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Issue Home August 30, 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

BRIDGEWATER: In the old Searle farm house, by Jones Lake, a shirt waist dance and Euchre will be given by W.A. Lathrop on Friday, Aug. 31st, at 8:30 p.m. Harrington’s band wagon will leave the Post Office at 8:30 and 9, if there will be passengers, and return trips from the farm at 11:30 and 12; the fare will be 10 cents each way. Admission 25 cents, including refreshments and prizes for the Euchre. AND: Ninety-seven years ago Caleb Bush came from Litchfield county, Conn. and settled in Bridgewater. Over 100 of his descendents are now living. On Aug. 18, about 70 of them assembled at the home of R. L. Bush for a family reunion. After dinner a meeting was called. D. C. Darrow was elected president, Frank G. Allen, vice pres. and Lucy Bush secretary and treasurer.

SUSQUEHANNA: Artist Robert E. Lea, whose paintings are recognized among the best in the county, recently left for New York City, where he is professionally engaged. Mr. Lea may decide to remain in New York altogether. AND: The Beebe homestead, with several acres of land, has been secured for the Beach Cancer Sanitarium, an enterprise with unlimited resources, backed by eastern capital. The Beach method is simple, harmless, and painless. Patients are restored to health without pain, and this important institution will make Susquehanna famous.

THOMPSON: Joseph Lyden, son of Martin Lyden, aged 25 years, joined in with a party of campers from Susquehanna, at Wrighter’s Lake, last week. On Thursday morning he went across the lake for supplies and on his return, when near shore, the boat upset and he went to the bottom, while his comrade was rescued. There is strangeness about the accident, as Lyden was a famous swimmer, while his comrade could not swim and would have drowned had not campers from shore come to his rescue. The body was not recovered until late in the afternoon. His funeral was largely attended at the Catholic church at Starrucca. (Another newspaper reported that the accident was due to the bottom falling out of the boat.)

MONTROSE: Dr. Fred S. Birchard, of Scranton, has sold his practice in that city and will take up his profession here. He has rented the offices of the late Dr. Charles D. Mackey, and will also have his residence there. Dr. Birchard is a son of Registrar M.E. Birchard of this place, a graduate of the Montrose High School and is well known to the people of this vicinity. In 1903 he graduated with honors from the Medico Chirurgical College at Philadelphia and since that time has been an attendant physician in the Lackawanna Hospital in Scranton and has acquired a favorable surgical reputation in connection with Dr. Reed Burns, with whom he has associated.

FOREST CITY: For nearly ten hours Michael McKernon, an aged resident of Susquehanna St., was lost on the mountain northwest of the city, Friday night, and when discovered by a searching party he was almost exhausted. The experience will long linger in his mind with horror. Mr. McKernon started out about 10 o’clock Friday morning in search of a couple of cows that had been missing from home for several days. In his search for the cows he had crossed the mountain and coming out on the road at Stillwater, just at dusk, started home. Some distance this side of Stillwater he turned into an old road that led past the quarry and in the gathering darkness soon lost his bearings. Chilled by the severe night air, bruised and torn by the tangled undergrowth, hungry, thirsty and discouraged, Mr. McKernon, who is about 80, had given up all attempt at progress when he caught sight of the lights in the searching party headed by his son.

SOUTH AUBURN: The old Grange Hall is being torn down, preparatory to building a new one.

DIMOCK: The annual Dimock camp meeting began Wednesday evening with a good attendance; Dr. Sweet in charge. Seventy cottages are occupied and every furnished room belonging to the association. One new cottage has been built and several repaired; also a small barn in place of one burned.

BROOKDALE: Old Pompy, the horse so long owned by J. Tingley, broke his leg last Thursday night. Charlie Muckey kindly ended his sufferings by shooting him.

FLYNN, Middletown Twp.: John Wood, of Rushville, is on the hill with his steam threshing machine. He will get plenty of work, as John is a hustler. AND: Arrived at the home of Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Conboy, a lovely young girl, and from present indications they intend to have it make its home there.

ALFORD: Chas. D. Tingley was in town Friday. He was accompanied by Truman Tingley, a brother from Gothenburg, Nebraska, who is visiting in the county. Mr. Tingley has not been here in 23 years. He is enthusiastic about the west.

GREAT BEND: The record in this country was equaled, if not lowered, for lady drivers for a half mile track when Miss Lula Day, of Great Bend, drove Maytell in the ladies’ races at the Hallstead and Great Bend Horse Breeder’s Association. The time made in the first trial was 1:08 and in the second, 1:07 1-2. The three days’ meet was very successful.

WELSH HILL, Clifford Twp.: Rev. D. F. Davis, of Cotsqueka, will preach in the Welch Congregational church on Sunday next. In the morning the sermon will be in English and in the evening Welsh. At the evening service a duet will be sung by Mrs. W. Williams and Miss Gwendolyn Morgan.

HARFORD: The date for the M.E. Church fair is Friday afternoon and evening, Sept. 7, in Odd Fellows Hall. This is the first fair of the kind held in Harford and the ladies wish to make it a success. There will be booths containing fancy and useful articles, provisions, ice cream and cake, an autograph quilt and a worsted crazy-work quilt. Come and help the ladies.

FRIENDSVILLE: The new St. Francis church is rapidly nearing completion. Mr. Badgley’s contract will be fulfilled by the 1st of September when the work of grading will immediately be begun. The dedication, it is expected, will take place about mid September.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay


Nuisance taxes are a nuisance!

Someone once said, “Patience is the companion of wisdom.” If the saying applies to anyone in Susquehanna County, it has got to be Jim Jennings of Brooklyn Township.

Jim started attending county meetings in 1996 and he has become a thorn in the side of some and a blessing to others. I was at a commissioners’ meeting in the '90s when Jeff Loomis became so irritated with Jim that he started to climb over the meeting table to get at him. And Gentleman Jim just sat in his seat as calm and cool as a cucumber. But if I remember right, he never sat in the front row of a commissioners’ meeting for the remainder of Loomis’ administration.

Jim expounds on the good that he sees but he doesn't hesitate to sharply criticize the bad. Not long after he started attending meetings, his wife, Sue, joined him and, between them they can recall much of what was and wasn't done by the last four administrations that ran or is now running the county.

I think it was some time in 1996 or early 1997 that Jim picked up the gauntlet and decided to champion the battle against nuisance taxes. His prime target was the Occupation Tax and he brought it to the attention of every county administration from Loomis to Stalter to Marcho to Kelly.

With Jim’s sometimes abrasive approach and Sue’s mathematical talents, the Jennings have shown every administration that the Occupation Tax is a loser. At one time or another, almost every county commissioner agreed that the tax should be abolished. But it takes chutzpah to do something about it and in the list of occupations I fail to see a category labeled “cowards.”

Anyhow, at last week’s meeting of the Board of County Commissioners, the commissioners did give Jim a bone but if I was him, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the meat that should go with it. Roberta Kelly, chair of the board, said she would have the assessment office study the issue but she also said the occupation tax matter is not high on her list of priorities.

In a copyrighted article for Franklin & Marshall some five years ago, Madonna & Young, longtime commentators on Pennsylvania politics, wrote:

“...Pennsylvania’s local taxes are complex and confusing to most taxpayers. The property tax with its archaic millage rates and assessment ratios is difficult enough to fathom, but who can explain the difference between the occupation tax and the occupation privilege tax? Could anyone explain what it means when the occupation tax may be based on a “millage” applied against the assessed value of occupations?

“...The challenge to our political leadership is clear and obvious. The time for delay and denial is just about over. We have always known that sooner or later fundamental change must come to Pennsylvania’s local tax system. The question has never been if that change must come, but only when. Let’s get to it.”

The method of arriving at the occupation tax is a work of art. Codes and valuations are broken down into half a dozen categories which are then assigned dollar values at the rate of $1.80 per $100.

In the unemployed category among the exempt occupations are students, housewives and retirees. Strangely enough, ministers are listed in the unemployed category. (Tax: 0)

Then there are the “unskilled” which is described as any person having a fulltime occupation that requires no particular skill or less than one year of training and is not a business owner. In this list, we find everything from Avon/Tupperware dealers to bank tellers, bus drivers, electricians, plumbers, printers, carpenters, nurse’s aide, secretaries and teacher’s aide. (Tax: $5.40)

Next comes unskilled/part time and this category includes any person who works less than 1,000 hours a year in an unskilled position that requires no particular skill or less than one year of training. (Tax: $3.60)

Elected officials are listed with skilled employees. Elected officials skilled? Also classified as skilled employees are farmers, bank managers, policemen, writers (are you kidding me?), etc., etc. Bus drivers are listed as unskilled but, if they own their own bus, they are classified as skilled. Figure that one out. (Tax: $7.20)

There are actually two professional classifications. Professional I, is a bargain rate when compared with Professional II. Besides pilots, in Pro I we can also find fish commissioners and school teachers. Is it me or is there something fishy about that last sentence? (Tax: $10.80)

Some of the occupations in Professional II include Certified Public Accountants (plain, ordinary accountants are listed in Professional I), lawyers, judges, professors and veterinarians. (Tax: $14.40)

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

During a morning patrol, Officer Phillips notices several young men loitering near a town park. Over the next hour, Officer Phillips continued to notice the group of young men hanging around near the park with no apparent purpose. Because there was a township ordinance prohibiting loitering, Officer Phillips finally approached the group and informed them that they were being arrested for loitering. As one member of the group moved toward the marked patrol car, Officer Phillips observed him to remove something from his pocket and step on it. The item was crushed. Upon further investigation, Officer Phillips observed the remains of a glass pipe used to smoke crack cocaine. Officer Phillips then charged the defendant with possession of drug paraphernalia and tampering with evidence.

A pre-trial suppression motion resulted in the suppression of the remains of the glass crack pipe. The trial court concluded that Officer Phillips had failed to give notice to disperse prior to initiating the arrest, and, as such, violated the local ordinance. Therefore, the trial court suppressed all of the physical evidence, namely the shattered pieces of the glass crack pipe. As such, the Commonwealth could not proceed on the drug charges, as there was no evidence to present in support of those charges. The Commonwealth, however, decided to proceed on the charge relative to the tampering with evidence, and, after a trial, obtained a conviction. The defendant then appealed.

The defendant argued on appeal that he could not be convicted of tampering with evidence when the evidence itself had already been suppressed by the trial court, i.e., the remains of the glass crack pipe. On the other hand, the Commonwealth argued that it did not need to produce the destroyed evidence in order to demonstrate that a defendant has tampered with evidence. Indeed, there are many circumstances where an individual utterly destroys evidence so that there is nothing to present. For instance, while executing a search warrant, a police officer may see the defendant dumping items into the toilet, and, before the officer can stop the suspect, the toilet is flushed. In that scenario, there is no physical evidence whatsoever to support the charge for the very reason that the defendant destroyed the evidence. In this case, there was no physical evidence simply because it had been suppressed by the lower court, but the Commonwealth argued that the same rationale applied.

In order to prove that a defendant has tampered with evidence, the Commonwealth need only demonstrate: (1) the defendant was aware that an investigation was under way; (2) the defendant destroyed, altered, concealed or removed an item; and (3) the defendant did so with the intent to impair the availability of the item. In reviewing the facts, the Pennsylvania Superior Court concluded that defendant’s conviction was valid, despite the fact that the initial arrest itself was not lawful. The court concluded: “[Defendant’s] arrest – despite its illegality – acted neither to cloak his subsequent conduct from view nor to immunize him. It did not confer upon [defendant] the freedom to commit another offense, as though his conduct had become, by virtue of the illegal arrest, invisible to the arresting officer. We conclude that it was proper for the police officer to testify about the offense that he observed [defendant] initiate and complete in front of his eyes.”

The irony of this decision is readily apparent: if the defendant had not destroyed the pipe, all of the evidence would have been suppressed as a result of the illegal arrest and he would not have been prosecuted. In its decision, one justice dissented and asked the following rhetorical question: “How can [defendant] be convicted of destroying a “thing”, i.e., a pipe, to impair its availability in any investigation when the suppression court recognized the illegality of the investigation and arrest, and ordered that the evidence, including the pipe, seized as a result of the illegal arrest be suppressed?” The simple answer is that given by the majority: he committed a new and separate criminal act independent of the illegal arrest when he destroyed the pipe. But the illegal arrest caused the destruction! Well, we could run in circles all day – the moral of the story is clear: do not destroy evidence.

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’m very careful to avoid anything that might give me bursitis, which seems to run in my family. However, I’ve been suffering more lately in spite of my best efforts. Is this age-related?

Yes. Bursitis occurs more often as we age. As you are probably aware, repetitive motions are the worst things for people who tend to get bursitis. Other causes include joint trauma, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and infection.

Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa, which is a small sac filled with fluid. We each have about 160 of these bursae, which act as shock absorbers and grease for our joints. They are buffers between bones and overlapping muscles or between bones and tendons/skin. When bursae become inflamed, they can ache.

If you have bursitis, you may feel pain or stiffness in the elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, heel, big toe or other joints; stronger pain with movement or pressure; swelling, warmth and redness.

While repetitive motions are the usual culprits in bursitis, simple pressure can cause inflammation, too. A couple of examples: Pushing a vacuum cleaner can give you bursitis in your elbow. But sitting on a hard surface for a long time can inflame the bursa over a bone in your buttocks.

You can usually take care of bursitis yourself. Rest the affected joint. An ice pack will reduce swelling. To reduce pain and inflammation, take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or aspirin. It usually takes a week or so for bursitis to go away.

You should go to your doctor if the symptoms don’t subside after 10 days; you have a fever; there’s excessive swelling, redness, bruising or a rash in the affected area; pain is sharp, shooting or disabling; you have a medical condition or you take drugs that may increase your risk of an infection.

If you need professional care, your doctor may recommend physical therapy or a cortisone injection into the bursa to relieve inflammation.

Ultrasound treatment is often used by physical therapists and many other healthcare providers to treat bursitis. Ultrasound relieves pain and inflammation, speeds healing, reduces muscle spasms and increases range of motion.

Ultrasound makes high frequency sound waves. The sound waves vibrate tissues deep inside the injured area. This creates heat that draws more blood into the tissues. The tissues then respond to healing nutrients brought in by the blood.

Treatment is given with a sound head that is moved gently in strokes or circles over the injured area. The procedure may be performed with the sound head alone or with a topical anti-inflammatory drug or gel.

(Personal note: My wife, Gale, swears by ultrasound for treating her occasional bouts of bursitis.)

However, if the bursitis is caused by a bacterial infection of the bursa, it will have to be drained and you will need antibiotic treatment.

Here are some tips to help prevent bursitis:

If you must undertake a job that requires repetitive movements, take many breaks.

Avoid sustained pressure on a bursa. For example, don’t sit on hard chairs for long periods. If you have to do a job on your hands and knees, use knee cushions. Don’t rest your elbows on hard surfaces. Don’t wear ill-fitting shoes.

Exercise the muscles in the joints that tend to get bursitis. You can protect these joints by strengthening the muscles around them. Of course, don’t exercise until all bursitis symptoms are gone.

Prior to exercising you should always warm up and stretch your muscles.

If you have a question, please write to

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ASK The Family Doctor
By Dr. Richard Hacker

My last two columns were about taking your blood pressure, and what the numbers mean. This column is intended to explain why it’s so important to monitor and control blood pressure, and what can happen if you don’t.

Picturing a garden hose and a thirsty bed of flowers, you can imagine that if the water pressure in the hose is too low, the flowers won’t grow. Too much water, though, will flood them out and water at too high a pressure will destroy their delicate roots or petals. You have to give just the right amount of water at the rate volume, pressure, and rate. You control this by turning the spigot up or down, by pinching or releasing the hose, and by deciding how much water goes where and at what pressure. These are all identical to things your body does to control the blood pressure in your circulatory system, and they are all processes that can both cause problems and be treated medically.

When blood pressure is high, not only are tissues downstream affected, but the system itself is strained. Turn up the faucet too high and your hose can burst. Since blood vessels are alive, unlike a hose, they attempt to repair themselves when they’re strained to bursting, which results in stiffer, thicker blood vessel walls. These thickened blood vessel walls in turn cut down flow, and become brittle. They are more likely to accumulate sludge and build up plaque, which in turn can trigger a blood clot. Thus, exposure to elevated pressure causes the blood vessel to become narrower, brittle, and plugged. Meanwhile, the organs downstream get less blood flow and suffer their own damage. Fortunately, many of these processes can be controlled or even reversed with treatment, but still the best approach is prevention,

Elevated blood pressure alone is one of the leading causes of blindness, kidney failure and dialysis in the world, and it also directly contributes to heart attack risk. Your brain is a delicate flower that gets its petals blown off when blood pressure is too high, or starved when the pressure is too low. Elevated blood pressure (hypertension) is perhaps the greatest contributing factor to your risk of stroke, and will damage vision, hearing, thought, balance, memory and everything that makes you “you,” slowly and silently for as long as it remains out of control. Hypertension is truly the “silent killer” and the damage it does is seldom reversible by the time symptoms are noticed.

Blood pressure is controlled by turning down the spigot: we reduce the amount of water in the hose and the pressure that’s squirting into it. Diuretics reduce the amount of water in the system, beta blockers let the heart pump more gently. We can also relax blood vessel walls, reducing the “pinch” on the hose: again beta blockers are used for this, but there are also medicines called ACE inhibitors, which block a chemical that constricts blood vessels. People are often on a combination of medicines, but these three classes are the most commonly used: diuretics (“water pills”), beta blockers (their chemical names almost always end in “-olol” like propranolol or atenolol), and either ACE inhibitors (whose chemical names end in “-pril”) or ARB’s (which end in “-aar”).

Check your blood pressure pills’ names and I bet you’ll find at least one, or perhaps all three of these. The “A” in ACE and ARB, by the way, refer to “angiotensin”, a potent hormone that controls blood vessel constriction. It must be converted from an inactive to an active form to work on vessels. ACE inhibitors block the Conversion Enzyme while ARB’s block the receptors of angiotensin.

There are so many medicines out there for blood pressure, and so many possible combinations, that there really is no excuse for side effects. Meaning that you shouldn’t have any problems or difficulties in treating elevated blood pressure, with appropriate care and monitoring. It would be bad to treat an asymptomatic condition with medicines that cause symptoms, but it would also be bad to ignore an asymptomatic condition if it is subtly and constantly damaging your body and putting you at risk for catastrophic events. Fortunately, though, the damage high blood pressure does is slow, and you can approach treatment gently, over time, with the luxury of making small changes and small adjustments that are easy to live with. The biggest mistake is to ignore the problem and do nothing about it, because once the damage is done, it’s hard to reverse it.

Next week: answers to some questions I’ve received about peripheral artery disease and peripheral neuropathy. As always, 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

No Straight From Starrucca This Week

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