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Issue Home June 28, 2005 Site Home

Brittany Fike Is New Maple Queen
C B & T Donates To County Foundation
Meri Vets Honored
SCCD Wins In Photo Contest
Peoples Bank Assembles Boards

PARSE #15 Meets
Local Clergyman Writes 7th Book
High-Speed Internet At County Libraries


Brittany Fike Is New Maple Queen

The Endless Mountains Maple Syrup Producers Association has chosen the 2005-06 Endless Mountains Maple Queen.

The winner, Miss Brittany Fike of Montrose, was crowned by her predecessor, Suzanne Nowalk, during the association’s annual banquet on June 16 at the Wysox Presbyterian Church. Nowalk relinquished her reign during a crowning ceremony, handing over the responsibilities as Maple Queen, which includes appearing at various parades, fairs, and festivals to promote the many attributes of pure maple syrup products, as well as the Endless Mountains Maple Syrup Producers Association.

Suzanne Nowalk, left, passes on her maple queen title to Brittany Fike.

Miss Fike, 17, is the daughter of Larry Fike, Springville, and Sue Fike, Montrose. She attends Elk Lake High School where she will be a senior in the fall. In September, Miss Fike will compete for the title of PA Maple Sweetheart at the annual PA Maple Tour being hosted by the Endless Mountains Maple Producers this year in Rome, PA.

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C B & T Donates To County Foundation

William F. Farber, Chairman of Community Bank & Trust Co. is pleased to announce that the bank has donated $50,000.00 to the Community Foundation of Susquehanna County in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program.

Pictured (l-r) are: Earle Wootton and Peter Quigg of Community Foundation of Susquehanna County and Mark Caterson, Montrose Branch Manager and William F. Farber, President & CEO of Community Bank & Trust Co.

The Community Foundation has been involved with this program for two years and it has had a significant impact upon our community, mostly in the arena of day care centers and nursery schools, but also in helping send some autistic children to special programs, and helping with various Vocational/Technical programs.

“The proceeds of this program help give the schools the resources to make learning interesting and fun,” said Mr. Farber. “As a member of our community, I am proud to help the young people of our area.”

Community Bank & Trust Company’s corporate giving program provides the opportunity to invest in the future of the bank’s communities. The bank has partnered with various local educators to help schools and programs most in need through such endeavors as providing learning support through finance-related education programs, participating in Community Reading Day, and providing scholarships donated through the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program, administered by the Community Foundation.

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Merli Vets Honored

Pictured above (l-r) are a few of the vets, and their aides: seated – John Rapoch, Walter Hrynczyn – a former resident of North Jackson, PA, John Brady, John Gilbus; standing – Merli Representatives Jean Warner and Connie Phillips, Mary Ficarro, Post 86 Auxiliary member.

A few weeks ago (actually May 19) Susquehanna Post 86 honored several veterans from the Gino Merli Vet Center in Scranton.

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SCCD Wins In Photo Contest

Susquehanna County Conservation District (SCCD) was recently represented at the 2005 Maintenance Workshop at Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA. The Center for Dirt and Gravel Roads Program sponsors a photo contest each year that best exemplifies best management practices to reduce the tremendous amount of sediment entering Pennsylvania streams. Auburn Township’s Ace Road was the site of the award winning photographs. The SCCD was awarded a HP Photosmart digital printer.

One of the Ace Road pictures that was entered in the contest.

The PA State Conservation Commission’s Dirt and Gravel Road Pollution Program annually distributes $4 million to County Conservation Districts which administer the program at the local level. Susquehanna County Conservation District, works with local townships in the county, to develop a work plan and correct pollution problems on unpaved roads. Townships also realize a drastic decrease in road maintenance once projects are completed. The Dirt and Gravel Road program is designed to prevent excess sediment, which is the state’s largest single contributor of pollution of the state’s waters.

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Peoples Bank Assembles Boards

Combining people from across the market area, Peoples National Bank has added new Associate Directors to their Board of Directors. Newest additions are as follows: William Aubrey II, serving the Nicholson branch office. Bill is President of Gertrude Hawk Chocolates and lives in LaPlume, Pennsylvania.

Aminderjeet Aulakh owns Liberty Truck Center in Harford, PA. Andy will be helping the branch office in Hop Bottom. Allan Beilby, TDS Telecom General Manager will serve the Deposit office in New York State. Greg Shultz will be joining the board as a Binghamton Associate Director. Greg is a consultant for Everything But Medicine based in Chenango Forks, New York. David French, owner of French’s Auto Parts, after serving the Hallstead Plaza office for six years, will now serve the Conklin branch office, along with Bruce Barrett, President, The Partners Insurance & Financial Services located in Vestal; and Dr. Bill Rogers, the Chief Meteorologist for WBNG television in Vestal.

Peoples National Bank has also gathered its 2005 Regional Advisory Board. Bringing together business owners, professionals, and members of the community to discuss the activity of the local communities is the primary goal of these meetings. Members share valuable feedback of the wants and needs of the community, exchange challenges they have personally experienced and how they have dealt with such challenges, and provide PNB with input on how they can better serve the needs of customers. Working together on common issues gives everyone involved a more informed position to improve the local area.

In an effort to better attend to the three counties in which PNB serves they have changed the format of Advisory Boards by geographical division, thus doubling groups from two to four. The Deposit and Susquehanna branch advisors comprise of returning members Bronson Stone, Wendy Mac Donald-Dudley and Rick Golding, as well as the following new members: Laura Brownell, Jeanne Owens, Pete Hempstead, Charles Welch, Ron Dubas, Judy Cook and Gerry Vail. Serving on the Montrose and Hallstead regional board are returning members Jill Aldrich and Sue Stone with new members Richard Serfass, Michael Bailey, Jeanette Worden, David Coddington, Dr. Glendon Summers and John Vitale. The returning members serving Hop Bottom, Nicholson, Tunkhannock and Meshoppen are Ann Henry, Hildy Stevens-Morgan, John Kwiatowski, Glen Werkheiser and Mark Stanley. New members joining the team are Andrea Basalyga-Phillips, Marie Turner, Sally Geary, Lester Puterbaugh, Geordee Grable, DMD, Nancy Gavek, Elizabeth McCarthy, Bill Kitner and Charles Miner. The Conklin and Binghamton board has not yet been finalized.

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PARSE #15 Meets

On June 14, 2005 the Pennsylvania Association of Retired State Employees (PARSE) met at the Towanda Gun Club. Due to the holiday, Cynthia Sims gave a brief history of Flag Day.

Legislative Chairman Jesse Bacon talked to the membership about the current status of the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) and other PARSE concerns. He quoted the following 2400 year old message, “Just because you do not take an interest in politics, doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” Pericles 430 B.C.

Chairman Bacon noted voter apathy and its carryover into non-action on pertinent House Bills by the legislators. He said PARSE membership unanimously supported mailing our request letter for an annual COLA with members’ signatures to the following: Rep. Paul Clymer, Legislative Chairman and Senator Jane Earl, Finance Committee Chairperson. For more information, and other legislators to contact, refer to Mr. Bacon at 265–9784.

Legislation to establish a reserve fund could be introduced to supplement funds already in place and do not create a burden to taxpayers. He said that the pension fund made $3 billion from its 2004 investments, which is a 15.1% rate of return with $26.6 billion in assets. This is a valid argument for an annual COLA.

Mr. Bacon announced that PARSE will begin its 33rd year with the annual meeting on Monday, September 16, 2005 at the Radisson Penn Harris Convention Center in Camp Hill.

The next meeting will be held on July 12, at Green Gables, New Milford. For more information, contact Susquehanna County Vice President, John Benio at (570) 278–2380.

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Local Clergyman Writes 7th Book

A Susquehanna County clergyman long involved in ecumenical and interfaith affairs has just completed a study of episodes in the history of Islamic extremism, from the Seventh Century to the war against terrorism.

The Rev. Paul R. Carlson, Ed.D., pastor emeritus of the Silver Lake Presbyterian Church, Brackney, PA, has compiled the results of that research in a 433-page book, “Faith and Fanaticism: Radical Islam’s Crusade Against Israel, the Church, and the West.”

After tracing such extremist episodes down through the centuries, Dr. Carlson then focuses specifically on the ongoing Arab-Israeli crisis and the role of the media in covering the conflict.

A newsman-turned-minister, Dr. Carlson makes it clear from the outset that millions of Muslims worldwide deplore any act of violence committed in the name of Islam.

In making that point, he cites the case of an American Muslim journalist who says two prayers when such acts occur. She first prays for the victims, he says, and then prays that fellow Muslims were not involved.

At the same time, Carlson notes that 9/11 has been labeled “a wakeup call from hell” because of the fear expressed by many Western leaders that terrorism left unchecked “could escalate to the level of a nuclear attack against Israel, the United States, or any other area within the orbit of Western civilization.”

To buttress this point, Carlson cites the Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States which concluded that a radical segment within Islam seeks to “rid the world of religious and political pluralism, the plebiscite, and equal rights for women.”

What’s more, he adds, the report warned that this radical element “makes no distinction between military and civilian targets.”

Equally troubling to many western observers, says Carlson, is the concern that Muslim population growth throughout Europe – quite apart from acts of terrorism – could signal the end of the continent’s Christian heritage within decades.

Carlson notes that this possibility is supported by such luminaries as Princeton Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis and by the celebrated Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci.

A 1947 graduate of Brooklyn (PA) High School, Carlson began his journalism career as the Susquehanna County correspondent for the old Binghamton Sun. When he left for college three years later, he held the top post of City Hall reporter.

While in college, he worked as the Rhode Island correspondent for the Boston Bureau of United Press. He later served a stint with radio station WNBH in New Bedford, MA, before joining the staff of The Pocono Daily Record, in which position he won two top prizes from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publishers Association.

He holds five academic degrees, including a masters degree in international relations from the Graduate School of Public Affairs, State University of New York at Albany, as well as his doctorate in education from New York University.

Following graduation from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Carlson joined the public relations staff of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland. From 1980-84, he was the executive director of the United Churches of Northeastern Pennsylvania, serving at the same time as an adjunct instructor at the University of Scranton. He later became pastor of the First Christian Church, Scranton.

Dr. Carlson is a member of the executive committee of the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel, a coalition of Protestant and Roman Catholic academics and religious leaders.

“Faith and Fanaticism” is his seventh book. He earlier wrote “Christianity After Auschwitz,” which won kudos from Rabbi Jacob Neusner, an authority on First Century Judaism and Christianity, as well as from other Jewish and Christian scholars.

His latest offering is available from, or by calling toll-free (877) Buy Book.

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High-Speed Internet At County Libraries

Thanks to generous memorial donations, public wireless networks have now been set up at each of the Susquehanna County libraries: Forest City, Hallstead-Great Bend, Montrose, and Susquehanna. Anyone who has a wireless-equipped laptop computer can get a slip of paper with an encryption code (for security) at the front desk. 801.11B and G, the two most common wireless standards, are supported (if you don’t know what that means, you don't have to worry about it). Setup is the same at all 4 libraries, so once you've entered the information, you can take your laptop to any other location and get right on. (The security key will be changed periodically, however.)

"We are finding that more and more travelers have laptops and appreciate this service," says Systems Librarian Hilary Caws-Elwitt. "The technology is now very affordable and it's a natural extension of the wired services we already offered." Please contact Hilary with any questions at (570) 278-1881, or

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