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May 14th

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Issue Home May 16, 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

AUBURN CENTER: What are the tax payers and directors thinking of to desire to erect a High School building at Auburn Center where there are only a few children? To build a school costing $3500 would be unwise, the general outlook at present being very poor. It looks as if the directors were going to put up a monument to their memory in office out of the Auburn taxpayers’ pockets. It is almost impossible for a child between the ages of six and eight years to go to school two or three miles away from home. Directors think wisely. You might better pay tuition for a few years than have a building standing idle, and the children going to the district school. We are in favor of education, advancement and good schools, but when it can readily be seen that a project will fail, we are opposed.

SUSQUEHANNA: Last Friday morning the town was visited by one of the most disastrous fires in its history. The Falkenbury block is now in ruins and the Central Hotel and John Lannon estate buildings were badly damaged, the total loss amounting to about $20,000. The fire is thought to have originated in the studio of Photographer S. A. Cole, who occupies rooms over the postoffice and spread to the offices of Dr. J. D. Kelly, dentist, thence to the Central House, conducted by John J. McGinty and was, after hard work, stopped at the John Lannon estate block which adjoins the Central House. John Buckley’s clothing store and Byron French’s stationary store and job printing office, located in the fire-swept section, were also badly damaged. The hose and chemical companies did very effective work and the tin roofs and absence of wind aided them greatly in their efforts. Had it not been for these favorable conditions the loss would have been much greater, as at one time the entire business district was endangered. The postoffice has been transferred to the Rogers block and although the service has been hampered for the past few days, it is now straightening itself out.

LANESBORO: Scranton parties who have been drilling for coal at Lanesboro are reported to have struck a vein of coal several feet in thickness. So much secrecy is being observed that nothing definite can be learned.

MONTROSE: While examining a supposedly unloaded revolver at the Court House Friday morning, it was discharged and Prothonotary W. A. Titsworth received a severe wound. The revolver was in the hands of William Buchanan, of the Buchanan Bridge co. of Chambersburg, Pa. Mr. Buchanan was also wounded by the same bullet, which passed through the fleshy part of his right hand. The bullet had been deflected from its course after entering Mr. Titsworth’s body by coming into contact with the pelvic bone, which it followed, being cut out later from the side of the hip. The shooting occurred in the commissioner’s office, where Mr. Buchanan was calling on business, his company having erected many of the bridges in the county. Mr. Titsworth, having known the gentleman a number of years, stepped in from his office across the hall to shake hands. During the conversation which followed the subject of a new revolver, belonging to Mr. Buchanan, was brought up. He took the firearm from his pocket, removed the cylinder and displayed the mechanism of the weapon. Commissioners’ Clerk Foster asked if it was loaded and received an answer in the negative. The remark was then made about frequent shootings that took place from guns that “they didn’t know was loaded.” It was while replacing the supposedly empty cylinder that a sharp report startled those present.

FOSTER [Hopbottom]: Sunday evening, Fred Chamberlain, son of Brakeman Perry Chamberlain, of Foster, was run over by the cars at that place. The boy had just jumped off one train and was attempting to board another, when he fell under the wheels, striking the rail and lying at full length on the track. The cars passed over him, killing him instantly. It is reported that this is the second son Mr. Chamberlain has lost through being killed by trains within the past year. He is a well-known Lackawanna brakeman and much sympathy is expressed for himself and family.

NEW MILFORD: The 3rd annual reunion of the 4th Regt., Penna. Volunteers, will be held at the home of Charles A. Kenyon on June 21 & 22. Important business, outside of the usual pleasurable gathering of these comrades, is to be considered. Among them are the making of arrangements to attend the dedication of the regimental monument at Antietam, and the recently revised and enlarged history of the regiment. [In related news, the age limit pension bill, passed by both houses of Congress, has become a law. Under its provision, when a soldier of the Civil war arrives at the age of 60 years he is allowed $6 per month without examination as to disability. At 61 he gets $8; at 70 years he is allowed $12. The measure does away with any question as to disability and gives every soldier a pension regardless of disease contracted in the war or since that time.]

KINGSLEY & HARFORD: The buildings from the former Soldiers’ Orphans’ School property, now owned by H.W. Jeffers, of Plainsboro, N.J., form an important part in the improvements still progressing on the “Jeffers Farm.” One of the finest and most modern barns in this section contains the lumber from the old chapel. The building known as the office was used in the construction of a fine tenant house, just completed. A dairy house soon to be constructed there will contain the lumber from the old dining hall.

LENOXVILLE: Just listen! Did you hear the wedding bells? No, but I heard the booming of guns, the drumming of old tin pans, the ringing of cow bells and the blowing of horns of a regular old-fashioned skimelton. Where did you hear them? In Lenxoville, between the homes of C. A. Utley and E. K. Severance. When, did I say? Monday evening, May 14, 1906, just about the curfew hour.

BROOKLYN: A new grocery and meat wagon, from Alford, visits this place twice a week. AND: Mr. Taylor, our new neighbor from Scranton, is building a pigeon house.

ARARAT: E. L. Avery was badly hurt last week by a vicious bull. While driving the stock into the yard the bull turned on him and he escaped only by rolling under the fence where the bull had thrown him. He has been confined to the bed.

FLYNN, Middletown Twp.: Miss Lizzie V. McCormick spends her vacation this summer at Ocean grove, where she goes for health. AND: The Middletown Center Baseball team has come to the conclusion that they will not carry the rusty penny for luck this season.

HERRICK: Dr. Lee, who makes his home with Charles Hart, is on the road selling medicine.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay

All’s well that ends...

State Police, Montrose Police and Sheriff Lance Benedict, who orchestrated the procedure, all did a fantastic job handling last week’s bomb scare at the county courthouse. And, oh yes, also include in your round of applause Mark Wood, Emergency Management Coordinator; Art Donato, 911 Communications Director; Debbie Millard, chief county detective; and county Commissioners Roberta Kelly and MaryAnn Warren.

At my deadline time, the culprit responsible for the bomb scare was still at large, but rest assured he will be caught. I mean any guy who calls the courthouse a day ahead of time, gives his real name without batting an eyelash and says he might decide to blow up the courthouse, well, my friends, he just ain't too swift now is he? Then again, maybe he was just joking around and suddenly found himself a wanted man.

Whatever the reason, authorities said he did threaten to blow up the courthouse and that is a definite no-no.

Sheriff Benedict is to be praised for his handling of the situation. It was the first bomb scare during his tenure as sheriff and he approached it with certainty and confidence. He did not hesitate to make the necessary moves to protect the county employees and the public at large. And when the orders went out to keep traffic and pedestrians off Public Avenue, members of the Montrose Fire Department and, I assume, its fire police, did yeoman’s work in carrying out Sheriff Benedict’s orders.

Commissioner Roberta Kelly heaped praises on all responsible for maintaining law and order and protecting the public and the county workers. And then she was astute enough to recognize that there may have been a miscue here and there but certainly nothing serious enough to jeopardize life or limb.

When it was all over, Mrs. Kelly said, “Overall, even though this incident is quite serious, I am proud of the people that I was surrounded with this morning, knowing that they are top notch. The situation was put into the law enforcement hands, the right hands, and they did an unbelievable professional job.” Mrs. Kelly singled out Sheriff Benedict, Mark Wood, District Attorney Jason Legg, and the State Police and State Police K-9 Unit.

Mrs. Kelly said county officials will learn from the experience they gained last week but more importantly, the opinion here is the hope that the commissioners will learn that they just do not have enough security in place to prevent a tragedy. More security guards are needed at the courthouse and at the county office building on Public Avenue. I have been preaching this for years and it seems like the commissioners, by tradition, toss a little bone here and there and think that will silence the barking dogs. Well, my friends, here is one barking dog whose bite is worse than his bark.

We can no longer say to ourselves that terrorists will never bother Susquehanna County. We learned last week that it isn't only terrorists that can threaten to blow up a building even in rural Susquehanna County. And when there is an explosion, it can kill us country folks just as quickly as it wiped out thousands of city folks on 9/11.

So come January 1, 2007, make your New Year’s Resolution count. Resolve to be a bit more attentive and more concerned about the candidates seeking elective office. Check the qualifications of each candidate and, more importantly, attend political forums and debates and ask questions. And, oh yes! Regardless of your political affiliation, for heaven’s sake vote!

And this from New York via Reuters...

A New York man could be jailed for up to one year for pursuing his fetish on a city subway. Joseph Weir, 23, admitted he tried to kiss, fondle and lick the legs and toes of more than 70 women on the New York subway.

In his confession, Weir said his objective was to make the women laugh, smile and openly talk to him. He said he really wanted to get to know the women but he also recalled that often they would move away when he tried to touch them.

I’m telling you my friends, it really does take all kinds.



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From the Desk of the D.A.

School buses present unique and difficult problems for both security and discipline. How does a driver focus upon operating the school bus and observing the children’s behavior? The traditional large rear view mirror provides the only real ability for a driver to observe the conduct of the children. As technology has increased, so have the options available to bus drivers to provide for effective security on the bus. Some school buses have been equipped with security cameras, which record the activities of the children (and the bus driver). In a litigious society, these cameras can provide important evidence as well as protection for the school bus driver.

The use of these cameras recently took a hit in a western county of Pennsylvania. Laidlaw, a large company that provides school buses to public schools in that area, began installing cameras in their buses. After a fired employee complained to the state police that the buses were overcrowded, a state trooper reviewed some of the security tapes to determine whether overcrowding existed. In the course of reviewing the tapes, the state trooper could also hear the children. In other words, the security cameras provided both visual and audio recordings.

So, one might ask? Well, this presented the state police with a problem as Pennsylvania’s Wire Tap Statute makes it unlawful to make an audio recording without the other person’s consent. Laidlaw had not received the consent of the children (or their parents) prior to making audio recordings from the bus security cameras. It was apparent that there had been numerous violations of the Wire Tap Act. This caused quite a stir over whether the state police should arrest the Laidlaw employees that had been involved in the security camera program.

The idiocy of the Wire Tap Statute is readily apparent to everyone save the Pennsylvania legislature, which ultimately bears the responsibility for its creation in 1978. Pennsylvania continues to have one of the most restrictive Wire Tap statutes in the nation. A violation of the statute constitutes a third degree felony, punishable by up to seven years incarceration and a $15,000 fine. Now if a person is caught with 30 grams of marijuana, he has committed a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 30 days incarceration and a $500 fine. What is the more significant problem for society: drugs or unauthorized audio recordings? The legislature has resoundingly determined the latter to the extent that it is punished with potential incarceration 85 times greater and/or a monetary fine 30 times greater than the drug offense.

Furthermore, the problems with the Wire Tap Act (created in 1978) in a technological world are apparent. For instance, can you lawfully take your video camera to your child’s game, concert, musical, play, or other activity and record the event without obtaining consents from all of the other persons present? What if you have a birthday party in your home, do you need releases from the guests prior to making a video recording of the event? To the average person, these suggestions seem ridiculous.

The use of video equipment provides a tremendous tool for law enforcement and private security, as well as protecting individual rights. The use of recording devices in patrol cars has become more common – and these devices serve to protect the police officer from false allegations of improper conduct and provide a reliable and accurate account of the events. What is the solution for the school bus scenario? The school bus could also be equipped with a sign indicating that video/audio recording were being conducted, and, if a child talks, he does so at his own risk. There is nothing specifically in the statute addressing implied consent – as opposed to actual consent. If the legislature does not address this statute, it will continue to criminalize conduct that quite frankly should not be criminal. The law should not make a proud mother or father a felon for recording a pre-school graduation, or a school bus driver for installing recording devices in a school bus.

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. My wife and I moved into a retirement community recently. I’ve noticed a lot of people I’d call alcoholics in this community. Do seniors drink more in these places?

I could find no information that demonstrated residents of retirement communities drink more. However, these developments are, by nature, more social. So, perhaps you’re just seeing more drinking. With more drinking, you’ll find more people who don’t handle it well.

Alcoholism is a serious problem among seniors. Here are just a few statistics that tell the story:

About 70 percent of hospital admissions for older adults are for illness and accidents related to alcohol.

About half of older adults in nursing homes have an alcohol problem.

Older adults lose an average of 10 years off their lives because of alcohol abuse.

About 80 percent of doctors misdiagnose alcoholism as depression in older women.

The highest growing number of alcoholics is among 75-year-old widowers.

About 10 percent of patients over age 60 who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are actually suffering from brain damage caused by alcoholism.

“Alcohol abuse among older adults is something few want to talk about or deal with,” said Charles Curie, administrator of the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Too often family members are ashamed of the problem and choose not to address it. Health care providers tend not to ask older patients about alcohol abuse if it wasn’t a problem in their lives in earlier years. Sometimes the symptoms are mistaken for those of dementia, depression, or other problems common to older adults. Unfortunately, too many older persons turn to alcohol as a comfort, following the death of a spouse, a divorce, retirement, or some other major life change, unaware that they are markedly affecting the quality of their lives.”

A few definitions:

Alcoholism is a disease with four symptoms: craving or compulsion to drink, the inability to limit drinking, high alcohol tolerance, and physical dependence.

Alcohol abuse does not include strong craving, loss of control or physical dependence. Alcohol abuse is defined as drinking that causes problems in your life such as failing at work, getting arrested for drunk driving, hurting someone physically or emotionally because of drinking.

Moderate drinking is defined as consuming up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women and older people. A standard drink is 12 ounces beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.

The American Medical Association publishes the following list of physical symptoms to diagnose alcoholism. If an older person shows several symptoms, there is a high probability of alcoholism. Bruises, abrasions, and scars in locations that might suggest frequent falls, bumping into objects, physical altercations, or other violent behavior. Cigarette burns on the fingers. Flushed or florid faces. Jerky eye movement or loss of central vision. Damage to nerves causing numbness and tingling. Hypertension, particularly systolic (the first number). Gastrointestinal or other bleeding. Cirrhosis or other evidence of liver impairment, such as swelling in the lower extremities, and other signs of fluid retention. Psoriasis.

If you have a question, please write to

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Straight From Starrucca

The Spirited Seniors of Starrucca met on Wednesday, May 10 with thirteen present. Joe and Rose Funke from Lake Como were guests to hear our speaker, Charles Morelli, Sheriff of Wayne County and his deputy, Mark Spellman.

We had a good many laughs and a lot of serious thought as Sheriff Morelli gave a dynamic speech on how seniors can protect themselves against crime. First of all, lock your doors with deadbolts if possible. Don’t forget car and garage. If someone comes to your door that you do not know, ask for ID and company worked for. Have a can of mace by your door and a whistle in case he tries to force his way in. Spray mace in eyes and it will blind the entrant for at least an hour. You can then hit him with a chair, a cane or kick him in the stomach or whatever, and it gives one time to call the police or sheriff’s office. Also you may have a gun, with permit, in the house if needed and your life is at stake. You have to protect yourself. If money is wanted, give them what you have.

After his talk there was a question and answer period, during which he cleared up any misunderstanding of the subject. It’s too bad there weren’t more seniors in attendance to hear him.

We were told you can buy mace at many stores. Hope you never have provocation to use it, or a gun.

At our business meeting we made plans for a yard sale, June 3 in the open area by Kopp’s garage and Paul and Bridget D’Agati’s home. This is for Senior Citizens. Communitywide yard sales will be held on June 3. Seniors will also sell hot dogs and soda that day.

The Seniors received an invitation to come along to the Senior Citizens Picnic held at Alparon Park in Troy, NY.

Barbara Sheldon, who is visiting her brother, Roger Glover and his wife, Barbara for a few days with husband, Arthur, from Florida stopped by for a short visit last week.

Rosemary Cosentino, Steinbach Corners, who is recovering from an operation spent a large part of the day with me last Monday.

Next meeting of the Spirited Seniors will be May 24 at noon. Bring a bag lunch.


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The Family Doctor

Part of a Family Physician’s work involves emergency care, and nearly every primary care physician is called upon to cover the hospital’s Emergency Department. Rarely, there are emergency calls to the office, and once I even had an impatient patient call the ambulance to the ER because she was tired of waiting. So, this week’s column will address some common questions about emergency services.

Should I call the hospital ambulance, the local town volunteers or the fire company? Does 911 determine whom to send? (M.C., Susquehanna)

Calling 911 activates a whole emergency response network, that can provide advice, emergency instructions, and direct the appropriate responders to your home. In fact, many of our local addresses and street numbers will be changed to allow more rapid response by emergency personnel as the system is updated. Calling 911 immediately gets you in contact with a dispatcher who assesses your needs and directs the right kind of responders to you. In a state-of-the-art system (which is planned for but not yet in place in our county) the caller’s location is immediately identified, so that the 911 dispatcher can direct responders even if the victim is unable to speak. Given the location and type of emergency, the dispatcher may send the local volunteer ambulance company with or without the fire company, and may call for paramedics to go directly to the scene. Other times, the first responders will assess the needs and call for backup, or even bypass the local hospital by calling in a helicopter.

I am worried about the expense involved in calling an ambulance. I have insurance and don’t know if it is covered.

It is. Legitimate emergencies that require an ambulance are covered by Medicare, at least in part, and private insurers cover these costs as well. Never let financial concerns keep you from caring for your family’s medical emergencies! Hospitals cannot turn away somebody with a true emergency, and you can always negotiate a payment plan with the hospital to pay for the care given. Hospitals don’t ask financial questions before treating somebody with a real emergency, and you may be surprised to find out that even after the emergency, the hospital’s question is more likely to be “how can we help you” instead of “how soon can you pay”. Even the business side of healthcare is sensitive and compassionate to peoples’ needs.

I fell or had something else embarrassing happen. I’m not dressed, or I’ve soiled myself. How can I call anybody in THIS condition?

The simple answer to this is, if you are in such a state that you can’t care for yourself, then you NEED to call. In any case, you can be reasonably certain that the responders have seen whatever worries you before. Yes, it is sadly true that dignity often takes a back seat to medical care needs, but you can rest assured that the responders are not paying much attention to the condition of your clothes (or even if you wore clean underwear like Mother always said to do). The priorities of emergency care involve attention to airway, breathing, circulation, and stabilization prior to transport. There is neither time nor emphasis placed on fashion critique or clothing choices. What may be embarrassing to you is a given fact of life to the responders. They’ve seen it all before and they think nothing of it.

I am afraid I am too big for a stretcher, or my doorways are too narrow.

Emergency responders are trained for situations like this. They know how and where to call for extra help in lifting, if that’s needed, and how to use “stair-chairs” and other specialized equipment to extricate people from narrow buildings or cramped stairways. It is far better to trust their skills than to try and drag yourself or a loved one to a “more convenient” spot. Extrication is something emergency personnel are trained in, and I found that many of them love the challenges of getting people from point A to point B, especially if it involves ropes, rappelling, and fancy equipment. The more dramatic the call, the greater the sense of “rescue” and that, after all, is what emergency personnel are doing it for. They would like to be more than a taxi service, and you should think of them as trained and dedicated professionals who are ready to set their own priorities aside to take care of you when you need it most.

As always, if there is something you want to learn more about or have explained in general terms, write to me at “Ask the Family Doctor” c/o Susquehanna County Transcript, 212-216 Exchange Street, Susquehanna, PA 18847. You can also e-mail me at To schedule an appointment, call my office in the Barnes-Kasson Health Center, Hallstead Office, 879-5249.

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