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Issue Home June 7, 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

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100 Years Ago

BROOKLYN: The Swiss gentleman, who with his wife came here from the old country to make fancy cheese at the creamery, will move to South Gibson within a short time, where he will follow his trade.

AUBURN FOUR CORNERS: The fine flock of sheep owned by Mr. Bishop was nearly ruined by dogs on Friday night. There were 26 sheep and lambs in the flock and only one escaped without being bitten, while some were killed and a number have died since.

FOREST LAKE: LaGrange Griffis, of Montrose, will build a new house this summer on the old Griffis farm, just east of the Lake. AND: It is reported that about 1000 men are coming next week to work on the Binghamton & Southern R.R.

LAKEVIEW: Leon Gunn, of New Milford, and Blanch Barrett, were married on Thursday evening, June 1, at the home of the bride's parents, Mr. and Mrs. O. E. Barrett.

HARFORD: Sunday, June 18th, will be observed at the Congregational church as Children's Day, and the 105th birthday of the church will be observed on Thursday, June 15th. Dinner at noon, and a varied program afterwards, including roll call of members and a lecture by the pastor, Rev. William Usher, on his "Visit to the Catacombs of Rome." Everyone will be heartily welcomed.

LAWSVILLE: The marriage of Rose M. Bailey, of this place, to photographer Fred Van Hoten, of Franklin Forks, occurred at Binghamton, recently.

FAIRDALE: There will be an ice cream social, on Friday evening of this week, at the church.

FRIENDSVILLE: Died at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, in Manhattanville, N.Y., Mother Ellen Griffin White, on May 29, 1905, after a long illness, in her 65th year. She was a daughter of the late Judge James W. and Rhoda E. White, and a cousin of the late Irish poet and writer, Brother Joseph (Gerald Griffin), whose parents are buried at Friendsville, with remnants of the Griffin family still scattered throughout Friendsville, St. Joseph, Montrose and Binghamton. Some 45 years ago in New York, in what was known as "the New York set," Miss Ellen White, who was then a charming young girl, held a prominent position in the drawing room doings of the period, and a great social future seemed to be before her. But her strong religious temperament pointed out to her the life of a Religieuse, which she gladly embraced, continuing faithful to her vows until called to her reward. Requiem Mass for the deceased was held in the Convent Chapel on May 31st, with interment made at Kenwood, near Albany. At both Masses in St. Mary's church, in Montrose, last Sunday morning, public prayers were offered for the peaceful repose of her soul.

NEW MILFORD: Several gentlemen interested in fast driving met Saturday and formed a company to be called the New Milford Driving Park Assoc. with Colonel C. C. Pratt as president, G. M. Carpenter, as manager and T. G. Shay as treasurer. They are widening the trotting course on Colonel Pratt's flat and making other needed improvements. AND: After weeks of patient waiting, New Milford people were delighted at the appearance of electric lights on their streets Saturday night, June 3. The power is obtained from the water of East Lake, the plant being located about a mile and a half east of the borough.

FOREST CITY: John Kresal went to his death in the mines at Vandling. Kresal, with his laborer, was tamping a charge of dynamite which exploded prematurely. The laborer escaped with injuries to the eyes but Kresal's injuries were mortal. He was born in Austria, May 15, 1871, and had lived here several years. A few months ago his wife died leaving him with an infant son, and on Memorial Day Kresel applied for a marriage license to again wed a Forest City young lady. Besides the infant child an aged mother survives him in the old country. Kresal was quite well to do. He owned a property in Austria and had considerable money. His estate will also receive $1,200 death benefits from a local society.

MONTROSE: Aaron Brown, of the firm of Brown & Fassett, of Tunkhannock, was in town Tuesday, accompanied by Mr. West, to make arrangements for the erection of a new building the firm is about to erect on the new L.V. switch just below Fred Hart's. They gave the job of building the foundations to Geo. Sautter, and will purchase lumber and have the building erected by days' work. They expect to occupy it with wholesale flour, feed, sugar, etc., in a couple of months. AND: Ex-Sheriff W. J. Maxey has purchased an automobile. He rode it from Montrose to Forest City yesterday in two hours and 45 minutes. His son, Rexford, accompanied him.

HEART LAKE: A fine naphtha launch has been placed on Heart Lake by Mr. Cook, and a snug boat house built for same.

SUSQUEHANNA: Druggist A. P. French has installed, in the basement of his store, an ice-cream freezer – capacity 40 quarts-and a three-horse power electric motor to run it. He can provide cream for the multitude. AND: The fresh-air children from New York are now very soon due. An agent of the fresh-air committee was in town, yesterday.

HERRICK CENTRE: On May 31, at the home of the bride's parents, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Fletcher, occurred the marriage of their daughter, Laura E., to J. Newton Corey, of Uniondale. At 7 o'clock, to the strains of Lohengrin's Wedding Chorus, the bridal party entered the parlor. The bride was attended by Miss Ruth L. Holmes, of Jackson, the groom by W. Stuart Fletcher, a brother of the bride. Gertrude Corey and Helen Russell were flower girls. The bride was attired in cream china silk trimmed with all over lace. The bridesmaid's dress was similar to the bride's. Immediately following an elaborate dinner was served. The presents were numerous and costly, showing the high esteem in which they were held.

ARARAT: Cool nights seem to prevail.

BINGHAMTON: Binghamton was visited by a fierce tornado Monday night in which half a dozen houses were totally destroyed and scores of houses and barns badly damaged. No lives were lost although the damage was large, reaching up toward the $100,000 mark.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Knifer appears to have the edge

Erik Knifer recently won another round in his battle with Susquehanna County over what is beginning to appear more and more like an unfair discharge from his job as the number two man in the county’s computer department.

Following arguments on the county’s petition to review and vacate an arbitration award to Mr. Knifer, Wyoming County President Judge Brendan J. Vanston denied the petition. Judge Vanston was sitting in for Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans who recused himself.

Rumor has it that the county will appeal Judge Vanston’s decision and why is anybody’s guess. From this vantage point it appears the county is just wasting more tax dollars trying to justify Mr. Knifer's firing. If there is an appeal, the only winners will be the attorneys for the county and the Teamsters Union that represents Mr. Knifer. And if you will recall, we told you recently that the county hired a new attorney to represent them on union issues other than grievances at an hourly rate of $240.

It has been about three years since State Police visited the county courthouse and confiscated computers from the MIS Department that was then headed up by Everett Setzer. At the time, sources alleged that the computers contained pornography. I was told arrests were imminent but the only action ever made public were the firings of Mr. Setzer and Mr. Knifer by the county commissioners.

Mr. Knifer maintained that he was innocent of any wrongdoings and he got help from the Teamsters Union that represents him and most of the county employees. After a hearing, Arbitrator John Paul Simpkins found Mr. Knifer innocent of any misconduct regarding the use of the county’s computers. Mr. Simpkins ruled that Mr. Knifer be reinstated without loss of seniority or benefits and with full back pay. And, as we pointed out earlier in this column, the county tried to petition the court to review and vacate the arbitration award but Judge Vanston denied the petition.

Also as we said earlier, rumor has it that the county plans to appeal Judge Vanston’s ruling. In its petition for review, the county contended that it is not obligated to pay Mr. Knifer full back pay or benefits and is not required to reinstate him to his former position or a comparable position. But the county dilutes its own case by inferring that even if Mr. Knifer was not guilty of any misconduct, he used a county computer for personal use in violation of county policy. From here, it would seem that if Mr. Knifer did, in fact, use the computer in his office for personal use, it might be worth a slap on the wrist and a warning not to do it again.

It is not our call but if it was, we would have to ask ourselves why the Kelly Administration is wasting tax dollars defending what appears to have been a hasty decision by the Marcho Administration. We are told the amount of money due Mr. Knifer could top six figures. From here the numbers look rather high but if the settlement includes back benefits as well as back pay they may not miss the mark by much.

What will be interesting to watch will be what the commissioners offer Mr. Knifer if they lose all appeals and are forced to give him his job back or a comparable position. The county abolished the computer department when it contracted the care and maintenance of its computers to a private company. Some say the county is ready to offer Mr. Knifer a position at the recycling center or in the maintenance department. Come on now, would separating recyclables or sweeping floors be comparable to an assistant director of a computer department?

From a reporter's notebook

At its last meeting, the county Board of Commissioners approved the transfer of Charlene Moser, a clerk/typist in the EMA/911 departments to the position of clerk-typist/switchboard operator in the commissioners’ office. She is back in the EMA/911 departments which means the commissioners may have to reverse their action.

Someone struck the steps and wall on the Lake Avenue side of the courthouse. I am told motorists hit the wall with regularity. From the looks of what was done, it would appear that something similar to a guard rail just might prevent the wall from being damaged so frequently.

Moving and renovating the offices of Register/Recorder and Prothonotary/Clerk of Courts is just about finished and the improvement is great. And, of course, the girls in each department add a little personal touch that puts the proverbial icing on the cake. These were improvements that were needed for years and finally have been made.

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From the Desk of the D.A.

A reader recently requested information concerning handicapped parking laws. For instance, the reader queried whether there was need for certain wording on the sign to designate handicapped parking, whether the parking space had to be painted a specific color, and the manner in which compliance was maintained.

There is a specific provision of the Vehicle Code pertaining specifically to parking for persons with disabilities and disabled veterans, 75 Pa. C.S. § 3354(d). The statute contains numerous provisions aimed at assisting persons with disabilities by providing parking accommodations. For instance, a person with a disability may request that special parking areas be marked out in front of their residence, if necessary, as handicapped parking. As to the signs, the international symbol for handicapped parking should be used – the same symbol/sign that is used everywhere. In fact, the applicable regulations had the approved picture, together with the dimensions of the sign, wording and other requirements. 67 Pa.Code § 211.241.

The vehicle, however, may be towed from the parking space only if the handicapped parking sign itself warns that violators will be towed. In such instances, the violator will not be permitted to reclaim his or her vehicle until all of the towing costs have been paid.

As to penalties, the statute provides that any non-disabled person utilizing a specifically designated handicapped parking is guilty of a summary offense, and subject to a fine of between $50 and $200. The statute used to provide that the potential penalties must be posted on the sign as well. In Commonwealth v. Lundberg, 772 A.2d 1037 (Pa. Super. 2001), the defendant was fined $200 for parking in a space reserved for handicapped parking at the Hillman Library in Oakland. The parking space itself was marked with the familiar sign officially designated in the applicable regulations. The sign, however, did not indicate that there would be a fine imposed as a result of any violation. The defendant, apparently being a person of low character and no shame, appealed his conviction contending that the $200 fine was unlawful because there was no sign warning of the potential fine for violation.

Although the court indicated that they found the defendant’s conduct “reprehensible,” the court was forced to reverse the defendant’s conviction because the sign failed to warn of the potential fine for a violation. In concluding, the court stated: “[R]egardless of our holding, we chastise [the defendant] for his reprehensible conduct, and we hope that the legislature will see fit to remedy this mischief which the current language of the statute may invite.”

In response to Lundberg, the legislature did act, and included new language in the statute that indicated that the absence of a sign stating the penalty amount did not preclude enforcement. In particular, the legislature further amended the statute to provide that if the sign designating the handicapped parking does not warn of the potential for up to a $200 fine, then the offender may only be fined up to $50.

Therefore, it is good policy to include a designation of the signs that a potential fine for violations could reach $200 – not only will this hopefully provide an additional deterrent, but also allows for increased enforcement for the violations. Something good does come out of the violations as the statute specifically provides that 95% of the monies received on fines goes directly to the Department of Public Welfare for Attendant Care Programs.

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

Oh! What a beautiful and glorious morning as about fifty people, young and old, assembled at the memorial park to honor and give tribute to all our servicemen and women living and those who died serving our country. As a background for the service, the gentle breeze rippled the flags, the birds were in chorus, swallows dipped and glided over the park, an occasional bleat from a goat interspersed the service, and directly overhead a jet plane soared, leaving behind its stream that finally dissipated in the cloudless blue sky. Oh! What a beautiful morning.

Amid these happy noises the program took place. Invocation – Pastor Rodriguez; Pledge of Allegiance led by Kristen Potter; the Mike Christian story, read by Robert Weldy; flag folding ceremony, Art Kopp, Robert Weldy, David Soden, coordinated by myself; song, “You’re A Grand Old Flag” led by Frank Buck; Memorial Day message – Mayor Frank Mroczka; placing of wreath at monument – Gina Upright; roll call of dead, Art Kopp; placing a plant beneath the Memorial Board – Joy Mead; song, “America”; benediction – Pastor Rodriguez; Taps, Danielle Williams.

A short service at the cemetery at which Pastor Rodriguez spoke. Gale Williams read a poem she wrote, they sang “Battle Hymn of Republic,” Taps was again played by Danielle Williams and flowers were strewn over graves of veterans.

Gale Williams did a fine job of working out the program. Carl and Virginia Upright almost single-handedly got the park ready for Memorial Day.

It was pleasant to meet former residents. John and Charlotte Kaiser drove up from Georgia. Irving Buck and wife flew in from Denver, Colorado. Joe Brownell was home from New York City, bringing along  friend from France who is an opera singer, and to whom Joe was explaining the meaning of Memorial Day. Girdon Buck, wife and daughter arrived from Syracuse, NY. Sluman Glover, Ayer, Mass. and Clinton Glover, Antioch, Illinois found time to come back and renew their relationships. Also, Russell and Phyllis Chaffee from Sayre, PA and many locals stopped by to inquire about my health.

The Cemetery Association met at the Methodist Church with Charles Levchak presiding. Two very important items were on the agenda. One, there will be an increase in the cost of single lots; the trust fund is getting low. Two, no shrubs or trees are to be planted. If planted, will be removed. There will be a work session sometime soon at the cemetery.

Barb and Roger Glover spent the weekend at Coventry, NY listening to bluegrass bands. They were home to attend the Memorial Day program.

Son, Dan and I attended the commencement exercises at Cornell University where Dan’s son, James graduated with a degree in agricultural science.

Joy Mead entertained her two daughters, Karen and Christine and their families Memorial Day.

June 16 the Baptist Ladies will be having a lawn supper. Serving starts at five.

Last Wednesday, a nice looking young man knocked on my door. He looked vaguely familiar, and I was very pleasantly surprised; it was Eddie Criddle, a boy I had in school 1950-60. We had an interesting chat. He was a classmate of my son, Norman. He lives in Fuquay Varina, near Raleigh, North Carolina, and builds houses. I could still see the mischief in his eyes and expressions that he had 50 years ago. He gets my news through the Internet, so hello to all you internetters out there.


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The Healthy Geezer

Q. At the recreation center in my development, I overhead some women talking about “low vision.” Is that something like being near-sighted?

Confused in St. Petersburg

No, low vision is very different. It is a significant reduction in visual function that can’t be corrected by regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine or surgery. Low vision can range from moderate impairment—such as tunnel vision or blind spots—to almost total blindness.

One out of every 20 people has low vision. About 135 million people around the world suffer from this impairment.

Irreversible vision loss is most common among people over age 65. However, losing vision is not just part of getting older. Some normal changes occur as we get older. These changes usually don't lead to low vision.

Low vision can be caused by diseases, disorders, and injuries that affect the eye. Many people with low vision have age-related macular degeneration, cataracts or glaucoma. Almost 45 percent of all cases of low vision are caused by age-related macular degeneration, which progressively destroys the central retina (macula) at the back of your eye. The retina is to your eye what film is to a camera.

If you think you may have low vision, consult an eye care professional who can tell the difference between normal changes in the aging eye and those caused by disease.

There are many signs that indicate possible vision loss. Under normal circumstances, do you have trouble recognizing faces of people you know? Is it difficult for you to read, sew, match the color of your clothes? Do lights seem dimmer than they used to?

Vision changes like these could be early warning signs of eye disease. Usually, the earlier your problem is diagnosed, the better your chances are for successful treatment and maintaining your vision.

Regular eye exams should be part of your routine health care. However, if you think your vision has changed, you should see your eye care professional as soon as possible.

A specialist in low vision is an optometrist or ophthalmologist who is trained to evaluate vision. This professional can prescribe visual devices and teach people how to use them.

Devices and rehabilitation programs can help you adapt to vision loss. They may help you maintain your lifestyle.

These devices include: adjustable lighting; large-print publications; magnifying devices; closed-circuit televisions; electronic reading machines; computer systems with voice-recognition; telescopes, and telephones, clocks, and watches with large numbers.

Rehabilitation programs offer a wide range of services such as low-vision evaluations and special training to use adaptive devices. They also offer guidance for making changes in your home as well as group support from others with low vision.

If you have a question, please write to

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Software Services

Email Stories – Are They Real?

Friends and relatives are always emailing me interesting stories, tips, and jokes. Most have been forwarded ump-teen times, with hordes of email ids in front of the actual bit the sender wants me to read. Sometimes the email is proclaiming something that just seems too good to be true. Sometimes the email is asking the reader to take an action. Whatever the nature of the subject, these emails don’t have to be a mystery. This week I’ll tell you how to identify the real deal from email effluent.

"Urban legend" is the term that I’ll use for email stories that contain common fallacies, misinformation, old wives' tales, strange news stories, rumors, celebrity gossip, and similar items. According to the Urban Legend Reference Pages, a tale is considered to be an urban legend if it circulates widely, is told and re-told with differing details (or exists in multiple versions), and is said to be true. Whether or not the events described in the tale ever actually occurred is completely irrelevant to its classification as an urban legend.

Fortunately, there’s a web site that you can visit to validate those email stories. Visit, put keywords related to the story in the search box, and hit the search button. A list of urban legends (along with brief summaries) matching your keywords is returned. Click on the one that sounds like your email story. You’ll find each entry is broken up into segments. First there’s the Claim – a one-sentence summary of the story. Then there’s the status, which is True, False or Undetermined. The folks that run this site research each entry. Based upon their research they assign a status. Next they give examples, clipped from actual emails. These are always in a colored bordered box. Following the samples, they discuss the variations of the story.

The Origins section is a section that reflects how the urban legend came about. It discusses how long the piece has been circulating. Many times the urban legend has been around for so long that parts of it are true and other parts have been embellished. This section attempts to separate and clarify what is what. The Additional Information section lists references used in determining the status. Finally the Last Updated section lets you know just how recently the information on this particular urban legend was validated.

So next time someone sends you an email story, visit and check it out. You’ll know more about it than the person that sent it to you! If it’s not true, you’ll know not to send it on and perpetuate the misconception. If it is true, you’ll know the why and how. One word of caution, the site is maintained by volunteers and advertisements, so expect an occasional pop-up ad. Be that as it may, it’s still a wonderful reference site. I visit it just to read the Top 25!

Next time discover what the Task Bar is and what you can do with it.

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

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