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Issue Home November 1, 2006 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

We Rely On You

To the residents of the Susquehanna Fire Department coverage area; our annual Fire Department Fund Drive is underway. Every household in our coverage area should receive a donation request by mail. The fund drive is very important to the operation of the Fire Department.

We rely on the fund drive donations to operate the Fire Department each year. When you contribute to the fund drive, you are helping to insure that the Fire Department will be available if you should need it.

It is more important this year than ever that the community support the Fire Department fund drive, given the unprecedented operating cost increases. All of you who are paying for gasoline know what a hardship it is. You can imagine how much it costs to fuel a vehicle the size of a fire truck.

If you have not received a fund drive request please contact the Susquehanna Fire Dept., P.O. Box 175, Susquehanna, PA 18847, or call 853-3861.


The Susquehanna Fire Dept.

Consider Their Safety

After reading Mary Jane Darrow’s letter to the editor in the Wednesday, October 18 edition of the County Transcript, I feel compelled to say that the safety of our children in the Blue Ridge schools should be considered very seriously, along with other arguments over the tax collection wars. In the over five years that I have been going to the elementary school as a parent, I have found that the security, even for a regularly visiting parent volunteer, has become more strict. Even though my face and name are recognized by the office staff, I now have to verbally identify myself after ringing the bell, not just be visually identified on the camera. Then I must enter the office, sign in with my name and destination, and wear a “visitor” sticker. This type of security was not in place when I was a student, but times have changed.

To require the tax-paying citizens of Susquehanna County to enter the school building by the hundreds, if not thousands, and then be potentially unmonitored upon entering the building is not safe for our children. There might also be people entering whose goal is something other than paying taxes or doing something with/for the students. Much as we hope that our teachers, staff, and students will be on the lookout for unusual people or activity, it is possible that those people who belong on the Blue Ridge campus will be too busy to notice abnormalities or brush them off as being “nothing,” perhaps being afraid to call “wolf” when nothing serious is going on. All we need is one oddball on the school property and we could have a lockdown for any number of reasons with potentially serious consequences.

In addition, our schools exist to teach our children. Schools should not serve as a place for tax collection as this takes away the focus on our children. I want my children to have a safe learning environment in school. Leave the school tax collecting outside the school building!


Stefanie Berg

Susquehanna, PA

They Need Our Help

There is this wonderful family in our community that has had a very difficult summer. It started in May when Troy and Nikki Schermerhorn's oldest son broke both of his ankles. When his ankles healed and he got the casts off, he went to camp. Camp happened to be the week after the flooding that devastated the area. When he returned from camp he became very ill. After a week in Moses Taylor it was determined that he had an intestinal parasite that is found in dirty water. His organs began to shut down and he was sent to Geisinger in Danville. He spent about a month in the hospital. He is doing much better, but still is not back in school.

For the past three years his father and grandfather have been building a beautiful home for this family of six. They had hoped to be in the home this winter, but with young Troy's medical issues this summer the family's savings are gone and the bills continue to grow.

On November 18, the Gibson and South Gibson United Methodist Churches are coming together to help this family with their home. To make the benefit a success we need donations. Donations for this wonderful family can be sent to the Gibson Charge of United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 93 Gibson, PA 18820.

For further information you may contact Rev. Barbara Doan at 756-2319 or Pauline Fallon at 650-8143.


Pauline Fallon

Benefit Coordinator

Pumpkin Fest Raffle Winners

Winners of the baskets raffled off at the Pumpkin Fest in Susquehanna, by St. John’s Pro Life Organization were: Thanksgiving basket – Jean Mazikewich; baby basket, child’s school basket and rocking chair with Teddy Bear – Mary Gow.

A sincere thank you to all who helped out in any way and especially to all those who bought chances.


St. John’s Pro-Life Organization

Vote For Our Future

As election day draws near, I have been hearing many people saying that they are so disgusted with the entire process that they are either not going to vote, or that they will vote for change for the sake of change. This may be a natural reaction to what has been occurring lately on both sides of the political fence, but, however natural, it would also be a disastrous mistake. I remember in 1992, many of my military comrades decided that it was time for “a change.” Several years later they admitted how wrong they had been to do that.

Many of us want to believe these coming elections will fix our present problems or teach some individuals a lesson. But, in reality, this election is all about America’s long-term future. We may never see how the decisions that we make on November 7 will affect our nation years from now, or we may see it all too soon. Changing the players in our government could bring temporary relief to our present heartache but the long-term affects could be fatal.

So, please vote. Don’t vote against a candidate because “we need a change.” Vote for our country, for the young men and women who have given so much to keep us safe, and for our future.


Jo-Ellen Smith Greene

Thompson, PA

"Things Fall Apart"

History has moved too fast. Events in the Mideast have overtaken us. We look ahead to see what has passed us by. The U.S. flails furiously in a stagnant backwater of miscarried strategies: failed policies, failed objectives, and failed hopes. Doomed to relive the past, we Stay the Course in Iraq, we must Stay the Course.

Shortly after WW I, William Yeats, foreseeing the rise of communism and fascism wrote The Second Coming. “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;/ Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,/ The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere/ The ceremony of innocence is drowned;/ The best lack all conviction, while the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity.”

"Things fall apart; the center cannot hold." Written 85 years ago, it wears its age well, almost timelessly. Beginning in 2001 with the invasion of Afghanistan and including Iraq, a team of Iraqi physicians and epidemiologists from Johns Hopkins estimate the number of "excess deaths" in these nations at 655 thousand. Their methodology was endorsed by Zogby Polling. (Saddam Hussein is thought to have killed a maximum of 300 thousand over a twenty-three year span.) Additionally, five million have been made refugees. Damage is in the tens of billions. And all paid for with almost one-half trillion dollars in U.S. taxpayer money, the lives of 2,788 U.S. troops KIA in Iraq, plus 340 more KIA in Afghanistan, and 20,468 seriously wounded in combat, as of October 21 (casualty statistics from October 23).

And the results? A majority of Muslims believe that President Bush's War on Terrorism is terrorism and has created terrorism. It has driven moderates to extremes, created fertile grounds for recruiting terrorists (to them, legitimate resistance fighters), established common ground for global jihadists, pan-Arabists and Saddamophiles; and it has raised funds for Muslims who portray the invasion and occupation of Islamic nations as an attack against their religion.

And now North Korea, its plea for talks with the U.S. rebuffed with insults, and fearing the U.S.' policy of aggression as demonstrated in Iraq, has detonated its first atomic bomb. This portends a nuclear chain reaction of similar developments in South Korea, Iran, and Japan.

In the Middle East and Central Asia, the line buckles.

"Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world." In Afghanistan the once defeated Taliban is growing in military prowess and audacity. There is no central government. Excluding the capital of Kabul, the nation is ruled by fiefdoms of fractious warlords.

The Senlis Council, a European think tank wrote, "In the five years since international military operation began, Afghanistan's security situation has deteriorated significantly... Afghans now perceive their country to be less secure than it was in 2001."

It concluded: "Specifically, international military operations [in Afghanistan] have failed to achieve their main objective... " And this after 6,000 civilian deaths and 340 U.S. soldiers KIA.

"The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere/ The ceremony of innocence is drowned." Officials are divided on the question of whether there is an incipient or simmering civil war in Iraq. The CIA attempted to clarify the question by defining just what a civil war is. They succeeded too well. It was necessary to formulate several definitions. In general, the definitions had in common the concept of factions operating rival governments. Clearly, this is not what's going on.

Lawlessness, ill-defined sectarian killings, family feuds, general thuggery and mayhem characterize that nation, not nicely defined and identifiable governmental factions. In other words, the situation is too chaotic to qualify as a civil war.

But there are novel ways of dealing with such a diversity of violence. U.S. authorities are reclassifying fatalities. Civilians killed by car bombs and mortars will no longer be included in causality reports. This resulted in a 52 percent drop in August's causality report. However, the two additional morgues that are under construction belie the charade of a fall in fatalities, and U.S. troops levels have increased to 147,000.

"The ceremony of innocence is drowned." Beautiful Lebanon has been degraded to piles of bomb-laced, toxic rubble. During the last three days of conflict, Israel fired 90 percent of its cluster bombs (CB) into southern Lebanon. CBs are bombs which contain scores of fist-sized bomblets. The Geneva Convention outlawed their use in urban areas because of their high failure rate; 10% to 20% of these bomblets fail to detonate. These duds become, in effect, antipersonnel mines. Southern Lebanon is blanketed with 1.2 million of these mines and other unexploded ordnance.

The illegal use of CBs was a calculated and malicious act of Israel. The planned effect of these unexploded and potentially lethal bomblets was to make the lower quarter of Lebanon uninhabitable, a buffer zone between the two nations. It has succeeded. About 200,000 residents will not be able to return to their homes for two years. And when they do return, what will they find?

Furthering this goal of creating a no-man's zone, Israeli air strikes on a fuel depot resulted in a record oil spill. Four million gallons of heavy fuel oil have since washed-up along 75 miles of Lebanon's famed beaches. Resorts, hotels, restaurants, fisheries were forced to close and will remain so for years. But that wasn't enough.

One million gallons of jet fuel was set ablaze at the Beirut International Airport. The conflagration burned uncontrolled for two weeks, setting highly toxic clouds of sooty ash adrift over one-third of the country. Lebanon's president speculates that these fumes will eventually kill more people than the 1500 fatalities caused by Israeli bombs.

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity." Yet, the war drums beat again. The verbal push against Iran may give way to the shove of sanctions. And when these fail – as fail they must – what then? Will President Bush suffer silently the humiliation of defiance and the humbling of meek acceptance? Perhaps not.

The Air Force has plans for a two-stage attack on Iran. The first stage will be a fusillade of cruise missiles to knock out long-range radar and air defenses. Stage two is a planned fleet of 15 B-2 stealth bombers based in the U.S., joined with F-117s and F-22s located in that region, plus additional fighters launched from carriers. Their task will be to destroy nuclear facilities.

Since many of these targets are located in heavily populated areas, civilian casualties – or in depersonalized militariese, collateral damage – will be in the thousands. The long-term effects of this and the resulting release of radioactive materials are unknowable.

Yeats concludes The Second Coming with an over-the-horizon vision of an imminent future with a foreboding presence: ...somewhere in sands of the desert/ A shape with lion body and the head of a man,/ A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,/ And what rough beast, its hour come round at last/ Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

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Letters To The Editor MUST BE SIGNED. They MUST INCLUDE a phone number for "daytime" contact. Letters MUST BE CONFIRMED VERBALLY with the author, before printing. At that time you may request to withhold your name. Letters should be as concise as possible, to keep both Readers' and Editors' interest alike. Your opinions are important to us, but you must follow these guidelines to help assure their publishing.

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