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Letters to the Editor Policy

Kindness From Everyone

On July 30 the first annual Ron Rowe Memorial golf tournament was held at Golden Oak Golf Course. Twenty-one teams attended the tournament to celebrate the life of Ron Rowe and to show support for his family. I appreciate the kindness from everyone that attended the tournament. I would also like to personally thank each and every business for contributing in the Ron Rowe memorial tournament. The businesses in the surrounding area were very generous and caring toward the tournament. Thanks to the donations made by businesses and the participation of the golfers the tournament raised $2,800. It was a great success and thank you again.


Sue Rowe, Raymond Testa

Define The Word “Broke”

In last week’s Susquehanna County Transcript, the headline for the report on our July 26 council meeting read, “Susky Boro Police Broke.”

During this meeting council discussed the fact that the line item for “Car Repairs” in the police budget was down to $250.00, and $250.00 more was needed to repair a police vehicle. Council’s decision was to take the money out of “Fines and Forfeitures,” money which the police department brings in from arrests and tickets they issue. The police department has half of their budget left; being halfway through the year, we are right on target with every cent accounted for. I have been Mayor since 2003 and they have never gone over budget. This police department works very hard, cutting corners and donating their own time and money. We still have police protection and business will go on as usual.

Whether I am here for four more years or until the end of December, at the end of the day I am still the Mayor. I know firsthand what this police department does on an everyday basis. Not only do their statistics show they are the best police department this borough has ever had, but they have a great rapport with the community. I can assure the public – they are well protected.

It is a disgrace that a local newspaper would print such a misleading headline. The press has a moral obligation to report the facts and not distort them. Most newspapers investigate corruption in a government, whether local or national, and inform the public of their findings. In this case, the corruption is from without. The public will come to their own conclusion.

Since last week’s headline appeared in the Transcript, I have been contacted by residents who are convinced we no longer have a police department. Fear and confusion have been the results of this report. Why would a local newspaper want the public to believe this? What kind of message is this sending to drug dealers and other corrupt individuals?

I would like to ask the County Transcript to define the word, "Broke,” and how did you get the facts to support this statement?


Mayor Nancy Hurley

Susquehanna Borough


Dear Nancy,

It was not our intention to question the abilities or good works of the Susquehanna Borough Police Department, as you imply in the above.

We, the County Transcript, have supported the local police department for “decades,” and will continue to do so long after your tenure.

Where you got the idea corruption applies in any way, shape, or form is pretty “creative.”

If you have a problem with the headline, I will, after reflection agree with you. I will, also take full responsibility for same, as “I” wrote that headline, not County Transcript reporter Barb Whitehead.

A more appropriate headline would have been, “Susquehanna Borough Police Repair Budget Is Broke.”

By the way, “broke” means you are out of (allocated) taxpayer dollars. The fact you were able to rob Peter to pay Paul does not change the definition.

Setting The Record Straight

It seems that there are some misconceptions about what I do at the County Transcript and as a reporter.

My “day job” is working at the Susquehanna Transcript and Publishing Co. office. Among my duties are receptionist, word processor, customer service, and several others. Chuck Ficarro is the editor. While it is true that he trusts me to “be” the editor on occasion whenever he is not here, I am well aware that he has certain guidelines to follow and I do my best to follow those guidelines.

As the editor, Chuck has the prerogative to change, amend or delete any material a reporter (or anyone else) turns in, and he keeps a large supply of red pens handy when going over submissions to do just that. While I have not always been happy with some of the changes he has made to my material or the headlines he has given it, I recognize his right to do so.

I do not decide which reports/articles go on the front page; Chuck does. It is an in-house joke that I often request not to have my reports on the front page. Chuck usually just laughs, and then places it where he wants to.

I do not decide whether or not material will run in the County Transcript; Chuck does.

I do not write the headlines for my reports; I freely admit I am not very good at it. When I do submit a report with a headline, nine times out of ten Chuck will change it; most of the time I do not even write one. I do admit that there have been times when I have used a very innocuous headline to divert attention away from a controversial issue contained in the report (fear of reprisal). Chuck usually catches on to me and doesn’t let me get away with it. Again, that is his prerogative.

My job is to report what happens at the meetings I cover. Believe me, I don’t make this stuff up. But it seems that no matter how kind I am to some people (like not mentioning names, rumors, hearsay, inappropriate remarks, etc.), they take exception to having their antics reported. I used to tell my very impulsive seven-year old, “Think before you act.” Some folks would be well advised to do just that. If you don’t want something to go in the newspaper, then don’t do it or say it at a public meeting. I have no control over what others do or do not do at meetings, and I have never discussed beforehand with anyone what they plan to bring up at a meeting, or how my reports will be written. It is really very immature of certain individuals to voice threats against me, harass me (or my family and friends), or to try to terrorize me because I have reported what did, in fact, happen. And I deeply resent being accused of the same sneaky, underhanded tactics that I despise in others.

Who I know and whether or not I like them has very little impact, if any, on the job I do. My husband has absolutely no input whatsoever into how I do my job. In all the years I’ve known him, only twice has he seen my reports before they were published. Once, when he was a member of the Susquehanna Borough Council, I showed him my report because it was the easiest way of filling him in on what had happened at a meeting he had missed while he was away. The other time, for reasons I will not go into, I wanted to reassure him that my report did not contain words like “bushwhacked” or “blindsided.” Enough said about that. I also do not allow my friends to tell me how to do my job, and there have been a number of times when some of them have been less than happy with me because of it.

At their August 9 meeting, the Susquehanna Boro Council expressed objections to what they called “attacks” against them (taxpayers asking questions are “attacks”?), yet I was subjected to what was definitely an attack for something over which I had no control or influence. I would definitely characterize being publicly accused of “distorting the facts” and “corruption” as an attack. I find it curious that not one single person asked me if I was responsible for the headline in question.

How sad that some people can’t go directly to the person they have a problem with and discuss their concerns face-to-face in a civil manner.

How typical.


Barbara Whitehead

Susquehanna, PA

Would You Like One

She’s beautiful, friendly, brilliant, and pregnant. One cannot help but be attracted to her needs. Her story is all too familiar: abandoned, walking the streets, and in need.

Compassion moves in and takes command. You become her primary caregiver, giving her a safe haven, bed, food, and some of your heart. Soon the offspring arrive and they are adorable, fun, loving, and playful. All designed to capture more of your heart.

Names are easily given and you become more attached. Certainly anyone would love them as equally as you do. It is time! “Hi there, they are so cute, would you like one?” you say with confidence. “No!” Oh boy!

“Hello, do you know anyone who…?” “No!” Tears are flowing, she is wonderful, why can’t others see it too? The morning begins with a large challenge, a pain in your belly, and tears. What to do? Little hope is visible for adoption.

Less than one percent of cats and kittens are adopted from shelters, the rest are euthanized or abandoned. The numbers are staggering.

Answer: Neuter and spay! The challenge: “It costs so much and it is only a cat, who cares. My family comes first!”

And so the cycle continues. She is beautiful, friendly, cute, and pregnant!


Barbara Vernovage

Susquehanna, PA

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Letters To The Editor MUST BE SIGNED. They MUST INCLUDE a phone number for "daytime" contact. Letters MUST BE CONFIRMED VERBALLY with the author, before printing. At that time you may request to withhold your name. Letters should be as concise as possible, to keep both Readers' and Editors' interest alike. Your opinions are important to us, but you must follow these guidelines to help assure their publishing.

Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript

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