

“Why should we be special and have that right?” Mr. Dyno asked. “To me it makes no sense,” he answered.

My friends, there is no system of checks and balances because no matter what the taxpayers might say about a budget, the final decision on that budget rests with the nine directors who sit on the Board of Education. Somehow that just doesn't seem right and it will only be a matter of time before it is changed in Harrisburg and there will be a public vote on school budgets despite the feelings of most school directors.

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From the Desk of the D.A.

On May 17, 2001, several teenage girls made contact with a nineteen-year old drug dealer named Ludwig in order to obtain three Ecstasy pills for $20 per pill, and the girls planned on using the drug when they attended an all-day rock concert. Ludwig met the girls at a local fast food restaurant, entered their car, and sold then 3 Ecstasy tablets, which were “double” the normal dosage. On the next day, while attending the rock concert, the girls each consumed one of the Ecstasy tablets. One of the girls, Brady, a fifteen year old, began experiencing problems, including vomiting and severe headaches. After Brady became sluggish, her friends took Brandy to the Lewis residence, a relative of one of Brandy’s friends. Brandy was left unattended in a bedroom for several hours. Thereafter, Brady began to have trouble breathing, but an ambulance was never called, as Lewis’ mother would not allow it for fear that her reputation would be tarnished. Brandy died a short time later as a result of a reaction to the use of the controlled substance.

Thereafter, Ludwig, the drug dealer, was charged with third degree murder under the Drug Delivery Resulting in Death Statute, 18 Pa. C.S. § 2506. Under this particular statute, a third degree murder is committed whenever a drug dealer provides a controlled substance that results in the death of the drug user. In order to prove third degree murder, the Commonwealth must demonstrate that the defendant caused the death and that the defendant did so maliciously. Ludwig sought to have the charges dismissed, contending that the Commonwealth could not demonstrate the necessary mens rea, or, the requisite criminal intent to demonstrate that he acted with malice.

Recently, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of Ludwig’s charges. In essence, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court noted that malice is generally viewed as actions evincing an extreme indifference to human life. The common law definitions included such actions that demonstrated a “wickedness of disposition, hardness of heart, cruelty, recklessness of consequences, and a mind regardless of social duty.”

The Commonwealth argued that they had demonstrated malice based upon the following evidence: (1) supplying another with an illegal and dangerous substance of unknown quality; (2) lack of knowledge of the recipient's reaction or tolerance to the drug; (3) the age of the recipients; (4) providing a drug in an amount twice its "normal" dosage; and (5) motivation by profit. After considering each of these factors, the Supreme Court concluded that these factors failed to demonstrate that Ludwig had acted maliciously. In conclusion the court noted: “This Court recognizes the dangers inherent in the commerce of illegal substances as aptly illustrated by the sad facts of this matter, however, the day-to-day distribution of illegal drugs, as occurred here, without something more, does not constitute a wickedness of disposition, hardness of heart, cruelty, recklessness of consequences and a mind regardless of social duty such as to demonstrate an extreme indifference to human life, and thus, does not rise to the unique mental state of malice.”

In a dissenting opinion, three justices disagreed that the Commonwealth had to demonstrate malice, but argued that the Commonwealth need only establish that Ludwig acted recklessly, or that Ludwig “consciously disregard[ed] a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the death would result from his conduct.” In his dissent, Justice Saylor noted that Ludwig was “undoubtedly aware that Ecstasy is an illegal drug, unregulated by the government for any use, and that serious, sometimes fatal, reactions can result from the consumption of such a drug. Nevertheless, despite the illegal and dangerous nature of the drug, Ludwig supplied Brandy, a minor, with an Ecstasy pill containing twice the normal dosage. In addition, Ludwig gave Brandy the pill without knowing the purity or adulterated nature of the drug, how Brandy would react to the drug, or Brandy's tolerance to the drug. In my view, this evidence . . . is more than sufficient to show that Ludwig disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the direct result of his behavior would be that Brandy could die from an adverse reaction to the Ecstasy pill.”

As a result of the Ludwig decision, convictions under § 2506 will be increasingly difficult. The solution would be for the legislature to follow the lead of Justice Saylor and amend the statute to make clear that the Commonwealth need only show that the defendant acted recklessly by selling the controlled substance. If this decision is allowed to stand without legislative action, convictions of drug dealers for murder based upon the act of supplying the controlled substance that led to the death will be nearly impossible.

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

The following items should have been in last week’s issue. Members of the play, “Wizard of Oz” that were from Starrucca are Harrison Piercy, Wendy Bohannon who was the stage manager, and another who didn’t want to be mentioned. They all did an admirable performance.

Those in the orchestra that played that night were: Jessica and Caitland Piercy, Danielle Williams who played a trumpet. She also went from District Band to Regional and to State, ended up playing second horn in the All State Band at Hershey, PA.

Last Tuesday Danielle Williams, Perri Weldy, Wendy Bohannon, Caitlin Piercy took a bus ride to New York City to the Metropolitan Art Museum.

Gina and Carl Upright attended the funeral of his uncle, Floren Racht in South Canaan, Wayne County, PA.

What a busy week I’ve had! My sister Betty and husband, Bob arrived on Sunday. We spent Monday in preparation for the visit of our cousins whom we had never seen before. Of course we wanted to make a good impression, so we cooked and baked and cleaned to the best of our ability. We pictured in our minds what they would look like. They got directions via the Internet and they came through Forest City, were merrily on their way and turned off on the road going to Orson. Then they were told to take the Stephano Road, which is a dirt road and full of holes. (Bet they thought they must be right and burg of Starrucca must be at the end. I had sent them directions from Hancock, because once they said they’d come up Seventeen.) I don’t know how they got straightened out, but they arrived about 45 minutes late and found my house right away. Having a bad experience traveling the dirt road were: Donald and Barbara Ulbrich, Morristown, NJ and George and Pat Driscoll from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

We had a wonderful time reminiscing, looking at old pictures taken at the farm where I grew up. I knew my Dad raised sheep, but all I knew about them was an old sheep barn on the property, which was sort of scary to us kids. They had a picture of the sheep and barn which I said I’d like to have to show my sons. I got it. About every weekend their mothers would show up at the farm but after the girls got married and moved away we lost track of them. So it was a real pleasure to be reinstated as relatives. We shared the same grandmother and grandfather.

My guests on Thursday were Rosemary Cosentino and her mother, Marie Soden who lives in Tyrone, PA.


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The Healthy Geezer

Q. I’ve been told I should exercise more, but I’m afraid that at my age (73) I might damage something. Am I safer as a couch potato?

Content in Dallas

All the current scientific evidence shows that geezers should exercise, even though many older people think it could harm them. Study after study demonstrates that seniors hurt their health a lot more by being sedentary.

If you’re inactive, you deteriorate. Physical activity can help restore your capacity. Most older adults, regardless of age or condition, will benefit from increasing physical activity to a moderate level.

Warning: If you want to begin a new exercise program, you should consult your physician and request a list of exercises that are best for your age and physical condition.

Four types of exercise are important for your health. These are exercises for strength, balance, stretching and endurance.

Strength exercises build muscle and raise your metabolism. Doing these exercises will help to keep your weight down.

Balance exercises help prevent falls and, therefore, will keep you from breaking yourself and losing your independence. Each year, U.S. hospitals have 300,000 admissions for broken hips; many of them are the result of falls.

Stretching exercises give you more freedom of movement. And endurance exercises raise your pulse and breathing.

Here are 10 tips to make any exercise program safe:

1.) Don't hold your breath during strength exercises. This could affect your blood pressure.

2.) When lifting weights, use smooth, steady movements. Breathe out as you lift or push a weight, and breathe in as you relax.

3.) Avoid jerking or thrusting movements.

4.) Avoid locking the joints of your arms and legs into a strained position.

5.) Some soreness and slight fatigue are normal after muscle-building exercises. Exhaustion, sore joints, and painful muscle pulls are not normal.

6.) Always warm up before stretching exercises.

7.) Stretching should never cause pain, especially joint pain.

8.) Never bounce into a stretch; make slow steady movements instead.

9.) To prevent injuries, use safety equipment such as helmets for biking.

10.) You should be able to talk during endurance exercises.

Measuring your progress can motivate you. Test yourself before starting to exercise to get a baseline score. Test and record your scores each month. The following are some tests you can use, if your doctor approves.

For endurance, see how far you can walk in exactly six minutes. For lower-body strength, time yourself as you walk up a flight of stairs as fast as you can safely. For upper-body strength, record how much weight you lift and how many times you lift that weight. For balance, time yourself as you stand on one foot, without support, for as long as possible. Have someone stand near you in case you lose your balance. Repeat the test while standing on the other foot.

Remember, above all, exercise should make you feel better.

If you have a question, please write to


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