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Issue Home August 23, 2005 Site Home

100 Years Ago
Along the Way...With P. Jay

From the Desk of the D.A.

The Healthy Geezer

100 Years Ago

Elk Lake: G. T. Lowe, of Elk Lake, is driving the Auburn stage during the illness of Canfield Estus. Mr. Lowe says he did a good business last week, carrying 25 passengers in five days—20 women and 5 men. Five of them were widows. Mr. Lowe took quite a fancy to one of them, which he says was, according to his notion, “the dandiest of the lot.”

Montrose: Timothy Murray, a retired master of arms of the United States navy, is spending some time in Montrose. Mr. Murray entered the navy at the age of 14 years and was a powder boy on board Admiral Farragut’s flagship during the battle of Mobile Bay. By faithful service he worked up to chief master of arms and retired after 42 years of service.

Harford: Prof. F. D. VanOrsdale and Miss Edith McConnell are the two teachers in the High School course at Harford this year. Harford is maintaining her reputation for the best educational advantages for her boys and girls in now offering this course. Students in towns not having such a school will do well to take advantage of the new law which provides that their own towns must pay their tuition at such a school as Harford’s.

Susquehanna: Yes, Montrose came over and licked the daylights out of our ball team on Friday and Saturday. That’s all!

Springville: Mrs. Layton and Nancy Culver had quite a thrilling experience last Sunday evening. In coming down the hill east of town in a carriage, the bridle bit broke letting the horse roam at his own sweet will. It ran down through town and up toward the depot where it was stopped; no one was hurt.

Lanesboro: On Monday evening the house of David Fritchley was the scene of a peculiar accident. His daughter used a parlor match to light the lamp and a piece of the head flew on the couch and set it ablaze.

Great Bend: The three days’ races are over and were very successful. The first day it rained so hard no races were held. The postponed races were held on Thursday. The meet closed on Saturday. The feature of the day being the ladies races, Miss Lulu Day winning in three straight half-mile heats. Mrs. H. Pierce, of Carbondale, second; Mrs. Yocum, of Deposit, third. Time, 1:08; 1:8,4; 1:09. At times the horses were neck and neck. They were loudly applauded. The track was fine, good judges and starter and large attendance each day made the races of great interest.

Glenwood: This has been a galy week in this place--three socials; one reunion, that of the Conrad family; one base ball game; Grange meeting and an ice cream festival for the benefit of the base ball club. AND The grange hall is nearing completion and will be the finest hall in the county so far as heard from.

Heart Lake: W. H. Wall, proprietor of the Lakeside House, has two pretty sailboats plying the Lake. Mr. Wall’s house has been enjoying a nice business this year, and his guests are enthusiastic over his hospitality and accommodations.

Forest City: Because of a protest of the Musicians’ union against the Star Drum corps of Forest City, taking part in the parade at Wilkes-Barre, the Total Abstinence societies of Forest City did not go to Wilkes-Barre. They had engaged the drum corps to accompany them and would not go without it. AND The Borough Council passed on third reading, the ordinances to sewer and pave Main street. Work will commence immediately and the job completed before winter.

Hop Bottom: Chapin and Kemmerer, of the Hop Bottom Water Co., have bought the property of Oney Case, on which are located the large springs for the town’s water supply. It is expected work will be commenced on the system by Sept. 6th, or before.

Lawton: The 12th annual reunion of Co. H, 143d Regt. PA Volunteers, was held with Comrade M. D. Baldwin, at the house of I. Haire, August 19, 1905. The day was pleasant and at an early hour comrades and friends began to arrive. At roll call eleven members of Co. H. answered to their names, as follows: M. D. Baldwin, O. A. Baldwin, Myron Bradshaw, W. H. Deuel, C. L. Lincoln, M. B. Perigo, O. C. Caswell, A. S. Horton, James Strange, Asa Warner and W. B. Southwell, of Akron, Ohio. Comrade Strange thanked Co. H. for the honor of being their president next year and urged all to attend the next reunion. Comrade Southwell said it was a pleasure to him to meet the comrades that he had not met in 40 years, if we are getting gray. Comrades Bradshaw and Camp spoke of the joy derived by these reunions. Asa Warner spoke of the 19th of August as being the anniversary of the battle at the Yellow House, Va., in which the 143d regiment did their part and the engagement following, in which the regiment participated.

Birchardville: Elder W. C. Tilden started for the Sunday School Convention at Heart Lake on Wednesday last, but on reaching Montrose his horse was taken sick and he was obliged to wait until there was improvement in the condition of his faithful equine servant. During the past three score years we never heard of the Elder himself being sick, or saw him wearing cravat or necktie. He is the premier among the clergy of the Baptist persuasion in Susquehanna county. A man widely known and respected. May his tribe increase.

Clifford: The Green family reunion held in Finn’s hall, Aug. 16th, was well attended and a jolly good time it was. Quoit pitching was the main order of the day.

Lenox: School in the Titus district begins to-day with the same teacher as last year—Miss Lou Lamberton, of Dalton Pa., who is to make up nearly three weeks time lost last year on account of illness..

News Brief: Sullivan county exchanges are telling about a dead man who recently sang at his own funeral. A phonograph was placed on the lid of the coffin. When the religious ceremonies were over the phonograph was turned on and the mourners in the church listened to the dead man’s voice rendering one of his favorite selections.

Check for previous “100 Years” articles on our website at and for more information about the Susquehanna County Historical Society

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Susquehanna County Security

Security measures being planned for the county buildings will be done in phases as money becomes available from state and/or federal sources. As we told you not long ago, the county has secured a grant of $45,000 for the first phase. While the amount is generous, money just doesn't do today what it could do a few years back so I guess we cannot expect too much will be done in phase one.

Sheriff Lance Benedict, who is in charge of the county’s security force, said some doors will be changed to conform with an anticipated card-swipe entry system in the courthouse and the office building on Public Avenue. There will also be panic bars installed on some doors that could serve as immediate outlets should an emergency evacuation occur.

The security system will feature state-of-the-art electronic monitors on the doors capable of providing Sheriff Benedict and his staff with information about who enters and leaves the buildings. “If a light goes on in the courthouse at 2 a.m., we will know it,” the sheriff said.

What bothers me is there are some security needs that could be done immediately at little or no cost but no one is bothering to address them. For example, the public men’s room in the courthouse basement has a door leading into the basement and from there to just about anywhere inside the building. A two-dollar padlock could fix that in a hurry.

There are also a couple of access/egress doors in the basement that could allow a culprit to enter the building unnoticed and make his way to just about any office in the courthouse. Again, some well-placed padlocks would solve the problem.

Because of where he is stationed at the front entrance of the courthouse, the security guard is extremely vulnerable. He could be accosted from any one of three directions and not even realize it until it is too late. And I often wondered why he is not equipped with a flak vest.

Across the street at the county building on Public Avenue, there is no security whatsoever. And, as I understand it, there are no plans – at least in this first phase – to employ security guards in that building despite the fact that the county communications center is stationed in the basement. Hate to think of what could happen if the com center was sabotaged.

Ever see delivery men visit the courthouse. Like UPS or FedEx for example. Because they wear identifying clothing (like UPS’s Mr. Brown for instance), they are simply waived on in when they visit the courthouse, packages and all. One of those packages could contain a bomb, be hidden anywhere, and no one would know it until they heard the boom!

My friends, the problem is that we live in a “that couldn’t happen here” environment. People, including some with enough authority to change things, just do not believe that Susquehanna County would ever be a victim of sabotage. But how many of us that never locked our doors 30 or 40 years ago now lock them every night?

I goofed!

Last week in reporting on the meeting of the Susquehanna County Board of Commissioners, I inserted a sentence that made one part of the article appear as if Commissioner Mary Ann Warren did not know what she was talking about.

It happened during an exchange between Mrs. Warren and Commissioner Jeff Loomis. Mr. Loomis had made a motion to give $1,500 to the Harford Agricultural Society, something the county has been doing every year at fair time. Mr. Loomis noted that the Probation Department had received $90,000 in overdue appropriations from the state and that the department turned the money over to the county general fund. He said the county had appropriated its annual $5,000 grant to the fair but decided against the $1,500 grant to the agricultural society because of budget constraints. He said now the county has the money and made the motion to donate it.

Mrs. Warren seconded the motion but only to bring it to the floor for discussion. I wrote that Mrs. Warren said she could not find any reference in the county code that would allow the commissioners to give $1,500 to the Harford Agricultural Society. That is not what she said. What Mrs. Warren did say was that she was doing some research in an effort to find out if the county can give probation department money to the agricultural society.

“I just do not feel,” she said, “that we should give away that money until we find out what it can be used for.”

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From the Desk of the D.A.

Drugs kill and destroy. History has proven quite clearly that certain drugs and substances must be controlled, regulated and prohibited in order to protect the general public. Whenever I hear intelligent people advocating the legalization of controlled substances, I experience a mix of emotions running from sadness, anger, outrage and disbelief. In my experience as a prosecutor, I can attest to the horrible impact that the use of controlled substances have upon not only the drug user, but the entire web of individuals caught up in the addiction itself. Furthermore, the drug users’ families are not  the only persons who suffer, but consider the countless victims of crimes committed in order to further feed the growing addictions. The legalization of controlled substances will not solve the addiction problem, nor the associated societal consequences that accompany such addictions and use.

Although there are far too many tragic examples to underscore this point, please consider the death of Mary Leo, an 87-year old woman living alone in an apartment in Wilkes-Barre. Brian Jones killed Mary Leo on August 2, 2005. While incarcerated, Mr. Jones gave a confession to a reporter of the Citizens’ Voice newspaper, the specifics of which were recently recounted in the Scranton Times-Tribune. Brian Jones recently relocated to Luzerne County to escape a long history of criminal acts in New Jersey, and to seek help for his drug addiction. Mr. Jones came to Wilkes-Barre in the hope of kicking his drug addiction through a rehabilitation program run through the Salvation Army. Mr. Jones had only been out of jail for several months after serving a ten-year sentence of attempted murder in New Jersey. Jones’ attempted rehabilitation lasted less than a weekend, and he once again found himself living with other drug addicts.

During the morning of August 2, Jones sold a CD player for $20, then went to a “drug house” where he used all of the proceeds from the sale to purchase and smoke crack cocaine. Having used up his money and his crack over the span of only one hour, Jones went searching for money to purchase more crack. He encountered several “friends” from which he obtained an additional $20. Jones then returned to the same house, purchased more crack cocaine and smoked the entire amount again. By early afternoon, Jones was again out of money and had used all of his crack cocaine, so he needed to find a way to get more additional funds to purchase more drugs.

Fate took a cruel turn for Mary Leo that day – but controlled substances seem to only twist fate into horrific futures and senseless tragedies. Mary Leo happened to be on her balcony of her apartment where Jones saw her. Jones apparently viewed this elderly woman as an easy target, so he went up to her apartment and demanded money. Mary Leo said no, screamed for help, and Jones reacted by plunging a kitchen knife into her chest. In accepting Jones’ account, he never meant to hurt Mary Leo when he entered her apartment – he just needed money for drugs. Mary Leo died for $250 and a wristwatch, which were used by Jones to purchase more crack cocaine. By his account, Mary Leo’s money provided Jones with five hours worth of drugs.

The next time that you hear someone discussing the legalization of controlled substances, I ask that you remember Mary Leo, not the fullness of those 87 years, but the horror that she experienced as her last minutes – a horror created for the sole purpose of obtaining a five-hour supply of crack cocaine. Can any civilized society accept and market substances that create such evil? As I have written many times in this column, one of the primary purposes of government is to provide us with security and protection. The legalization of controlled substances would be an abdication of that responsibility.

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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The Healthy Geezer

Q. When someone says, “that makes my blood boil,” does that mean their blood pressure goes up, too?

Probably. Blood pressure tends to spike when you are excited by an emotion such as anger or fear. But high blood pressure – known as “hypertension” – is very sneaky. It’s called the “silent killer,” because it usually has no symptoms.

Doctors say you have high blood pressure if you have a reading of 140/90 or higher. A blood pressure reading of 120/80 or lower is considered normal. "Prehypertension" is blood pressure between 120 and 139 for the top number, or between 80 and 89 for the bottom number.

The first number represents your “systolic” pressure when the heart beats. The second number represents the “diastolic” pressure when the heart rests. If only one number is elevated, you still have high blood pressure with all of its dangers.

Isolated systolic hypertension (ISH) is the most common form of high blood pressure for seniors. When you have ISH, only the top number is too high. About 2 out of 3 people over age 60 with high blood pressure have ISH. About one in three American adults has high blood pressure. In the U.S., high blood pressure occurs more often in African-Americans

High blood pressure can ravage your body. It can enlarge the heart, create small bulges (aneurysms) in blood vessels, damage the blood vessels in the kidneys, harden arteries, produce bleeding in the eyes. The possible consequences are heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and blindness.

Your chances of getting high blood pressure are also higher if you are overweight, don’t exercise, eat too much salt, drink too much alcohol, don’t consume enough potassium, endure stress for too long. Obviously, changing your diet, exercising and altering your lifestyle will help.

When you go to your doctor to have your blood pressure taken, there are a few things you can do to get an accurate reading. First, don’t drink coffee or smoke cigarettes for a half hour before your pressure is taken. (What are you doing smoking anyway?) Wear short sleeves, so you don’t have to remove clothing. Empty your bladder, because a full tank can affect the reading. Sit quietly for five minutes before the test.

If you’re like me, you have “white coat syndrome.” That means your blood pressure jumps as soon as a doctor or nurse approaches you. If your doctor knows this, he or she may recommend a home blood-pressure monitor or ambulatory monitor that is worn around the clock and takes your pressure every half hour.

If you have high blood pressure and lifestyle changes don’t reduce it, there are medications to treat the problem. Often, two or more drugs work better than one. Some drugs lower blood pressure by removing extra fluid and salt from your body. Others affect blood pressure by slowing down the heartbeat, or by relaxing and widening blood vessels.

If you have a question, please write to

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