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Issue Home November 8, 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

GREAT BEND: This Borough was visited by a disastrous fire on the afternoon of Nov. 5 at 3:30. It started in the drug store conducted by F. E. Sands and was caused by the explosion of a large lamp in the back part of the store, where they were marking a quantity of dolls. The fire was under control by 4 o’clock when, unfortunately, the water gave out and the flames soon bursted anew, completely destroying the VanNess block occupied by Miss Daisy Lines, milliner; F. E. Sands, druggist; P. L. Leahey, barber. Mrs. Frances VanNess occupied the entire upper floor as living rooms and a photograph gallery. A. L. Reckhow & Sons’ large block caught fire next and was badly damaged by fire and water. Mrs. Curran and children occupied the second floor and their goods were damaged. The borough pays for 75 lbs. pressure; at the start there was 50 lbs.; in less than an hour it was 20 lbs. The Hallstead and Great Bend Fire companies worked faithfully and long to subdue the flames.

ARARAT: About one o’clock Monday morning six masked burglars broke into the home of Eli Avery, a well-to-do farmer residing near Ararat, bound and gagged him and his mother-in-law, Mrs. Sartell, and ransacked the house until they found the object of their search, $800, which Avery had hidden under the pillow of his bed and which the burglars must have known was in his possession. Mrs. Avery was away from home. The burglars hastily bound and gagged Mr. Avery and the same with Mrs. Sartell. A loan amounting to $800 had been paid Mr. Avery Saturday night and it is strongly suspected the unwelcome visitors had gotten wind of the transaction. Mr. Avery had concluded not to risk placing the money in a small safe in the house and so deposited it under the pillow of his bed, and when the robbers found this in its hiding place they departed. After struggling with his bonds for nearly an hour, Mr. Avery released himself and then liberated Mrs. Sartell. He then walked to a neighbor’s half a mile away, where he telephoned the Susquehanna and Carbondale police. The men who committed the crime were evidently familiar with the place as they frequently addressed him as “Eli.” Although suspicion has been directed toward certain parties no real evidence of who the burglars are has been obtained. It is feared Mrs. Sartell, who is 87 years of age, may not recover from the fright she received.

JONES LAKE [Lake Montrose]: There are several bushes along the shores of Jones’ Lake, ablaze with the bright red berries known in the world of shrubbery, as “northern holly.”

FRANKLIN FORKS: The Hallowe’en social held at Reed Snow’s was well attended. Supper was served in both ancient and modern style. The witch made her appearance and told fortunes to the great satisfaction of all. Proceeds, $7.50. AND: In Upsonville: The person or persons putting water in the mail box at Stone’s Corners will confer a favor and save trouble by discontinuing the same. AND: Geo. Campbell & Sons raised 75 bu. of golden Rutabaga turnips, 500 bu. of elegant potatoes, and 32 bu. of beans. All of this bespeaks for them a lot of work.

SPRINGVILLE: Some of the pupils of the Springville high school have left rather than be vaccinated. AND: Mr. A. L. Greatsinger has taken possession of the meat market and will be glad to have you call on him.

SOUTH GIBSON: The residence of Henry Pickering was partially destroyed by fire on Friday of last week. His mother, an aged lady, died on Saturday from the effects of inhaling smoke and heat.

THOMPSON: Arthur Washburn, clerk in Borden’s, is sick at his boarding place with typhoid fever. Arthur is one of Thompson’s most enterprising young men. He has made a success as a teacher, is a member of the I.O.O.F., and that order has sent a trained nurse to care for him. Dr. McNamara is the attending physician.

HARFORD: The creamery was broken into Saturday night; $2 in cash and some carpenters’ tools were taken away. There are evidently some “undesirables” abroad deserving free lodgings in the “State Temperance hotel.”

NEW MILFORD: G. M. Carpenter, proprietor for four years at the Jay House, will retire from that place on the arrival of the new proprietor, a Mr. Hoag, of Binghamton. Mr. Carpenter will move to Hallstead where he lived before coming here, and where he owns property. Mr. Hoag took possession Nov. 7th.

RUSH: Uzal Kinney is scouring the country to secure the best edible products of the culinary skill of the vicinity for the “Gentleman’ Supper.” Come and enjoy the results of his energetic labor.

MONTROSE: Barry Searle and family have gone to Georgia where he has business in connection with a gold mine. His brother, Daniel, accompanies him, also.

FOREST CITY: Forest City has long needed a first class lunch room and now she has one, conducted by Lee & Morrison, in the Sam Lyons building, where callers get prompt attention and everything the best. AND: The Forest House has recently changed hands and is now conducted by J. J. Lumbert, who recently leased it from its owner, J. H. Cunningham. It was remodeled within the past year and is in good shape for the accommodation of its guests.

SUSQUEHANNA: A young lad named Skinner, who resides in New Milford twp., attempted to board an Erie engine, just as it was crossing the bridge west of this place. He was thrown to the river, 30 ft. below, and sustained a broken arm and a dislocated hip. He is now at the City Hospital. AND: Eleven young men of Binghamton were jailed in this place Sunday for riding on Erie freight trains. They were brought before Justice Williams, reprimanded and allowed to go home. On the same day two boys named Conway were arrested and jailed for stealing Erie coal. They were allowed to depart, with a warning as to future behavior.

AUBURN TWP.: Mrs. Lydia A. Albertson, of Sankey, died Tuesday, Oct. 31st. She was born in New Jersey in 1835 and was the mother of 8 children, seven of whom are living as follows: George, Elmer, Theodore, Herbert and Mrs. Theo. Labor, Mrs. Luther Conrad, and Mrs. Miner Avery. Funeral services by Rev. J. W. Price at Jersey Hill. The four sons tenderly carried the body of their mother to its last resting place.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Update on Tax Collecting

A few weeks ago we told you about the money being wasted in Pennsylvania because there are too many tax collectors. In recent developments, state tax experts told us “the state’s hodgepodge of local tax collectors and collection agencies duplicates services and wastes more than $100 million each year.”

And from the Governor’s Office and the Pennsylvania Economy League we have been told that Pennsylvanians could save $100 million a year by having the state Department of Revenue collect all wage taxes rather than each municipality and school collecting its own.

We have also learned that some states  – California, for instance – use a consolidated tax system in which property owners get one bill and write one check a year, and the state government deducts all other local taxes, like wage taxes, right from paychecks.

Whatever system is developed, continued research has led us to Pennsylvania House Bill 430 that was introduced to the General Assembly of Pennsylvania on February 14 and is now in the hands of the Committee on Local Government. Actually the bill amends the Tax Act of 1945 relating to the collection of taxes levied by counties, cities, boroughs, towns, townships and certain school districts.

Two significant items jump out at you when you scan this bill. The first one changes the definition of tax collector or elected tax collector by adding a third definition to read Tax Collection Bureau. And the second one provides that the office of tax collector may be abolished at the option of each county by resolution. If the office of tax collector is abolished, the bill provides that “all rights, duties, powers and authority of tax collectors within the affected county shall be vested in any tax collection bureau authorized by a county ordinance or resolution to collect taxes under this act on behalf of all the taxing districts within the county.” We will try to keep you updated on the status of this bill.

In the event you want to send a comment regarding the bill to one of the state representatives that sponsored it, here are their names: Stephen R. Maitland, Thomas R. Caltagirone, Elinor Z. Taylor, Scott W. Boyd, Gordon Denlinger, Mauree Gingrich and Fred McIlhattan. Address your letters to the individual representative, House of Representatives, Main Capital Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120.

Another cross for school districts to bear?

If a bill introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate earlier this year becomes law, school districts will need to establish policies relating to bullying. The term "bullying" means repeated and systematic harassment or attacks on another, perpetrated by a student or group of students, in the school, on school grounds, in school vehicles to or from school, or at school sponsored activities or sanctioned events that has the effect of physically harming a student or endangering a student’s property.

Included in the bill are provisions for funding school programs which, among other things, address school violence, dispute management, peer helpers programs and violence prevention.

While the intent of the bill seems worthy, if the state runs true to form, school districts will get a few bucks in the beginning of the program and then be forced to underwrite the cost for years to come. It will probably turn out to be another example of an unfunded mandate, courtesy of our friendly legislators in Harrisburg.

Something was done

Apparently some disciplinary action was taken against David S. Costanzo, the Forest City Regional shop teacher who threw a block of wood at a student, but Dr. Robert Vadella, school superintendent said he is not at liberty to discuss it with the news media.

“It was dealt with in a manner within district policy and in accordance with state and federal law,” Dr. Vadella said. He said Mr. Costanzo was not suspended.

Last week Mr. Costanzo was fined $300 plus $118 court costs after he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for throwing the block of wood and hitting 15-year old Michael Novak in the hand with it.

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From the Desk of the D.A.

The attorney-client privilege is a powerful creature. Any communications and/or disclosures made to an attorney in the course of obtaining professional aid or advice is strictly privileged. Generally speaking, such communications are made in the course of obtaining legal services. An interesting issue recently arose concerning communications made after the legal representation had ceased.

In October 2004, a prominent defense attorney was held in contempt of court for refusing to testify before a grand jury concerning comments that a former client made to him. In 1983, the defendant was charged of rape and murder, and retained the attorney for legal representation. After the defendant was convicted and sentenced to death, and as a result of dissatisfaction with his attorney, the attorney was allowed to withdraw from representation in 1984. Thereafter, as a result of DNA testing that seemed to exonerate the defendant, the conviction and sentence was ultimately vacated and the defendant was released. Although the DNA evidence required the prior conviction to be vacated, there was still a strong belief that the defendant had been involved in the criminal offense.

The Commonwealth, however, instigated a grand jury investigation, believing that the defendant may have made admissions to the attorney in telephone conversations from jail after the attorney was no longer representing the defendant, i.e., after the attorney had been fired by the defendant for being incompetent. Apparently, the defendant called the attorney from jail to express his anger over the efforts of his former attorney. In the course of his grand jury testimony, the attorney refused to testify about any statements made to him by the defendant – even those statements made after the defendant had fired the attorney. As a result, the lower court found the attorney in contempt, and directed that he pay a $100 per day fine until he decided to testify concerning the post-representation comments. The attorney appealed.

On appeal, the Commonwealth argued that once the legal representation ended, any statements made thereafter could not be privileged. In this particular case, the defendant was angry with his former attorney, contended that his former attorney was incompetent, and, as such, the defendant was clearly not having the conversations for purposes of seeking legal advice. The attorney argued that the attorney-client privilege has a long history rooted in common law and the privilege must be applied broadly so as to protect the expectations of those persons discussing matters with attorneys – even with former attorneys.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court sided with the attorney in concluding that the post-representation statements were protected by the attorney-client privilege. In upholding the privileged nature of the communication, the court stated: “Because of the strong public policy encouraging clients to talk freely with their attorneys, the fine line between when there is or is not representation is often not known to clients. Here, the defendant had paid the attorney to represent him and had worked with him for many months. He likely believed that as his case was continuing, he had the ability to hash things out with the attorney that could be used to his advantage in future representation with another lawyer. It was reasonable for the defendant to believe that because of the prior relationship, confidentiality remained between them.”

Thus, in this case, the attorney was no longer representing the defendant, the defendant accused the attorney of being incompetent, and the attorney received a call from the incarcerated defendant so the incarcerated defendant could berate his professional abilities. Despite these factors, and the obvious animosity that existed between the attorney and former client, the attorney refused to divulge information that could have resulted in new criminal proceedings against the defendant. Aside from the personal attacks from the defendant, as well as perhaps the knowledge that a rapist/murderer was going free, the attorney also risked his personal finances to protect his former client – to the tune of a $100 daily fine for refusing to testify. Upon being directed by the court, the attorney could have easily testified to the communications – and thereafter allowed the defendant to litigate the question of whether the court was correct. Instead, the attorney took the rowing oar for his disgruntled former client – and prevailed. I wonder if the defendant still believed that his attorney was incompetent.

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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Healthy Geezer

Q. I have to have cataract surgery and I’m a little frightened. Should I be?

I don’t know anyone who isn’t a little frightened by surgery of any kind, but cataract removal is one of the safest and most effective types of surgery. It’s also one of the most common operations performed in the United States. About 9 out of 10 people who have the surgery have improved vision.

A cataract is a clouding of the lens, the clear part of the eye that helps focus images like the lens in a camera. Cataracts can blur images and discolor them.

Most cataracts are related to aging. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. There are other causes of cataracts such as diabetes, eye injury, radiation and surgery for other eye problems.

Cataracts tend to worsen gradually. The clear lens slowly changes to a yellowish/brownish color, adding a brownish tint to vision. If you have advanced lens discoloration, you may not be able to identify blues and purples.

The most common symptoms of a cataract are: blurred images, faded colors, glare, poor night vision, double vision, and frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses. If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor, because they can be signs of other eye problems.

The symptoms of early cataract may be improved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. If these measures do not help, surgery is the only effective treatment. The surgeon removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with a plastic lens.

Like every other kind of surgery, there are risks to cataract surgery such as infection and bleeding. Serious infection can diminish vision. Cataract surgery slightly increases your risk of retinal detachment, a serious condition that demands emergency treatment to prevent permanent impairment or even blindness. The retina is a light-sensitive membrane lining the inner eyeball; it is connected to the brain by the optic nerve.

The operation usually lasts less than one hour and is almost painless. After the operation, a patch may be placed over the eye. Most people who have cataract surgery can go home the same day. In most cases, healing will be complete within eight weeks.

What can you do about cataracts? Wearing sunglasses and a hat with a brim to block ultraviolet sunlight may help delay cataract. If you smoke, stop. Researchers also believe good nutrition can help reduce the risk of age-related cataract. They recommend eating green leafy vegetables, fruit, and other foods with antioxidants.

If you are 60 or older, you should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once every two years. In addition to cataract, your eye care professional can check for signs of age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and other vision disorders. Early treatment for many eye diseases may save your sight.

If you have a question, please write to

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Straight From Starrucca

Sympathy is extended to Carl and Virginia Upright in the loss of Carl’s brother, Donald, Pennsville, NJ. They attended the graveside service, along with the whole family of Uprights on Friday, October 21.

Today, Wednesday, November 9, the senior citizens will meet at noon with a potluck dinner. Come and bring a friend.

While Carl and Gina Upright were away, they stopped at Bangor, PA to visit with his brother, David and wife, Chrissie. Before they came home they delayed long enough to put a roof on son, Brett’s house in Medina, NY. Busy little beavers these two are.

The Halloween party, held Friday night, October 29 was very well attended. The success of the party pleased the planners, Jennifer Bennett and Karen Downton. Winners of prizes were: funniest – clown, Kimberly Swartz; best group – frogs, Kendra and Kandry Colwell and Katrina Rhone; best costume – Kim Burdick, Michala Rhone, washing machine.

Door prizes – kids: Halloween treats, Marty Swartz, Courtney Slocum, Patrick Cobb and Shawn Martin; adults – Pete Downton and April Rhone. Raffles – gift certificates: Pete Downton, Christmas tree, Leet Christmas Tree Farm; Sue Cook, Stephanie’s Beauty Parlor; Lake Lorain gift certificate, Renee Hall and Jennifer Bennett. All proceeds from the raffle will go to “Toys for Tots.”

Everyone has to be invigorated by this delayed “Indian Summer.”


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Dear EarthTalk: Why do people consider the Endangered Species Act to be the country’s most important environmental law when it only protects a few hundred plant and animal species?

Mark McGrath, Greenwich, CT

According to the latest tally by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), 745 plant and 523 animal species are listed as threatened or endangered in the United States. While these flora and fauna have benefited from Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections, environmental advocates point to the law‚s far-reaching habitat protection provisions as key to preserving the nation‚s overall environmental quality.

When a plant or animal is listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA, federal officials must also designate critical habitat “essential to the conservation of the species.” Today it is estimated that some 100 million acres of both private and public land across the U.S. are protected by the ESA from new development and resource extraction (mining, oil drilling) because they harbor one or more rare species.

Not everyone is happy with these provisions. Since the ESA became law in 1973, property owners have protested that restrictions on what they can do on their own private lands are unconstitutional. With some success, they have taken their grievances to court repeatedly, clogging the judicial system with appeal after appeal. Also, due to all these legal skirmishes, officials at the USFWS, which administers the law, complain of having to devote so many hours and resources to legal battles instead of field work.

Sympathetic to these legalistic concerns, the Bush administration has been pushing for the de-listing of some species whose numbers have improved in recent years – including bald eagles, gray wolves and grizzly bears. But critics say that the White House is more concerned with furthering its political agenda than in the welfare of the nation’s endangered species.

Meanwhile, House Resources Committee Chair Richard Pombo, a California Republican, has pushed a bill through the House that proposes to limit federal powers under the ESA. One controversial change the bill calls for is removal of many critical habitat designations. Another would require the government to compensate property owners for the costs of complying with regulations.

Recently, some 80 organizations, from the Sierra Club to Republicans for Environmental Protection, signed a letter to Congress urging them to leave the ESA intact. “Of the 1,800 plants and animals under the Act’s protection,” the letter states, “only nine have been declared extinct, and more than two-thirds of protected species are moving toward recovery with stable and improving populations.”

Congress first passed the ESA due to public outcry over species loss “as a consequence of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation,” in the words of the ESA itself. In signing the bill, then-president Richard Nixon said that the “legislation provides the federal government with the needed authority to protect an irreplaceable part of our national heritage--threatened wildlife.”

CONTACTS: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program,; Endangered Species Coalition,

Dear EarthTalk: I have a friend who works with polystyrene insulation materials on construction sites and I'm concerned for his health. Should I be?

Taryn H. Eldredge, via e-mail

Occasional exposure to polystyrene, more commonly known by Dow Chemical’s trade name Styrofoam, is not likely to do any harm to one’s health. But workers exposed to the material for prolonged periods on a regular basis should take heed. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) warns that chronic exposure can irritate the skin, eyes, upper respiratory and gastro-intestinal tracts, and lead to central nervous system damage and compromised kidney function.

Polystyrene is a plastic manufactured by blowing air at high pressure into styrene, a naturally occurring petroleum by-product. Initially, environmental groups criticized the polystyrene production process for its use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which cause ozone depletion, as blowing agents. But an international agreement in 1987 banned CFCs, so polystyrene makers shifted to less harmful manufacturing methods.

However, concerns continue about the widespread distribution of polystyrene throughout our society. Toxicologists report that all Americans have at least trace amounts of styrene in their bloodstreams, no doubt leaked from Styrofoam food containers, packing materials and insulation, if not from mother‚s milk directly (as studies have borne out). And according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “several epidemiological studies suggest there may be an association between styrene exposure and an increased risk of leukemia and lymphoma.” The EPA classifies styrene as a “possible human carcinogen.”

In 1990 environmentalists convinced McDonald’s to abandon polystyrene “to go” boxes and cups – which could leak styrene into food and drinks – in favor of non-toxic recycled cardboard and paper containers. Prior to the decision, McDonald’s had been the largest consumer of polystyrene products in the world.

Today that dubious distinction goes to the construction industry, which uses polystyrene as lightweight, rot-free and highly efficient insulation, and for other purposes. Minimizing exposure, including wearing masks and gloves, is key to preventing health effects. And construction workers handling polystyrene should take the advice of Dow Chemical itself: “When large quantities of the boards are stored indoors, it is recommended that the building be ventilated to allow a minimum of two air changes per hour.”

The increasing production of polystyrene is also a big waste issue. It is not biodegradable and is one of the most difficult plastics to recycle. Thus polystyrene is starting to clog landfills around the U.S. and beyond.

Some alternatives to polystyrene for insulation include recycled polystyrene, which addresses solid waste concerns but not health issues, and cellulose (made from newspaper and cardboard and available from Celbar, among others). Natural cotton fiber, such as that made by UltraTouch, is also a healthier alternative for construction workers and homeowners alike, and is available at Phoenix Organics, among other online retailers. Another good choice is straw insulation, which is enjoying renewed interest in the building trade. Straw is both widely available and renewable, and is about half the cost of polystyrene.

CONTACTS: OSHA,; Dow Chemical,; Celbar,; Phoenix Organics,

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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