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Home Improvement Special Featured In Our April, 26th Issue Of The Susquehanna County Transcript

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Issue Home April 11, 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
Cool Computers

100 Years Ago

SUSQUEHANNA: Saturday morning, between 12 and 1 o’clock, J. D. Brown, of Jackson, Pa., while on his way from the depot to Langford’s Hotel to see about getting accommodations for his daughter and himself, was held up by three men and relieved of about nine dollars in money. He was handled pretty roughly by the gang, and submitted to the outrage after being over powered. He had left his daughter at the depot. No trace of the men has been found at this writing. The hold-up was a daring one, as the Erie passenger trains are due at that hour and some one most always on the street. This is not the first time such things have happened here, and should be stopped in some way.

WILKES-BARRE: Mayor Kirkendall has put into force a new plan to regulate dances in that city in an effort to protect the young girls who are exposed to temptation at the public dances which have been held indiscriminately. Now a formal application has to be made to the mayor for permission to have a dance. Five persons must bind themselves as responsible for the obedience of rules at the dance and $4 is to be paid an officer who must remain during the dance. No boy or girl under 18 is allowed to participate unless they are accompanied by their parents or guardians and this rule is to be strictly observed.

HALLSTEAD: Master Hamilton Alden, a little son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Alden, on Wednesday, had a narrow escape from being drowned. He, with a number of other small companions, attempted to cross the ice on a small stream near his home, when the ice broke, letting him into the deep water. His peril was noticed by one of the neighbors, Mrs. John Fisher, and to her presence of mind the boy owes his life. She waded into the creek up to her neck and rescued the boy, after he had gone down for the second time. He was removed to his home and a doctor summoned, who made him as comfortable as possible.

KINGSLEY: The drama entitled, “The Man From Borneo,” will be given next Wednesday evening by Hopbottom talent, under the auspices of the Kingsley Concert Band. Mrs. E. M. Tiffany will sing and L. E. Warren, professional clarinetist, of Binghamton, will assist the band and orchestra. Band concert at 7:30; drama and orchestra at 8.

UNIONDALE: This correspondent returned last week from Scranton to be surprised in coming from dusty streets to find a snow drift several feet deep at my back door.

ARARAT: Mrs. S. N. Brooks, 87 years old, went to Mrs. Baldwin’s last Saturday and assisted in tying off a quilt.

CLIFFORD: We have one doctor and two undertakers in town. If this could be reversed the undertaking business might be better.

SHANNON HILL, Auburn Twp. : B. A. Shoup went to the Packer hospital at Sayre to see what could be done with his limb, which was broken last fall, and found it would be necessary to have a brace and will have to go to Philadelphia to get it.

HERRICK: The grocery store and postoffice building of Raymond M. Tingley, of Herrick Centre, was destroyed by fire Tuesday, April 3, about 5 a.m. Before anyone reached the store the whole inside was in flames. C. P. Lyden, the Forest City Erie station agent made a desperate attempt to get into the building, but was driven back by the flames. There was no insurance and the loss is complete, about $2,000, besides his accounts and the U.S. property. Mr. Tingley had a separate store where he kept feed, also coal pockets. All these accounts were kept in the postoffice and will undoubtedly prove a heavy loss. Mr. Tingley has the sympathy of the entire community in his loss.

HARFORD: The first graduating exercises since our school became a High school will take place in the Congregational Church, April 27, to be followed the same evening by the Alumni banquet. On the preceding Sunday a Baccalaureate sermon will be preached by Rev. Wm. Usher. Prof. Sophia will lead a united choir. The church should be crowded.

FAIRDALE:Will McKeeby had the misfortune to lose a fine young cow a few days ago. The cause thought was the tightening of a rope with which she was tied, causing inflammation of the neck and throat.

SILVARA, Bradford Co.: The remains of Adelbert R. Otis, who disappeared from his home on January 6, were found in the Susquehanna river, at a point a short distance below the West Pittston borough line. The night Otis disappeared parties at Standing Stone heard loud cries for help coming from the direction of the river, but no investigation seems to have been made. He was 37 years of age, formerly resided at Rush, and is survived by a wife and 5 children.

JACKSON: Miss Cora Coddington, aged 21 years, who resides on the Jackson road about two miles from Susquehanna, met with one of the most horrible accidents that ever occurred in this section. She was gathering eggs on the hay mow and instead of climbing down the ladder she slid down the mow, striking a pitchfork that was standing against the mow, which pierced her stomach, inflicting such a serious wound that she died about 36 hours later. The funeral was held Saturday from North Jackson and was largely attended. The parents have the sympathy of the community in this sad affliction.

FOREST LAKE: Jasper Jennings writes the following about Forest Lake: The Milford and Owego Turnpike, the celebrated old road, crossed this township diagonally from southeast to northwest. The township was organized in 1836, taken from Middletown, Bridgewater and Silver Lake. The first settlement was made in Birchardville, in 1799, by Jesse and Jabez Birchard. Dr. Plant was the first merchant and also practiced medicine. There were grist and saw mills, cloth factories and a creamery and dairy interests in the township. The Forest Lake Library Company, a commendable institution, was organized in the winter of 1831 at the home of Jehiel Warner. The population today is 780.

BE SURE TO VISIT the Historical Society’s web site,, for back issues of 100 Years Ago.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Seniors May Be Targeted – 14 pt bold italic, centered

Don’t look now folks but it is beginning to look like government agencies on the national and state levels are researching financial maneuvers that could impact on senior citizens.

Apparently seniors are living too long these days and, while they may still shoot horses, they can’t very well line us up and open fire. And so they are considering other methods of getting even with us for hanging around.

According to one study, by 2030 one in five Americans will be over the age of 65. This could create problems for the Social Security Administration and affect medical programs designed to extend our stay here on earth.

So what’s the answer? Perhaps the most sensible one would be a plan that I read about that would change the method of doling out benefits to seniors. Instead of doing it by age it would be done by income. Makes sense if it is handled properly. Years ago, when government agencies first began paying attention to senior citizens, about 25 percent of the seniors had income below the poverty level at the time.

Not long ago, an executive of AARP, said that while many Americans feel they are overtaxed, tax burdens in the USA are significantly lower than in most developed countries. “Tax relief is warranted for people who confront difficulties in meeting living expenses,” said John Rother, AARP’s Director of Policy and Strategy, “but it is difficult to justify preferential treatment on age grounds alone or on the basis of receiving pension income.”

“With the population aging,” he continued, “and more people needing services, younger people, many of whom are struggling financially, will not be able to fill the revenue gap. Older Americans who are the beneficiaries of much of what government provides, understand this and the need to do their part.”

When someone from AARP begins expressing doubts, you know we are in trouble. Either that or Santa Claus is awfully good to this guy.

Some states began focusing attention on senior citizens as early as the 1950s. Municipalities were given the green light to offer cuts in real estate taxes.

But it was in the mid-1960’s that seniors began reaping additional benefits. Restaurants created senior citizen menus at reduced portions and prices. Grocery chains started giving discounts to seniors on certain days of the week. And state Game Commissions were offering discounts on hunting and fishing licenses.

At the turn of the century, studies of senior citizens began surfacing as agencies started looking ahead to the invasion of the baby boomers into the Social Security system. Coupled with a dramatic change that revealed only about 10 percent of today’s seniors are living on below-poverty incomes and suddenly statisticians began showing charts that indicated seniors were not as bad off now as they were when concerns for their welfare began surfacing.

So, while it seemed reasonable 25 years ago to believe seniors deserved tax cuts, today’s financial analysts are looking at young couples who are struggling to make payments on six-figure mortgages. Suddenly the shift is being looked at and tax cuts for seniors that were in place in many states may be reduced or spread across the entire chart so that income replaces age and everyone deserving it, gets a piece of the action.

Another report I reviewed indicates that within the next 25 or 30 years, state budgets could be in trouble because of healthcare and other needs of the elderly. What will really hurt states and counties will be pensions and health care as the rosters of their employee retirements continue to grow. In Susquehanna County for example, the county picks up the entire tab for full coverage health insurance on all of its employees and elected officials. In Pennsylvania, more than three percent of the state’s general fund budget is spent on health insurance for employees, the state’s Medicare program, and other benefit programs such as public transportation. That figure is expected to mushroom to seven percent in 20 years.

At the moment, there is still plenty of compassion on the state and national levels for the plight of our senior citizens. It will not disappear overnight but in a few years we will begin to see some shrinkage in benefits as the retirees become more affluent thanks to higher incomes and increased retirement benefits. Whether stores and restaurants will continue their discount policies for seniors remains uncertain. If our manufacturing process continues to be dependent upon imports, the future certainly doesn't hold a great deal of promise.

On the other hand, this is the United States of America and we have stood strong against a lot of adversities so don’t start pushing panic buttons just yet.

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From the Desk of the D.A.

Do you believe in miracles? During this holy week for Christians, there may be many questioning their faith and struggling with their doubts and personal demons. But just as Thomas was given a sign, for those who are willing to look through the eyes of faith, there are signs of God’s goodness and love that can dissolve the strongest doubts – and this story is simply one of those signs.

Becky and Bill Arnold face the worst nightmare of every parent, a small 5-year old daughter (Brooke) with serious (and potentially) terminal medical problems – leukemia and a brain tumor. Brooke’s prognosis was not good, and, as a result of her condition, the Make-A-Wish Foundation sent Brooke and her family to Walt Disney World in the beginning of March. While Brooke and her family enjoyed their week in the Magic Kingdom, this story actually started in an airport in Charlotte.

While Brooke and her family were waiting for a flight at the Charlotte airport, they met a special person without even knowing it. A gentleman named Steve Armstrong, a 6 foot 8 inch radio manager from Birmingham, Alabama, was also on a layover on his way to Philadelphia. While his flight was delayed and there being nowhere to sit in the immediate vicinity, Armstrong made his way past several gates until he finally found a place to sit – and he happened to sit across from Brooke and her family. Armstrong immediately noticed Brooke and the Make-A-Wish button on her jacket, and he was immediately overcome with emotion, as he understood that the button meant that Brooke was seriously ill.

As Armstrong recalls that moment, he heard the Holy Spirit instruct him to pray for this suffering child, and he did pray and requested that God reveal her name to him so that he could pray for her by name. Armstrong did not know the family and did not want to bother them in such a difficult time. Within moments of his prayer for assistance, Becky Arnold came and sat down next to Armstrong, and her first words were to address Brooke by her name – so now Armstrong knew that the little girl’s name was Brooke. Armstrong continued to pray that Brooke’s last name would be revealed, and almost immediately thereafter, he saw Becky Arnold pull a folder from her bag that stated “Brooke Arnold and Family.”

Armstrong recalls this moment as follows: “I literally had to turn away for a moment as tears welled up in my eyes. God had given me her first and last names without me ever saying a word.” Armstrong did still did not want to bother the Arnold family, and, to his surprise, his flight was called for boarding, so he left the small Arnold family sitting at the gate in the Charlotte airport. But Armstrong did not forget – he continued to pray, and, when he got to his home in Alabama, he did a search on the internet for Brooke Arnold. Although he thought his chances were slim, he found Brooke’s picture and story posted. For the second time, this large man found tears in his eyes. Armstrong did not stop there – he looked up various telephone numbers for Arnolds in this area, and began making phone calls. Although there were many different Arnold families, the first person he called knew Brooke and her family and gave him more information. Armstrong learned that Brooke’s leukemia was in remission, but that she was scheduled for surgery on March 29 for the removal of a brain tumor.

Steve Armstrong then contacted Becky Arnold and told her this story, and how he believed that God would heal Brooke. Armstrong also told Becky that he had told many people about meeting Brooke, and that he and his friends were praying for her recovery. He also asked for permission to put Brooke’s story out over the Alabama airways on a Christian radio station that he managed in the hopes that he could encourage other Alabamians to pray for “healing, for the doctor’s skill and wisdom, and for that peace that passes all understanding” for Brooke and her family. Of course, Becky Arnold agreed.

Do you believe in miracles? Well, I can assure you Steve Armstrong does – and so does the Arnold family. Brooke had her surgery a few weeks ago in Syracuse, New York. The initial prognosis is that the surgeons were able to remove the tumor from the brain and that the tumor was benign. Brooke’s doctors say that she is doing better than anticipated.

For those searching for a sign of God’s love this Easter season, Steve Armstrong’s acts demonstrate the unlimited power of love, compassion and kindness powered by a strong and unfaltering faith. He did so not for money, glory or fame, but because his heart was open to the will of God. Let us join Steve and his fellow Alabamians in their prayers for Brooke’s continuing recovery. Happy Easter, Brooke.

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. What is the leading cause of hospitalization of older people? Is it heart attacks or strokes?

The number one reason people over age 65 go into the hospital is congestive heart failure (CHF), or simply heart failure. If you have CHF, your heart can't pump enough blood. This condition develops over time.

Heart failure is most common in older people, and is more common in African-Americans. Men have a higher rate of heart failure than women. But, because women usually live longer, the condition affects more women in their 70s and 80s.

In normal hearts, veins bring oxygen-poor blood from the body to the right side of the heart. It is then pumped through the pulmonary artery to the lungs, picking up oxygen. From there, the blood returns to the left side of the heart. Then it is pumped through a large artery called the aorta that distributes blood throughout the body.

Heart failure is caused by other diseases or conditions that damage the heart muscle. It is often caused by coronary artery disease, including heart attacks. Diabetes and high blood pressure also contribute to heart failure.

Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in men and women. It happens when the arteries that supply blood to the heart become hardened and narrowed. People who have had a heart attack are at high risk to develop heart failure.

There are a number of things that you can do to reduce risk of coronary artery disease and heart failure. For starters, you should keep the following levels down: body weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, sugar, alcohol and salt. Exercise regularly. And, if you smoke, quit.

The most common symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling, which usually occurs in the ankles, feet and legs. Swelling is caused by fluid buildup in the body and can lead to weight gain, frequent urination and a cough.

Because the symptoms are common for other conditions, your doctor will determine if you have heart failure by doing a detailed medical history, an examination, and several tests.

Tests that are given to determine heart failure include an electrocardiogram (EKG), a chest X-ray, and a blood test for BNP, a hormone that increases in heart failure.

Tests that can identify the cause of heart failure include: an echocardiogram that uses sound waves; a Holter monitor, which is a small box that is worn for 24 hours to provide a continuous recording of heart rhythm during normal activity; an exercise stress test that reads your EKG and blood pressure before, during, or after exercise to see how your heart responds.

There is no cure for heart failure, but it can be controlled.

People with CHF are usually put on a low-salt diet to prevent fluid build-up. Their doctors may also tell them to lose weight, quit smoking, and reduce alcohol intake.

Medications that are used include: diuretics, “water pills” to reduce fluid; ACE inhibitors to lower blood pressure and reduce heart stress; beta-blockers to slow your heart rate and lower blood pressure; Digoxin to help the heart beat stronger.

People with severe heart failure may also be given a mechanical heart pump. A heart transplant is an option when all other treatments fail to control symptoms.

If you have a question, please write to

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Straight From Starrucca

Quite a bit of news took place while I was gone for a couple of weeks, chief of which was the sudden departure of the nuns taking off for Missouri last week. We were lead to believe by the Sisters themselves that they were putting down roots here and were going to make Starrucca their permanent home, but I’m told the Bishop of the Scranton Diocese had other plans. I wish them well. They were nice, pleasant neighbors.

Carl and Virginia Upright sojourned in sun-scorched Arizona for a week and returned home full of pep and vigor.

Frank and Ruth Mroczka spent most of the winter in Florida. Ruth had a little scare with her appendix but received medicine to stop the inflammation.

Paul and Bridgette D’Agati arrived home safely, zigzagging their way to Florida and back.

There was a freak accident that happened in Starrucca when the firemen were called to put out a grass fire at the home of retired folks across from Marie Swartz. Gary was driving a fire truck and got out to watch it being filled. Somehow, a water surge came through the line, knocked a fireman who was holding it on the ground, and then sprang and hit Gary, an innocent bystander, in the face and head, doing considerable damage. He was air-lifted to Geisinger Hospital for a five-day stay and came home to be in his daughter’s care. By all odds he was a lucky man and we wish him a speedy recovery. A benefit was held for him at the Masonic Hall the ninth.

The first Spring meeting of the Civic Association was held in the community Hall April 4. Under discussion were the square dances listed for June 17, July 15, August 19 and September 16. “Just Us” will be the callers. Donnie Sheldon will be asked for an estimate to replace fan in hall. The members voted to donate $180 to the senior citizens for candles for the luminaries and up to $40 for flowers on the new bridge. Will speak of other business later.

Scheduled the week before Easter at the Thompson Methodist Church are Maundy Service on Thursday, April 13 at 7 p.m. and Tennebrae, Friday at 7 p.m. Easter Sunrise Service at Ararat at 7 a.m. with breakfast to follow.

The senior citizens will be serving a luncheon on Thursday, April 27 at noon.

I spent two weeks recently with my daughter-in-law, Phyllis in Jordanville, NY and conferred with several doctors up there concerning  my back. Prognosis looks good.


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Cool Computers

A personal computer (PC) is cool. I’m not just saying that because I’m a geek. No, really the PC is a pretty cool machine. Just think about all things it can do, and all the abuse it can take. Abuse? Yes, abuse. It’s a complex piece of electronic equipment that is sensitive to a variety of environmental elements. But does the typical household treat it that way?

Today I’m going to explain to you how some simple precautions and periodic maintenance can make your PC a happy machine. First, keep magnets way from your monitor, LCD and TV as they can cause permanent damage to the display. Also keep magnets away from floppy disks and hard drives as they can wreak havoc with the stored data. Second, be aware of static electricity. Even a slight electrostatic discharge (ESD) can damage electronic components. A slight ESD damages only exposed electronics (like when your PC case is open), but in our area many homes are extremely dry in the wintertime. Generally, if you can zap someone else with a static shock, you should discharge yourself before touching your PC. Even better, get a humidifier for your house. Your electronics and furniture will love you for it, and you’ll feel a little warmer too.

Finally, keep your PC cool. Heat is the most common killer of PCs. Blocked ventilation, dust and dirt all conspire to trap heat in your PC. You should clean the exterior of your PC and its components every 3 to 5 months. More frequently cleanings are better if your home has smokers, pets, a lot of children, or just a very busy (makes stuff move around) environment. However, if you’re retired, with no pets, don’t smoke and your house is always clean, well, you can wait 6 months between cleanings. Do not clean the inside of your PC or monitor unless you’ve been trained to do so.

Here’s how to clean your computer. Shut down the computer. Unplug it and its peripherals (printers, scanners, etc.) from the outlets. No, shutting it off is not enough. Most modern PCs continue to draw power even when they are “off”. Now get all that stuff away from the case. Do you see those vent holes? Are they clogged with dust and pet fur? Use your vacuum and get that crud out of there. On the backside of the PC there will be one or more fans. Vacuum all the dirt from around them as well. Wipe down the front, top and sides with a damp cloth. Do not spray cleaners directly on electronic components (remember those vent holes?). Spray the cleaner on the cloth instead.

Now clean the outside of the monitor. Vacuum or wipe the dust from the top. Use the damp cloth to wipe all the dust from the entire exterior of the monitor. Yes, it has vent holes too. Keep liquids and sprays away from those vents. Use glass cleaner on a soft clean cloth for the screen. Put a little elbow grease into it. Eeeww – just look at that dirt! A clean screen is easier on your eyes and the colors will look much brighter, too.

Take your keyboard and flip it over. Use one hand to hold one end of the keyboard in the air. Use the other hand to tap all along the backside. As you tap you’ll see bits of dust, food, skin, and hair, along with some UFOs (unidentifiable foreign objects) fall out of the keyboard. Shake the keyboard upside down a couple of times, then switch hands and repeat. During cold and flu season you may also want to spray a soft cloth with disinfectant and wipe down the keyboard and mouse. Careful though, some strong cleaners will clean the markings right off the keyboard!

If you have a mouse with a track ball, you need to clean it occasionally as well. Flip the mouse over and twist the plastic circle surrounding the ball to the left. The doughnut shaped piece of plastic will drop out – and so will the ball. Clean the ball with a lint free cloth. Look around inside the mouse for little clumps of dust and hair, especially on the rollers. Use tweezers or an open safety pin to remove the clumps. Shake the dust and dirt out of it. Drop the ball back into the hole, and then twist the little cover back in place.

Remember, static electricity, magnets, dirt, dust, and pet fur, are abusive to your PC. Shoving your PC into a tight corner or surrounding it with stacks of papers and books will make it hot. Heat destroys electronic components. So store the stuff somewhere else, vacuum and wipe off the ventilation holes – keep your PC cool. It will run better and last longer. Cool!

Next time I talk about how you can use utilities that come with your PC to get a better view.

Lori Martin is owner of Martin Works, Inc. (, Susquehanna, PA.

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