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May 14th

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Letters to the Editor Policy

Remember Their Sacrifice

To die in defense of your country and for freedom is the greatest sacrifice that a serviceman or woman can make to protect others. I encourage you to pause on Memorial Day to realize the high price that has been paid by so many so you can enjoy the blessings of living in the United States.

Visit a local war memorial and realize that the engraved names represent people who put their lives in danger for your sake. These are people who left their families and futures behind to defeat worldwide threats to your family and your future. Pause to reflect about the impact of that sacrifice.

More than 2,600 of our bravest have given their lives in the Middle East to limit the reach of terrorism worldwide. The cost of freedom is high; veterans join families in mourning every time taps is played. Remember the fallen, thank their families and support those in harm's way whether or not you agree with their deployment.

I've spoken to soldiers who served recently in the Middle East. Our military is making a tremendous difference there. By building schools and hospitals, protecting a marketplace that creates jobs, making food and water more available, and training police and troops, our military is ushering in freedom in Iraq. Life in Afghanistan has also been improved thanks to our troops.

Like the grateful Europeans who were liberated from Adolph Hitler's crusade, Iraqis thank our troops for giving them life free from the death grip of Saddam and his sons. With hope in their eyes, Iraqi children shake the hands of our personnel. Hope may be hard to capture in news stories, but our troops clearly see it there and morale is high because of this.

On Memorial Day, join the VFW in honoring deceased veterans by saluting today's veterans and by supporting those who are defending freedom today. That's a sacrifice we should all make.


Robert C. Eiler, State Commander

PA Dept., Veterans of Foreign Wars

Ethanol Is A Solution

All of this bickering about how high gas prices are and how it really hurts us all and not many words about a solution. Ethanol is a solution, it is renewable and can be grown all across our country. It can build back our economy. It can fill the gaps in our small towns and put America back to work.

Maybe it is time to put the agriculture age back on top of the industrial age to bail America out. Put the American agriculture worker back in the fields doing what they do best, succeed. Yes, we have lost much land to developers but the farmers who have the land take pride; I am sure they would be honored to help solve our problems.

You probably did not know this, but we as Americans have to import 60% of our oil, 60%! Yet just the cornstalks left standing in the American fields last year alone could have produced that 60% in the form of ethanol. Are we going to allow those corn stalks stand this year? It, my friends, is up to you. Call your attorney general and demand that ethanol plants be built immediately, and call your local politicians.

Save your money for gas until all the plants are built.


Peter A. Seman

Thompson, PA

Full Speed Ahead!

The USS Abraham Lincoln turned and headed into the wind. Moments later a jet made a tail-hook landing and out stepped our President costumed in a flight suit. He made a victory speech, the "Mission Accomplished" banner fluttered overhead, everyone cheered. Now three years later it is seen as a tableau of short-sightedness and incompetence. It was a war that was supposed to end like the last page in a novel, but it didn't follow the script.

Now an act of war against Iran is being contemplated while the last conflict still smolders. General Tom McLnerney has ambitious plans for Iran: "Washington should be prepared to carry out a powerful campaign led by 60 stealth aircraft... more than 400 non-stealth strike aircraft... 500 cruise missiles..." Besides nuclear-related targets he goes on to list a score of ancillary bombing sites: airfields, supply and fuel depots, and communications nexuses. General McLnerney and his ilk evince the restraint and foresight of a junk-yard dog. A war with Iran is even more so a war on America. It is a war with self-defeating consequences. There are many. Consider but six.

1) Even the suspicion of an attack on Iran will immediately drive a barrel of crude up from $75 to $100. For every $1 increase in a barrel of crude, gasoline at the pump will rise 2.4 cents. For starters that's $3.60 per gallon.

2) Iran has the second largest natural gas reserves in the world. A conflict with this nation will ricochet back to us in the form of higher natural gas prices and shortages.

3) If hostilities break out, Iran will respond. She will do so in several ways. The simplest may already be in place. The cornerstone of Iranian defense is the Strait of Hormuz, a bottleneck in the Persian Gulf through which 40% of the world's petroleum passes.

Iran has a stockpile of 3,000 undersea mines. The most formidable is the Chinese-made EM-52. This mine lies dormant on the sea bottom. It can be remotely armed on land. When a ship passes over it the mine is triggered. A rocket propels it upwards at 70 miles per hour. Its warhead, containing 700 pounds of high explosive, will detonate upon contact with a ship's hull. It has a hit probability of 80%. It is a sobering possibility that just one vessel sunk in the right place could jeopardize the entire global economy.

It is not known if these mines are in place, but it is reasonable and prudent to assume that they are. If so, Iran may have planted entire underwater minefields. At the touch of a few buttons Iran could render shipping in the Persian Gulf impassable.

At this point look for crude to rise to $200 per barrel and more. Gas at the pump will jump to $6 a gallon – if available.

4) High on the U.S. target list is the nuclear power plant at Bushehr. Iran has a $1 billion contract with Russia to design and build this facility. Of the 900 workers and technicians employed on site, 300 are Russians. An air strike using huge bunker busters would kill many of these employees including Russian citizens. No, it won't start WW III, but it will sour our relations with Russia. Moscow and Beijing have close diplomatic and economic ties with Tehran. An attack on Bushehr would unite Russia and China in an alliance against the United States.

In 1981 Israel bombed a nuclear power plant in Iraq. Iran learned from this and has planned accordingly. Her nuclear facilities are spread out, camouflaged, and in hardened, underground bunkers. Those like the Bushehr plant that cannot be hidden are ringed with anti-aircraft guns and Russian-made rockets so advanced that they can down a ground-hugging cruise missile or a laser-guided bomb. The hi-tech wizardry of GPS-guided cruise missiles and smart bombs are America's ace in the hole, but the ace may turn out to be a joker.

5) An attack on Iran will unite the Shiites in Iran with those in Iraq. The situation in Iraq could go from bad to untenable. Further, the reactions of Muslims in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan would be volatile. These countries are on the cusp of Islamic extremism. A U.S. led attack on a second Muslim nation could ignite the entire Middle East.

6) Nor would an attack on Iran be a hit-and-run operation. Iran's retaliation would precipitate yet more attacks. Hostilities would escalate beyond anyone's control. Wars are like that. Once started they take on a Frankensteinean life and will of their own.

The choices are two: learn to live with another member of the nuclear club as we did with Russia for forty-two years during the Cold War, with China since 1964, with India and Pakistan in the mid-90s, and with North Korea beginning in 2003; or is it to be full speed ahead! Damn the consequences – again.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

As dairy farmers

(and all farmers) are now in their fields doing their planting, and, in some areas, harvesting grasses, they can’t help but have severe apprehensions regarding their upcoming pay prices.

If dairy farmers were only paid for their milk on a sensible formula, then many of their worries could be eliminated.

While it’s dangerous to estimate the future prices paid to dairy farmers, I’m always willing to try. Earlier in the year, I estimated the future statistical price two different ways. For March 2006, with the one method I used, I was 3 cents per cwt off; the other way, I was 14 cents off. So, I’ll average the two ways, and see how close I get to the actual price: April - $12.83; May - $12.63; June - $12.60; July - $12.55; August - $12.60; September - $12.70. It’s ridiculous that dairy framers are trying to maintain their operations on prices they are currently receiving.

The other day, a farmer called me from Tioga County and said, “There are just too many obstacles in our way to continue to farm. They told us to produce more milk, so we are producing more milk but receiving less gross dollars! What’s wrong?”

Here’s what’s wrong. Dairy farmers are producing milk and are being paid for the milk on a pricing formula that does not relate to the dairy farmer’s cost of producing milk.

Some people say, “Produce more milk for an expanding market.” Others say, “We’re going to slaughter more cows so there will be less milk produced.” Is it any wonder many dairy farmers are confused?

I told the Tioga County farmer that while the Boston statistical price was $13.43 in March of this year, the price in their area was actually about $12.71 per cwt.

As I look back at prices, I see the average price in the old Order #2 for 1980 was $12.64 at the 201-210 mile zone. This is about where the Tioga County producer was located.

This means these producers have gained 7 cents per cwt in 26 years! This is real progress?

Time is running out for many dairy farmers. Something must be done. It’s evident that the USDA either will not or cannot correct the pricing problem.

The dairy cooperatives claim to have control of a majority of milk. Then why can’t they establish a fair price to dairy farmers? Remember when NFO stated their ambition was to establish prices on all commodities? You can’t argue with their intentions. So where does all this leave our dairy farmers?

The only solution I see is for the United States Congress to intervene.

Is there anything basically wrong with the US Congress establishing a floor price under manufactured milk (Class III)? Let’s say $14.50 per cwt, and then spin all milk prices from the $14.50.

For March 2006, the values for the milk components were protein at $1.8836 per lb., fat at $1.2596 per lb., and solids nonfat at $0.0870 per lb.

To establish a $14.50 per cwt floor price would mean a price as follows: protein $2.75 per lb. – $8.25 per cwt, fat $1.70 per lb. – $5.95 per cwt, solids nonfat $0.52 per lb. – $0.30 per cwt = $14.50. Or: protein $3.00 per lb. – $9.00 per cwt, fat $1.50 per lb. – $5.25 per cwt, solids nonfat $0.25 per lb. – $0.25 per cwt = $14.50.

The marketplace can certainly sustain these prices. These prices would generate a statistical price of nearly $16.00 per cwt.

Also, Congress must examine the amounts of dairy imports coming into the United States.

If necessary, we also urge that all dairy farmers receive a very low price on 5% of their milk – say $4.00 per cwt. This should allow products to be made available for the hunger programs. This reduction in a percentage of the farmers’ milk price would kick in only if dairy farmers are assured there is extra milk in the US.

If dairy farmers receive $16.00 per cwt for 95% of their milk and $4.00 per cwt for 5% of their milk, then a dairyman producing 200,000 lbs. of milk per month would gain nearly $50,000 in gross income on an annual basis compared to receiving $13.00 per cwt.

Time is of the essence. Something must be done. Remember, it’s time we stop staggering around like a drunken hobo on dairy policy.

Don’t forget, the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board (PMMB) is still establishing a $1.93 per cwt premium on Class I milk. Why can’t this be done on a national level?


Arden Tewksbury

Manager, Pro Ag

Meshoppen, PA

County Progress Report

Elevator project complete.

Upgraded space for Prothonotary’s and Register and Recorder offices.

New roof on the county office building.

Mapping and readdressing project three-quarters of the way complete.

Employee contribution to health care coverage.

New, modern, safer locations for two Magisterial District Judges’ offices.

Selection and purchase of new voting equipment to comply with the “Help America Vote Act.”

Security improvements for the Courthouse and county office building.

Enterprise Zone designation that will help promote job growth and business expansion through low-interest loans and grants.

Actively supporting major transportation improvements in the county (Rte. 706, I-81 exit improvements).

Balanced budget for three years.

One million dollars of Growing Greener II money to be distributed for recreation, watershed and infrastructure projects in 2006 and 2007.

Fiscally conservative measures taken to downsize when possible.

Support Lackawanna College’s effort to locate a branch campus in Susquehanna County.

Many of the successful results over the last two years have been made possible through the efforts of the many, hardworking county employees and elected officials.


Roberta Kelly

Susquehanna County Commissioner



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