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Issue Home August 16, 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 Starrucc

100 Years Ago

MONTROSE: Wesley Gavitt went to Forest Lake last week on his new Crescent bicycle, visiting relatives. It spins like as top and sails like an arrow. AND: The Country Club committee, having in charge the location of the site for the proposed club house, have decided upon the southwest corner of the grounds, just off Lake avenue, where the road forks toward the Borden creamery.

HALLSTEAD: Fire broke out in Dr. VanNess’ barn last Saturday night, which is used for storage purposes, threatening with destruction the block in which are located the Rogers’ hardware store, Sands’ drug store, and other business places. For a time the blaze was lively, but the excellent efforts of the firemen soon had it under control. A horse in the barn was badly burned, belonging to D. V. Hand.

JACKSON: Frederick Benson, the well-known vocalist who has finished a forty weeks’ engagement with Henry W. Savige’s Castle Square Grand Opera company, is the guest of relatives in town.

UPSONVILLE: Last Monday evening, just as the sun was sinking from view after one of the most glorious days of the summer, occurred the death, at his home, of Elam Rakestraw. The deceased had lived a noble life for four score years, having reached his 80th mile stone last January, and was prepared for the final summons from his Master. Mr. Rakestraw had many friends and few enemies. His tall, broad figure, although drooping slightly with the weight of years, commanded attention. He was a Quaker in religious belief. For the past 40 years he had made his home with friends, his wife having died some two score years ago and he has no survivors.

HEART LAKE: Heart Lake has long been known to be wild and wooly--that’s why city people like it. But to Mr. John Donovan, a traveling man of Binghamton, and Miss Kate Sullivan, of Scranton, that region surrounding the lake is looked upon by them as something similar to the dense wilderness of the Dismal Swamp. They got lost Saturday night you know, and of course it was all John’s fault. John, you see, in wandering around the country and putting up at hostelries like the Jay [New Milford] and Tarbell [Montrose] Houses cultivates an epicurean’s taste. His appetite was always good. But when he heard that there was to be a social out in the country about two miles from the lake, his face beamed so radiantly that a 32-candle power had no business shining around him. Of course John wasn’t satisfied to play “solitaire” on this occasion, so he invited Miss Sullivan to share the promised pleasures. It might be mentioned that the walking was good. They walked. John’s bump of location has never yet been found by a phrenologist. So used to riding on the cars, you know, that he wasn’t on to following wagon tracks. And a queer thing about those roads were that they forked at every corner and John took the wrong fork invariably. At last after they had given up all hope of seeing the farmhouse where the social was to be held, they attempted to find their way back. A farmer who resides near Alford was ruthlessly awakened from his sound slumber and directed them to the route over the mountain they should follow. They dragged their weary feet over the ground they had traveled and at last, about three o’clock Sunday morning, their nostrils were greeted by the salt smell of the sea. The searching party, which was preparing to start out, after hearing the narrative of the wanderers, sought their couches and peace again reigned supreme at the lake. N.B. The chaperon of the party has threatened to put a bell on John.

GIBSON: Mr. Crossley, of Binghamton, was here, Saturday, with his automobile. This was the third auto to visit our little village this summer.

UNIONDALE: Family reunions are a great feature of the events of this season; they come from near and far to hold their meetings in Mrs. E. Carpenter’s grove. She has every convenience for making the gathering a pleasant one. She usually furnishes the dinner, and some weeks is kept busy nearly every day. Last week the Whitneys, from Jackson, and Tiffanys, from Pleasant Mt., met Wednesday and The Westgate gathering was Thursday.

CLIFFORD: Clifford has three churches of much renown; / Two are kept in fine condition, one has tumbled down; / We have two as able preachers as any we know; / They will show by the gospel the way we should go. / We have a creamery, and fine butter we can make; / Finn is the manager--as good as any in the State. / We have three fine stores, with merchants attached, / Three as nice men as ever were ”hatched.” / Here is Rivenburg, our druggist, merchant, too; / As nice a little fellow as ever we knew. ; He is genteel and kind, never gets in a strife--/ The main thing needed is a nice little wife. / There is Harris, our postmaster and merchant, it is said/ Always wants to spark, but never to wed. / And there is Merchant Bliss, polite, genteel and true, / Takes orders for undertaking, sells furniture, too. / Here is Taylor, undertaker and tinner combined, / As fine a workman as any you will find; / We have two blacksmith shops, wagon repairing complete; / The Lott’s are our workmen, and they are hard to beat, / Here is Spedding, our Landlord, hotel painted new; / He is accommodating, and will look after you; / His tables have abundance, his rooms are neat. / His bar is tidy and his barns are complete. / Here is Doctor Hager who keeps us well; / An able physician; few can him excel. / There is Oakley with his auto, rides through town with great speed; / He will take your order for iron roof if any you may need. / We have two cemeteries, the old and the new, / Kept up in good condition, we expect soon to be there, too. / The scenery is magnificent, as many do tell, / Here we will leave you and bid you a long farewell.

HOP BOTTOM: Undertaker Frank Janaushek has added a church truck and lowering device.

NEWS BRIEFS: A handy and pleasant place for people who go to Binghamton by train is the well-known “Quick-John” restaurant on Chenango street, not far from the depots where there is not only quick service, but good things in abundance to eat. AND: Boys, learn a trade while you are young. After you are 20 years old few will be found who will take the trouble to teach you one. When you are that old you will want a man’s pay, and if you don’t know anything you won’t get it. Those that don’t know a trade are always working at odd jobs and are paid the lowest wages. AND: “Swallow foolish pride and let the children run in bare feet, despite what the neighbors say, if you desire to keep them healthy during the summer and make them strong for the winter,” is the advice that Health Officer Joseph Auten gave to the mothers of Wilkes-Barre.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Bravo Assessment Office!

Susquehanna County field assessors were busy since the late June flood that damaged or destroyed so many homes and businesses, particularly in the New Milford/Hallstead/Great Bend areas of this sprawling county.

Commissioner Roberta Kelly said a report from the county’s Assessment Office shows that the field assessors reviewed over 700 properties in the county during the past six weeks. She said 239 properties were adjusted due to flood damage. About 200 of them were residential units. In addition, the assessors posted 326 tax claim properties for 2005 and in August, they will post 371 properties for 2004 taxes.

“We had people in the assessment office wondering what to do and people checking to make sure we made the changes we said we would,” said Chief Assessor Ellen O'Malley. The expectation is that by mid-August we will have everything in house processed. There may be a few things that show up after that date but the bulk of the work will be completed.”

“It is not only the assessors who deserve recognition,” said Mrs. Kelly, “but the office staff as well. Through it all the office staff was compassionate and professional and offered whatever information they could.”

I certainly would like to add my two cents worth and extend a thank you to the assessors and the office staff for a job well done. Too often we have a tendency to ignore the performances of our county employees.

Clearing up a miscue

Before we get off the flood bit, I need to make a correction that needs clearing up. I believe I said here that Commissioner Mary Ann Warren remained overnight at the county courthouse because she could not get home due to washed out roads and bridges

After witnessing conditions when I tried getting to Montrose the next morning, have no doubt that I was probably right. However, Mrs. Warren did not stay at the courthouse and did not remain overnight because of weather conditions. She remained at the county office building on Public Avenue because the Emergency Management Agency needed help and she elected to stay and lend a hand.

Just as we often overlook the extra efforts of our county employees, we sometimes fail to recognize the additional efforts of our elected county officials. A thank you wrapped in an apology goes to MaryAnn Warren.

Good stuff from Harrisburg

Last month, Gov. Ed Rendell signed Act 69 into law and it is a great piece of legislation. The bill required an estimated 600 agencies providing in-home personal care in the state to be licensed.

Under the new law, consumer rights and protections are now established and agencies will need to complete criminal background checks on workers as well as provide training. The Department of Health will enforce the requirements and license agencies.

Our thanks to Harold Wegman of Montrose for putting us wise to this long overdue bill. Harold heads up the Northeast Region of the Pennsylvania Council on Aging.

Why not Bill?

Bill Brennan, who, for many years, worked at the Susquehanna County Jail, retired recently. But Bill is nowhere near retirement age and asked the county to consider letting him work as a part-time corrections officer at the jail. This is not an unusual request. I know many county employees who retired and then accepted part-time positions with the county.

For reasons of their own, members of the county Jail Board have turned a deaf ear on Bill’s request for a part-time job. The feeling here is that any man entrusted with the responsibility of running the jail for many, many years, certainly must know the duties of a corrections officer.

And besides, the county is constantly on the lookout for part-time and full-time security guards at the jail. Bill Brennan’s record as a county employee must be on file in the courthouse. If a peek at that does not reveal any wrongdoings or policy violations while he was employed at the jail, the feeling here is give the guy a part-time job.

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From the Desk of the D.A.
By District Attorney Jason J. Legg

On September 20, 2005, Shane Nicholson, Richard Saab and Brian Hird traveled into New York State and celebrated the 21st birthday of Shane Nicholson. The celebration involved the consumption of alcoholic beverages throughout the course of the evening. Eventually, the three friends climbed into the car, and Shane Nicholson got behind the wheel, and he was intoxicated. As he was traveling back toward their homes in Susquehanna County, Shane Nicholson lost control of the automobile and there was a horrific accident. As a result of the accident, Richard Saab and Brian Hird were killed. Because Nicholson had not reached the Pennsylvania border prior to the accident, he was arrested by New York authorities and charged with vehicular homicide and DUI.

At the end of this July, Shane Nicholson entered a guilty plea in Broome County in connection with the vehicular homicide and DUI charges. As a result of his conviction, he was sentenced to a period of incarceration of 1 year to 3 years. I was surprised when I heard the news regarding the sentence. I should preface these remarks with the caveat that I do not know how New York State determines its sentences, or even whether there are any mandatory minimum sentences in New York State for these types of offenses. In briefly researching the issue, I did not find any indication that New York State imposed a mandatory minimum sentence for DUI-type offenses that result in a death.

As I indicated above, Nicholson was traveling back to Susquehanna County when the accident occurred. What would have happened had he crossed the state border, and the accident occurred in Susquehanna County as opposed to Broome County? The difference is substantial. If the accident had occurred in Susquehanna County, and Nicholson was convicted, the Pennsylvania statute requires a court to impose a mandatory minimum sentence of three (3) years. Moreover, the statute provides further that a “consecutive three-year term of imprisonment shall be imposed for each victim whose death is the result of a violation of [the DUI statute].”

If you were doing the math and understood the language of the statute, Nicholson would have been sentenced to a minimum of 6 years for the accident had it occurred in Pennsylvania – three years for the death of each victim running consecutive to each other. Under Pennsylvania law, the maximum sentence must be at least double the minimum sentence. Thus, Nicholson would have faced a sentence in Pennsylvania of at least 6 years to 12 years of incarceration for his conduct. Because the accident occurred on the New York side of the border, Nicholson received only 1 year to 3 years. If he had made it into Pennsylvania and then had the accident, Nicholson would have faced a minimum sentence that was six times greater, and a maximum sentence that was 4 times greater.

There have been many reforms in the manner and mechanisms through which defendants are sentenced over the last several decades. Those that sought sentencing reform hoped to create a system where similarly situated defendants were treated comparatively across a state. As a result, defendants in Pennsylvania are assured sentences that are commiserate with other defendants in the same shoes, whether you are a defendant in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or Montrose. On the other hand, there is no mechanism in place to assure that defendants in different states are treated similarly – each state is sovereign and determines its own sentencing provisions and punishments. The Nicholson case provides a stark example of the differences that exist between jurisdictions as to how offenses are defined, handled and sentenced, and how the difference of a few miles, yards or even feet can make all the difference in the world.

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
By Fred Cicetti


Q. I usually get a bit light-headed when I stand, but this feeling is much worse when I get up from the dinner table. I don’t drink. Any ideas?

There’s a possibility you have “postprandial hypotension,” or, in layman’s language, low blood pressure after a meal. This is a senior malady; few younger people experience this. Other possible symptoms include dizziness, blurred vision, nausea and fainting. I recommend going to a doctor to have your symptoms checked.

When you eat, blood pours into your digestive system. To maintain your blood pressure, your heart pumps more often and your blood vessels constrict. But these compensatory mechanisms don’t work for some people.

To help prevent postprandial hypotension, eat small portions several times a day and limit high-carbohydrate foods such as potatoes, rice, pasta and bread.

There’s another form of low blood pressure called “postural hypotension” that affects some people when they stand up. Also called “orthostatic hypotension,” this is especially common in older adults who are more likely to use high blood pressure drugs. When you experience postural hypotension, blood pools in your legs.

Low blood pressure is commonly caused by drugs for high blood pressure, surgical medications, anti-anxiety agents, diuretics, heart medicines, antidepressants, narcotic painkillers and alcohol. Other causes of low blood pressure include dehydration, heart failure, heart arrhythmias, shock from infection, stroke, severe allergic reaction, major trauma, heart attack and advanced diabetes.

The effects of hypotension can lead to falls, which can be serious for seniors. Here are some pointers for avoiding the dangers of low blood pressure:

When arising, let your feet hang over the side of your bed. Then flex your toes up and down about a dozen times. Stand up slowly. Count to 10 before you start walking. This is a good idea whenever you get up from lying or sitting for more than 20 minutes. Crossing your legs while sitting upright may also help increase blood pressure.

Some experts define low blood pressure as readings lower than 90 systolic (the first number) or 60 diastolic (the second number). However, low blood pressure is relative, so doctors often define blood pressure as too low only if there are symptoms.

In many instances, low blood pressure isn't serious. However, it is important to see your doctor if you have hypotension symptoms, because they sometimes can point to serious problems. Chronic low blood pressure may increase the risk of Alzheimer's-type dementia in some older adults.

Low blood pressure without symptoms rarely requires treatment. In symptomatic cases, doctors address the primary problems such as heart failure. When hypotension is drug-induced, treatment usually involves altering the drug regimen.

It is possible to raise blood pressure when that is required. Here are some ways:

Eating more salt. However, too much sodium can cause heart failure, especially among seniors. Don’t increase your salt without consulting with your doctor.

Drink more water. Fluids increase blood volume and help prevent dehydration.

Compression stockings used to treat varicose veins may help reduce the pooling of blood in your legs.

There are also medications your doctor may prescribe.

If you have a question, please write to

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ASK The Family Doctor
By Dr. Richard Hacker

This column was intended as a place to publish answers to questions, but so far I have only received four of them. Please write or e-mail questions to give me some idea of what to write about! For lack of any question from the audience, I’ll write a few words about something that seems commonly misunderstood: blood pressure.

Blood pressure can be complicated to understand in biologic terms, but surprisingly easy in gardening terms: think of a hose and a spigot, and a garden full of thirsty plants that count on you for just the right amount of water at the right time and at the right pressure.

With the nozzle on the hose turned off, you turn on the spigot and water fills the hose.

The hose is full but not squirting, and if there are any leaks in the hose you discover them abruptly. There is water pressure in the hose, just like there is water pressure in your arteries. This baseline pressure at rest is what we call “diastolic” (di-ah-stol-ik) and is the “second” number of any blood pressure reading. I described this first because it is arguably the more important value in recording blood pressure, and usually the one that means the most in your health. After all, it’s the lowest your pressure gets and the one that’s always there. Like the hose, this internal pressure is what makes things leak and burst.

Your circulatory system is better than a simple water faucet and hose, because there are surges of pressure every time your heart beats. It would be like putting a pump between the spigot and the hose. With each cycle of the pump, of course, the pressure surges. That’s the first number in a blood pressure, “systolic” (sis-tol-ik).

Both numbers in a blood pressure are reported in terms of millimeters of mercury: the height to which a column of liquid mercury can be raised by the pressure in your blood vessels. We use mercury because it is a heavy liquid: it takes much more pressure to lift mercury than water. (If we measured blood pressure in millimeters of water, for example, we’d have to have a tube thousands of millimeters long because that’s how high the column of water would be lifted.)

Measuring the pressure of a closed system is difficult unless you have a sensor within the system itself, which is why in the intensive care unit, a catheter is sometimes placed directly into an artery. We have found that patients don’t like this very much when they’re coming in to the office for a simple visit, and thus an alternative was devised. If we can squeeze an artery shut by wrapping an inflatable cuff around it, we can measure the pressure in the cuff when it equals the pressure in the artery. What is commonly done is, a cuff is inflated until the artery is pinched off, and the pressure in the cuff is slowly released and read on a gauge. When the cuff is squeezing slightly less than the blood is pumping, the pumping blood reopens the artery with an audible “pop”. We read the pressure in the cuff at that “pop” and know exactly how hard your blood needed to be pumping to open up the artery at that point. And thus we have our “surge” pressure, the systolic. At the point where your artery is fully opened, the popping stops and we can read the baseline, or diastolic pressure. The device we use to measure blood pressure is called the sphymomanometer. (Did you want me to break THAT one down into sounds? It could take a full line, but the first part if pronounced “ss-fig-mo” and refers to pressure.)

To take a blood pressure properly, the cuff must be of appropriate size and be properly fitted and applied. As it is, we’re measuring the pressure in a cuff rather than the artery and thus get only an approximation of the true circulatory system pressure, which makes it all the more important to use the right equipment the right way. The location of the cuff is important, because measuring the blood pressure at fingers or wrists is often even less accurate than when measured in the arm.

Next week: how to measure pressure properly, how to monitor it, and when to be concerned. As always, though, if there is something you want to learn more about or have explained, 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, 853-3135 or 879-5249.

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Straight From Starrucca
By Margaret M. Dickey

The “Sound of Music” which was presented last weekend at St. Martin of Tours Church included Julie Hargett, who played the part of a nun. Now Julie can add “thespian” to her other inimitable talents. I heard the musical was well attended and pleased the crowd. Several years ago, we were guests at the Von Trapp Lodge. What food!

Beverly Beers and granddaughter, Carley, Honesdale, visited me last Friday.

Barb and Roger Glover made use of their motor home last Thursday to Sunday, traveling to Wind Gap, PA to absorb the music of the Bluegrass Festival.

June Downton hosted her daughter, Barbara, granddaughter, Alexis and Barb’s husband, Ralph Hadden from North Carolina, from Friday, the 28th of July until the 31st.

We couldn’t have asked for a more lovely morning when seventeen seniors and Bag Ladies gathered outdoors on the spacious lawn of Vivian Baker’s Scott Center home for our annual blueberry pancake breakfast. Everything was delicious, the birds were singing, the sun shining brightly and the conversation pleasing.

I attended the Smith reunion held at the Moscow Sportsmen’s Club in Moscow, PA on July 29. I drove to Waymart, PA, where my daughter met me and drove me to the reunion. Coming home, just the reverse.

The Starrucca Civic Association met on August 8 for their monthly meeting. Members present were president Gale Williams, Kristin Potter, Margaret Dickey, Barbara and Roger Glover, Ruth Mroczka. This meeting had been postponed from August 1 due to excessive heat. The secretary’s report had been distributed by mail.

Members agreed to cancel the August 19 square dance. A portion of the dance floor, close to the stage, in the middle of the hall, has collapsed. Mold appears to be on nearby surfaces. The secretary will handle “reverse” publicity. Roger Glover will contact “Just Us.” Members agreed to offer to pay “Just Us,” although we hoped they could book another gig for August 19. Gale will remind the council president of the floor problems and request prompt attention by council. Members are hopeful that the September 16 square dance might occur as planned.

The association is always eager for additional members. The association meets on the first Tuesday of most months at 7 p.m. at the Community Hall. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, September 5.


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