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Letters to the Editor Policy

We Deserve Answers

My opinion of our politicians is at a very low point. Most of you are thinking why? You need them to build ethanol plants. Their “track history" is not good, I have heard it all. They must think that we are all stupid. There must be a secret blanket that they use to hide under to protect them once they’re elected. It’s time to pull away that blanket and make them squirm. We deserve answers!

Milk is at an all-time high in the stores, consumers are paying all-time high prices for milk, and dairy farmer’s price is at a 30-year low – a thirty year low! High prices of gas at the pumps affects everyone. This has been going on for more than one week and the overseers have done nothing to put a stop to it. Each attorney general is elected by us, the people who are suffering with high prices, and yet the milk companies and oil companies are making windfall profits right under their noses. My opinion is they must be old, or hard of hearing, or maybe blind. Or young and afraid!

America is falling apart from the inside out and we, the people let it, I guess! Seems to me the answer I get at the gas stations is, they have to cover their costs and when the oil companies raise the price to them, we have to pay it. But on the other hand, why if a barrel of crude oil goes to $75 dollars a barrel, why do the oil companies make huge profits, don’t they have to pay a higher price too? Something is out of balance here, America and the persons in charge of the "Check and Balance” system must have gone on vacation (one week is too long to make us all suffer). For God sake, let’s go to ethanol!

In God we trust, and that is not a church and state term. The time has come to get tough on our elected officials and hold them accountable for their inactions. America is falling apart, so it is up to us, the people to stop it now before we lose all our rights and freedoms. Who is watching over whom?


Peter A. Seman

Thompson PA

Get Flood Insurance

The purpose of this letter is to urge the public to contact their insurance agent for a free flood insurance quote. Yes, it doesn’t cost you to obtain a quote. Flood insurance is very affordable. There are many variables which affect the premium (flood zone, deductible, coverage selected, etc). If your agent doesn’t want to be bothered, it’s time to find an agent who will do it for you. Be sure to ask questions on the coverage quoted and know what your policy will and will not cover. You can also find out information on the website www.floodsmart.gov.

You will not be able to rely on government agencies to bring you back whole again if a disaster strikes. FEMA only provides your immediate safety relief and has been referred to as a “band-aid.” I believe the words from FEMA are, their goal is to make the damaged home safe, sanitary and functional. Money obtained through the SBA is not “free money.” Yes, they may offer you a low interest loan, but you will have to pay it back. It is not grant money. You also need to keep in mind that not every flood obtains the federal disaster declaration which also determines the amount/type of federal aid available. Again, the government aid should be a supplement to your own flood insurance coverage.

You see, I too, am a victim of the June flooding. We did not have flood insurance like so many other people in our area. Our home sustained major damage. We have had minor flooding in the past and gambled the “big one” would never hit but guess what – it did, and we lost this time. I’m not sure what the future holds for us and our home. I do know there is more flooding to come with the condition of the creek/river banks. I do intend on purchasing flood insurance, however any prior damage must be repaired in order to have coverage.

I urge you to be pro-active and insure your investment by purchasing a flood insurance policy.


Sandi Lord

English Flats, PA

A Disclaimer Is Needed

I can’t resist any longer in responding to Mr. Amadio’s column of July 19, attacking Mr. Baker. So again, my friends, I come before you.

First, a few facts about our flag. The first flag made by Betsy Ross was red, white and blue in color. The red stripes represent the color of the soldiers’ blood that was shed, the white stripes represent the color of the bandages used to bind the soldiers’ wounds, a blue square in the corner represents the color of the soldiers’ uniform of that time, with thirteen stars in a circle representing the thirteen colonies. Our modern flag has fifty stars, one for each state of the union. The flag is a large part of a soldier’s life; they rise as the flag goes up the pole in the morning, and retire when it is taken down in the evening and retreat to their eternal rest as it is draped over their coffin.

Mr. Baker is a veteran of the Vietnam War and, I must add, a well decorated veteran at that, all bestowed upon him by our country in acknowledgement of his service.

Mr. Baker has known that the County Commissioners have funds available to properly light the flag, due to the fact that it is flown twenty-four hours a day. Given that, would it be so difficult for one to conclude that Mr. Baker was trying to get the commissions off their seat and on their feet.

If I am not mistaken, I believe we (the voters) will be electing county commissioners next year (new ones, I hope). Given that, the veterans of Susquehanna County represent a fair sized block of voters. One might think Commissioner Loomis was trying to jump on the veterans’ bandwagon in order to gain their favor if not their vote. I don’t quite know how Mr. Amadio reached his conclusion that Mr. Baker was a shill for Commissioner Loomis; perhaps it was after his trip down memory lane about New Jersey politics.

Mr. Amadio, in the forty-two years that I have lived in Susquehanna County, I have seen many writers, such as you, write many articles, such as yours, and for as many reasons, all have failed in their purpose. Mr. Baker is an honored veteran, for his distinguished service to his country, and no stroke of your pen can change it. Your columns should contain a disclaimer stating, “The opinions stated herein are those of the writer only!”


David L. Walters

Hop Bottom, PA

A Petty Complaint

During the June floods, I saw (most of) our boro officials out and about, helping in many ways, digging ditches (sometimes until 2 a.m.), helping residents fill out claim forms, delivering water, food and cleaning supplies, and attending endless meetings to get information on FEMA applications. I know at least two of them had scheduled vacation time off during that time and lost additional work time due to impassible roads. Not once during all this time did I hear any of them “whine” about the time they were putting in for the boro. I did hear one joke, “This is not how I planned to spend my vacation.” Not once did I hear any of them bragging about what they had done, it was always, “What else can we do?” Possibly they could have found a way to get to work to see to their own livelihoods, but they stayed here in Susquehanna to do what needed to be done. They never asked for thanks. I find it reprehensible that anyone would find fault with their actions, or attack them for their selflessness.

As a resident and a taxpayer, I have absolutely no problem with these elected officials using a boro vehicle to deliver supplies, and I find it hard to believe that anyone would. How incredibly petty of Mr. Fabrizi to be so grudging in a time of such seriousness.


Barbara Whitehead

Susquehanna, PA

Negotiate A Peace

In his latest letter, Mr. Scroggins states that Iran, Syria and Hezbollah are not our enemies. He states that “We have an opportunity to live in peace with all, including Israel.” Neville Chamberlain stated pretty much the same thing after dealing with Hitler in 1938. The catch phrase then was, “We have secured peace in our time.” In his speech he stated, “I say in the name of this House and of the people of this country that Czechoslovakia has earned our admiration and respect for her restraint, for her dignity, for her magnificent discipline in face of such a trial as few nations have ever been called upon to meet.” He further stated, “Under the new system of guarantees, the new Czechoslovakia will find a greater security than she has ever enjoyed in the past...“ We all know what happened to the hapless people of Czechoslovakia afterward.

I find it hard to understand how there can be peace between Israel and its neighbors, when those on her border are bent on nothing less than her total destruction. Mr. Scroggins has no idea of the fanatical mindset of those against Israel and the “infidels” of the world, nor is there any understanding of the need for Israel to defend its very existence.

As for the present conflict, Israel is trying very hard to avoid killing civilians. Hezbollah uses them to shield their combatants, a violation of the Geneva Convention. Israel is targeting combatants. Hezbollah is targeting civilians, a violation of the Geneva Convention. Over a million Israelis have been displaced. Hezbollah acts as a state within a state because the Lebanese government is too weak to control its own borders. Hezbollah has no national authority.

Furthermore, Mr. Scroggins blames the support for Israel as the reason for the attack on 9/11. Terrorist fanatics will attack for many reasons, not the least of which is a perception of weakness. The position of our country has been, “We will find these people and bring them to justice.” Mr. Scroggins, what justice has there been for the following American deaths and terrorist acts?

December 17, 1973 - Abu Nidal burned 32 passengers to death and wounded 40.

August 5, 1973 - 5 killed, 55 wounded at Athens Airport.

November 4, 1979 - 52 held hostage for 444 days.

December 12, 1983 – 5 killed 55 wounded U.S. and French embassies in Kuwait.

October 23, 1983 - U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, 241 killed.

April 18, 1983 - U.S. Embassy in Beirut, 17 killed.

September 20, 1984 - U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut, 16 killed. The U.S. ambassador was wounded.

June 14, 1985 - U.S. Navy diver killed and 39 held hostage for 17 days.

April 2, 1986 - 4 Americans killed on bombed TWA Boeing 727.

September 5, 1986 - 20 killed on Pan Am jet at Karachi Airport.

Dec. 21, 1988 – 270 killed on Pan Am Boeing 747, explodes over Scotland.

November 13, 1995 U.S. military headquarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 5 killed.

June 25, 1996 – Khobar Towers, 19 killed 500 injured.

August 7, 1998 – Kenya and Tanzania embassies, 257 killed over 4000 injured.

October 12, 2000 – USS Cole 17 killed 39 injured.

In a perfect world, we would be able to sit down and come to agreement, but this is not a perfect world. These fanatics hate us because we oppose their cruelty, brutality and intolerance toward all “infidels.” Our strategy until 9/11 was perceived as one of weakness. No one wants to fight a war, but there are times when not fighting is more harmful. We have, until lately, operated defensively; it is past time that we went on the offensive.

At the day’s end, the only enemy we shall face will be the fear within ourselves.


Fred Baker

Meshoppen, PA

It Is An Eyesore

Maybe someone on the Susquehanna Boro Council can tell me why the boro isn’t doing anything about the tall grass and shrubbery that is growing on Washington Street. I have lived in my home for 45 years. My husband used to mow the grass across the street, even though it wasn’t his responsibility. He can’t do it anymore, but it is growing out of control and is an eyesore.

I believe the boro should either take care of it or pay someone to cut it down. What is the boro doing? That’s what I’d like to know. From Second Ave., about halfway up the block it is up so high, you can’t see anything. If my uncle, Herby Ackley was alive, he’d get it done or do it himself. Why don’t you get some of the school kids in town to go around and cut tall grass and shrubs and make it look better?

I don’t see the boro doing anything, only riding around in the truck. They must see all this. What are we paying taxes for, if they can’t do their job? They’d better get someone on the boro who can.


Mary Snyder

Susquehanna, PA

The Eleventh Commandment

It's a war with a heart, at least on the Jewish side of the Israeli-Lebanon border. Before an artillery and aerial bombardment of a village, the Israelis drop leaflets warning the inhabitants to leave before their homes are obliterated. See. War can be compassionate.

Of course this presents some problems. The roads are mostly impassable, 95 percent of the bridges destroyed, and gas stations bombed. And either staying in a designated target area or fleeing from it is a life-threatening gamble – a gamble that one could lose either way.

A case in point is the village of Qana. The villagers decided it was less dangerous to seek shelter in a basement than to be on the road exposed to F-16Is and attack helicopters. It was a mistake. Israeli missiles hit several buildings killing 57, 37 of them children.

On the other hand, when the villagers of Taire were ordered to leave their homes they packed their bags, i.e., those who were able to leave. As their convoy of cars and minibuses headed North, an Israeli plane fired a Hellfire missile into a minibus killing three refuges and seriously wounding 13 others.

There are hundreds of civilian fatalities such as these scattered throughout Lebanon, some reported, some not, some buried under rubble yet to be discovered.

The Israeli policy seems to be if it moves, bomb it. Of course they have no choice. The dreaded Hezbollah might be in those vehicles. Water pumping stations and wheat silos have been destroyed. Israel was forced to do this, too. The terrorists might be thirsty or hungry. Orchards leveled lest some terrorists were hiding behind trees. Banks, too, have been systematically bombed. In other words, anything whatsoever that might, could be, perhaps or suspected of use to anyone is fair game.

Meanwhile rockets "rain" down on Israeli cities, sometimes a hundred a day. TV repeatedly showed images of grass fires, a damaged house, and a burning car caused by these vintage WW II weapons with their anemic 48-pound warhead.

Israel's hand was forced once again to respond. Army Chief of Staff Dan Halutz ordered the air force to destroy ten multistory buildings in Beirut for every rocket fired on the Israeli city of Haifa. F-16Is responded by dropping 500- and 1,000-pound bombs on the southern residential district of that city. The United States is sending an emergency shipment of five hundred, 2,000-pound bunker busters to our ally – that's Israel, of course. General Halutz will put them to good use.

Complementing Israel's fixed-wing planes are attack helicopters, flying sorties over other cities in Lebanon. These choppers are loaded with the latest in hi-tech rocketry: TOW, Hellfire, Maverick, Sidewinder, and Zuni rockets firing on targets of opportunity. On the ground there are dozens of 150 mm cannons shelling two 100-pound shells a minute, scores of 70-ton Merkava tanks shooting 120 mm 12 high explosive and canister shells, and in the sea gunboats hammering Lebanon's port cities. All this on a 24/7 basis. Deadly to be sure, but done with humanitarian concern.

The Prime Minister of Lebanon, Fuad Siniora, accused Israel of "committing massacres against Lebanese civilians and working to destroy everything that allows Lebanon to stay alive." (I don't think he read the leaflets.)

It is one of the ironies of this war that Israel, showing the greatest concern for civilians, has killed forty times as many noncombatants as Hezbollah has with its guidance-less, shoot-and-scoot rockets. Perhaps this is because for every Katyusha lopped into Israel hundreds, perhaps thousands, of bombs and artillery shells are sent in return – or is it the other way around? Are Katyushas sent in retaliation for the bombs and artillery shells?

Now to Israel's great regret a humanitarian catastrophe looms in Lebanon. As many as one million refugees are left with little more than the clothes they are wearing. Obtaining food, water, shelter, even basic sanitation is a daily challenge. The prospect of sending in relief supplies is difficult because Hezbollah might use the convoys as cover, and you can guess what that means. But one can have hope that Israel will be doing everything she can to open corridors for life-sustaining necessities.

However, recently this hope has proved to be misplaced. Israel has bombed the main roads connecting Syria and Lebanon over which supply convoys were ready to travel. Even if the trucks eventually get through, transportation over bomb-pocked roads and destroyed bridges will make delivery almost impossible.

However, as one judges the situation between Israel and Lebanon, between Jew and Arab, there is one overriding fact that Israel should consider above all else. The population of Israel is six million. She is surrounded by 280 million Arabs with her back against the sea. If Israel continues to base her survival on military might, her victories will only be wellsprings of hatred among her neighbors, and her defeats will be but occasions for jubilation.

Niccolo Machiavelli, in his seminal pamphlet, "The Prince," asked whether it is "better to be loved than feared or feared than loved?" He concluded that "because it is difficult to unite them in one person, [it] is much safer to be feared than loved . . . ." Israel has made this her Eleventh Commandment: It is better to be feared than to be loved. But maybe, just maybe, they – Machiavelli and Israel – got it backwards. If so, there will be a fearful price to be paid.

This is a recipe for perpetual conflict and the eventual destruction of Israel.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA


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