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

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Issue Home March 7, 2006 Site Home

Fun For All Ages
Return To Sender
County Gets Grant Money Award
Be Prepared For Weather Emergencies
Colorectal Cancer Is Largely Preventable
Coordinator Warns Of Flash Flooding
No-Till Conference Was Good Source of Information
Turnpike Senior Center Update
County United Way Exceeds Goal

Fun For All Ages


There was fun for all ages at Miss Julie’s recent birthday party, held at the Northern Wayne Community Library! This birthday story time for preschool children was held on February 26, and was attended by children from 2 to 78 years young! All the participants enjoyed a birthday story, created a special party hat, played games, enjoyed cake and received a birthday gift. Pictured (l-r) are: back row – Danyel Worobey, Leah Neu, Miss Julie (Julie Pacheco), Christian Sokol; front row – Gracie Mead, Gracie Maxson, Abby Cordts, Hannah Holbert, Taylor Maxson, David Mead.

The next scheduled event is “St. Patrick’s Day Fun”, a preschool story and craft time. The program will take place on Friday March 17, from 10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. All programs at the Northern Wayne Community library are free of charge and open to all. Please call 570-798-2444 for information on other upcoming programs.

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Return To Sender

Joe and “Shorty” were doing what they usually do – chores. This particular morning, Tuesday, February 7, 2006, was set aside to do the classic farm chore-fixing fences on the Starzec Farm. The men were outside getting locust posts when Joe noticed something blue on the ground. There is always trash needing picked up because people litter. But what Joe picked up could not have been anticipated. It was a shiny, blue foil balloon with a message. The balloon was torn nearly in half. But Joe and “Shorty” reassembled the balloon so the message could be read easily. When they returned to the house, they shared the balloon with Joe’s father Ed Starzec. Eventually another brother John arrived at the farm and got curious as to who sent this message. The message was timeless and irresistibly friendly: Hi my name is Bobby Don Cariker. I’m 3 ½ years old. If you get my balloon I would like to hear from you. The street address and phone number were included. The balloon had apparently traveled a long way from the hands that penned the message. At the father’s encouragement they reached out to touch someone. They found someone who wanted to chat the old fashioned way. The men on the Starzec Farm of Montrose, Pennsylvania placed a call to the Cariker home and “met” the family from Arkansas.

David Cariker, the father of Bobby, shared a brief exchange with the Montrose men and their mutual disbelief of the balloon actually being found. Well family news travels quickly and the story arrived at my ears through another Starzec son, George who lives in town and is a neighbor to Shorty. George manages the farm business and always knows what happens there. George said his Dad was really intrigued by finding the balloon and wanted to know more about the Cariker family. Ed Starzec loves his farm, his children, his grandchildren and the other young men who work the farm. The hired farm hands are brothers Christopher “Shorty” and Jonathan Short. This group has shared many wonderful memories while working on the farm. This latest memory is a Mother’s special story.

Pictured (l-r) is the Cariker family, David, Bobby Don and Laura.

During a telephone interview David Cariker told about his family and the usual struggles. Daily struggles made bearable by the simple joy of letting loose a birthday balloon and wondering where it will go. This balloon was released Sunday, January 29, 2006 in the front yard of the Cariker’s home in Atkins, Arkansas to commemorate the forty-fifth birthday of Bobby’s Mom, Laura whose birthday was actually the next day. Laura was not just turning forty-five. As the balloon indicates she was celebrating a fact many women take for granted. Laura had become a Mother. Much to her surprise and that of her second husband David, at the age of 41 Laura gave birth to her first child. At 45 Laura was proud of her achievement and her gift, her blessing, her baby-Bobby. Laura wanted the world to know her joy.

David cried in pleasure as he gushed with excitement that someone cared saying, ”It’s amazing that anybody even responded to the balloon!” When asked his age, David initially responded that he’s “almost fifty – well at least it feels that way” he corrected. Soon David shared that after his first marriage of ten years ended, his Mother brought him from Michigan to Atkins, Arkansas. He had three sons who were already grown having started his family at about the age of eighteen. David was now a grandfather. But soon after his marriage to Laura they gave birth to Bobby who fills their world. David delights in his life with Laura and praises her strength. Laura holds a job in Quality Control at the local factory, Atkins Prepared Foods. She has worked there nearly two years to support the family. David suffers a foot injury and is an unemployed welder who now calls himself “Mr. Mom.” David says being a stay at home Dad is very difficult and he would rather be at work with his wife home instead. Laura and David provide a farm life for their son Bobby by raising a few chickens, goats and one horse. They claim Bobby has been asking for a calf to raise but as parents they did the regular stall. The Cariker’s instead work to pay their bills and keep the family car on the road. Laura has never been out of Arkansas let alone travel to Pennsylvania where the balloon arrived in all its glory. Laura said she would love to see lots of snow and share that with Bobby.

While at work Laura told how excited she was to hear someone had found her balloon. All her girlfriends shared her joy and “the whole town knows,” according to Laura. Through several calls the Carikers shared their stories and happiness. Mostly the joy was about their son Bobby. Eventually, even Bobby got on the phone saying, ”Me talk.” David said Bobby has a speech impairment requiring extra attention. The parents sent family photos which of course are mostly of Bobby doing kid stuff. The photos will be placed proudly on the refrigerator of Ed Starzec. The Cariker family picture will hang on the wall with the rest of the Starzec family photos.

David told of the faith he and Laura share. They live in the “Bible Belt’ and belong to the Church of Christ, according to David. Recently Laura was baptized and saved which has added a new dimension to their marriage. With a shared faith, a young son and a good wife, David says, “there’s nothing that we can’t work through.”

Ed Starzec feels the same way. The nearly 148 acre farm was bought in 1947 for about $5700. Then he and a friend Jess Noble renovated the dilapidated home to make it beautiful for his bride- to- be. Ed married his bride Catherine on May 1st, 1954. The Starzecs raised their family Catholic and believe it is that faith that has helped them endure their struggles. They had four sons and one daughter who left this world at the tender age of nearly three years old. But not to dwell on their loss the Starzecs operated a viable dairy farm that eventually was awarded the coveted “Dairy of Distinction” from the Department of Agriculture. The farm is being run by the next generation of Starzec men along with their friends, Shorty and Jonathan. Catherine is gone now, but the men continue to harvest hay, corn and grains. Pumpkins flourish on the Starzec Farm and grace the front porches of many homes in the fall. Today the cattle herd consists of Herefords which are no longer rustled by Duke, the ancient yellow Labrador. To share the excitement of farming, Bobby Cariker was promised that he can name a calf. The Starzec’s farm approximately 600 acres including nearly 350 acres they jointly own. But no matter how busy the men are they always have time to chat. They gladly share their not so instant message: Family and farming keep the spirit fed.

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County Gets Grant Money Award


The Susquehanna County Drug and Alcohol Commission on behalf of the Tobacco Initiative Monies announces the following recipients of the 2006 Mini-Grants: End of Day After School Programs for their anti-tobacco visual art project in three sites; Susquehanna Community C.A.R.E.S. to promote training for the "Al's Pals programs; Girl Scout Troop 404 summer camp "Turn Away Tobacco Team"; Blue Ridge School District Anti-tobacco Billboard campaign; Elk Lake School District Anti-Tobacco "Winston Man" Assembly; Forest City School District "Take the Magic out of Tobacco" event on April 5 – National Kick Butts Day.

Pictured (l-r) are: back row – George Hill (D&A board), Stephanie Thornton (Susq. Co C.A.R.E.S Administrator), Marcia Landsman (End of Day After School Program Administrator), Michelle Sterner (Girl Scout Troop 404 Leader), Beverly Griffiths(D&A Board), DA Jason Legg (D&A Board); front row – Carolyn Wagner (D&A Board), Jackie Halesky (Case Manager D&A Commission), John Lester (D&A Board President) Beverly Bennett (D&A Board), Robin Kaminski-Waldowski (D&A Administrator).

On behalf of the Susquehanna County Drug and Alcohol Commission, Advisory Board, and the Board of Commissioners, Robin Kaminski-Waldowski, Administrator would like to thank the recipients for participating in the Mini-Grant program and congratulate them on their awards.

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Be Prepared For Weather Emergencies

Montrose, PA – We all watched the impact Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast last August. Thousands of evacuees flocked to Pennsylvania to apply for disaster assistance. In 2004 Pennsylvania had three flood events, each resulting in a presidential disaster declaration, which affected fifty eight counties in the Commonwealth. State and county Emergency Management officials are urging residents, businesses and special care facilities to review emergency plans and procedures as part of a week-long, statewide Weather Emergency Preparedness observance, March 12-18, 2006.

“Being prepared for weather emergencies means having an emergency plan that everyone in the family knows, says Mark Wood,” Susquehanna County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator. “This plan should be discussed and practiced regularly."

Included in this plan should be an emergency kit that will enable the family to survive without outside help for at least 72 hours. The kit should contain water, high energy, ready-to-eat foods, personal medications, a first aid kit, blankets, a change of clothing, flashlight, a battery operated radio and fresh batteries.

"Being prepared means understanding the various types of severe weather which can strike your locality and knowing what to do to protect yourself and your family," the coordinator said.

"It is important to know the difference between a weather watch and a weather warning heard or seen over your local Emergency Alert System (EAS) station."

A weather watch means there is a possibility of severe weather. Advance preparations should be made.

A weather warning means that severe weather is imminent, and your severe weather plan should be implemented.

"Weather-related disasters will occur in the future. The uncertainty is where and when. This fact prompts the need for preparedness."

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Colorectal Cancer Is Largely Preventable

PENNSYLVANIA – This March, in honor of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the American Cancer Society wants people age 50 and older to know that theis second leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the United States is largely preventable. The Society estimates that this year 8,000 Pennsylvanians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer (commonly referred to as colon cancer) and over 2,900 will die of the disease. Nationally, an estimated 150,000 Americans will be diagnosed, and 55,000 will die. These numbers could be cut in half if more people followed American Cancer Society testing recommendations for the disease.

Perhaps the least understood, and most compelling, aspect of colon cancer is the fact that it can be stopped before it starts if precancerous polyps are found and removed through screening endoscopy (colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy), thereby avoiding the disease completely.

Early colon cancer often has no symptoms, which is why testing is so important. Getting tested is especially critical for Americans age 50 and over as more than 90 percent of colon cancer cases are diagnosed in people this age.

“Many people 50 and over do not know they are at risk and that they need to be screened,” said Carolyn D. Runowicz, MD, national volunteer president of the Society. “If we can increase awareness and compliance to the level we’ve achieved with the Pap test and the mammogram, we will have a tremendous opportunity to save thousands of lives through prevention and early detection of colon cancer.”

The reasons for low testing rates include many misconceptions. Many people assume only those with a family history should be tested. While those who have a family history of the disease are at increased risk, the majority of cases occur in people whose only risk factor is their age – so everyone over 50 should be tested. Others think testing is necessary only once symptoms arise. Yet symptoms are often a sign that the disease has progressed into more advanced stages. Testing is most effective when a patient has no signs of illness.

         For more information about colon cancer call your American Cancer Society at 1.800.ACS.2345 or visit

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Coordinator Warns Of Flash Flooding

Montrose, PA – In 2004, 58 Pennsylvania counties experienced flash flooding from tropical storms Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. “Of all the weather-related emergencies we face, flash flooding is the most dangerous,” says Susquehanna County Emergency Management Coordinator Mark Wood. “More lives have been lost in flash floods than any other severe weather event.”

Flash floods can occur in mountain valleys, in normally dry stream beds and where communities have been built close to streams.

Sometimes flash floods strike where it is not raining. A wall-of-water can rush down a valley following a severe storm many miles upstream.

“Flash floods are very dangerous,” said the coordinator. “They give very little warning and can be extremely powerful.”

As flash flood conditions develop, the National Weather Service will issue a flash flood watch or a flash flood warning. Each represents a different danger potential.

A flash flood watch means that flooding may occur. Stay alert. Watch for thunderstorms. Keep an eye on rivers and streams. If they rise, don't wait. Get to high ground fast!

A flash flood warning means there is actual flooding. Act at once! Go to a safe area on high ground.

Children should not play in ditches or other waterways. The water can become deep very fast and the current can become very strong.

Campers should be careful selecting campsites and parking recreational vehicles.

Drivers should watch for flooding at bridges and dips in the road. Rapidly rising water can carry the car away or the road may already be washed out. Anytime your vehicle becomes trapped in water, get out immediately and move to high ground.

Finally, the coordinator says there may not be time for a watch or warning message to be given over the radio or television. Be ready to react on your own and anticipate the possibility of flash flooding.

This is Weather Emergency Preparedness Week in Pennsylvania and officials are urging residents to identify what could happen where they live and to develop a family emergency response plan. This plan describes what to do and where to go if severe weather occurs. It should be in writing and should be discussed with all family members.

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No-Till Conference Was Good Source of Information

The Northeast No-till Conference in Harford, PA was a success. Farmers and agency representatives attended from four counties including Susquehanna, Wyoming, Lackawanna, and Wayne County. The Conference was very informative, having several knowledgeable speakers, various agency displays, and a panel of No-till farmers who answered questions and shared their experiences with no-till crop raising techniques.

The first speaker was Penn State No-till soil scientist, Dr. Sjoerd Duiker. Dr. Duiker gave a general introduction focused primarily on the increase in agricultural production over the past 50 years to meet the food demand of an ever-increasing human population. This incredible increase in production has been achieved on a relatively equal area of land through improvements in agricultural efficiency even though the world population has doubled since the 1960’s. Dr. Duiker went on to speak about the benefits derived from our technological advancements and better understanding of soil fertility and erosion control. He believes the No-till system of crop cultivation provides the best chance at meeting the agricultural demands of the present and future.

The No-till system seeks to minimize soil erosion by planting directly into soil without tillage in the spring and by leaving a cover of crop material on the field after harvest. The organic matter left on the field shields the soil from erosion as mulch and provides food for beneficial soil organisms, especially earthworms. By not tilling, the soil structure becomes less compactable, allowing earlier access to farm equipment in the spring with less risk of creating a hardpan layer. The deeper a soil is tilled, the more carbon content is lost to gasification. With the No-till system, carbon levels remain high, promoting healthy soil ecology.

A panel of experienced No-till farmers and experts answer questions. Pictured (l-r) are: Joel Myers (State Agronomist, NRCS), Dr. Sjoerd Duiker (Penn State), Harold Welch, Brian Manning, Steve Groff (No-till farmer), and Ken Ulmer.

According to No-till farmer, Steve Groff, earthworms are the single most beneficial soil organisms. Earthworms digest organic matter within and on the surface of the soil leaving behind a by-product material that is rich in plant nutrients. While moving through the soil and feeding on residual organic matter, earthworms create channels, which help improve aeration and water absorption into the ground. The No-till system promotes the health of earthworms resulting in better crop yields.

Steve Groff also gave advice on adjustments and calibration of No-till planters. No-till planters and seeders are specialized for penetrating crop residue left on the surface. Parts can be added and adjustments can be made, if needed, to get the seed to the proper depth in the soil, to cut through cover material, or to prevent the equipment from getting bound up.

Joel Myers, PA State Agronomist for USDA/NRCS, spoke about some of the benefits of the No-till system and on planning the transition to No-till in northern PA. Many producers find that the no-till crop production system helps save time as well as the cost of tillage incurred from fuel, labor, and other machinery operating expenses. No-till crops are much less susceptible to the difficulties caused by extreme weather such as drought. The cover material helps conserve moisture and prevents erosion during heavy rain. The use of cover crops is an important aspect of the No-till system.

Contact your local County Conservation District to find out about specialized No-till planting and seeding equipment available for rent at low cost to assist anyone interested in transitioning to the No-till system. The Northeast PA No-till Conference in Harford was co-sponsored by Pocono Northeast RC&D Council, Endless Mountains RC&D Council, USDA-NRCS, Penn State Cooperative Extension, Project GRASS Northeast, and the Susquehanna, Lackawanna, Wayne, and Wyoming County Conservation Districts.

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Turnpike Senior Center Update

Hello, from Turnpike Terrace. So far, the February weather hasn’t been so bad. We have a new tenant; hope he likes it here!

Happy Birthday to all the March babies!

We still have some of our people in the hospital, we are wishing them all good health and hope they are all home soon.

We had people up here from Pennstar Bank to talk to us about identity theft. It was a very interesting meeting and we did hear a lot about what we can and cannot do about it. They held a drawing and Betty Hadden won a floral piece from them. Congratulations, Betty. We were also served refreshments. Thank you, Pennstar.

Well, I guess the warm days of summer (in February) are over – it’s cold out today and the wind was something else.

We saw a lot of Valentine decorated doors and flowers being delivered up here! Next, our doors will be decorated for St. Patrick’s Day.

Our soup and sandwich day was a big success. We had a big crowd and really good food. We played bingo after. It was a lot of fun

We had our Chinese auction after lunch one day. We had a nice crowd and we got a lot of treasures (we think).

We are doing crafts for St. Patrick’s Day, and our domino games are going strong.

See you in March!

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County United Way Exceeds Goal

The United Way of Susquehanna County is very thankful to everyone who contributed to this year’s annual Campaign. Last year they raised $215,000 to benefit 22 local non-profit agencies. This is an increase of over 37% from 2004.

Pictured (l-r) are Bob Welch, Campaign Chairman and Ruth Donnelly, Executive Director of the United Way of Susquehanna County.

At the annual celebration held at the VFW in Montrose on January 31, Ruth Donnelly, United Way Director, expressed her heartfelt gratitude to contributors who really made a difference. “It really is amazing what a group of committed people can accomplish,” said Ruth. “The United Way is looking forward to supporting our agencies in a bigger way this year.”

This year the United Way is anticipating another success. “We have set our sights much higher this year,” says Ruth “and if everyone does their part, we can help many more people who really need it.” The United Way is especially pleased with their Leadership Givers – those who give $500 and over each year. Leadership Givers embody the spirit of giving and they understand the value and commitment of their gifts. Many more individuals also are part of this very special group of people. No matter what the size of the donation, every gift is important. The United Way and it’s agencies appreciate them all.

The local agencies and affiliates that are served by the United Way in 2005 include the American Cancer Society, American Lung Assoc., Red Cross, Barnes Kasson Hospital, CareNet Pregnancy Center, End of Day Program, Habitat for Humanity, Susquehanna County Interfaith, Women’s Resource Center, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, CAFÉ, Hemodialysis Assoc., Self Discovery Wellness and Arts Center, Susq. Co. Library and Historical Society, Literacy Program, Voluntary Action Center, Endless Mountains Theater, Montrose Restoration Committee, Rail Trail and the Humane Society. These agencies provide support to thousands of clients throughout Susquehanna County who are experiencing difficult situations as well as strengthening our community.

No matter what the size, your contribution counts. Contributions can be made to the United Way of Susquehanna County, 36 Lake Ave Montrose, PA 18801. All donations are tax deductible by law. For residents who work outside of Susquehanna County, they ask that you designate your pledge to the “United Way of Susquehanna County.” To contribute to a specific agency, please inform them of your wishes when you make your contribution.

The picture is of Bob Welch, Campaign Chairman and Bank Manager for Pennstar and Ruth Donnelly, Executive Director of the United Way of Susquehanna County.

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