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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 December 6, 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

WEST AUBURN: The school at West Auburn has been closed on account of trouble over the vaccination law. It was closed by the directors, pending further instructions from the State Board of Health. It has been learned that no attempt is being made to enforce the vaccination law in other portions of Susquehanna county. There have been upwards of 25 scholars excluded from this school during the last three weeks by the teacher on account of not being vaccinated and finally the directors concluded to close the school entirely until directed how to legally settle the matter.

The vaccination question seems to be troubling both teachers and scholars alike. It seems to be a hard law for a teacher to enforce.

Frank Heavy, son of William Heavy, who was badly burned while attending to his duties as a fireman, is now at the Moses Taylor hospital in Scranton, and is doing as well as can be expected. His escape from being burned to death was wonderful.

As printed in the Tri-Weekly Journal: “Mrs. Sarah J. Harper-Starr, of Bellevue, PA has been buried in the family mausoleum. Mrs. Starr’s marriage in Cincinnati on May 22, 1849, is of historical importance in ecclesiastical circles. Miss Harper was 16 years old, but had ideas of her own on the question of the word ‘obey’ in the ritual of the church and decided that for her it should be eliminated. She found a friend in Rev. Maxwell Gaddis, asst. pastor of Moses Chapel, Cincinnati, who promised to omit the word during the ceremony. She was married, but people charged that the marriage was invalid. At the next meeting of the general conference of the Methodist Episcopal church, held in Cincinnati, the clergyman who had omitted the word was ‘churched.’ Finally the question became general and later, when decisive action was taken, the sentence ‘serve and obey’ was ordered stricken out of the matrimonial ritual of the discipline of the ME church.”

There has been a new postoffice established on East Mountain at W. Williams’ house. Now the stage runs from Herrick Center to the new office, so the people along the line have their mail delivered.

Plummer Page, a nine-year old Alford boy, broke through the ice Wednesday on the pond near the DL&W trestle, and was drowned. When school was dismissed at noon, in company with several friends, he went to the pond to try the ice. Stepping from the end of a float which projects into the water, he commenced walking toward the shore. When about 30 ft. from land the ice gave way. The frightened children secured help and he was taken from the water in a few minutes. Every effort was made to resuscitate him, but, as the boy had a weak heart, it is thought death was due as much to the shock of the icy water and his struggle for life as it was to strangulation. It is reported that a little crippled brother of the drowned boy attempted to go to his rescue and the scene was a pitiful one. He was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Page, and is the second of their three children to die within a few months.

N. S. Harrison, of Co. F, a prisoner at Andersonville at the time of the Civil war is, with the other Penn’a prisoners held in this stockade, visiting the place again. The state pays all expenses of the trip.

Saturday evening Daniel S. Robinson’s house caught fire and came very near being destroyed by the monster fiend. Neighbors and friends helped them save part of the structure. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson moved their furniture to the White house and will reside there while their house is being repaired.

“Remarkable” said the pastor at the M. E. church, Sunday morning. “There are more men than ladies out this morning.”

L. S. Brown, one of the founders of the New Milford Advertiser, after an absence of many years, has been engaged by the owners of that paper to again take charge of it. We extend congratulations all around.

E. Feldman & Co. offers the following for Christmas: Dolls-dressed, from 19 cents to $5.00 and undressed, with kid body, from 29 cents to $1.98. Swing Rocking Horses, 75 cents to $1.98. Iron Toys, Fire Wagons, Hook and Ladder and Ice Wagons, Steam Engines, Surreys, Locomotives. Plus, Soldier Suits, Harmless Guns, Wool and Skin Animals and hundreds of other toys worth seeing.

ARARAT (More on the robbery at E. L. Avery’s):
Jim Farrel was arrested on suspicion of being implicated in the recent robbery. It will be remembered that on the night of the robbery the thieves, after relieving the safe of the $800, looted the cellar and pantry of Mrs. Avery’s house and carried away everything in the line of baked stuff, leaving not even a slice of bread. Mrs. Avery had baked the previous week for a company which she had invited to celebrate her mother’s 86th birthday, which took place the following Tuesday, and it was all taken away, including the baked beans, a large batch of cookies, a lot of bread, butter and, in fact, just everything they could find by ransacking the entire house. They also took Mr. A.’s best overcoat and mittens, watch, glasses and $40 that belonged to Mrs. Avery’s mother, that she had laid away for her burial. But we wish to say, to the credit of the marauders, they did not in any way torture or insult the person of any member of the family. There is an old saying that “there is honor among thieves,” was surely demonstrated by their refraining from doing bodily harm to their victims.

The work of tearing down the old Lehigh Valley depot is now going on and that familiar structure will soon be a remembrance of the past. Much good lumber is in the building and the railroad company will probably use some of it in erecting the shed where the coal will be weighed as well as for a tool house, etc., which will be built near the new coal pockets.

In Tunkhannock a warrant was issued on Thursday for the arrest of Fred Wall for malicious mischief in disfiguring a valuable horse of Coroner L. E. Meade’s, by cutting a large quantity of hair from its tail. It seems that Wall keeps the prisoners of the Wyoming county jail supplied with horse hair for the making of chains during their spare time.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

You gotta have heart!

Regardless of what you might think about Susquehanna County Government – and believe me at times there is plenty to (s)tink about – the courthouse has a roster of employees second to none that I have ever seen in county government. Most of the guys and gals that work there kept a safe distance from the political arena. Oh, they might do some questionable campaigning during the election season but by and large these folks focus their attention on the jobs for which they are being paid.

There is something else about the county work force worthy of bringing to your attention. In a word it is heart. These folks don’t turn their backs on any need. As a matter of fact, they extend themselves by going beyond the normal reach-in-the-pocket-for-a-buck routine.

Let me give you a recent example. When the call went out for donations to our local GIs who are serving in Iraq, the response was unbelievable. Boxes and boxes of items, many of which the guys overseas themselves requested, were shipped out last Thursday. In those boxes I saw flashlights, a wide assortment of electronic toys, cereals, cookies, candy, video tapes and discs, and oh, so many other necessities all brought to the courthouse by employees and/or friends of employees.

Our boys may not be home for the holidays but a lot of good people here in Northeastern Pennsylvania have done more than their share to give them a Christmas they will experience this year and talk about for years to come. And, of course, when something of this magnitude takes place, there is a need for coordinators. Jim Gulbin of the Adult Probation Department and Marlene Estelle of Juvenile Probation shouldered the responsibility on this end and Sergeant-First-Class Mike Koscelnak, who was working in Adult Probation before the guys and gals in the 109th at New Milford were called into active duty, was on the receiving end of the shipment. He took care of distributing the merchandise in Iraq and I am sure he had plenty of help.

Holiday Dress wear?

In addition to showing they have heart, our county employees are also participating in some holiday fun.

For example, beginning the week of December 12 and continuing until the holiday break, some loving and laughable activities will be taking place in the courthouse. This year we are told the fun and games were put together by the girls in the district attorney’s office. Next Monday kicks off the merrymaking with Wear Your Winter Slippers Day. Have no idea what the purpose is other than walking around with something different on your feet. Then again, it might be that the slippers will be hand decorated. Wanna find out? Visit the courthouse on Monday.

The festivities continue on Wednesday, December 14 when employees are asked to wear Christmas pins or some jingle bells. Then on Friday, December 16, there will be a wreath decorating contest in the courthouse and some prizes will be awarded.

Visitors will not want to miss strolling through the courthouse on Monday, December 19. That’s Wear Your Holiday Pajamas Day. Hmmmm! Conjures up some interesting thoughts doesn't it? The following day might be equally as pleasurable. It is Wear a Christmas Sweater Day. On that day, employees will also be invited to a hospitality suite in the Clerk of Courts/Register and Recorder offices where Mary Evans & Company will have some holiday goodies. On Wednesday, December 21, it will be Cookie/Candy Exchange Day and Thursday, December 22 is Wear A Holiday Hat Day. Also on Thursday the gang at the lower office building on Public Avenue will welcome the employees with some special food stuff. The Grand Finale will be Friday, December 23 in the small courtroom where lunch will be provided by employees from the offices of the district attorney, sheriff, court and maintenance. By the way, there will be a couple of raffles during the week with any money raised going to charity.

Well, there you have it, Christmas at the Courthouse. Wonder if Santa Claus will make a surprise appearance.

A couple of smiles

And finally, just in case you are caught without a Christmas joke, here are a couple you can repeat anywhere.

Christmas is the time when people put so many bulbs on the outside of their houses, you don’t know whether they are celebrating the birth of Jesus or General Electric.

Every Christmas pageant has a scene showing Joseph leading Mary into Bethlehem on a donkey. Do you realize what would happen if the Republicans asked for equal time?

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From the Desk of the D.A.

The constitution provides a criminal defendant the right to legal counsel. This does not mean that a defendant must accept legal counsel. If a defendant so desires, he or she may waive their right to legal counsel and proceed pro se, i.e., representing himself or herself. There is an old saying that the attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client. A pro se criminal defendant clearly is foolish in refusing appointed legal counsel as most criminal defendants have no legal training whatsoever – although, many have been through the system so many times that they have a decent knowledge of the criminal justice system as a whole.

In Kane v. Espitia, Garcia Espitia, after being charged in connection with carjacking, waived his right to be represented by legal counsel. He then demanded access to the law library so that he could prepare his defense. Because he was incarcerated, this proved to be difficult in that he would have to be transported and guarded during all of his forays to the law library. He did have access to the limited law library at the prison, as well as actually being allowed to spend four hours in the county law library. Despite his best efforts, the fool was convicted.

Thereafter, Espitia filed a federal habeas corpus action contending that his constitutional rights were violated by his inability to have unlimited access to the county law library to prepare his defense. The Ninth Circuit (you guessed it) reversed Espitia’s conviction and concluded that Espitia’s rights had been violated by not providing him access to the county law library. The United States Supreme Court took the appeal and reversed the decision of the Ninth Circuit, concluding that Espitia had created his own dilemma by declining court appointed legal representation – which would have provided him with an advocate with legal training as well as his counsel having unlimited access to legal materials. Thus, the Supreme Court determined that there was no clear violation of Espitia’s rights by refusing to allow him unlimited access to the county law library. While Espitia acted the fool in representing himself, it is refreshing that the Supreme Court did not allow him to be rewarded for his conscious decision to forego legal representation.

On another note with local ties, the Pennsylvania Superior Court recently decided the case of Commonwealth v. Clark, a case arising from Susquehanna County. Clark had been arrested for possessing several bags of cocaine in Forest City Borough – and he failed to make bail. While he was incarcerated, it was discovered that Clark had also been involved with a theft of personal property. Approximately 47 days after his arrest on the drug charges, he was also arrested for the theft. Clark was convicted on both cases, and sentenced to state prison on the theft charge, but placed on probation in connection with the drug charge. In determining the sentence, Clark received credit for his 47 days of incarceration on the drug charge and it was applied to his probationary sentence – not the state sentence for which he was incarcerated in state prison.

Clark appealed his sentence, contending that he was entitled to use the 47 days toward his actual sentence of incarceration on the theft charge so as to reduce the time that he would have to spend in state prison. The Superior Court rejected the appeal, and affirmed the sentence of the lower court. In a short, but published opinion, the Superior Court told Clark that he would be enjoying the additional 47 days as a guest of the State Department of Corrections because the lower court had the discretion to apply the 47 days of incarceration toward the probationary sentence – not the theft charge. I would like to recognize the efforts of First Assistant District Attorney Marion O’Malley, who worked hard on winning this appeal for the Commonwealth.

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

One lucky woman in Starrucca was Helen Haynes, when she was told she had won the Thanksgiving basket, sponsored by the Civic Association.

My niece, Holly and husband, John and son, J.R. Aughenbagh, York, PA were guests of mine last Saturday.

Congratulations to Alice and Kirk Rhone who celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary recently. Their children had a surprise party for them at the Baptist Church, November 20. Standing up for them were Alice’s sister, Ruth, maid of honor and the best man, Laverne Rhone. Nuptials were performed by Rev. Robert Criswell and the couple honeymooned at Niagara Falls.

The combined ecumenical choir have set December 11 at 3 p.m. in the Thompson Methodist Church as their singing date. See you there.

Congratulations to Chuck Welch, Thompson on bagging a bear, also Tony Palonis.
Many hunters tell me deer were scarce this year. Gary Robideau came up from Tunkhannock to hunt with his father-in-law, Charles Levchak and saw nary a one.

Other successful hunters were Don Walker, who was hunting on Buck’s farm, Gary Colwell, Art Kopp’s son-in-law and Ike Haynes, who brought down an eight-point buck that he plans to have mounted. That’s all I’ve heard about.

Senior Citizens meet on Thursday, December 8 for their Christmas potluck dinner. Everybody that’s able, bring a plate of cookies to make up plates for shut-ins.


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Dear EarthTalk: Are there any movies with positive environmental messages that would be appropriate for kids?

Betsy Lieser, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

From 1979’s The China Syndrome to 2004’s The Day After Tomorrow, numerous films with controversial environmental themes have enticed grown-ups to theatres over the past few decades. But the pickings are a little slimmer when it comes to green flicks for kids.

That said, nothing beats the 1972 film version of Dr Seuss’ The Lorax, where a cartoon industrialist (aren't they all?) ignores the voice of nature and pays the price. Another animated can't-miss is 1992’s Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, in which forest pixies save a lumberjack from crazed mechanized clear-cutting bulldozers. If your little ones like that one, you can rent them the sequel, Ferngully 2.

While other animated films may not address environmental themes so directly, many generate empathy toward nature and wildlife. King among these would be Finding Nemo, the animated blockbuster starring a fish. Disney’s 1992 The Little Mermaid also gets high marks for sending positive messages about undersea life. Meanwhile, A Bug’s Life and Antz, both originally released in 1998, paint insects and their ecosystems in a favorable if cartoony light.

Perhaps on a scale better for kids, 1995’s Balto – based on a true story but rendered in stunning animation – tells the heart-warming tale of how an Alaskan sled dog helps save the village of Nome from diphtheria. And the highest-grossing animated film of the 20th Century, The Lion King, puts the wild life of Africa’s Serengeti into a majestic format which kids love to take in over and over and over again.

Meanwhile, the original Free Willy from 1993 gets kudos for teaching kids about some weighty themes, but along those same lines, it might be best for older kids. Similarly, The Secret of Nimh and Plague Dogs, both from 1982, and 1978’s Watership Down are great environmental movies, but might best be saved for older kids who can deal with more complex issues and emotions.

Those looking for more details on environmental movies for kids and adults alike would enjoy reading David Ingram’s book Green Screen: Environmentalism and Hollywood Cinema. The book is organized by environmental theme and provides critical reviews of hundreds of movies accordingly. Another good resource is the Internet Movie Database, which offers information and user reviews on just about every movie ever released.

CONTACT: Internet Movie Database,

Dear EarthTalk: Which carpet cleaners are safe for the environment and my family’s health? Roger Schatz, Chicago, IL

Most of the carpet cleansers on store shelves today contain toxic ingredients such as petroleum solvents and glycol ethers that are effective on tough rug stains but harmful to both the environment and our health.

First concocted in industry labs in the 1950s, these chemicals have been linked to a wide range of human health maladies. According to Cynthia Wilson of the Chemical Injury Information Network, aside from the headaches and respiratory, throat, nose and eye irritation that can result from just mild exposure, longer-term exposure can result in damage to the central nervous system, kidneys and liver – even the inhibition of the body’s ability to produce blood.

Fortunately, in recent years a number of companies have come to the fore and developed kinder and gentler alternatives. Seventh Generation’s non-toxic, biodegradable Carpet Cleaner, for instance, uses natural citrus and hydrogen peroxide to remove spots and stains due to everything from coffee and pet stains to ground-in dirt, grease and other oil-based soils – all without leaving behind potentially hazardous fumes or residues. The company claims that if every household in the U.S. replaced just one bottle of solvent-based carpet cleaner with its product, Americans would prevent 11 million pounds of petroleum based solvents and glycol ethers from entering our environment.

Meanwhile, Earth Friendly Products‚ Everyday Stain and Odor Remover employs natural enzymes instead of harsh chemicals to lift carpet stains and get rid of pet odors. And the company’s Carpet Shampoo with Bergamot and Sage, for use in carpet cleaning equipment, is free of phosphates, chlorine, petrochemicals and other harsh chemicals. Bi-O-Kleen, Enviro-Rite and Natural Choices are a few other green-friendly brands with similar formulations. Large natural food markets like Whole Foods and Wild Oats usually stock a wide range of these products, but they can also be obtained online via Kokopelli’s Green Market and directly from the makers’ websites.

For big or particularly messy jobs, outsourcing the job to green-friendly pros might be the easiest way to go. Bio-Tech All Natural, for instance, which serves the San Francisco Bay area, employs natural enzymes in an all-natural cleaning process that deep cleans carpeting without chemicals in area homes and offices. It‚s patent-pending “Naturell Clean” product is available in some janitorial supply and carpet maintenance supply stores and is also employed by other commercial cleaning establishments.

Another alternative for cleaning seriously soiled carpets is to rent a steam-cleaning machine. Steamatic and other manufacturers offer environmentally friendly all-in-one units that dispense hot water and emulsifiers (which attract debris) and vacuum up everything but the carpet fibers and base. Given that many carpets are laden with unhealthy chemicals right off the assembly line, steam cleaning might just get your carpet cleaner than the day it was installed.

CONTACTS: Chemical Injury Information Network,; Seventh Generation,; Earth Friendly Products,; Kokopelli's Green Market,; Bio-Tech All Natural,; Steamatic,

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

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rage at close of day;

Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

Q. I’m tired of taking this sitting down. What can I do to fight the aging process?

There’s nothing that will stop aging, but you know that. The most you can hope for is longevity with health. Here are some pointers from health professionals for a high quality of life. You may find these boring, but they work:

Eat a varied diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Maintain a healthy weight. Exercise daily. Go to the doctor when you’re sick. Go to the doctor when you’re well to get screened for disease. Don’t smoke. Use sunscreen. Stay close to your friends and family.

Now let’s get into some of the potions that are being marketed through drugstores. We’ll start with antioxidants.

As you process food, you make substances called “free radicals,” which are believed to contribute to aging and certain diseases. To neutralize free radicals, your body uses antioxidants that come from your food. Proponents believe that antioxidants can prevent chronic diseases.

The following are some antioxidants: Vitamin A, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin C,

Vitamin E, Beta carotene, Folic acid and Selenium.

The best way to give your body the antioxidants it needs is to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. There's no proof that antioxidants in pill form can improve your general health or extend your life.

Because some hormone levels drop with age, there’s a theory that this decline causes us to age. But, can you reverse aging by restoring your hormones?

DHEA, testosterone, melatonin and HGH are some hormone supplements out there.

Your body converts DHEA into the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone. Proponents say it also slows aging, increases muscle and bone strength, burns fat, improves cognition, bolsters immunity and protects against chronic diseases.

Declining levels of testosterone, the male sex hormone, have been linked with decreased energy and sex drive, muscle weakness and osteoporosis.

Melatonin is produced in your brain. It helps regulate sleep. Some claim it can slow or reverse aging, fight cancer and enhance sexuality.

Human growth hormone (HGH) is responsible for growth spurts in children. Advocates say injections of prescription-only HGH can burn fat, build muscle and renew energy.

There is no convincing medical evidence to support claims about these hormone supplements. And they are risky. For instance, even short-term use of DHEA or testosterone may cause liver damage.

Don’t believe advertisements that tell you supplements are "natural" remedies, implying that they can’t hurt you. Some people try supplements such as coral calcium, ginseng and Echinacea to stop aging. There isn't any evidence to support the claims for these supplements either.

Talk to your doctor before taking any supplement. Ingredients in supplements can cause harmful interactions with your medications and serious side effects.

If you have a question, please write to

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