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Issue Home September 27, 2006 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Shame On You

Fred Baker II of South Montrose apparently had it in for our commissioner, Mrs. Kelly at the September 13 commissioners’ meeting and asked several questions that cannot and should not be answered; a tirade of a person who obviously has his own axe to grind and his eyes on the coming elections.

Some of the men (cronies) who attend the commissioners’ meetings take a few facts (out of context) and distort them as they please, and deliberately try to provoke our elected officials, maybe because they are women.

These men act like demented children, and fortunately the commissioners do not take (this) from kids. A few choice words were in order.

Our elected officials sitting in front of these men are vulnerable to every Tom Dick and Harry who have to vent at someone, seeking trouble because of their own personal agendas.

These tirades do not help our community or our citizens.

Shame on you.


Marion Dabulas

Susquehanna, PA

Clear The Air

It’s time for the administration at Barnes-Kasson to clear the air on what the financial situation is at the hospital. After attending several commissioners’ meetings, the report from our chairman has deteriorated into shouting matches and an attendee being told to shut up. The last words that a citizen should ever be told by an elected official is to shut up.

Quite simply, if the hospital administrator would tell the county what the problem is and what the cause is, then offer an immediate fix and a long-range fix, together with key dates for correcting the situation, it may satisfy the taxpayers’ anxiety. Under no circumstance should this continue as a political football and deteriorate the public perception of what our county is.


Tom Jurista

Silver Lake Township

What’s In A Name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.” – Shakespeare. In Romeo and Juliet, the writer argues the triviality of a name and to many people it may seem trivial; to others it is a specific identification and link to their very character. I am Fred Baker, III. I live in Auburn Township. My grandfather, Fred Baker, Sr., a well-respected resident of Auburn Township, sailor in World War II, carpenter, farmer, and Democratic Committeeman, raised two sons and four daughters and instilled in each a fear of God, love of family, patriotism and an abiding respect for the value of their good name. My father, who was raised on the farm, a soldier and pilot in Vietnam, twenty-five year employee of Procter & Gamble and Republican Committeeman in Springville Township, also raised two sons and four daughters and instilled the same values in us. I have learned that Mr. Amadio has been using my name when referring to my father. It is bad enough that he is attempting to shed a bad light upon my father and his credibility by what my father calls, and I believe to be, a blatant disregard for facts. Now, he has decided to do the same using my good name as well. Please inform that sorry excuse for a reporter that he is to cease and desist from using my name immediately.

There are some things about my father that Mr. Amadio should know. He retired at age forty-nine, serves as a member of the Honor Guard for deceased veterans, helps veterans by taking them to the VA without asking for anything in return, visits the Merli Veterans Center to cheer the residents, serves as a Fire Policeman for the Springville Fire Company, and donates time and money to such charitable causes as Special Olympics, Children’s Learning Center for Dyslexic Children, Kids Miracle Network, Child Identification Program (CHIP), and scholarships in the Elk Lake and Montrose schools. To help a vet once, he wrote to every Senator and several Congressman, at his own expense, until the assistance was given. I am not saying that he is faultless, and there are many other good qualities about him that, as his son, I am aware of. The point is, he gets things done and doesn’t sit on the sidelines making unfounded snide remarks about the character of others.

My father may well run for Commissioner next spring and I hope he does. He has not yet made any mention to me of intent to run. At least he is honest enough to own up to a mistake, fair enough to those who make mistakes and strong enough to make difficult decisions. How often do we find public servants with those qualities?


Fred Baker III

Auburn Twp.

Block Party A Huge Success

Thank you to all the people who worked so hard to organize the Washington Street Block Party, and all the people who came and enjoyed the party despite the rain.

A special thank you to all those who donated baskets for raffles, and baked goods.

Our first annual Block Party truly was a success, and we will see you all again next year!


Cindy Lee

Cindy Branning

Tammy Allen

Kellie McGuane

Fuel Program Warming Up

This letter goes out to our faithful community. You have always come through by supporting our local families in need. We all realize how tough this quickly approaching winter season can be, regarding the escalating costs of fuel, and the continuing burdens carried due to the flood.

Now is the time to think seriously about joining together and giving the “gift of a warm home to a struggling family down the street.

We have already been receiving daily phone calls for fuel assistance. These calls have come from the elderly, single parents with young children, and families dealing with medical and financial hardships.

With a chill in the air, many have begun heating their homes by turning on their kitchen stoves. Here’s a thought. The next time we turn up our thermostats, may it remind us that other people are living without heat in their homes.

Please join us by giving your tax-deductible gift to our Fuel Assistance Program. Please send donations to: Susquehanna County Interfaith, 17 Public Avenue, Montrose, PA 18801. Interfaith works with other local agencies to bring help to those in our county. Services are not duplicated.

Together we serve.


Susquehanna County Interfaith

Some Clarifications

I wish to clear up some misconceptions.

I am part of the lawsuit that Michael Giangrieco has filed on behalf of Vicki Drake, Miriam Page and myself, Margo Merritt.

I did not sign an exoneration form that the school drafted and wanted us to sign, and I did agree to collect the school bills. I filed a form that was notarized with the Prothonotary in Montrose, stating that I did not agree with the $.60 a bill that the school board voted on paying us. This amount cuts my pay from approximately $5,600 that I received last year to about $600 I will receive for collecting this year.

I cannot believe anyone, including the school board members, would be thrilled to do all the work that is required of the tax collectors and be paid only $600 a year! The only reason that I did agree to collect the school bills is that I cannot afford to lose my job as Great Bend Twp. tax collector.

As the law clearly states, we are supposed to collect for all three entities that we were elected to serve. I have had numerous people say to me that they cannot believe the school board has done this, and I do appreciate their concern. Please go one step further and let your school board members, in whatever district you are in, know that they need to reverse their decision, give us the pay we asked for, and try to get things back on track the best we can.


Margo Merritt,

Tax Collector

Great Bend Twp.

Just The Facts

As many of you are aware, the Blue Ridge School District is involved in ongoing litigation with some of the District tax collectors. Unfortunately, the factual reporting in the local media has not been accurately portraying the District’s position. As Solicitor for the District, I write this statement to help clarify the record and attempt to inform you as to the current status of this litigation as well as the position of the District.

On February 14, 2005, pursuant to applicable Pennsylvania law, the District School Board passed a resolution making the compensation rate for the elected tax collectors $0.60 per bill handled for their elected term (2006-2009).

After being elected to office, despite knowing that the tax compensation would be $0.60 per bill handled, on or about November 21, 2005, all of the elected tax collectors wrote a letter to the District requesting a legal document that would exonerate them from any and all responsibility for the collection of District school taxes. As stated in their letter, the tax collectors were not willing to collect the School District taxes at the new rate of reimbursement which was lawfully set by the District Board in February, 2005. Accordingly, at the tax collectors’ specific request, on February 13, 2006, the District entered into a resolution wherein five out of six elected tax collectors were exonerated from the collection of District School taxes. One of the elected tax collectors informed the District that she did not want an exoneration agreement and would collect the taxes.

Thereafter, on April 18, 2006, three of the elected tax collectors, Vicki Drake, Margo Merritt and Miriam Page, commenced a lawsuit against the District wherein they alleged that the District’s new tax compensation was arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable. The Plaintiffs sought to declare null and void the District resolution setting the tax compensation rate at $0.60 per bill handled and to restore the prior tax compensation rate. This matter is still pending before the Court.

However, during the course of that litigation, Ms. Drake and Ms. Page took the position that the exoneration agreement that the District created at their specific request should be considered null and void for various reasons. This forced the District to bring suit against Ms. Drake and Ms. Page to seek to compel them to perform their elected duties. The District did this only because Ms. Page and Ms. Drake considered the exoneration agreement to be null and void and to have no binding legal effect. The other tax collectors that entered into the exoneration agreements did not contest the validity of the exoneration agreement, so no action was taken against them. In short, the District was faced with a situation in which Ms. Drake and Ms. Page refused to perform their statutory duties, refused to accept the validity of the exoneration agreement and refused to relinquish control of their elected position. The District could not be in a situation wherein the tax bills would not be distributed.

After hearing arguments on August 30, 2006, Judge Vanston found in the District’s favor, and ordered that Ms. Drake and Ms. Page immediately commence collection of District School taxes.

In sum, the District was forced to take appropriate legal action, given the stated positions of the elected tax collectors. At all times the District has acted in complete accordance with the applicable law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and continues to look forward with working with all the District tax collectors.


Jonathan P. Riba,


Blue Ridge School District

Send In Your Ideas

Perhaps the average dairy farmer has missed the announcement made by the USDA. The USDA is asking interested parties to submit proposals (or ideas) to them regarding suggestions you have about pricing Class III and Class IV milk.

There is no one who falls into the category of “interested parties” more than you dairy farmers.

Your ideas must be submitted to the USDA by September 30. Almost all dairy farmers are totally dissatisfied and disgusted with the method that is currently being used to determine the value of raw milk at the farm level. Well, here is your chance.

Pro Ag and others will be making proposals to USDA to use the average cost of producing milk as the method to determine the dairy farmers’ price. But, we need your help! Please write to the USDA and inform them of your views. Time is of the essence!

Your comments don’t have to be written by some highfalutin’ economist. Simply tell the USDA that there has to be a new methodology used to determine the dairy farmers’ prices, and this formula must contain the dairy farmers’ cost of production.

Send your comments to: USDA/AMS/Dairy Programs, STOP 0213 – Room 2971, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-0231 or www.ams.usda.gov/dairy.

Remember, at the make allowance hearing held from January 24 through January 27, only seven or eight dairy farmers testified against increasing the make allowance. Four of them were members of Pro Ag.

There will be an upcoming hearing to consider the proposals to price Class III and Class IV milk differently. Other interested parties in the dairy industry, such as co-ops and dairy processors will have made and will be making their proposals.

It’s up to you dairy farmers to speak out on your own behalf. Your failure to contact the USDA will only insure that your milk prices will deteriorate all the more. The Chicago Mercantile prices started to climb, but now they have declined back to $1.24 per pound for cheese. This is unacceptable!

Remember, if you can increase the value of milk used for butter and cheese, then these increased prices will also increase the Class I price and your statistical price.

Please send your comments today. Don’t wait for the other guy to do it! You do it!

If the pricing methodology is not changed, then you can expect the same low prices you are receiving now to continue.

Show the USDA that you do care, and that you want some positive changes in milk pricing at the farm level. You still have time.

Pro Ag can be reached at (570) 833–5776.


Arden Tewksbury

Meshoppen, PA

An Open Letter

I am writing this letter on the fifth anniversary of 9/11.

I am once again reminded how our lives can be changed in the blink of an eye, and how short our time on earth actually is.

The Borough Council of Starrucca has forgotten the importance of a secure world. I am not talking only globally, but within the small confines of our homes. At this point in time, I am not sure that six members of borough council and the ex-mayor ever knew this. I have pointedly left Lou Gurske out of this, for obvious reasons.

We all should be able to live securely in our homes in America. We all don't.

I keep being reminded today of the terrorists that attacked the World Trade Center. The borough council of Starrucca is much like the terrorists. The council thinks by bullying and scare tactics that they can get what they want, much like the terrorists. They think that they are entitled to get what they want, much like the terrorists. And like the terrorists, they don't much care what happens to innocent people.

Elected officials should act better. They are elected to keep communities safe and secure. The borough council of Starrucca has never shown this. Quite frankly, when they were elected I'm sure the last thing on their minds was safety and security.

Municipal governments in all parts of the country should be reminded today that there are things that never should be forgotten. We never know from one day to the next what is going to happen to us and we should leave this earth knowing that we have done our best to keep each other safe and secure.

I'm not sure what is going to happened to my house in Starrucca. Whether the borough council decides to do the right thing and repair the retaining wall or not, that is going to be their decision, not mine. It's going to be their decision how they want to be remembered.

I will give you a bit of information that borough council may not have thought about, or cared about for that matter. Their misdeeds have been spread nationwide and to a small extent worldwide. I have an aunt and uncle living in Montrose , CO (they think the people on borough council are just plain stupid). I have an aunt that spends half her time in New York City and half her time in Florence, Italy (she can't believe that any elected officials have the power to destroy someone's life). I have a brother that lives in Portland, Oregon (who is just appalled by the actions of borough council). I have another brother who lives in Woodbury, NJ (who is now thinking of running for office in his town to make sure that nothing like this happens there). And another brother in Gouverneur, New York (who has gone out of this way to help me get out of Starrucca and to live a happy and safer life nearer to him). I have cousins, nieces, nephews all over the United States and Europe that are aware of this situation.

So, to the borough Council of Starrucca, your misdeeds are widespread. Your actions taken note of. You will not go down in history as good and caring people.

To Lou Gurske, borough council member, the only person on borough council that seems to have learned that there are responsibilities taken on by municipalities in order to keep their citizens safe and secure. To Lou - I thank you.

To the group of citizens in Starrucca that have fought so hard to get the borough council to rebuild the retaining wall - I thank you. You are why I moved to a small town. In a small town you look to your next door neighbors to help you keep safe and secure. In a small town that is everyone, because in a small town everyone is your next door neighbor. I have lived in every corner of the United States, and nowhere have I felt safer because of my next door neighbors.

On the other hand, I have never felt in so much danger because of my local government officials.

There are many other people who I hope are still fighting to get the retaining wall rebuilt and keep my house and the downtown area of Starrucca safe.

On this day I am moving on. I have settled into a home shared by my mother. My brother is only a short distance away. On this day I am leaving the fate of my beloved home in Starrucca in the hands of the borough council. They are the ones elected to keep me safe and secure. It's up to them to do the same for my house.


Renee B. Warden

Gouverneur, NY

Formerly of Starrucca

To All Who Love The US

I don’t give a tinker’s damn abut any convicted terrorist, but I do care a lot about our young men and women. I have two sons of service age. If their mother and I are called upon to sacrifice them to a policy determined by our elected officials, we have a right to know that they will have the opportunity to serve with honor; to be proud, if not necessarily happy, about their time in the military. We, and they, have a right to know that they will not be enrolled in torture school. Lurking around in the night at some off-shore black prison, drowning people is not part of the American military service. My sons should return, if at all, as soldiers, not demons. It is hard to believe that there is discussion on the matter.

Think about it. Everyone who reads this has relatives who came to this country to flee this kind of savagery.


Paul A. Kelly

Montrose, PA

No Easy Way Out

I must report that I eagerly await my copy of the Susquehanna County Transcript, just so that I can leap to the “Letters to the Editor” to see what the latest is from Mr. Scroggins of New Milford! Mr. Scroggins writes like a person of some education and his writing “flows,” showing, to me at least, that he is very knowledgeable in his subjects, which sadly, appear to be Bush bashing, Jew baiting, and hate mongering! His knowledge of all the facts and figures on military hardware and how they are being utilized in the Middle East and other regions are awesome! However, I do wonder if any of these figures are verifiable? As Mark Twain once said, “There are statistics and then there are just damn lies!” May I also suggest that you afford Mr. Scroggins the opportunity to have his own column in your paper? After all, you allowed him 11 3/4 inches of a column on a 17-inch page, while a runaway truck striking an occupied vehicle, driving same over a wall on Main Street was worth 4 1/2 inches of a column.

I suppose this letter will draw another rebuke from you, stating that, once again I am “smearing the Baker blood.” It appears that if one of your readers does not agree with your politics and policies, they are attacked in your reply! So take your best shot!

One other thought: if, and I say if, the United States were to withdraw now from the Middle East, as Mr. Scroggins suggests, the consequences of this action would ripple down for decades! This would not endear us to these people, only embolden them. Our children and our children’s children would pay for this blunder their whole lives. Those people with whom our military are now engaged, worldwide, are not interested in getting the Americans out of the Middle East. No, they want to kill us, every last one of us, our children, our wives and friends; anyone who is an “unbeleiver” in their view, and they will do so in the most gruesome way possible, just as they do now, to draw attention to themselves and their “Holy War”! So wake up, people! We are at war and have been for many decades and there is no easy way out!

My apologies for “waxing expansive,” but I do feel strongly about my country, my nation and its future!


Eugene P. Baker

Hornell, NY

Proud To Be A Jew

With war raging in the Middle East, global terror reaching new heights, and global anti-Semitism on the rise, I thought it might be a good time to reflect on why I'm proud, more than ever, to be a Jew.

I'm proud to be a Jew because Jews don't kidnap.

I'm proud to be a Jew because Jewish education does not consist of teaching martyrdom and hatred.

I'm proud to be a Jew because my religious leaders and religious services don't whip me into a frenzy to kill others.

I'm proud to be a Jew because in the middle of a war, Jews still demonstrate and protest to protect the rights of the Arab-Israeli minority to voice their opposition to the war.

I'm proud to be a Jew because even when Israel is wrongly and falsely accused of killing innocent civilians, Jewish leaders apologize immediately for any loss of life - instead of celebrating these deaths by passing out candy and shooting celebratory gunshots into the air.

When the world accuses Israel of massacre in Jenin; when the world accuses Israel of bombing civilians on a Gaza beach; when the world accuses Israel of shooting a child cowering against a wall; when the world accuses Israel of bombing a Lebanese apartment building killing 56 civilians; when all of these accusations turn out to be totally false; to be vicious, anti -Semitic lies; when all along I knew in my heart that these stories just could not be true, and I'm later proven to be right, then I'm proud to be a Jew.

I'm proud to be a Jew because the Israeli Army is so, so good, that when it takes more than four weeks to wipe out a sophisticated enemy who has prepared six years for this war, the world criticizes the IDF for not getting the job done quickly.

I'm proud to be a Jew when my army, the Israeli army, drops leaflets and makes calls to Lebanese citizens on their cell phones to warn them to evacuate before bombing begins.

I'm proud to be a Jew when the democracies of the world talk about fighting the war on terror, but only Israel is left alone to bear the burden of eradicating Hezbollah, the proxy army of Iran and Syria.

I'm proud to be a Jew when entire Israeli towns in the north-Nahariya, Kiryat Shimona, Safed, are reduced to ghost towns due to the constant shelling, and yet not one looter has appeared to empty out the property of others.

When Israel must defend its very right to exist, when it must fight a well-armed enemy representing Islamic fascists, as President Bush has called them, when Israel must conduct this war on terror with its hands tied behind its back so as not to take an innocent life lest the media have something true to report, that it must fight this war of survival under the cloud of "disproportionality", as if thousands of Katusha rockets falling on its citizenry is somehow "proportionate"- when Israel simultaneously pushes back these threats both in the North and in the South under the added pressure of a biased media, then I'm proud to be a Jew.

I'm proud to be a Jew when the Edinburgh Scottish film festival tells an Israeli director to stay home although his film is being screened, and the director says "No, I'm coming."

I'm proud to be a Jew because Mel Gibson is not a Jew.

I'm proud to be a Jew when the UN's Human Rights Commission consists of countries like Syria, Libya and Iran and Israel is not asked to join.

I'm proud to be a Jew when magician David Blaine announces his trip to Israel next week to entertain the children living in bomb shelters and tells the press he's doing it to encourage other performers to stand up for Israel and its right to defend itself.

I'm proud to be a Jew when a Russian/Israeli businessman single-handedly creates not one but two tent cities on the beach to house Israelis fleeing the North and provides shelter, bedding, food and drink, showers and bathrooms - all done without red tape in a matter of 24 hours - to house over 6,000 Israelis, one of whom described it as a "poor man's Club Med."

I am proud to be a Jew when Israelis on the left and on the right support the government's decision to fight; when 97% of the country is united in its own defense; when Israelis from Jerusalem give shelter to families from Haifa; when food from the Negev is donated to feed soldiers at the front; when the IDF deploys soldiers on special assignments to deliver diapers to shelters and to entertain and calm the frightened children.

I'm proud to be a Jew when the three weeks preceding Tisha B'Av reminds us of the terrible things we have endured as a people and as a nation, and yet immediately thereafter, Hashem offers us consolation, redemption and hope, plus the promise that we shall defeat our enemies, that we shall endure, that Am Yisrael Chai.

And I am proud to be a Jew because when we proclaim that God is on our side, we have the book to prove it.


Alan Aronowitz

New Milford, PA

Stay The Course, And Cut And Run

Which is it to be: Stay the course until the job is done, or cut and run? Are we to keep plugging away in Iraq, or pull out with our tail between our legs? There is an answer, a way to bring both the hawks and doves together without having the feathers fly. Why not do both? Yes, both. Stay the course until the job is done, and cut and run. Here's how.

First, we must admit that our occupation in Iraq has been a smashing success. We have achieved all of our objectives. Just look at our victories.

Success No. 1. We deposed an evil tyrant who wanted to conquer the world, or at least most of it. Saddam Hussein has been moved from penthouse to jail house. We no longer live in dread of an invasion by the Iraqi army. The world is safe.

Success No. 2. We stormed into Iraq to find the WMD that U.N. inspectors failed to find after three years of searching. We didn't find them either, but now we know for certain that they weren't there, even if they never were. Maybe we were looking in the wrong place. If it was WMD that were wanted, then Israel was the place to have an egg hunt. They have plenty of them. But not Iraq.

Success No. 3. A democratic government was installed last May. True, the government can't govern. They don't even have the most basic right, the freedom to go where they want. Truth be told, they dare not peer out from behind the heavily fortified U.S. Green Zone.

But that's where cynics miss the point. They would point out that during the democratic government's tenure the average number of attacks has increased to 800 per week. Daily causalities are usually more than 100; disorder and mayhem are on the rise. But that's not the point. It's democratic violence, not totalitarian violence.

Thomas Jefferson said that "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." Perhaps the blood of ordinary citizens will serve as well. As of September 5, 46,000 Iraqis have "watered" this stunted tree.

Success No. 4. The Shiite majority is no longer suppressed by the Sunni minority. They are now free to kill each other. That's understandable – all that pent up anger. In time they will sort it out as they are doing even now by fleeing from each other. Thus far 160,000 Iraqis have abandoned homes and possessions for safety. Freedom's not cheap.

And what of Iraq's bastard sons, the six million Kurds? They are no friend of the Sunnis, who gassed them, or the Shiites with whom they have little religious truck. Now they can have now their say, too. Beginning this month, September, the Kurds hauled down the Iraqi flag and ran up their own colors.

Is this a sign that the nation is descending into the throes of civil war? No, indeed. It's growing pains according to President Bush, or birth pangs according to Secretary Rice. It's what emerging democracies go through on their way to a democratic consumer utopianism. Before you know it, shopping malls will spring up, McDonalds and Wall-Marts will dot the landscape. It will be a full-blown democracy.

Now that all of our objectives have been achieved, it's time to cut, er, to have a victory parade on our way out. Of course the parade route will have to be carefully monitored for those improvised roadside explosives, and reconnaissance patrols deployed to ferret out ambushes; some air cover wouldn't hurt.

All that's the easy part. The hard part is convincing the President of his successes. Good news is often greeted with skepticism, even disbelief. Like the initial denial of good fortune or "can't bes" expressed when a person wins Power Ball or inherits a million dollars from an unknown relative.

We went to Afghanistan, trashed the Taliban and achieved "total victory." In Lebanon we gave Hezbollah a good lickin' and won a "huge victory." And in Iraq we took down Saddam's stature and declared "Mission Accomplished."

These were the slogans the President was trying to sell to us. Now if we could only get him to believe his own sound bytes, then maybe this time at least we could bring our boys home for Christmas. A hollow hope? Without doubt. But it is at least a hope.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

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