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Issue Home October 11, 2005 Site Home

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

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

Software Services
Earth Talk

100 Years Ago

DIMOCK: Hello! What is the matter of the local [telephone] line? We can not get Central half the time. AND: The barn on the camp ground, it is reported, will probably not be rebuilt, as it was an investment which did not pay largely. The loss was about $800, with no insurance.

THOMPSON: A royal time was had by the I.O.O.F. last Friday evening. It was installation of officers and the Rebecca’s helped to make their ice cream and spread the table and clear it. Then the order from Poyntelle and Jackson was with them so they had to open the G.A.R. hall adjoining their own hall to save the shingles on the building. Well, ”boys will be boys,” if part of them are bald-headed. The order here is booming. AND: The Thomson school under the new principal, Miss Mary Donovan, is flourishing, so that the school board is looking for the third teacher and some of the “fast boys” are looking up their lessons. Unmistakable signs of improvement.

LENOX: The ladies of the Grange have arranged to hold their annual fair on Sat., Nov. 11. The dedication services of their new hall will be held that day also.

HARFORD: Collins Peck is a well-to-do farmer and seems to be spry and active for a man of his age. He celebrated his 77th birthday by going to the big reunion called the Harford Fair. What seems to be remarkable in Mr. Peck is that he had lived all these years on a farm where he was born, two miles south of Harford. His father, Joseph Peck, came from Connecticut in 1820. Young men stick to the old farms. AND: The Harford Dairy Co. will build an ice house at Tyler Lake this fall or winter.

HOPBOTTOM: Forty-five pupils are enrolled in the primary department of the Hopbottom graded school. The following are names of those present every day during the past month: Letah Packer, Dolly Penny, Pauline Taylor, Geneveive Case, Leola Baker, Gladys Rose, Edna Wright, Myrtie Titus, Belle Hine, David Smyth, Lawrence Bertholf, Ivan Quick, Maurice Packer, Floyd Titus, Walter Brown, Claude Titus. Teacher, Lillian Byram.

FRIENDSVILLE: On Oct. 9th, work on the foundation of the new St. Francis church was begun. The pastor, Rev. B. V. Driscoll, is doing all in his power to further the undertaking and it is hoped that much of the work of excavating and stone drawing will be completed during the autumn and winter months. Photographer Bronson and daughter, Edith, of Montrose, were here Monday taking views of the old St. Francis church.

FLYNN, Middletown Twp.: The Centre ball nine, with one rooter, crossed bats with the Sunnysides on the hill, on Sunday last. Scores 3 and 4 in favor of the hill team, although the center nine kicked on every decision or play except where it counted a tally for them. So I might say they kicked on everything. Redding and Fitz Patrick [Fitzpatrick] certainly deserve credit for their work as battery having no support only those who have not played in years.

UNIONDALE: Some sneak thieves visited Mrs. Shubal Carpenter’s and helped themselves to 6 or 8 quart cans of strawberries. Mrs. Carpenter is an old lady and it is too bad, after she worked so hard to get them to have them stolen. Set your dog or shot gun on them.

MONTROSE: The question of gambling and gambling houses is prominent in Montrose just now. The names of several young men, (some not so very young and some mere boys) who are in the gambling habit and who gather at some of the hotels for the purpose, nightly, and Sundays, too, have been furnished. The names and the circumstances in the case are under consideration by interested parties and it is expected the proper authorities will do their duty. It is said that there is enough undoubted evidence to put some Montrose hotels out of business for permitting gambling.

FOREST CITY: There was a riotous demonstration here last Sunday, in which Father L. Suchowski, pastor of the Polish Catholic church, was dragged out of his house by a disgruntled committee and subjected to mob spirit. Besides the priest, his housekeeper and her brother received like treatment. There is a faction in the church with whom Father Suchowski is unpopular and there is another faction loyal to him. Rt. Rev. Bishop M. J. Hoban was here on that day to dedicate another church, and before the riot occurred he conferred with a committee from the Polish church, with whom he said he would soon send a Polish priest who would hear their side of the story and would report to him. The committee would not be guided by the good advice of the bishop and not long afterward resorted to riot. On Monday forty warrants were sworn out against the offenders and a hearing took place.

HALLSTEAD: “The Castle,” the unique structure once the studio of D. Arthur Teed, but now being remodeled according to the plans and specifications set forth by Edwin R. Weeks, the renowned reciter, is a rare and artistic creation in the art of building and from a distance it resembles a Swiss chateau, nearly hidden in the forest of a charming hillside.

AUBURN FOUR CORNERS: Herbert Fish, of Lynn, passed through this place driving a fine yoke of oxen which attracted more attention than an automobile which stopped later in the day. The auto had made 200 miles the day before, coming from Potter county and stopping at Mrs. Chas. Lott’s.

SUSQUEHANNA: Saturday last the new chemical engine of this borough was introduced to the public. The fire companies marched, Town Council, Oakland Council and citizens rode in carriages, and the Susquehanna Band furnished the music. A race between the Hose Company’s outfit and that of the Chemical Co., occurred at the finale. The course was from the town clock to Main street pagoda. The Chemical Engine team was that of Mr. Jack Palmer and that of the Hose Wagon was Jos. P. McMahon’s. The latter team won by 10 seconds. In the evening a smoker occurred at Oxford Club rooms.

FRANKLIN FORKS: George W. Baron, of Union, has two teams drawing logs from the Banker farm to Great Bend, then they are shipped to Union.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

For the “Record”

Got me one of them anonymous letters in the mail last week. Mighty interesting.

Actually what it is is a copy of a suggested approach at providing some police coverage to the Northeast Sector of the county. The final typewritten statement on the report reads: “Written by: Lieutenant Jon Record/Susquehanna Borough PD / 9-12-05.”

Lt. Record is a member of the Borough of Susquehanna Depot Police Department. I was surprised to see the report was prepared by Lt. Record while Police Chief Tom Golka’s name appears in a list of contributors of facts. From here, it would appear that the tail is wagging the dog but, then again, perhaps Chief Golka asked the lieutenant to research and write the report. Oh, well, Che Sera, Sera!

Anyhow, Lt. Record states that at $45 an hour to contract to another municipality, the Borough of Susquehanna Depot will be making a “marginal profit.”

Apparently during his research, Lt. Record did not come across Dillon’s Rule, which is the brainchild of Judge John F. Dillon of Iowa . It was in 1868 that Judge Dillon set down what has since become a cornerstone of American municipal law. Dillon’s Rule defines the power of local governments and is used primarily to interpret state law when there is a question of whether or not a local government has a certain power. Like, for instance, the power to make a profit.

Part one of Dillon’s Rule states that local governments have only three types of powers. Firstly, “those granted in expressed words”; secondly, “those necessarily or fairly implied in or incident to the powers expressly granted”; and, thirdly, “those essential to the declared objects and purposes of the corporation, not simply convenient, but indispensable.”

By now, I am certain some of you are saying to yourselves, “what the hell is this guy writing?” Now, watch the tie-in.

Part two of Dillon’s Rule states that if there is any reasonable doubt whether a power has been conferred on a local government, then the power HAS NOT been conferred. Translation: If it ain’t written, you can’t do it. This is the rule of strict construction of local government powers and it has been applied to municipal powers in many states including Pennsylvania.

The Borough Code makes no mention of allowing a municipality to do anything for a profit. Therefore, Dillon’s Rule says it cannot be done. Can Susquehanna offer police services to neighboring municipalities? Absolutely! Can it realize what Lt. Record labels a “marginal profit.” Nope! In his report, Lt. Record states “profit will be divided between the general fund, police equipment and vehicle.” I don’t think so.

Lt. Record points out that Susquehanna Depot’s municipal police budget is less than $50,000 and suggests it should be one third of the municipal budget or nearly $100,000. Hmmmm! Wonder what would happen to the municipal tax rate if the police budget was doubled.

Knifer settlement due?

Folks at the county courthouse are buzzing about the forthcoming financial settlement the county commissioners have made with Eric Knifer. Mr. Knifer was fired in July of 2003 but subsequently was found to be innocent of any and all allegations made against him.

The settlement numbers I hear being tossed exceed $100,000 by a few grand. But hold on my friends. That may only be the tip of the iceberg. Sooner or later the legal fees are bound to surface and that could be another shocker, not to mention increased insurance rates if the county’s insurance company had to shell out the money.

The current crop of county commissioners inherited the Knifer problem when they took office in 2004. As Commissioner Mary Ann Warren put it, “When we came here it was just like buying an old house. There were a lot of problems. We had to deal with them and they were created by the former administration.”

And in the courthouse, the vote is NO!

I am told that elected county officeholders were asked if they would consider paying 10 percent of the cost of their health insurance in 2006. The answer? A resounding no!

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From the Desk of the D.A.

On December 7, 2001, an alleged incident of sexual misconduct occurred at the Penn Manor High School when a male student inappropriately touched a female student during a science class. The male student was called to the principal’s office, and admitted to touching the female student, but insisted that the touching had been consensual. The principal had the male student wait in a small conference room near the principal’s office while other students were interviewed. The male student remained in the conference room for several hours, and was allowed to work on his schoolwork to pass the time. At one point, the male student was escorted to the cafeteria where he ate lunch by himself, and was then escorted back to the small conference room until the investigation of the allegations had been concluded. As a result of the internal investigation, the male student was suspended for four days, and the male student’s mother picked him up from the school at 2:00 p.m. that same day. Although the male student essentially admitted to the intimate touching, he always maintained that it was consensual.

In a perfect world, the parents and the school district would work together in the disciplining the offending student/child. There was no doubt that intimate touching occurred during the science class – and the parents could have simply told their son that such behavior is not appropriate in school – consensual or not. After all, students should be learning in school – not sexually groping each other. If the investigation was accurate, and the groping was not consensual, the need for discipline was even greater. These particular parents, in a trend that seems to be more common, sided not with the school’s attempt to monitor and administer a safe educational environment, but with the protestations of their little angel, the hormonal, groping adolescent boy. Through the effort of his mother, the disciplined male student filed a federal lawsuit contending that the school officials had violated his civil rights by unlawfully detaining him in the small conference room of the principal’s office while the investigation of the sexual misconduct occurred.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeal concluded that school officials are limited in their ability to detain students during internal investigations of misconduct, and adopted a “reasonableness standard,” i.e., was the particular detention reasonable in light of the circumstances presented to the school official. Under the circumstances in this case, the court concluded “[I]n light of the serious nature of [the] accusations, or at a minimum, the misconduct that [the male student] admitted to, it was reasonable for the school to detain [the male student] to investigate this behavior.” Thus, the school district won its battle – but one must wonder at what cost to the taxpayers who bore the burden of the legal battle through their annual school taxes.

I often hear people tell that when they were children school officials were never questioned – and, if they got in trouble in school, they got it twice as bad when they got home when their parents found out. Perhaps this is merely a common generational phenomenon, like the old adage: “When I was your age, I walked five miles to school in the snow, uphill both ways.” It may be safe to assume, however, that in the “good old days,” a parent would not have sued a school district for suspending a boy who had admitted to groping a female student. I would imagine that the offending child’s parents would have been so mortified by their offspring’s conduct that the thought of pursuing a public crusade against the school district would have been the furthest thing from their minds. Shame, embarrassment, humility, and pride seem to have been replaced by righteous (and misplaced) outrage and a new parental instinct to defend, as opposed to discipline, regardless of the facts. At least the Third Circuit had the common sense to recognize that, under certain circumstances, school officials must have the power to exercise reasonable restraint of students – regardless of whether such restraint offends the feelings or sensibilities of the offending child’s parents. Who said common sense has died?

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 my husband misses his daily BM, he complains that he’s constipated. Don’t you think that’s a bit of an exaggeration?

Your husband is not alone. A lot of people believe they are constipated if they don’t go every day. The clinical definition of constipation is any two of the following symptoms for at least 12 weeks (not necessarily consecutive) in the previous year: straining during bowel movements, lumpy or hard stool, sensation of obstruction or incomplete evacuation, fewer than three bowel movements per week.

Those reporting constipation most often are women and adults age 65 and over. Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints in the United States

Common causes of constipation include: insufficient intake of fiber and liquids, lack of exercise, medications, older age and abuse of laxatives

The most common cause of constipation is a diet low in fiber and high in fats. The bulk and soft texture of fiber help prevent hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass. Fiber is the part of fruits, vegetables, and grains that the body cannot digest. Keep in mind that many refined and processed foods we eat have the natural fiber removed.

Many seniors eat a low-fiber diet that causes constipation. Some lose interest in eating and choose convenience foods low in fiber. Others have difficulties chewing or swallowing; this leads them to eat soft processed foods low in fiber.

Liquids add bulk to stools making bowel movements softer and easier to pass. People who are constipated should drink about eight 8-ounce glasses of liquids a day. Avoid drinks with caffeine and alcohol, because they dehydrate.

Not enough exercise can lead to constipation, although doctors do not know why. If you want to move your bowels, move your body.

Some medications can cause constipation. They include: pain medications (especially narcotics), antacids that contain aluminum and calcium, blood pressure medications (calcium channel blockers), anti-Parkinson drugs, antispasmodics, antidepressants, iron supplements, diuretics and anticonvulsants.

Aging may affect bowel regularity because a slower metabolism results in less intestinal activity and muscle tone.

Laxatives usually are not necessary to treat constipation and can be habit-forming. The colon begins to rely on laxatives to bring on bowel movements. Over time, laxatives can damage nerve cells in the colon and interfere with the colon's natural ability to contract. For the same reason, regular use of enemas can also lead to a loss of normal bowel function.

Most people with constipation can be treated with changes in diet and exercise. A diet with 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day is recommended.

Other changes that can help include drinking enough liquids, engaging in daily exercise, and reserving enough time to have a bowel movement. In addition, the urge to have a bowel movement should not be ignored.

For those who have made diet and lifestyle changes and are still constipated, doctors may recommend laxatives or enemas for a limited time.

If you have a question, please write to

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Software Services

Make Your PC Do Stuff For You Automatically

Do you know that you can get your computer to perform tasks on a particular day at a specific time automatically? To set this up, use the free tool that comes with Microsoft Windows called the Microsoft Task Scheduler.

To use the scheduling service on Windows 98, NT, 2000, click on the My Computer icon located on the Desktop. Then double-click on Control Panel to get to the Scheduled Tasks folder. On Windows XP and Server 2003you can access this from the Start Menu and clicking on Settings and then Control Panel to Scheduled Tasks.

Double-click Add Scheduled Task. Follow the instructions in the Add Scheduled Task wizard. The wizard asks you which program you want Windows to run. For this example, select Disk Cleanup. Next the wizard asks you to name the task. Use something meaningful like “Weekly Hard Drive Cleanup”.

The wizard asks how you want to trigger the task. A trigger is a set of rules that cause the task to be executed. There are two types of triggers: time-based and event-based. Time-based triggers cause a task to be executed when the time/date of the trigger has been reached such as “Daily,” “Weekly,” or “Monthly.” Event-based triggers cause a task to be executed when certain system events occur such as “when my computer starts” or “when I log on.” For this example, under “Perform this task,” click on the “Weekly” button.

Now you need to specify what time and which day of the week you want the task to run. Choose a time when you won’t need to use your computer. For this example, select 01:00 a.m. on Monday. Don’t turn off your computer Sunday night when you go to bed! The computer must be powered on for your scheduled task to run.

The final step is to specify the user name and password. If you have one user on the machine, the wizard may skip this step. Otherwise, the wizard displays the user ID that is currently logged on. Either specify the password for this ID (leave it blank if you don’t use a password), or specify another user ID and that ID’s password. Click on the box next to “Open the advanced properties for this task when I click Finish,” then click the Finish button.

The advanced properties allow you to change the values you entered while going through the wizard. They also allow you to specify additional criteria to only run when certain conditions are met. This is useful if you’re using batteries on a laptop, i.e. “Don’t start the task if the computer is running on batteries” or if you might be working, i.e. “Only start the task if the computer has been idle for…” Another useful setting is to tell the computer the maximum amount of time that the task should take to complete. Obviously, 72 hours (the default) is way too long. For our example, reset the value of “Stop the task if it runs for” to 10 hours. You’re done. Sit back and let the computer do the work.

Next time I’ll have tips on how to keep your PC software current.

Lori Martin is owner of Martin Works, Inc. (, Susquehanna, PA.

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Dear EarthTalk: Is the chlorine bleach used for whitening clothes bad for the environment? And if so, what are some safe alternatives?

Nancy Potter, via e-mail

More than 80 percent of American households use chlorine bleach to whiten their clothes and clean inside their homes, but most consumers don't realize that the use of this seemingly innocuous cleaning additive could be polluting their home as well as the great outdoors.

“The fumes of cleaners containing a high concentration of chlorine when breathed in can irritate the lungs and be particularly dangerous for people who suffer from heart conditions or chronic respiratory problems such as asthma or emphysema,” says Patty Avey, editor of SmartLivingNews. “When the fumes are emitted in small, poorly ventilated rooms such as the bathroom, the risks are increased,” she adds.

Another immediate risk of having chlorine bleach around the house is accidental ingestion by little ones – poison control centers across the country receive about 20,000 such calls each year. Also, combining chlorine bleach with ammonia and other acids can cause deadly fumes.

Meanwhile, though, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains that there is no danger in using chlorine bleach around the house, claiming that the amount of chlorine is too low to warrant serious concern. But the agency does regulate the use of chlorine for industrial purposes, and confirms links between exposed workers and lung irritation.

Whether used at home or in the factory, chlorine is a big problem for the environment once it is discarded or rinsed away. It bonds with other chemicals in the wastewater stream to form carcinogenic “organochlorines” (such as dioxin) that contaminate drinking water supplies, among other risks.

Luckily, healthy and environmentally safe alternatives to chlorine bleach abound. Many of these can be made at home with household products you probably already have. Half a cup of hydrogen peroxide can work well as a bleach alternative when diluted with warm water prior to going in the wash load.

For those not so ambitious, commercial variations on such formulas, which give consumers the benefit of oxygen-based stabilizers that ensure even distribution within wash loads, are available from companies such as Seventh Generation, Earth Friendly Products and BioPac. Most of these products are available at natural food stores as well as online and at larger, well-stocked supermarkets.

But before spending a fortune on bleach alternatives, consumers should see if hard water might be causing their clothes to look gray and dingy from soap scum and mineral deposit build-up. Clues that you might have hard water include clean dishes with water spots on them, white and crusty sediment on fixtures, or a recurring bathtub ring. If you do have hard water, simply add enough baking soda to the laundry to make the wash water feel slippery to the touch and see if that doesn't whiten whites and brighten colors.

CONTACTS: SmartLivingNews,; EPA Chlorine Fact Sheet,; Seventh Generation,; Earth Friendly Products,; Bio Pac,

Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that Exxon never paid the fines that were to help the local Alaskan fishing communities that were harmed by the 1989 Valdez oil spill?

Marcy Damon, via e-mail

The $5 billion in civil charges levied against Exxon by a federal court in 1994 to cover ecological restoration for the Valdez oil spill – at the time, the largest punitive damage award in history – is still in legal limbo in appeals court 16 years later. But the company has spent around $3.5 billion on clean-up efforts, on compensation to affected local residents, and on settlements with Alaska and the federal government to underwrite environmental studies and conservation programs in and around Prince William Sound.

Critics of Exxon charge that the company has used the appeals system to delay payment of the disputed additional $5 billion. “Exxon threw up so many obstacles after the initial $5 billion judgment that the case generated more than 7,700 docket entries,” reported journalist Andrew Gumbel in the UK-based Independent in March 2004 at the time of the 15th anniversary of the spill.

Some charge that Exxon may actually be profiting some $800 million per year from the delay, “because of the difference between the interest rate being charged by the courts and the much higher rate it enjoyed through its own internal financing systems,” said Gumbel.

“This spill continues to haunt [us] to this day in the form of socioeconomic trauma from lingering damages to our environment and fisheries, physical trauma from injured health, and emotional trauma from Exxon’s ridiculous court delays,” says Riki Ott, a former Prince William Sound commercial fisherwoman who founded the Alaska Forum for Environmental Responsibility soon after the spill. “Even $5 billion won't bring justice, but it will go a long way toward bringing closure to this sorry event.”

For its part, the company (now ExxonMobil) insists it has paid the price for the accident and should be allowed to forego the remaining assessed damages entirely. In 2001, the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals did just that, concluding that the charges were “excessive” – but this reversal was soon overturned itself on another appeal by environmental organizations. According to a 2004 press release, the company claims that the “punitive damages suggested are not a debt that is owed” but instead represent “a windfall in excess of the amount the jury found necessary to compensate the plaintiffs for their losses.”

Regardless of whether or not ExxonMobil ever pays the additional damages, it will continue to face the added costs of implementing safety measures--such as equipping all of its oil tankers with double hulls to prevent future accidents. Meanwhile, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has worked with the company, and the industry as a whole, on coordinating and implementing expensive spill response plans to contain leaked oil and minimize ecological effects in all American waters.

CONTACTS: Alaska Forum for Environmental Responsibility,;

EPA Oil Program,; ExxonMobil’s Valdez Oil Spill Information,

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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