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Letters to the Editor Policy

A Life-Style Divide

Katrina was indeed a once-in-a-lifetime storm. One official described New Orleans looking like an atomic bomb attack, only without the radiation. But that's not the worst of it. The storm will continue to cause property loss in low-lying areas as it tracks northeast, adding to the tens of billions of dollars in rebuilding costs in communities along the Gulf of Mexico's oil coastline. But that's not the worst of it, either.

The real damage occurred 18 miles off-shore in the nation's only deep-water, off-loading facility capable of servicing the giant oil tankers from Saudi Arabia; and in Port Fourchon, the biggest natural gas and oil storage and refinery facility in the United States, and in the damage to some of the 900 oil and natural gas rigs in the Gulf.

Although it will still take several weeks to fully assess the devastation, disruption of 15% of the nation's petroleum needs is almost assured. Dozens of off-shore oil platforms, each servicing up to a hundred undersea wells, are missing, possibly lying on the bottom of the Gulf. Other platforms are on their side heavily damaged. Almost all land-based wells were bent by wind and wave rendering them a total loss.

This translates into billions of dollars in repair and rebuilding costs for the petroleum infrastructure alone. Couple this with an already diminishing supply of oil bumping up against a world-wide increasing demand for petroleum and you have the bleakest of prospects. Indeed, Katrina may turn out to be a life-style divide, B.K. – before Katrina, and A.K. – after Katrina, where we are now living.

All this does not even take into account the crippled ability of employees to get to their work sites. Damaged homes, inoperable automobiles, lack of public transportation, poor road conditions, even availability of potable water, food and electricity are all impediments to getting petroleum production and transportation back online.

Why, then, is Katrina a once-in-a-lifetime storm? Because it is the first natural catastrophe to have an immediate and palpable affect upon the entire nation. Today gasoline is well over $3.00/gallon. Within a week or so four dollar gas is a good bet. One wonders how commuters will manage to pay an additional $100 or $200 a month for gas. And all this coming just before homeowners are putting aside money for winter heating oil.

Katrina is not going to go away. She will be with us for months, perhaps even years. Welcome to A.K.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

Far More Urgent Bills

Well, the bills for sewer service are now on the counters of all the good folks of New Milford. The problem is that 2/3 of the households are not hooked up yet!

Which begs the question, how can the Municipal Authority bill us for something they aren't providing?

Their answer seems to be that they contracted for this service to begin as of August 6th, so they must start paying for their contract irregardless of whether anyone was USING the system. Weelllll, the key words here are "they" and "their". Though they have official authority to make decisions and set fees, they obviously didn't have enough common sense to realize that 365+ homes wouldn't get hooked up in 2 months time, especially when there are only 3 active contractors doing the work!

My point is why should the citizens of the boro have to pay for their poor judgment?

I for one have no intention of paying for a service I am not receiving nor intend to receive until probably some time next spring just because the Municipal Authority screwed up. If they now have debt, they can go to the bank and take out a short term note to cover their expenses until they start receiving legitimate payments.

Does the cable company send you a bill, even though you don't have a cable hookup? Do you pay a gas bill when you don't have gas? No. Then why should the Municipal Authority assume that you must pay THEM when you haven't received a service? Sounds pretty simple to me.

And just to clarify things, I don't protest the need for a sewer system in town. I'm sure it was long overdue in coming. But in the meantime, I have other things that need to be paid for, far more urgently than my non-existent sewer hookup.

Like my heating oil.


Sue Abbott

New Milford, PA

A Catholic Reminder

One of the last gifts to the Roman Catholic Church from Pope John Paul II was the proclamation of the Year of the Eucharist. This special time of grace extends from October, 2004 until October, 2005. Pope John Paul proclaimed the Eucharist as the source and summit of the life and mission of Christian life and asks all Catholics to spend time with our Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament in this Year of the Eucharist. Through meditating with Him one can receive much grace. This grace can help us see the direction our life is going.

If our relationship with Christ is broken, this grace gives us the power to turn back to Him in a spirit of repentance and once again unite ourselves with His perfect plan for our lives. It is only through union with Him and His will that we receive peace, joy and true happiness. Once we have made the decision to turn back to Christ fully and detach ourselves from sin there is an extra grace.

A plenary indulgence has been granted for those who, during this year of grace 1. take part in a Eucharistic celebration such as Benediction or adoration - or if this is not possible, simply spend 15 minutes alone before the Blessed Sacrament, 2. Make a good sacramental confession, 3. offer prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father (one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be will suffice). A plenary indulgence allows us to begin again, a new creation in Christ, fully forgiven for past sins. So much grace at so little cost.

If you have not taken the time to take part in this last blessing of Pope John Paul II consider doing so before the end of the Assembly Synod of Bishops from Oct 2-29, 2005 which will close this Year of the Eucharist.


Annette Corrigan

Jackson, PA

East Lake Is A Blessing

I write this letter to all the people of New Milford Township to alert them of a potentially serious toxic waste danger in the community. That danger is the pollution, namely, the e. coli virus, being produced by the “Camp at East Lake.” This virus was discovered by the Sewage Officer after fluid containing feces and toilet paper ran from the “Camp” into public Route 629, and was reported to the township.

I have a child with a compromised immune system. Her doctors told me that the e. coli virus can become airborne – such a virus to her would be deadly. An epidemic starts with polluted water and soil that infects insects, birds – the entire community. The soil at the “Camp at East Lake” is polluted and continues to be polluted. No one knows how dangerous this virus is at the “Camp” or where it will travel next.

Fifty years ago the camp area was used as a summer camp for a few children, and the sewage disposal areas were cesspools. A few years ago Scott Young and his wife bought the property and he began to quietly develop the “Camp at East Lake.” He never changed the now illegal cesspools to accommodate his year-round business, where he entertains and provides hundreds of trailers and campers with a place to dump their waste.

The “Camp” was closed by the court because its owners were causing raw sewage (containing the virus) to be spilled onto its property and then running into public Route 629. I sat in court at a hearing this summer and was astounded to hear Scott Young himself say that in the Fall of 2004 he personally pumped 7,000 gallons of raw sewage out of a tank that he illegally installed “because the pump truck never showed up”! Feces, toilet paper and the odor at the “Camp” and its runoff onto Route 629 was what finally got the New Milford Township officials to sue the Youngs for developing and operating the “Camp” – all without legal permits. No one knew what he was doing because he never got permission to do anything!

When Mr. Young made an attempt to get a permit for septic development and was turned down because his proposal was inadequate, he went right ahead and continued to use his illegal cesspools anyway – and he gets very angry when he is called to account for his behavior. He’s never come up with an adequate sewage plan for the enormous waste being dumped at the “Camp” and blames township officials. During the most recent hearing, Judge Seamans called the police into court because of Mr. Young’s violent attitude. Scott Young has done what he wants and cries a sad tale of woe that people are against him when he’s held to account for his acts. Is he not held to the same standard as the rest of us? Decent, responsible people are against anyone who makes their environment dangerous and potentially unhealthy – not just Scott Young.

When the Sewage Officer found the e. coli virus at the “Camp” and sewage containing the e. coli virus running from the “Camp” onto public roadways, the court closed him down. Several months later he was permitted to reopen (with restrictions). Within a few weeks he was closed down by the court – once again – for violations of his Restraining Order.

East Lake and its surroundings are a blessing and asset to the community because of its beauty and unpolluted condition. Any pollution would be a disaster and liability to the community and all its taxpayers if the cleanup of this “Camp” becomes an environmental crisis. The Department of Environmental Protection of Pennsylvania (and most recently the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington) are watching the “Camp at East Lake” – so should you.

Owners of property at East Lake are outraged at Scott Young’s flagrant disobedience of the law. We fear that since we all live downhill of him – the old adage of “what runs downhill” may come true!


Barbara Shaw

New Milford, PA

An Excellent Report

The Susquehanna County Correctional Facility is a one-story structure completed in 1994 located in South Montrose on Ellsworth Drive next to Route 29. It has an approved bed capacity for 90 males and 12 females. The housing areas consist of five male units, two female units, and one gender neutral unit, called blocks. The inspectors of the jail consist of District Attorney Jason Legg, Sheriff Lance Benedict, and the three County Commissioners, Jeff Loomis, Roberta Kelly and MaryAnn Warren. They meet once a month to approve the hires, promotions, personnel issues, safety issues, and grievances relating to jail staff and prisoners. They also oversee the administrative actions of the day-to-day operation of the correctional facility. Jail board meetings are open to the public and held on the first Tuesday of each month, at 11:30 a.m. at the Correctional Facility.

The jail census at the September 9 meting was 35 males and six females boarded in, for a total prisoner count of 41. The prison staffing consists of 21 full-time correctional officers, five part-time correctional officers, two full-time cooks, and one part-time cook. On July 18, 19, and 20, 2005 the PA Dept. of Corrections conducted their annual “2005 Cycle Inspection Report” for the Susquehanna County Correctional Facility. Of the current 25 Dept. of Corrections requirement sections, their report identified noncompliance items in only four sections. This indicated an overall compliance rating of 84%, which is excellent. A noncompliance item is designated as having a deficiency status level when the county has demonstrated a good-faith effort to correct a recurring noncompliance item. A noncompliance item is designated as having a citation status level when there is a blatant disregard by the county to correct a recurring noncompliance item in two successive annual inspection reports.

The Susquehanna County Correctional Facility had no citations in the 2005 Cycle Inspection Report issued by the PA Dept. of Corrections. All of the minor deficiencies reported will be corrected by the prison staff within the near future, as directed by the Inspectors of the Jail at the September 9 jail board meeting. The county prison reports are available for public inspection. However, those portions of the reports containing sensitive safety or security related information will be redacted from the reports under the personal security exception of the Right-to-Know Law. The PA Dept. of Corrections acknowledged in their report that “The prison administration and staff exhibited a professional approach to their duties during the course of the inspection. The inspector would like to extend a “thank you” for the courtesy extended throughout this inspection process.”

Warden Bill Brennan, Deputy Warden Nick Conigliaro, the Prison Staff, the Probation Department, and the Sheriff’s Department are to be commended for the excellent job they do managing difficult people in stressful situations. The Inspectors of the Jail appreciate the fine work they do.


Jeff Loomis

County Commissioner

I Was Ashamed

While attending the Lenox township meeting on Tuesday, September 6, one of the attending residents brought up that it might be a worth while gesture for the township to contribute to the victims of hurricane Katrina.

One of the supervisors stated, "Contribute to one and you'd have to contribute to all." This supervisor made that statement a couple of times. This, too after a couple of months ago the supervisors voted to contribute $300.00 to one of the supervisor's sons so he could travel over to Ireland (or Scotland I forget which). I guess it is better for one person to travel than for thousands to receive any sort of relief.

The matter of contributing to Katrina's relief fund was tabled until next months' meeting. I guess in hopes that the victims of this terrible disaster will no longer need a couple hundred dollars from this township and the township will have saved a couple of hundred dollars plus the .37 cents postage to mail the check.

I am more ashamed of myself than I am of the supervisors. After, all I sat there stunned and didn't say a word in support of the idea.

I would hope that we are all ashamed at the way our government reacted to this tragedy and do something, anything to help the victims of Katrina.


Eric P. Teichman

Lenox Twp.

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