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Issue Home February 7, 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

LAKESIDE: Our deputy fish warden and constable don’t seem to attend to their duties as strictly as they might. There are reports of illegal fishing with “tip-ups” on Butler’s Lake, by people from Susquehanna, nearly every week since the ice has been thick enough to bear a man’s weight. If people around here are not allowed to fish it does not seem right that people from a distance should be allowed to.

UNIONDALE: The Presbyterian Ladies Aid Society met at the home of Mrs. G. Esmay, Thursday. After a bountiful dinner those present were entertained by a number of selections on the phonograph.

FAIRDALE: The two sons of Dan Oaks, Roy and Victor, ran away from home one day last week. It is pretty cold weather to start out in a cold world friendless and penniless.

ELK LAKE: Meetings have been held in the M. E. church for the past three weeks by Rev. Cline, Mr. Webster assisting. A number have expressed a desire to lead a better life.

LENOX: Be sure and come to see “The spinsters convention” at Grange hall, in Glenwood, Tuesday evening Feb. 13. The spinsters will be transformed into blooming young maidens, right before your face and eyes. Admission only 10 cents. AND: Two more phones were put in this place Saturday, one at Earl Tourje’s and the other at Leon Conrad’s.

MONTROSE: Harry White, who was married to Miss Ella Welch, of Nicholson, last fall, was given a hearing before Justice of the Peace VanScoten last Friday, charged by the girl’s father with having perjured himself with regard to her age when taking out a marriage license. Her father claims she is but 19 years of age, while young White gave it as past 21. He was bound over to the next term of court.

SUSQUEHANNA: Frank, the 9-year-old son of Mrs. E. J. Matthews, while attempting to board a moving train at Lanesboro, on Wednesday afternoon of last week, fell beneath the wheels and his right leg severed just above the knee. The accident was at once discovered and the boy taken to the Susquehanna Hospital, where the limb was amputated. The grit displayed by the young man was remarkable and [he] is doing much to bring about a speedy recovery. AND: Susquehanna’s new “play house,” to be erected by the Criterion Theatre Co., up on the site of the Judson H. Cook property, Main street, purchased of the First National Bank, will be completed and opened to the pubic about the first of October next. It will have a seating capacity of about 900.

FOREST CITY: Leaving her store in charge of an 8-year-old girl, and her 4-year-old daughter asleep in the cradle, Mrs. Joseph Dzekas gathered a few belongings last Tuesday, including money from the till, and various sums borrowed from neighbors, and left the place, leaving no address behind, nor word as to her future intention. Mrs. Dzekas’s husband is one of the men convicted of selling liquor without a license some months ago, and is in the county jail, his sentence expiring within a very few days. Since his departure his wife conducted the small grocery business. It is said that coincident with Mrs. Dzekas’s departure, a good looking young Russian also gave up his Forest City residence.

GREAT BEND: Eighteen degrees below zero Tuesday morning. The ice man must feel somewhat relieved. Everything froze up.

BROOKLYN: Harry E. Lathrop narrowly escaped being blown to pieces with dynamite, while digging telephone holes for Watrous, Waldie & Co. The men had put in double charge and supposed that it had all exploded. Young Lathrop took a heavy bar and went to cleaning out the hole, when it exploded and blew him into the air, tearing his flesh and clothes and burning his face and eyes. He is doing as well as could be expected.

MIDDLETOWN TWP.: The farmers of Middletown offer a bounty of one dollar for every fox killed in said township. AND: T. F. Hickey has the contract for hauling the stone for the basement of the new Catholic church at Friendsville.

SILVER LAKE: Jasper Jennings featured Silver Lake in his “Geography and History of Susquehanna County” column. He writes that Alpheus Finch built the first house on the east side of Quaker lake in 1809. Others who came early were Sylvanus Finch, Isaac Higgins, Zenas Bliss, Charles Wooster, Peter Soule, Philo Briggs, John Whipple, Mortimer Gage and others. The first dwellings were built of logs rolled up to form the sides and split logs served for floors, with bark and split slabs for gable ends and roof. The first teacher in the township was Nathaniel Matthews, who taught in David Briggs’s log house in 1815. The first township school house was built at Brackney and was also used as a house of worship. Perhaps no man had a greater influence in the early history of Susquehanna County than Dr. Robert H. Rose. He possessed great wealth for those times and purchased many thousands of acres of land in this vicinity. His home, on the banks of Silver lake, in the midst of the great wilderness, with its elegant surroundings, beautiful flower embowered lawn, ornamental trees, parks, gardens, orchards, shrubbery, walks, statuary, etc. was well calculated to strike the mind of the traveler with astonishment. Here he lived in the midst of his broad estate, like an English baronet. Dr. Rose died in 1842 and his fine residence was destroyed by fire April 30th, 1849.

BIRCHARDVILLE: C. D. Dayton was in Montrose on Tuesday. He has recently installed a gasoline engine, purchased from Cooley & Son, for the purpose of running a [milk] separator, churning and pumping water. Mr. Dayton is now making about 800 lbs a week, and having a surplus above what he sells to his regular customers, he solicits orders for any amount.

HALLSTEAD: While out riding on last Thursday evening, Miss Grace Knoeller met with a sad mishap. In some manner the lines got broke and the horse taking fright, her escort, Milford Gage, could not manage the frightened animal, and it threw Miss Knoeller out, breaking her arm. AND: Fred Fisk, who recently invented a patent for a trace holder on wagons, has sold his patent to a New York form for $10,000 and a royalty of 2% on all sales.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

PENNDOT will reconstruct Route 706

A Department of Transportation spokesperson told me that the reconstruction of Route 706 from West Montrose to Tiffany Corners will start sometime in 2007. The estimated current cost of the project that will add a third lane to the road is $3 million.

This is the first of several planned projects to reconstruct PA 706 from US 11 to the Bradford County line at a total current construction cost estimated at $30 million. The work will be done between 2007 and 2012.

I was also advised that PENNDOT has another proposed project in the county that would redesign the on/off ramp at Interstate 81 and Route 848 (Gibson). The project apparently is in the embryo stages and there are no other particulars at the moment such as a projected starting date or project cost.

LCC considering expansion

Kevin O’Hara, public relations director at Lackawanna County College, confirmed reports that the school is looking to expand. But while he said Susquehanna County is under consideration, he added that college officials are also looking at other locations in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

“We are looking at Susquehanna County,” Kevin said, “because there is not much up there at the moment.” He said representatives from the college have talked to some officials in Susquehanna County but he labeled the talks as “exploratory sessions.”

“We have no sight and made no commitment,” he said, “but we are looking at the area.”

“It would be great for the county if we got something going here,” Roberta Kelly, chair of the county Board of Commissioners, said. She said the curriculum might include police courses.

GOP Parley?

Donna Cosmello, chair of the Susquehanna County Republican Party, attended the last meeting of the county commissioners. She sat quietly in a back row and did not speak but it was good to see her at the meeting because she doesn’t visit them that often.

A couple of days later I was told by a good source that Donna tried to set up a meeting of some key Republicans in the county but apparently the date selected was not suitable for all so the meeting did not take place.

The feeling here is that Donna could and should have a separate meeting with the two Republican commissioners and tell them to get on the same wavelength. She should then meet with all county Republican office holders and try to stress upon them that they are all Republicans and not “Republic-ones.”

Welcome to the county courthouse

Sure seems strange walking into the courthouse and not being greeted by Ed Harden. Ed was a security guard in the courthouse for eight years and did an excellent job before some heart problems forced him into retirement.

On his desk one could always find a container of candy that Ed shared with everyone and anyone. I was proud to call him a friend and I truly miss him. Good health, Ed, and good luck!

Would also like to welcome the new security guards hired recently by Sheriff Lance Benedict. They are Wesley Wilburn of Hop Bottom and Robert Bostick of Forest City. Welcome aboard guys if you are half as good as Ed Harden, you will do just fine.

And finally...

Recently I was told that the Holiday Inn Express at the Gibson Exit of Interstate 81 is planning a grand opening. I called and talked with Melissa Haggerty, who manages the facility, and she was quite surprised.

“I really don’t think so,” she said when I asked her about it. “We have been open since last May so I don’t think we will be having a grand opening now.”

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From the Desk of the D.A.

The right to a jury trial is firmly embedded in the history of this county – even before our independence from Great Britain. For this reason, the right to a jury trial was included in the Sixth Amendment of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution, as well as Article 1, Section 9 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The concept that an accused has the privilege and the right to be adjudged by a jury of his or her peers is a fundamental right – but the right is only as good as the willingness of citizens to participate in the jury process.

In other words, in order for this fundamental right to have any meaning whatsoever, fellow citizens must be willing to take time out of their busy schedules to serve as jurors. Although some may believe that the inconvenience of jury service is a recent phenomenon arising from our modern busy lives, you should consider how difficult it would have been for previous generations to serve as jurors – where making a trip to the county courthouse required more than simply getting into an automobile and traveling over paved roads. Every generation of American citizens have fulfilled their civic duty to serve as jurors despite the imposition upon their private lives.

During the jury selection process, I am always struck by the seriousness that potential jurors bring to the process. The vast majority of citizens understand the importance of the their task and approach their work with diligence and fairness. Unfortunately, there are always a handful of persons who will make any statement to get out of jury service – usually eager to volunteer that their position is so unique that there is no way that they can possibly serve as a juror. There are rare occasions when I believe that potential jurors make false statements simply to get out of jury service – such as stating that they have no ability to be an impartial juror under any circumstances. While one can understand the reluctance to serve as a juror, together with the substantial inconvenience such service can cause, the entire system of justice rests upon the willingness of potential jurors to serve.

Thus, jury service is not only civic duty – but also a legal obligation that is enforceable by the court. Under 42 Pa. C.S. § 4532, the court of common pleas has the power to summon county residents to serve as jurors. The statute provides a number of lawful exemptions from jury service, including (1) active military service; (2) prior jury service in the preceding three year period; (3) undue hardship or extreme inconvenience; or (4) where the potential jury is related to the victim of a pending homicide case. What happens when a person simply ignores the summons of the court to serve as a juror? Under 42 Pa. C.S. § 4584, the court may issue a warrant for the delinquent juror’s arrest for contempt of court, and ultimately impose a time of imprisonment of up to 10 days or a fine up to $500.

Recently, President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans had to rely upon the authority granted to him under this particular statute to punish a juror who failed to appear without any lawful excuse. A warrant was issued for the arrest of the delinquent juror. The local police went the juror’s resident and arrested him. Because Judge Seamans was unavailable for an immediate hearing, the delinquent juror was remanded to the Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, where he spent the afternoon incarcerated. Eventually, when the court calendar allowed time for a hearing, the delinquent juror was brought before the court, where the court imposed a fine for the unexcused absence from jury service. As a result of the refusal to obey the court summons for jury service, this county resident got to ride in the caged area of a police cruiser, got to try on a orange prison jumpsuit and ultimately paid a fine and costs for being in contempt of court.

Jury service is essential to the protections provided by both the federal and state constitutions. Most jurors understand the crucial and important role that they play in the justice system. For those potential jurors considering playing hooky when the call from the court comes, be forewarned that jury service itself is much easier than the alternative to being held in contempt of court.

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 a 65-year-old man who is dating a 58-year-old woman. Recently, my grandson, who is rather outspoken, asked me if I was protecting myself against AIDS. At the time, I thought the question was ridiculous, but now I’m wondering.

A growing number of older people have HIV/AIDS. About 19 percent of all people with HIV/AIDS in this country now are over age 50. New AIDS cases rose faster in the over-50 population than in people under 40.

Since the early 80's, HIV in people over 50 accounted for about 10 percent of all cases. However, the method of transmission has changed. Blood transfusion was once the major transmission mode. Now, heterosexual contact and IV drug use are the main causes of HIV infection in seniors.

Heterosexual transmission in men over 50 is up 94 percent, and 107 percent in women, since 1991.

But there may even be many more cases, because doctors do not always test older people for HIV/AIDS during routine exams, and older people often mistake signs of HIV/AIDS for the aches of normal aging so they don’t get medical attention.

The number of HIV/AIDS cases among older people is growing every year because older Americans know less about HIV/AIDS than younger people, healthcare professionals often do not talk with older people about prevention, older people are less likely than younger people to talk about their sex lives or drug use with their doctors.

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that damages the immune system. This makes you vulnerable to diseases, infections, and cancers. When that happens, you have AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), which is the last stage of HIV infection.

HIV symptoms include headache, cough, diarrhea, swollen glands, lack of energy, loss of appetite and weight loss, fevers and sweats, repeated yeast infections, skin rashes, pelvic and abdominal cramps, sores and short-term memory loss.

Your health care provider can test your blood for HIV/AIDS. You can also test your blood at home with the “Home Access Express HIV-1 Test System” that you can buy at your drug store. It is the only HIV home test system approved by the Food and Drug Administration and sold legally in the United States.

Anyone can get HIV and AIDS. HIV usually comes from having unprotected sex or sharing needles with an infected person, or through contact with HIV-infected blood.

You can not get HIV from: casual contact such as shaking hands with someone who has HIV/AIDS; using a public telephone, drinking fountain, restroom, swimming pool, hot tub; sharing a drink; being coughed or sneezed on by a person with HIV/AIDS; giving blood, and a mosquito bite.

You may be at risk if you do not use condoms, you do not know your partner’s drug and sexual history, you have had a blood transfusion or operation in a developing country, you had a blood transfusion in the United States between 1978 and 1985.

There is no cure for HIV/AIDS. But if you become infected, there are drugs that help keep the HIV virus in check and slow the spread of HIV in the body. Doctors are now using a combination of drugs called HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) to treat HIV/AIDS. Although it is not a cure, HAART is greatly reducing the number of deaths from AIDS in this country.

If you have a question, please write to

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Straight From Starrucca

Senior citizens meet February 8 at noon with a potluck dinner. If you have one, bring an old-fashioned valentine with you for show and tell.

Judy Mead, Forest City, celebrated her fiftieth birthday last week with Joy Mead, Starrucca, wishing the best for her sister-in-law’s natal day.

I wondered why Mary Debalko (Stearns homestead) didn’t get at my place last week with her news. Today she told me the wheel came off her car in front of Dave Soden’s and she had to call the tow truck to take it to the garage. That must be an odd feeling, sitting in your vehicle and seeing your wheel take off on its own.

George and Mary Ann Debalko were to attend the christening of their first granddaughter, Kaitlyn Alexis McNally on February 7. The ceremony will be at Our Lady of the Mountain Church in Long Valley, NJ.

Linda and Dennis Cook, Stevens Point, were driving south recently and they asked Peggy Soden to ride along; she accepted the opportunity to go to Jacksonville, NC to visit her daughter, Carly and new grandson, Jackson. He is the only child of Ted and Carly Batsel. Ted is now serving another tour of duty in Iraq.

The administrative board of the merged Thompson United Methodist Church met on Monday night last. Officers of the Thompson Church incorporated in their roster the names of the active members of the Starrucca Church and this was the first meeting of the combined officials. The name now is the “New Thompson United Methodist Church.”

Charlie Levchak says his new puzzle is a “toughie.”

Last Friday, the 27th of January, was a “special day” for Gina and Carl Upright. Having an appointment at CMC in Scranton, they left early and drove down Route Six, stopping at every main store along the line, just leisurely shopping, but keeping their eye on the clock so they wouldn’t be late. Lo and behold they came upon a bad accident, with police rerouting them down Old Route Six, so they missed their appointment by fifteen minutes, but were there only ten minutes when they were called in. After leaving the doctor’s office they had dinner at The Olive Garden. They were celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary.

Doris Davidson is in critical condition at Barnes-Kasson Hospital in the ICU. We have hopes she will recover. Her daughter, Mary Pat Upright, is with her.


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