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BRIDAL SPECIAL Featured In Our Mar. 15th Issue Of The Susquehanna County Transcript

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Issue Home February 28, 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
Food For Thought
Software Services
Trooper Talk

100 Years Ago

SUSQUEHANNA: The Y.M.C.A. is growing very rapidly and is getting to be a very popular place for the young men to spend their evenings. AND: Plans for the new postoffice block, to occupy the site of the Curtis block, are completed by Architect Lacey of Binghamton. The structure will be of brick, three stores and 80 ft. deep. The postoffice fixtures alone will cost over $3000. Work upon the new bock will begin April 1st.

SOUTH GIBSON: Miss Gennie Fuller who has just returned from Africa is at her old home in Kentucky [a district in Gibson Twp.].

DIMOCK: The Cope farm, one of the most desirable properties located near Dimock, is advertised for rent. For particulars apply to Wm. H. VanCamp, Dimock, Pa.

MONTROSE: Three young hoboes blew into town on Tuesday night from Scranton. Chief Tingley gave them warm and comfortable quarters in the borough lockup until morning, when they went on their way rejoicing. AND: Miss Sue M. Strous was on Monday, upon motion of J.M. Kelly, admitted to practice in the United States district and circuit courts. Miss Strous is one of the few lady legal practitioners in the country. She has practiced in this county for the past couple of years and is a credit to the feminine portion of the profession.

OAKLAND: Many weeks have elapsed and still there is not the slightest trace of Maud Haynes, the missing girl. The search for her has thus far been most diligent, and the interest in the mysterious case does not wane.

JACKSON: A steam boiler in H. M. Benson’s shop blew up last Friday afternoon, going up through the roof of the engine room and over the roof of the main building and landing in the creek about 60 ft. away. Mr. Benson and Mr. Randall, who were working in the shop only a few feet from the boiler, escaped without injury.

HALLSTEAD: It has been stated on good authority that as soon as the weather conditions will permit, the D.L.& W. R.R. Co. will commence the erection of a new roundhouse. It will be of brick and about 8 ft. wider than the present one so as to accommodate the large engines, which are now being used on the road. It will also have a new turn-table, which is to be operated by electricity.

FOREST CITY: Dr. and Mrs. C. E. Taylor, with their family, left here last week for Denver, Col., where the doctor will practice his profession. The doctor went into business at Forest City 28 years ago and continued the business until a few months ago, when he was overtaken by financial difficulties. The drug and grocery stocks were sold at bankruptcy sale on Wednesday of last week.

SPRINGVILLE: Dr. Lathrop, representing the State board of health, was in Forest City Tuesday inspecting the local typhoid fever cases and inquiring into the circumstances attending them.

GREAT BEND: The put-a-tag-on-your-dog law is a winner. The canine family is rapidly diminishing and the cost of bologna is said to be decreasing in proportion.

UNIONDALE: Mrs. B. B. Mapes, 82 years of age, is remarkably active. She works about the house, pieces quilts, makes rugs, cushions, and her mending might shame the modern young lady. AND:: Mrs. Olive Leonard had an 8-months old baby badly burned a few days since. Her little girl went to lift the child up and the burden proved too heavy and she dropped it on the stove.

RUSH: A “wood bee” last week netted a fine supply of fuel for the Trinity church.

FRIENDSVILLE: Wednesday evening, Feb. 21st, the members of the Catholic church held a dance and supper at the hall. Owing to the inclemency of the weather, but a comparatively small number were present and the hall was re-opened Monday evening, when the Friendsville Dramatic Association presented The Commercial Drummer. The characters were well chosen and the play was presented in a simple, natural manner that quite captivated the audience and proved the dramatic talent of many of the members.

FOREST LAKE: It seems a little strange perhaps that a certain young man from Montrose, when visiting in this place, should be followed and serenaded with such explosive material as we heard the other evening.

FAIR HILL, Jessup Twp.: The Ladies’ Aid will meet with Mr. and Mrs. S. [Silas] Jagger, March 8th. The gentlemen are requested to come to cut wood for the church.

HEART LAKE: Eugene Whitney, while helping pack ice at Heart Lake ice houses, suffered a fall of thirty feet. Fortunately no bones were broken. He does not seem to be seriously injured.

SCRANTON: Anna M. Branard issued a public appeal to the women of Scranton to claim a right to vote at the recent election, declaring that “no state law can withhold from them those privileges conferred by the United States of America.”

ST. JOSEPH: Tom Sullivan is drawing logs to Booth mill. Joe Kelley has purchased a new cutter [sleigh]. Matt Kelley has been drawing logs to Birchardville.

NEWS BRIEFS: Two hundred and fifty-four Pennsylvania couples journeyed to Binghamton last year to be married. AND: Rural free mail delivery, telephones and trolleys are putting a new face on farm life. These three things remove the feeling of isolation that has always characterized life in the country. AND: Lumber prices are soaring. They are all ready “sky high” and they never will come down again. Every farm that has land unfit for general cropping can grow trees. Trees are a good investment for the future. Have you any “wild land” that might grow trees?

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

All that glitters is not...

My friends, with all due respect to Buck Owens, the Susquehanna County Commissioners are facing a real tiger by the tail situation and they just do not know whether it would be safer to hang on or let go. One thing can be said with certainty, Jim and Susan Jennings of Brooklyn Township do not intend to let the issue go away unless or until it dies.

I am referring to the county’s occupation tax that has become a thorn in the side of a number of county administrations. The current crop of commissioners, Roberta Kelly, Jeff Loomis and Mary Ann Warren know that Jim and Susan Jennings are right. What they do not know is how to deal with the problem without committing political suicide.

Consider this. There are 40 tax collectors – one in each municipality – in the county and, of course, voters in their respective communities elect all of them. And the tax collectors are the ones that benefit most from the occupation tax. This year, the tax collectors are paid $3.90 for each occupation tax bill that is mailed to the working populous of our county. And the tax collectors are paid this $3.90 whether or not the tax is ever collected.

Enter Susan and Jim Jennings, who probably keep a closer watch on your tax dollars than the county commissioners. Anyhow, the Jennings are retired and have the time and the know-how to research such issues as the occupation tax. The result of their efforts has unveiled some startling figures while giving the commissioners a really hot potato.

Here is what Susan and Jim discovered about the county’s occupation tax: The total amount billed to county residents in 2005, $95,113.80. The total amount paid to tax collectors, $61,167.60. The total amount paid to municipal tax assessors (through Nov. 30) $6,723.64. Total left for the county, $26,946.20. Less amount uncollected, $12,826.80, leaves the county with a whopping $14,119.40. Deduct the county share of postage costs that is approximately $3,667.40 and the county’s share of the original $95,000-plus that was billed is now less than $10,000.

“We are sure there are other costs and expenses that should be included,” Susan Jennings said. “For instance, the cost of collecting the unpaid taxes the municipal collectors do not collect.”

The breakdown of the annual occupation tax paid by individuals looks like this: Unemployed, nothing; Unskilled part time, $3.60; Unskilled, $5.40; Skilled, $7.20; Professional P/T, $7.20; Professional I, $10.80; Professional II, $14.40. As you can see, in one instance the tax collectors are paid ($3.90 per tax bill) more than the tax. “The bottom line,” said Mrs. Jennings, “is that a hefty 74% of what is collected goes to the collectors and assessors. And the county certainly did not get the $32,900 Commissioner Loomis claims. Because of the voting block the tax collectors control, Commissioner Loomis seems more concerned with paying collectors and assessors. Jim and I do not pay this tax because we are retired and unemployed. So why are we fighting this tax? Because the only money makers are the tax collectors. Forty-three of them share 75 percent of the (occupation tax) money received by the county. I have nothing against the tax collectors, but it makes no sense, financially or morally, to continue with this unfair tax.”

So now you can see the dilemma facing the county commissioners. Forty tax collectors can swing an election if they all put their political clout in one basket. By law, the commissioners can abolish the occupation tax but the damage such a move can do to their political careers may be irreparable. So they acknowledge the fact that Susan and Jim Jennings are right but they keep procrastinating hoping that one day the subject will go away. However, there is another thought that the commissioners seem to be avoiding and that is there are more taxpayers than tax collectors and perhaps the taxpayers will one day see the light and put an end to such nuisance taxes as the occupation tax.

One for the record books?

Last week Vince Sellitto completed an envious record that may never be equaled in the future and may not have been accomplished in the past. Vince completed 10 years of perfect attendance on his job in the maintenance department at the county courthouse. Congratulations Vince and I wish you success as you go for 10 more.

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From the Desk of the D.A.

I have written several articles with reference to driver license suspension that automatically occur after criminal convictions, for instance, a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol generally carries a driver’s license suspension of 12 to 18 months. The license suspension is often the harshest punishment for many offenders – especially in a rural area like Susquehanna County where there is no public transportation system. While the legislature has specifically provided for certain license suspensions connected with certain offenses, the courts still retain the inherent power to fashion a de facto suspension in excess of the statutory suspension, or even a license suspension where there is no specific statutory authority. A recent Superior Court decision dramatically demonstrates this point.

In Commonwealth v. Fullin,the defendant was convicted for Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Reckless Driving in connection with an automobile accident that left the defendant’s 11-year old son a paraplegic. In particular, the evidence demonstrated that the defendant had been traveling 112 mph in a 55 mph zone while operating his Tans-Am sports car. The accident occurred after the defendant’s car fishtailed and he lost control of the vehicle. The speeding car struck and went through a guardrail, falling over 30 feet, flipping over numerous times, before coming to rest on the driver side door. The defendant was unconscious when EMT personnel arrived, but his 11-year old son was found screaming in pain. The 11-year old child had horrific injuries, including massive spinal damage, three fractures to his skull, a collapsed lung, pelvic injury and broken bones in his chest and arms. The defendant also suffered bodily injuries, but none nearly as severe as those that left his son bound to a wheelchair. After recovering from his injuries, and just prior to his sentencing, the defendant purchased a 2001 Z06 Corvette for $35,000.

Although the defendant had no prior record, the trial court sentenced him to an aggravated sentence of 1 year to 3 years incarceration in a state correctional institute, followed by 2 years of consecutive probation. Whenever a court sentences a defendant in the aggravated range, it must provide a statement as to how this particular defendant was atypical, in other words, worse than the typical person sentenced for endangering the welfare of child. In this case, the trial court found that the defendant had “seriously, seriously abrogated a duty of care and [was] not mindful of what should have been the most precious treasure.” The defendant appealed, but the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the aggravated sentence.

The conviction for endangering the welfare of a child did not carry any automatic license suspension, but the conviction for reckless driving carried a license suspension of 90-days. In noting the recent purchase of another sports car, the trial court also noted: “I find the purchase of the new car insensitive. And I do feel that there is this need for speed that, quite frankly, I can’t comprehend. It’s got to stop.” In backing up its words, the trial court provided a specific condition of the sentence that defendant was not to operate an automobile during any period of his incarceration and/or supervision – effectively a five year suspension. The defendant appealed this lengthy license suspension, contending that it was “unduly restrictive of his liberty and not reasonably related to his rehabilitation.” In upholding the lengthy suspension of operating privileges, the Superior Court concluded: “Prohibiting a person who drives at excessive speeds from driving for a period of time is rationally related to the rehabilitative goal of impressing upon him the importance of responsible driving, particularly when driving his children.”

It is a rare case where a court utilizes its inherent power to create a license suspension in excess of the statutory requirements. We would all agree that Fullin was such an extreme case – and demonstrated the exact reason why the courts should be vested with the inherent power to create a lengthy judicially-imposed license suspension.

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. Have you ever thrown your back out? I hear an awful lot of geezers complain about their backs. How common is back pain?

Yes, I’ve had back problems most of my adult life and I know how debilitating they are. When I was 30, I put myself in bed for a week by carrying heavy stacks of newspapers to the curb. Back problems have been a recurring problem in the decades since then.

The first attack of low back pain usually happens to people between the ages of 30 and 40. Back pain becomes more common with age.

Back pain is very common. It affects about 8 out of 10 people. This affliction incapacitates so many people and the subject is so extensive that I’m going to do a three-part series on back pain. This first one is about causes.

Back pain is more common among people who are not physically fit. Weak back and abdominal muscles may not properly support the spine. If you’re sedentary most of the time and then exert yourself on rare occasions, you are more likely to injure your back than someone who exercises daily.

If you’re carrying a big belly, you put added stress on the muscles in your low back and are a candidate for agony. Some back pain, including disc disease, may spring from your genes. Race can have an influence, too. African-American women, for example, are two to three times more likely than white women to develop spondylolisthesis, a condition in which a bone – vertebra – of the lower spine slips out of place.

Your job can be a major influence on back health. If your work requires heavy lifting or sitting all day, you risk hurting your back. Many sanitation men and writers suffer from back troubles.

Once again, cigarette smoking is a health hazard. While smoking doesn’t cause back pain directly, it increases your risk of developing sciatica, a pain that runs down the back of your leg from spinal-disc pressure on a nerve. Smoking can block the body’s ability to deliver nutrients to the discs of the lower back.

Mechanical problems can cause back pain. Perhaps the most common mechanical cause of back pain is disc degeneration. The cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spine break down with age. If there is stress on these compromised discs, they press against spinal nerves and you may experience what feels like a toothache in a buttock. At almost any age, an injury can force these discs to bulge or rupture causing the same kind of pain.

Spine injuries such as sprains and fractures can cause either short-lived or chronic pain. Fractured vertebrae are often the result of osteoporosis, a condition that causes weak, porous bones.

Many medical problems can cause back pain. They include scoliosis, which causes curvature of the spine, various forms of arthritis, and spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column that puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.

Your emotions have a major impact upon back pain. Never underestimate how they can tighten muscles and elevate your awareness of pain. I recall vividly being free of sciatica when I received some troubling news. Within minutes, I couldn’t put my left foot down because the pain in my leg was so intense.

If you have a question, please write to

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Straight From Starrucca

Straight From Starrucca

By Margaret M. Dickey

Their usual way of transportation – walking – Fern and Christine Brown trod their way from Stevens Point to Starrucca recently to pay a visit to Maxine Dickey and her caregiver, Eugenia.

Julia Smith, although not in the best of health, keeps busy sewing together tops for the ugly quilts the ladies at the Baptist Church make into sleeping bags for the homeless.

Ron and Laura Brownell spent a pleasant short-term getaway recently at Atlantic City.

Ronald and Karen Henry and another sister, Shirley, Newburgh, NY, spent last Monday with their sister, June Downton.

Mary Pat and Brent Upright, Painted Post, NY, spent an overnight with his parents, Virginia and Carl Upright. They also visited Mary Pat’s mother in the hospital.

Brett Upright, Modena, NY, spent last Sunday with his parents.

Cindy Brown and two boys, Rockland, Mass., is visiting with her father, Charles Levchak for a few days. I imagine she helped Dad out with his 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzle.

Lake Como was the scene of a birthday party for Michael and Roxanne’s fourth boy, Sidney. Grandparents are Dee and Bob Martin, Starrucca.


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Food For Thought

Bush is proposing a new tax on our dairy farmers, again, 3 cents per hundredweight of milk. That means about 3 cents per 12 gallons of milk. Doesn’t sound like much, especially because it will not be paid directly by you or me, the average consumer of dairy products.

But let’s take a look at it in true perspective. Let’s look at the "trickle down effect," the way it will really affect us.

First, the dairy farmer does not get paid enough per hundredweight to cover the cost of milk production as it already stands. This additional tax will be enough to push a few more family farms out of existence.

Second, Milk Marketing Boards hold regular hearings regarding the cost increases to the milk haulers and milk bottlers, and regularly increase their incomes guaranteeing them percentage of profit. The actual milk producer, the dairy farmer, on the other hand, is handcuffed to an antiquated pricing system that forces the sale of milk at less than the cost of production. Most dairy farms have not seen a profit on milk production in more than thirty years. Most dairy farms in the northeast are small family farms, and are supported by outside income, which means either the husband or the wife, or both, work jobs off the farm and help on the farm in their spare time.

Third, when more family dairy farms go out of business, the deficit of milk will be made up by milk produced from either huge conglomerate farms or from foreign sources, both of which pose huge environmental and health problems for the near future.

Maintaining large groups of domesticated animals in very small areas is devastating to the environment and allows for rapid mutation and rapid transmission of illness and infections. It is the underlying issue with many of the current contamination problems: e coli; salmonella; mad cow; bird flu. It occurs in all of the meat and poultry industries.

Fourth, when more family dairy farms leave the area, all of the corollary businesses are affected: feed mills, local hardware stores, tractor and equipment companies, even the local grocery stores and restaurants.

The farms will frequently become housing developments, which will bring some new money into the area, but also demands for more services than the local economy is equipped for.

More than anything, it affects the quality of our food products. The price paid to the farmer for his milk is already artificially manipulated by imports of milk products, frequently from countries without the quality control standards that we have here. This new tax will create more manipulation of the price.

Why not pay the dairy farmer a fair price for his quality product, and tax somebody else, maybe somebody who has made record breaking profits this past year in spite of all of the natural disasters affecting all of us? (Not naming any names, I am sure you all know who I am talking about.)

It is time to write letters, send e-mails, make phone calls again to your senators and congressmen to stop this nonsense and support our own. When we needed them, the farmers came through and fed the world. Now they need us to stand up for them, which is actually standing for ourselves and our children, since the farmers feed us all.

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Software Services

Keeping Your PC Up-to-date

Keeping your PC software and drivers current is important for hardware to continue functioning properly, to kill annoying software bugs, and to improve the security of your system. There are many pieces to keep current, operating system, drivers, security software, applications, games, etc. How can you be sure to get all of those updates?

First let’s make sure the operating system is current. Microsoft has utilities available to notify you when updates are available, and even apply them for you. In Windows XP, here’s how you can verify that automatic updates are turned on. Open My Computer, then right click on a blank area. When the menu pops up, click on Properties. A System Properties dialog window displays. Left click on Automatic Updates tab. There are four choices. Make sure that the “Turn Off Automatic Updates” is NOT checked. If you’re using dial-up services to access the Internet, check “Notify but don’t download”. If you have high-speed access, such as cable modem, then you can check either “Automatically update and Install” or “Automatically download and notify”. If you choose to automate, be sure to schedule a day and time where you won’t be using your PC but remember to leave it turned on.

Most security software such as Antivirus and firewall, have automatic updating utilities as well. For Norton Internet Security, launch it from the system tray then select Options then Norton Internet Security then select the LiveUpdate tab. From here you can select automatic update for all your security area. If you have just Norton AntiVirus you also set the options under the LiveUpdate tab. For the free versions of Spybot and Ad-Aware you will have to start the programs and select the “search for updates” manually. This does not mean you can’t have the run times scheduled, it just means you must set a day of the week to start them and click on the “update” button.

Important applications such as Email client and Internet browsers need to be updated regularly. These updates often patch security holes in the product, which is important for keeping your PC safe. If you use the Firefox browser go to Tools then Options, select Advanced and scroll down. You will see and topic called “software upgrade.” Here you can select options so that Firefox will automatically check for upgrades, and install them. If you use Eudora as an email client, you will have to visit their website. If you use Microsoft tools for email and Internet browsing, these will be updated during your operating system updates. Keep in mind, properly updated Microsoft tools do not make your system “safe”, you should consider switching to another email client and browser.

Applications like accounting, tax, presentation, and word processing software often will have free updates available. Often the Help menu will have a selection called “Check for upgrade”. If not, you can do a search on the products name on Google and find the manufactures site. When you go there look for a navigation link labeled “updates” or “downloads”. Before you go to the site, you will want to start that application and select the menu item Help then select About, and write down the full version number of your product, something like Version 9.4 or 3.10.04 or 2.12 build 3046. By having the version number you will be able to determine if the site has an update later than your version. This way you will not spend time downloading something you don't need. Note that you will usually have to close your application before upgrading it.

Next time, I’ll be writing about the basics of Email Etiquette. Lori Martin is owner of Martin Works, Inc. (, Susquehanna, PA.

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Trooper Talk

EDITOR’S NOTE: Following is the first in a series of bi-weekly, or monthly (depending on reader response) columns submitted by the Pennsylvania State Police. County Transcript readership is invited and encouraged to ask questions of this fine organization by contacting them directly at the address below. We hope you welcome this new addition with as much enthusiasm as we have.

As a starter, here is a brief history of the Pennsylvania State Police.

The Pennsylvania State Police was created on May 2, 1905 with only 228 men. The Department became the first uniformed police organization of it’s kind in the United States and a model for other state police agencies throughout the nation. The Pennsylvania State Police was born out of the Coal Strikes, when it became clear that the Commonwealth needed trained public officers to keep peace and order. The Pennsylvania State Police soon proved its worth by controlling mob violence, patrolling farm sections, protecting wildlife and tracking down criminals. The force was divided into four Troops: Troop A, Greensburg; Troop B, Wilkes-Barre; Troop C, Reading; Troop D, Punxsutawney.

The Department has grown from 228 men to over 5700 enlisted and civilian men and women. The Department has evolved into an agency with a Special Emergency Response Team, Clandestine Laboratory Response Team, helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, a mounted unit, a K-9 Unit, Criminal Investigation Units and Patrol Units.

We welcome questions from the public concerning the Pennsylvania State Police, the traffic laws and criminal laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Please send questions to: Tpr. C. Devens, Pennsylvania State Police, 85 Keystone Industrial Park Rd., Dunmore, PA 18512. We will keep your name anonymous if you so desire.

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