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Issue Home March 21, 2006 Site Home

100 Years Ago
Along the Way...With P. Jay

From the Desk of the D.A.
The Healthy Geezer

100 Years Ago

LENOX: Why was the old veteran thrown down when the Lenox Supervisors organized this spring. The old man was elected town treasurer at the late election by a handsome majority. He being the choice of the electors it looks to a man up a tree as though it would have been a graceful thing to have appointed him treasurer of the Board of Supervisors as also the old man shouldered his musket and marched to the front and did valuable service for his country in the time of her peril. This added to his recent election by the people should have given him the appointment as treasurer to the Board of Supervisors. It may have been good politics to ignore the old man’s claims, but the consensus of opinion is dead against it. There are many who say the turning down of the old soldier will forever be a boom a rang and will return to plague and torment the man or men who are responsible for it. More in the future in regard to our supervisors requesting the town clerk to act as their Secretary.

SPRINGVILLE: The Springville Hotel is greatly improved by the new hot air furnace recently installed by A. O. Dunlap. A traveler will go a long ways to find a neater or better kept house than that kept by Mr. Kelly.

LYNN: Just now we are having a regular old fashioned snow storm; if such weather lasts long we will have to pay for all the nice weather we have had this winter.

BROOKLYN: Some excitement was caused on Thursday last, as constable VanAuken made the attempt to arrest a man who was temporarily stopping at the house of Mr. Hecock, east of the village. As constable VanAuken and deputy Stephens approached the house, the man ran out of the back door, and so had some the start and finally escaped over the hills after several shots had been fired by his pursuers. Constable VanAuken says “he looked like a greyhound and ran like two.”

HOPBOTTOM: There was an exciting runaway in town Monday. The team of Chas. Snyder started from town and ran to the creamery crossing where they were released from the sleigh. The horses then tried a race down the track ahead of a D.L. & W. train for some distance and finally ran down the bank. Fortunately the team was not seriously injured.

THOMPSON: W. W. Messinger is losing strength quite rapidly. The Dr’s give him no encouragement in his case.

MONTROSE: Miss Anna Dolan, the 13-year-old daughter of Thos. L. Dolan, was taken suddenly ill, Saturday evening, and a physician being called, found the trouble to be appendicitis. She has been in a precarious condition for the days following, but appears a trifle improved now. At the time of the attack Mr. Dolan was in Buffalo, and an effort was immediately made to get him by phone, but he was not reached till Monday, when he took the first train for home. He reached Tunkhannock just after the Montrose train left, but, although the night was a blizzardly one and the roads almost impassable, he engaged a livery team and started. This team, the going being so heavy, was exhausted at Springville and here put out for the night. But Mr. Dolan was not to be kept away from his daughter when she was so ill, and at Springville offered local drivers their own price if they could get him to Montrose. He found no one who wanted to try the whole trip, but secured a horse and driver to Dimock, where another relay was arranged for, reaching Montrose about midnight. We sincerely hope for Miss Dolan’s early recovery.

OAKLAND: Mrs. S. A. Ingham, who conducts a restaurant on Hawley street in Binghamton, in conversation with a Susquehanna gentleman, stated that the missing Maude Haynes was in her place of business one evening and the following morning, about three weeks following her disappearance from her home. About the same time an Indian woman from the reservation near Syracuse, a fortune teller, was in Mrs. Ingham’s restaurant, and Mrs. Ingham has reason to believe the Indian fortune teller knows considerable about the disappearance of Maude.

JESSUP TWP.: Merton Palmer, rural delivery carrier of Route No. 4, thought he was “up against the real thing” last Thursday, when he made his first trip over the route. It was the worst day so far that had been experienced and with a foot and a half of snow on the ground the wheeling was decidedly poor. He reached Montrose a couple of hours after schedule time, but the weather gods must give Mert a worse proposition than on his initial trip in order to scare him out.

SUSQUEHANNA: Edward Ryan smashed his toes Tuesday by a piece of steel falling on them, and Wednesday morning his brother, Frank, better known as “Peck” had a truck fall on his foot and smashed it quite badly.

HARFORD: The Congregational minister here evidently does not regard the dancing school and card parties as institutions likely to advance the best interests of the community. This opinion is shared by not a few others in the village.

LAUREL LAKE: Mr. Russell, of Sheldoncroft, has hired Clarence Hill as carpenter in erecting new barns and other buildings during the coming summer. Clarence and family will close their house and move to the Russell farm April 1st.

RUSH: The Burke and Lindsey combination show is here playing this week. In Drama and Farce Comedy they are first class artists and their singing is exceptionally fine.

CLIFFORD: Carbondale stage failed to make its trip Tuesday for the first time this year. J. B. Lowry has sold his stage route to Chas. Cross and will again take up his vocation of farming.

SOUTH MONTROSE: Dr. J. F. Butterfield has lately purchased a very richly bred Aryshire bull to head his choice herd of Aryshire cattle which is one of the oldest herds in the country.

FOREST CITY: Jeremiah G. Westgate, a carpenter from Forest City, has been selected as a grand juror for the April Court of Common Pleas. One of the cases to be heard is A. Robertson & Son vs. John Nolan and John J. Collins, co-partners doing business under the name of Nolan & Collins, and the Boro. of Forest City, garnishee; assumpsit.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay


Watch out!

There is a clever scam making the rounds and if you haven’t heard about it, permit me to clue you in. It just might save you a bundle of money.

State Police at Gibson said the scam goes down like this. You get a telephone call from an individual – could be male or female – advising you that your checking account has been compromised. The caller then asks you for the numbers at the bottom of your check to verify that the account has been compromised. Providing these numbers to the caller is giving him/her your bank routing number and your account number. That information can then be used to withdraw money from your account.

If you have already been a victim of this scam, please contact the State Police in Gibson.

Only in Pennsylvania!

I have a friend who lives in Susquehanna County but his mailing address is RD 1, Carbondale. As you know, Carbondale is in Lackawanna County. In fact, it is only one of two cities in Lackawanna County, the other being Scranton.

Anyhow, as you also know, Susquehanna County does not have emission testing when you have your car inspected. Lackawanna County does. You can probably see where I am heading already.

This friend has three automobiles and, of course, they all need current inspections and registrations to be drivable on Pennsylvania roads. Well, he had the most recent one that needed inspecting to a garage in Susquehanna County and the vehicle passed the inspection. However, because my friend has an RD, Carbondale mailing address, the state will not renew his car registration until he submits the vehicle to an emissions test. He has told them time after time that he resides in Susquehanna County where emission tests are not required but some nut in Harrisburg insists that he lives in Lackawanna County because of his R.D. Carbondale address.

I am told it is a dilemma, that bothers a number of motorists across the Commonwealth that live in one county but are issued mailing addresses of a neighboring county.

Wake up Harrisburg! Don’t just look to Rural Pennsylvania at election time. We are here 24/7 and we are entitled to the same privileges accorded you city folks.

A look at the county

The view from the courthouse is not as exciting as it was prior to this year and, as we mentioned in the past, it may be because your county commissioners are in a good behavior mode as they prepare to meet their constituents and convince them they are worthy of reelecting.

Observers at the commissioners meetings cannot help but notice some commissioners chomping at the bit to correct each other. However, none of them want to go to war knowing that a bad image this year can be fatal in the 2007 primary elections. And so, we probably will not see too much stepping on toes for the next year or so.

Also clearly noticeable are the projects that have been put on hold so the incumbents do not give the challengers something to crow about – like spending. The gymnasium in the Warner Building was supposed to have a second floor added a few years back but the project has been ignored by the commissioners. It will not be long before the hunt is on for more storage space to accommodate county records that must be kept.

Whatever happened to the security measures that were supposed to be in place by now? The last heard about them was that swipe cards would be used to access and egress the courthouse; new television monitors would keep a closer watch on John Q. Public; and a security guard might be added to the county office building on Public Avenue where the 9-1-1 communications center is housed.

And, oh yes, weren’t some of the doors leading to the bottom floor of the courthouse supposed to be kept locked? I must say at times they are but at times they aren’t. It seems like the only time anything does get done is when somebody is raising hell about something.

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From the Desk of the D.A.

Hugo Selenski is infamous – the bodies of Tammy Lynn Fassett and Michael Kerkoski were uncovered in his backyard together with the charred remains of three other bodies, his arrest for two murders connected to the charred remains of two of the bodies, his brazen escape from the seventh floor of the Luzerne County Correctional Facility by using a handmade rope from bed sheets, his unexplained decision to turn himself in shortly after his escape, his recent acquittal of the murder charges, and now his immediate arrest for the murders of Tammy Lynn Fassett and Michael Kerkoski. In the midst of all of this commotion, Selenski was convicted for violating 18 Pa. C.S. § 5510, Abuse of Corpse.

But what does it mean to abuse a corpse? The statute simply provides that it is unlawful for any person to treat “a corpse in a way that he knows would outrage family sensibilities.” Of course, there is an exception for acts committed upon a corpse that are authorized by law – such as an autopsy in a criminal investigation. In terms of the phrase “outrage family sensibilities,” the statute provides no further guidance, nor does the standard instruction given to a jury in a criminal case. In short, the collective wisdom of the jury would decide whether the defendant’s act committed against a corpse would “outrage family sensibilities.” In Selenski’s case, the jury must have concluded that burning two bodies and burying them in his backyard were the type of actions that “outrage family sensibilities.”

In defining the offense, however, the legislature has not attached any significant punishment. Given that it is only a second-degree misdemeanor, it is only punishable by up to 2 years incarceration and a maximum fine of $2,500. While these are the maximum sentences, the applicable sentencing guidelines assign an offense gravity score of a 3 on a scale of 1 through 14 – or the same level assigned to DUI offense or a Drug Possession offense. Given the amount of time that Selenski has been incarcerated, he has already served in excess of the potential maximum penalty for the Abuse of Corpse conviction. In other words, if the prosecution is unsuccessful in the second murder trial, Selenski will walk free.

Some people have questions as to why the escape charge was dismissed by the court. Under the Rule of Criminal Procedure, the Commonwealth must try a defendant within 365 days of his or her arrest, or the charges will be dismissed. The reason for this rule is to assure that an accused person is brought to trial in a timely manner. There are exclusions applicable to the 365-day period – such as delays attributable to the defendant, such as delays caused by defense motions or defense continuances. The calculation of these time periods can turn into a timeline puzzle. There could be substantial periods of time attributable to the defense that need to be excluded – and the burden is on the prosecutor to keep track of the time. The defendant has no burden whatsoever to keep track of the time – except to wait and hope that the Commonwealth will screw up – and to make matters worse, the Commonwealth is often trying to track hundreds or thousands of other cases with similar time constraints.

I have also heard inquiries regarding double jeopardy concerns as to whether Selenski can be tried a second time. The simple answer is that Selenski is not facing murder charges for the same people – this time there are two separate victims. A more complicated aspect of this question involves the procedural rules related to double jeopardy – under the applicable rules, the Commonwealth must charge all crimes arising out of the same course of conduct in a single criminal complaint. In this instance, however, it is apparent that the murders and criminal acts occurred at different times, and are clearly separate and distinct criminal acts. In other words, the Commonwealth made a strategic decision to refrain from filing the additional charges until the end of the first trial. In other words, the Commonwealth kept an ace in the hole – and now its time to use it.

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. Can eating oatmeal really lower your cholesterol or are the cereal companies selling us a story?

The short answer is yes, oatmeal can lower your cholesterol. Now for the long answer.

There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is acted upon by the normal bacteria in your intestines. Insoluble fiber is not digested by the body and promotes regularity and softens stools. Wheat bran, whole grain products and vegetables are good sources of insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber appears to reduce your body's absorption of cholesterol from the intestines.

Oatmeal contains soluble fiber that reduces your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the "bad" cholesterol that can increase your risk of heart attacks and strokes. This type of fiber is also found in such foods as kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples, pears, barley and prunes.

The American Dietetic Association recommends a healthy diet include 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day, including both soluble and insoluble fiber. (Soluble fiber should make up 5 to 10 grams of your fiber intake.) However, Americans only consume about half that amount.

There are other foods that work against cholesterol.

Soy protein, found in such products as tofu, soy nuts, soy milk and soy burgers, can help lower blood levels of LDL cholesterol, particularly when it's substituted for animal protein. Ingesting 25 to 50 grams of soy protein a day lowers LDL cholesterol by 4 percent to 8 percent. That’s a lot of soy. People with the highest cholesterol levels seem to benefit the most from soy protein.

Women with breast cancer or who are at high risk of breast cancer should consult with their doctors before eating a soy, because it is not clear how these plant estrogens might affect them.

Studies have shown that walnuts can significantly reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. Rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, walnuts may also help keep blood vessels more healthy and elastic.

When walnuts represent 20 percent of the calories in a cholesterol-lowering diet, they reduce LDL cholesterol by 12 percent. Almonds appear to have a similar effect. All nuts are high in calories, so use them as replacements for high-calorie foods with high levels of saturated fats.

Omega-3 fatty acids in fish are noted for lowering triglycerides, another form of fat in your blood. They also benefit the heart in other ways. The highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids are in mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon. Other good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseed, walnuts, canola oil and soybean oil.

Some foods are fortified with plant substances called sterols or stanols, which are similar in structure to cholesterol; this helps them block the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines. Margarines and orange juice that have been fortified with plant sterols can help reduce LDL cholesterol by more than 10 percent.

The American Heart Association recommends foods fortified with plant sterols only for people who with high levels of LDL cholesterol.

You may want to try eating more soluble fiber, soy protein, walnuts and fatty fish. The next step would be the addition of foods fortified with plant sterols. Eating a combination of these cholesterol-lowering foods increases the benefit.

Of course, if you’re a geezer and you plan to make a change in your habits that could affect your health, it is recommended that you consult your doctor first.

If you have a question, please write to

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