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Issue Home August 16, 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

NEW MILFORD: The culmination of a pretty romance that was begun at New Milford, one year ago last June, took place this morning when Miss Ella E. Carr, daughter of Thomas Jefferson Carr, a descendant of President Thomas Jefferson, and John A. Hirlinger were married by Rev. Dr. John B. Sweet, presiding elder of the Binghamton district of the New York central Conference. Mr. Hirlinger was formerly a Spanish war veteran and after he returned to his home in Scranton he secured work as a bridge painter for the Lackawanna Railroad. One year ago he was doing some work in New Milford and while there attended the graduation exercises of the High School. One of the young women, attired in white, attracted his attention and he managed to get an introduction to her. They fell in love at once. Mrs. Hirlinger was formerly a belle of New Milford and is a handsome and talented young woman. They will reside in Binghamton.

MONTROSE: The Montrose Golf team went down to Scranton on Saturday of last week and badly defeated the Scranton team by the overwhelming score of 18 to 4. The Montrose team consisted of Riley, Ramsay, Pennypacker, M. Jessup, Fitzgerald, C. Shafer and I. A. Pennypacker. The best score of the day was made by R. Pennypacker, who did the 18 holes of the unfamiliar course in 87, and carried off the prize put up by the Scranton club.

SUSQUEHANNA: The prospects are bright for a good attendance at Laurel Hill Academy this fall and winter. This is a very old seat of learning and is still under the direction of Sister Mary Casimir. AND: The funeral of the late Benjamin Gregory, a veteran of the Civil War, was attended Saturday afternoon from the Cascade House. The funeral was conducted by Moody Post, No. 53, G.A.R., and Rev. J. L. Williams, pastor of the Baptist church officiated. Interment in Grand Street Cemetery.

UNIONDALE: Edward Morgan has sold his mail route from Uniondale to South Gibson to Stephen Carpenter of the latter place.

THOMSON: N. S. Foster has a force of carpenters changing his house from a flat roof to a Gothic. He had already made changes in the shape and size of his barn.

BROOKLYN: Our base ball team crossed bats with the Hopbottom team on Wed., August 9th, the score resulting ten to eight in favor of Brooklyn.

HARFORD: A jolly party of Grangers and their friends went on a straw-ride to Heart Lake Friday to attend the Grange picnic. When they left town they were singing: “In the shade of the old apple tree,” but in the afternoon a terrific rain storm began and they returned to town singing: “How wet I am.”

HERRICK: Our school will begin September 4 with Prof. Moses as principal, Miss Philippi as assistant and Miss Bunnell as primary teacher.

GREAT BEND:Miss Betsy Hays recently celebrated her 84th birthday. She is in good health and invited a number of her schoolmates to spend the evening at her home. Among them were: Mrs. Hatch, Mrs. S. B. Munson, Mrs. J. N. Sackett, Mrs. T. D. Estabrook, Mrs. Ellen Sears, Mrs. Rose Dayton, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Hays, Mr. and Mrs. James Hays and Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Hays. Light refreshments were served and at 9 P.M. all went home wishing the estimable schoolmate and mother many happy returns of the day.

LENOX: Clara Tower, the eldest daughter of E. E. Tower, of Loomis Lake, was the victim of a run-away accident one evening last week. It was so dark she did not know what did happen, but thinks the harness broke. The wagon was upset throwing [her] head against a fence post. She was picked up unconscious and badly bruised all over, but seems to be recovering all right.

HICKORY GROVE: As Frank McAllister was caring for his stallion “Duster” in L. B. Park’s barn at Hickory Grove, the horse manifested anger by grating his teeth and giving other evidences of bad temper. Mr. Parks advised McAllister to keep away from the brute, but he, believing that he was the master, went into the stall when the animal plunged at him and fastened his teeth in the muscles of McAllister’s arm and an instant later had him down and was stamping on him, one of the hoofs crushing McAllister’s neck. Before being killed outright, McAllister was pulled out of reach of the horse and a physician was sent for. An examination showed that the “Adams apple” of the throat had been crushed and the doctor said it was a miracle that the man’s neck was not broken. This is the same horse that came near killing Wm. J. Day, of Great Bend, some time since, biting his face in a terrible manner. If this horse was now put to sleep with a dose of chloroform it would seem to be a case of excellent judgment.

LANESBORO: At a meeting of the directors of the City Hospital, in Susquehanna, Mrs. S. H. Barnes, of Lanesboro, made the unsolicited gift of $5000 to the Hospital. Mrs. Barnes is a lady well known and always highly appreciated, but this generous act will endear her still more to the people of the locality.

TUNKHANNOCK: John Hefferan, a respected and well-to-do farmer living about a mile north of town, was instantly killed by falling from a load of oats. Assisted by his son, George, he was hauling the grain to the barn, Mr. Hefferan being on the load driving the horses. As the wagon came out of the field into the roadway, the front wheels went into the gutter with a jolt that threw him off the load and he struck upon his head on a stone, crushing his skull. George alarmed the neighbors and Dr. McKnown was telephoned for, but when he arrived nothing could be done, as death had been instantaneous. He was the father of John Hefferan, harness-maker of Montrose.

MIDDLETOWN TWP.: If a young man goes out with his horse and carriage on Sunday evening and it rains, that is no reason why he should not try it some other time, Edmond.

NEWS BRIEFS: Thomas Edison, the noted inventor, has been touring the Pocono mountains in an automobile, accompanied by his son and some friends. Mr. Edison says that with his new storage battery, recently perfected, it will be possible to manufacture an automobile for $250 or $300, which will embody practically all the essential features of the present machine, although the new auto will necessarily be of smaller dimensions than a touring car.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

The Commissioners Owe Us

It has been six weeks since we have had the three county commissioners attend a regularly scheduled Board of Commissioners’ meeting. In the 16 years that I have been covering the board meetings, I don’t ever remember three consecutive meetings without a full board.

Even when Joey Marshall and later Joan Stalter were stricken with terminal illnesses, I do not remember a span of eight weeks without a full board in attendance at a regularly scheduled meeting. Yet, when the commissioners meet on August 24, it will be the first full board meeting since June 22. By then nine weeks will have passed since the three commissioners attended a regular board meeting.

I know what some of you are thinking. And the reason I know is because I am thinking the same thing. Forget it, the state would never buy it. Perhaps the public wouldn't either. But the concept of removing county government from the political arena and putting it in the hands of a highly qualified CEO is intriguing.

Consider this! We pay our three county commissioners a total somewhere in the neighborhood of $140,000 a year. Add paid health insurance, a paid retirement plan, an expense account and the fact that it is considered a part-time job and there is more than enough money to hire a real sharp CEO.

But that’s all wishful thinking so let’s return to the real world and take a look at some of the problems with our county government.

For one thing, our commissioners have not learned that they are elected to serve the people. They are public servants. We taxpayers pay them and we have the right to hold them responsible for anything and everything that goes wrong in county government. They do not believe that they are accountable to us. On the contrary, they believe they do us a favor when they talk to us or visit our towns. They do not realize it is not a favor but an obligation.

After they are sworn into office, they reorganize the county government to meet their specific schedules. They set the time and place of their public meetings. Which means they should do all in their power to attend the meetings that they themselves scheduled because they fit into their daily chores and obligations. Nothing short of a family emergency should keep them away from the county courthouse on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. They told us they would meet on those days and they should be there to meet.

Recently, Commissioner MaryAnn Warren missed a meeting because of a pre-arranged agreement to participate in some way other than a player, at a charitable golf tournament. She said she made the commitment in March and had to live up to it. But, in March she knew that that commitment conflicted with a regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of County Commissioners. If her presence at the golf tournament was that critical she should have advised the tournament committee of her predicament and perhaps they could reschedule the tournament or look for another guest to replace the commissioner.

Last week, Commissioner Roberta Kelly was absent because she was on vacation. Again, she voted in support of the meetings being held on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. There are at least 13 days between regular meetings of the board and in some instances as many as 20 days between meetings. When you are being paid almost $900 a week plus benefits for a part-time job, one would think that the commissioners could arrange their schedules so they are in the county when their presence is needed at the courthouse.

And, who can forget the infamous boat ride when one hot, summer afternoon Commissioner Gary Marcho pulled the girls working in the commissioners’ office from their desks and took them to Lake Wallenpaupack for a ride in his boat.

My friends, it is your money being spent daily by the county. Your tax dollars and my tax dollars. We should be electing candidates who will commit themselves to doing the job he or she is being paid to do. The commissioners meet at 10 a.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month. A lot of people are forced to take a day off work if they want to attend a meeting. Our commissioners get paid regardless of whether or not they attend a regularly scheduled meeting.

So you lose a day’s pay and go to a meeting to get help with a problem from your county commissioners. When there are only two of them there, decisions are sometimes held over until the third commissioner is present. Is this any way for constituents to be treated? I think not.

And look what I went and did. I promised you more information on the county’s proposed security program and I used up all my space on an entirely different subject. All I can say is watch this space next week and I will bring you up to date on the security issue and another topic of interest.

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From the Desk of the D.A.

Daryl Atkins and another accomplice kidnapped 21-year old Eric Nesbitt, an airman at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia. Atkins and his companion then forced Nesbitt to withdraw $200 from an ATM machine and, after receiving the cash, they shot Nesbitt repeatedly and dumped his body in a local field. Atkins was charged with the murder of Nesbitt, and the prosecutor sought the imposition of the death penalty.

In 1998, Atkins was convicted and sentenced to death. Thereafter, during his many appeals, his attorneys raised the issue that Atkins was suffering from mental retardation, and that, as such, the imposition of the death penalty was unconstitutional.

In 2002, the United States Supreme Court overturned the death sentence of Daryl Atkins, finding that the United States Constitution prohibited the execution of a person who suffers from mental retardation as it constituted cruel and unusual punishment. The case itself was remanded (or sent back) to Yorktown, Virginia, as there never had been any specific determination by the court or the jury as to whether Daryl Atkins did, in fact, suffer from mental retardation. The United States Supreme Court ordered a second trial to determine the mental capacities of Daryl Atkins.

Thus, a second trial was conducted not to determine the guilt of Daryl Atkins, but to determine whether he suffered from mental retardation so as to prevent the imposition of the death penalty. After thirteen hours of deliberation, a Yorktown jury concluded that the 27-year old Atkins was not mentally retarded. As a result of the jury’s conclusion, the death penalty has been reinstated. For now, Atkins’ legal battles have resulted in an ironic twist – he has established the principle that persons suffering from mental retardation cannot be executed, but he cannot take advantage of that legal protection as he is not mentally retarded.

Since the United States Supreme Court decided Atkins, legislatures in states that still provide for the death penalty have been attempting to revise the applicable statutes to provide guidance to the courts and litigants as to mechanisms through which retardation should be determined in a capital murder case. In other words, should the matter be determined by a jury of lay persons after being instructed by the court as to the applicable criteria to be considered, as well as hearing from the various expert witnesses presented by the parties? Would it be more appropriate for the judge to make the determination as a matter of law based upon the facts presented during the course of the trial? Or should there be a combination of the two approaches where the judge makes an initial determination as to whether there are sufficient facts presented so as to warrant presenting the issue to the jury for instruction and consideration?

While some instances will involve cases that are clear, i.e., everyone agrees that the defendant suffers from mental retardation and, as such, cannot be subject to the death penalty, the difficulties will arise in the borderline cases where I.Q. and functional capacity are debated by the experts in the field. If two professionals with specialized training in detecting and identifying persons suffering from mental retardation cannot agree, it is easy to imagine just has difficult it will be for a jury or even a judge to make a determination regarding a particular defendant’s mental capacities and functional abilities.

Daryl Atkins was never tested for mental retardation prior to the age of 18 – which suggests that no educators, health care providers or any one else was ever considered that he suffered from mental retardation (or that no one cared). As a result of the legal proceedings, Atkins was tested three times and registered I.Q. scores of 59, 74 and 76. An I.Q. score below 70 is generally considered to be indicative of mental retardation. Atkins’ score was over 70 in two of his three tests, and his “average” score was 69.66.

Interestingly, mental retardation has always been a mitigating factor for jurors to consider in making its determination as to whether imposition of the death penalty is fair and just. In other words, a jury could conclude that the metal retardation of the defendant mitigates the case to such a degree that the death penalty is not warranted. The United States Supreme Court, as it has done with juvenile offenders, has taken the mitigation consideration out of the equation and created a blanket rule that persons suffering from mental retardation cannot be executed. Unfortunately, the courts will now be left with the arduous task of trying to determine which defendants are sufficiently limited as to take advantage of the new prohibition, and which defendants have sufficient capacities as to allow execution. As demonstrated by Atkins, these delineations are far from clear.

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

Today was breakfast day at Vivian Baker’s for the 26 Senior Citizens, Bag Ladies and friends. This was outdoors on the lawn and we were served blueberry pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, orange juice and coffee. Why does everything taste a lot better outdoors? The chief cooks were Marie Swartz and Joy Downton. And it was a beautiful morning!

Bob and Dee Martin have added a lovely front porch to their home.

Expected to return for the Preston High School fifty-fifth class reunion on Sunday, August 14 were seven members and their spouses. They were to convene at the Lakewood Lodge. Several from Starrucca planned to return.

Virginia Kopp came home from hospital last Tuesday. Let’s hope she will continue to heal while at home.

Ruth Mroczka’s sister, Lee Cavanaugh is visiting from Los Angeles, California for a week. She will divide her time between her mother, who lives in Bethany Village near Honesdale, and Ruth. Ruth has won ribbons for second and third place with her quilts at the Wayne County Fair. Congratulations!

Casey Christianson has been spending a week with her grandmother, Joy Mead. Casey is the daughter of Chris Christianson. Casey is showing pigs as her 4-H project at the Harford Fair.

Dave and Carol Carpenter accompanied Roger and Barbara Glover to the Bluegrass Ramble in Little York, NY last Sunday.

Paul and Bridget D’Agati attended the Wayne County Fair at Honesdale last week. Had a ride on the Ferris wheel! I prefer the merry-go-round – love the music.

Aunt Lovey Klym and Danny Klym were entertained at a luncheon in Simpson by niece, Barbara and Roger Glover.

Don’t forget the square dance coming up in the Starrucca Community Hall this Saturday night, August 20, from 7 to 11 p.m. Refreshments available. We hope to have fans to cool off the dancers.


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The Healthy Geezer

Q. Glaucoma runs in my family. Is there a cure for it yet?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness in the United States.

Any vision that glaucoma destroys cannot be restored. Early diagnosis of glaucoma is extremely important, because there are treatments that may save remaining vision.

Almost three million people in the U.S. have glaucoma. Those at highest risk are African-Americans, everyone over age 60, and people with a family history of glaucoma.

Glaucoma is defined as a group of diseases that can damage the eye's optic nerve, which carries images from the eye to the brain. Here’s how glaucoma works:

A clear fluid flows through a small space at the front of the eye called the “anterior chamber.” If you have glaucoma, the fluid drains too slowly out of the eye and pressure builds up. This pressure may damage the optic nerve.

However, increased eye pressure doesn’t necessarily mean you have glaucoma. It means you are at risk for glaucoma. A person has glaucoma only if the optic nerve is damaged.

Glaucoma can develop in one or both eyes. The most common type of glaucoma starts out with no symptoms. Without treatment, people with glaucoma will slowly lose their peripheral vision. Eventually, the middle of your vision field may decrease until you are blind.

Glaucoma is just one reason seniors should make regular visits to an eye doctor. Glaucoma is detected through a comprehensive eye exam that includes a visual acuity test, visual field test, dilated eye exam, tonometry, and pachymetry.

A visual acuity test measures vision at various distances. A visual field test measures peripheral vision. In a dilated eye exam, a special magnifying lens is used to examine the inside of the eye. In tonometry, an instrument measures the pressure inside the eye. With pachymetry, an instrument is used to measure the thickness of your cornea, the transparent part of the front of the eye.

The most common treatments for glaucoma are medication and surgery. Medications for glaucoma may come in eye drops or pills. For most people with glaucoma, regular use of medications will control the increased fluid pressure.

Laser surgery is another treatment for glaucoma. The laser is focused on the part of the anterior chamber where the fluid leaves the eye. This makes it easier for fluid to exit the eye. Over time, the effect of this surgery may wear off. Patients who have laser surgery may need to keep taking glaucoma drugs.

Studies have shown that the early detection and treatment of glaucoma is the best way to control the disease. So, have your eyes examined thoroughly and regularly if you are in a high-risk category. And that includes all of us geezers.

If you have a question, please write to

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