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Issue Home September 6, 2005 Site Home

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

From the Desk of the D.A.
The Healthy Geezer

Straight From Starrucca

100 Years Ago

WEST BRIDGEWATER: Tuesday evening was the occasion of a joyous gathering at a lawn fete held at the residence of Mr. & Mrs. H. J. Stephens, of Orchard Farm. The premises were gaily decorated with Japanese lanterns which gave an effect and beauty to the surroundings lessened only by the gaiety which abounded and the pleasures brought forth. To the merry strains of the music the hearts of the throng were made glad and night was turned into day by the dancing element. Special features of the occasion was the singing of many classical selections which were beautifully rendered by Mrs. John Reinl of New York City, bringing forth many rounds of applause. These were followed by piano recitals by Miss Sussie Stephens, vocal selections of Sanford E. Smith, a special butterfly dance by Mrs. Oswald Reinl, which was noted for its grace and beauty. Recitations filled with pathos and humor, songs of mirth and laughter by the entire company, and imitations of many noted artists of the day brought forth tumultuous applause. George Sprout must not be forgotten in the rendition of his character songs together with the parodies sung by Charles Schwoerer.

EAST MIDDLETOWN: A very pretty wedding occurred at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Leroy Edwards, Aug. 31, when their only daughter, Gertrude M., was married to William E. Chaffee, of LeRaysville. The bride dressed in a gown of Persian lawn, carrying a bouquet of sweet peas and Maiden Hair fern, entered promptly at noon on the arm of the groom. They were married by the Rev. W. C. Tilden, under a bower of evergreen entwined with white flowers and embanked by potted plants.

SUSQUEHANNA: Telford’s undertaking and furniture establishment has secured the services of a practical and experienced undertaker, Mr. F. E. Bleckins, and is prepared to attend to all calls in the business, in a manner that leaves no room for criticism.

DIMOCK: George Baker, the well-known aeronaut of this place, while making an ascent at South Norwalk, Conn., recently came near losing his life. When at an altitude that made him appear but a speck, the cordage of his parachute got entangled with the mechanism of the balloon and he was unable to drop away from the huge floating sphere. The balloon, parachute and aeronaut dropped with increasing momentum into Long Island Sound and wind and tide carried him away with a speed faster than a steam launch, a number of which started in pursuit. After being dragged over a mile, he was rescued in a nearly lifeless condition. “I’m going to continue my ascents. I guess I came as near losing my life as I ever will,” said Baker when he had recovered.

SILVER LAKE: During the thunderstorm Sunday night lightning struck a cow barn belonging to J. Gubbins, and that with adjoining sheds and season’s crop of hay, was consumed. Mr. Gubbins says, that, had it not been for the help of two young men who saw the fire when it first started and ran to assist, his house too would have been destroyed. As it is the loss is a heavy one to Mr. Gubbins and it is hoped that friends will help in his time of need.

HEART LAKE: Fay Curtis left this week for DeMoines, Ia., where he has accepted a position with the National Biscuit Co. Mr. Curtis is one of our best young men in this sector and the best wishes of many friends go with him to Western lands.

THOMPSON: The Thompson school began Tuesday of this week with Mary A. Donovan, of Susquehanna, as principal and Inez Fike, of Dundaff, as primary teacher.

AUBURN FOUR CORNERS: Among those from Auburn Corners attending school at Montrose are Miss Anna Carney, Miss Pearl Pepper, Miss Lora Bushnell and Ada Benett.

SOUTH GIBSON: School began Monday with Prof. Paul Smith, principal and Miss Hattie Baldwin, primary.

FLYNN: Sarah Riley is teaching at the Triangle school this season. AND: Our base ball team had better get busy or it will be too late for them to do much.

GLENWOOD: Hon. Galusha A. Grow celebrated his 82nd birthday Thursday.

MONTROSE: Montrose is unfortunate in that her electric light service is erratic and inconsistent, full of idiosyncrasies and this has been called particularly to the attention of the public in added emphasis recently upon the occasion of two entertainments, one in the Presbyterian church, also the Lyman Howe entertainment, upon both of which occasions the lights went out. AND: The property and franchises of the Montrose Railroad Co., were sold at sheriff sale at Philadelphia Saturday last, on execution issued by the creditors of the road. The property was bought by John G. Johnson, attorney.

GIBSON: B. H. Tiffany is erecting one of the finest barns in the county. It will be a large imposing structure with concrete floor carriage room, stables, &c.

HARFORD: We regret to learn that Rev. S. B. York lost a valuable cow last week.

SPRINGVILLE: Compton, the photographer, is exhibiting fine pictures of the ball team and post cards of Springville and vicinity.

BROOKLYN: High School Notes: Genevieve Mackey, of Lathrop is boarding at S. H. Stanton’s and attending BHS./ The noon hour is pleasantly employed by our boys in playing ball./ Carl Aldrich and sister, Lola, of Bridgewater, are attending BHS./ Wesley Sweet, Lowell Smith and Glenn Saunders of Lathrop, are attending BHS.

HOP BOTTOM: Mrs. Bert Bertholf, of Lathrop, will occupy their house in town this winter in order that their children may continue their studies here.

NEWS BRIEF: The Lehigh Valley has now joined the list of railroads that ban cigarette smokers from employment as trainmen. The trainmasters have received orders to turn down all applicants for positions on trains, that are versed in the knack of rolling cigarettes, or whose finger nails show the yellow hue that is the badge of the cigarette smoker. No matter what other qualifications a young man may possess, the fact that he smokes cigarettes settles it.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Regular Gasoline Prices Are Irregular!

Could not believe the sudden increase in gasoline prices last week. Over the last weekend in August gasoline dropped three or four cents and then suddenly on Monday station owners began adding 10-to-40 cents a gallon to the overhead signs that were originally intended to greet motorists not scare the hell out of them.

By Wednesday morning, most pump prices throughout Susquehanna County ranged anywhere from $2.57.9 (at Flying J) to $2.89.9 for regular grade gasoline. By the way, the Gasoline and Automotive Dealers Association tells us that pricing gas by the 9/10s is a traditional and advertising practice similar to department stores marking items at $4.98 instead of five dollars. Marketing research has persuaded retailers that pricing slightly below the full value number seems to appeal to consumers.

Of course the increase was blamed on Hurricane Katrina and I suppose it is partially responsible for it. With no power in most of Louisiana, the pumps certainly are not working which means the gasoline is not flowing. Or, at least that is what I gathered from reading the dailies. Somehow, I get the feeling that emergency generators should kick-in when regular power is shut down but then again with winds at 165 mph probably not.

Personally, when anything goes astray most of us tend to blame it on the politicians that run this country from their plush headquarters in Washington. To that, I can only add let’s not leave out their counterparts on the state level.

Pennsylvanians are among the highest taxed citizens in these United States. We pay income tax, sales tax, wage tax, per capita tax, school tax, county tax, municipal tax, road tax, right-to-work tax, gasoline tax, cigarette tax, use tax, etc., etc., etc. In Michigan, it’s worse. Some time ago, a Michigan House bill mandated a minimum markup at the pumps of 13.38 cents per gallon and, I was told, even some station owners complained about it. I was also told the average price markup for station owners across the nation is 10-to-12 cents a gallon.

Across the border, New York is one of nine states that charges a sales tax on gasoline in addition to an eight cents per gallon excise tax. Thus, the higher the price for gasoline, the more revenue for the state. When gasoline prices began to escalate a few months back, one New York newspaper reported that the state Department of Taxation and Finance expects to bring in an additional $40 million in tax revenue due to higher gasoline prices.

Not long ago, Hawaii became the first state in the nation to set limits on gasoline prices. But guess what? The Aloha state set the limit on wholesale prices at $2.16 a gallon but the law did not put a cap on retail prices. With taxes, the wholesale price would be $2.74. If wholesalers charge that price and retailers keep their typical 12-cent markup, then the price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Honolulu would be $2.86 per gallon although the retail price is at the mercy of the station owners.

Besides the dent in my wallet, a couple of things bother me about gasoline prices and gasoline stations. For openers, if the morning newspaper reports about increases in oil prices, many station owners immediately hike their prices. Forget that they bought what they have on hand at lower prices, they put new rates into effect immediately.

Two, if we have to pay three dollars a gallon for gas, wouldn't it be nice if someone came out and pumped it into the tank for us? I pumped gas for a living more than 50 years ago when gas was eight gallons for a dollar. We pumped the gas, cleaned the windows (front and back), and offered to check the water and oil. Now we are expected to pay three bucks a gallon and pump it ourselves. Something is wrong with that picture.

Why are we paying almost three dollars a gallon for gas while in Caracas, Venezuela, it is 14 cents a gallon? Of course, there are two sides to every story and in England for example, the average price per gallon is $5.64 (American money) while in Toronto it is $1.03.9.

And finally, if you think gasoline is expensive, get a load of the following prices: Lipton Ice Tea, 16 oz. for $1.19 equals $9.52 per gallon. Gatorade, 20 oz. for $1.59 equals $10.17 per gallon; STP Brake Fluid, 12 oz. for $3.15 equals $33.60 per gallon; and, Vick’s Nyquil, 6 oz. for $8.35 equals $178.13 per gallon.

So, next time you are at the pump, be glad your car doesn't run on Nyquil or iced tea.

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From the Desk of the D.A.

Our system of criminal justice has many procedural hurdles and burdens placed upon the prosecutor that do not apply to the defense counsel. For instance, the prosecutor must provide the defendant and the defense counsel discovery, or provide all of the information that the prosecutor intends to rely upon at time of trial. By providing this information and evidence, the system assures that the defendant is provided a fair opportunity to prepare his or her defense at time of trial. On the other hand, aside from some very limited items, such as an alibi defense or a mental illness defense, the defense attorney is not required to provide any such information to the prosecutor. Prior to trial, therefore, a prosecutor is often left guessing as to what, if any, defense that a defendant will seek, and who, if any, will be the witnesses for the defendant. This is just one example of the types of constraints placed upon the Commonwealth simply to assure that a defendant is provided a fair trial. As a result of such constraints, I have often heard other prosecutors indicate that the courts force them to fight with “one hand tied behind their backs.” In other words, some prosecutors feel as though the system is not designed to assure a “fair” fight – rather, the system is designed to give the defendant the advantage.

A recent decision of the Pennsylvania Superior Court could highlight the types of constraints placed upon prosecutors. In Commonwealth v. Parker, the defendant confronted several victims on Oxford Street in Philadelphia. In the course of the argument, the victims became frightened, and attempted to flee in their automobile. At this point, the defendant pulled out a gun, and began firing at the automobile until he emptied the chamber, and continued to attempt to empty the pistol. The victim described that she continued to hear “clicking” noises as the defendant pulled the trigger, but there was no ammunition left in the gun.

During his opening statement, the prosecutor showed the gun to the jury, indicating that the Commonwealth would prove that the defendant had used the gun in attempting to murder the victims. On appeal, the Pennsylvania Superior Court stated: “The display of the gun by the prosecutor could not honestly be said to serve any legitimate purpose other than to inflame the jury, and therefore, the decision by the trial judge to permit such a display was unreasonable. This is especially true in light of the fact that the [prosecutor] acknowledged that the gun would be later used during trial, shown to the jury, and admitted into evidence.”

In a dissenting opinion, Judge Olszewski noted the obvious, there is no real difference between describing the gun to the jury, and actually showing the weapon to the jury during the opening statement. As noted by Judge Olszewski: “Practically speaking, is there any difference [between verbally describing the gun and actually showing it to the jury]? In cases such as this, where the weapon was later admitted into evidence and the jury was instructed to view opening statements as mere oratory, I am simply unable to see how a defendant can claim being “unfairly prejudiced” by a prosecutor's decision to display the weapon during opening statements: the jury was going to see the weapon at some point, and the mere display during opening statements can only be considered allowable “oratorical flair.”

It is fairly common for prosecutors during their opening statements to display evidence to the jury that will later be admitted into evidence. This particular decision calls into question the tools that a prosecutor now has available during the opening statement of a trial. This is simply another example of the difficulties faced by prosecutors in connection with the trial process – and the manner in which the process itself is strongly titled to favor the defendant.

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. I’ve been very thirsty lately and someone mentioned to me that this is a symptom for diabetes. Is that true?

An intense thirst is one diabetes symptom. Here are others: frequent urination, strong hunger, fatigue, unintended weight loss, slow-healing sores, dry and itchy skin, numbness or tingling in your feet, and blurred vision. However, some people with diabetes do not have symptoms.

Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases characterized by high levels of blood sugar. Diabetes can create serious health problems, but diabetics can control the disease.

If you have diabetes, your body can’t produce insulin or use it properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps control the sugar in your blood. Insulin is made by the pancreas, a large organ behind the stomach.

Your body converts most of the food you eat into a form of sugar called glucose, which is our main source of energy. If your body does not make enough insulin or the insulin doesn't work the way it should, glucose can't get into your cells and remains in your blood.

High levels of glucose in the blood damage nerves and blood vessels. This can lead to complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and lower-limb amputation.

About 18.2 million Americans have diabetes. More than 8 million people 60 years or older suffer from the disease.

A small percentage of diabetics have type 1 diabetes, which usually occurs in people under age 30. Diabetics with this form of the disease can not produce insulin.

About 90 percent of Americans with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. It is most common in adults over age 40, and the risk of getting it increases with age. With this form of diabetes, the body does not always produce enough insulin or does not use insulin efficiently. Being overweight and inactive increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes can be prevented in people who are at an increased risk or have pre-diabetes, a condition in which glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are more likely to develop diabetes within 10 years and are also more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.

A recent study showed that people with pre-diabetes can sharply lower their chances of developing the disease through modest weight loss with diet and exercise.

That same study showed that changes in diet and exercise were especially effective in curbing the development of diabetes in older people. In fact, the development of diabetes dropped by 71 percent in adults 60 and older who were enrolled in the study.

Because type 2 diabetes is more common in older people, especially in people who are overweight, doctors recommend that anyone 45 years of age or older be tested for diabetes.

If you have a question, please write to

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Dear EarthTalk: The “Superfund” law, which administers toxic and hazardous waste cleanup enforcement around the country, turned 25 this year. How has it succeeded?

David Schink, Chicago, IL

Congress passed the Superfund law in 1980 after residents of Niagara, New York’s Love Canal neighborhood, which had been built over an abandoned chemical dump, got sick and were evacuated en masse in 1978. At the time it created a “trust fund” to underwrite cleanup costs at hundreds of the nation’s most toxic sites. If a company refused to pay to clean up the dangerous toxic discharge it had created, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was empowered to perform the cleanup itself with money from the trust fund – then hold the polluter liable for up to three times the agency’s cost.

While the program is costly, it has yielded some success: 299 former hazardous waste sites across the U.S., including Love Canal, have been cleaned up. These are not remote sites that pose no danger. One in four Americans lives within four miles of a Superfund site. Typically these sites are contaminated with major pollutants – like cyanide, arsenic or dioxin – that directly threaten human health by polluting air and groundwater, poisoning backyard streams, and contaminating heavily used state and national parks.

The bad news is that the EPA today lists 1,234 sites that still require urgent cleanup, and has said that as many as 3,000 more sites might need to be added. Yet the pace of cleanup is slowing dramatically. In the late 1990s, the EPA cleaned up an average of 87 Superfund sites each year, but just 40 sites were scheduled for cleanup in fiscal years 2003 and 2004, and that number may drop further. Also, the listing of new sites has slowed, from 30 per year average between 1993 and 2000 to 23 per year since. And after dwindling to $30 million in 2003 from a high of $3.8 billion in 1996, the trust fund now stands empty.

According to a report prepared by the Sierra Club and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, until recently the trust fund held enough cash to clean up the 30 percent of “orphan” sites where no responsible party could be found or the offending company had either gone out of business or simply did not have the money. In recent years, revenues accrued to the fund from taxes and levies on dangerous chemicals, crude oil purchases, and from a special Corporate Environmental Income Tax. But the corporate tax expired in 1995 and Congress will not reinstate it, shifting the burden of financing cleanups instead to the taxpayers.

Lois Marie Gibbs, the Love Canal mom who successfully campaigned for the subsidized evacuation of her polluted neighborhood in 1978 and went on to found the Center for Health, Environment and Justice in 1981, thinks it is a travesty that Superfund lacks sufficient funds to carry out remediation projects in needy areas: “It is unfair – and morally wrong – to slow down cleanups in contaminated communities like my former neighborhood because of a lack of money.” Gibbs, along with thousands of other concerned citizens, would like to see Congress re-establish the Superfund tax abandoned in 1995 and get on with the business of cleaning up the thousands of hazardous waste sites still in need of attention.

CONTACTS: Superfund,; Sierra Club; U.S. Public Interest Research Group,; Center for Health, Environment and Justice,

Dear EarthTalk: Are there organic highlights and dyes I can use in my hair that contain less ammonia and peroxide than traditional brands?

Terry Wattendorf, Scituate, MA

For those who want to color their hair but find the chemicals in widely available dyes and highlighting treatments too harsh, a new crop of products promises to do the trick without causing allergic reactions or other health problems. While green-friendly permanent hair dyes still require some of these chemicals – such as ammonia, peroxide, p-Phenylenediamine or diaminobenzene–in order to be effective, alternatives do exist that contain smaller amounts.

Ecocolors, which contains small amounts of ammonia and peroxide, has a soy and flax base and uses rosemary extract to condition the hair and flower essences instead of artificial scents. Another option is Herbatint. This ammonia-free permanent dye is biodegradable, but it does make use of low concentrations of p-Phenylenediamine and peroxide.

Meanwhile, temporary dyes and highlight treatments should be able to color hair without the need for harsh chemicals. Naturcolor and Vegetel are shorter-lived options that do not contain any damaging chemicals, although their effect will only last a few washes.

One truly natural although temporary dye that has been around since Cleopatra herself is henna. Made from the powdered leaves of a desert shrub called Lawsonia, henna has been used for thousands of years to color hair and skin. Rainbow Henna makes a variety of 100 percent organic hair treatments ranging from blonde to black hair and everything in between. Meanwhile, Light Mountain sells an organic henna application kit familiar to those accustomed to traditional home hair coloring packages. While many such treatments are available at natural health and beauty supply retailers, others, such as the Italian-made Tocco Magico, may be available only at salons.

Recent studies have given those worried about the traditional hair dyes they use new reasons to switch to less harsh alternatives. A 1994 National Cancer Institute report found that deep-colored dyes (like dark brown and black), when used over prolonged periods of time, seemed to increase the risk of cancers such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Meanwhile a 2001 study by the International Journal of Cancer found that people who use permanent hair dye are twice as likely to develop bladder cancer as those who go au naturel regarding hair color.

CONTACT: Ecocolors,; Herbatint,; Naturcolor,; Rainbow Henna,; Tocco Magico,

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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Straight From Starrucca

Misfortune has happened to my next-door neighbor, Harriet Gardner, who fell in  her kitchen last Saturday and broke her hip. She was taken by ambulance to Marian Community Hospital, Carbondale, where she was operated on. She expects to be transferred to Barnes-Kasson the end of this week.

Friends that were made last winter in Mesa, Arizona have come calling on Barbara and Roger Glover this summer. From Ossian, Iowa came Don and Marilyn Eggland, and by coincidence the town received its name from the great-grandfather of Loreda Everett, our local resident. That’s interesting!

From Lynden, Washington came Ed and Cheri Jackson, who traveled across Canada, stopped at Niagara Falls and on the way to Nova Scotia, visited Barb and Roger.

I had a busy weekend. My sister, Betty and husband, Bob arrived on Friday last. On Saturday we lunched at a chicken barbecue in Lakewood, traveled to Sterling for my school reunion. Sunday we drove up to see my son, Nelson and wife, Phyllis, accompanied by my other son, Dan who we picked up in Center Village, NY and chauffeured us oldies the next one hundred and fifty miles. On the way, we stopped at Frog Pong family farms, bought peaches and tomatoes, which kept us busy on Monday and Tuesday, taking care of them.

I’m sure Betty was glad to get back to their retirement home where she could relax and do nothing. I know I was worn out, but will also take it easy when this news is finished.


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