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Featured In Our Feb. 8th Issue Of The Susquehanna County Transcript

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Issue Home January 17, 2006 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

ARARAT: Mrs. Leach has succeeded in obtaining a license and is arranging to open her bar in the near future. We are sorry that a woman should engage in the liquor business. Ararat has been free from the saloon for the past 6 months and the quietness produced thereby had been greatly appreciated and we regret that the peace and comfort of the community must be upset by 12 respectable citizens.

HOPBOTTOM: Pupils of the Primary Department of the Graded school present every day of the month are as follows: Aldon Taylor, Maurice Packer, Floyd Titus, Walter Brown, Erman Palmer, Harold Packer, Claude Titus, Letah Packer, Thursey Palmer, Dolly Penny, Pauline Taylor, Alice Palmer, Maud Carpenter, Mildred Patterson, Emma Patterson.

AUBURN TWP.: Albert Otis, living in Tuscarora Twp., Bradford Co., just across the line from Auburn twp., took his team and drove to Rummerfield a week ago Friday. There he put out his team and took the train for Towanda, where he transacted some business with A. W. Little, Esq. He also visited his brother-in-law and left at about 2 a.m. to catch a train back to Rummerfield. It was known that he failed to catch the passenger train, as he was late in getting to the depot. This is the last seen of him. Foul play is suspected. He formerly lived in Susquehanna County, near Rush. He had on his person $15 or $20 in money and a check signed by L. L. Ervine, of West Auburn, for $5. It is hoped some clue may be found through this check. Two arrests have been made: Ernest Pickett, a brother-in-law, of Towanda was put through the third degree, but was allowed to go, but will be held under surveillance. Chas. Warner, of Towanda, but formerly of W. Auburn, was examined and held under bond. Both are said to be of intemperate habits. The general supposition is that Otis never got across the river, but was murdered for money supposed to be on his person.

SUSQUEHANNA: Mrs. Frank Cronk has brought an action against Cyrus A. Wheaton, a well-known citizen and deputy sheriff of Deposit. Mrs. Cronk claims that while living with her husband in Susquehanna, and on the evening of March 6, 1903, late in the evening, a boy brought a telegram reading: Binghamton, March 6, 1903. “Mrs. Frank Cronk: Your daughter, May, is dangerously sick at the Susquehanna Valley Home. Come to Binghamton on the train that leaves Susquehanna at 1:10 tonight. There will be a ticket at the ticket office for you. No. of ticket 16,178.” Mrs. Cronk, greatly frightened, hastened to the depot and got on the train. Just before the train reached Binghamton, Wheaton appeared and said, “I arrest you.” He handcuffed Mrs. Cronk and took her to jail until a train went east, when she was taken to Deposit, where she was later released. Mrs. Cronk said she had committed no crime and that the telegram was false and that Mr. Wheaton was the author of it, and she claims maliciously and unlawfully forged it, and used it to deceive and decoy her from the State of Pennsylvania into the State of New York. That by reason of these facts she suffered great mental anxiety, anguish and distress of mind, the treatment made her nervous, weak and nearly prostrated her, and on account of it she sustained damage in the sum asked--$10,000. The case will be tried in Montrose, April court.

NEW MILFORD: A business starting in a small way, increasing as demand was made for its goods is the Dr. Geo. Place Clements Prescription Specialty Co., of New Milford, PA. which puts up and sells the medicine prescribed by the doctor in his long practice. The company has been incorporated and will push the manufacturing and sale henceforward. The remedies used by this company are all prescribed by Dr. Geo. Place Clements and were used by him in his extensive practice of 17 years in New York City.

FOREST CITY: Patrons of the Anthracite Telephone company wishing to send long distance messages can do so at Feldman’s store, the McLaughlin hotel or the exchange pending there-opening of the pay station at the Taylor Drug store.

EAST ELKDALE: A social gathering was held at the home of Charles Cross Saturday evening and a good time was reported. Professor Truman Ogden, the violinist, furnished music for the occasion.

FRANKLIN FORKS: The Franklin Forks boys club elected the following officers for the coming year: Harry Turrell, pres.; Archie Summers, vice pres; E. Wheaton, sect.; Arthur Wheaton, treas; Orra Summers, door keeper; Sydney Stockholm, janitor. The boys are drilling for an entertainment to be given in the near future.

HARFORD: The death of Mrs. Melissa (Tower) Peck occurred at her home in Harford, Jan. 12, 1906, after an illness of four weeks, aged 86 years, 8 months and 6 days. Mrs. Peck was born in Vermont on May 7, 1819. In 1837 she married Daniel H. Peck, while living in Vermont. Four children were born to them, three daughters and one son, the son dying at the age of 2 months. In 1850 they moved to Susquehanna County, living for several years in Lenox Twp. In 1863 they purchased a farm in Harford Twp. Five more children were born to them. Oct. 8, 1872 she was bereft of a husband, he dying very suddenly, leaving her to struggle on alone. Many a one would have faltered by the way, not so with this energetic woman. By strict economy and hard work she managed to keep the home and the children together. In March 1877, her oldest son, Frank, came home from the west and took the old farm and assumed the duties of caring for mother the remainder of her days. Six children, 27 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren survive her.

MONTROSE: Go to the Colonial Theatre this evening and hear the Brockway Jubilee Singers, the greatest company of colored artists in the United States. Their hearts are filled with song and good cheer. Do not miss hearing them. Reserved seats secured at Morris & Co.’s Drug Store. Given under the auspices of the Montrose High School.

NEWS BRIEF: An exchange states that a western medical association has attributed liver and stomach troubles to the practice in the majority of families of warming up coffee for the table use and adding coffee once used to fresh coffee to be drank. In such families addicted to this practice it was found that 50% were victims of stomach and liver troubles.

VISIT the Historical Society’s website,, with its growing archive of searchable “100 Years Ago Today” (almost 400 now).


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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Never a dull moment in the courthouse

Oh boy! As if the feud between Commissioner Jeff Loomis and Commissioners Roberta Kelly and Mary Ann Warren isn't bad enough, the distaff side of the spectrum has added some fuel to the fire and, as you might expect, Mr. Loomis is the one who is hot and bothered by it.

Information unveiled Thursday by Mr. Loomis is that Commissioners Kelly and Warren reduced county Solicitor Michael Giangrieco’s salary by $10,000 without bringing it before the county Salary Board. Contacted at his office, Mr. Giangrieco did confirm it but that is all he would say about it.

In another questionable move, Commissioners Kelly and Warren exonerated a tax penalty for someone without doing it at a public meeting. They had good reason to do it because the tax bill was sent to the wrong address but it would have been nice if they would have done it in public or at least discussed it with Cathy Benedict, head of the Tax Claim Bureau.

Mrs. Kelly and Mrs. Warren said they authorized both moves and while they may have flirted with violations of the state Sunshine Act, they are convinced what they did in each action was the right thing to do.

Mr. Loomis may have a valid point or two but I still don’t like his practice of airing dirty laundry for all to see and hear. The belief here is that he should not ignore what he feels isn't exactly kosher but he should go to the source and attempt to straighten things out instead of launching another letter campaign. Especially since most of his differences are with his fellow commissioners and when he campaigned for the office, he pledged to be a team player.

But he is on target when he cites a paragraph in the letter exonerating the tax penalty that reads: “The Commissioners, therefore, are in agreement to exonerate any penalty that may have accrued due to this error.” Mr. Loomis was never notified of the action and whether he is liked or disliked by the other commissioners, he is on the board and that qualifies him to know what is going on.

Concerning Mr. Giangrieco’s salary reduction, again Mr. Loomis was not apprised of it until the last county pay period.

“This is a violation of the Sunshine Law and is contrary to the County Code,” he said. “All salary issues must be voted on at a public meeting.”

Commissioners Kelly and Warren said the salary issue is a personnel matter and they refused to discuss it. Mrs. Kelly did point out that the county originally gave Mr. Giangrieco an additional $10,000 to handle union grievances and that since Sylvia Beamer was hired as personnel director, there have been no grievances.

“We didn't have grievances,” Mrs. Kelly said, “because we have someone as competent as Sylvia.”

I talked with Commissioners Kelly and Warren on a conference call last Friday and both of them advised me that Commissioner Kelly, who is chair of the Board of Commissioners, calls frequent meetings and Mr. Loomis does not attend.

“He has been invited to all of our 9 a.m. meetings and he never shows up,” Mrs. Kelly said. “We try. We are here now (about 9:15 a.m. Friday, Jan. 13). He isn't. He is seldom here.”

Well, I can attest to the fact that Mr. Loomis does spend time in his office at the courthouse. However, his time conflicts with the other commissioners. They prefer an early morning start and he generally arrives in the afternoon.

Mr. Loomis also took the time to point out the large turnover in department heads since the Kelly Administration took control of county government in 2004.

“At the rate people are quitting because of my fellow commissioners,” he said, “we will be lucky if we have any department heads left by the end of our term.”

Since the Kelly Administration these have been the department head changes:

Rick Kaminski was demoted from chief assessor to assessor and replaced by Jennifer Pisasik who also resigned and was replaced by Ellen O'Malley.

Dawn Watson resigned as EMA/911 coordinator shortly after they split her job in half and took a sizeable chunk of her paycheck and gave it to the Mark Wood, the new EMA coordinator. Ms. Watson was then replaced by Art Donato.

Justin Taylor was furloughed as director of Economic Development and was replaced by his assistant, Liz Janoski. Ms. Janoski was subsequently let go when the current administration abolished the department.

Suzanne Brainard resigned as chief clerk; Scott Wayman resigned as head of custodial and maintenance; and, Bill Zick retired as recycling coordinator.


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From the Desk of the D.A.

I am now entering my third year of composing this article, which means that over 100 short essays have made their way to print. It is not always easy to come up with material that might be interesting to you, the reader. As I write, I often think of the old saying that reading the law is much like eating sawdust! Though there are those of us who love it, legal hornbooks will never be bestsellers. With this in mind, I have attempted to present material in a manner that is both informative and, hopefully, moderately enjoyable to the reader. As the article has evolved, and in an effort to find interesting topics, I have periodically included current issues of the day and my personal take on the issues.

As a result of my occasional forays into the world of editorializing, I have received positive and negative comments. For instance, the “Christmas” article received a largely warm response from readers, but I also received a letter from a reader asking that I stop violating the Constitution of the United States – the reader was offended by my choice of words in “praying” for everyone to have a sacred and blessed Christmas. In other words, in the reader’s view, I was improperly using the position of District Attorney to promote a Christian view of the world and, as such, I was violating the constitutional requirements of separating church and state. Periodically, I receive other complaints along a similar vein – that I am a public servant and that I should not use this space to voice my personal opinions. These complaints are understandable, but present somewhat of a quandary for me.

This article has always been an informal exercise – I simply do not have the time to devote to the writing, drafting and editing process to become a full-fledged journalist. When I proposed a weekly article, I believed it could accomplish two things: (1) provide the readers with some general knowledge regarding the criminal justice system; and (2) provide the reader with a chance to get to know me through my writings. I hope that over the last 100 articles, these goals have been accomplished to some degree. I simply have no desire to compose a weekly article that provides the reader with no insights into who I am or what I believe – though some would suggest this would be the more politically viable option. In my view, the reader (and voter) deserves better than simply chewing on sawdust every week.

I do not have a monopoly on the truth, nor do I know anyone who does. Each of the 100 articles, however, represented my personal view or interpretation of a particular statute, case or issue. I understand and accept that there are opinions and interpretations that differ from my own – and we should celebrate those differences. It seems to me that people generally, and in government especially, have forgotten that it is not only acceptable to disagree, but it is important to do so. When arguments are made with intellectual honesty and integrity, there is no shame to being on either side – both deserve praise and honor for serving the democratic process. Only when an argument is made for a dishonest reason should we condemn not only the fraud, but the defrauder as well. I have never sought out to intentionally hurt, embarrass or offend any particular person with the contents of this article. If you have ever taken offense to the contents herein, rest assured that no offense was intended.

But how do I address the allegation that I am misusing my public position to advocate personal views in this article. I have considered including a disclaimer at the bottom of each article, something to the effect that the “views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Susquehanna County, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or the United States of America, but are solely the personal views and opinions of its author.” The other option would be to stop doing the article in its current format and attempting to wholly sanitize each work so that no semblance of my personal thoughts remained. This option is equally unappealing. I have no desire to write this column as if it were a legal memorandum – as opposed to an informal discussion of miscellaneous issues and principles, with some personal commentary. I also believe strongly that this article in its current format provides the reader with a good opportunity to learn not only about legal issues, but also about my thoughts and views. While I am certain that readers will disagree with some of my views, there is no need for such disagreement to descend into personal animosity between us.

Finally, the only other option would be to just stop doing the article in its entirety so as to avoid the chance that my words or thoughts might unintentionally offend. While this would certainly be the easiest option for me, I remain hopeful that the purposes of this article may still be achieved – education, entertainment and personalization of an elected official. Hopefully, these words have made clear that this article is a personal exercise – not a public function – and the contents herein are my personal views, interpretations and thoughts – not some attempt by a government agent to coerce you into any particular train of thought. I neither want nor seek such power.

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. I’m considering having a hip replaced. What are the odds that this operation will work?

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says joint replacement surgery is successful in more than 9 out of 10 people. And replacement of a hip or knee lasts at least 20 years in about 80 percent of those who have the surgery.

In the procedure, an arthritic or damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint called a “prosthesis.” Artificial joints are medical devices, which must be cleared or approved by the FDA before they can be marketed in the United States

The goal of surgery is to relieve the pain in the joint caused by the damage done to cartilage, the tissue that serves as a protective cushion and allows smooth, low-friction movement of the joint. Total joint replacement is considered if other treatment options will not bring relief.

In an arthritic knee, the damaged ends of the bones and cartilage are replaced with metal and plastic surfaces that are shaped to restore knee function. In an arthritic hip, the damaged ball and socket of this joint are replaced by a metal ball and plastic socket. Several metals are used, including stainless steel, alloys of cobalt and chrome, and titanium. The plastic material is durable and wear-resistant polyethylene.

The two most common joints requiring this form of surgery are the knee and hip, which are weight-bearing. But replacements can also be performed on other joints, including the ankle, foot, shoulder, elbow and fingers.

After total hip or knee replacement you will often stand and begin walking the day after surgery. Initially, you will walk with a walker, crutches or a cane. Most patients have some temporary pain in the replaced joint because the surrounding muscles are weak from inactivity and the tissues are healing, but it will end in a few weeks or months.

Exercise is an important part of the recovery process. After your surgery, you may be permitted to play golf, walk and dance. However, more strenuous sports, such as tennis or running, may be discouraged.

There can be complications from joint-replacement surgery. These include infection, blood clots, loosening of the prosthesis, dislocation of the joint, excessive wear, prosthetic breakage and nerve injury. There are remedies for all of these complications, but sometimes the correction will take more surgery.

Surgeons are refining techniques and developing new ones such as minimal-incision surgery. Instead of a 6- to 12-inch-long incision used in a standard total knee replacement, some surgeons are using a 4- to 5-inch incision. And instead of the typical 10- to 12-inch incision in a total hip replacement, surgeons are operating through one 4-inch cut or two 2-inch cuts.

Minimal incisions reduce trauma, pain and hospital stays. Not all patients are candidates for minimal-incision surgery.

If you have a question, please write to

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Straight From Starrucca

What a beautiful winter’s day we had last week. The bank thermometer while is there registered 53°. A blessing for sure, as it melted  a lot of the driveways coated with ice, mine included.

A word of sympathy to Michael Smith and family in the loss of his wife, Terri Anderson. She was a very talented lady and I met her infrequently, but she had a gracious smile and was very cordial. She will be truly missed.

As we lose one, we gain another. Reilly Donald Potter was born December 6 to Kristin and Donald Potter and was welcomed home by his three-year old sister, Rhiannon. Kristen is the daughter of Gale Williams. Congratulations to the family.

The Spirited Seniors met on Wednesday, January 11 with eight members present to enjoy the potluck dinner. We had one guest, who is a caregiver for June Downton. She is Jennie Fentos.

Jennie and husband, John have bought the old Sampson house on the lower steeps of the “dug road” and have lived there since October.

Gale Williams made a visit to Connecticut to see her sister this week and returned with her to spend a few days.

Carl and Virginia Upright, to relax after the hectic holidays, drove to Modena, NY to visit their son, Brett this last weekend.

Doris Davidson is home and trying hard to make it on her own after being in extended care for so long.

The next meeting of seniors will be February 8.

I want to thank all those who in any way sent a card, telephoned, or stopped in for a visit at the time my son, Nelson passed away. Thank you for your prayers. I guess God wanted him more than we did, and we have to accept that. He was truly a dutiful son.


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