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HERRICK: Tyler Hankin, the new stage driver, carries passengers to Pleasant Mount for 25 cents and covers them up with a $25 lap robe. AND: George M. Curtis has come to the conclusion that a man who deals in horses is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things.
Everybody wants to get into the act!
There seems to be quite the hullabaloo brewing over the restoration of the Monument on the Green in Montrose. Unfortunately the excitement seems to be motivated by an ambitious wannabe politician who is shooting from the hip in an insipient attempt at focusing attention on himself.
I am of course referring to Fred B. Baker II who fancies himself as the Savior of the Monument. Mr. Baker seems to think that he is the only resident of Susquehanna County who can rally the troops into a fighting mode that would show county voters he is a man of action.
Well, my friends, this isn’t Charleston and Mr. Baker is no Paul Revere. Moreover, there is no need for Mr. Baker’s ludicrous attacks on county officials, members of the committee responsible for raising most of the money spent to restore the monument, or the contractor that did the work.
This much I will give Mr. Baker and anyone else who has taken a look at the monument. There is no doubt that as things stand at this very moment, the county did not get its money’s worth from C&D Waterproofing of Bloomsburg, who was awarded a contract in excess of $72,000 to restore the monument. There are a number of flaws that need attention and all who were involved with the project are well aware of it including Michael R. Bath of C&D Waterproofing.
In a letter to Commissioner Jeff Loomis and Chief Clerk Suzanne Brainard, Mr. Bath said his company intends to correct anything that did not turn out properly. And just before I sat down to write this column, I talked with Ellen O’Malley, head of the Restoration Committee. She intends to seek county permission to have the engraved tablets at the monument site picked up by C&D Waterproofing and taken to Bloomsburg for additional work to be done in accordance with the company’s three-year warranty.
Ms. O’Malley was somewhat disappointed by Mr. Baker’s attacks on the commissioners and her committee and who can blame her. She said he never approached her about any problems with the restoration. She said he did sell some chances in conjunction with the fund drive held to raise money for the project. But she said he did not come forward to volunteer on the committee when it was seeking members.
Mr. Baker did make an appearance at the last meeting of the county commissioners and said the monument needs more work. He also wrote a letter to the editors of some area newspapers.
“Until the present investigation reveals graft, fraud or corruption,” Mr. Baker wrote, “I am not willing to castigate or deride members of the committee responsible for past mistakes nor am I willing to become one voice on the same committee whom I feel has not made the proper mindset for correcting the errors previously made.”
Wow! Graft, fraud or corruption! Those are pretty serious allegations. And he hints there is an investigation underway. By whom?
Mr. Baker advised Commissioner Jeff Loomis that he is working with the county’s Veterans Affairs Office to get a “fair representative group of veterans from local American Legions and VFW Posts to help advise us on the project.” Who gave Mr. Baker the authority to circumvent the Restoration Committee and form another committee to advise the county on the monument project? And where were these veterans, including Mr. Baker, a couple of years ago when the call went out for volunteers to serve on the Monument Restoration Committee?
The opinion here is that Mr. Baker is wooing county veterans with the hope of establishing a formidable base from which to launch his next campaign for county commissioner.
According to Ms. O'Malley, the contractor did what he said he would do and he is living up to his end of everything his contract said he would do. She said there are a couple of issues that need attention and that the contractor will look at them and take the proper action. As a veteran myself and a Legionnaire for over 20 years, I would let the original Monument Restoration Committee and the contractor work together toward an amicable solution that will satisfy the county and its critics.
My friends, we must not lose sight of the fact that this monument, designed by Captain Jerome R. Lyons, a Montrose architect, was dedicated on July 4, 1877. That makes it 128 years old. That is a lot of wear and tear. The winters are not always kind in Montrose and the summers could be scorchers. Being exposed to the elements alone for more than a century combined with a touch of vandalism here and there should tell us that it would be virtually impossible to restore the monument to its original condition and appearance.
Recently, while I was attending a viewing at a local funeral parlor, I was requested to do an article on traffic laws relating to funeral processions. If a vehicle is being operated in a funeral procession, it must (1) display lighted headlamps; (2) use emergency flashers; and (3) have a flag or other insignia designating the vehicle as being part of the funeral procession. Assuming that the above criteria are met, a driver of a vehicle in a funeral procession may pass through a red light provided the first vehicle in the procession went through the light when it was green, or, in the case of a stop sign, may pass through the stop sign without stopping if the first car in the procession came to a complete stop before going through the stop sign. 75 Pa. C.S. § 3107. Furthermore, a vehicle being properly designated as being part of a funeral procession is relieved of the general parking restrictions under the Vehicle Code. These special rules, however, do not relieve drivers in funeral processions from yielding the right of way to emergency vehicles.
Generally speaking, the Vehicle Code also requires drivers of vehicles to maintain safe distances between vehicles traveling on roadways, normally a sufficient space to allow another vehicle to enter and occupy the space without danger. 75 Pa. C.S. § 3310. Funeral processions are exempted from this provision, and the statute specifically provides that a funeral procession “shall not be interrupted by any vehicle other than an emergency vehicle.” 75 Pa. C.S. § 3310(c).
If the funeral home has designated a person to assist in traffic control, the Vehicle Code prohibits any driver from failing to or refusing to comply with the lawful order or direction of the employee or agent of the funeral director. 75 Pa. C.S. § 3102. In particular, this section of the Vehicle Code requires that the person directing traffic be “appropriately attired.”
What can we take from these statutes? First, the Vehicle Code requires other drivers to be respectful of funeral processions. If the funeral procession enters an intersection, and the light changes, you must wait until the entire procession has left the intersection before you have the right of way to enter the intersection, regardless of whether your vehicle has the green light. It is unlawful to attempt to cause your vehicle to interrupt the funeral procession, and, as such, be respectful and wait until the entire procession has passed before attempting to resume your travel. Finally, the Vehicle Code provides funeral directors (and their employees and agents) the power to lawfully direct traffic, and, as a driver, you must obey the traffic commands given by a properly attired member of a funeral home. After discussing this matter with the local funeral home director, I was left with the distinct impression that many of these rules were not observed. Hopefully, this article can shed some light on the requirements of all drivers when they come upon a funeral procession.
On a different topic, our office received a call the other day from a concerned citizen. Apparently, the citizen had received a telephone call from a person contending that they were part of a security group that had discovered that the citizen’s checking account number was posted on the internet. The caller asked the citizen to verify the personal checking account number so that the security firm could delete it from the internet and thereby protect the citizen’s account. This particular citizen, however, rightfully suspected the caller’s motive. The citizen asked for the internet address where her checking account number was displayed so that she could check it out for herself. The caller became irate, and insisted that the citizen give her checking account number to the caller. The citizen did not comply, and, in all likelihood, saved herself from becoming a victim of identity theft. If you are faced with a similar situation, please do not give your private information to any person calling you on the telephone, unless you know the person and have an established and trusting relationship with them.
Please submit any questions, concerns, or comments to Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office, P.O. Box 218, Montrose, Pennsylvania 18801.
Senior citizens will meet on Friday, July 29 instead of Wednesday the 27th, to accommodate our guest who is a magician and nephew of Ruth and Frank Mroczka. Lunch at noon will be hot dogs, chips and ice cream. I hope there will be a good audience to witness his magic.
There were fourteen descendants of the original Samson and Whittaker families who met in reunion Saturday, July 23 at the Baptist Church. A chicken and biscuit dinner was served to them. Because of the low attendance, they agreed to meet next year on Memorial Day, hoping more people would be around.
Richard Christianson (known as R.C.) celebrated his seventeenth birthday at Christiansons in Stevens Point. His grandmother, Joy Mead, and aunt, Marie Swartz attended the party.
Michelle Peters and dog, Coco, Great Bend, were visitors at the home of her mother, Barbara Glover and husband, Roger last Thursday night.
A week ago Tuesday night, Joy Mead, Dee Martin, Clinton Glover, Barbara Glover, Marie Swartz and myself attended a meeting at the Thompson parsonage with our new pastor and hostess to try and come to some conclusions about closing our church. Much to be done and understand before we do.
Gina Upright made several trips to Lourdes Hospital to see her sister-in-law, Virginia Kopp, who is not very well at present.
Art Kopp, the rural mail carrier, had his substitute, Elwood Soden take over for a few days so he could be at Lourdes with his wife and talk to the doctors.
The former home of Floyd Heesh (manufactured Sears, Roebuck house) has been sold to Mr. and Mrs. Furman from New York City or environs. They have two boys. One less vacant house in the neighborhood.
What a blessing the cool front that passed through. Hope there are several more awaiting us.
Q. I’ve been forgetting names of people lately and I have this dread that this is an early symptom of Alzheimer’s. How can I tell?
A. I don’t know a geezer who hasn’t asked this question. Once you hit 60, you begin to wonder if your lost keys have greater significance than they did when you were younger.
The scary truth is that Alzheimer’s begins with difficulty remembering the familiar—people, things, events. Or, you start having trouble doing simple arithmetic in your head. These annoyances are common to seniors with healthy brains, so most of us don’t get too worked up over them.
But, as Alzheimer’s progresses, it can make people forget how to brush their teeth or change channels on a TV. And it gets worse until patients require complete care.
So, when should you go to your doctor to discuss your memory lapses? That’s a personal judgment call. I’ve found that I can’t remember the names of movie stars and ballplayers the way I used to. I attribute this to what I call the “overloaded filing cabinet.” As we get older, we accumulate so many memories that it’s impossible to find the one we want.
I’m not sufficiently worried about my memory difficulties to mention them to my doctor. But if you are worried, get tested.
The available tests include a thorough physical, neurological, and psychiatric evaluation. A medical history will probably be taken. This history includes information about use of medicines, diet and past medical conditions. Blood and urine tests may be done. There are also mental tests of memory, problem-solving and language. A brain CT scan could be ordered.
If you’re having some memory lapses, go to the doctor with a positive attitude. The fact is that many different medical conditions may cause Alzheimer’s-like symptoms. Some of these medical conditions may be treatable. You could be suffering from the effects of a high fever, dehydration, poor nutrition, reactions to medicines, thyroid problems or a minor head injury.
And then there are those pesky emotions. Feeling sad, lonely, worried, or bored can affect people facing retirement or coping with the death of a loved one. Adapting to change can make you forgetful.
There are benefits to an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Knowing early helps patients and their families plan for the future. It gives them time to discuss care while the patient can still participate in decisions. Early diagnosis also offers the best chance to treat the symptoms of the disease.
Today, some people in the early and middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease are given the drugs tacrine (Cognex), donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon) and galantamine (Reminyl) to delay the development of some of the disease’s symptoms. Another drug, memantine (Namenda), has been approved for treatment of moderate to severe Alzheimer’s.
Scientists are working to develop new drugs to treat Alzheimer’s. Although research is helping us learn more about the disease, we still do not know what causes Alzheimer’s, and there is no cure.
If you have a question, please write to email@example.com.
Surf the web more efficiently. Take control of the Web with these browser tips to quickly and easily master the interface between you and the Internet. These tips and tricks are something for you to try and determine which ones work best for you.
Begin at Home. A start page should load quickly and be a useful starting point. I use the home page of my business site, because I like to be regularly prompted to think about improving it. You might like Google because they provide good search results and their page loads fast. To change your start page, click Tools, and then select Internet Options. Now in the General tab, you can type in the site you wish to make your start page. Or visit that site, and then click Use Current.
Hold on to that Page. Occasionally you'll find a page that you want to keep open to look at later but you don’t want to put it in your favorites or bookmark it. Simply press Ctrl-N. A new duplicate window opens. Yes, you can have multiple browser windows open at the same time. You can continue surfing in the new window while keeping the other window accessible for later.
Link Lists Made Easy. You have discovered a very useful site that contains a list of links to other websites on a topic that interests you. Right click on those links to get a popup menu. Click on Open in New Window and keep your resourceful page on available to easily access the other links in the list.
Find It. Ever come across a page with an enormous amount of text? Usually you spend a long time scrolling up and down trying to find what you really need. You can find the information faster. The solution is to press Ctrl-F and this will pop-up a find box where you can type in a word to search for and highlight on the page. You can also select Edit from the top menu then Find from the drop down.
Pop-up nightmares. Have you ever been overwhelmed with pop-up windows from a web site? One after another, they pop up faster than you can shut them down. Instead of fumbling around your screen closing each window – you can simply and calmly press Alt-F4 and all the windows will close.
Surf Faster. You can display Web pages faster by turning off graphics and multimedia displays. To turn off graphics left click on the Tools top menu in Internet Explorer, and then click Internet Options. Click the Advanced tab. Under Multimedia, clear one or more of the Show pictures, Play animations, Play videos, or Play sounds check boxes. If the Show pictures or Play videos check box is cleared, you can still display an individual picture or animation on a Web page by right-clicking its icon, and then clicking Show Picture.
Next time learn about some basic searching techniques to quickly find what you’re looking for on the web.
Lori Martin is owner of Martin Works, Inc. (www.MartinWorks.com), Susquehanna, PA.
From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine
Dear EarthTalk: What’s the big environmental controversy over feral cats?
Johanna Berg, Brooklyn, NY
According to the U.S. Census, Americans own more than 60 million domestic cats. But analysts estimate that another 40-60 million formerly pet cats and their offspring roam free. These so-called wild or "feral" cats are blamed for wreaking havoc on already stressed populations of songbirds and other small animals.
While roaming domestic cats also hunt birds and small mammals, their feral cousins – since they are beyond the control of human owners – take the brunt of the blame for the decimation of threatened species such as Least Terns, Piping Plovers and Loggerhead Shrikes.
Cat advocates, however, say the real problem is not feline but human. "Cats are not the primary culprit in dwindling bird populations," says Becky Robinson, co-founder of the Washington, DC-based Alley Cat Allies (ACA). "The Worldwatch Institute and other environmental research groups verify that the decline in bird and other wildlife populations is directly linked to the loss of natural habitat," she says. "Urban sprawl, deforestation, shopping malls, roads and golf courses, and increases in pesticide use and pollution are to blame. We need to put constraints on our own behavior, not the normal processes of nature."
ACA cites a number of scientific studies on feral cat diets which indicate that their impacts on bird populations are negligible. These studies conclude that cats are rodent specialists. Birds comprise only a small portion of their diets, and cats can prey on birds on large land masses without destroying their populations. Cats are opportunistic feeders, and live mainly by scavenging and on handouts from humans.
Feral cats are also blamed for transmitting new diseases to wild animals, and this is probably a legitimate charge. Cats have spread feline leukemia to mountain lions and may have recently infected the endangered Florida Panther with feline panleukopenia (feline distemper) as well as an immune deficiency disease. Some cats also carry diseases that can transmit to humans, including toxoplasmosis and rabies.
Despite these issues, ACA endorses sterilization and long-term management of feral cat colonies, as opposed to removal and extermination programs which they deem ineffective, costly to taxpayers and wasteful of scarce animal protection resources.
Regardless of one’s personal beliefs about feral cats, individuals can play an important role in keeping cats off the "most-wanted" list. Most veterinarians recommend neutering pet cats, and keeping them well fed and indoors as much as possible to limit unwanted reproduction, predation and the spread of disease.
Perhaps most important, people shouldn't release unwanted cats into the wild. According to the Colorado-based Cat Care Society, this practice enlarges feral cat populations and is inhumane. Cats suffer in unfamiliar settings, even if they are good hunters. Contact local animal adoption organizations and agencies for help if you need to give up a pet cat.
CONTACTS: Alley Cat Allies, www.alleycat.org; Cat Care Society, www.catcaresociety.org.
Dear EarthTalk: I've been told that automobile air conditioners are bad for the environment. Exactly why and what part of the air conditioner is bad?
Susan Vogel, Somerville, NJ
The harmful effects of automobile air conditioners can be directly attributed to leaking of CFC R-12, one of a number of cooling ingredients patented by DuPont and popularly known as Freon. In December 1995, the U.S. banned the manufacture of this ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) in order to adhere to standards set by the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty phasing out the production of such chemicals. But existing stockpiles of the gas – and pre-1994 autos that still use it – could keep its toxic legacy around for years.
The cooling ingredient HFC134A, also known as tetrafluoroethane, has since replaced CFC R-12 as the main cooling ingredient in car air conditioners. But while HFC134A does not contribute to ozone depletion and is a more eco-friendly choice than R-12, it is a gas that contributes to global warming. In fact, because of this, the European Union has slated a phase-out of HFC134A to begin in 2011 and be completed by 2017, despite the fact that alternatives are still only in experimental phases of development.
Owners of pre-1994 automobiles can spend a few hundred dollars to modify their air conditioners to use HFC134A, though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cautions that not all systems designed for R-12 work as well using HFC134A and recommends such conversions only on cars made after 1980.
When air conditioners in cars that use CFC R-12 are being refilled or repaired, federal regulations require that the service shops recycle the refrigerant instead of releasing it into the air. Regulations also require that the refrigerant be removed from vehicles that are scrapped or have been abandoned. The refrigerant is then filtered so that it can be reused.
If the refrigerant in your vehicle's air conditioning system needs to be replenished, always have a professional do it. You can damage your system if you improperly change it yourself, and only certified mechanics can legally purchase refill cans of CFC R-12. Additionally, if your air conditioning system is leaking refrigerant, have it repaired – don't just refill it. This will both protect the environment and save you money in the long run.
There are other environmental considerations with auto air-conditioners, such as energy use. In an attempt to reduce the amount of energy car air conditioners use, Toyota has created a lightweight compressor – the heart of the air-conditioner – that consumes 60 percent less fuel.
Of course, the most environmentally sound and cheapest way to cool your car is to open your windows and let in the fresh air. According to the National Safety Council's Safety and Health Policy Center, driving without using the car's air conditioning increases fuel efficiency by about 2.5 miles per gallon.
CONTACTS: EPA Motor Vehicle Air Conditioning, www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/609/; Toyota Air Conditioning Compressor, www.toyota-industries.com/environment/product/compressor.html; National Safety Council's Safety and Health Policy Center, www.nsc.org/ehc.htm.
GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/thisweek/, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php.
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