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Issue Home October 11, 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

MONTROSE: The younger generation, if methodical enough to keep diaries, can write yesterday down as having one of the severest snowstorms for the time of the year in a generation at least. The storm was general, extending over portions of Pennsylvania and New York. In Montrose it is estimated that four inches of snow fell, which probably exceeds the average fall in other sections. The mercury registered from 30 to 45 degrees, but this morning the outlook is for warmer weather, the snow fast disappearing under Old Sol’s welcome rays. It is not thought the apple crop is affected, although there is much fruit on the trees. Several have spoken of their remembering a fall of snow covering the ground when the apples were unpicked, which furnished a novel and easy method to gather them. Men and boys simply climbed the trees and shook them off into the soft carpeting of snow. They were as unharmed as though handpicked, the only bruises they received being from contact with the limbs.

HARFORD: Next year is the 50th anniversary of the Harford Agricultural Society. The management is already planning to have a three days’ carnival and home-coming celebration in honor of the event. AND: Isaac Rynearson, one of the oldest and most respected citizens, died on Sept. 29, at the home of his son, A. H. Rynearson. Mr. Rynearson was born in 1819 and had lived at Harford the greater part of his life. He was of revolutionary descent, his grandfather being a survivor of the Wyoming massacre and saved his life by swimming the Susquehanna river.

TUNKHANNOCK: Marshall W. Reynolds, the well-known Tunkhannock football player, has been engaged to coach the University of Pennsylvania eleven. Reynolds was the star player of that institution a couple of years ago, but was barred out last year.

LAWSVILLE: James Mahoney, a farmer residing near Lawsville, while working around horses in the lumber yards of C. D. Middlebrook & Co., in Binghamton, late Thursday afternoon of last week, was kicked in the face and rendered unconscious for some time. He was so dazed by the blow that he could not remember where he was or what he was doing at the time. Neither could he tell whether his wife came to the city with him or not. Meanwhile his team was taken to a stable and while on the way were seen by his wife, who hurried to the scene of the accident. After the wounds were dressed and he had recovered consciousness, Mahoney was taken to the home of a brother residing in that city, on Clinton St., and has since completely recuperated from the accident.

HALLSTEAD: The Lackawanna Railroad Co. engineers have been at work recently laying out the route by which a spur will be built across the river from the main line in Hallstead to a point near the Penn’a Tanning Co.’s plant in Great Bend. A bridge will be built on the site of the former bridge and the grade already established will be utilized. A track is already in use as far as the river. Such a branch will be a great convenience to the citizens of both towns and will be a paying investment for the D.L. & W. Co.

BROOKLYN: Hon. J.H. W. Adams attended the dedication of the new capitol at Harrisburg, last week.

DIMOCK: L. F. Thornton is digging and laying the cellar wall for his store building in town, which he will fill with a fine and large stock of new goods from the city, in the early winter.

THOMPSON: Guss Burns is doing the races at Starrucca with his fast bay, these racing days.

CLIFFORD: The book club has received their first installment of winter reading and will begin at once to burn the midnight oil. Each member has a book selected. Every two weeks they are to change, in a manner prearranged, until all have read all the books, then each one receives the book selected as their own.

SUSQUEHANNA: In accordance with advice of Bishop Hoban, delivered to the priests of the Scranton diocese at their annual retreat at Glen Summit early in the summer, they will put into effect some time this month, the order of Pope Pius, that male voices only be allowed to sing the masses in the church choirs. It is expected that the Gregorian music will be used in St. John’ church, Susquehanna, on Sunday, Oct. 21, the beginning of the Forty Hours’ Devotions. A number of young men are now under instruction, and it is expected that the music in St. John’s church will continue to be classed among the best in the diocese.

UNIONDALE: Frank Westgate delivered a car load of coal to the town people last week. He is also building, in front of W. Morgan’s blacksmith shop, and against the switch bridge, a building 60 ft. long to be used for storing wagons and farm implements. Charles Coleman, Jr. and Mr. Entrot, of Fiddle Lake, are the architects and they have made quite a showing in the construction.

NEW MILFORD: The neighbors of Mrs. A. E. Brink met at her home Friday afternoon to make a carpet, she being unable to do it, as she has the use of but one hand. Ice cream and cake was served and a good time enjoyed. Won’t some one ask us to make another carpet, please?

MIDDLETOWN TWP.: If something does not occur to stem the tide of emigration of young ladies from this place, in a few years hence Middletown will be a colony of old bachelors. AND: Thursday last, while threshing at M.W. Conboy’s, the engine run by Wood & Jones blew off the cylinder head. Threshing is at a stand still until such time as will be required for new fixtures to arrive; as none of the attendants were injured, Mr. Wood, like the good Christian man he is, took it as a joke.

FOREST CITY: The carpenters began laying the foundation timbers on the First Methodist Church and the work will be pushed rapidly. It is expected that in a few weeks the basement will be ready for occupancy.

HEART LAKE: Master Homer Cobb, aged 10, picked from trees, 17 bushels of apples before half past three p.m. He had planned to pick 20 bushels in all and would have easily done it, had not the rain come and stopped him. He picked two trees clean, moving his own ladder and emptying his own basket.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay


Jurisprudence, Common Sense or Nonsense!

There can never be any doubt in my mind that Wyoming County President Judge Brendan J. Vanston has a lot more legal smarts than me. Nevertheless I cannot help but wonder if judges in general ever blend some common sense into their court decisions.

I remember covering an assignment in a Morris County (NJ) Courtroom many moons ago when a couple of men came before the presiding judge for sentencing on charges of attempted armed robbery.

The county prosecutor’s chief witness was a policeman who testified that the department received a tip that two men were going to rob a bank and dispatched a couple of patrol cars to the scene. The police arrived just as the two armed suspects were stepping out of their getaway car in front of the bank. The culprits were apprehended without incident and, if my memory serves me right, a Grand Jury indicted both of them on charges of attempted armed robbery.

The judge reduced the charge to something far less significant and gave the two suspects suspended jail sentences. His logic was that the men never made it inside the bank before they were apprehended so there was no attempted robbery.

Common sense? You be the judge of that.

The point is that the wheels of justice not only grind slowly but, now and then, the man behind the wheel may be driving with flat tires.

The opinion here is that Judge Vanston was handed a case he needed like a hole in the head and his decisions reflect his dissatisfaction with the assignment. I refer, of course, to the Blue Ridge Regional School District issue.

In his latest decision, Judge Vanston threw out a motion from Attorney Michael Giangrieco to reconsider the court’s decision of August 31 that directed the manner in which school taxes are being collected in two of the six participating municipalities that make up the Blue Ridge Regional School District.

In his motion for reconsideration, Giangrieco pointed out that the district taxpayers must be given 60 days to pay their tax bills at a discount and an additional 60 days to pay their tax bills at the face amount. He further noted that delinquent taxes must be returned to the county by January 1.

More importantly, the tax bills that have been sent out are dated September 1, 2006 but they were not sent until September 22, 2006. Giangrieco mentioned this dandy little error in his motion and again pointed out that the taxpayers are being denied the statutorily required time period to pay their taxes.

I may not have the legal mind that Judge Vanston has, but common sense would have told me to flag the August 31 decision and seek answers to Mr. Giangrieco’s issues. The Board of Education should have been put on the carpet and told to explain how it intends to give the taxpayers sufficient time to pay their taxes. If Judge Vanston would have followed through on his initial decision to hold a hearing on the matter, testimony from witnesses may have shed more light on the issue. But he settled for arguments rather than a hearing and blew the opportunity to know exactly how the Board of Education’s decision to collect its own taxes would impact on the district’s tax collection system.

I also find it interesting that Judge Vanston would order two of the six tax collectors, namely Vickie Drake and Miriam Page to collect the school taxes, claiming it is their statutory duty, but said nothing of the other four collectors and is allowing the school district to collect the taxes in those municipalities. How come all six school directors were not ordered to collect taxes in their respective municipalities?

As I recall, all six tax collectors signed a resolution stating they refused to collect taxes levied by the school district at the reduced rate of pay set by the school board. The same resolution exonerated these tax collectors from collecting taxes. Yet Judge Vanston’s court order singled out two of the collectors and ordered them to collect the taxes but made no mention of the other four collectors. Do judges now have the right to pick and chose who should obey the laws?

In conclusion I can only say that the opinion here is that Judge Vanston did not apply common sense or jurisprudence. And if it is nonsense or jurisprudence, I guess it's just plain nonsense.

Thank God that here in the good old USA, we have the privilege of voting individuals into office and voting them out of office. I sure hope the taxpayers in the Blue Ridge School District will remember that as the current crop of school directors come up for reelection.


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

Attorneys cannot lie. Stop laughing and keep reading! I am not suggesting that attorneys are incapable of telling a lie; rather, attorneys are prohibited from lying by certain provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct. As with most professionals, attorneys have an ethical code that governs their conduct in relation to their duties to their clients, other attorneys, the judicial system and third parties. This ethical code includes numerous provisions that make clear that attorneys are prohibited from engaging in conduct that involves dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentations. So, as you can plainly see, attorneys are prohibited from lying.

Of course, attorneys are also expected to represent their client zealously and to loyally pursue the best interests of their client. As with most things, attorneys are often faced with situations where a little white lie can benefit their client’s position substantially and where telling the truth could have a detrimental impact upon their client. In such circumstances, the attorney is expected to protect the client to the best of his or her ability, but cannot begin bending the truth into a well-crafted lie.

Recently, a Pennsylvania defense attorney learned this lesson the hard way. The attorney was representing his client on two traffic tickets relating to operating an unregistered motor vehicle and failing to have automobile insurance. At the hearing, the defense attorney represented to the assistant district attorney and the court that the state trooper who wrote the citations had no objection to the withdrawal of the citation for failing to having insurance in return for his client pleading guilty to the other offense. This proposal resulted in a substantial benefit to the defense attorney’s client – a conviction for failing to have insurance would have resulted in a suspension of his client’s driver’s license. The assistant district attorney and the court accepted the representation – and the citation for failing to have insurance was withdrawn. The defense attorney’s client received a favorable disposition as a result of the defense attorney’s representations – less fines and the avoidance of a short suspension of his driver’s license.

Thereafter, the state trooper heard about the outcome of the case, and the trooper was upset because he had never made any such representation to the defense attorney, nor had he ever even discussed the case with the defense attorney. The assistant district attorney then learned that the defense attorney had lied to him and the court, and the assistant district attorney reported the defense attorney to the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, an entity that enforces the Rules of Professional Conduct. After a hearing on the matter, the Disciplinary Board recommended that the defense attorney be disbarred and prohibited from practicing law ever again, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ultimately ordered that the defense attorney be suspended from the practice of law for a period of five years.

The interesting part of this particular case is that the defense attorney actually had evidence to demonstrate that his client was not guilty of the offense that was ultimately withdrawn. If this evidence had been produced at an actual hearing, the client would have prevailed. In other words, there was no need for the defense attorney to lie to the assistant district attorney. There is no way to know for certain what motivated the defense attorney to engage in this deceitful conduct. The traffic case itself had relatively minor penalties at stake for his client – there was no potential for incarceration, only a small financial penalty and a short driver license suspension. This should be contrasted to what the defense attorney risked – his license to practice law.

Some would suggest that the dishonesty in this case was relatively small when compared with the severity of the penalty. The bottom line is that attorneys are required to refrain from dishonest and deceitful conduct. As many recall, President Clinton also received a five-year suspension of his law license from the Arkansas Supreme Court as a result of his false deposition testimony in the Paula Jones lawsuit. Both cases provide strong examples of the discipline that dishonest attorneys receive when they are caught in a web of lies. How many other times have you heard of someone losing a job for five years for lying? Unfortunately, jokes about crooked attorneys abound. Hopefully, next time you hear one of those jokes, you will remember this column.

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’ve heard the worst pain you can experience is from passing a kidney stone. True?

I have a friend who served in the Royal Air Force in World War II. On a bombing run over Germany, his co-pilot started to pass a kidney stone. The pain was so bad that the poor guy wanted to jump out of the plane. He had to be knocked unconscious.

Kidney stones have been inflicting extreme pain for at least 7,000 years; evidence of them was found in an Egyptian mummy.

In the USA, there are about one million cases of kidney stones each year. The number of people in the United States with kidney stones has been increasing inexplicably over the last three decades. Stones occur more frequently in men. And the frequency increases with age.

Kidney stones are composed of crystals of substances in urine. Many small stones pass unnoticed from the two kidneys down the tubes (ureters) leading to the bladder. But, if they are too large to pass, you may feel pain.

The crystals that make up stones are likely to form when your urine contains a high level of certain substances. Crystals also may form if your urine becomes too concentrated.

Kidney stones can be caused by heredity, diet, drugs, climate, infection and other conditions that create an increased concentration of calcium, oxalate and uric acid in the urine.

There are four primary types of stones. Calcium stones are the most common; about 80 percent of kidney stones are composed of calcium. Struvite stones usually occur in women and are almost always caused by urinary tract infections. Uric acid stones can develop from a high-protein diet. Cystine stones are caused by a hereditary disorder.

Kidneys are located below the ribs toward the middle of the back. They’re shaped like beans and they’re about the size of your fist. The kidneys remove excess water and waste from the blood and convert it to urine. They have other functions, too, that affect blood.

The most common symptom of a kidney stone is severe pain that usually starts in the back or side just below the ribs. The pain may spread to the lower abdomen, groin and genitals if the stone moves down a ureter toward your bladder. Other symptoms include blood in the urine, nausea and vomiting, constant need to urinate, and fever.

There are various treatments for kidney stones. Taking a painkiller and drinking a lot of water with increased physical activity can work. Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) uses shock waves to break up the stone. If the stone is very large, surgery may be needed. Medication or dietary changes may be prescribed to prevent more stones.

If you don’t drink enough fluids, your urine can become more concentrated and that can lead to stone formation. People exposed to heat are more likely to get kidney stones. That’s why kidney stones are more common in summer.

Here are a few tips for reducing the chances of getting a stone:

Drink about six glasses of water daily. When it gets hot, try to drink twice as much.

Cut down on meat in your diet.

Reduce your salt intake. Remember, most of the salt you eat is in prepared foods, not the shaker on your table.

Drink decaffeinated beverages because caffeine can dehydrate you.

Lemons inhibit kidney stones, so try to incorporate them in your food and beverages.

If you have a question, please write to


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ASK The Family Doctor
By Dr. Richard Hacker

Q. Could you please explain what reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) is? How is it diagnosed? What are the treatments for it? and what kind of doctor do you see for it? Thank you (anonymous, Susquehanna).

A. Reflex sympathetic dystrophy, or RSD, is a very painful and rather mystifying condition that develops in people with a nerve injury. It is also known as “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome” and was known as “causalgia” as far back as the Civil War, when many veterans developed pain in areas that had been wounded. “-algia” is the Latin suffix for “pain” (for example, myalgia is muscle pain, cephalgia is headache).

The word “sympathetic” in the condition refers to the nerves involved, rather than the fact that people with this condition deserve a lot of sympathy. The sympathetic nervous system automatically controls things like circulation, skin temperature, sweating, swelling, and some elements of sensation in the skin. When a nerve is injured, there is a reflex response that alters the nerve structure and function, resulting in severe pain as well as other symptoms. The other symptoms, which usually have to be present in some degree for the diagnosis to be made, include skin pallor or flushing, unusual temperature changes, unexplained swelling, unexplained localized sweating or dryness, and extreme sensitivity to touch or vibration. The skin is often blotchy, with inconsistent blood flow, and it can be shiny, thin, dry, brittle, or excessively sweaty. There are changes in hair distribution, nail growth, and sometimes joint stiffness or swelling. Unlike other conditions that cause these symptoms, though, in cases of RSD the areas are always clearly and distinctly localized and are always related to a nerve injury. Usually, the injury is “upstream” (namely, brain, spinal cord, or major nerve trunk) from the area of pain. In rare cases, RSD can spread towards the body from an injured nerve “downstream” as when a finger or hand is severely injured and the arm begins to suffer symptoms.

The diagnosis is complicated by the fact that many of the symptoms of RDS can be due to other things. There is no test to prove that the symptoms are due to RDS, so making the diagnosis involves identifying a specific nerve injury, and ruling out all other possible causes for the symptoms. The patient history is the key element in identifying the problem.

Once diagnosed, RSD is treated with medications. In some cases, there can be a clearly identified nerve problem that can be corrected surgically. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one example of this, a “slipped disk” pressing on a nerve is another. In such cases, surgery alone is usually enough, but even then there can be persistent symptoms after surgery that require medications.

Straight pain medications like hydrocodone and oxycodone and not very effective for complex regional pain syndromes. Often, a medication that acts on nerve conduction is needed, and this can be confusing because the patient is prescribed medicines that are usually used for something else. Antidepressant medications can be very effective in relieving “nerve pain” and so can anticonvulsants, which are usually used for seizures. Some specialists use steroids, others use topical anesthetics in creams or lotions. Sometimes, a nerve block can be administered by an anesthesiologist or pain specialist, which results in blocking all impulses to and from the nerve and can be effective long term in the management of the condition. An exciting new technique involves implantation of tiny electrodes in the spinal cord, because delivery of tiny electric current to the spinal cord has been shown to alter pain sensations.

For more information on the condition, contact the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association (RSDSA) at P.O. Box 502, 99 Cherry Street, Milford, CT 06460. (Tel: 203-877-3790 or 877-662-7737). Their email is and their web site is Another great resource is American RSDHope Organization at P.O. Box 875, Harrison, ME 04040-0875. (Tel: 207-583-4589). Their website address is:

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

The October meeting of the Civic Association was held Tuesday night, October 3. Raffle tickets were distributed for the annual Thanksgiving basket. The drawing will be held Saturday, November 18 at the Starrucca Post Office. Those wanting tickets to sell, contact Kristen Potter, Starrucca.

The members also agreed to help a needy family at Christmas time. Someone will contact clergy, Interfaith and school officials to seek an appropriate family. Senior citizens will help, too.

If all goes well, the Civic Association will sponsor a Christmas ornament featuring St. Paul’s Catholic Church here in Starrucca.

Next meeting of the Civic Association will be on Monday night, November 6. Notice change of date because of election on our usual date.

Don’t forget the luncheon at Baptist Church social rooms, Thursday, October 12 at noon

Joe White, our postmaster has been serving at Waymart, PA for some time while a very accommodating lady from Pleasant Mount is our postmaster at Starrucca.

Norma Upright Houck, San Rafael, California has spent two weeks in the area, visiting friends and relatives. Along with Virginia and Carl Upright, she attended the Upright reunion at Maynard’s home in Montrose, Sunday, October 1. The day before they attended the Racht family gathering in Waymart. This was the mother’s side of the family.

Frank and Ruth Mroczka and Ruth’s mother, Marjorie Chapman, Bethany, PA have returned from a week near Los Angeles, California. They visited with Ruth’s two sisters and the sisters’ grandchildren. Mrs. Chapman met two of her great-grandchildren for the first time.

Hosting a gathering of former colleagues of the Educational Testing Service, Frank engaged them in golfing, fishing, and cards, and some time in all this activity, Ruth and Frank attended his high school reunion in Mahanoy City, PA.

And that’s all folks. I’m sorry to disappoint so many readers. I know you enjoyed my scribblings, and so many urged me to keep writing, but like the Bible says, there is a time for everything and the time has come for me to give up some things I enjoy.

Have a good life.

Cheerio, cheerio, cheerio!


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