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Issue Home December 27, 2005 Site Home

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

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

100 Years Ago

FOREST CITY: Persons who drive to town often blanket their horses carefully upon arriving, only to have the blanket blown off by the wind a little later, exposing the animal to the rigors of the winter weather. The hardware or harness stores sell large safety pins that are very effective in keeping blankets on when properly used. Every horse owner should provide himself with a supply of these inexpensive articles and when he has occasion to blanket is horse use the pins. AND: By tearing down the coal breaker at Richmondale, near Forest City, that little mining town will cease to exist and 200 men will be thrown out of employment. AND: The somewhat celebrated church cases, in which a number of people were accused of assaulting Rev. L. Suchowski, have been amicably settled by the parties concerned and the court has allowed the indictments to be quashed.

SPRINGVILLE: Last Thursday, as W. E. Ward was driving down the hill past the mill, the neck yoke strap broke letting the wagon against the horse causing them to run, coming up through town and starting north up the hill where they were stopped. Two young ladies in the wagon showed grit, for they uttered no sound. No damage was sustained.

RUSH: The Christmas exercises at the Trinity M. E. Church were enjoyed by a congregation which filled the church on Saturday evening. Santa Claus rather excelled his record and the children did their part with usual Christmas enthusiasm.

OAKLAND: No trace of Maude Haynes, the Oakland girl who so mysteriously disappeared two weeks ago, has yet been discovered.

HARFORD: We understand that we are to lose our butter maker, Mr. G. A. Baldwin, who has bought a large feed mill near Cortland, N.Y., where he will move at once. This place will lose an excellent butter maker, a good citizen, and the church a willing worker. Mr. Baldwin has been troubled with rheumatism for some time, and thinks the change will benefit his health. AND: Ralph Capron’s team ran away Tuesday and broke his wagon but did no damage to the horses. AND: Vaccinating the scholars is the fashion of the day at schools around here.

FRANKLIN FORKS: The new library has come and anyone wishing a book can find it at Mrs. E. F. Palmer’s.

FAIRDALE: J. J. Ryan, of Montrose, has begun to put on the steel ceiling for the M.E. church.

FRIENDSVILLE: The Ladies’ Bazaar, which is the attraction this week, is meeting with all kinds of success. The music on Christmas night was furnished by Mahon Bros., of Montrose, and Miss Anna Ryan, of Friendsville. They say it was “tip top.”

MONTROSE: To former schoolmates who shared her worthy companionship in the “old academy” in Montrose, it may prove of deep interest to learn, during Yule-tide season, that Sister M. of St. Borremeo (Miss Keeler), of the Good Shepherd Order, was transferred in the fall, from the convent in St. Louis, to teach in the Aldecoa Reform School for Girls, at Havana, Cuba. Sister Mary belongs to one of the oldest religious orders in the world, and whose foundress Ven. M. St. Euphrasia Pelletier, is buried in one of the historic cemeteries at Angers, France. This is Sister Mary’s second call to Cuba.

HOP BOTTOM: Canfield Stone was in town last week. He is preparing to again take charge of his hotel, the Foster House. “Can” is a popular hotel man.

BIRCHARDVILLE: T. H. Brink lost two horses recently within a few minutes of each other. It is thought they were poisoned by somebody. He had never fed any meal, but found a little meal in their mangers that day.

WEST AUBURN: The West Auburn school was opened for one week, after a long fight as to vaccination and then the teacher, H. B. Lee, was taken sick with appendicitis, and now the school is closed again. Mr. Lee, in his sickness, has the sympathy of those on both sides of the late “unpleasantness,” we are informed. It is said that Dr. Lathrop notified the teacher to admit the pupils and go on with the school, until such time as the State Board should take the matter up, if they did at all. There are 39 pupils in that school, 25 of which have not been vaccinated and, it is said, will not be.

BROOKLYN: Charlie J. Savige and Clara Whitman, students of Wyoming Seminary, are spending their vacation with their parents, in this place. AND: The marriage of Miss Ethel Sterling and Leon J. Russell took place at the home of Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Sterling, Christmas day.

NICHOLSON: While playing about the railroad, jumping on and off a freight this afternoon, little Harry Greenwood, aged 14 years, was struck by No. 6 and killed, says Friday’s Nicholson “Record.” The accident happened near Spencer’s mill on the curve and he jumped from a freight train going west on to the eastbound track directly in front of the fast approaching train. His head was badly cut. The family is overcome by the accident.

NEWS BRIEF: “Take Off Your Hat To Her.” God bless the girl who works! She is brave, good and noble. She is not too proud to make her own living or ashamed to be caught at the task. She smiles at you from behind the desk or counter or printer case. She is like a brave mountaineer climbing, struggling, rejoicing. The sight should be an inspiration to us all. It is an honor to know this girl and be worthy of her esteem. Lift your hat to her, young man, as she passes by. Her hand may be stained by dishwashing, factory grease or printers ink, but it is an honest and helping hand. It stays misfortune from the home; it supports an invalid one maybe; a loving patient shield that protects many a family from the almshouse. All honor the brave toiler. God bless and protect the girl who works. AND: An exchange gives the following advice to young men who are contemplating matrimony. Don’t ask a girl to marry you after dark when she is dressed fit to kill. Call on her, and when you leave, inadvertently drop a glove on the piano. Return for it the next morning at nine o’clock. If she comes to the door with one glove and one slipper on, her hair in curl papers, dressed in an old Mother Hubbard, our advice is to take to the woods. But if she appears in a neat house dress, her hair done up, and a rose in the top of her hair, grab her quick.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Merry Christmas to all and to all...

Another year has come and gone,
Some things went well, some went wrong.
But we all have reason to be merry,
Our names didn't appear in an obituary.

Ah, but there wasn't much peace on the county level,
Where Jeff keeps giving someone the devil.
He always finds something to keep him chiming,
Glad he did or this wouldn't be rhyming.

His favorite targets were Mary Ann and Roberta
Who held their composure well, kinda-sorta.
And while he may never be the county’s favorite son,
It’s almost certain he thinks he’s one.

As for Roberta Kelly, who remains chair of the board,
She will not use the PA system so all can be heard.
And if anyone has a notion to give Roberta a gift,
A good book on manners might give hers a lift.

Mary Ann Warren our minority commissioner,
Doesn't say much but she is a good listener.
And while she and Jeff have their differences,
Many of them were over insinuations and inferences.

The commissioners didn't do much in the year that is ending,
But leave a trail of bad feelings and some fences that need mending.
We did get an elevator in the county courthouse,
Some building repairs and a trap for an elusive mouse.

There were a number of personnel changes during the year.
And a couple of new department heads that made some workers cheer.
Suzanne Brainard resigned as chief clerk,
To chase other dreams in a new line of work.

Then there was the war memorial renovation,
That was blown out of proportion by political motivation.
And an unwarranted issue over a communication need,
But these are the things on which politicians feed.

Before we leave the county seat,
There are some things worthy of a drum beat.
Most departments function like precision-made clocks,
With very few gripes and very few squawks.

So folks rest easy and enjoy the season,
Not all your tax dollars are spent for no reason.
The rank-and-file employees are getting the job done
Merry Christmas and go have some fun.

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From the Desk of the D.A.

During this holiday season, the vast majority of Americans of countless religious faiths celebrate in some form or manner their belief in a divine presence. As many have already heard, a federal court, with a strange sense of timing, added its own Christmas blessing – concluding that intelligent design theory could not even be mentioned in a public high school science class. For those who have missed this interesting controversy, a public high school in central Pennsylvania was requiring that its science teachers read a brief statement indicating that there was an alternate theory to general evolutionary teachings, namely, that the evolution of life on this planet was guided in part by intelligent design, which was an outside force that helped to craft the surprising complexity of living organisms – a complexity that, at times, is even unexplainable by evolutionary principles. Because intelligent design theory implies a divine being, which has obvious religious components, opponents challenged the insertion of such theory in any public school science class. In a recent decision, the federal court determined that “intelligent design” was nothing more than a disguised religious creationism, and, as such, could not be mentioned in a public school science class without violating the prohibitions of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

There are many perplexing aspects of the decision – but the crux of the reasoning appears to be that because there was no way to prove scientifically that intelligent design assisted in evolution, then it could not be consider a scientific theory. There are, however, scientists that believe and promote intelligent design theory. Perhaps, these scientists are wrong – but should a federal court really make that determination as to which branch of scientific thought is right and which is wrong. Is a federal court even qualified to make such determinations? If we are going to educate our children, why not expose them to different views and theories so that they are truly educated, not indoctrinated with only one view. There is a supreme arrogance in dictating to a local public high school that it cannot make reference to a branch of scientific thought known as intelligent design simply because it represents a minority view in the scientific community.

This debate is not new by any stretch of the imagination. In the 1200s, Thomas Aquinas wrote a short work wherein he proved that God existed by using logic and basic scientific principles. Aquinas undertook this exercise to quiet critics that argued that there was no way to demonstrate the God existed. Although there are numerous “proofs” that were set forth, the first two proofs are strikingly easy to comprehend. Aquinas started with the scientific principles of motion – and noted that objects at rest stay at rest until moved by some outside force. In his work Summa Theologia, Aquinas summarized the logical sequence of motion: “Everything, therefore, is moved by something else. If, then, that by which it is moved, is also moved, this must be moved by something still different, and this, again, by something else. But this process cannot go on to infinity because there would not be any first mover, nor, because of this fact, anything else in motion, as the succeeding things would not move except because of what is moved by the first mover, just as a stick is not moved except through what is moved from the hand. Therefore it is necessary to go back to some first mover, which is itself moved by nothing---and this all men know as God.”

Aquinas then used another scientific principle of cause and effect – every effect has a cause. Aquinas stated simply: “If the cause is removed, the effect is removed. Hence if there is not a first cause, there will not be a last, nor a middle. But if the chain were to go back infinitely, there would be no first cause . . . . Hence we must presuppose some first efficient cause---which all call God.”

Over 800 years ago, Aquinas set forth his proofs to counter the assertions of those that contended that the existence of God was a mere article of faith and not provable. Science cannot disprove the logic utilized by Aquinas in making his determination – in fact, even proponents of the “big bang” theory are at a loss to explain how it was caused or how the materials involved where created. Even considering rudimentary scientific principles, there simply must be a “first mover” or a “first cause” – or, in today’s parlance, nature has been assisted through intelligent design.

While opponents of intelligent design contend that it is not provable, the proofs were written 8 centuries ago and it is science that has been unable to disprove God’s existence. Yet, you will not find Aquinas being taught in public schools – a place where Darwin rules supreme. Would the children of America be better served in considering intelligent design as a compliment to Darwin? At a minimum, would they be better educated? But even the mere mention of an alternate scientific theory known as intelligent design, without reference to God, theology or otherwise, has been deemed anathema to public education in the sciences. Merry Christmas, America!

Please submit any questions, concerns, or comments to Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office, P.O. Box 218, Montrose, Pennsylvania 18801.

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The Healthy Geezer

Q. Do men get osteoporosis?

Yes, men do get osteoporosis, but women are at greater risk.

Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue. This condition creates an increased risk of fractures.

Osteoporosis is a major public health threat for 44 million Americans; about 68 percent of them are women. One out of every two women and one in four men over 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.

Our bodies remove old bone and replace it with new bone. During our growth stage, new bone is added faster than old bone is removed. We hit peak bone mass around age 30. After that age, we lose more bone than we form.

Who is at risk of getting osteoporosis?

The chances are greater if you are a woman. Women have less bone tissue and lose bone faster than men because of changes from menopause. Small, thin-boned women are at greater risk. Caucasian and Asian women are at highest risk. Age is a major risk factor because bones become thinner and weaker as you age. Heredity can also increase fracture risk.

Low calcium intake appears to be associated with bone loss. Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products, dark-green leafy vegetables, almonds, and foods fortified with calcium, such as orange juice. Some people may need to take a calcium supplement.

Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium absorption and in bone health. It is made in the skin through exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D production decreases in the elderly, in people who are housebound, and for people in general during the winter. Depending on your situation, you may need to take vitamin D supplements.

Bone responds to exercise by becoming stronger. Weight-bearing exercise is the best for your bones. Get off the sofa.

Women who smoke have lower levels of estrogen compared to nonsmokers, and they often go through menopause earlier. Smokers also may absorb less calcium from their diets. Quit.

Regular consumption of 2 to 3 ounces a day of alcohol may be damaging to the skeleton. Heavy drinkers are more prone to bone loss and fractures, because of poor nutrition and increased risk of falling. Quit or, at least, cut down.

People may not know they have osteoporosis until their bones become so weak that a bump or fall causes a hip to fracture or a vertebra to collapse. See your doctor for a check-up.

Following a comprehensive medical assessment, your doctor may recommend that you have your bone mass measured. A bone mineral density (BMD) test is the best way to determine your bone health. BMD tests can identify osteoporosis, determine your risk for fractures, and measure your response to osteoporosis treatment. The most widely recognized bone mineral density test is called a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry or DXA test.

A comprehensive osteoporosis treatment program includes a focus on proper nutrition, exercise, and safety issues to prevent falls that may result in fractures. In addition, your physician may prescribe a medication to slow or stop bone loss, increase bone density, and reduce fracture risk.

If you have a question, please write to

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Dear EarthTalk: What are the implications of the increased breakup of Antarctica’s large floating ice shelves in recent years?

Gaertner Olivier, Brussels, Belgium

Ice shelves are thick plates of ice that float on the ocean around much of Antarctica. Snow, glaciers and ice floes feed these large plates in the colder months. In warmer periods, surface melting creates standing water that leaks into cracks and speeds the breaking off (calving) of icebergs, decreasing the continent’s mass in a natural cycle as old as Antarctica itself.

"Large icebergs calve off on a fairly regular basis from the larger ice shelves in Antarctica," says Dr. Ted Scambos, a research associate at National Snow and Ice Data Center. "This is a part of their normal evolution."

The only effect of such calving that scientists are sure about is that they are changing the outline of Antarctica. The break-up of the ice shelves, which account for about two percent of the continent’s landmass, does not have any measurable effect on sea levels. "Since an iceberg floats in ocean water, and much of it is below the surface, it is already displacing the same volume of water it will contribute when it eventually melts," Scambos explains.

But while such calving activity may not be new, it has increased over the last 30 years, with larger and larger chunks breaking off from Antarctica where they float free in the ocean and break up into successively smaller pieces. One especially large iceberg, a chunk the size and shape of New York’s Long Island and dubbed "B15A" by researchers, broke off from Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf in 2000 and just last April collided with the continent’s Drygalski Ice Tongue (a long shelf of ice extending out to sea from the mainland). The iceberg itself remained intact, but a city-sized chunk of the ice tongue broke off and is now floating free.

Most researchers suspect that recent increases in calving are linked to warming surface air temperatures as a result of human-induced climate change. British glaciologist David Vaughan says, "There is no doubt that the climate on the Antarctic Peninsula has warmed significantly over the last few decades. What we're seeing now are changes only just working through to glaciers and ice sheets." Scambos says that, as Antarctic summer temperatures continue to increase, the process can be expected to become more widespread, and could begin to significantly increase sea levels around the world.

Even a relatively small rise in sea level would make some densely settled coastal areas uninhabitable. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international group of climatologists, predicts a global sea level rise of less than three feet by 2100, but also warns that global warming during that time may lead to irreversible changes in the Earth’s glacial system and ultimately melt enough ice to raise sea levels many more feet in coming centuries. Some 200 million people inhabit low-lying areas in countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh, China, India and The Philippines and could be displaced, leading to a major international refugee crisis.

CONTACTS: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,, NASA's iceberg collision page,

Dear EarthTalk: Are there any environmentally friendly alternatives to aerosol spray dusters?

Troy Blakely, New York, NY

Artists, photographers and electronics technicians have long relied on aerosol spray dusters to carefully remove dust and fine particles from sensitive surfaces like paintings, film and computer hardware. An aerosol spray uses a propellant chemical, along with various other additives, to push clean air or a particular active ingredient out of the container. Until the late-1980s, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were the primary propellants used. However, CFCs were phased out worldwide after scientists discovered that they were helping to deplete the Earth’s ozone layer.

While makers of aerosol spray dusters don't use CFCs anymore, they can put other potentially harmful hydrocarbons, such as methylene chloride, into their products. The Consumer Federation of America reports that many of the highly flammable substances used are carcinogenic. Some are also neurotoxic (harmful to nerve tissue) and contain chemicals that can damage one’s sense of smell.

Hydrocarbon-free alternatives are not that easy to come by, though one manufacturer, Advantus, makes a line of nontoxic, chemical-free and "ozone-safe" dusters for home and office. Some are refillable and are thus waste saving, too, and can be ordered from the company’s website. Several other companies, including Universal and Falcon, make spray dusters that use Earth-friendly propellants, but they are not chemical-free. Most are available at most office supply stores or online at

Those who rely on spray dusters can minimize their use by keeping the indoor environment as dust-free as possible. Frequent damp dusting and vacuuming are the best defenses against a dusty indoor environment. Clutter consisting of small objects and books make dusting more difficult – and all the more necessary. Routine air duct cleaning and frequent changing of furnace and air conditioning filters will also minimize the accumulation of dust in both homes and offices.

CONTACTS: Consumer Federation of America,, Advantus Corp.,;,

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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