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June 18th

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Issue Home May 23, 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

HALLSTEAD: Fire broke out in the millinery store of Mrs. W. L. Evans on Monday morning destroying millinery goods and furniture to the value of $500. The new chemical engine checked the flames and saved the building form destruction.

SUSQUEHANNA: Joe Taylor, formerly of Susquehanna, and well known to base ball “fans” in the county, is now captain and pitcher of the South Side League team at Chicago. AND: The young boys between 12 and 16 years of age, who are in the habit of riding on freight trains, received a good lesson from Justice Williams Monday afternoon. Seven of them beat a freight to Callicoon [N.Y.] on Sunday and then came home on the tank of the engine of No. 5. When they arrived here Officer McMahon met them at the station and told them all to be at the justice’s office at 4 o’clock Monday afternoon. After a good talking to the boys were discharged, and it is hoped they will profit by their experience.

FOREST CITY: Simon Zolennis, an 8 year-old boy, was drowned at Stillwater Monday evening. AND: Twins were born to Mrs. Helen Zuaski of Susquehanna street on Friday. Her husband died from the effect of injuries received while at his work in the mines some months ago and she is left with five children, the oldest but 14 years of age. This little fellow, a slender, bright-eyed youngster, has just secured a position in the breaker and must henceforth take up the burden of a man.

NEW MILFORD: D.L.& W. workmen have arrived and are preparing the lawn near the depot for a beautiful design of flowers. AND: Charles H. Darrow, aged 81 years, died at his home in New Milford township on Wednesday of last week. Deceased was a veteran of the Civil war and is survived by one son, Nicholas P. Darrow, and one daughter, Mrs. Augusta Miller. Interment in Blaisdell cemetery.

MONTROSE: H. L. Beach has been hard at work for some time on an invention, which is to answer the purpose of both automobile tire protector and to prevent the machine from slipping on muddy roads. It is a hinge-like arrangement which encircles the tire, and while the device is rather crude, owing to its being the first one yet made, it will doubtless be perfected so as to answer the purposes of its inventor. The tire question is one of the greatest expenses to the motorist and should he solve this important problem it will mean a great saving to users of these vehicles. Mr. Beach was the inventor and manufacturer of the famous Beach sawing machinery, and the foundry and plant here, where it is still largely made, is now conducted by his son, H. W. Beach. He is giving his recent invention a thorough test on his own auto to demonstrate its practicability.

HOPBOTTOM: Will our young boys take warning and not be jumping off and on trains. Think how quick Fred Chamberlain was killed. Beware, young men.

ELK LAKE: It is reported that Lee Moody, of South Montrose, is running a grocery wagon through here.

SOUTH GIBSON: Karl Peck, the lightning sheep shearer, was called to East Hill, Thursday, by Prof. Whitney Polaski Chamberlain [and] 125 lbs. were clipped from seven of the Prof.’s registered Shropshires. AND: George Davis is at State College this week, learning how to make butter.

FRANKLIN: We had quite a serious runaway Sunday on the south side of Franklin hill, near Hiram Smith’s. Will Ladd and Miss Josephine Pope were on their way to Will Berg’s, when the horse ran and threw them out at the turn at the foot of the hill. There were no bones broken, but they were bruised quite badly. AND: Dr. Caterson has an auto. It will cause quite an excitement when the thing gets to climbing the hills like Franklin Forks.

LAUREL LAKE, Silver Lake Twp.: Lightning struck a willow tree in M. J. Hannagon’s yard, near Laurel Lake, about 12 ft. from the wood house, and about 10 ft. from the spring house, and ran along on a limb and struck the corner of the pig pen and killed a litter of O.I.C. breed of pigs, from stock purchased from W.C. Cruser.

FAIR HILL, Jessup Twp.: The Aid Society, held at the pastor’s at Fairdale, was not very well attended, owing to planting corn. It is to be regretted as a very pleasant social time and a good dinner were enjoyed by those present. $1.50 added to the treasury.

LATHROP: Another mysterious fire took place here when the old landmark, Concert Hall, went down in ashes. The building was erected about 50 years ago by Curtis Tiffany, a dancing master and music teacher who was well known among the older citizens of this section.

CLIFFORD: Sidney Rivenburg, formerly of this place, who has spent the last 20 years as a missionary preacher in the far east, has returned with his wife, here, to stay for a while. His father, Henry Rivenburg, who has been spending the winter at Chester, returned with them to his summer house here for the summer. He was quite feeble but is much worse now, and looked as though he would not be with us long. Henry is one of our old citizens, loved and respected by everybody that knows him.

FRIENDSVILLE: The cornerstone of the new St. Francis Xavier’s church was laid with imposing ceremony, at 4 o’clock, Sunday afternoon, May 20th. The ceremony was performed by the Very Rev. P.F. Brodrick, of Susquehanna, assisted by Rev. Father J.J. Lally and Rev. Father McGuckin, of St. Josephs; Rev. J. V. Simmons and Rev. J. J. McDonald, of Binghamton; Rev. Father Fagan, of Great Bend; Rev. A.T. Brodrick, of Montrose, and Rev. B.V. Driscoll, of this place.

NEWS BRIEF: Rural mail carriers have frequently been delayed in going over their routes, being stopped along the roads by farm wagons. The mail carriers are obliged to cover their routes in a specified time and because of these delays they are frequently behind time. The reason of this delay was reported to the postal authorities at Washington, and as a result the post master general has issued [an] order to the effect that the mail carriers are entitled to the right of way and that vehicles failing at once to turn aside for the mail wagon is liable to prosecuting.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

School budgets and more

Don’t look now but your regional Board of Education is just about ready to adopt its operating budget for the 2006-2007 school year. In all probability, this means there is a tax increase coming your way.

While a board of education is vested with the authority to levy and collect all the necessary taxes required to operate the school, there are some seldom mentioned rules that also apply. At the request of some readers, I did a bit of research on the dos and don'ts of school board matters and came up with some interesting information. While it may be a bit boring to some, I am hoping this column will answer the questions put to me and provide most of you with some food for thought.

Section 422 of the Pennsylvania School Code allows a quorum of the board to conduct business. However Section 508 states that an affirmative vote of the majority of all members of the school board is needed to take action on some subjects. Included among them are the following items:

Appointing or dismissing district superintendents, assistant superintendents, associate superintendents, principals or teachers.

Appointing tax collectors or other appointees.

Levying and assessing taxes.

Creating or increasing any indebtedness.

Adopting courses of study.

Designating depositories for school funds.

Entering into contracts of any kind, including contracts for the purchase of fuel or supplies, where the amount involved exceeds $100.

Fixing salaries or compensation of officers, teachers or other appointees.

Dismissing a teacher after a hearing.

There are more but these are the most important subjects that require a majority vote of all members of a school board. Any action taken by a board that fails to comply with Section 508 of the school code is deemed void and unenforceable.

As for the annual budget, a preliminary budget must be passed at least 30 days before the final budget is adopted. The state only requires preliminary budgets to contain expenditures but most school districts include the revenue side in their preliminary budgets.

Final action on a proposed budget cannot take place until after 10 days’ public notice. I am advised that most school districts meet this requirement by advertising the adoption of the preliminary budget and the anticipated final adoption date.

Here’s another note of interest: “A proposed budget shall be printed or otherwise made available for public inspection to all persons who may interest themselves, for at least 20 days prior to the date set for the adoption of the budget.” (School Code Section 687).

In many school districts the superintendent is responsible for the planning, preparation, compilation and presentation of the annual budget. The superintendent issues instructions to the staff and established a time schedule for budget preparation. The superintendent and staff is responsible for providing necessary information relating to expenditures and provide a list of proposed revenues to support the budget. And, finally, the superintendent will prepare budget summaries and make them available at public meetings.

As you can see, much of the more important issues handled by boards of education require more than a simple majority of the directors at the meeting. If it is a nine-member board as is the case in many regional school districts, five affirmative votes are needed to pass some key items.

Oh, yes, there is one final matter of importance. A board of education is required to pass a balanced budget where expenditures are supported by appropriate revenues. A deficit budget is not permitted in Pennsylvania school districts. Most districts use part of their fund balance – reserves built up from past years – to balance their budgets.

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From the Desk of the D.A.

At 11:35 a.m. on May 31, 1982, President Ronald Reagan placed a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers in Arlington National Cemetery. In his Memorial Day remarks, President Reagan stated:

“I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them.

“Yet, we must try to honor them – not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the visions that led them to battle and to final sacrifice.

“Our first obligation to them and ourselves is plain enough: The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost, it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we – in a less final, less heroic way – be willing to give of ourselves.”

President Reagan noted the obvious – that words are feeble on such a solemn occasion as Memorial Day. Words must stand in the tremendous shadow of the sacrifices of generations of Americans, and, in that shadow, their inadequacy is apparent. Words cannot hope to describe a soldier’s courage to stand for liberty, his love of freedom, his conviction of righteousness, and the faith in his cause. Words are a poor substitute for actions; and even poorer repayment for such a sacrifice. Still, words help us remember that we cannot forget the sacrifices that have made not only a home for freedom in this country, but also in other parts of the world.

Memorial Day is a time for reflection and remembrance – a day of national mourning for those who have laid down their lives in the defense of this country and her ideals. The use of the term “holiday” has always struck me as odd – at least to the extent that the term is used as a reason for a three-day weekend and another day off. It is a holy day for this nation; a day when we are called upon to repay the debt owed to those who have sacrificed to protect and defend this nation. It is a sacred day for America when she calls to her living citizens to reflect, remember and mourn the loss of her brave sons and daughters who died in defense of her.

What can you do to observe Memorial Day? The simplest way (and easiest) would be simply to take a few moments out of your day to remember and reflect upon those who have given, as President Lincoln once said, “the last full measure of devotion.” If you can find the time, there are Memorial Day ceremonies throughout Susquehanna County, which offer you the opportunity to join together as a community to mourn the fallen, and give communal respect for their sacrifice. As President Reagan eloquently said over 20 years ago, we must also be willing to sacrifice, even if our sacrifice may be “less final, less heroic.” On Memorial Day, we should, as a Nation, collectively remember, reflect and mourn.

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’ve had allergies my whole life and I’m thinking of going in for the shots. What do you think?

Immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots or vaccinations, can alleviate allergy symptoms. However, shots don’t work on all allergies or all people.

Doctors advise against allergy shots if you take a beta blocker for high blood pressure or heart problems. If you’re considering immunotherapy, seek the advice of a good allergist.

Allergy shots are a series of scheduled injections meant to desensitize you to specific allergens – the substances that trigger an allergic response. The usual schedule is a shot once or twice a week for about three to six months. After that, you'll need a shot about once a month for three to five years.

Allergy shots are commonly used to treat allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma. Allergy shots may also control allergic reactions to stinging insects, such as bees, yellow jackets, hornets and wasps. But the shots are not effective for food allergies.

If you have seasonal hay fever, you may be allergic to pollens from trees, grasses or weeds. If you have year-round discomfort, you may be sensitive to indoor allergens such as dust mites, cockroaches, mold or pet dander.

The common symptoms of allergic rhinitis are itchy eyes, nose, or throat; nasal congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, chest congestion or wheezing. If your eyes also become red and swollen, you suffer from allergic conjunctivitis.

Before starting allergy shots, your doctor may use a skin test to confirm that you have allergies and determine which specific allergens cause your signs and symptoms. During the test, a small amount of the suspected allergen is scratched into your skin and the area is then observed for about 20 minutes. Swelling and redness indicate an allergy to the substance.

The shots won’t give you immediate relief. You'll probably see improvement in the first year of treatment. The most noticeable improvement often happens during the second year. By the third year, most people are desensitized to the allergens contained in the shots.

For some people, successful treatment leads to a life without allergy symptoms. For others, shots must continue on a long-term basis to keep allergy symptoms at bay.

An allergic reaction is a complex chain of events that involves many cells, chemicals and tissues throughout the body. While there is no cure for allergic disease, there are many medications available to lessen symptoms. About 50 million Americans suffer from an allergy.

Major allergic diseases include: allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, asthma, atopic dermatitis (eczema), hives (urticaria), and reactions to substances such as food, latex, medications, and insect stings.

We don’t know why some substances trigger allergies and others do not. We also don’t understand why every person does not react to allergens. A family history of allergies is the single most important factor that predisposes a person to develop allergies.

If you have a question, please write to

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Straight From Starrucca

Very low turnout of voters at the primaries. It follows the usual pattern every year. Quoting from the papers posted outside the polling place (the Community Hall) the following are candidates in the fall. US Senator: (D) Bob Casey 9, (R) Rick Santorum 23. Governor: (D) Ed Rendell 11, (R) Lynn Swann 23. Lt. Governor: (D) Catherine Knoll 4, (R) Jim Matthews 20. Representative in Congress, 10th District: (D) Chris Carney 9, Kathy Scott 9, (R) Don Sherwood 20. Senator in General Assembly 20th District: (D) Robert McNamara 9, (R) Lisa Baker 21. Representative in General Assembly: (R) Sandra Major 28. Member Democratic State Committee – female: Ann Bursis 9. Male: (R) Toni McAndrew 24. Members Republican State Committee: Errol Flynn 24.

Barbara and Art Sheldon, who have been vacationing “Up North” visiting relatives and friends have returned to their home in Northern Florida.

Congratulations to Danielle Williams, daughter of Virginia and Stephen Williams, who was inducted into the National Honor Society last Friday at the high school gym.

Memorial Day observances will be held Monday, May 29 with services held at the Memorial Park with Dave Soden giving the Memorial Day message 9:45 a.m., Cemetery Association in Methodist Church at 11 a.m. and the Memorial Day chicken and biscuit dinner served by the Baptists at noon. This is like an “old home day” when folks get together and reminisce about the “good old days.”

The ladies who make the ugly quilts closed shop today and reopen in September.

Girl Scouts are planning their annual canoeing on the New River in West Virginia in July.



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The Family Doctor

Last week’s column was about emergencies and emergency care; this week’s will be about something totally non life-threatening yet quite miserable and frequently disabling: allergies.

How do I know if I have allergies or an infection?

With allergies, symptoms usually occur around the same time every year, or consistently following exposure to an identifiable trigger like dust or mold. People with allergies suffer from sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, and congestion. Frequently people present to me with what they think is an infection because they have pressure in their sinuses, nasal congestion, ear fullness and ear pain. Then, I have to try and convince them that their symptoms are actually due to allergy and all they need are simple over-the-counter medications. Admittedly, it can be hard to distinguish allergy from infection, but there are a few key features: fever, for example, almost always indicates infection, even though the classic seasonal allergy carries the name “hay fever.” Foul drainage from the nose, throat or ears are also typical of infections and are not due to allergy. If the symptoms are “itchy” (itchy eyes, ears, nose or throat) the cause is usually allergy, while pain and fever are key features of infection. Some people with allergies have heightened risk of infection because of other conditions (for example diabetes, cigarette smoking, certain medications), and they should be checked by their doctor early to make sure that their allergies have not led to development of an infection.

What’s causing the allergy?

Allergies can be seasonal or perennial (year round). Seasonal allergies are invariably due to pollens: trees pollinate in early Spring, grasses pollinate in Summer, and ragweed pollinates in the Fall. Perennial allergies are usually the result of molds, animal dander and dust. Since damp, rainy weather reduces pollen counts but raise mold levels, you can often identify the cause of your allergies by the weather as well as by the time of year you suffer. Dust can be a very potent allergen as well, and if you find that certain rooms of the house make you sneeze, you can usually identify the allergy as mold (damp rooms like basements or bathroom) or dust (attics, carpeted rooms, closets). Knowing specifically what you are allergic to can be helpful in avoiding the trigger, and is essential information prior to starting allergy shots. Short of shots, though, the treatment will be the same for all allergies.

How can I avoid allergies?

Knowing your own specific allergy is key to avoiding symptoms. For seasonal (pollen) allergies, keep doors and windows shut, run high-efficiency (“HEPA”) air filters and minimize your time outdoors on dry, windy days. To avoid mold allergies, you might try removing plants from the home, and treat shower curtains and damp areas of the home with special mold removers (or a mild solution of chlorine bleach). A dehumidifier can help with mold allergies as well. Keep your windows open for mold allergy and shut for pollen allergy. (So if you have both, I suppose you should open your windows halfway?) Pet dander can trigger severe allergies, but before giving up a cherished pet, talk with your veterinarian about ways to reduce pet dander in the home. There are special sprays, bedding materials, and other products that can be helpful, and sometimes the easiest thing is to make certain rooms of the house off-limits to the pet, so you have someplace to “escape” to and avoid the dander. Reducing dust levels in the home to treat dust allergies can be very involved, with everything from encasing bedding in plastic covers to frequent vacuum-cleaning with a special vacuum cleaner. You may even have to resort to removing drapes and carpeting, installing air purifiers, HEPA filters, and electrostatic air cleaners.

What about medicines?

It is not a coincidence that the airwaves are filled with antihistamine commercials at this time of year. The fact is, though, no prescription antihistamine is more effective than the over-the-counter (OTC) products. What the prescriptions claim to offer is less sedation and fewer side effects. Over the counter antihistamines like Benadryl, Chlor-Trimeton and Tavist are all effective in treating allergy symptoms, but all can be sedating and can have many side effects – sometimes more severe than those from prescription products. OTC antihistamines are often mixed with decongestants like pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and may also be combined with Tylenol or Motrin. As a rule, you’re better off buying single-ingredient products; that way you won’t be taking medications you don’t need, and you will reduce the chances of drug interactions and side effects. Single-ingredient products are usually much less expensive, too. The trouble with all antihistamines, though, whether they’re OTC or prescription, is that they are more effective before the symptoms hit. They’re great at preventing allergic responses, but not so great at minimizing the symptoms after they have started. Decongestants can raise blood pressure dangerously, and decongestant nasal sprays like Neo-Synephrine or Afrin can quickly lead to dependence. Be careful with decongestants, especially the nasal sprays, and check with your doctor before taking them. Never use them for over three days and stop them immediately if you develop a racing pulse, headaches, tremor, or dizziness.

Another class of medications that is effective for allergy treatment is steroids. These all require a prescription but can be administered as nasal sprays, tablets or injections. They’re very effective, but have a host of side effects to be aware of (which is why they require a prescription). The nasal sprays are the safest for long-term use, but they, too work best if used early, before symptoms start, because they are much more effective in preventing allergy symptoms than treating them once they’ve occurred.

Do I need allergy shots?

The simple answer is, probably not. There are so many medications available, and they are so effective, that most people can avoid allergy shots. If you have multiple allergies, severe symptoms, or minimal response to avoidance measures and medications, then shots (also known as immunotherapy) may be helpful. You’ll need to see an allergist for this, and have blood tests as well as skin tests to determine exactly what your allergies are, and what shots you will need. The idea is that by exposing your body to minute amounts of the substance you’re allergic to, your immune system will “get used to it” and stop reacting. It can take many months to reach that stage, and shots may need to be continued for years. Fortunately, most people develop tolerance to their allergens over time and “outgrow” them. Until then, though, try some of the avoidance measures and the medications suggested above.

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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