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Issue Home October 4, 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

SUSQUEHANNA: Susquehanna is booming now and no one idle. That is cheering news for once. The new hardware plant employs about fifty hands on construction, and pay as high as $2 per day for laborers, and the work on the round house is doing the same, and if a party wants a small job done around town, it is most impossible to get a man to do it. Let the good work go on.

SILVER LAKE: Many in this locality find their potatoes not worth digging and potatoes are selling here at 80 cents a bushel and hard to get at any price, while they are only bringing 35 cents in Binghamton.

EAST RUSH: Miss Sarah M. Bedell has gone to Morris county, N.J., where she takes up a position as teacher.

AUBURN HIGH SCHOOL NOTES: The Auburn twp. High School opened its third week of work Oct. 1, with an attendance of 91, distributed as follows: 28 in the primary room; 25 in the intermediate, and 38 in the high school. Sept 29, the neighbors from near and far gathered to move the old school building and do the grading around the new building. A good lot of work was accomplished and the rest is to be done Oct. 6. Anyone having a second hand organ, in good condition, for sale, will confer a favor by writing to F. H. Taylor, giving description and price as an organ is wanted for the school.

SOUTH GIBSON: Wedding bells have been ringing here of late. Mr. Smith, of Uniondale, and Miss Fay Bartholomew, of this place, were recently married in Binghamton, N.Y. On Sept. 25, Homer Ressiguie, of this place, and Miss Hazel Bennett, of Lenoxville, were married at the M.E. parsonage in Gibson, by Rev. George Beers. These young people all start out on the sea of matrimony with the best wishes of hosts of friends.

SPRINGVILLE: Eugene States, former principal of the Springville High School, entered Yale University on Sept. 27, as a student in the Department of Medicine.

MONTROSE: J. A. VanFleet, of Marshall, Minn., who is visiting his sister, Mrs. Herbert Blanding, in New Milford, for a few weeks, called on friends in Montrose this week. Mr. VanFleet was for a number of years employed as a printer in the office of the Montrose Spectator and on the Susquehanna Register, edited by the late J. W. Chapman. He went west nearly 40 years ago, making his first home in the primitive sod cabin, so common at that period. Although 84 years of age he appears to be not over 65, this being even more remarkable when it is known that 30 years ago he sustained a fall from a carriage, which nearly dislocated his neck. He was months recovering from the accident, which left him in a condition necessitating his retirement from the printing business. Mr. VanFleet is a most agreeable man, taking a lively interest in current happenings and present day advancements, while it is also a pleasure to listen to his recountings of the town’s earlier days, during the Searle stage coaching period, and of the many incidents connected with those whom we now regard as pioneer residents. This is his third trip east during his 40 years’ absence, and he is passing the time enjoyably visiting relatives, friends and scenes associated with his younger days.

ELKDALE: Two of our townsmen, Mr. T. J. Owens and Mr. David Bowen, received their Naturalization Papers last week from Scranton.

LAWSVILLE: Mrs. Phoebe A. Law, of Ithaca, N.Y., but who was for many years a resident of this place, died at Ithaca, Sept. 6th, aged 87 years.

BROOKLYN: While out hunting early Monday morning, E.F. Ely, Brooklyn’s popular merchant, was accidentally shot by George Benjamin of New Milford, with whom he was out gunning. Sixteen shot entered his side and hand, but fortunately struck no vital organs and after having the wounds dressed, was able to be about the store. A close call.

NEW MILFORD: The Mahon Orchestra will give a dance at New Milford Town Hall, the evening of Oct. 11. AND: The following young people are attending the East Stroudsburg State Normal school: Miss Lucia VanCott, Lawrence and Ellery Aldrich, and Herbert Hand.

JACKSON: E. S. Stack has 10 Chester white sows, which recently gave birth to 126 squealers. The little ones are ready for adoption, at $1.50 each.

EAST GREAT BEND: A bee tree was found and cut on Henry Hendrickson’s farm, which afforded about 200 pounds of honey. Henry thinks that amount of sweetness will fix his pancakes until summer comes.

MESHOPPEN: Mr. and Mrs. C. M. Pneuman celebrated their golden wedding on Monday, Sept. 17--Fifty years ago that date Mr. Pneuman and Miss Harriet Overfield were married at Springville by the late Rev. George Langdon. They immediately removed to Meshoppen, where they have since resided.

HEART LAKE: The Mountain Ice Co. finished shipping ice from this place Friday last.

THOMPSON: Our three blacksmiths attended the blacksmith’s convention at Hop Bottom last Saturday. We hear the convention nominated higher prices for horseshoeing, which will carry in most shops.

UNIONDALE: Peter Broat was pleasantly surprised last week by four of his brothers coming to see him. They had not all been together before in years. Two came from Michigan, one from Bangor, and one from Hancock, N.Y. The eldest is 83 and none of them are under 70 years.

MIDDLETOWN: The baseball club crossed bats with the Friendsville club on Sunday, the 29th, the same old story-- 4 to 5 in favor of Friendsville.

HARFORD: Operations have commenced on the new M. E. parsonage.

FRANKLIN: Chicken thieves are operating in this town now. Wait until we catch some of them and it will not be so much fun.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay


The squeaky wheel remains silent


At a July 2006 meeting of the Susquehanna County Board of Commissioners, Commissioner Jeff Loomis began passing out copies of a letter that Peoples National Bank had written to the commissioners on July 17. The letter advised the county that the loan payment for the Barnes-Kasson Hospital Project was past due and that the last payment was made on June 30 for the May 2006 payment.

The bank notified the county because the county co-signed a loan for Barnes-Kasson Hospital so the facility would qualify for a low interest rate. One would assume that, because of its contents, the letter was to be shared only with the county commissioners and perhaps the county solicitor.

Earlier when the meeting was going on, Jeff said the letter was public information and anyone can obtain a copy of it at the county courthouse. Probably, but to have a county commissioner acting like a carnival barker and handing out such a personal letter to all comers is one of the most immature acts I have ever witnessed from an elected official.

So much for the intro, now let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

Commissioner Jeff Loomis did not hand out those letters because he felt obligated to the taxpayers of our county. And he did not hand them out because his conscience compelled him to reveal the financial problems at Barnes-Kasson Hospital. And he did not hand them out because he wanted everyone to see the bank’s nifty stationery.

Loomis passed the letter around because he seized what appealed to him as an opportunity to discredit Commissioner Kelly, who represents the county on the hospital’s Board of Directors. Remember the election results of 2003? Roberta Kelly was the top vote getter for county commissioner and by virtue of this accomplishment, she qualified for chair of the Board of Commissioners. Commissioner Loomis may have nominated her for the position because he had no choice, but you can bet the ranch he was not enjoying the moment.

They are both up for reelection in 2007 and Jeff would like to make certain that Commissioner Kelly does not draw more votes than him two elections in a row. Frankly, the way he has been behaving during this term in office, it is questionable whether or not he can muster up enough votes to make it through the Spring Primary Election.

Now let’s turn back the clock a bit to February, 2005. For reasons that no one can explain, an oil heating tank in the basement of the pharmacy at the Endless Mountains Health Systems on Grow Avenue in Montrose tipped, resulting in an oil spill on the dirt floor in that basement.

“We immediately notified the local Emergency Management Agency,” Rex Catlin, administrator at the hospital, told me last week. “We also contacted the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). DEP told us to bring in a hydrogeologist which we did.” (Author’s note: A hydrogeologist is a person who studies the ways that groundwater moves through the soil and rock of the earth. A similar profession, a hydrologist, is someone who studies surface water.)

Catlin said the first thing Endless Mountains Health Systems did was soil remediation. (Author’s note: Remediation is the cleanup of a site to levels determined to be health-protective for its intended use.) He said the hospital had to take down a porch and a roof above it to allow digging equipment to remove the soiled dirt and replace it with fresh dirt. A new porch and roof have since replaced the ones that were razed.

At the present time, Endless Mountains Health Systems is awaiting word on when a well-drilling firm can come in and install monitoring wells as directed by DEP. There is no oil smell on the site of Endless Mountains Health Systems and none of the oil that was spilled made its way to any public water supply.

So why am I telling you this. My friends, in case you forgot, before Barnes-Kasson requested and received county support for its building program, Endless Mountains Health Systems was extended the same courtesy by the county. As a result, Commissioner Kelly serves on the board of Barnes-Kasson, and Commissioner Loomis serves on the board of Endless Mountains Health Systems.

Since February, 2005, I might have missed one, perhaps two meetings of the Susquehanna County Board of Commissioners. To this date, I have never heard Commissioner Loomis utter a single word about the incident at Endless Mountains Health Systems. But he did not hesitate for a moment to criticize Commissioner Kelly because she neglected to tell the world that Barnes-Kasson Hospital was delinquent on its loan payments. I can assure you she was on top of the problem and, working behind the scenes, she put the legal machinery into place to investigate and monitor Barnes-Kasson’s financial status (see related article elsewhere in this paper).

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

In response to a column that I did several weeks ago involving the arrest of Dog the Bounty Hunter, I received an irate letter from a local reader. The reader made clear that Dog should be considered a hero for his apprehension of the serial rapist, and that his arrest was the result of a jealous law enforcement community. The reader contended that law enforcement wanted to bring Dog down because he was arresting people that the police could not capture and, as such, Dog was embarrassing the police not only in the context of the serial rapist, but in his weekly television series. While I had predicted that Dog would be praised for his actions in capturing the serial rapist, albeit illegally, I am astounded that so many persons in the general public believe that Dog has been arrested as a result of a government conspiracy to silence him.

First, it is important to remember that Dog, or any bounty hunter for that matter, does not investigate or solve crimes. A bounty hunter is not a police officer. The people that bounty hunters apprehend have already been arrested, and, importantly, the only reason that they are on the streets is that the bounty hunter, or his employer, posted the bail so that the accused could be released from jail. In other words, the police have already investigated the case, made the arrest, and the defendant was incarcerated pending his trial. The defendant made bail through a bail bond process. It seems not only unfair, but illogical, to suggest that the police are upset with Dog for catching criminals that the police have already “caught.”

For instance, on his weekly television show, Dog chases down fugitives for whom his company has written bail bonds. By posting the bail bond, Dog becomes responsible for the defendant’s appearance for court proceedings, and, when a defendant fails to appear, then Dog is on the hook to pay the court the full amount of the bail. If you have ever watched Dog’s television show, there are times that this point is quite clear, and Dog’s motivation for capturing the absconding fugitive has a strong financial incentive – he either apprehends the fugitive or he loses his money. In short, Dog does not arrest suspects and solve crimes – Dog apprehends bail jumpers and fugitives in order to protect his own financial interests.

If you have ever watched Dog’s television show, there is another striking aspect of the show that demonstrates the financial interest that motivates bounty hunting. When Dog and his bounty hunters apprehend a fugitive, they always conduct a search of the fugitive to determine whether the fugitive has any weapons or contraband. This is good procedure for a police officer or a bounty hunter. When Dog finds drug paraphernalia, such a crack pipe, he is often seen on camera destroying the pipe by throwing it to the ground and smashing it to pieces. If Dog were a police officer, the glass crack pipe would be bagged as evidence and new criminal charges would be filed. While Dog does not have the authority to file new criminal charges, the question remains as to why Dog does not turn the contraband over to law enforcement so that appropriate criminal charges may be filed? The answer is not only simple, but financial as well. A specific condition of any bail bond requires that a defendant refrain from committing any new criminal conduct. If Dog turns a fugitive into the authorities, and the authorities discovered the contraband, then the fugitive would be charged with new criminal charges. The new criminal charges would immediately place Dog’s bail bond at jeopardy – Dog was acting as a surety to assure that the defendant would not only appear, but that he would obey the law while released on bail. To protect his own financial security, Dog destroys the evidence of the criminal conduct so that the fugitive is never charged. There is a strong argument that Dog has committed a criminal act himself by destroying the evidence, i.e., tampering with evidence. If law enforcement had a conspiracy to “bring down” Dog Chapman, then Dog himself has provided plenty of ammunition in the course of his weekly television series where he can be seen destroying evidence of criminal behavior. Of course, this has never happened because Dog and the law enforcement community in Hawaii have a good relationship.

In conclusion, the arrest of Duane Chapman was not the result of any vast law enforcement conspiracy to muzzle the Dog. Ironically, Dog was kenneled for violating the same rules that he enforces – he violated the terms of his bail bond in Mexico by not appearing for his court proceeding. The irony is palpable – and frankly lost by so many people who have a low opinion of the law enforcement community, especially when compared to the esteem they give to a television bounty hunter.

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 suffer from hemorrhoids and I suspect a lot of other people do, too, because I see a lot of remedies in drug stores. But this is not a topic you bring up at parties. How many people have hemorrhoids, anyway?

By the age of 50, about half of the population – both men and women – have hemorrhoids. However, not everyone suffers from the nasty symptoms hemorrhoids can inflict.

Hemorrhoids are inflamed and swollen veins around the anus (external) or in the lower rectum (internal). Sometimes referred to as “piles,” hemorrhoids are caused by straining when defecating, aging, pregnancy, sitting or standing for a long time, obesity and heavy lifting. Hemorrhoids can run in families.

Blood may pool in an external hemorrhoid and form a clot that causes pain. Internal hemorrhoids don’t usually hurt because surrounding membranes don’t contain pain-sensitive nerve fibers. However, internal hemorrhoids tend to bleed. Sometimes, an internal hemorrhoid will protrude out of the anal opening, causing discomfort.

Hemorrhoids usually are not a serious problem. Hemorrhoid symptoms, which can also include burning and itching, will go away within a few days. However, if you are bleeding from the anus, you must go to a doctor to have to it checked. This can be a symptom of cancer.

You can treat the symptoms of hemorrhoids yourself with over-the-counter medications that come in ointments and suppositories. Pads soaked with witch hazel help. And there are topical anti-inflammatory agents containing hydrocortisone. Warm water from a bath, bidet or removable shower head works, too. In addition, avoid dry toilet paper. Instead, use moist towelettes after a bowel movement.

A doctor can remove or shrink hemorrhoids. These techniques include: rubber-banding that cuts off circulation and makes the hemorrhoid atrophy, an injection of a chemical that shrinks the hemorrhoid, burning hemorrhoidal tissue with an infrared device, and hemorrhoidectomy – surgical removal.

Avoiding constipation is critical to preventing hemorrhoids. Doctors recommend increasing fiber and fluids in your diet to develop softer stools that don’t lead to straining. So, it’s important to eat whole grains, vegetables and fruit. Taking a fiber supplement each day helps, too. Drink liquids. Exercise.

A few other pointers. If you have to sit or stand for a long time, take breaks often; don't sit on doughnut cushions because they can increase the pressure on the veins in the anus; don't hold your breath when trying to defecate, this creates greater pressure in the veins in the lower rectum; go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the need, waiting can make your stool dry and harder to void; avoid laxatives that can lead to diarrhea; keep the anal area clean; apply ice packs or cold compresses on the anus to relieve swelling; over-the-counter pain-relievers such as acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen can relieve discomfort.

If you have a question, please write to


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ASK The Family Doctor
By Dr. Richard Hacker

I would like you to write about shingles. It is my understanding that if you had chicken pox at some time in your life that you could develop shingles. But there are some of us seniors (I am 71) who don't know if they had chicken pox. Shingles can be very painful and it does affect the older people. Is there a test that could determine if you are susceptible or not? (Irma)

Shingles is a painful rash that erupts in a narrow band of skin. This can occur anywhere on the body, and because the rash only appears in a narrow band, it has been called “shingles,” which is a word derived from French meaning “narrow band.”

When a virus infection from the spinal cord or brain travels down the sensory nerves to a specific area of skin, the symptoms are limited to that area. These areas are called “dermatomes” (which translates as “skin cuts”) and describes how areas of the body are “cut” into separate nerve circuits.

The virus that causes shingles is the varicella-zoster virus, which is responsible for both varicella (chicken pox) and shingles (zoster).

Varicella-zoster (VZ) is a DNA virus that belongs to the family of herpes viruses, and what all of these viruses have in common is the ability to “hide out” in nerve cells where they are safe from your immune system, then periodically reactivate themselves and cause problems. Herpes simplex has been well-publicized as a sexually transmitted disease, but herpes viruses can also cause common “cold sores” and “fever blisters” as well as the diseases chickenpox, shingles, and even infectious mononucleosis (“mono”).

Shingles, or zoster, represents a reactivation of the VZ virus from within the nerves of the brain or spinal cord. Nobody knows exactly what triggers this reactivation, but it is clear that any type of stress to the system allows the virus to grow, and then travel down the nerve to the skin. In fact, the word “herpes” is from the Greek “to boil” and what herpes simplex and herpes zoster viruses have in common is a painful, red, blistering rash that seems to boil up from under the skin and cause an intense eruption. As you might expect from an infection in a nerve, and one named for boiling skin, the condition is extremely painful. If left untreated, the nerve can be permanently damaged and cause a chronic pain syndrome called “herpetic neuralgia”.

Zoster, or shingles, can only occur in somebody who was previously infected with VZ, often decades earlier. The primary infection of VZ, the first time it gets into the body, is always chickenpox. (That is, if there are any symptoms at all – the vast majority of adults have antibodies to the virus, indicating prior infection, but cannot recall ever having chicken pox). You can’t “catch” shingles from chicken pox, but you can transmit chickenpox from shingles. Confusing? Not really – this first time a person’s body sees the virus, they get chicken pox, but you can only get shingles if you previously HAD chicken pox. When the skin rash is active and fluid is draining from the blisters, the virus is released, and somebody exposed to that virus either already has antibodies to it (from prior exposure) or has no protection at all, and gets the “primary” infection, which is chicken pox.

There is no test to prove if you are susceptible to shingles. You can test for antibodies (immunity) to the VZ virus by having a blood test, but all this tells us is that you have (or have not) ever been exposed to the virus. Again, most people have antibodies, even if they don’t recall having had chicken pox as a child. Some things are known to heighten the risk of virus reactivation, like fevers, major illness, poor nutrition, intense stress, and anything that suppresses or weakens the immune system.

With shingles, there is usually a cluster of symptoms before the rash erupts, as the virus is traveling down the nerve to the skin. The symptoms include painful tingling or burning in a narrow area of the body, and it can be very intense. Nearly every doctor can remember having a patient who was thought to have a kidney stone, pneumonia, heart attack, appendicitis, or some other dire problem manifested as excruciating pain, which ultimately turned out to be Zoster. The rash erupts, and the mystery is solved.

Nowadays, we have very powerful medicines to stop shingles in its tracks. Obviously the medicines are most effective if started early in the process. People who have had the condition before recognize the tell-tale signs and start the medications early. Those who have not had it before should come to the doctor as soon as they see a rash, especially if it is a red, blistering, painful rash in an area that was oddly sore or tingly within the last few days.

Shingles can occur at any age, although it is most common among the elderly because of their reduced immunity and weakened resistance to infections. Children and adolescents will get chicken pox and younger adults typically require much greater physiologic stresses to weaken their immunity to the point where the virus can reactivate. While there is no one test to predict your risk of developing shingles, there are ways to assess your overall nutritional status, health, and resistance to infection. If you have had shingles before, or think you are at high risk for developing it, you should speak with your doctor about appropriate testing and about having medications on hand should the condition develop. Again, the earlier it is recognized and treated, the more effective the treatment is, and the lower the risk of complications.

As always, if you have questions about health issues or medicine, you can write to me at, or care of the Susquehanna County Transcript. To schedule an appointment with me at the Great Bend/Hallstead Health Center, please call (570) 879-5249.


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Straight From Starrucca
By Margaret M. Dickey

Hungry folk, please note that there will be a luncheon served at the Baptist Church social rooms Thursday, October 12 at noon. Donations only.

On Wednesday, October 17 at 7 p.m. all are invited to a tea party at the Starrucca Baptist Church social room. Chef Debbie McNamee will speak and demonstrate the art of brewing tea. Various teas and desserts will be served. Bring your best guy or gal and a teacup. Games will be played – prizes to win – a great time for all. Call for reservations and more information to Mary Debalko at 727–4747.

Thirteen members attended the Spirited Seniors of Starrucca last Wednesday to hear “Bud” Kaiser give an illustrated talk on the 1893 Chicago’s World Fair or Exposition. An interesting item about the Ferris Wheel: named after Mr. Ferris, who invented it, it was huge, and each seat held a carload of people.

Next week will be my last column. I will have passed my 90th birthday and have been writing this column for almost twenty years. I have enjoyed writing it, but the time comes when you have to give up certain things that are critical to one’s well-being and I have arrived at that point.


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