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Be Safe And Have Fun On This Years

July 4th

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Issue Home June 21, 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

BIRCHARDVILLE: The Misses Landfield met with what might have been a serious accident while returning home from the Mission circle Wednesday. Their horse became frightened at an automobile and ran into the school house yard, tipping them over and kicking itself loose from the wagon, running for home. The wagon was only slightly broken and the girls not much hurt but badly frightened.

SUSQUEHANNA: Ex-Congressman C. Fred Wright has been appointed by Governor Pennypacker a member of a committee to locate a site and erect a new State asylum for the criminally insane.

HEART LAKE: Heart Lake promises to be the Mecca for pleasure seekers from this vicinity on the Fourth. The Odd Fellows’ Band has rented the grounds at that place and are going in for a glorious time. Local excursions will be run and they promise to have ‘sumthin doin’”every minute. A late train will be run from the lake at night, so that those attending may put in a long day of it, even if to the participants it seems all too short.

JACKSON: Dr. Cole is the inventor and patentee of a new household device which prominent Susquehanna people have become interested in and intend to manufacture. It is a hollow stove blacking brush, so constructed that the housewife can put the finest kind of a shine on the kitchen range without getting her hands soiled. Under the dauber is a cup which holds the blacking and which feeds out through the bristles, water being poured through the hollow handle to make the blacking of liquid form. The bottom of the brush is covered with felt to be used in producing the polish. The brush is known as the X-L-C-R and has been placed on the market by the Cole Novelty Co.

DIMOCK: Last Saturday afternoon during the severe storm, Frank E. Bunnell was struck by lightning and instantly killed. Besides being a first-class farmer, he also had a remarkable mechanical bent, and made a specialty of moving buildings. His brother, James, who was with him, was also badly shocked but has completely recovered, while another man employed with them also received a less severe shock. The men, J.W. & L.F. Thornton, Harry Brown, Thomas Oliver, D.G. Underhill and Johnnie Donohoe, were at work moving what had been a creamery building and were waiting for the rain to cease before resuming work. The Bunnell brothers were seated on the sill of a door and over their heads from the smokestack ran a wire. This wire was not grounded, but the end was fastened in the woodwork a few feet over their heads. The men were conversing with each other when a bolt of lightning struck the stack and ran along the wire. Frank, who was seated nearest the end of the wire, received the full force of the electric current directly on top of the head, causing instant death. His brother was also rendered unconscious and it was thought for some time he had been fatally injured. The deceased was 38 years of age and is survived by a wife and four children.

NEW MILFORD: A New Milford correspondent writes that Earl Gardner and family, while driving recently, had a narrow escape from a serious accident by being hit by an automobile and one of their wagon wheels was smashed. The auto didn’t stop.

BROOKLYN: Earl Ainey is home from Philadelphia where he finished his course in dentistry. Earl is a full fledged Dr. now.

UNIONDALE: Ed Morgan has for sale a very effectual automatic screen door fastener. Try them, they are a thing of joy.

GREAT BEND: It is rumored that out of town parties are negotiating with our town people in regard to locating here as the taxes are not nearly as high as in New York State and the railroad facilities are good here. Let them come.

GLENWOOD: Road making and farming is the order of the day and not an idle man or boy in town and work for more. AND: The talk now is that the public schools in Lenox will be consolidated—the proper thing to do is to have a graded school in each voting district. That would give three schools and be cheaper in the end. Let every interested citizen have a loud say on the subject.

MONTROSE: A thief was busy at E. R. Smith’s chicken house last Saturday night and took the choicest two on the roost. Look out for him.

HALLSTEAD: At the meeting of the Board of Trade, the members had a pleasant surprise when John E. Clune, proprietor of the Mitchell House, requested the privilege of building a band stand, which the members of the Board had been talking of. Mr. Clune’s generous offer makes their plan of raising money by popular subscription, unnecessary.

ARARAT: Mrs. Fred Brooks entertained her brothers and sisters with their families at her home last Saturday. The day was somewhat unpleasant, but the old big farm-house rang with merriment and the big dining room fairly bulged with the good things that were loaded onto the tables. Mirth, good cheer and jokes proved a good digester, however, for no sooner was the dinner over than all were ready for the ice cream, candies, peanuts and lemonade. The photographer performed the last act and the most enjoyable time of our lives closed with the day.

HARFORD: There was a successful barn raising at A. R. Grant’s farm last week. About 50 men rendered willing assistance and the way in which the parts fitted together was highly credible to the carpenter, G. Tiffany.

STARRUCCA: The post office was entered Saturday night by burglars, who helped themselves to money, postage stamps, shoes and straw hats.

SCRANTON: Daily flights in an airship will be made at Luna Park for a week beginning June 21st, weather conditions permitting.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay


What a difference a day makes

The Blue Ridge School District won the first round in its effort to collect its own taxes but, as Yogi Berra would say, “It ain't over 'til it’s over”

On June 7, Wyoming County Judge Brendan Vanston denied a petition filed by Attorney Michael Giangrieco, seeking an immediate injunction prohibiting Blue Ridge School District from collecting its own taxes. The court’s decision was made one day after Judge Vanston received the petition in his courtroom and said he did not know too much about taxes and needed time to study the petition.

Judge Vanston replaced Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans who recused himself because he resides in the Blue Ridge School District. He offered no explanation for denying the petition.

Judge Vanston’s decision also caused some confusion in that it was received by some as court approval for the Blue Ridge School District to collect its own taxes. Others say that, while the judge’s decision dismissed the request for a preliminary injunction stopping the school district from collecting taxes, it does not say the district can collect its own taxes nor does it spell out whether the elected tax collectors can or cannot collect the school taxes.

“Elected tax collectors are responsible,” Giangrieco told me, “unless or until the court tells them otherwise or their positions are vacated. The vested legal authority is with the tax collectors.”

Compounding matters is the fact that the tax bills must be mailed soon if taxpayers are going to have the legally allotted time to pay their taxes during the discount period. In the petition for a preliminary injunction, Giangrieco said the petitioners believe that the tax bills for 2006 may have already been printed with instructions to school district taxpayers to pay their taxes to the school. I doubt that the tax bills have been printed. School boards set the tax rate at the same time they approve the annual school budgets. At the present time, most school boards are still studying preliminary budgets so it would be impossible to set the required tax millage until the budget is passed.

Giangrieco said there is no authority by statute or case law in Pennsylvania that allows a school district to collect its own taxes. And yet, it is pretty obvious that this is the goal of the Blue Ridge Board of Education.

I think I told you a couple of columns back that something happens to individuals when they are elected to boards of education. The first thing that goes is the smile. For some reason, school directors feel they must always look and act serious. And notice when a school director does laugh. He generally looks at his watch as if he is timing it. “Wow! That laugh lasted 36 seconds! Wait'll I tell the rest of the board.”

Anyhow my friends, the belief here is if we must have tax collectors then we must make it worthwhile for them to collect taxes. Simple enough, right? But reducing the pay to collect taxes by a whopping 80 percent is completely ridiculous and, if it is not illegal, it certainly should be.

Now, if you want to talk about saving big bucks, have the county create a Tax Department to collect all taxes in the county and distribute the money to the proper municipalities and school districts. That would eliminate the need for 40 tax collectors in the county. But, unless or until that is done, the tax collectors work for a living just like the rest of us and even during hard times whoever heard of an 80 percent pay cut.

Hot Wire

A note of thanks to our county commissioners for opposing the direct current electric transmission lines proposed by the New York Regional Interconnection. The proposed 200-mile high voltage line will pass through six or eight communities in our county but do we need it? Hell no!

Wherever possible, the line will hug the shorelines of the Susquehanna and Delaware rivers as it winds its way from Utica, NY to Orange County, NY.

In a letter to the New York Public Service Commission, our county commissioners said they are opposed to any electric transmission being constructed in the Delaware River Valley Corridor. “While it is recognized that electricity may be regarded as a public need,” the commissioners’ letter reads, “we believe the adverse effects of this project will be severely detrimental.”

Nice going commissioners!

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From the Desk of the D.A.

The growth of the forensic science entertainment business continues to be staggering. The popularity of the CSI series has spawned countless spin-offs and imitators, which continue to feed a hungry television audience with fascinating crime investigations solved with scientific tools. As I have stated in the past, the problem with this entertainment is that the general public does not always understand the distinction between television and reality. As a result, prosecutors across the country are now faced with jurors who expect forensic evidence in trials – and prosecutors must explain to disappointed jurors that most criminal investigations never have any forensic evidence. On the other hand, defense attorneys have a field day in questioning police on their “crime scene investigation” and play to the jurors’ expectations to create an illusion of faulty police work.

In the face of this growing demand for forensic evidence, the FBI crime lab has discontinued several of its forensic practices. The nation’s top forensic lab has discontinued its analysis of gunshot residue, which had been used for years to determine whether a particular defendant had fired a weapon. Gunshot residue is the microscopic particles that are released from a weapon upon its firing. Law enforcement could collect samples from the suspect’s hands for analysis and use as evidence in court. While the FBI indicated that the decision was made simply to devote resources to other areas, some critics have suggested that the FBI has lost confidence in the testing procedures and accuracy of the tests. In essence, critics of the procedure suggest that the samples can be easily contaminated in a number of ways, such as the collecting officer’s hands or an unclean laboratory setting where the testing is conducted.

The FBI crime lab has also discontinued its comparative bullet lead analysis, a procedure used for nearly four decades to match a fired slug with the box of bullets from which it had come. In other words, if a slug had been recovered from a murder victim’s body, and the police recovered a box of ammunition from a suspect, the comparative bullet lead analysis could be used to determine with scientific certainty whether the slug originated from the box of bullets recovered from the suspect. The FBI had been using this technique for four decades, and continues to express confidence in the scientific foundation for the testing procedure. On the other hand, critics noted that the FBI’s decision to discontinue this testing followed a report by the National Academy of Science that labeled the testing as unreliable.

Forensic crime scene investigations remain an important part of some criminal investigations. On the other hand, the vast majority of criminal investigations simply do not require forensic analysis. Even if such forensic analysis is attempted, there is a good likelihood that it will not yield any results. Criminal investigations are like a puzzle – some are easy puzzles with big pieces of evidence, while others are more difficult with smaller pieces of evidence. There are times when some of those pieces of evidence result from a forensic investigation. A criminal investigator has to find the pieces and put them together. Where the pieces show a clear picture, then an arrest and prosecution result. Where the picture is unclear, the investigator keeps looking for pieces until enough of the puzzle is revealed. In the end, a case is fairly simple when there is direct evidence, which would include such things as forensic evidence (DNA, fingerprint, etc.) or an eyewitness. Many cases rest solely upon circumstantial evidence – numerous pieces of evidence that, when considered together, logically lead to the conclusion that a defendant committed a particular crime.

The problem with the CSI mentality is that it suggests that there is always direct evidence of a crime, some small piece of evidence that a defendant left at the crime scene that reveals guilt. If jurors come to court with that mentality, they are less willing to accept circumstantial evidence as being sufficient to sustain a conviction, and more willing to accept a defense attorney’s argument that the police were incompetent for not conducting some forensic analysis of the crime scene. The trick for a prosecutor is separating entertainment from reality in the minds of the jurors – but this must be done while the defense attorney is attempting to create reasonable doubt by playing upon false expectations created by television. If this dance between the prosecutor and the defense attorney leaves the jurors confused, then the prosecution is doomed.

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 get a lot of stomach aches. Do you have any tips to prevent them?

If you are having recurring abdominal pain, you should see a doctor immediately. This kind of discomfort can be a symptom of a serious ailment. However, if you’re talking about the kind of stomach aches we all get occasionally, there are some things you can do to prevent them.

Eat small meals more frequently; make sure that your meals are well-balanced and high in fiber; drink plenty of water each day; exercise regularly; limit foods that produce gas.

The following are gas-generating foods: legumes, especially dried beans and peas, baked beans, soy beans, lima beans; dairy products such as milk, ice cream, cheese; vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cucumbers, sauerkraut, kohlrabi, asparagus, potatoes, rutabaga, turnips, radishes, onions; fruits such as prunes, apricots, apples, raisins, bananas; foods containing wheat such as cereals, breads and pastries; fatty foods such as fried chicken and anything in cream sauces and gravies; any carbonated beverage.

Abdominal pain is often caused by overeating. Sometimes an infection is responsible. But pain may be a symptom of something that requires emergency treatment; there are quite a few organs in your abdominal area. The location of the pain is informative to your doctor. Pain near your navel can be a sign of appendicitis or something wrong in your small intestine. Stomach problems are found in the upper middle section of the abdomen. Persistent pain in this area may also signal a problem with your gallbladder, pancreas or the upper part of your small intestine. It's unusual to feel pain in the upper left abdomen. Pain in this area may be caused by a problem in the colon, stomach, spleen or pancreas. Intense pain in the upper right abdomen is often related to inflammation of the gallbladder. Pain in the lower middle abdomen may be caused by the colon. Women with pelvic inflammatory disease or a urinary tract infection may experience pain in this area. The lower right abdomen is where inflammation of the colon may cause pain. Appendicitis pain may also spread to this region. If you feel pain in the lower left abdomen, you usually have a problem at the end of the colon.

Don’t rely on self-diagnosis based upon these pain guidelines. Abdominal pain has a way of moving around. For example, gallbladder pain can move to your right shoulder. And, abdominal pain can be caused by the lungs and heart. Or, it may be caused by muscle strain.

The following are some of the danger signs associated with abdominal pain. If you experience any of the following, get immediate medical attention: sudden and sharp pain; pain that radiates to your chest, neck or shoulder; severe, recurrent or persistent pain; pain that worsens; vomiting blood; blood in your stool; a swollen and tender abdomen; shortness of breath; dizziness; high fever.

If you have a question, please write to

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The Family Doctor

Here is a question for you: The issue of "jelly bellies" –what is causing all the young teen - young adult females to have the rolls and pooches in the belly area? What's worse is that many of these gals are flaunting the "jelly belly" area in low ride and rolled down waist line jeans and pants, etc.

I had to laugh when I got this question via e-mail, signed “the gals from the locker room.” (They’re usually the last ones who have to worry about obesity). And while I promised to answer the medical question, I admitted that I share their bewilderment at why so many people would choose to flaunt their excess pounds. So, without attempting to explain modern fashion choices, I will write a few paragraphs on teenage obesity.

There is no doubt that America is a victim of its own success. The easy availability of high calorie foods and the increasing automation and computerization of our society make it so people are taking in far more calories than they burn. Statistics are frightening, with over 2/3 of the population significantly overweight, and half of them (or 30 % of the population) is clinically obese. Totally apart from the esthetic considerations raised in this week’s question, there are the more significant implications of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, liver damage, and a host of other medical problems that go along with excess weight. Teens and young adults, even children, are a rapidly growing segment of the overweight American population (no pun intended).

What’s the cause? It’s certainly due to many factors, but in the final analysis, obesity results from too many calories in, and not enough out. The first is pretty self-evident, with fast food everywhere and liberal use of high-calorie additives to foods. Last week’s column mentioned honey as a natural sweetener, and for most of mankind’s life on this planet, it was the only sweetener. Now, with corn syrup added liberally to packaged and prepared foods, we have a massive increase in our calorie intake without really knowing it. Most people like sweet food, and any chef will tell you that fat tastes good. Food manufacturers know what sells and the market for cheap, fast, high-fat/high-calorie foods is growing, not shrinking.

The other part of the equation is activity: how many calories are burned. And the simple answer there is: not enough. It’s not entirely the kids’ fault that they can’t walk or bicycle to school any more, and the neighborhood pick-up games that were a staple of my childhood have been replaced by carefully supervised, organized programs. The rise of video games, recorded movies and computer interactions make it so most kids are sedentary most of the time, and so they have little opportunity to burn all those calories they’re taking in.

Do you have an overweight child or teen? Instead of bemoaning their choice of midriff-bearing attire, get them into some exercise program. Odds are, you have a few pounds to lose, too. Don’t aim for weight loss, rather, aim to keep the weight stable while the child or teen “grows into” their weight. Many adults have laughed after being weighed in my office, saying they’re simply “too short for their weight.” Alas, they’re not growing any more. Kids are, though, so even if they don’t lose weight, they will become more proportionate and healthier as they grow taller. Obviously, smart food choices are key, with elimination of high-fat, high-sugar foods. A nutritional consult with a dietitian could be invaluable, and it may be best to let a professional discuss the issue with your child, to avoid making them feel too pressured to lose weight and achieve some unrealistic body image.

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 next meeting of the senior citizens 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 column I should have said Fred instead of Ernest. Sorry.

The Bag Ladies sponsored a quilt raffle. The name drawn for the quilt was Mary Gray of Fiddle Lake.

Mary Ann Saam of Pleasant Mount has been substituting for Postmaster Joe White while he is filling in, waiting for someone to take over the P.O. in Tyler Hill. He was due back Monday, the 19th.

Charlotte Hines, surviving wife of Robert Hines, whose obituary was in the paper last week, has asked me to write a few words about him. Since I didn’t have much time to work up a decent story about Robert, will put it in next week’s paper.

I had lots of visitors this past week, and we passed the time playing Quiddler. I’m always glad to see Rosemary Cosentino, Madeline Thorn, Barb Glover, Joy Mead and Marie Swartz. They keep me feeling a lot younger than I am.

That’s all folks, for this week.


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