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Look For Our Up Coming
Featured In Our Feb. 8th Issue Of The Susquehanna County Transcript

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Letters to the Editor Policy

Memorial Bench Update

Reverend Don Littleton and I, Del Austin would like to thank the people of Susquehanna County and Northeastern Pennsylvania along with the many contributors from around the United States and as far away as Hobart Tasmania Australia, for their generous contributions to the 109th memorial bench fund. The support and funds from individuals, civic clubs, Veterans of Foreign War post, the American Legion post, area businesses from around the country, and municipalities was fantastic. A special thanks to the people at Peoples National Bank for handling the funds, and Representative Sandra J. Major for her help in this matter. Also the support of the local papers, for their help in getting the word out to the public.

There is now enough money to buy the benches and perhaps a little left over for some extras. We look forward to working with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation on the installation of the bench honoring our brave young men from the 109th this spring. We would also like to thank the men from the Headquarters 1st battalion 109th Infantry for their support on this matter.

A big “thank you” to all of you. It only goes to show just how great the people of this country really are. These young men were very special to all of us, and we thank you for honoring them in this way.

They will never be forgotten!


Del W. Austin

Great Bend, PA

Change It, Get Involved

In Response to “How do we change it?”

Dearest Marquita and the supposed “many more in town,”

The way to change anything is to get involved. But I am sure that you would have already known that right?! The “volunteer” fire and ambulance services have lives, jobs and families as well. In this time there is little of, what did you call them “the younger crews” that get involved in the companies. I would also assume that you know that there is a great deal of time and education to be able to even sit on the ambulance. It is not like a car where you can plop your rear behind the steering wheel and drive. There are such things as training! Hours upon hours are spent to ensure that all personnel in all volunteer companies have the necessary training to run on the ambulance and the fire crews. As for the “older crew,” well let us see, age, sickness, jobs, families. Did you ever even stop to think about whom you call the “older crew” That is an insult in itself!

Our local company does not have older nor do they have younger; they have what is called a fire company! Have you ever heard of that ma'am? Maybe you should think about what you write because I am telling you these people happen to be my husband, family, best friends. Each and every one of the personnel on both sides of the tracks (the fire and ambulance) strive to help our community. By the sounds of it you do not support our men and women? I think what is lacked is a little thing called respect.

If you feel such animosity towards certain people then why don’t you go for the trainings and the class hours and do something for the community? No one is ever too old! You have quite the story to tell but your facts are way off base. As the generations change the times change. Each generation does not set the standards for the companies. Companies are overseen by state and federal people who make the changes in which each company must follow. I believe that if you have noticed there are changes everywhere in the world. I suppose that the price of fuel you blame on the gas stations, but in reality it is the suppliers and the foreign countries that establish pricing.

I am unsure whom you were trying to get your point across to but you have certainly rubbed me the wrong way. My husband volunteers every minute he can to the community. I am certain that you would place him in your “younger crew” category. When you get yourself up at 2:00 a.m. in the morning to go out in the frigid cold, blustering rain or any other time and scenario then ma'am I will give you the right to your jargon. But these men and women are out at all times, answering all calls possible, taking away from their homes, families and jobs. They help the community as much as possible. I believe the fire company has a rooster that tallies the total of calls placed and I bet that you would find, without your “younger crew” (in which I would classify 18-60 years old) there would not even be a company. Each is needed to run the company. I find humor in the ending of your letter, “Today, there are just too many that live for themselves. Somehow that has to stop.” It seems to me that you fit into your very own letter. You obviously have thought only of yourself.

To end your saga the dictionary states: VOLUNTEER: A person who performs or offers to perform a service voluntarily: an information booth staffed by volunteers; hospital volunteers (i.e. fire/ambulance).

I hope that this will bring some light to the nonsense.

To Susquehanna Fire and Ambulance Company- Keep up the Great Work! Your time is valuable too!


Kelly Iveson

Susquehanna, PA

Dreaming Of Their Future

As children, the possibilities were limitless and we placed no boundaries on ourselves or the opportunities presented to us. At some point during our childhoods when someone asked us, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” we did not hesitate to rattle off a list of dreams – a police officer, a lawyer, a doctor, a veterinarian, an astronaut, a baseball player, the president of the United States of America. Girls throughout Susquehanna County are currently dreaming of their future and you can help make their dreams come true by purchasing a box of Girl Scout cookies.

Since 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA has dedicated itself to helping girls navigate the sometimes rocky, often funny, and at times bewildering world of growing up. With family support and under the supervision of dedicated volunteers and staff, through a variety of activities, the Girl Scout organization cultivates courage, confidence, and character in girls while teaching them critical life skills.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the nation’s premier financial literacy and entrepreneurship program for girls. Through this activity, girls learn the importance of personal responsibility, the value of goal-setting, the spirit of teamwork and the thrill of accomplishment. As they take orders for America’s favorite treats, girls ages 6-17 learn about business ethics, customer service, marketing, advertising and money management. Additionally, they build confidence by developing public speaking and interpersonal communication skills.

Cookie program revenue helps Girl Scouts, Scranton Pocono Council, which covers a 5 1/2 county jurisdiction in NEPA, supply essential services to troops, groups and individual girls, such as providing program resources and communication support, training adult volunteers and conducting special events. Last year over 800 Girl Scouts earned more than $62,000 in cookie revenue which enabled them to attend one of our three summer programs – resident camp, day camp or Horizons, a week-long science event. In addition, proceeds helped many troops finance field trips, such as visiting a local pumpkin patch, touring the Corning Glass Museum and attending the annual Girl Scout Night at the Red Barons baseball game.

In keeping with our organization’s commitment to community service, the Scranton Pocono Council has collaborated with the 110th Infantry Battalion to add another component to our sale - service and support for our military troops overseas. Stationed in one of the most dangerous areas in Iraq, this Battalion, which consists of over 900 men and women from Pennsylvania, has requested comfort foods from their childhood – Girl Scout Cookies! Therefore, Girl Scouts, Scranton Pocono Council will be accepting boxes of cookies and monetary donations at its Scranton office on Madison Avenue. Individuals and businesses alike may send donations until February 17, 2006. Remember, it’s only $36 dollars for a case of cookies.

For more information on Girl Scout Cookies, ways you can help girls navigate the mystifying path to adulthood or making a donation to the 110th Infantry Battalion, please contact Girl Scouts, Scranton Pocono Council at (570) 344–1224 or email info@spgsc.org.


Cindy Garren, CEO

Girl Scouts, Scranton Pocono Council

The Real Threat

George W. has bushwhacked our country in more ways than one and Americans should wake up to what’s happening! Bush and company have created a hell of a mess in the middle east that will never be resolved. G.W. has handcuffed our military to be able to meet any new real threats (China) to our country and our way of life. G.W. has put our nation in debt up to our eyeballs, estimated at well over 2.3 trillion and still growing, along with our balance of payments (600 billion) also still growing.

My concerns are that China is a real world power that is being sidestepped due to our entanglements in the middle east. My reasoning is as follows:

1. We are a debtor nation to China, their owning a large part of our Treasury Notes and 2/3’s of our balance of payments. China is the largest purchaser of our “War Bonds” and our retail enterprises. US corporations are China’s biggest customers, taking advantage of China’s cheap labor and manufacturing facilities, namely Wal-Mart, Dell, General Electric and others. Guess the “bottom line” is more important than our interests.

2. China is assembling the world’s largest Navy and submarine forces in the world.

3. China has the largest modern military force in the world.

4. China has a number of Nukes, pointed at us.

5. China has been stealing thousands of our patents and copyrights without remuneration, thus affecting our own manufacturing, computer, military capabilities and necessities.

6. China plans to smash our world dominance in the auto industry by producing and exporting the world’s cheapest car.

7. China is now cultivating pacts with our sources of petroleum and raw materials in the Mid-East, Africa, Cuba and our South American neighbors. Watch the price of gasoline and fuel oil.

8. China is gaining a foothold in both the Eastern and Western parts of the Panama Canal as well as Brazil, Bolivia, Cuba, Venezuela and others; possible fueling stations for their naval vessels and subs.

9. China is now the leading developer and manufacturer of scientific technology and exporting same all over the world.

10. China is last and not least the world’s largest polluter of all types of land, water and air.

This is not scare tactic information, these are facts. The American economy forces its people to buy foreign goods, because our own are too expensive or not available. Our government should wake up and stop China from dumping their goods on us. We cannot compete with their subsidized industries unless we do the same or start import tariffs.


Arthur E. Wermann

Montrose, PA

The Man To Be Feared

In all the Middle-East Islamic nations there is but one truly elected democratic leader. He is President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran. At 5 foot 2 inches he is unimposing in appearance, plain speaking, and prone to express what we consider to be fanatical diatribes about Israel and the United States. His name Admadinejad, is pronounced ah-mah-dih-nee-ZHAHD. It is a name to know. He is a man to be reckoned with.

Born in 1956, the fourth of seven children, he proved to be an exceptional student. Ahmadinejad placed 130th in a nationwide examination for university entrance. (Bear in mind that Iran has a population of 66 million.) He majored in engineering in 1975 and earned a Ph.D. in that field in 1987. He's smart.

At the start of the Iran/Iraq war Admadinejad joined the Revolutionary Guard, an elite military unit, quickly rising to the position of a senior officer in the Special Brigade of the Revolutionary Guard. He fought for the entirely of the eight-year war and distinguished himself as a brave, bold, and courageous leader. He's tough.

In 2003, Admadinejad was elected major of Tehran representing himself as a poor, hardworking, and devout Muslim. He has lived up to that and more. After winning the mayoral race, he regularly took his lunch in a brown paper bag to the town hall and ate it in his office. A small matter, yet representative of the Spartan lifestyle he actually lives. Presently, he resides in a modest house with his wife and three children and drives a 30-year-old car: he talks the talk and walks the walk. He's not a hypocrite.

In 2006, Ahmadinejad was elected President of Iran in a real, honest-to-goodness, democratic election. He won a landslide victory receiving 17 million of the 26 million ballots cast. And this despite refusing to spend so much as a penny on his election campaign. He's a man of uncompromising integrity.

By any measure, Mahmoud Admadinejad is an extraordinary man. President Bush blithely dismisses him as a fanatic, a danger to world peace, a jumped-up kitchen boy who needs to be put in his place. But few world leaders, if any, have the smarts, courage, integrity, and political savvy to compare favorably with this "rag-a-muffin upstart."

Early this year President Admadinejad met with the foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany to discuss Iran's nuclear program. Iran insisted upon its right to be sovereign and conduct its nuclear research as Israel has done with the West's tacit approval and sub rosa aid. The West similarly insisted that Iran may not pursue a nuclear program that could lead to the development of nuclear weapons.

In this West vs. East confrontation the President sat opposite the foreign ministers. They live in an elitist world. Custom-tailored suits, expensive cologne, polished manners are the norm. Their speech is the stylized, stilted argot of their profession. Their world revolves around cocktail parties and intrigues, formal dinners and private meetings, insider jokes and secret deals.

On the other side of the conference table sat Admadinejad. He is from a poor family, the son of a blacksmith. An off-the-rack suit and open-collar shirt was his attire. Cologne? Are you kidding? His plain speech juxtaposed against the smooth-talking diplomats could be taken for street talk. His world was that of a front-line fighter and a devout Muslim. The contrast could hardly have been greater. Yet – and here's the point – according to auditors it was not Admadinejad who was ill at ease. It was the foreign ministers who squirmed in their seats.

President Admadinejad knows well how to play the game of international poker. His opponents held what looked like a winning hand, four of a kind aces high. But Admadinejad had a straight flush. Iran is the fourth largest producer of oil in the world. Any disruption in that supply would have devastating worldwide economic impact. Moreover, Iran has strong economic, trading, and diplomatic ties with Russia, China, Germany, and India. Iran's strength is not nuclear – it is economic.

His speech: unvarnished. His mannerisms: rough. His opinions, to us, fanatically: Israel is a cancer, the Holocaust is a hoax, the United States' leadership imperialistic, the West decadent. But he is merely saying openly what tens of millions of Muslims say to each other – he is the people's voice. Yet, he lacks one element to catapult him into a galvanizing force throughout the Muslim world – an element which will unify the world's one billion devotees of Islam and pit them squarely against the United States. He needs to be attacked.

The question is this: Will President Bush shoot himself in the other foot and launch another pre-emptive attack? The game: peace or war. The chips: economic and nuclear. The players: two hard-lined presidents. And the man to be feared? President George W. Bush.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

What’s the Alternative?

P. Jay Amadio, in his latest article, says to look for me to run on the Republican ticket for Commissioner in 2007. While I thank him for considering me a viable candidate, that decision has not been made. Until the most recent stench arising from the lack of concern for the residents and equal lack of cooperation among themselves, it may have seemed an honorable service to perform. I can’t deny that many have questioned me on the subject. However, there is an alternative that P. Jay has not considered.

At the Republican Lincoln Day dinner it is customary for the candidates to officially announce their candidacy. In the past several months, I have been approached to run for either the State Senate or Representative seat. This, in spite of the fact that I have been vocal against some of my own party’s decisions in the past. Twice they have voted to cut funding for volunteer firefighters. They voted to double trucker’s licensing fees, which in turn get passed onto the county’s businesses and ultimately us, the taxpayers. On one of the Clean & Green votes Representative Major was quoted, “I didn’t read the whole thing.” Her response to the exorbitant pay raise of late was, “Why doesn’t everybody just forget about it and move on?” With the grass roots organization Clean Sweep out to remove the incumbents, it might be a good time to announce a decision to run for a state office.

Let’s take a little look at the elected official’s income. First of all the rider attached to the AFSME union employee’s contractual raise of 3% was, to say the least, obscene, as much as 14% to 50% for legislators. The justified public outcry was the reason for the vote to rescind it. There are a few things, of which the general public may not be aware. Our elected officials get a generous salary, increasing with the number of years in office. They are paid $186.00 per Diem each time they vote. They receive WAM (walking around money) for discretionary expenses. Things like banquet tickets etc., which if not spent (most functions are comped anyway), accumulates until they are defeated or retire. They are then entitled to keep it. I am told that it may be as much as 1/3 of their base salary. They receive an expense account to run their offices. If not spent money accumulates until they are defeated or retire. They are then entitled to keep it. Monies in their campaign war chests may also be kept after election loss or retirement. Finally, after eight years of service they are vested in and receive a pension equal to their last year’s salary for the rest of their lives.

Lisa Baker has asked for my support for State Senate and I will personally support her efforts. Sandra Major has had to make compromises with her party and I feel she has contributed a great deal even if I am unhappy with certain choices, but P. Jay, there are alternatives to running for Commissioner.


Fred B. Baker, II

Meshoppen, PA


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Letters To The Editor MUST BE SIGNED. They MUST INCLUDE a phone number for "daytime" contact. Letters MUST BE CONFIRMED VERBALLY with the author, before printing. At that time you may request to withhold your name. Letters should be as concise as possible, to keep both Readers' and Editors' interest alike. Your opinions are important to us, but you must follow these guidelines to help assure their publishing.

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