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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 29, 2005 Site Home

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

From the Desk of the D.A.
Straight From Starrucca

Earth Talk
The Healthy Geezer

100 Years Ago

SUSQUEHANNA: The L. W. Carrington building on Main Street, formerly known as the Cook block, was badly damaged by fire yesterday. The fire is thought to have originated from the explosion of chemicals in the store room of the Bell Telephone company, which is located on the second floor. The fire gained rapid headway and the occupants of the upper rooms, unable to escape by the stairway, were rescued by the firemen. The first floor of the building was occupied by J. B. Fenner, dry goods merchant, whose stock was badly damaged by water, as were the household goods of James Brensley on the second floor. The household goods of Thos. Halpin were a total loss. Within 50 minutes after the blaze started the office of the Bell Telephone exchange had been transferred to J. Harris’ office on Exchange street. Mrs. Thomas Burke had a narrow escape from the burning building. She is the mother-in-law of Mr. Halpin who occupied the upper floor, and was there when the fire started, having to be carried down the ladder by the firemen. Mrs. Burke is a heavy woman, and it was with great difficulty that the ground was reached.

GREAT BEND: Mrs. Johanna Donovan, aged 99 years, died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. D. Leary, in Great Bend, on Thursday night of last week. The deceased was the oldest resident of that town.

WEST LATHROP: The West Lathrop creamery company leased their plant to the Italian cheese makers of Glenwood.

FAIRDALE: An account of a party at the home of William McKeeby, published in the Republican last week, was grossly exaggerated by the writer, who hid her identity under an assumed name. The party was a small and informal one, but the intention of the writer was to convey an erroneous impression as to the number and names of those present. Persons giving or writing misleading information to newspapers are liable to heavy penalties if apprehended and is pretty small business whatever way it is looked at.

NEW MILFORD: About 3 o’clock last Saturday morning a gang of burglars entered the postoffice and ransacked the place, and also blew open the safe in Carpenter’s feed store. Nothing was secured in the postoffice, and all that was secured in Carpenter’s store were a few insurance papers and deeds, which will be valueless to the burglars. The money had been taken from the store the night before, otherwise they would have secured quite a haul. Nitro-glycerine was used to blow open the safe and although there is no clue as to who the burglars are, it is probable from their skillful methods that they are professionals.

THOMPSON: Last Saturday was Mrs. P. R. Tower’s 75th birthday and she determined to spend the day with friends in Jackson. She was astir early, and arrayed herself in proper apparel and awaited the coming of her spouse, who, she supposed, had gone to the livery for a horse and carriage for the trip. He came at the set time, but instead of the horse and carriage he was accompanied by a bevy of ladies with ominous packages and queer looks, and a sort of “I am at home and am glad you are” way that so surprised her that she never inquired where the horse was. The table was spread in due time and a lengthy discussion of viands and other matters followed. After a breathing spell came a display of oratory equal to the occasion, and the bestowing of mementoes rare and precious, until the recipient could say nothing but “thanks” and wipe her weeping eyes. The day was beautiful and the occasion was joyous to all. So says one who was there.

SPRINGVILLE: The wood bee which was held for the M. E. church recently was well attended. A nice supply of fuel was secured so we can venture into the coming winter without any fear. Thanks to James Blakeslee and the many willing workers who came with axes and teams and did the work so cheerfully.

LITTLE MEADOWS: The Little Meadows Telephone and Tel. Co. is now rushing the work on their line. The poles are mainly distributed; a part set and the stringing of the wire will be commenced at once between here and Friendsville.

LAKE VIEW: Three children belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Morris Potter, of Lake View, died Nov. 23d, 1905. The nature of the disease was not discovered until two of the children had died. Much excitement prevails at Lake View, for fear of the disease spreading, as a number were exposed.

FLYNN, Middletown Twp.: The select party at Jerry Lane’s, Thursday evening last, was a glittering success. The evening was spent in games and song--finished with a two-step, after which refreshments were served.

UNIONDALE: We are very glad to hear that two of our townsmen, George Esmay and Arthur Foster are getting along nicely. They were hurt in an Erie train wreck at the upper end of Carbondale yard. They failed to give the Flyer the right of way and ran into another engine. They had better change the name of the “Old Reliable” Erie to “Liable to get wrecked.” They have been very unfortunate in having several wrecks lately on the Jefferson branch.

MONTROSE: Rev. J. W. H. Johnson, of Norwich N.Y., preached in the A.M.E. Zion church, Sunday. Rev. Johnson is now in charge of three churches, located in Norwich, Deposit and Montrose, making this church a call once a month. He is recovering from quite a severe illness.

FOREST CITY: “It’s Mr. Dooley”: He’s arranging to toot weather signals in Honesdale. We note by the papers that Mr. Dooley, who floated about Forest City recently, getting up a weather signal card, is now in Honesdale. The papers say the whistles will toot the signals for the coming 24 hours each evening. Perhaps we’ll hear them.

NEWS BRIEFS: Many automobiles toot their horns as though it were a notice to the farmers to get off the earth. They have got some new tooters now with two, three and four notes and they call them Gabriel’s trumpets. They are self blowing and are calculated to throw a scare into a horse that will make a war charger of a plow plug on short notice. One of these whistling calliopes with four notes seems liable to cause any old saw-horse to get action and ginger and fly the road. AND: Nineteen deaths from football have occurred in this country during the season just closed.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Commissioners meeting is worth the trip

You gotta hand it to our county commissioners. I mean they are the hottest trio since Moe, Curley and Larry. They have a couple of years left on their current contract and I understand CBS and NBC are already bidding for the TV rights. Wanna make a situation comedy series out of their meetings.

My friends, if you haven’t taken in one of their shows you are missing some of the funniest acts to ever play the courthouse. This show is right up there with All In The Family and M*A*S*H. They say faith can move mountains. Our commissioners have problems with moll hills.

Last week, Commissioner Mary Ann Warren said she could not make a December meeting and asked that the date be changed to December 23. That triggered an argument that was good for almost 15 minutes and a few chuckles. Especially when Commissioner Loomis said, “Nobody asked me if I could be there on the 23rd.” It was as good as a Frank Burns whine to Margaret.

“Well I said six months ago that I would be on vacation,” MaryAnn Warren declared. She then took a shot at Jeff for not having the budget ready for a November meeting.

Mrs. Kelly said the meeting would be on the 23rd because she wanted all commissioners there to vote on the new budget. And when someone mentioned there is plenty of time to advertise the meeting change in a weekly newspaper where the rates are much cheaper than the dailies, Mrs. Warren said she would pay for the ad out of her own pocket.

Heard another funny one during the week. Friend of mine said he read it in a magazine someplace. Goes like this. “Democrats make plans and then do something else. Republicans follow the plans their grandfathers made.”

What can I tell you my friends other than I hope you have your holiday shopping done. Looks like we are in for a rough winter. But on those days when the sun is shining and the streets are clean, find out if the commissioners are meeting. If they are, break up your winter doldrums by attending a meeting. It is an experience you can share with your children and grandchildren.

And speaking of holiday shopping, just in case you are stuck on what to buy Uncle Fred or Aunt Wilma, our county coroner has a list of some unusual gifts. Like a body bag for instance. You can get 'em in black or white and in light, medium or heavy duty weight.

How about a cremation certificate? Now there’s a one-of-a-kind Christmas present. If you’re looking for something for that last page of Grandma’s photo album, how about a picture of her all dressed up and ready to go and meet her maker.

Of course, our coroner, Tony Conarton, is not that ghoulish and did not suggest you buy a Christmas gift from him. I’m just kidding around folks. After all it is the holiday season and the time to be merry. But he does have a fee schedule for such items and his prices are rather reasonable.

Hey, don’t knock it, back in the days when I was a DJ, I once did a living wake. The fella that had it said he did not want to have people come and say goodbye to him while he was laying in a coffin. He wanted them to party one last time with him. It was one of the most successful parties I ever had the pleasure of attending.

They had a large cake shaped like a coffin, and they even did a bit of a play where one of his friends was God and the other was the devil and they each took turns announcing his good deeds and bad deeds. All in fun of course but those that were there then had an opportunity to vote on whether the guy earned a chance to go upstairs or downstairs. In keeping with the humorous side of the entire evening, his friends sent him to hell.

As I recall they told a lot of jokes at the party, most of them unprintable. But one that I got a laugh from goes like this. As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang. He answered it and promptly heard his wife’s warning.

“Herman,” she said I just heard on the news that there’s a car going the wrong way in Interstate 81. Please be careful.”

“Heck, Ma,” Herman replied, “It’s not just one car, it’s hundreds of them.”

When it’s my turn, one of my friends once told me he found the perfect epitaph for me. He said he is going to have the following message carved on my tombstone: Here lies P. Jay who spent his entire life believing he was on the right track, only to discover he was on the wrong train.

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From the Desk of the D.A.

Crazy things happen in jury rooms. Recently in Philadelphia, there was a murder trial and the jury had difficulties reaching a final verdict. The jury was attempting to make a decision between third degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Eventually, the court declared a mistrial and discharged the jury after concluding that the jury was unable to reach a verdict. Afterward, it was discovered that the marker board in the jury deliberation room indicated that the jury had unanimously reached a not guilty verdict on the third degree murder charge – but had never informed the court of its decision. Thereafter, the court reassembled the jury and the jury confirmed that they had unanimously determined that the defendant was not guilty of third degree murder – and the court entered a not guilty verdict.

The Commonwealth appealed this decision, arguing that the court lacked the authority to reassemble the jury after a mistrial had been declared and the jury discharged. In particular, the Commonwealth noted that jurors cannot find a defendant not guilty one day, and then come back collectively a month later and indicate that they had made a mistake and want to find the defendant guilty. In other words, once the jury has spoken, as in this case where it indicated to the court that it was unable to reach a verdict, there can be no going back. To allow the mere opportunity that jurors, after being discharged, can be reconvened to allow for a new verdict would raise serious questions as to the finality of a jury’s decision. The Superior Court agreed and concluded that once a jury has indicated that it could not make a decision, and was discharged, the court cannot reconvene the same jury to enter a verdict – regardless of what leftover notes are discovered in the jury room.

On another topic, several weeks ago, I did an article on the need for legislation prohibiting “upskirting,” i.e., the practice of individuals surreptitiously taking intimate photographs of unsuspecting persons. The Pennsylvania legislature has responded, and, effective January 15, 2006, there will be a new criminal offense for using electronic equipment to view, photograph, electronically depict or film the private body parts of an unsuspecting victim for the purpose of sexual gratification.

The legislature did not stop there. The current statute relating to making it unlawful to lure a child into an automobile failed to criminalize an attempt to lure a child into an automobile. Thus, if the predator was unsuccessfull or foiled in his or her attempts to abduct a child, there was no specific criminal statute addressing such conduct. Furthermore, the existing legislation did not make it unlawful to lure a child into a structure, such as a house, shed, trailer, or other building. Effective January 9, 2006, a new law will make it unlawful to lure or attempt to lure a child into an automobile, house, or similar structure.

Finally, the legislature also created a new criminal violation for refusing to turn over firearms in response to a Protective Order that directs the firearms be relinquished. It is common for law enforcement to have a hard time finding, locating or identifying the firearms belonging to a person against whom a protective order has been issued wherein the court directed that all firearms be seized. If the perpetrator refuses to turn over his or her firearms, then a new criminal violation has occurred. Likewise, if a third party is holding the firearms for that perpetrator so as to avoid detection by law enforcement, the third party is also guilty of a criminal offense.

Kudos to the legislature on a job well done.

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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Straight From Starrucca

My day started off with a good laugh this morning. There were about eight wild turkeys in my neighbor’s yard. Two of them were chasing each other around an evergreen tree, around and around they went – didn’t seem to be dizzy when they stopped. Then they joined other turkeys that had made a circle, then they danced around, and I’m not kidding, I guess it was the “Turkey Trot” they were doing. Didn’t know turkeys were that playful.

June Downton entertained most of her family for the traditional meal last Thursday and Todd Hadden, her grandson, decided to spend a week with her.

Gale Williams was delighted that her mother, although not well, was able to have dinner with her and other members of the family on Thanksgiving.

The Uprights, Carl and Gina and son, Brett from Modina, NY were happy to accept the dinner invitation of daughter, Brenda and family. Later in the week, Gina and Carl welcomed son, Bradley and wife, Jean from Williamsport, PA, who spent the weekend with them.

Alice and Kirk Rhone and family had Thanksgiving dinner with brother, Robert and wife, Lillian, an annual affair.

Vincent and Andrea Matta and children went to Lake Lorain for their holiday dinner.

Carol Robidoux, Tunkhannock, PA welcomed her father, Charles Levchak for the holiday.

So many, including myself stayed home, because of the outrageous weather.


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Dear EarthTalk: Why is chlorine added to tap water? Do water filters effectively filter it out?

J.P. Miller, Hudson, WI

Chlorine is a highly efficient disinfectant, and it is added to public water supplies to kill disease-causing bacteria that the water or its transport pipes might contain. “Chlorine has been hailed as the savior against cholera and various other water-borne diseases, and rightfully so,” says Steve Harrison, president of water filter maker Environmental Systems Distributing. “Its disinfectant qualities have allowed communities and whole cities to grow and prosper by providing disease-free tap water to homes and industry.”

But Harrison says that all this disinfecting has not come without a price: Chlorine introduced into the water supply reacts with other naturally-occurring elements to form toxins called trihalomethanes (THMs), which eventually make their way into our bodies. THMs have been linked to a wide range of human health maladies ranging from asthma and eczema to bladder cancer and heart disease. In addition, Dr. Peter Montague of the Environmental Research Foundation cites several studies linking moderate to heavy consumption of chlorinated tap water by pregnant women with higher miscarriage and birth defect rates.

A recent report by the non-profit Environmental Working Group concluded that from 1996 though 2001, more than 16 million Americans consumed dangerous amounts of contaminated tap water. The report found that water supplies in and around Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, and the Bay Area in California were putting the greatest number of people at risk, although 1,100 other smaller water systems across the country also tested positive for high levels of contaminants.

“Dirty water going into the treatment plant means water contaminated with chlorination byproducts coming out of your tap,” said Jane Houlihan, EWG’s Research Director. “The solution is to clean up our lakes, rivers and streams, not just bombard our water supplies with chlorine.”

Eliminating water pollution and cleaning up our watersheds are not going to happen overnight, but alternatives to chlorination for water treatment do exist. Dr. Montague reports that several European and Canadian cities now disinfect their water supplies with ozone instead of chlorine. Currently a handful of U.S. cities do the same, most notably Las Vegas, Nevada and Santa Clara, California.

Those of us who live far from Las Vegas or Santa Clara, though, do have other options. First and foremost is filtration at the faucet. Carbon-based filters are considered the most effective at removing THMs and other toxins. The consumer information website compares various water filters on the bases of price and effectiveness. The site reports that filters from Paragon, Aquasana, Kenmore, GE and Seagul remove most if not all of the chlorine, THMs and other potential contaminates in tap water.

Concerned consumers without the money to spend on home filtration, though, can just rely on good old-fashioned patience. Chlorine and related compounds will make their way out of tap water if the container is simply left uncovered in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

CONTACTS: Environmental Working Group,; Environmental Research Foundation,;,

Dear EarthTalk: Have high oil prices of late really caused Americans to buy fewer SUVs, or is this just a myth?

Shane Wiener, Royal Oak, Michigan

It is indeed true that sales of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) – not to mention pickup trucks and vans – have plummeted in recent months in the U.S. Undoubtedly rising oil prices are playing a big role, and sales of the Ford Explorer, Lincoln Navigator, GMC Yukon and Hummer H2 are all down 50 percent or more.

But U.S. automakers are quick to point out that sales have been dropping across all product lines and that attractive financing programs last year translated into record sales numbers. But General Motors (GM), the world‚s largest automaker, did report that overall sales in the U.S. sank in October 2005 by 22.7 percent compared to the previous year, while sales of SUVs, pickups and vans shrank by a whopping 30.3 percent. Meanwhile, Ford Motor Company experienced similar drops.

“We realize that gas prices are important to consumers and we‚re certainly not denying that there’s an impact,” says Paul Ballew of GM, who thinks the change in consumer preference is not as significant as it was following the world’s first round of oil shocks three decades ago. “We are seeing more interest in consumers understanding fuel economy of vehicles. But there’s not the shift we saw in the 70’s and 80’s.”

Against this backdrop of gloom for American automakers, Japanese competitors specializing in smaller cars have reported banner sales numbers in recent months. Toyota, maker of the industry-leading gas-electric hybrid Prius, beat its own October U.S. sales numbers from a year earlier by 5.2 percent, while Honda, which offers the world‚s most fuel-efficient traditional cars as well as hybrids, saw its U.S. sales rise four percent in October. Toyota‚s SUV and pickup sales slackened by four percent, while Honda bucked the downward trend by staying even with last year with its light truck line.

One sign of flagging consumer demand for gas-hogging large SUVs is the recent development of so-called crossovers, which are SUV-type vehicles built on smaller, more fuel efficient frames. These vehicles, such as the Chrysler Pacifica and the Toyota Highlander, appeal to consumers looking for better gas mileage but unwilling to give up the SUV’s size. Today almost half of all light trucks sold are considered crossovers. Just two years ago, such vehicles accounted for only about 16 percent of the country’s light truck fleet.

Another new option for light truck lovers looking to save gas and money is the hybrid SUV, which, like a hybrid car, utilizes both gasoline and electric engines to maximize fuel efficiency. Ford and Toyota lead the pack in hybrid SUV sales, but new models on the way from GM promise to provide consumers with even more ways to live large with less guilt.

CONTACTS: Toyota Highlander,; Highlander Hybrid SUV,; Chrysler Pacifica,;
Ford Hybrid SUV,; U.S. Department of Energy’s,

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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The Healthy GeezerBy Fred Cicetti

Q. Is depression just a “normal” part of aging?

There are a lot of problems to face as you get older. There are losses of all kinds that can get you down. And feeling blue for a while is a normal part of living at any age.

But, unrelenting depression is not normal. If you feel this way, you should seek medical attention. Most people get better if they treat their depression.

There are many causes of depression. Some of them are the natural consequences of being older: a health crisis or death, the loss of physical or mental capacities, or being a stressed-out caregiver.

Seniors usually rebound from a period of sadness. However, if you are suffering from “clinical depression” and don’t get help, your symptoms might last months, or even years.

The following are common signs of depression. If you have several of these, and they last for more than two weeks, get treatment: anxiety, fatigue, loss of interest or pleasure, sleep problems, eating too much or too little, abnormal crying, aches that can’t be treated successfully, diminished concentration or memory, irritability, thoughts of death or suicide, and feelings of despair, guilt and being worthless.

Depression is a serious illness. It can lead to suicide. Don’t waste time; find help.

Start with your family doctor. The doctor should check to see if your depression could be caused by a health problem (such as hypothyroidism or vitamin B12 deficiency) or a medicine you are taking.

After a complete exam, your doctor may suggest you talk to a social worker, mental health counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. Doctors specially trained to treat depression in older people are called “geriatric psychiatrists.”

Support groups can provide new coping skills or social support if you are dealing with a major life change. A doctor might suggest that you go to a local senior center, volunteer service, or nutrition program. Several kinds of talk therapies work well.

Antidepressant drugs can help. These medications can improve your mood, sleep, appetite, and concentration.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an option. It may be recommended when medicines can’t be tolerated or when a quick response is needed.

What can be done to lower the risk of depression?

Nurture your family ties and friendships; they are your lifelines. Hobbies keep your mind and body active. Exercise is a mood-elevator. Eat a balanced diet. Get outdoors to absorb sunlight and breathe fresh air. Take naps.

Remember, with treatment, most people will find positive thoughts gradually replacing negative thoughts. And you can help this process by catching yourself when you are dwelling on the negative and shifting gears to sunnier thoughts.

If you have a question, please write to

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