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Look For Our Up Coming CHRISTMAS SPECIAL Featured In The Dec. 21th Issue Of The Susquehanna County Transcript

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Issue Home November 15, 2005 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

To Our Community Partners

The Susquehanna Community Development Association (SCDA) has made some great strides since our initial membership letter in April, 2004. Since the “Main Street” designation we have developed a website that includes a local business and organization directory, a calendar of events and much more (check us out at www.susquehannadepot.org).

Our design committee had completed the façade guidelines and we have successfully gained the Façade Challenge grant that will pay for 50% of façade improvements for businesses/building owners in The Main Street area. Time is running out and there will never be a better time to make improvements. We are working with the Trehab Center, who has recently purchased the largest building downtown and is seeking 1.6 million dollars funding for a commercial/senior rehabilitation project. We have also partnered with The Trehab Center in the submission of an Elm Street planning grant for neighborhood revitalization. We will continue to work with county, state and private agencies for community revitalization projects and economic development.

Our promotions committee has been doing a great job with the annual Hometown Days, Pumpkin Fest, the Christmas tree lighting ceremony and breakfast with Santa. Thanks to the Promotions/Events Committee and the local business owners, our downtown looked beautiful during the holiday season.

Our goals for this year is to work with the borough to obtain funding for the Railroad Museum and the Endless Mountain Heritage Center to have our section of the river designated as a Federal River Trail. The Parks and Rec. committee has obtained riverfront land and is busy planning for a riverside park that will include walking trails and a boat launch. Because of the dam located downriver, we hope to promote our town as a boater’s recipient community and further expand our hospitality services. We will be seeking Federal Funding for improvements and tourism opportunities along the Route 92-Scenic Byway and continue to support the Garden Club in downtown beautification projects. We will be sponsoring community contests such as “Most Improved Home,” “Holiday Home Decorating,” “Holiday Window Display” for local business and a “Business Improvement/Job creation Award.”

Our community can only continue on its positive path by working together and sharing a common goal for a better quality of life. Our fundraising efforts include the memorial brick sales, The Christmas Ornament sale, special raffles; bake sales and this year will include an SCDA Cookbook. When you support any of these fundraisers, you are also supporting your community.

We are always looking for members and volunteers who are looking to make a positive difference in our community. The SCDA meetings are held at the Susquehanna Borough Building at 7:00 p.m. on the thirdWednesday of every month. For more information, please call 853-4729.


Margaret Biegert

The Real Deal?

In response to Commissioner Loomis’ recent letter, every spring, all taxable residents DO NOT receive an occupation tax bill. Only the residents listed on the tax roll receive bills. Many taxable residents are not on that list. It is the responsibility of the municipal tax assessor to compile an accurate list annually to submit to the County. Of the 40 municipalities in the County, only 22 have elected/appointed tax assessors listed in the current Susquehanna County directory. Of those 22, only 18 submitted vouchers to be paid for performing their duties in 2004, a total of $8,396.86. Of the $94,190.40 Commissioner Loomis said was brought in from the Occupation tax in 2004, $61,285.80 was paid to the tax collectors, approximately 65%, leaving 35% for the County. Add the Tax Assessors salaries into the equation and we are left with $24,507.74, or 26% for the County and a hefty 74% goes to the Collectors and Assessors.

We’re sure there are other costs and expenses that should be included, for instance, the cost of collecting the unpaid taxes, as the Collectors are not responsible for that. How much does that cost? The Tax Collectors get paid per bill handled whether you pay the tax or not. And how much of the $94,190.40 billed is actually paid? What is the real bottom line? Certainly not the $32,900 Commissioner Loomis claims. If the County had all the required assessors, and they all did their job, you can plainly see there would be even less of that $24,507, perhaps around $16,000 being taken in by the County. That equals a measly 16% of the total billed occupation tax. Would it make sense to give 84% of the occupation taxes you pay to the collectors and assessors?

For the billing of the occupation tax, it would seem that the Tax Assessors are necessary to get an accurate count. And for the collection, why do we need 40 middlemen involved? Say you are in the "unskilled" category, which is a very large number of the folks paying this tax. You pay $5.40 and your collector gets $3.90 of that tax. If you are "skilled" you pay $7.20 and the collector get $3.90 of that tax. If you are "unskilled/part time" you pay $3.60 and the collector gets $3.90. So you pay the collector $3.60 and the county kicks in 30 cents more to pay the collector for handling that bill. What kind of sense does that make?

Because of the voting block they control, it would seem that Commissioner Loomis is more concerned with paying collectors and assessors than he is in utilizing these occupation taxes for the benefit of all County residents. The commissioners have the option to abolish this tax according to section 1770 of the County Code. We would strongly recommend that this tax be abolished.


James & Susan Jennings

Brooklyn Township

Our Sincere Thanks

The Montrose Kiwanis wish to thanks all who purchased roses during the Annual Kiwanis Rose Sale. A dozen gift boxed long stem roses were sold to benefit Pennsylvania Kiwanis Foundation. The Foundation supports organizations which support Pennsylvania kids. The Montrose Club sold 100 dozen.

Again we thank all who support Kiwanis events.


Montrose Area Kiwanis

Readers Take Pot Shots

Jo-Ellen S. Greene wrote an excellent letter titled, "To Allow Those Freedoms," in reply to my letter, "Blips On History's Radar Screen." We are on opposite sides of the Iraqi war, she for and I against. Miss Greene presents several thoughtful and worthwhile questions to which I would like to reply.

Fred B. Baker also took exception to "Blips...." in his letter titled, "Anti-War Baloney." He, too, deserves a reply. For clarity's sake Miss Greene's and Mr. Baker's comments are numbered.

1) Miss Greene wishes that our community "would put aside political differences for the sake of those [six] families" recently bereaved by a loss in Iraqi.

Jo-Ellen, I'll use your first name as anything more seems unnecessarily stiff, to do this would require spot censorship in all newspapers throughout the country as Marines in Iraqi are dying daily. Last month the KIAs numbered almost 100, while the wounded were several times that. To families suffering a lose I can only offer words of confront and consolation. To all others, we, you and I can do no better than express the truth as God gives us the light to see that truth: here, I believe, discussion trumps silence.

2) She questions: "Are you saying these brave young men sacrificed their lives for nothing?"

Families coming to grips with the loss of a loved one often try to cloak that death is some grand, even glorious purpose. But death seldom wears that robe. Last year there were 42,636 highway fatalities in the United States, many of whom were young men as in Iraq. Nothing glorious here. And when death deprives us of parents, or brothers, or sisters is there ever any overarching saving grace in their deaths? I do not believe it is any different in war. The very tragedy of death, in civilian life or in the military, is that it is always premature, always tragic and almost always without apparent purpose.

To those hundreds who were killed by roadside bombs, what purpose did their deaths serve? The terrible truth is that most KIAs are like that. While there is bravery in combat, I see no glory. Men fight not to win a decisive victory, but merely to stay alive, to aid their buddies, or even for revenge.

Yes, some perform heroic feats to save the lives of their comrades. Others put themselves in harm's way losing their own life for the sake of a brother in arms. These acts are, indeed, heroic and sacrificial in the true sense of these words. But it is so because one endangers or gives his life to save another, not because of the war itself. It is the same valor exhibited in peacetime by the firemen in 9/11. But these deaths are the exception, most die in peacetime as in war for no discernible reason.

3) You mentioned Saddam Hussein's "pay[ing] the families of suicide bombers" as justification for our involvement in Iraqi.

We have had only one such attack, terrible though it was, the four planes hijacked by 19 hijackers on 9/11. Of these 19, 14 were from Saudi Arabia, 3 from the United Arab Emirates, 1 from Egypt, and 1 from Lebanon. Not one was from Iraq. It is also worthy of note that Israel has had scores of suicide bombers yet she has not seen fit to declare war on any of her belligerent neighbors.

4) Lastly, you say that expressing dissent is "aiding the enemy."

Perhaps. But if one believes that this war is wrong, then for the sake of those living, dissent must be voiced in the hope that they, too, shall not join the ranks of the dead.

1) Mr. Baker in his letter takes umbrage in "never [having] met anyone so insensitive or so stupid as to call any ward in any VA hospital a 'freak ward.'"

The term "freak ward" is gallows humor. It is rarely used and then only by those who are themselves terribly wounded. I do not presume to use it, but only referenced those who did.

2) He goes on to write: "'[T]he Marine who on a surveillance [patrol] fired a RPG into a suspicious hut only to find the splattered remains of women and children.' I can testify, as a fact, that has never happened. First of all Marines didn't have RPGs...."

The point here, Fred, is that in the heat of combat mistakes are make, civilians are killed. Not only do these deaths occur, they happen frequently. Currently between 25 and 50 Iraqis are killed every day. That some of these civilians are killed in the mistaken belief that they are enemy combatants underscores the tragedy. In the hysteria of war it is by no means a rare event. These incidents will, in time, form a festering point of regret in the minds of the unfortunate perpetrators from which it will be impossible to escape. This is the case in Iraq just as surely as it was in Vietnam.

AS for RPGs, the Marines used five in Vietnam: the M-72 shoulder-fired, one-man rocket launcher, the M-20 often referred to as the "super bazooka," the M-203 grenade launcher which was attached to the M1 rifle, the M-79 rifle grenade launcher, and the M-67 recoilless rifle.

I have tried to honestly represent Jo-Ellen's and Fred's criticisms. But to be sure I am to some degree guilty of misunderstanding, even misrepresenting their disagreements. Unintentional though these discrepancies are, they are nevertheless real. For this I apologize. But on one point there is complete clarity and agreement and it is this: Of all the multitudinous atrocities mankind inflicts upon himself the worst and most horrific of all is war. All of us, both those for and those against this conflict, and the Iraqis as well, wish and pray for its speedy conclusion.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

We Don’t Want You?

I live in this area full-time, but often drive my husband’s business car, which has New Jersey plates. Three times recently, someone has yelled at me, “New Jersey! Go home, we don’t want you here,” or a nastier version of this. One of the times I made a mistake in trying to get around a truck and the driver, instead of just calling me “stupid,” which I probably deserved, had to rant about me being from New Jersey. Actually, I was born in Ohio, moved to western PA when I was six, lived for years in the Philadelphia area and now here for “nineteen” years. I have never lived in New Jersey. There are many “Jerseyites” driving around in cars with Pennsylvania plates, but they probably don’t get yelled at. Some of the locals don’t like Jerseyites and they have their reasons, just as some of the Jerseyites have their views about the locals.

I can understand both sides. However, I must point out that it’s because “foreigners” (Jerseyites and others) keep moving here that we now have cleaner, more attractive towns, more varied items on the store shelves like romaine lettuce, kiwi, seafood and better wines, a health food store in the area, a Chinese restaurant, interesting shops, etc. In addition, newcomers to the area create jobs for the locals. Retired Jerseyites and weekenders raising their own families in New Jersey pay school taxes here. It’s mostly the newcomers who go out of their way to keep the lakes and environment clean and it’s not usually the Jerseyites who sit in their cars on country lanes consuming beer and pizza, then tossing their cans and boxes out the car windows.

To the woman who continues to yell at my car in Schneider’s parking lot, I have this to say, “Don’t waste your breath. I’m probably more Pennsylvanian than you are and I have much better manners. Get a life.”


Margaret Karmazin

Susquehanna, PA

Another Great Parade

The Montrose Area Kiwanis would like to take this opportunity to thank the Montrose Borough, Susquehanna County Fire Police, the Montrose Ambulance Crew, and the Montrose Fire Company for their help in this year’s Halloween Parade. On Thursday, October 27 the Montrose High School Band lead the way for about 250 children to parade their Halloween costumes for all to see on the Montrose streets.

The Montrose and Elk Lake Key Club members greeted the children as they arrived at the Montrose Fire Hall. Refreshments were served and judging for prettiest, scariest, and most original was done. Pictures of winners are located on the gallery section of the Montrose Area Kiwanis web site (montroseareakiwanis.com).

The Kiwanis Club is proud to sponsor this event each year for area children and of course for the adults which enjoy parades.


Montrose Area Kiwanis

It Is Distressing

It is indeed excruciatingly distressing to think that our young men are fighting and dying in a foreign war that should never have happened. The fact that the American public has been misled by its government is no reflection on the honor and bravery of those young men, who are valiantly doing their duty, serving their country as they signed up and trained to do. And many of them will have to live with severe medical and/or physical consequences for years. But we cannot condone the misdeeds of the administration to assuage our own feelings of dismay at the futile, profligate expenditure of life and resources.

Regarding casualties, to say our losses are only 0.4% hardly gives an idea of the true picture. A better way is to consider the ratio of our losses to theirs. Assuming the much-publicized figure of 2,000 is correct, and taking the rough estimate of Iraqi deaths, reached by some independent analysts, as a minimum 140,000, the ratio of deaths would be one of ours to 70 of theirs. Totally outrageous.

However, actual U.S. fatalities are believed to be closer to 10,000 because the Pentagon cleverly leaves out of the count those individuals who die while being airlifted to hospitals in Germany or the States, or in the course of treatment there. That would give us a ratio of 1:14, obviously a lot more palatable, though still higher, I believe, than a traditional colonial war. On the other hand, the bombing and remote distance destruction have intensified considerably since those figures were calculated, so Iraqi casualties may by now be much higher. In point of fact, there is no way of knowing exactly how many Iraqis (civilian or military) have died, nor how many thousands have suffered debilitating injuries, lost precious children, homes, livelihood, essential services, etc. Ask the Iraqis if it was worth it.

The best way of supporting our troops is to make sure that they and their families receive all the care and assistance they need, for as long as may be required. More vigilance may be needed in that area. And call for an end to the conflict, even though no-one may be listening.


Faith Stedman Vis

New Milford, PA

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