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Issue Home August 16, 2006 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

First Amendment Rights

Thank you, Sandra Birtch, for your heartfelt letter to the editor of August 2, in response to one of Bob Scroggins’ weekly diatribes. If your intent was to reason with Scroggins, I fear your response was just a waste of time. George Goebbels, the Propaganda Minister for the Nazis, had nothing over Scroggins, a propaganda minister for the extreme left-wing in this country.

The Scrogginses and their ilk (Daily KOS, Democrat Underground, etc.) detest both our President and his effort to defeat the world-wide terrorist movement. Thankfully, we have been spared another 9/11 these last five years. Thankfully, we have not had to fight terrorists on our shores. Thankfully, we have President Bush and our courageous men and women of the armed forces to ensure our safety at home.

I personally find the Scrogginses in our country to be despicable individuals, but that’s what our First Amendment is all about. It gives them the right to spread their lies and distortions, even at the expense of our national defense.


Dieter G. Dauber

Great Bend, PA

Keep Optimists Out

Optimists are the biggest menace to America.

It was Optimists who thought they could cut taxes and increase spending at the same time, and the result was the biggest deficits in history. Even though it was tried during the Reagan years and the result was the same, they thought it would work the second time.

It was Optimists who thought that going into Iraq, toppling the government, and planting a Democracy would be easy. We would be overwhelmingly welcomed, there would be no significant insurgency, oil revenues would pay for reconstruction, etc. We all know how that worked out.

Pessimists would do a better job. In contrast to lame-brained Optimists who refuse to recognize the inherent problems in a course of action (with predictable results), Pessimists expect things to go wrong, and in so doing, can take steps to prevent it. In the Pollyanna mind of Optimists, nothing can go wrong. That only makes disaster more likely.

But Americans like Optimists, and disdain Pessimists, so even Pessimists have to pretend to be optimistic when stumping for our votes. Even though nobody buys their phony act. If we could be weaned from our bent for unrealistic optimism, and give power to people who understand that things can go seriously wrong, paradoxically things would get better. I'm optimistic about that.


Stephen Van Eck

Rushville, PA

What Is The Definition?

The word “conservative” in Webster’s is "someone wanting to keep things as they are and being against change and reform, cautious or safe and not risky".

Is that what America' s true needs are? I think not! It sounds to me from reading the papers the administration is thinking inside the box trying to squeeze every penny out of America for the good of the conservative party. My opinion is, proclaiming their conservative values is draining every ounce of integrity out of the American dream (read again the definition).

I know that some of your readers are republican and they are good conservatives, but I bet most of the people who are registered republican don't know what the word even means (republicans are conservatives). America needs change for the good of the citizens of America. Is the change that we need the jingling of chains and/or the sound of the citizens’ money jingling out of their hands and into a few large groups’ pockets? If that’s the case, then we definitely need a change all right. I urge anyone who reads this to ask yourselves, “Should we be cautious and not change anything in America or in our home town?”

The definition of a liberal in Webster’s is, “giving freely and generous, more than enough or than might be expected, open to new ideas, broad minded: tolerant, broad in range, not limited, a person who is in favor of reform and progress" (read again the definition, Democrats are liberal).

What word best describes America’s true needs? Our news media wants us to be aware of the happenings in America but in my opinion not truly explaining our true needs (but at least they have the right to). Does America need the rich people to get richer by subtly pulling money from the poor, and subtly using the poor people to fight wars and work for their cause? Making laws to protect the interest of a few, like large companies, oil or agriculture? I truly hope that Americans understand that just because one party or another is in power doesn't mean that you have to approve and agree with what is happening within the two-party system. Loyalty and being patriotic to our country is what needs to be looked at here and be judged by the citizens of America. We Americans better read between the lines and figure it all out before we elect anyone to represent (speak for us) before America fails. It almost seems to me that America needs another party to be in the mix here! Anyone out there? Does anyone care? Why don't we hear about a third party? Why just conservatives and liberals? I wonder what the definition of the third party is?


Peter A. Seman

Thompson PA

I Appreciate Your Efforts

I have been a subscriber to your paper for some time. It has grown from a few pages to several, which I hope is a sign of your success.

The front page story in the August 9, 2006 issue regarding the Newmans prompted me to write.

I've continued to be a subscriber because I appreciate your attempts to provide news articles with as many viewpoints as possible. Often this cannot be done in a single piece, so it pleased me to see that you presented the Newmans’ side of the situation. It does not matter where your readers’ opinions ultimately land, your presentation opened another avenue to the story. It had the effect of making me realize that there is much more to know, and many, many more paths to follow.

All the homey news about our little towns, schools, legals, police, as well as the editorial page, among others, is just a delight! It connects me to my community in ways I would not ordinarily have the opportunity to do on my own.

If I were to have a wish list, I would like to see information regarding our State Legislators and their voting and attendance records, as well as a published itinerary of local visits.

Thanks for truly being a "Hometown Newspaper".


Nance J. Brown

Brackney, PA

More On Barnes-Kasson

Mr. Amadio claims that I unjustly castigated Barnes-Kasson hospital and staff relating to the three defaults on their loan to Peoples Bank. I merely asked the question, “Is it true?” Since my query, I have learned that, as directors and according to the Hospital By-Laws, Article 2, Section 9, “Directors and members of all Committees, standing as well as ad hoc, shall receive no compensation for services rendered in the capacity of Board Member.” Obviously, they are not entitled as Directors. Still, there are other questions remaining unanswered. I did not hear of any administrative cuts, yet I did hear reports of the physician compensation being cut by 10% as well as a proposal to cut the nursing staff. If true, it is a warning that the hospital has either been overpaying its physicians and over-staffing its nurses in the past, or exhibiting signs of financial difficulty in the present. Because of the three defaults, I tend to believe the latter. Furthermore, Mr. Amadio talks of the hospital having made a year’s worth of payments, as if that makes the three defaults okay. Three defaults on a loan in the second year of the loan are an indication of trouble. The fact that the county is on the hook for loan defaults has serious consequences to us, the taxpayers. By the way, Mr. Amadio, a college education does not necessarily equate to fiscal responsibility.

The original amount of the loan, $4,670,702.27, is not a small figure. However, there is another figure that should loom in the back of every taxpayer’s mind. From September, 2006 until the end of the life of the loan, the payments due equal $7,338,619.30. This has been guaranteed by the county, by and over the signatures of Commissioners Kelly and Warren. There is, of course, some remedy. From the 2004 Reimbursement Agreement, 7, (c): “If an Event of Default has occurred and is continuing the county may exercise, or cause to be exercised, any and all such remedies as it may have at law or in equity.” There are also other provisions allowing the county to recover such expenses, should action be necessary. Unfortunately, should the hospital go bust, the county will be stuck with the tab.

How can it be that the County Commissioners were unaware of the financial problems of Barnes-Kasson until after a third default? Clearly, someone dropped the ball. It would appear to me that that someone is Commissioner Kelly who, as liaison to Barnes Kasson, didn’t assume the role encompassed by her duties, to wit: “The 2004 Reimbursement Agreement, 6 (e) County Representation on Hospital Board. Appoint to its Board of Directors and keep as a director at all times, at least one person who shall be named by the county. Such appointed member of the Board of Trustees shall be accorded the privilege of service on the Executive or Finance Committee or such other Committee or group as shall be vested by the Hospital with authority to oversee the financial and operating affairs of its properties and the incurring of indebtedness.” This was agreed by the county, by and over the signatures of Commissioners Kelly and Warren.

Mr. Amadio states, “If it isn’t broke don’t fix it.” How bad does it have to get before he calls it broke? He further states that the hospital put a year’s payments into an escrow account. Also, he stated that the third default was paid June 20, 2006 from that escrow. Again, he is making it up as he goes along. According to the County Guaranty Agreement, the county put a year’s payments into a reserve fund and it comes under the provisions of the County Guaranty Agreement, Article 3, Section 3.06: “It is the intent and purpose of this Guaranty Agreement that the County shall be required to pay over to the Trustee only that portion of the Debt Service which cannot be paid from loan payments to be paid by or on behalf of the Hospital under the Loan Agreement or from other money under the Indenture that shall be available for the purpose.” The third default payment for June 15, 2006 was taken from the reserve fund at the end of July, not June 20, 2006.

Mr. Amadio states that I know nothing of his “stellar” career. Perhaps he would like to impart the circumstances relating to his departure from the Tribune? Finally, I say again, to him, finding the facts is an alien concept.

An aside to Mr. Scroggins pertaining to Israel, stand next to a hornets’ nest and keep poking it with a stick and you will get stung.

Fred Baker

Meshoppen, PA

Exciting News

I'd like to share my excitement about the brand-new Salt Springs Triathlon, to be held on September 3. They just received official sanctioning and are now accepting up to 75 entries. The entry fee goes to help repair flood damage at Salt Springs State Park. There are two distances, Olympic (.9 mile swim, 25 mile bike, 10K run) and sprint (600 yard swim, 9.5 mile bike, 3K run) and the three legs can be done as a relay team – details and forms at www.friendsofsaltspringspark.org. From the point of view of a slow, middle-aged, but enthusiastic participant, here are some reasons to think about entering, even if you've never considered a triathlon before:

– It's an adventure! How often as adults do we get to try something completely new and different, to test our limits and find out what we are capable of?

– Biking, running, and swimming in open water are wonderful ways to appreciate our great fortune in living here. It amazes me that more people aren't out on the roads enjoying Susquehanna County up close. In a car you miss many of the birds and wildflowers, the unpolluted air and fresh scents, the peaceful sounds. – Having a race date is great motivation, one of the hardest parts of getting and staying fit. Of course we all know how important exercise is to general health, but if you want a real wake-up call read “Younger Next Year: A Guide to Living Like 50 Until You're 80 and Beyond,” available at your local library.

– You don't have to be fast – "to finish is to win." If you want to beat someone, I can pretty much guarantee you will beat me – I am a slower-than-average runner and am finding that the same is true of biking and swimming. So I am hoping that plenty of other non-athletes enter to keep me company at the back of the pack!

– The money goes to a good cause and the event will help raise awareness of the park, one of Susquehanna County's treasures. – If you can run or bike at least a mile, and swim at all, there is still time to train. If not, come watch and start planning for next year!


Hilary Caws-Elwitt

Friendsville, PA

Let’s Be Adults

It is probably rare that you will see a “To the Editor” letter from someone my age; however, as a 21-year old college student, even I have become disgusted at what I consistently read in the local newspaper. Perhaps for a moment we all need to step back and look at how we’re acting.

As you read this letter, there are currently 127,000 US soldiers fighting overseas for our freedom. Back on the home front, there are more than 3.5 million people (including 1.3 million children) living homeless throughout our own country. Under the splendid guidance of President George Bush, we have seen our national debt reach an astronomical $8.5 trillion. And in Susquehanna County, you have citizens who feel that it is their responsibility to insult and libel not only individuals, but also entire families, via “letters to the editor.” Does anyone notice a pattern?

Webster’s dictionary defines an “adult” as someone who is “fully developed and mature.” But as of late, it seems that people in this area are acting anything but mature. Aren’t we all running the same rat race of life? Don’t we all continuously work to support our families and ourselves? Granted, this rural area certainly does have its own share of problems. But so doe everywhere else. And perhaps if we were to work together to solve a problem, it would get solved much more sensibly. Perhaps if we were to put the effort into inking a letter to our local or state representatives instead of insulting one another, we could get a bit more attention and aid sent in our direction. And let us not forget the golden rule that no matter what decision someone makes, it will never make everyone happy. So deal with it. Grow up and take it like the adults we supposedly are. Because as of now, the only thing your whining and nagging does is give the folks at the Town Restaurant something to gossip about. And from what I understand, we haven’t recently had any suicide car bombs going off on Main Street; so far as I’m concerned, it could be much worse.


Jordan Tingley

Susquehanna, PA

Tit for Tat

The flood of 2006 will forever be etched in everyone's memory; and rightly so. A large number of emergency responders came out in force and gave tirelessly of their time for the sake of countless others. In addition, a large number of regular folks came to the aid of their neighbors; without question. I believe that all of the aforementioned should be commended.

But Mrs. Whitehead, get over it, move on, get a life. It was six weeks ago. We get it. You and probably one or two other people think that your husband is a hero. A significant number of us are still dealing with the aftermath of the flood but we are going about it quietly. We are moving forward.

I have to wonder why you chose not to address some of the other issues? It was easy to notice that you dodged the issue that we still have three police cars for three part-time officers. It was easy to notice that you dodged the issue that our streets are still in poor condition and Council has not informed the residents as to what, if anything, will be done. It was easy to notice that you dodged the issue of losing a valuable employee; Robbie Hall. It was easy to notice that you dodged the issue of the Council, looking at ways to save tax payers money (according to your husband), gave a pay raise to one of the part-time police officers. It was easy to notice that you dodged the issue of Council members being able to live on twenty-four hours of pay, as they expect the Streets Department employees to do.

Oh, before I forget, I do not intend to go tit for tat (blow for blow) regarding any of these topics because they have been driven into the ground without any real response from our elected officials. However, if you ever decide to stop hiding behind your position's ability to edit out whatever you cannot deal with, maybe I would reconsider. But you and I know that you won't. So, in the future, if it seems as though I am ignoring you, it's because I am.


Richard A. Fabrizi, Sr.

Susquehanna, PA

The Fourth Apology

Mel Gibson has a problem, one he's been fighting for decades. No, it's not the Jews; it's the bottle. Mel is an alcoholic. As he describes it, alcohol is a habit "I just can't quit." Since his twenties he's been battling booze. Mel has been in and out of rehab and on and off the wagon with sickening regularity. June 28 he fell off the wagon once again and hit the ground hard.

Officer James Mee arrested Mel for speeding, going 87 mph in a 45-mph zone. To make matters worse, the actor was intoxicated. Topping off a bad day, Mel made a few drunken remarks: "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."

Really? Think of that: the Assyrian, Persian, Peloponnesian, and Punic Wars were all caused by the Jews. What about the American Revolutionary War, our Civil War, and World Wars I and II? Again it's the Jews. If I forgot a few thousand wars, include them, too. And I suppose conquerors such as Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, and even Hitler were but tools in the Jewish conspiracy.

That's the shocking part of this whole silly scenario, that the nonsensical ramblings of an intoxicated man are taken seriously. True, there are serious issues here, issues that could have been deadly.

Driving a ton of steel at almost twice the speed limit, Mel could very easily have injured or killed himself and others, as well as caused extensive property damage. When the alcohol-induced haze cleared from his brain, he sincerely apologized for his actions. That hardly made the news.

Then he publicly apologized to the police officer who arrested him and expressed his gratitude as well, "The arresting officer was just doing his job and I feel fortunate that I was apprehended before I caused injury to any other person." This was almost entirely ignored by the media.

But say something so outrageously daffy about the Jews – something not even a bigot would say because no one would take it seriously – well now, that's headlines, that rates extended coverage on TV, lead stories in news mags, fodder for soul-searching discussions. What! All this for the ravings of a drunk? Even so, he profusely apologized for his drunken rant. But for some, apologies are not enough.

"Mel Gibson's apology is unremorseful and insufficient. It's not a proper apology because it does not go to the essence of his bigotry and his anti-Semitism," said Anti Defamation League (ADL) National Director Abraham Foxman.

Mel is a Hollywood misfit. In a culture of lax morals and merry-go-round marriages, Mel’s union of 26 years is an anomaly. He is a devout Catholic, donating millions to this church. It was his own suffering brought about by his addiction that drove him to make The Passion of the Christ. The Passion is not a popular subject among Filmland's smart set; it certainly is not a favorite with the ADL, and it did not attract investors. But Mel persevered, spending $25 million of his money for its production.

Since that film and its enormous success, charges of anti-Semitism have dogged Mel. The ADL (that's Foxman, again) charged that the film portrayed the Jews in a bad light, showing them responsible for the crucifixion of Christ. Well, they were. Peter blames the Jews explicitly six times in the book of Acts, and so does the first martyr, Stephen, just prior to being stoned to death by the Jews.

Yet the teaching of Christ (a Jew), and the apostles (all Jews), and the early disciples (Jews to a man), taught forgiveness. Words of forgiveness were among the last words of Christ on the cross. Peter wrote, "Be not rendering evil for evil." And the apostle Paul, a Pharisee who before his calling was studying to be a rabbi, wrote, "Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it."

Hatred is not and never was a part of Christianity – nor is covering up the truth.

Mel made three heartfelt public apologies: for his DWI offense – an offense for which he will be legally penalized, to the arresting officer, and for his offensive remarks. But a fourth apology is due – one offered to Mel Gibson by those so easily offended by his tequila-laced blathering.

Is there anyone among us who has not made regrettable remarks about race or religion, and done so in a sober state? Even the apostle Paul cried out, "Wretched man that I am! For not what I am wishing am I practicing . . . but on the contrary, what I am not wishing – that is, the evil, this I am doing!" Mel, nor any of us, can be expected to be more than human.

Foxman and like-minded inquisitors would do well to read King Solomon: "The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression" (Prov. 19:11).


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

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Letters To The Editor MUST BE SIGNED. They MUST INCLUDE a phone number for "daytime" contact. Letters MUST BE CONFIRMED VERBALLY with the author, before printing. At that time you may request to withhold your name. Letters should be as concise as possible, to keep both Readers' and Editors' interest alike. Your opinions are important to us, but you must follow these guidelines to help assure their publishing.

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