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Let’s Take A Look
It appears Jeff Loomis is now ready to be “nicey-nice” with the other two county commissioners! Well, seeing is believing; the old “leopard and his spots” thing”, you know. The fact, however, that the county commissioners haven’t been able to work together for over two years is an embarrassment to them and the residents of Susquehanna County and, it has had a deleterious effect on the progress of the county. What significant things have they accomplished since they took office? What long-term plan are they following to discharge their responsibilities to improve the health, safety, economic and general welfare of the residents of the county? If they have one, it should be published.
The seat of county government rests on three legs, much like the proverbial milk stool. The three legs being the elected and appointed officials; the employees hired by them to conduct the day-to-day affairs of the county; and, the residents of the county. If one of the legs is weak or broken you most likely won’t be in a position to get any milk and, if you do, it’s not likely to hit the bucket. In the case of Susquehanna County at least 2 of the legs are weak or broken. I refer specifically to the meager qualifications and current performance of the commissioners and, the failure of the residents of the county to become involved in the governance of the county and its municipalities. The third leg, county employees, are doing their level best to get their jobs done in spite of the uncertain conditions that prevail in county government right now.
Let’s look at the county commissioners. Well, you have an accountant, a former borough mayor and a former chamber of commerce president. On the surface you might say “Not bad qualifications, eh?” Well, I think they must also demonstrate common sense, be able to lead (meaning people will follow them), know how to get along with people, get important things done and be true “public servants”. How do these commissioners measure up to these basic requirements? Perhaps they should take a look at the Susquehanna County Council of Governments, Northern Tier Coalition and the Eastern Susquehanna County Partnership to learn how people with different personalities but having a common interest can work together to get things done without acrimony! (And these guys don’t even get paid!)
On the other hand, what about the residents of Susquehanna County? The voters are the ones who put them in office! How many residents run for public office, attend public meetings, serve on committees or take the time to learn enough about candidates to enable an informed decision when it comes time to vote? Oops, the assumption there was that they would vote to begin with! (Historically, one-half of the registered voters go to the polls). Municipalities in the county are starving for qualified people to serve as supervisors, councilmen, planning commissioners, secretaries, tax assessors, etc. Look at the number of elected positions that go unchallenged each election. Note the number of elected officials that have been in office 20, 30, 40+ years!
There must be more active participation on the part of the residents if Susquehanna County is to grow and be successful. Failure to become involved means the many are trusting their personal freedoms, tax dollars and future to the few (some of whom may even be qualified!). The attitude that “my vote doesn’t count” or, “one person can’t make a difference” is the major factor that got Susquehanna County where it is today; stagnant and foundering economically while continually losing our youth to other areas offering more opportunity. Susquehanna County is also ripe for uncontrolled land use dictated by others who don’t even reside in the county.
Bottom line – criticize your public officials all you want but remember, they wouldn’t be in office without your vote, or non-vote. It’s time for the residents in Susquehanna County to get off their collective duffs and become more involved in their community. Elections are only one year away. Make your political parties get busy and work for you. The local Republican Party membership is in disarray and the Democratic Party organization is non-existent! Attend public meetings, run for elective office yourself or promote qualified candidates to run, accept positions as appointed officials and VOTE.
Watkins Glen, NY
Urbi Et Orbi
I just read a particularly irritating letter in the Transcript (February 15 edition). It was written by Mr. Sam W. Lewis, Esquire. In order to end the "tedious" debate concerning what should be written in the column, "From The Desk Of The D.A.," Mr. Lewis has written yet another letter on the same subject. In it he has unwittingly elevated himself to the position of judge and has decided with Solomaic wisdom what is allowable in the district attorney's column and what is not allowable.
Specifically, Mr. Lewis has ruled that when the district attorney is in his word "pontificating," it should be shunted off in a letter "To The Editor" section. Other material deemed suitable may be left in place for the district attorney's column. Perhaps the district attorney should submit his weekly column to Mr. Lewis to have him correctly partition it into the proper bins: D.A.'s column here, "pontificating" there. Mr. Lewis has a right to his opinion – and it is no more than that – as does everyone else. I suppose he also has a right to pontificate.
Now exactly what does pontificate mean. A dictionary lists two general definitions: To pontificate is to, (1) express opinions or judgments in a dogmatic and pompous way; or (2) to administer the office of a pontiff. Let's take a brief look at each definition and see just who is pontificating.
Concerning definition (1) I ask: Who is doing the pontificating: the one who offers an opinion or the one who pronounces judgment sans the social graces of humility and respect, but with insult and arrogance? According to this definition, I believe Mr. Lewis has fully exercised his right to pontificate. Au pardon, Mr. Lewis, but it seems your letter implicates you as guilty on count No. 1, the charge of pontificating.
As for definition (2) I ask: Who is the one who sits in Peter's Chair: The one who contributes ideas on controversial subjects, or the one who has placed himself above the fray in the role of the final arbiter and issues an edit of urbi et orbi? Again, Mr. Lewis' letter speaks for itself: guilty on count No. 2, the charge of being highhanded.
Mr. Lewis, I suggest that it is you, not the district attorney, who stands convicted of the same fault which you are imagining someone else to have. In doing so you have earned a dubious distinction: the right to wear the Triple Tiara – the Pontiff's hat.
Oh, urbi et orbi? It's an authoritative papal declaration meaning "for the city and for the world."
New Milford, PA
Seemingly Different Subjects
I would like to tie together two seemingly different subjects by using local agriculture. At a fall meeting regarding our county’s demographics, it was stated that we have a high percentage of local-owned businesses. Also, recently, our President stated that “We are addicted to oil.”
Solutions were given to our county’s current economic status – more corporations, and more reduced-taxes enterprise zones. Allow me to bring family farm style agriculture into the picture. We all respect our hardworking and underpaid dairy farmers. We can build on their strong foundation and add three types of agriculture that can provide substantial income to literally hundreds of local families: pasture farming, out-of-season growing, and value-added products for dairies. What ties the three together is county farmers feeding our own county, and keeping local monies local.
Pasture farming involves feeding livestock with more grasses and legumes, and using much less grains. The upland clay soil of our county has great potential for growing grasses and legumes. Grass-fed beef has been determined to be a very healthy food- after all, cattle are solar-powered. Hogs, chickens, sheep, goats and turkeys - all can gain substantial nutrients from foraging. Growing forages can become an art that many families can use.
Regarding selling vegetables in winter, I just this morning picked lettuce and other greens from the ground inside an unheated hoophouse. A hoophouse is a very simple, inexpensive, improvised structure covered with a roll of greenhouse plastic. The hard part is knowing which greens to plant, and when to plant them, but research has been done locally on both of these questions.
To add to these winter greens, go to the root cellar for potatoes, beets, and carrots; add onions and garlic, and then add dried herbs and winter squash. Fifty or more young families selling during the winter season would save oil, keep money locally, and may provide young folks incentive to stay in county and farm. Oh, and by the way, the food is highly nutritious.
My wife and I would like to see locally made ice cream, yogurt and cheeses made by county farmers and sold in the county. We are willing to put a few hundred dollars in a fund to get a value-added dairy started in our area. Maybe other folks would do the same for the sake of local, pure ice cream.
We realize there are hoops farmers have to jump through regarding licensing, trucking and a cooperative venture. This has been a success in other areas: the farmers get more per hundredweight, more forage feeding means less grain inputs, and in fact, inputs in general are much less. Let the huge, omnipotent agribusinesses fend for themselves. Less money for agribusiness means more for local, hard-working farmers.
These are very brief descriptions of farming ventures geared to employing young families on the land, and geared to using less precious energy. The whole county would literally enjoy the fruits of this clean-living, family farm labor.
Keep Your Trash
To those who recently dumped their furniture on our land,
Keep your trash to yourself! Throw your fenders, your furniture, your fast food wrappers and your drinking-while-driving empty beer cans on your own property! Set a better example for anyone who might consider you a role model. If you continue to dump your garbage on my land, you will have to get away with it every time. I only have to catch you once to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.
Chris M. Chacona
No. 1 In My Book
Our small town is very lucky to have such a fine crew of people who donate their time for our fire and ambulance department.
I own a business across from the Susquehanna Fire Department, so I can see their daily comings and goings. They have many fund-raisers, such as chicken barbecues, the annual events every summer with fireworks and the many parades they attend around the area. There is also the daily cleaning and maintaining of the equipment to make sure it is ready to go at a moment’s notice. And the most important is the many classes and training needed for most of the crew. Wow, try doing all that in your free time, plus work a forty-hour a week job.
If you have a scanner, as I do you can listen to the many calls our department receives and responds to. Sure, they may miss some, but 90% of the time they are there for us. We also have a great backup with Thompson, Hallstead and Great Bend Fire Departments.
If some people have a problem with the response time for some of the calls, then maybe you should join the fire department; they are always looking for new recruits. But fair warning, it’s hard work with a lot of training, and remember it’s all volunteer!
The next time you see one of our Susquehanna Fire Department volunteers or Auxiliary members, personally give them a pat on the back and say, “Great job and keep up the good work!”
PS: I have recently joined the Auxiliary to try to help do my part. There are plenty of openings; stop down and help out.
TO THE EDITOR POLICY
Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript
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