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June 18th

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Issue Home June 14, 2006 Site Home

100 Years Ago
Along the Way...With P. Jay

From the Desk of the D.A.
The Healthy Geezer
The Family Doctor
Straight From Starrucca

100 Years Ago

HEART LAKE: A terrific wind storm, accompanied with blinding sheets of rain, passed over Sunday afternoon, attracting a great deal of attention. Several trees were blown over, including a fine old chestnut tree up in the grove in the rear of the cottages. In its fall an old rustic seat was demolished. Two beautiful rainbows appeared after the storm--a token of God’s peace settled over all. AND: A. W. Lyons of Montrose, having leased the store of Harvey Griffing for the summer, is drumming up a right smart little trade already. Art has everything you wish in baked stuffs, and his lunch department and soda water fountain are a drawing card.

MONTROSE: Last night a gang of burglars were busy about town, but it proved to be a fruitless job for them. Borden’s creamery was visited and an entrance made by forcing the lock on the door. The combination on the safe was broken but they failed to get the safe open. Beach’s machine shop was then entered and several tool chests ransacked, evidently in search of tools, but they did not take anything. The office door was broken open, but the safe had not been molested. The window fastenings at the L. & M. depot were broken and the casings somewhat mutilated, but they did not gain an entrance. There is no clue to the identity of the burglars or how many there are in the gang.

CLIFFORD: The Forest City News reports: “We want to congratulate the supervisors of Clifford township on their compliance with the law that all crossroads be equipped with sign posts pointing the way to the wayfarer. In the east district, at least, the work has been thoroughly done. Other townships in this vicinity might well follow the lead of Clifford. The person traveling a territory with which he is familiar gives little thought to the matter, but to the occasional traveler sign posts at every intersection of the road is an improvement of importance and one that is appreciated.”

SILVER LAKE: J. C. Simpson, a native of Silver Lake, died at his home in San Francisco, May 28, 1906, aged 81 years. The deceased was a former resident of Montrose and is well remembered by the older citizens. He was also at one time a resident for several years at Towanda. Mr. Simpson was editor of Field and Turf, a paper which he published in the west and which enjoyed, under his management, a wide circulation. A number of relatives still survive in the county and his death is learned with sincere regret by many friends.

THOMPSON: Charles Raymond Corey and Lena Grace Whitney have applied for a marriage license.

FAIRDALE: During the storm on Sunday the roof of Cornell’s barn was taken off and carried about ten rods and landed in the road between Halsey Smith’s and Fairdale. The silo on the Griffis farm was also torn to pieces and many apple trees were uprooted.

DIMOCK: The coal trade will hereafter be taken care of by L.W. Moody and R.S. Wheeler, the firm name being Moody & Wheeler. Mr. Wheeler will give personal attention. Both gentlemen are energetic, hustling fellows, and all patrons may expect good treatment.

HALLSTEAD/GREAT BEND: The fire insurance rates, because of the San Francisco fire, have been advanced 25 %. The people are already beginning to “kick.” The local representative of the fire insurance companies are also making objections to the rates, which are already too high. Probably they will have to pay and look pleasant.

UNIONDALE: Roses are with us again; the people are in good health; all kinds of industries are thriving; fruit and vegetation look promising. On one end of the railroad switch they are unloading machinery to be used in town and vicinity; at the other end they are loading cars with ice and lumber to be shipped. Many of the farmers are using separators at their homes, and this saves time and labor.

KINGSLEY: A “Peeping Tom” has made his appearance at Kingsley. It would be well for him to beware and desist from further practice.

SPRINGVILLE: On Tuesday of last week, while the roof around the cupola of M.B. Johnson’s house was being repaired by his son Lloyd and Geo. Savige, a shower came up and they sat down against the cupola. During the shower the lightning struck the roof about six feet from the place where the two men were sitting, tearing up shingles and splintering the plate, slightly shocking both. They came to the ground considerably frightened but unhurt.

OAKLAND: After nearly six months one of the greatest mysteries in Northeastern Pennsylvania was solved in Binghamton, when the body of Maud Haynes was discovered floating in the Susquehanna River, near the Rockbottom dam, by two boys, Leon Coleman and Charles Weslar. Although they had no means of identification the police at once came to the conclusion that the body was that of Maud Haynes, who disappeared on December 4 from Oakland. Mr. and Mrs. Haynes and Mr. and Mrs. Chamberlin, parents of Mrs. Haynes, arrived in the city and after a short rest went to Cornell’s undertaking rooms. It was feared that the shock of seeing the body in its terrible state would be too much for the women and they waited in the front rooms. Various articles of apparel were brought to the parents and were identified as Maud’s. The mother asked if there was a three-cornered scar on one of her feet near the toe. It was identified and instantly the grandfather said, “That’s enough. I know it is Maud.” Both Mr. and Mrs. Haynes, the grandparents and other relatives are of the opinion that there has been foul play and that Maud was killed after being assaulted.

NEWS BRIEFS: The many improvements being made by the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company near East Towanda has practically destroyed one of the oldest burial grounds in that county. It is said that the cemetery was first used in 1770, being used as a burial ground by the French refugees in1793. This old cemetery has been practically obliterated for years, it being 75 or 100 years since any burials were made there. Occasionally a bone is found and they will be preserved and buried elsewhere. AND: Thursday, June 14, will be the 129th anniversary of the adoption of the Star Spangled Banner as our national ensign. Every true American honors the flag, not because of its beauty, but because it is the symbol of liberty, good government, civil rights and human progress.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay


Time to accentuate the positive, And eliminate the negative!

Here’s one you will find difficult to believe. I know I did when I first heard about it and when I saw them I found it extremely hard to even imagine let alone tolerate.

At last week’s meeting of the Inspectors of the Jail (aka) Susquehanna County Prison Board, Commissioner Mary Ann Warren passed around three pages of notes she received anonymously and all of them focused on an assortment of problems that exist at the Susquehanna County Correctional Facility (aka) Susquehanna County Jail.

Some of the items mentioned may be questionable. However, most of them are worthy of more than a superficial glance before they are tossed into file 13 or buried in a filing cabinet somewhere. Wanna know what the prison board did with them? Nothing! Absolutely nothing!!

Read on my friends and I will share my copy of these notes with you. Then, draw your own conclusions. Ah! Here’s an interesting one – knives are left in the sink in the kitchen. We have all seen enough movies to know how dangerous a knife can be in a prison if it should fall into the wrong hands.

How about this one – the roof leaks when it rains. Reminds me of that old Peggy Lee song, Manana. “The window she is broken and the rain is coming in. If someone doesn't fix it I'll be soaked to my skin. But if we wait a day or two the rain will go away. And who will need a window on such a sunny day.”

The author of one of these pages may be a corrections officer. He/she writes “staff morale is at all time low... need staff meeting (had estimated five since the new jail was opened)... one corrections officer transporting (prisoners)... medication room is a major problem.”

From another page of notes comes these gems: “office asking certain CO’s (correction officers) to pass notes from (cell) block to block... when was the last fire drill?... private meetings/deals with inmates... no communication... inmates threatening staff with no consequences... there is total disrespect for staff and the warden but it is allowed.”

And finally, these notes of interest: “No one accompanying person with med cart... Inmates fight and nothing is done... Ovens are left on... Do not trust certain employees.” There’s more but I think you have a general idea of what the employees are griping about.

If the above paragraphs do not contain enough information to warrant at the very least a “perhaps we should take a closer look” from the prison board members, then consider this. Also at last week’s meeting, a delegation of jail employees were present and aired some of their grievances to the board. Most of us know that employees are reluctant to get involved. So when a number of them appear before the prison board, the belief here is there must be some validity to their arguments and to the anonymous notes received by Commissioner Warren.

“There was no formal action taken at the meeting,” Commissioner Warren told me in a somewhat frustrated voice. “The jail needs to be run with a firm hand and everyone needs to be treated equally.”

The three pages of complaints sent to Commissioner Warren reflect a total of 41 problems at the county jail. I believe a small percentage of them may overlap but all of them deserve more than the cursory glance given them so far by members of the prison board.

Ooops! I just spotted this gripe that pretty much seems to sum up the feeling of a majority of the employees at the jail: “The SCCF (Susquehanna County Correctional Facility) policy from the front is ignore it and it will go away!” I can only assume that “from the front” means from the front office. (And yes, I know what happens when we assume.)

One last thought. The prison board knows there was a tragic death in the jail a year or more back. The prison board also knows that the jail lacks shift commanders and that the warden and assistant warden are not working 12-hour shifts, seven days a week. Having this information, how can the board adjourn a meeting without acting on an immediate plan to have someone in charge at the prison 24/7?

My friends, it is time to move Susquehanna County into the 21st century. This county slept through most of the 20th century while counties around us experienced growth and prosperity. If the current crop of political leaders and department heads can’t get the job done, then perhaps the time has come to break out the brooms and clean house.


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From the Desk of the D.A.

It is common to receive reports during the summer months of parties where adults furnish alcohol to persons under the age of 21 years. This conduct is particularly disturbing, as the adults understand that the conduct is criminal, but manage to justify their criminal acts. I hear the same excuses repeatedly, i.e., if you can vote or die for your country, you should be able to drink a beer. Other adults justify the conduct by stating that they will make sure that no one drives an automobile or that it is better that they drink under my supervision than somewhere else unsupervised. Regardless of the excuses or the safeguards implemented, the furnishing of alcohol to a minor is a criminal act.

Further, those charged with the furnishing alcohol to minors are often shocked at the potential consequences resulting from such actions. The criminal offense of furnishing alcohol to a minor is a misdemeanor of the third degree, punishable by up to one-year incarceration and a fine up to $2,500. The legislature, however, has deemed this offense to be so severe that a mandatory fine of $1,000 for each violation must be imposed. Therefore, the potential financial consequence for each act of furnishing alcohol to a minor will be at a minimum fine of $1,000 up to a maximum fine of $2,500.

If you consider this matter practically, the potential financial penalty for furnishing alcohol to minors can be staggering. If a parent were to throw a graduation party for his child and allowed his child and nine friends to consume alcoholic beverages at the party, the parent would have committed ten separate acts of furnishing alcohol to minors. Thus, the parent faces a minimum fine of $10,000 and a potential period of incarceration of up to 10 years.

As to the minors, they also face criminal prosecution. The consumption (or possession) of alcohol by a minor is a summary offense, resulting in a fine of not less than $300 for a first offense, and not more than $500 for any second and subsequent violations. For the minors, the financial penalty may not be as severe, but a conviction also results in a suspension of the minor’s driver’s license for 90 days on the first offense, one year on the second offense, and two years for a third or subsequent offense.

Finally, the furnishing of alcohol to minors can also have tragic consequences. For instance, in Commonwealth v.McCloskey, Judith McCloskey allowed her child to have a “keg party” in the basement of her home. McCloskey assisted with the party, getting ice and blankets for the kegs. Approximately 40 underage drinkers were in the basement of the home, with over 20 cars parked outside the residence. During the party, McCloskey interacted with underage drinkers while they consumed alcohol in her presence. A neighbor called the police. As the police arrived, one of the teenagers fled, got into his vehicle with three other teenagers and drove away from the McCloskey residence. As a result of his intoxication and high speeds, an accident occurred, resulting in all four of the teenagers being ejected from the vehicle, and three of the teenagers were killed. The teen driver’s blood alcohol level was 0.20%.

McCloskey was prosecuted for three counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the deaths of the three teenagers, which required proof that McCloskey caused the deaths of the teenagers through reckless or grossly negligent conduct. A jury convicted McCloskey on all counts, and she was sentenced to period of incarceration of 12 months to 54 months. McCloskey filed an appeal, contending that her behavior was not reckless and that there was no proof that she caused the deaths.

As to recklessness of McCloskey’s conduct, the Superior Court stated: “This is not a case of an unwitting parent who was tricked into hosting a party at which alcohol was served without her knowledge. Instead, . . . McCloskey knew alcohol was being served in her basement and the minors were drinking it. She interacted with teens as they drank and allowed the party to continue for hours into the night, interrupted only by the arrival of the police. As a result, her recklessness was established.”

As to the causation argument, McCloskey argued that she did not cause the teenager’s voluntary decision to drink in excess, operate a motor vehicle at high speeds while intoxicated, and not wear a seat belt; rather, McCloskey argued that all of these factors were outside her control. The Superior Court rejected this argument, stating that the deaths were caused by McCloskey’s “outrageous conduct, in knowing the teens were consuming alcohol, interacting with them as they drank and allowing the illegal and unsupervised behavior to continue into the night.”

In short, there are substantial criminal penalties arising from the furnishing of alcohol to minors – regardless of the steps taken at supervision or safeguarding. Further, if a tragedy occurs, there is a potential that the person furnishing the alcohol will be prosecuted for a criminal homicide charge, namely involuntary manslaughter.

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. Is ALS an old-person’s disease, or does it affect every age group?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) usually strikes between the ages of 40 and 70, but there have been cases of it in young adults, children and older people. The average age for getting ALS is 55.

ALS is known as Lou Gehrig’s disease in the USA. Gehrig, who played baseball for the New York Yankees, died of the disease in 1941. In other countries, ALS is often called motor neuron disease. It is not contagious.

ALS destroys nerve cells – motor neurons – that control muscle cells. In most cases, the cause is unknown. As the motor neurons are lost, the muscles they control weaken. Eventually, people with ALS are paralyzed.

Amyotrophic means “no muscle nourishment.” Lateral identifies the affected areas in the spinal cord. Sclerosis refers to the scarring or hardening in the region.

ALS doesn’t directly affect involuntary muscles, so the heart, digestive tract, bladder and sexual organs continue to work. Hearing, vision, touch and intellectual ability generally remain normal. Pain is not a major component of ALS.

The most common form of the disease in the United States is “sporadic” ALS. It may affect anyone, anywhere. “Familial” ALS is inherited. Only about 5 to 10 percent of all ALS patients appear to have the inherited form of ALS. In those families, there is a 50 percent chance each offspring will inherit the gene mutation and may develop the disease.

Respiratory problems usually kill those with ALS in three to five years after diagnosis. About ten percent of those with ALS live more than ten years. Some survive for many years. For example, the famed British physicist Stephen Hawking has had ALS since the 1960s. In a small number of people, ALS mysteriously stops.

The usual early symptoms of ALS are weakness or spasms in a limb, and trouble speaking or swallowing. After the initial symptoms, the disease may progress in the following way: cramping of muscles, demitted use of the limbs; thick speech and difficulty projecting the voice; difficulty breathing.

Doctors begin testing for ALS by checking muscle and nerve function. The next step is usually an electromyogram (EMG). This test measures the signals that run between nerves and muscles and the electrical activity inside muscles. Additional tests may include a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, a spinal tap between two lower vertebrae, blood tests and muscle biopsies.

Rilutek (riluzole), which is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is the only drug found so far that helps prolong life in people with ALS. Several other medications are now in clinical trials.

However, there are non-pharmaceutical treatments to help people with ALS. These include physical and occupational therapy, respiratory therapy and assisted ventilation, speech therapy, nutritional and emotional support. There are devices, too, such as special grips for writing implements and eating utensils, canes, supportive braces, walkers, wheelchairs and scooters.

If you have a question, please write to

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The Family Doctor

Why is honey bad for babies under one year old? Also, is honey dangerous for a person with their immune system down all the time? (C.B.)

Two very interesting questions with two very different answers. Honey is bad for infants and good for adults. How can this be? The answer is simply because no food is inherently “bad” or “good,” so its effects on health depend on the manner in which it is used, and who uses it when (and for what).

Honey is perhaps the original “natural food” and the original sweetening agent used as far back as history records. Its been found in ancient tombs and is identified as the treatment of choice for burns and skin infections in hieroglyphic writings of ancient Egypt. Even recent studies have shown it to be as effective for burns as prescription burn creams, and as effective for skin infections as modern antibiotic ointments. It has even been applied to eyes to prevent cataracts (or maybe it’s just that the cataracts didn’t seem so bad after trying to see through a haze of honey in the eye). Honey has been shown to prevent bacterial growth in the stomach, including the bacteria that have been identified as a cause of stomach ulcers. It’s great stuff, it’s “all natural,” and it’s wonderful for adults with immune problems… all the while being potentially fatal for infants.

The problem is that honey can easily be contaminated with clostridium botulinum, a bacteria that can form spores which are highly resistant to attack. Remember the anthrax scare of a few years ago? Anthrax is another spore-forming bacteria, and any bacteria which can form spores is well protected against attacks from the immune system. In small infants, the GI tract is not able to eradicate the spore or the bacteria, which can grow and produce a highly potent toxin. Yes, the very same “Botox” you have undoubtedly heard about. Botulinum toxin is one of the most potent poisons ever identified, with microscopic amounts of it capable of causing total paralysis. Infants have little resistance to botulinum, and thus can be seriously affected by it before any problem is identified. In fact, the presenting symptoms of botulinum poisoning in infants include constipation and sedation. The first is almost always dismissed as “problems with the formula” while the latter is never seen as a problem. (“Oh, what a sweet baby... she never cries and she sleeps all the time.”) Botulinum is so potent that there have even been cases of poisoning when honey was just used to “sweeten the pacifier.” Fortunately, botulinum poisoning can be identified and treated. If a baby develops weakness of crying, sucking, or breathing along with constipation and listlessness, botulinum poisoning should be suspected and the infant hospitalized. Eradication of the bacteria, supportive care (sometimes mechanical ventilation, a “breathing machine” as needed) usually results in complete recovery, but obviously prevention is a better way to go. With “all-natural” honey being the number one cause of botulinum poisoning among infants under one year of age, not giving any honey to infants under a year old seems the wisest choice

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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Straight From Starrucca

The Civic Association met Tuesday night and planned for the square dance that will be held Saturday, the 17th in the Community Hall. So get those dancing shoes shined up and come along and “shake a leg.” Refreshments will be available and “Just Us” will provide the calls and music until 11 p.m.

There will be no senior meeting on the 14th because of Vacation Bible School. The next meeting will be on the 28th of June, when our guest speaker will be Mary Debalko, who will give a talk on raising show dogs. Beforehand we will have a covered dish dinner at noon. If you like dogs, this should prove to be an interesting and educational topic.

Bob and Helen Stone, Pitman, NJ and Dave Walker were recent guests of Alice and Kirk Rhone.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Weldy and children spent the past weekend with his parents in Rising Sun, Maryland.

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2006 of the Susquehanna High School. Now you start working to make your dreams come true.

What a pleasure to drive and see the prolific blossoms on the shrubbery this year, especially the varied color rhododendrons.

In mentioning the Carpenters last week I should have said Fred instead of Ernest. Sorry.

That’s all folks, for this week.



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