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Letters to the Editor Policy

We Miss You

To the flooded businesses of Hallstead and Great Bend: we want you back. We miss you. We don’ t want to drive to Binghamton for a video, nor do we want to dine in Scranton. We want to dine out here, in this area, not there.

Congratulations to Rob’s Market, Peoples Bank and others who are back. For every business struggling to recover: hang in there, we need you.


Harry and Celeste Cramer

Great Bend, PA

How Will They Do It?

Since the Blue Ridge School District cancelled their September 25 meeting I was unable to ask how they intend to address the following from the applicable statutes:

72 P.S. § 5511.10 Discounts; penalties; notice (Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes)

"All taxpayers subject to the payment of taxes, assessed by any taxing district, shall be entitled to a discount of at least two per centum from the amount of such tax upon making payment of the whole amount thereof within two months after the date of the tax notice. All taxpayers, who shall fail to make payment of any such taxes charged against them for four months after the date of the tax notice, shall be charged a penalty of up to ten per centum which penalty shall be added to the taxes by the tax collector and be collected by him."

72 P.S. § 5511.13 Collectors required to be in attendance (Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes)

"The tax collector shall in person, or by some person duly authorized, be in attendance for the purpose of receiving and receipting for taxes on at least three days of each week during the last two weeks of the period or periods during which discounts are allowed, at his residence or some other appropriate place, to be designated by him in the tax notice."

The school tax bills state the discount period ends October 31, 2006, which is not two months from postmarks.


Catherine R. Benedict

Blue Ridge School District Taxpayer

Do We Need Them?

I would like to know, do we want someone like Commissioner Kelly; when asked a question by Fred Baker, that she would tell him to shut up? Kelly’s job is to take the heat or get out of the kitchen, not to act like a small child, and tell him he is a commissioner “wanna-be.”

Are we putting that kind of people in? We sure cannot be proud of this kind of act on Kelly’s part.

Thank God for people like Fred Baker, Jim Jennings and Tom Jurista. They ask questions to the commissioners for the good of the county. They don’t do it to just hear themselves talk.

Do we need Jeff Loomis? He is so sure of himself that when he talks about the occupation tax, he thinks it should continue until he says, “Right, Ellen!” Ellen O’Malley, County Chief Assessor, took Loomis down by saying, “I’m not in favor of continuing the occupation tax.” Jim Jennings has been after this tax to stop for a long time. What’s the problem? It’s no good, stop it now, instead of putting it on the back of the stove all the time and deal with it.

Do we want Mr. Lee Smith if he is going to run for commissioner again? He was the commissioner when part of Montrose history was taken down at night, the Colonial Hall. People got up the next morning and the Colonial Hall was gone.

And Cal Dean, he rode on others’ coattails when he was a commissioner, in my opinion.

Are we putting people in office because of who we know? We should put people in office that care what happens in Susquehanna County and work for the good of the people.


Shirley Miller

Hop Bottom, PA

Attend a Meeting

Madam Dabulas has recently made some biased and discriminatory statements that beg for a response. But first, a correction, I am from Springville Township, not South Montrose.

The only questions that I was allowed to ask at the September 13 commissioners’ meeting were, and I paraphrase, “Have you or a county representative been attending the Barnes-Kasson Board of Directors’ meetings or the Finance Board meetings in accordance with the contract?” “Are you aware that…?” “What steps are being taken to correct…?” Madam Dabulas states, ”Questions that cannot and should not be answered.”

As a citizen of the county and a taxpayer, I have a right and duty to question actions by our commissioners if those actions have a deleterious effect on the finances of the county. Commissioners Kelly and Warren signed the contract guaranteeing the loan of Barnes-Kasson. The facts that the employees have not received an across-the-board raise in years, the hospital made $17,911.00 less from 2003 to 2004 while the Executive Director received a $21,900.00 pay and benefit increase (from Forms 990), and seven family members of the Executive Director are on the payroll, should have been red flags against the agreement prior to signing. After it was signed, the loan was in default three times before the commissioners were informed, and then by the bank. Commissioner Kelly is the liaison and either she or someone appointed by the county should have been sitting on the Board of Directors and Finance Board, in accordance with the contract. Had this been done, the defaults would not, in all likelihood, have been a surprise nor would there likely to have been three. Furthermore, since this issue was brought to the attention of the public, the management has severely cut the benefits of the employees, and there are reports of other drastic measures being taken to the detriment of the hospital and staff. These are serious concerns that go directly to the management policies at the hospital and have a direct impact on all the county’s residents as well as the hospital employees. An active board member would be aware, and therefore the county. Madam Dabulas, these are not facts out of context nor are they smear tactics. As a friend of mine is so fond of saying, “It is what it is.” Further problems indicating mismanagement were aired in the meeting this week. Allegations were made that Barnes-Kasson equipment was used to plow snow from private driveways and to remove dirt for a private swimming pool. Do our commissioners see a storm on the horizon?

Had Madam Dabulas been at the meeting in question, she would have seen a different scenario than she described. As a matter of fact, this week Commissioner Kelly publicly apologized for her behavior of the previous meeting and for that I applaud her courage. In the past, I was quick to praise Commissioner Warren for her dedication during the recent flood. Both she and Sheriff Benedict were at the Communications Center throughout the night. As well as accept praise for exemplary actions, they should be able to say, “The buck stops here” when they screw up. Elected officials must be held accountable for their actions, regardless of gender.

I do not go to these meetings to provoke our elected officials. Provocation solves nothing. Accountability, answers and solutions ensure the public that we get the government we are due. Answering public concern with platitudes like, “It’s being taken care of by the proper resources,” just doesn’t cut it.

Madam Dabulas, I suggest you attend the meetings and see first hand how your government works. I assure you it isn’t always the same as the printed page. You might even find a few men you will like.


Fred Baker

Meshoppen, PA

"The Hatfields And McCoys"

The play: "The Hatfields and McCoys," a dramatic comedy in two acts; a modern rendition of the two feuding families. The actors: Mahmoud Admadinejad and Ehud Olmert. Each player gave a one-act monologue in a different theater. The stages: The United Nations Building, New York City, and the Capitol, Washington, D.C.

President Ahmadinejad of Iran addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations in September, 2005. His talk was elucidative and non-confrontational. While speaking to the point about major issues of international concern, Ahmadinejad's references to the United States and Israel were always diplomatic and tactful.

President Ahmadinejad:

About violence: "[V]iolence as a means to solve crises, spread of terrorism, specially state terrorism... [the] proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the pervasive lack of honesty in interstate relationships" must be avoided by all.

About Palestine: "...a durable peace will be possible through justice, an end to discrimination and the occupation of Palestinian land, the return of all Palestinian refugees, and the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state..."

About Afghanistan and Iraq: "...foreign occupation forces must leave and... hand over the... sovereignty of these two countries." Until that time he promised cooperation with them.

About the United States: "If some, relying on their superior military and economic might, attempt to expand their rights and privileges, they will be performing a great disservice to the cause of peace..."

About WMD: He mentioned that though Iraq used U.S.-supplied WMD against his nation, Iran never responded in kind. "Divine prophets teach us about regard for the exalted state of habitants on earth."

About nuclear proliferation: He stated his intention of "establishing a nuclear weapons-free zone." However, this should include all Middle Eastern nations. "Investigate as to how – contrary to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty – materials, technology... and equipment for nuclear weapons were transferred to the Zionist regime."

Eight months later, in May, 2006 Prime Minister Olmert of Israel addressed a joint session of the Congress of the United States. His remarks were of a different tenor. His monologue started on a shrill rant and progressed to hysteria.

Prime Minister Olmert:

About Iran: "Iran, the world's leading sponsor of terror and a notorious violator of fundamental human rights, stands on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons. With these weapons, the security of the entire world is put in jeopardy." Warm applause.

He continued. "A nuclear Iran means a terrorist state could achieve the primary mission for which terrorists live and die: the mass destruction of innocent human life." More applause, but cranked up a few decibels.

"The radical Iranian regime has declared the United States its enemy." Applause, some cheers. Olmert was on a roll.

"For us, this [Iran with nuclear capability] is an existential threat, a threat to which we cannot consent." Applause. Cheers. Could that be whistling? Congress was beginning to look like a mosh pit.

"We deeply appreciate America's leadership on this issue [Iran] and the strong bipartisan conviction that a nuclear-armed Iran is an intolerable threat to the peace and security of the world." At this, Olmert could have stage dived and crowd surfed. He didn't.

In fact, Olmert could hardly get through two or three sentences without a tympanic pounding by both houses. His speech was punctuated by applause 39 times. He received a standing ovation. (There were no curtain calls or encore.) Putting a maraschino cherry atop his performance, Olmert had a cozy after-play tête-à-tête with President Bush. This was better than a good day in the Knesset.

But Olmert played with the truth like a Mississippi river boat gambler would play with the cards. Iran is "on the verge of nuclear weapons." Hardly. If such were her goal, it would take somewhere between five and 10 years to achieve it. As for Iran being an "existential threat" to a country with about 400 nuclear bombs – that's Israel – it seems that Olmert has this backwards. Who is a threat to whom?

And Iran a "threat to the peace and security of the entire world"? Come on, Ehud, isn't that a bit over the top?

Prime Minister Olmert was not invited to address the United Nations. Why? From 1972 to the present, Israel has been the subject of 40 U.N. resolutions, all critical of that country. Israel is the U.N.'s No. 1 scofflaw. But not to worry. She has friends in high places. They were all vetoed by one nation. Care to guess what nation cast every one of those 40 vetoes?

But Israel's prime minister really doesn't give a fig what the U.N. thinks. He knows where real power and influence reside: It is not in New York City. It is in Washington, D.C. where he just brought down the house (pun intended).

On the other hand, President Ahmadinejad would sooner be invited to read Torah on Shabbos than to speak before Congress. Indeed, his performance in that theater would leave him looking like a tomato salad. As for an after-show chat with President Bush, well, the President simply doesn't speak with wild-eyed terrorists – or does he?


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA


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