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Issue Home July 5, 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

WEST AUBURN: The entire entertainment that was given here on the evening of July 4, including the flag drill by 12 little girls and scenes from the Civil War, will be repeated at Grange Hall, Lawton, on Tuesday evening, July 11. This certainly will be a treat for the people of Lawton and vicinity.

FOREST LAKE: E. J. Noble’s barn, near Forest Lake, was struck during the shower Sunday afternoon and burned to the ground, including the contents, farming implements, wagons, etc. The only animal killed was a hog, which was near the building when the bolt struck. Another animal of the same species, strange to say, was inside the barn during the entire period and was driven out only by the falling of blazing timbers, when it was found to be uninjured. Mr. Noble, in attempting to pull a pair of bobs out of reach of the flames, was painfully burned about the neck and face. It is reported that there is an insurance with the Grangers of $150. This will, however, go only a short way in covering the loss.

DUNDAFF: Horace Stevens, son of Postmaster and Mrs. John Stevens, was killed some time during Thursday night of last week on the Erie railroad near the Hollenback mills, a few miles above Carbondale. The young man’s remains were discovered by the crew of a south-bound pusher and taken to Carbondale. The deceased was not yet 19 years of age and was a young man of good habits. Being of a generous, fun-loving nature, it was natural that he had many friends among the young element of that vicinity.

BIRCHARDVILLE: Situated ten miles west of Montrose, with a postoffice delivery of 150, two up-to-date stores, blacksmith and wagon shop, creamery, undertaking establishment and church and with Fessenden’s mills, where almost any kind of a job can be turned out, from the grinding of a pound of corn to the entire wood furnishing for a house, is quite a lively little place and with the completion of our railroad will be strictly up to date.

CLIFFORD: The game of base ball between a team from Carbondale and this place resulted in a victory for the visitors. Too bad, but no one has told us yet “how it happened.”

THOMSON: Misses Ena, Della and Iva Callendar, Belle Barton and Addie Tucker, go this week to Point Chautauqua, N.Y., where they spend two months as dining room girls in a summer boarding house.

JACKSON: Misses Nora Hill and Ida Larrabee, two Jackson young ladies, have been elected to their former positions as teachers in the Harford and Oakland graded schools.

HARFORD: Considering the many distressing accidents that occur and the serious losses involved each year in connection with 4th of July celebrations, the storekeepers here are to be congratulated in not purchasing any fire works.

BROOKLYN: The small boy did not forget the all-glorious Fourth. He kept the town awake from 12 o’clock the night before until late into the evening of the day.

KINGSLEY: The celebration held by the band was a great success. There was a large, orderly crowd in attendance. The band commenced the exercises with music, followed by the street parade headed by mounted men, then came the band, next came a wagon load of young ladies, following was a fire engine and hose company, next was J. J. Wagner leading the wild animals of Borneo and lastly, T. M. Maynard with a wagon load of old men.

MESHOPPEN: J. Eppes Wells, who went to Sankey [Wyoming Co.] to visit his wife’s people, Mr. and Mrs. David McCain [formerly of Rush], was taken much worse but has been somewhat improved for the last few days. In accordance with directions by his physicians he is to live out of doors in a tent, on a diet of raw eggs and milk. Mrs. David McCain, who is quite poorly, will take the same treatment.

FOREST CITY: The most serious accident of the Fourth of July took place Tuesday night when William Wolfert, of Delaware street, was painfully injured. Mr. Wolfert is a very prominent young man and with some of his companions was celebrating with fireworks and also dynamite, when suddenly the latter exploded. Mr. Wolfert was the only one injured and he was terribly burned about the face and neck. It is feared that his eyes have been badly affected.

SUSQUEHANNA: The 45th Annual Commencement of Laurel Hill Academy will be held at Hogan opera house on June 29th. Vocal and instrumental music, essays, etc., and a well-rehearsed and executed play by students are advertised. All should attend. Price of admission, 25 cents. The class of 1905 is as follows: Helen Buckley, Minnie Blake, Hattie Clapper, Florence Dunlea, Camilla Fitzgerald, Grace Kelly, Harry Mooney, Frances Minehan, Josephine O’Neill, Mabel Reilly, Mary Sullivan, Annie Sullivan, Francis Teskey. Commercial Dept.: Anna Pell, Isabel Birdsall, Anna Bergstrom, Mary Foley, Eva Klees, Anna Nichols, Albert Paye.

MONTROSE: The remains of Charles M. Crandall, of Waverly, N.Y., were brought here for burial on Tuesday. Mr. Crandall was at one time one of the most prominent and influential men of this place and was the proprietor of the large Crandall toy factory, which was burned. [August of 1886] The funeral services were conducted by Rev. John. M. MacInnis, pastor of the Presbyterian church. In 1886 Mr. Crandall moved to Waverly, where three years later he made his greatest success. This was with the Pigs In Clover puzzle, which he invented. This puzzle became popular all over the country. It was taken on by everybody, even invading the Senate chamber at Washington. One Senator became so fascinated with it that he took the elusive “pigs” and “pen” to the session one morning and soon had half a dozen trying their skill in a committee-room. It was probably the greatest selling puzzle ever produced.

NEWS BRIEF: The man who erects and properly maintains a water trough on the highway receives an annual rebate of taxes not exceeding five dollars annually. It must adjoin his premises and be the only rebate trough within a five-mile limit. The conditions are all specified in the Monthly Bulletin for June.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Constables have been around a long time

Did you know that constables were established in Pennsylvania way back in 1664, predating all other law enforcement agencies in the state? Yep, that’s the truth.

Today, constables are still an important link in law enforcement by serving civil and criminal citations statewide. And, of course, constables can usually be found maintaining law and order at polling places during elections.

There is a critical shortage of constables in rural areas of the Commonwealth. Here in Susquehanna County for example, there could be 43 of them, one for each voting district, but there are only 21 and few of them are state certified. The law is pretty clear on certification. No constable or deputy constable shall perform any judicial duties nor demand or receive any fee, surcharge or mileage unless he has been certified.

The Commonwealth is willing to pick up the tab for educating constables who want to become certified. But constables are the only law enforcement people who must provide their own liability insurance. The state will help a constable find the most cost effective method of buying liability insurance but he/she pays the premiums. According to the law, every constable and deputy constable must file with the clerk of courts proof that he has, currently in force, a policy of professional liability insurance covering each individual in the performance of his judicial duties with a minimum coverage of $250,000 per incident and a minimum aggregate of $500,000 per year. I have been told the annual premium for this amount of coverage is in or around the $400-$600 bracket.

The Constables’ Education and Training Program trains and certified constables and deputy constables throughout the state, as mandated by Act 1994-44 of the General Assembly. Training consists of basic and firearms education, which leads to certification to perform judicial duties and receive payment. Annual in-service training is required to maintain certification. This training and certification is available, without charge, to all elected and appointed constables and deputy constables in the state.

How do you get to fill one of those vacant constable offices? It is not difficult. You simply draw up a petition stating you would accept an appointment to the vacancy and have it signed by 10 registered voters in the district where you are willing to serve and present it to the county judge. Of course, your appointment is only until the next municipal election at which time you must seek reelection if you want to keep the office.

And by the way, any of you policemen out there who wouldn't mind becoming a constable, the law allows you to hold both positions at the same time.

Jail Update

Apparently a few of those incidents that some thought fell through the cracks unnoticed at the Susquehanna County Jail, did not pass by without some action after all.

For instance, I am told that the woman who died in the jail sometime in 2004 was suffering from asthma attacks for some time. Apparently when she was remanded to the jail she went in with a walker and a Nebulizer, which is used to assist with breathing.

When she passed away, State Police did a thorough investigation into her death as did Tony Conarton, the county coroner. Both agreed she died of natural causes. And an autopsy confirmed their findings.

The guard who left his post to assist a motorist that locked her keys inside her car was suspended for 10 days without pay by Warden Bill Brennan.

And finally, reports that guards smoke in front of the prisoners but the prisoners cannot smoke, were somewhat exaggerated. The guards are only allowed to smoke in their lounge, which, of course, is inside the jail, or outside at the main entrance to the jail. I‚m not sure if I agree with that arrangement but it is better than lighting up in the presence of the prisoners.

Gearing Up?

Our current crop of county commissioners are only in their sophomore year and already individuals who intend to challenge them are making some noise.

I am told that Lee Smith, who was an in, out , then in and out again commissioner wants his seat back and intends to enter the 2007 Republican Primary Elections. Of course I always maintained that Lee is a politician’s politician. He plays the game 24/7/365. And he is good at it, which is why he is always a threat at the polls.

Calvin Dean, a former Democratic minority commissioner, would also like his job back. And who can blame him. By the time 2008 rolls around, the salaries of the commissioners will be crowding $50,000. Add to that fully paid health insurance and a retirement plan and who can blame anyone for wanting to feed off the county trough. Especially considering it is only a part-time job.

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From the Desk of the D.A.

Last week, I read a letter to the editor in a local paper wherein the writer chastised the Bush Administration (whom the writer referred to irreverently as the “Bushies”) for the recent United States Supreme Court decision that upheld federal drug laws, namely that federal drug laws supersede the right of individuals to use “medicinal marijuana.” The letter was rife with unfair mischaracterizations and outright falsehoods. Moreover, the mainstream media has likewise failed to provide adequate information concerning the facts of the recent Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Raich.

In the letter to the editor, the writer indicates that she “can just imagine the FBI kicking a door in to drag some poor weakened individual on chemo off to jail because he lit up a joint to help him not throw up all night.” First, and perhaps foremost, Gonzales did not result from the arrest of any user of medicinal marijuana – although the DEA was seizing and destroying the marijuana plants raised under California’s Compassionate Use Act. Rather, a number of users of medicinal marijuana sued the federal government seeking a determination that federal drug laws were unconstitutional. As such, the Justice Department was dragged into the litigation in an attempt to defend federal drug laws. In other words, the Justice Department was not arresting and prosecuting users of medicinal marijuana.

As I have discussed in previous columns, the Gonzales decision involves issues of federalism and the respective powers of the state and federal governments. In her letter, the writer addressed these issues of federalism as follows: “even though conservatives love to believe that liberals want the Federal government running our entire lives, it’s they, the conservative themselves who want to control everything we do, how we think and how we believe.” The writer’s outrage with the Gonzales decision is wholly misplaced. First, the federal law in question was enacted in 1970 – not by modern days conservatives attempting to impinge upon individual liberties. Second, the United State Supreme Court made the decision – not the Bush Administration or other conservatives in government or elsewhere. Finally, the Gonzales decision is simply an extension of liberal decision from the Supreme Court spanning 60 years wherein the powers of the states have been increasingly limited in favor of more and more federal control and power.

In making its decision, the court relied heavily upon Wickard v. Filburn, a New Deal Era decision, wherein the Supreme Court determined that the federal government could prevent a local farmer from growing wheat on his farm as a means of regulating the amount of wheat in interstate commerce nationwide. Prior to the Filburn decision, the conservative court had been reiterating that the federal government had no business regulating such activities and farmers should be permitted to grow any crop they desired for personal use. As a result of President Roosevelt’s policies and appointments to the Supreme Court, however, the regulatory authority of the commerce clause was expanded so as to grant more regulatory powers to the federal government. At the time, the Wickard decision was heralded by liberals as a major achievement and decried as conservatives as an attack upon the principles of federalism. Filburn and liberal policies is exactly how we got where we are today – and demonstrates why the federal government has the power to regulate both the growing of wheat and medicinal marijuana.

Furthermore, the Gonzales decision was not authored by any of the conservative justices of the court; rather, Justice John Paul Stevens, generally regarded as one of the more liberal members of the court, penned the Gonzales decision. Thus, it seems unfair to blame the “Bushies” or conservatives in general for the Gonzales decision when it resulted from liberal policies initiated during the New Deal Era and was written by Justice Stevens. To underscore this point, the “conservative” justices (O’Connor, Rehnquist, and Thomas) dissented from the Gonzales decision and would have prohibited federal law from interfering with California’s Compassionate Use Act.

The Gonzales decision is a terrific example of the difference between conservative and liberal views of federal power. If the writer truly desires to allow states the power to legislate the use of medicinal marijuana (or simply a greater expansion of states rights), she needs to support additional conservative appointments to the United States Supreme Court, which would then lead to a greater recognition by the courts of the abilities of the states to monitor, regulate and control matters that are essentially local in nature. On the other hand, the liberal policies initiated during the New Deal Era, the corresponding vast expansion of federal power, and the willingness of liberal justices, such as Stevens, to support the federal expansion of power leads inexorably toward a substantial loss of state powers and rights and the corresponding inability of the states to regulate local conduct without federal interference. If liberals during the New Deal believed it permissible to prohibit a farmer from growing wheat on his farm, it should come as no surprise that the liberal justices on the Supreme Court in 2005 likewise recognize the power of the federal government to limit the ability of a person to grow marijuana. Perhaps the only surprising part of the Gonzales decision is that the conservative justices, normally strongly supportive of drug laws, were willing to recognize the power of California to enact the Compassionate User Act. The old adage is true – you reap what you sow. These particular seeds that have grown into vast federal power were planted not by conservative hands, but liberal ones, and this particular crop of federal power continues to be tended by the same liberal justices.

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

Our pastor, Brian Lucas, wife and son had a good sendoff a week ago Sunday when all met at the Thompson Church after services, had a potluck lunch and sent them on their way to a new church (Dalton and Factoryville). Whenever there is change, happiness is mixed with sadness, so we were happy for them but we were a bit sad to see them go.

The Buck family reunion this year was a big success. About a hundred people gathered at the Erk place a weekend ago and camped out. Coming the farthest were Allen and Sue Chaffee and two daughters, who flew in from Australia. They were in Sayre also to attend their parents, Phyllis Buck Chaffee and Russell Chaffee’s fiftieth wedding anniversary. They all had a good time.

Bluebirds are a bit scarce around here, so I was delighted when Gina Upright told me she had a pair nesting in her yard. She and Carl are expecting her sister, Lori and Jim Walker, Rochester, NY to be with them to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend.

June Downton was honored on her natal day, June 23, when about 30 people arrived to wish her a happy birthday.

Joy Mead, her two grandsons, James and Patrick, and Marie Swartz attended a birthday party for Sharel Rhone last weekend.

Either Newsweek or Time (mine are tied up for recycling!) issued a list of the best high schools in the US. Pennsylvania didn’t have a one listed!

Gale Williams, her children and grandchildren all were happy and relaxed when they returned home recently after spending a week at Virginia Beach.

The Civic Association will meet on Thursday night, July 7 at 7 p.m. in the Community Hall to further plans for the upcoming square dance.

Our new minister for the Thompson Charge, including Ararat, Starrucca and Thompson, is Barbara Lynn Pease from Mahwah, NJ. She began her preaching duties Sunday, July 3.

I had a treat last Saturday, when Rosemary Cosentino drove me to Sterling, PA (my old home town) to attend an open house. The Historians of Sterling Township (HOST) have been refurbishing the Odd Fellows Hall, which they use for a meeting place and they wanted all to see the progress they have made. The ride down through Wayne County was one long vista after another. A treat for the eyes.

Starrucca Alumni, you only have a few days left to get your reservations in for the reunion July 30. July 11 is the deadline. For details, contact Rebecca Cizike, (607) 785–7051.

See you at the square dance, July 9.


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The Healthy Geezer

Q. This is embarrassing to discuss with anyone so I thought I’d write to you about it. I’m having bladder-control problems. What can I do?

About 10 percent of men and women over the age of 65 have trouble with bladder control, also know officially as urinary incontinence. Women suffer from this more than men.

During urination, muscles in the bladder contract, forcing urine into the urethra, a tube that carries urine out of the body. At the same time, muscles surrounding the urethra relax and let the urine pass. If the bladder muscles contract or the muscles surrounding the urethra relax without warning, the result is incontinence.

Short-term incontinence is caused by infections, constipation, and some medicines. If the problem persists, it might be caused by weak bladder muscles, overactive bladder muscles, blockage from an enlarged prostate, damage to nerves that control the bladder from diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s.

In most cases urinary incontinence can be treated and controlled, if not cured. If you are having bladder control problems, go to your doctor. Doctors see this problem all the time, so there is no need to be embarrassed.

Your doctor may do a number of tests on your urine, blood and bladder. You may be asked to keep a daily chart about your urination.

There are several different types of urinary incontinence. If urine leaks when you sneeze, cough, laugh or put pressure on the bladder in other ways, you have “stress incontinence.” When you can’t hold urine, you have “urge incontinence.” When small amounts of urine leak from a bladder that is always full, you have “overflow incontinence.” Many older people who have normal bladder control but have difficulty getting to the bathroom in time, have “functional incontinence.”

There are many ways to treat urinary incontinence. The method depends upon the type of problem.

You can train your bladder with exercises and biofeedback. You can also chart your urination and then empty your bladder before you might leak.

Your doctor has other tools he can use. There are urethral plugs and vaginal inserts for women with stress incontinence. There are medicines that relax muscles, helping the bladder to empty more fully during urination. Others tighten muscles in the bladder and urethra to cut down leakage.

Surgery can improve or cure incontinence if it is caused by a problem such as a change in the position of the bladder or blockage due to an enlarged prostate. Common surgery for stress incontinence involves pulling the bladder up and securing it. When stress incontinence is serious, the surgeon may use a wide sling. This holds up the bladder and narrows the urethra to prevent leakage.

Even if treatment is not fully successful, management of incontinence can help you feel more relaxed and comfortable about the problem.

If you have a question, please write to

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