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Issue Home August 2, 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

SUSQUEHANNA: A most singular accident occurred on Main street, Saturday afternoon. A big St. Bernard dog, in a wild chase after another canine, came in sudden contact with Wm. Best of Scranton, who was passing down the street. In his fall to the pavement, Mr. best was rendered unconscious for a short time. He was attended by Dr. Goodwin. AND: Residents in the neighborhood of Grand street cemetery are complaining of nightly desecrations in that quiet spot where rest the dead.

HARFORD: Miss Lou M. Rogers has her new millinery shop nearly completed and wishes to announce to her friends that she expects soon to go to New York and make a specialty of the trimming department of the millinery work and will return in time to meet her friends with a full line of new goods for the fall and winter trade.

LAWSVILLE: Frank McLeod shot a mink a few days ago that was standing with its front feet on the door sill, looking into the house in quest of a hen and chickens that had run into the room to escape capture.

THOMPSON: A number of campers are already on the Free Methodist campgrounds, making ready for their meetings which begin on the 16th. Dr. C. H. Mead, of New York, is their speaker Friday afternoon, Aug. 18, when Prohibition will be the theme dwelt upon.

GREAT BEND: A burglar tried to force an entrance into the home of Post-Master F. G. Trowbridge early Tuesday morning. Mrs. Trowbridge heard someone trying to open the front door, awakening her husband it frightened them and they ran to the rear of the house into a shed. Mr. Trowbridge spoke to the intruder several times as to what he wanted. When he threatened to shoot, the man said he “wanted to get in.” He ran from the shed into the street and disappeared, but there is a chance of his being recognized if he stays in this vicinity.

LINDAVILLE, Brooklyn Twp.: H. W. Roper has been employed to convey the school children of this district to and from the Brooklyn High School.

EAST RUSH: The East Rush ball team complain because they have had no chance to play ball. They have asked four or five different teams, but all have declined. They have not been defeated this year.

FRIENDSVILLE/MONTROSE: F. J. Elliott, driver of the Friendsville stage, on Thursday afternoon of last week, was found missing when it was the usual time for the stages to start out on their return trip. Chief of Police Tingley at once instituted a search and found the driver-less wagon near the L. & M. station. As Elliott was not discovered during the day his horse and wagon were placed in good hands and the search for the missing man continued. He was on Tuesday found at Alford, having evidently been wandering about several days. The unfortunate man has been thought to be mentally unbalanced for some time.

LAWSVILLE: F. B. Travis was here Tuesday. “Fred” is a clever violinist and can do stunts on the hornpipe and reel line that puzzle the best of ‘em.

FAIRDALE: They are making extensive repairs on the Fairdale M. E. church. Dan Oaks and Will Blazier are doing the work.

HEART LAKE: A surprise party was made for Mrs. Martin Whitney at Heart Lake, Wednesday, July 26th, it being her birthday anniversary. A large number were present and a fun time was reported. A large portrait of herself was left as a memento of the occasion.

ST. JOSEPH: Fr. John J. McCahill, the “St. Joseph boy,” recently ordained, is now at work as assistant in the Annunciation Parish, in the heart of New York City, its rector being Dan Penny. Many friends will wish the young priest unbounded success in his life work.

FOREST LAKE: The Stone family reunion will be held at Forest Lake, Aug. 5th, 1905. Picnic dinner at 12 o’clock. An invitation is extended to the descendants of Canfield and Benajah Stone.

NORTH JACKSON: Samuel Coddington recently was attracted to a bush-lot by dogs barking, where he found two dogs confronted by an enormous “rattler.” Obtaining a pole and driving off the dogs he dispatched the snake, which was 4 feet in length.

NEWS BRIEFS: The New York, Pennsylvania & Southwestern railroad project appears to be “going up the flue.” In fact some of the officials admit the future is surrounded by a purplish haze and that all work on the road will stop within a week. The offices of the Colonial Construction company are closed and an attachment on the office furniture for $400 was issued a few days ago. The resignation of Chief Engineer Webster from any connection with the road, which went into effect this week, is one of the most severe blows which the road has sustained and is believed to mean the finish. Up until this time some work along the proposed route has been kept in motion, but now everything is at a standstill awaiting the outcome of the conferences in New York. AND: A circular has been issued announcing that the dedication of the memorial erected in the National Cemetery at Andersonville, Ga., in memory of the Pennsylvania soldiers who died while confined during the Civil War in prison at that place and also, that the dedication of the monument which is to commemorate the services rendered at the Siege of Vicksburg, Miss., by the 45th, 50th, 51st and 100th Regiments, Pa. Vol., and Durell’s Battery of Penn., will take place some time in October or November of 1905. By recent Act of General Assembly all honorably discharged Pennsylvania soldiers who have been confined in the Confederate prison at Andersonville during the War of the Rebellion are entitled to free transportation to and from the Memorial dedication; and all surviving soldiers of the organizations mentioned who participated in the Siege of Vicksburg are entitled to free transportation to and from the dedication of the monument mentioned. AND: Gossip is a humming-bird with eagle wings and a voice like a fog-horn. It can be heard from Dan to Beersheba and has caused more trouble than all the bedbugs, ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, coyotes, grass-hoppers, chinchbugs, rattlesnakes, sharks, sore toes, cyclones, earthquakes, blizzards, small pox, yellow fever, gout and indigestion that this great United States has known or will know when the universe shuts up shop and begins the final invoice. In other words, it has got war and hell both backed up in the corner yelling for ice water.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Some loose ends

Two out of three...not bad, but not good enough

When the current crop of commissioners took office last year, they picked up on two or three projects worthy of attention and said they would concentrate on getting them done.

One of them, the elevator in the courthouse, is finished. A second, a new roof on the office building on Public Avenue is in progress. But the third one – a pledge to tighten security measures in county buildings – seems to have been forgotten.

I find it difficult to believe that, with all the money Pennsylvania is spending on security, our county legislators in Harrisburg cannot find a few bucks here and there to pump into a sorely needed security program in Susquehanna County. One visit to the county courthouse and office building should be enough to convince our representatives and senators that a plan of action is desperately needed.

Of course, the old saying about the squeaky wheel getting the oil is always applicable when state and federal grants are involved. If we don’t look to see what is out there, we won’t find it. And if we do find what is there, we won’t get anything if we don’t ask for it.

The county buildings are extremely vulnerable. Too many doors are left unattended and too many are open after hours because some conscientious employees always take a bit more time to get things done.

At one point, the county commissioners were talking about ID cards that could be swiped into a slot that would allow access through an otherwise locked door. Granted, the cost of such a project might be a bit high, but the safety features are worth it. If memory serves me right, the county has some sort of safety committee. Perhaps it is time to activate this committee and have them pursue some safety measures and make recommendations to the commissioners.

Where’s the annual recycling report

The last financial report on the county recycling program was released by Gary Marcho, then chair of the Board of Commissioners, and it showed a loss for the year 2000 of some $87,000. According to Mr. Marcho, it cost the county $495,559 to run the recycling program in that year. Revenue, including money from the used equipment sales, amounted to $408,049.

There may have been annual reports to the county commissioners since then but I cannot recall seeing any, so if they were submitted to the commissioners they were stashed away mighty fast.

At the time of the last report that I can recall, I remember one person in the audience pointing out that the loss was equivalent to more than one mill. However, another individual said it was not a loss but an investment in saving the earth. I can recall the commissioners agreeing to look at the recycling costs with an eye on trimming expenses.

I am a firm believer in recycling and participate in the program in my town on a regular basis. But it seems from here that an annual cost of half a million dollars is kind of steep. Then again, I am not privy to all the needs and requirements involved in running a recycling program. I would, however, suggest that the commissioners do something to find out if the program is practicable and whether some cost effective cuts can be made.

Is Salt Springs Park getting peppered?

There has to be more to the Salt Springs Park issue than what we have been told so far. For instance, if the county cannot pump $5,000 annually into the project, how has it been getting away with it for the past five years? Unless I am mistaken, our auditors should have caught it and, if they didn’t, certainly the state auditors should have picked it up.

I do not know all members of Friends of Salt Springs Park but I find it difficult to believe that any of them would ask the county to circumvent the law for a $5,000 appropriation. As William Shakespeare once wrote, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

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From the Desk of the D.A.

I received a request to address the topic of jury nullification. Quite frankly, jury nullification is not a topic that many prosecutors would even acknowledge, let alone address. Jury nullification, however, has an interesting history, some of which is directly tied to the founder of Pennsylvania. Around 1670, William Penn was arrested in England for preaching the doctrines of the Quaker faith, which departed sharply from the teachings of the Church of England. At his trial, four of the twelve jurors voted to acquit Penn – even though there was no doubt that Penn had violated the law with his religious preaching. The four hold out jurors were imprisoned and starved for four days, but they refused to change their votes. As a result, Penn was not convicted, but the court fined the renegade jurors for their refusal to follow the law. Three of the four jurors paid the fines, but one juror, Edward Bushell challenged the fine as unlawful. In a historic legal decision, England’s highest court determined that a juror could not be punished for returning a verdict, regardless of the court’s view of the propriety of the verdict.

Even in America, this concept of jury nullification took root. In 1735, John Peter Zenger was arrested for publishing a critical article attacking the royal governor of New York. At that time, it was unlawful to publicly criticize the governor. A colonial jury acquitted Zenger even though there was no doubt that he had violated the law. Instances of jury nullification have occurred sporadically throughout our history. Essentially, jury nullification occurs where the jurors, collectively as a group, have determined that the law itself is unjust and return an acquittal despite the clear evidence of the violation of the law. As the United States Supreme Court once noted, the jury “has the power to bring in a verdict in the teeth of both the law and facts.”

Interestingly, the question becomes whether defense attorneys should be permitted to inform and educate jurors on the concept of jury nullification, or, if courts should be required to instruct jurors on their right to engage in jury nullification. Indeed, the court instructs every juror that they must follow the law, and the jurors take an oath prior to their service indicating that they will follow the law and the court’s instruction. If a court were to inform a jury that they had the right to ignore the law, the results would be a recognition of a lawless society where a person’s conduct was not judged on the standards acceptable to the society at large (criminal laws), but upon the collective conscience of a group of 12 individuals selected for jury service. While some may criticize the jury system in its current state, the potential for mischief and substantial injustice arises from open instructions (and encouragement) to jurors that they need not follow the law.

A few examples may help to drive home this point. Several years ago, I tried a drug delivery case involving a hand-to-hand delivery of cocaine to an undercover police officer. The defendant raised the defense of entrapment, as there was no debate that he had in fact delivered the controlled substance. The jury deliberated for a substantial amount of time – so much that the defendant entered a guilty plea to a felony while the jury was deliberating as he had become concerned over the outcome. From my perspective, I did not understand the delay in returning a verdict. Afterwards, I spoke with several jurors and discovered that there had been a single hold out juror who refused to convict the defendant because he believed it was not right that the police engaged in undercover work. Apparently, this particular juror strongly believed that a police officer should never be out of uniform – even when attempting to conduct undercover work! Obviously, this juror was not following the law – and, thankfully, the other 11 jurors refused to accept his theories and allow the defendant to avoid responsibilities.

Another good example of the dangers of jury nullification involves the “educated” juror. Regardless of the instructions by the court with respect to the law, there is always a danger that a particular juror will attempt to inform the jury what his or her perception of the law, which seemingly is always the correct version and the court’s instructions be damned. In another trial recently, I learned that there had been a particularly boisterous jury deliberation because one of the jurors insisted that the police had done something improper based upon his perception of the law. The court never gave any instruction on this particular issue because it was not involved in the case. After discussing the case with several jurors after the guilty verdict, I assured them that there was nothing improper and that the wayward juror’s perspective was wrong. Many jurors, however, bring preconceived notions about the law, forensics, criminal justice, and a myriad of other issues into the jury box. The wildly popular, but largely fanciful, television crime dramas only assist in polluting a large percentage of the jury pool with strange and usually incorrect perceptions of police work and the law.

While jury nullification has a long history, it is a doctrine requiring civil disobedience from jurors to engage, to some degree, in their own version of unlawful conduct in refusing to adhere to the juror’s oath to follow and properly apply the law to the facts of the case. A criminal justice system cannot be fair and just unless the laws are applied equally to each particular defendant. While there may be noble historical examples of jury nullification, our society no longer criminalizes Penn’s preaching or Zenger’s words. From this prosecutor’s perspective, jury nullification is a large step toward a lawless and inequitable society where some criminals avoid retribution and punishment based upon blind luck in the jury selection process. And, there is nothing just or noble in such a result.

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

At this writing, Virginia Kopp, a patient at Lourdes Hospital is much improved, says Arthur Kopp, her husband. That’s what we want to hear.

The Slocum reunion was held at Afton, NY, July 30. Attending were (and also houseguests of Ruth and Lee Slocum) daughter, Ricci and her daughter, Shaylynne and son, Seth from Odessa, Texas. Also little Lee’s daughter, Jodi and two sons, Brantly and Yancey from Texas. They are staying for a couple weeks.

Billy Reddon spent last Friday night with Grandma and Grandpa Upright.

The nuns have painted their picket fence white.

Marie Swartz has called and said they need 250 gallon jugs for the luminaries for Christmas Eve when they plan to put out 700. So save your gallon jugs and call Marie at 727–2802 or Joy Mead at 727–2518 when ready to dispose of them.

Mary Ann and George Debalko (Stearns place) are rejoicing over the birth of their first grandchild, Kaitlyn Alexis McNally, born July 22, 2005 weighing in at six pounds, eight ounces, nineteen and a half inches long. The proud grandparents are the parents of Kristen McNally and son-in-law, Joseph McNally of Long Valley, NJ. They are quickly learning about parenthood. Congratulations to all.

June Downton attended the graduation party for Ashley Thomas in Deposit, NY last Saturday.

Alice and Kirk Rhone just returned from a week’s vacation, traveling western PA and visiting friends and relatives.

Frank and Ruth Mroczka hosted their family reunion, July 30. Family and friends traveled from Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New York and Massachusetts for the festivities.

Son, Dan and I were visible at the bluegrass festival last Saturday night. There was a good and enthusiastic crowd. Dan just called and said he’d broken his thumb on his right hand while fishing. He stood up in the canoe, fell and caught his thumb between the canoe and a rock. Rather awkward to pack for his long-awaited fishing vacation deep in the Canadian woods with a splint on his thumb.

Wildlife in the Dickey half acre – had hoped to see the wren nestlings leave their nest but a doctor’s appointment evidently occurred at the same time, ‘cause they were gone when I got home. The deer have been helping themselves to the early sweet apples that have fallen. A mama bunny and her two babies are much in evidence. The live in the brush at top of yard. Last Sunday while Madelyn Thorn and I sat on the back porch, a big old porcupine waddled onto the patio with a large brush of quills across his back. Never saw one that close before. Don’t want to get any closer either.


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The Healthy Geezer

The Healthy Geezer

By Fred Cicetti

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


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Dear EarthTalk: What has led to the decimation of the world’s seahorse populations, and is there any hope for saving them?

Stefanie Young, Chappaqua, NY

Seahorse populations around the world have been in decline for decades due to habitat loss, the home aquarium trade, and unintentional capture by fishermen seeking shrimp and other seafood. More recently, though, their popularity as an ingredient in non-synthetic impotence formulas has pushed these tiny creatures with the spinning tales to the brink of extinction.

For centuries, practitioners of traditional medicine in Asia have recommended combining seahorse powder with herbs to treat impotence as well as respiratory ailments such as bronchitis and asthma. But during the late 1990s – perhaps not coincidentally following Pfizer’s introduction of Viagra – the international trade in seahorses jumped more than 75 percent. Indeed, millions of people throughout Asia and elsewhere are turning to compounds incorporating seahorse powder as a natural and inexpensive alternative to Viagra for curing impotence, despite mixed reports about its effectiveness.

Project Seahorse, which maintains offices in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong and the Philippines, reports that more than 24 million seahorses are sold each year around the world for traditional medicinal purposes. The principal importers are China and Singapore. Meanwhile, millions of other seahorses continue to be bought and sold each year to stock aquariums around the world, further jeopardizing wild populations.

Currently all 34 known species of seahorses are listed as threatened under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), a global treaty signed by 166 countries. Under the treaty, businesses that engage in the seahorse trade are required to show that their actions do not jeopardize wild populations at risk. International seahorse traders now need permits, and a minimum size limit has been imposed to guarantee that juvenile members of populations can reproduce.

Nonetheless, keeping tabs on the international seahorse trade and prosecuting violators is a major undertaking. Project Seahorse coordinates a network of marine conservation organizations – including Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, the Zoological Society of London, the World Wildlife Fund’s TRAFFIC program, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Tasmania – to share findings and help police the trade. But researchers admit that only a reduction in demand through increased public awareness will save this unique and peculiar creature from extinction.

CONTACTS: Project Seahorse,; Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES),

Dear EarthTalk: I've heard that some European countries require cars to be recycled. Is this true?

Glen Palmer, West Palm Beach, FL

Back in February 2000, in response to the realization that discarded autos accounted for a tenth of the hazardous waste spilling out of Europe’s landfills, the European Union (EU) decided to shift the burden of environmental responsibility squarely onto the carmakers themselves. Now until 2007, in all 25 EU member countries, carmakers must recycle 80 percent of the vehicles they manufacture; in 2015, the percentage increases to 85. In addition, the law requires all automakers selling their products in Europe to stop using toxic heavy metals, such as the mercury sometimes found in auto trunk light switches.

The recycling law also applies retroactively; forcing carmakers to pick up the full tab for disposing of every auto they ever produced. The European Automobile Manufacturers Association, a trade group, believes the measure will cost industry around $23 billion, based on a recycling cost of around $155 a car and an estimated 150 million cars currently on the European roads.

In response, automakers across Europe are redesigning their new models with recycling in mind. Germany’s Volkswagen, for example, conducted extensive research on how to maximize efficiency in recycling its fleet. The company concluded that extensive dismantling of vehicles before crushing significantly cut down on waste, and then designed its most recent Golf with a dashboard built for easy and complete removal by a dismantler. And to facilitate ease in recycling auto plastic, VW replaced potentially contaminating adhesives with clips and now uses a standardized plastic wherever possible. In another example, BMW now makes instrument panels out of a standardized plastic that can be broken down and re-molded back into the same instrument panels with 99.5 percent purity.

The world’s major non-European automakers, including Ford, General Motors and Toyota, sell many vehicles throughout Europe and have begun building networks of recycling facilities tailored to their respective vehicle lines. Toyota, for instance, has set up almost 600 recycling sites in four European countries.

Although American automakers are not subject to such strict regulations at home, they have been recycling cars since the first Model T rolled off Henry Ford’s production line. Today, American-made cars are among the most recycled consumer items. According to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a U.S. trade group, approximately 82 percent of an average vehicle’s weight gets recycled. Ford and General Motors are pioneering the use of recycling-friendly design on their new lines of automobiles, going so far as implementing environmentally-friendly “closed loop” manufacturing systems and distributing End-of-Life-Vehicle (ELV) dismantling manuals listing parts and their material content.

CONTACTS: European Automobile Manufacturers Association,; Volkswagen,; Ford Motor Company Vehicle Recycling,

GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at:, or e-mail: Read past columns at:

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