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We Are Proud
We, as parents of our son, Lanesboro Mayor Chris Maby, are very proud of him for all he tried to do for his town. It may have been an inconvenience to everyone, to have to leave our homes, grab whatever we could and our pets in time of evacuation, but inconvenience is better than losing lives.
I, his mom, have lived here for 64 years and know what water in Lanesboro can do.
God bless you, Chris, you’ve done a great job.
Jim & Maria Maby
It Was A Rumor
There was a rumor that the pond dam on McHugh Hill Road broke, which caused flooding and damage to homes at the bottom of the road. It was just that, a rumor! The ponds did what they were supposed to; the water ran out of the overflows into the drainage pipes and into the ravine, just as it was designed to do.
The amount and force of the water coming off of the hill was more than the ditches and small sluice pipes, some of which were plugged, could hold. There were at least five places along the road which were impassible due to washout. Addie and Jon McHugh worked on the road all day Wednesday and spent time the following days to make the road passable in case an emergency vehicle was needed.
The thanks they received for their hard work was to be yelled at and criticized by people who wanted to use the road for their personal use. McHugh Hill Road was closed at the golf course by the township eight years ago and deeded back to the McHugh’s and Ed Brant, therefore becoming private property. Both landowners agreed to open the road for emergency vehicles, if needed. Shortly after the road was closed, eight years ago, the bridge at Brant’s end of the road washed out. The Army Corps of Engineers notified the landowners on Thursday that they wee going to fill in the road where the bridge had washed out to provide a temporary route for emergency vehicles until Rte. 171 reopened.
One person called the State Police because he had been told that the road was a township road. Upon investigating, the Trooper learned that he had an outdated map, still showing all of McHugh Hill Road as a township road even after it had been closed for eight years.
The ditches are very deep, the phone line is exposed in several locations and the road is too narrow in many areas to allow passing, but the McHugh brothers did an excellent job in repairing the road with their available equipment.
Residents doing good deeds for the betterment of the township need to be appreciated.
Pat McHugh Derrick
Great Bend Township
An Unpleasant Surprise
The July meeting of the Starrucca Borough council meeting opened with an unpleasant surprise for Borough tax payers, two motions to borrow a total of $85,000. Council President, Mr. Kirk Rhone, has determined that a loan of this amount is needed to fund repairs to the Buck Road Bridge and to pay mounting operating expenses of the Borough. This represents the largest financial burden ever placed on the small tax base of just over 200 people. This also highlights the self-centered behavior of the current council to move forward with projects that provide direct benefit to Mr. Rhone, and fellow councilman Mr. Robert Buck. These gentlemen happen to be the sole landowners of the property served by the bridge in Wayne County.
It should also be noted that, according to court records the bridge is a county bridge and NOT a borough bridge. Just like in any other municipality, the council was elected to supervise and keep in repair the roads of the borough only to the extent that the law imposes that burden. By assuming the responsibility of repairing a county bridge they are acting outside the limits of their authority. The Wayne County commissioners, however, are wise enough to understand that it is a waste of county revenue to repair a bridge located on a dead end road in the middle of a cow pasture.
Earlier this year the council submitted a request to the Department of Community and Economic Development seeking Federal funds to repair the bridge. The request was denied because it failed to comply with even a single National Objective as required for this type of funding. To date, not only has Mr. Rhone has been unable to provide a statement of how the repairs to this bridge provide any benefit to the community, he has been unable to put forward any rational reason to justify placing this huge financial burden on the local tax base.
This same council has effectively stonewalled all efforts to repair the Shadigee Creek wall that was destroyed by hurricane Ivan almost two years ago, even though full government funding for these repairs has been received by the Borough. It is time for the voters of Starrucca to step forward and demand the resignation of the six council members engaged in this asinine behavior and replace them with responsible citizens of the community who have the capacity to understand what is needed to improve the community for all.
To Have And Have Not
They finally found them – or have they? Citing a 2003 recently declassified report about 500 poisonous-gas artillery shells, Senator Rick Santorum announced that WMD have finally been found in Iraq: "The information released today proves that weapons of mass destruction are, in fact, in Iraq." The senator continued, "It is essential for the American people to understand that these weapons are in Iraq." It was quite a bombshell that the senator dropped in his June 22 news conference. But Senator Rick dropped it squarely on himself.
A few corrections are in order: the existence of the chemical artillery shells was no secret; they had been previously reported. Furthermore, the shells were manufactured well before 1991, when as Saddam Hussein correctly stated Iraq no longer produced WMD. Further, these munitions were nothing more than the scattered leftovers from the Iraq/Iran War that ended in 1988.
According to Scott Ritter, former chief inspector of the United Nations Special Commission, the gas they contained was degraded "and as such represented no threat whatsoever" to coalition forces in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
David Kay, who headed the U. S. weapons-hunting team in Iraq said, "It is less toxic than most things that Americans have under their kitchen sinks . . . ." Perhaps this might be a more fruitful place for Senator Rick to conduct his investigations.
Additionally, the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) wrote this about the shells: "While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991."
And lastly, a Department of Defense spokesman said that "these are not the WMD for which this country went to war."
Did the obvious question never occur to Senator Rick: Why would the administration sit on this report for three years while straining every effort to find WMD? Ignoring a tarantula in one's PJs would be an equivalent disregard for the obvious.
Either Senator Rick is guilty of category five ignorance, or he is determined at the cost of the truth to prove that the President got it right after all; or believing that he could get away with such nonsense, thinks that the public has the mass mind of an idiot. Pick one or all of the above.
Putting aside political absurdities, there is a recent report of genuine WMD uncovered in Iraq.
In 1993 Adul Rahman, the warrant officer in charge of Iraq's secret munitions, showed U. S. counterintelligence special agent David DeBatto twenty-nine, six-feet long, chemical aerial bombs. Rahman told DeBatto that these were the same type used by Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran. According to the bill of laden attached to each bomb, these pre-1991 bombs were sold to the Iraqi autocrat by the United States of America. Yes, WMD were found. Trouble is, they were ours.
But the stubborn fact is that there will continue to be true believers in the Pinocchio tale of Saddam's post-1991 non-conventional weapons eluding detection as blithely as Bigfoot evades capture. Perhaps they were spirited away to Syria, or equally plausible, lie interred with Jimmy Hoffa, or are hidden in a cave beside the Holy Grail, or we just haven't found them – yet.
It's very much like the story of Antaeus, the giant wrestler of Greek mythology who derived his strength from contact with the earth. He fought all comers, but every time he was thrown to the ground his strength was renewed and he rose to slay his adversary. Antaeus met his match in Hercules, who defeated him. Like Antaeus, the myth of Saddam's WMD is an enduring fiction that keeps resurfacing. After fifteen years, it still has its devotees. It seems this tale awaits another Hercules who alone can put it to rest.
New Milford, PA
It’s All Over, People
The Bush Administration is claiming that in his role as Commander in Chief, the President has unlimited, unchecked power.
The Defense Department runs gulags where prisoners are held without being charged, without due process. They consider the Geneva Conventions "quaint" and outdated.
Our telephone calls are being spied on without warrant or oversight. Dick Cheney thumbs his nose at a Senate committee chairman.
The independence of the Judiciary is under heavy assault by ideological partisans of the Right. The freedom of the press is also being attacked, and the media in general is being manipulated by the White House for propaganda purposes.
Public business is conducted in private, and they refuse to provide transcripts. Probably because it's being conducted for private gain.
Dissenters are labeled unpatriotic, un-American, or even accused of being pro-terrorist!
To placate the rabble, the Constitution is at risk of being loaded with several frivolous Amendments, all of which restrict liberty, none of which enhance it.
After the 2000 electoral fiasco, we cannot trust the validity of the vote. New electronic machines, made by companies whose heads are partisan Republicans, can be rigged, leave no paper trail and cannot be recounted.
I don't know about you, but I am getting tired of this Chinese water torture. Our precious heritage of freedom, safeguarded by limited government and checks and balances, is dying a death of a thousand cuts.
Well, instead of having to go through this agony any longer, I say let's get it over with. Let's give the Far Right what it wants. We should call a Constitutional Convention for the purpose of scrapping it entirely.
What will replace our current system? The President would become an all-powerful Generalissimo whose word is law, supported by a rubberstamp legislature and a judiciary that renders the verdict he expects. The media would report only favorable information to the regime. No more oversight. No more checks and balances. No other points of view.
This is the direction we've been heading in. This is what would suit the Far Right's fondest desires. But it's taking too long to get there, and it's excruciating.
So let's get it over with. Let's end the American Experiment, sooner rather than later. Since most of you don't care, it's pointless to try to save America as a free country. We should just adjust to Fascism, made all the easier by avoiding that tainted label, and instead referring to it as Patriotic Americanism, Republican style.
But it still steps like a goose ...
Stephen Van Eck
Improprieties In The Dairy Industry
When a consumer walks into her favorite grocery store and buys dairy products, little does she realize the complexities that exist between the dairy cow and the dairy products on the shelves in the stores.
These scandalous complexities have become so serious that the Department of Justice has been conducting an on-again, off-again investigation. Reliable information indicates that nearly twenty state attorneys general are participating in the investigation.
Early on in the investigation, a leading investigator for the US Department of Justice told dairy farmers in Louisiana that the improprieties in the dairy industry resemble the Enron scandal. With the Enron scandal meltdown, thousands of workers lost their jobs, and they lost most of their pensions.
In the dairy industry, scores of thousands of dairy farmers have been forced out of business as a result of unstable and/or low milk prices at the farm level. Most of these farmers exited their farms with their equity gone.
The US Department of Agriculture appears to be helpless or unwilling to take corrective measures to increase and stabilize prices to dairy farmers.
Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), Chairman of the US Senate Judiciary Committee, contacted the Justice Department, and the Senator was told that the investigation was up and running, and yet, dairy farmers in the southeast have had conversation with the lead investigator in the probe of the dairy industry, and these farmers are told the investigation is stalled. Why? Probably because of pressure being applied at the top by the money people in the dairy industry.
All of this is going on while dairy farmers are being paid prices that are equal to the 1980’s era. We think it’s time for Senator Specter and the Senate Judiciary Committee to become involved with the whole mess in the dairy industry. They should investigate the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) to see how the prices are rigged there.
Remember, the CME is a cash market where small amounts of cheese are traded, but yet this cash market sets the tone for all dairy prices across the USA, both at the farm and store level.
The Judiciary Committee should find out why it took a month for the Justice Department to respond to Senator Specter’s inquiry.
There are several members of the Judiciary Committee who come from milk producing states. All the remainder of the committee represent consumers. Certainly, many of these consumers are being adversely affected by the improprieties within the dairy industry. How so? Look at some of the exorbitant prices being charged in some stores for name brand butter and cheese.
Visit some of the Wal-Mart super stores and witness their GV milk (Wal-Mart’s brand) selling for $2.90 per gallon, while at the same time, they sell Swiss milk for $3.68 per gallon and Lehigh Valley milk for $3.72 per gallon. All three brands are bottled by Dean Foods and some of it in the same plant! And you know what? This is minor compared to the other improprieties that are going on.
So now it’s time for Senator Specter and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to have the Senate Judiciary Committee become involved.
Time For Action
Last winter I published several letters concerning the commissioners having a million dollar, plus, carryover tax dollars from 2005. With the extremely high energy prices, I said that taxes should be reduced to help taxpayers. Instead of a tax reduction, much of the money was used for additional hiring, promotions, and unbudgeted line items.
We now have a severe situation with the recent flood. Immediately, the commissioners need to implement an austerity budget and also suspend all taxes on flood damaged homes. Further, special assistance should be made available to low income renters not covered by state or federal disaster assistance.
It’s time to do more than vie for press coverage.
Silver Lake Township
TO THE EDITOR POLICY
Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript
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