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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 25, 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
The Family Doctor

100 Years Ago

GLENWOOD: Farm hands are scarce and high in this place. It seems that the cities have the pull on honest country lads. Well, there is where they are to be found. AND: Autos were in demand here Sunday and every one having a horse seemed to be out enjoying the dried up roads.

SILVER LAKE: Many birds were flying, bewildered by snow and rain, looking for food. Kind persons threw a supply to them. Am sorry that all were not so thoughtful. Some hunters were shooting in the grove near Silver Lake and a wounded partridge fell wounded by their guns. It would be well for those hunters to read the game law before they shot birds out of season. It is safe to say, no Silver Lake person would be guilty of the act and perhaps the names of the persons may be secured.

EAST DIMOCK: The Ladies’ Aid Society of South Montrose met with Mrs. Margaret Allen for dinner last Thursday. The crowd was large and the dinner fine. The aid was a success all around and those two quilts that were pieced and quilted by the ladies of south Montrose and vicinity were presented to the minister on that day. Mike Lake presented them in behalf of the ladies. He made a fine speech, which all enjoyed.

RUSH: In the Rush School, with an enrollment of 33, the following were the Roll of Honor pupils during their attendance: Mary Wilcox, Maude McCain, Leah Kunkel, Hattie Jagger, Hazel Otis, Lavina Bonboy, Laura Bonboy, Fred Owen, Byron Gary, Gordon Bishop, Luther Bonboy, Paul McCain. Maude McCain was not tardy or absent during the term. Nettie G. Chamberlain, teacher.

FOREST CITY: The Clifford breaker of the Erie company was operated Friday and Saturday of last week. A number of cars of coal that had been cut during the week by miners from down the valley were run through the rollers. The company has about 100 men within the breaker stockade. This includes the guards and miners, laborers and breaker hands. The men doing guard duty are principally clerks from the Dunmore offices. The company claims to be able to keep the mine going [during the strike].

FOREST LAKE: Patrick Griffin is our new path master. Oliver Shoemaker has rented the blacksmith shop for another year and William Sauter has filed and gummed over 300 saws this winter. AND: James Mack, our Friendsville and Montrose stage driver, we are sorry to lose, for he was the best driver we have had in a long time. Moses Mott takes his place.

SPRINGVILLE: A few days ago Richard Turrell, a colored man, living with his wife just out of town, was taken sick and not desiring the services of a physician, his condition was not fully known. Kind neighbors did what they could for him, his wife being unable to do much on account of age and feebleness. He lingered until Tuesday morning, when he peacefully passed away. Over 35 years ago he came here with his wife from Virginia, where they had both been held in slavery. They acquired a little home where they had lived a good many years. As was the case with many others held in bondage, these two did not know their ages, he probably being in the seventies.

LITTLE MEADOWS: Miss Jennie Murphy, who is attending school at Montrose, was home Sunday and Miss Gertrude Hartigan is attending school in Binghamton, at Reilley’s College.

HALLSTEAD: Hallstead has purchased a chemical engine for fire fighting purposes. The water pressure in that borough could not be depended upon to furnish efficient protection in time of fire, so it was thought, after consideration, better to take time by the forelock and at the same time keep down insurance rates.

NEW MILFORD: The store of Frank T. Austin was robbed by burglars, Tuesday night, of a number of pairs of shoes and about $15 in cash. They then went to the carriage shed connected with the horse barn of William Phinney, of the Eagle Hotel, and started a fire of straw to warm themselves. Dr. A. E. Snyder, who lives across the street, was returning from a professional call when he discovered the blaze. Calling Mr. Phinney, the two succeeded in quelling the fire, the burglars on their approach beating a retreat toward the cemetery and eluding capture. Had the fire not been noticed in time there is a possibility that the upper portion of the town would have suffered heavily from the resulting conflagration.

SUSQUEHANNA: Susquehanna has landed the hardware plant and are now casting around for a suitable location. The committee appointed to solicit the funds that were subscribed are meeting with prompt action.

OAKLAND: The fire companies were called out Saturday night in response to an alarm. The fire was in the borough hall, in the part used as a jail. A prisoner was in the cell at the time and was nearly suffocated when taken out. Damage to the building was slight.

CLIFFORD: Poultry raising is flourishing in this section. Several of our residents have incubators turning out chickens by the hundreds.

MIDDLETOWN: The Rourke Bros. are doing the mason work for the new school house. AND: There will be a sugar social at Middletown Center on Friday night. All are invited.

MONTROSE: Jasper Jennings wrote the following about Montrose: Isaac Post chopped the first tree and helped to roll up the first log house in the present limits of Montrose in 1800. Post also had the first painted house [and store], built in 1811, and the first court was held in the ball room of his tavern. The first Baptist in Susquehanna County was Bartlett Hinds, who came to the settlement in 1800. The first Justice of the Peace was Joshua Raynsford, appointed immediately after the formation of the county in 1810. In 28 years he had 36,680 law suits before him, took acknowledgements of 1000 deeds and united 104 couples in marriage. Montrose was incorporated in 1824. It was named by Dr. R. H. Rose, after a town in Scotland.

NEWS BRIEFS: The Philadelphia Inquirer, of April 20, contained this: “Three towns in this State present themselves to our eye at this moment as the most beautiful in the State. Honesdale, Montrose and Bloomsburg. Better go see them. AND: The fall of snow Monday recalled to some of our older residents [of the county] the heavy snowfall of April 19, 20-21, 1857, when the ground was covered to a depth of three feet.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay


Why not a sheriff’s patrol?

Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court handed down an opinion that supported Jeffrey B. Miller, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police. Miller had rejected applications from some sheriffs and deputy sheriffs that wanted to receive training and certification to conduct wiretap investigations.

The Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act, specifically provides for training and certification by the State Police for investigative or law enforcement officers. An investigative or law enforcement officer is described in the Act as any “officer of the United States, of another state or political subdivision thereof, who is empowered by law to conduct investigations of or to make arrests for offenses enumerated in the Wiretapping Act.” Some county sheriffs and their deputies submitted applications for the course but they were rejected because of uncertainty over the authority of sheriffs to perform wiretaps under the Wiretapping Act.

Following the rejection by the State Police, a group of lawmen from Warren, Mercer, Bradford and Cumberland counties took the issue to Commonwealth Court. On February 20, 2004, Commonwealth Court determined that sheriffs were not investigative or law enforcement officers.

The appellants then took the matter to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and on February 28, 2006 the Justices voted 6-0 in support of the decision handed down by the Commonwealth Court.

In her majority opinion, Madame Justice Sandra Schultz Newman said that prior court decisions gave sheriffs and their deputies the power to issue summonses for relatively minor offenses and to make arrests for certain motor vehicle violations they personally observe. But she said sheriffs and deputies do not have more power than private citizens to make arrests for crimes they witness.

“We note,” Madame Justice Schultz continued, “that the power of sheriffs to arrest for crimes committed in their presence is no different from that of a private citizen. If we were to accept their argument, then a private citizen could be an ‘investigative or law enforcement officer’ who could participate in wiretaps.”

I called Jim Hazen, executive director of the Pennsylvania Sheriffs Association and he said the Association is not through yet. He said the Association is planning to file an appeal for a re-argument before the Supreme Court. And, if that doesn’t work, he said legislation will be sought that will give the sheriffs and their deputies some clout.

“I think we will get full cooperation from the General Assembly,” Jim said.

Hazen said that sheriffs and deputy sheriffs were attempting to take the wiretapping course so they could help the State Police on drug cases by providing district attorneys with new faces for drug purchases.

My friends, the belief here is that we should make greater use of the Sheriff’s Department particularly in small rural communities that have limited resources and cannot finance their own police departments. In Forest City, for example, the police department costs the taxpayers about $200,000 a year or $100 for every man, woman and child living in the borough. Again, not many communities in Susquehanna County can afford that amount of taxes just for one line item in the budget.

Regional Police Departments have been tried in the past in Susquehanna County without much success. But a Sheriff’s Patrol could be less expensive and more effective. There could be three precincts strategically located in the county, perhaps in firehouses or municipal buildings to keep rental costs down. The suggestion here would be that the county launch a feasibility study into the possibility of a full-time, countywide Sheriff’s Patrol. Having 24/7 police protection can also increase opportunities for commercial and industrial growth.

It is no secret that the State Police is shorthanded thanks to the need to tighten up those purse strings in Harrisburg, I don’t think it would come as a great surprise if the State Police stopped providing municipal coverage because of a lack of manpower. I know that it has been talked about for some time and sooner or later it will be inevitable.

One more thought. I am told there is money available in Harrisburg for vehicles and equipment for multi-community police departments. I say it is at least worth a look. If it is cost prohibitive, there is no law that says it must move forward anyway. If you agree that it might be worth a look-see, suggest it to your councilman or township supervisor. A feasibility study cannot hurt anything or anybody.


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From the Desk of the D.A.

In late May 2001, Scott Randolph and his wife, Janet Randolph, separated. Janet went to live with her parents in Canada, and Scott remained at the marital residence in Georgia. In July 2001, Janet returned to the marital home and a domestic dispute erupted. After the police responded to a 911 call, Janet informed the police that her husband was a cocaine addict, while Scott contended that Janet was an alcoholic and drug addict. Apparently in order to demonstrate her point, Janet told the police officers that there was drug paraphernalia in the home. Janet gave the police consent to search the home, but Scott objected to any search of his residence. Ignoring the protestations of Scott, Janet took the police officer into a bedroom, where the officer observed a drinking straw and a powdery substance that the officer believed to be cocaine. The officer then left the residence, applied for a search warrant, and seized cocaine and various drug paraphernalia, and criminal charges were filed against Scott. Scott sought to suppress the evidence contending that the police should not have entered his home when he expressly refused to give them consent – even though his wife, Janet, was giving consent for the search.

The United States Supreme Court recently determined that the initial entry into the home was unlawful, and, as such, the evidence was suppressed. In making this determination, the Supreme Court recognized that Janet, a co-owner of the premises, had specifically given consent to the search of her residence, and, in fact, led the police officer directly the evidence that led to the search warrant, namely the drinking straw and powdery substance. But Scott, the other owner of the premises, was objecting to the police entering his residence. In the view of five members of the Supreme Court, the objection of one co-owner overrode the consent to search provided by the other co-owner. In the view of the majority, a central tenant of the Fourth Amendment is the concept that “a man’s home is his castle” such that the “poorest man may in his own cottage bid defiance to all of the forces of the [government].” Thus, “disputed permission” to enter a home cannot overcome the rights protected by the Fourth Amendment. In short, the five-justice majority concluded that one co-owner lacks the ability to allow police into a residence where the other co-owner objects to such entry – provided there is no other evidence of criminal activity afoot or there is no apparent need for police intervention to provide protection from domestic abuse.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote a stinging dissent, contending the privacy interests protected by the Fourth Amendment were not implicated in this case. In a straightforward approach, Chief Justice Roberts concluded: “[T]he risk assumed by a joint occupant is comparable to the risk assumed by one who reveals private information to another. If a person has incriminating information, he can keep it private in the face of a request from the police to share it, because he has that right under the Fifth Amendment. If a person occupies a house with incriminating information in it, he can keep that information private in the face of a request from police to search the house, because he has that right under the Fourth Amendment. But if he shares the information – or the house – with another, that other can grant access to the police in each instance.” Justices Thomas and Scalia agreed with Chief Justice Roberts. Thus, in the end, by a 5-3 vote (Justice Alito did not participate in the decision), the Supreme Court determined that a co-owner of a residence lacks the ability to invite law enforcement into her own home where the other owner objects to a search of the residence.

The logic underlying the decision is problematic. In essence, the decision ignores the property interests of the consenting co-owner who seeks police intervention to stop continuing criminal activity. A simple example demonstrates the glaring flaws in the decision. What if you shared an apartment with another individual and discovered a large amount of controlled substances? What are your options? If the co-tenant is not present to object to the search, you can invite the police into the residence and have the controlled substances removed. If the co-tenant is present and objects to the search, the police are now powerless to intervene and assist you in stopping the continuing criminal activity. If the co-tenant is present, but asleep and does not know the police will be entering the premises, then your consent is valid and the police can enter without violating the Fourth Amendment. So what do you do in that situation? You wait for a time when your co-tenant is not present and/or is asleep before you invite the police into your own residence to conduct the search and remove the illegal material. What about a situation where there are four owners, and three out of the four owners seek police intervention, but the fourth owner continues to voice opposition to police entry? If this seems absurd to you, you are not alone – just look to the dissenting opinion of Chief Justice Roberts.

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. I remember having lots of fevers as a kid, but, now that I’m older, I don’t get them like I used to. What gives?

The immune system doesn’t function as efficiently in older adults as it does in younger people. The body's fever response to infection is not always automatic in elderly people. More than 20 percent of adults over age 65 who have serious bacterial infections do not have fevers.

This brings us to germs, which are defined as microbes that cause disease. Infectious diseases caused by microbes are the leading cause of death.

Microbes are microscopic organisms that are everywhere. Some microbes cause disease. Others are essential for health. Most microbes belong to one of four major groups: bacteria, viruses, fungi, or protozoa.

Bacteria are made up of only one cell. Less than 1 percent of them cause diseases in humans. Harmless bacteria live in human intestines, where they help to digest food. Foods such as yogurt and cheese, are made using bacteria.

Some bacteria produce dangerous poisons. Botulism, a severe form of food poisoning, is caused by toxins from bacteria. However, several vaccines are made from bacterial toxins.

Viruses are among the smallest microbes. They consist of one or more molecules that contain the virus's genes surrounded by a protein coat. Most viruses cause disease. They invade normal cells then multiply.

A fungus is a primitive vegetable. There are millions of types of fungi. The most familiar ones are mushrooms, yeast, mold, and mildew. Some live in the human body, usually without causing illness. In fact, only about half of all types of fungi cause disease in humans. Penicillin and other antibiotics, which kill harmful bacteria in our bodies, are made from fungi.

Protozoa are a group of microscopic one-celled animals. In humans, protozoa usually cause disease. Some protozoa, like plankton, are food for marine animals. Malaria is caused by a protozoan parasite.

You can get infected by germs from other people in many different ways, including transmission through the air from coughing or sneezing, direct contact such as kissing or sexual intercourse, and touching infectious material on a doorknob, telephone, automated teller machine or a diaper.

A variety of germs come from household pets. Dog and cat saliva can contain any of more than 100 different germs that can make you sick.

Mosquitoes may be the most common insect carriers of disease. Mosquitoes can transmit malaria. Fleas that pick up bacteria from rodents can then transmit plague to humans. The tiny deer tick can infect humans with Lyme disease.

We become immune to germs naturally and artificially. Before birth, we received natural immunity from our mothers. Once we are exposed to a germ, we develop natural immunity to it from special cells in our immune systems. Artificial immunity can come from vaccines.

Most infections caused by microbes fall into three major groups: acute infections, chronic infections and latent infections. The common cold is an acute infection. Hepatitis C, which affects the liver, is a chronic viral infection. Chickenpox is an example of a latent infection that can emerge many years later and causes a disease called “shingles.”

Hand washing is a simple and effective way to stop the transmission of germs. Health care experts recommend scrubbing your hands vigorously for at least 15 seconds with soap and water.

It is especially important to wash your hands before touching food, after coughing or sneezing, after changing a diaper, and after using the toilet.

If you have a question, please write to


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Straight From Starrucca

Charlie Levchak heaved a sigh of relief when he put the last piece in his five-thousand piece puzzle he received for Christmas.

Ruth Slocum has been mothering triplet baby goats. She says the goats now think they’re “people.”

Have just read in the Scranton paper that Raymond Sampson passed away at home. Ray was born and brought up in Starrucca, married Evelyn Gelatt from Thompson, and went to work at IBM in Binghamton. He has written several interesting treatises over 38 years, with the setting in Starrucca. Ray was very interested in genealogy and could trace his heritage back to the first settlers in Starrucca. He also crafted fine furniture. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. He was the finest Christian man I ever knew. My sympathy is extended to the family.

Roger and Barbara Glover entertained her family of about twenty for dinner on Easter Sunday.

Charlie Levchak celebrated Easter with daughter, Carol Robideau and family in Tunkhannock, PA.

The former Mildred Kaiser property looks very nice with new windows and aluminum siding.

Mary Anderson was buried in the Starrucca Cemetery with a short graveside service.

Easter Sunrise Service was well attended at 6:30 in Starrucca inside, and at 7 a.m. in Ararat outside.

Brett Upright visited his parents over Easter week and joined them to have dinner at Brenda and Bob Reddon’s, Germantown Crossing.

Betty and Bob Luz, Lansdale came last Friday and stayed until the following Sunday. How good it feels to have someone cook meals for me. They also stayed for Nelson’s memorial service.

Alice and Kirk Rhone on Easter Sunday welcomed son, Jeff and girlfriend, Delhi, NY, Leanna and boyfriend, local and Julie and three girls.

I was pleasantly surprised with a visit last Thursday from Madeline Thorn and Doris Deakin. We played Quiddler.


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The Family Doctor

Since this second column is due before the first one is even published, I have no questions from readers to respond to. What I will do today, then, is answer one of the all-time most popular questions I get in the office: Should I take an antibiotic for this?

The answer, which will probably be the recurrent theme and standard response in this column is… “it depends!”

Antibiotics are powerful and effective drugs, no doubt, but they have been terribly overused and misused through the years, to the point where antibiotic resistance is in the news almost daily, and there is a distinct possibility within the next few years that super-resistant bacteria will emerge and cause infections that are unable to be cured. So we all have to be very careful with who gets what, and when, and why. Even without the emergence of “super-bugs,” there is clear evidence that few people on antibiotics really need them, and that having one person in a household on an antibiotic makes everybody else in the household subject to the risks of resistant organisms.

The first thing to consider and remember is that there are different types of germs and bugs that cause disease. Antibiotics kill things that live- (that’s what the name means – “anti” means against, “biotics” means things that live). Many of the things we call “germs” or “bugs” really aren’t alive. Viruses, which cause most disease among humans, are simply little packages of DNA that use your own cells to recreate endless versions of themselves. They’re not alive, so we can’t kill them. Bacteria live, in the sense that they create their own energy, divide and grow by themselves, and we all have millions of the little buggers in our systems. We rely on them for our own life, in fact. More reason to think long and hard before taking something that wipes them out, no?

The next thing to keep in mind is that, among the millions of bacteria in, on, and about our body, there are many different strains and types and varieties. Most are good, a few are bad, just like any large population. The fact is, much of the time we don’t “catch” a bad bug from somebody else, we simply change the environment a little so the bad guys can proliferate. The three most common germs identified in sinus infections, ear infections and pneumonia are germs that normally inhabit the sinuses, ears, and lungs. We didn’t get them from another, we changed things around so they had a more hospitable environment. Think of the bread you forgot in the pantry for a month. Did it “catch” the mold from the evil hot dog rolls? No! The mold was there all along, but the poor unfortunate bread got infected with it because it sat there in the damp and dark until its preservatives expired and the mold that was there all along had a chance to grow.

When I see kids with ear infections or adults with sinus infections, the underlying cause is almost always due to swelling of the membranes from a virus or an allergy. The swelling prevents the sinuses from draining and allows fluid to build up behind the eardrum. Now the germs normally in those areas have a nice pool of warm water that they can thrive in, and they take advantage of it. Throw an antibiotic at them and they might decrease in number, temporarily, but when the antibiotic is gone, the fluid is still there, and like any unwelcome guests, the bacteria will inevitably return. The bottom line is, if you can eliminate the congestion and the fluid, you don’t need an antibiotic. And if you don’t eliminate the fluid, the antibiotic will not do any good. How sad that so many of us grew up with antibiotics liberally thrown at every “ear infection” or “sinus” that came along.

Similarly, antibiotics in pneumonia or urinary tract infections almost never are the “cure” of the problem. They treat the complication of an underlying condition, be it lung disease from smoking, asthma, viral infection, or allergy, or urinary tract conditions that affect how fluids are eliminated from the body. It’s almost never enough to simply throw an antibiotic at the condition, and very often when the condition is fully explored and understood, the antibiotic proves to be unnecessary.

Antibiotics are powerful drugs, with many side effects, some riskier than others. They also kill the bacteria we need, and I often tell people as I am writing out the prescription, “remember, if you don’t get diarrhea or a yeast infection from this, it’s probably not working.” That’s usually enough to get my point across.

Having said all that, there is no denying that our health, longevity and happiness have been immeasurably improved since Alexander Fleming noticed that penicillium mold did something to kill bacteria. We are immeasurably better off as a society because we have these medicines in our arsenal. But just like other weapons of mass destruction, we have a responsibility to limit their use, and to ensure that they are used appropriately and responsibly and only when absolutely necessary.

If there is something you want to learn more about or have explained, write to Dr. Hacker at “Ask the Family Doctor” c/o Susquehanna County Transcript, 212-216 Exchange Street, Susquehanna, PA . To schedule an office visit, call 879-5249 for an appointment.


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