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Issue Home December 13, 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
Veterans’ Corner

100 Years Ago

GLENWOOD: The ice and hardness has melted from our school board and they have decided to open the Glenwood school. “Nuf said.” AND: C. A. Conrad is making a needed improvement by putting a watering trough in front of his shop.

NEW MILFORD: Chas. H. Ainey has just received a car load of cutters. Anyone wanting a cutter can have their choice and be assured of fair dealing and reasonable prices.

FRIENDSVILLE: The members of the Catholic church held a festival on Thanksgiving evening for the benefit of the new church fund. A pleasant time was enjoyed by all, and nearly $200 was taken in. Preparations are now being made for a fair to be conducted during Christmas week.

OAKLAND: As you return from the diggings in the hills north of Red Rock and follow the river road toward Susquehanna, you will pass a great long house standing near the road – one-half nearly new and the other half old and dilapidated. It is on the McKune farm, about one mile from Oakland. This old part of the building is where the Mormon Bible was compiled. An old printer, who assisted on the work, related to us how the copy was brought to the office every morning and, together with every scrap of proof, taken away at night. Joe [Smith] was in an inspired condition as he claimed, although it was known that a bunch of old plates and manuscript from a New York state town was the foundation for his inspiration.

SPRINGVILLE: Walter Fish, one of our promising young men, has recently gone to Brooklyn, NY. Mr. Fish took a civil service examination about a year ago and the officials called for him to report at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where he holds a clerkship under the government. We are glad to learn of Walter’s good luck.

SILVER LAKE: Some of our people of Silver Lake should not be in such a hurry for a sleigh ride, as winter has not set in yet.

UNIONDALE: Mr. Steven Bronson has gone on another trip to Buffalo for live stock for his meat market. A carload of cattle lasts him only a short time. He butchers every day in the week and wholesales meat to dealers in Forest City and Carbondale. His grandson, Walter Thomas, of Carbondale, is staying with the family at present.

FLYNN: Thomas Guiton has bought the W. S. Davis farm, in the Welch settlement; consideration, $5000.

HARFORD: The roads are very icy and the blacksmiths are kept busy night and day shoeing horses.

SUSQUEHANNA: Several times in the past few months the store of John Springsteen, on Front street, has been broken into and robbed and Sunday night officer McMahon arrested Alfred Freck, giving his home as Brooklyn, NY, in the act of burglarizing the store. The burglar had broken the window previous to his entering the place and Mr. McMahon discovered it and kept his eye on the place, and when arrested the young man had a quantity of goods wrapped in a bundle ready to leave. He was given a hearing before Justice Williams and pleaded guilty to the charge of burglary.

DIMOCK: Asa Cokeley has moved to the Woodhouse milk station, where he has a position hauling milk and cream from Elk Lake. AND: The stone bridge near Henry Johnson’s, in the woods, needs some repairing by building or putting some protection on the side walls, which are nearly all gone, making it unsafe.

STANFORDVILLE: M. E. Lindsley has sold his interest in the Acid Factory, at Brookdale, to Mr. Corbett.

LENOXVILLE: It looks as though we might have a new grist mill, loads of corn have been unloaded in the old Clarkson house.

MONTROSE: Complaints are heard against the young school children, romping and loafing in the postoffice, after every session of school. It is very annoying to persons who have business, and it is requested that the nuisance be stopped. AND: Miss Blackman’s histories of Susquehanna county at the Library. Learn of our county. A good Christmas present. [Reprints of Miss Blackman’s histories are still available, at the Historical Society and Library.]

BRIDGEWATER TWP.: Jones‚ Lake and Post’s Pond have been thronged with skaters the past week and the ice is of a glassy smoothness seldom surpassed, so the merry skaters are getting all kinds of enjoyment. The ice is about half a foot thick, and if the cold weather continues, will freeze the smile on the face of the ice man.

FOREST CITY: In Susquehanna county’s coal mines, near Forest City the past year, have been employed 1,307 miners, according to the annual report of James Roderick, state superintendent of mining. Luzerne has the largest number, 60,734; Lackawanna next with 40,850 and Wayne county, 360.

ARARAT: Sunday morning, Ruth Ferry, the 4 year-old daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Barney Ferry, was fatally burned while playing with fire in her home. Her parents had gone out to feed the poultry, leaving the child and a younger sister in the kitchen. The children evidently lighted slivers of kindling wood in the fire to watch them burn and accidentally the eldest child’s dress caught fire, enveloping her in flames. Dr. McNamara, of Thomson, attended the little sufferer, but death released her from the agonizing pain. A cousin of the child, Hattie Keenan, was burned to death in the same house while playing with a Jack-o-lantern about a year ago.

NEWS BRIEF: Notice to Rural Patrons: On account of cold weather, will all patrons of rural routes buy stamps of the carrier and stamp all mail before putting in box, as carrier has to take off gloves to pick out pennies, and it is a great hardship.--Geo. C. Burns, P.M. AND: Eleven football players killed and 104 injured during the season just closed. Just think what might have been the awful results if it hadn’t been for the cutting out of the mass plays.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay


More Blue Ridge Blues

I’m not sure who the solicitor is for the Blue Ridge School District Board of Education, but either the school directors are not running some of their actions regarding the tax collectors by him or he is giving them enough rope so they will ultimately hang themselves. The opinion here is that a lot of what the school board has said and done about the tax collectors, the tax collections, and the Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau is not only questionable, but some of it could be illegal.

For example, at its December 4 meeting, the board put through a motion that included language alleging that the tax claim bureau imposes interest and fees on delinquent taxes. Actually there is a state statute that compels the tax claim bureau to collect the interest and fees. And by law, the bureau retains the fees for the time and effort it puts in collecting delinquent taxes.

The board also put out a 30-day notice to delinquents that begins by blaming the June flood for the delay in mailing out the 2006 school taxes. I wish someone in Blue Ridge would extend that paragraph and explain to me how the flood affected the tax bills. Yes, the school, its administrators, teachers and students all played an important role in helping flood victims. The wish here is that one of our state legislators will recognize the efforts put forth by the school district and present it with an appropriate commendation.

But the opinion here, and I might add it is shared by many others, is that the school board is mixing apples with peaches when it blames the flood for the district’s tax problems. Had the board returned the responsibility for the tax collections to the tax collectors that were elected for that purpose, there probably would not have been any problems at all.

Before I go any further let me point out one important item in this ungodly mess. The school district is only collecting the taxes for three of the six municipalities that participate in the Blue Ridge School District. Tax collectors in the other three districts are doing their jobs at the ridiculously low rate of 60 cents per school tax bill. Can you imagine the condition that would exist in the district if all six collectors refused to collect the school taxes?

I had a chat with Cathy Benedict, county treasurer and director of the tax claim bureau. She brought up two very relevant points.

In a letter to the taxpayers, Alan Hall, president of the Board of Education, stated the delay in mailing of the 2006 school taxes by two months makes the five percent penalty period for payment of taxes for the months of January and February as printed on the tax bills. Hall went on to say he was informed by the county that they cannot accommodate this schedule, and that any taxes not paid by January 27, 2007 to the local tax collector must be paid directly to the county tax claim bureau.

Cathy Benedict advised Hall that state law prohibits the tax bureau from accommodating the school district’s proposed schedule. In a letter to Hall, she said the tax claim bureau could not enact a county resolution to change the return date because all other taxing districts throughout the county had already published and mailed their bills with the proper dates.

Cathy also pointed out those who do not pay their taxes by the end of January will be assessed nine percent interest beginning February 1, 2007, plus the five percent penalty period and a $15 fee charged by the tax claim bureau. Penalties and interest rates, by the way, that are prescribed by state law.

And wasn't it the original idea of getting rid of the tax collectors and having the school district collect its own taxes intended to save money? Apparently somebody in the school district forgot to buy a piggy bank, so the school board has been finding ways to spend it.

As I mentioned here before, legal fees are climbing steadily, there are still three school district employees involved in the tax collections at the school, and in a letter to the taxpayers, Hall wrote, “Since the tax bills stated that there would only be a five percent penalty during January and February, The BRSD will refund the amount of any interest and fees charged by the county on any real estate tax payments made during January and February, 2007.”

My friends, all interest collected by the tax claim bureau goes to the school district. I am sure when the district prepares its operating budget, anticipated interest is included on the income side of the ledger. More money the district loses because of the fiasco created by the school board.

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

A reader sent me a clipping regarding a person in New York State arrested for DUI while operating his lawnmower along the side of a public roadway. The reader raised the question of what constitutes a motor vehicle for the purposes of the Pennsylvania DUI statute. Several years ago, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court determined that horseback riding was not covered by the DUI statute. (If you are interested, the article addressing this issue can be found in the archives maintained at our website with the date of October 1, 2004). Moreover, in an article in April, 2005 I discussed the factors necessary for a person to be in actual control of a vehicle for purposes of the DUI statute. I have never actually discussed what constitutes a vehicle under the DUI statute.

First, it should be noted that the DUI statute makes it unlawful to operate a “vehicle” on a public roadway while under the influence of alcohol to a degree which renders the person incapable of safe driving. Where the blood alcohol content exceeds .08%, it is presumed that a defendant is incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle. The interesting aspect of the statute is that it covers “vehicles,” not just “motor vehicles.”

For instance, in Commonwealth v. Brown, the defendant was riding her bicycle in the wrong lane of a local street and traveling in the wrong direction. She was doing this most likely because she was intoxicated – her blood alcohol content was 0.29%. The defendant was charged with DUI, and she contended that she could not be convicted because she was not operating a motor vehicle – she was pedaling a bike.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court noted that a “vehicle” includes “every device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except devices used exclusively upon rails or tracks.” In other words, a “vehicle” need not be motorized. The court noted that a bicycle was clearly a vehicle. A bicycle is a device upon which a person could be transported, and not a device used exclusively on rails or tracks. As such, the court determined that the defendant could be prosecuted for DUI in connection with her operation of her bicycle on a public roadway while intoxicated.

The definition of vehicle is very broad. In the example above, a lawnmower clearly would fall within the definition of a vehicle – a person can be transported on a highway by the lawnmower and it is not designed for use solely upon a rail or track. There are numerous items that likewise could fall within the ambit of this definition of a vehicle, such as skateboards, scooters or even roller blades or roller skates. These would all be devices upon which a person could be transported on a highway.

Thus, the Vehicle Code creates a wide prohibition against the use of any form of a vehicle on a public roadway while intoxicated to a degree that the operator cannot safely drive. As noted above, the DUI statute does not apply to a horse (or, I suppose, a mule, donkey, llama, or similar animal). This produces an interesting paradox – an intoxicated person riding their horse home from the bar on the public roadway cannot be cited with DUI, while another intoxicated person who rides his bicycle home on a public roadway can be charged with DUI. In any event, operating any vehicle on a public roadway while intoxicated is dangerous not only to the intoxicated operator, but also other motorists, passengers, and pedestrians. During the holiday season, it is common for people to celebrate with a little cheer. Whether you’re driving your car, bike or riding your horse, please stay off our the road if you have had too much to drink.

Please submit any questions, concerns, or comments to Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office, P.O. Box 218, Montrose, Pennsylvania 18801 or at

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The Healthy Geezer
By Fred Cicetti

Q. What exactly is a “charley horse” and why do I get them in my legs at night?

According to the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, the term “charley horse” was first used in the 1880s by baseball players to describe a muscle cramp. No one knows the true origin, but the dictionary says, “Among the more likely theories proposed is that it alludes to the name of either a horse or an afflicted ball player who limped like one of the elderly draft horses formerly employed to drag the infield.”

Geezers are more likely to get charley horses because of muscle loss that starts in our 40s. And your remaining muscles don’t work as efficiently as they used to. Studies show that about 70 percent of adults older than 50 experience nocturnal leg cramps.

A cramp is an involuntarily contracted muscle that does not relax. The common locations for muscle cramps are the calves, thighs, feet, hands, arms, and the rib cage. Cramps can be very painful. Muscles can cramp for just seconds, but they can continue for many minutes.

Almost all of us have had muscle cramps, but no one knows for sure why they happen. However, many healthcare professionals attribute cramping to tired muscles and poor stretching. Other suspected causes are dehydration, exerting yourself when it’s hot, flat feet, standing on concrete, prolonged sitting, some leg positions while sedentary.

Muscle cramps are usually harmless. However, they can also be symptoms of problems with circulation, nerves, metabolism, hormones. Less common causes of muscle cramps include diabetes, Parkinson's disease, hypoglycemia, anemia, thyroid and endocrine disorders.

If you experience frequent and severe muscle cramps, see your doctor.

The use of some medications can cause muscle cramps. For example, some diuretic medications prescribed for high blood pressure can deplete potassium. Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can contribute to cramps.

Here are some pointers for treating a cramp yourself: stop whatever you were doing when you got the cramp, massage the muscle and stretch it slowly, apply a cold pack to relax tense muscles.

To prevent cramps, do stretching exercises especially for those muscles that tend to cramp, and drink water regularly. If you are exerting yourself in heat or sweating for more than an hour, you should drink fruit juice or a sports beverage. For recurrent cramps that disturb your sleep, your doctor may prescribe a medication to relax your muscles.

If you have nocturnal leg cramping, ride a stationary bicycle for a few minutes before bedtime. The following stretching exercise is good, too. You should do it in the morning, before dinner and before going to bed every night.

Stand about 30 inches from a wall. Keep your heels on the floor, lean forward and put your hands on the wall. Then, move your hands slowly up the wall as far as you can reach comfortably. Hold the stretched position for 30 seconds. Release. Repeat twice.

If you have a question, please write to

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ASK The Family Doctor
By Dr. Richard Hacker

Continuing the series on the number-one killer in America, the focus this week will be on recognizing the signs and symptoms of heart attacks, as well as an introduction to treatment and stabilization.

As you may recall from last week, the heart is surrounded by arteries called “coronary” arteries because they form a corona (halo) around the outside of the heart. These arteries supply the heart muscle, and when the artery is plugged, the heart muscle downstream can be permanently damaged, which is what we call a Myocardial Infarct (MI), a heart attack, or to use an old expression, a “coronary”.

The blockage of coronary blood vessels begins early, perhaps even in the teenage years. Even though the center of a coronary artery is not much larger than a pencil lead, it can take years for plaque to build up and obstruct blood flow. On the other hand, very little plaque can cause a substantial reduction in flow. The amount of fluid a tube can carry is related to the fourth power of the radius, so a vessel narrowed from two millimeters to one millimeter diameter will carry four times less blood. That’s why even slight narrowing can cause severe problems.

Usually, the plaque that lines a coronary vessel is fairly solid, even though it is made of cholesterol and other fatty deposits. The problem arises when the plaque develops a crack in its surface, which triggers a clot to form. It is the sudden and rapid development of such a clot that blocks the coronary artery, and deprives the muscle downstream of oxygen. When this happens, there are tell-tale signs on an EKG and we can diagnose a heart attack. Obviously, the earlier the problem is identified and treated, the greater the likelihood of recovery.

Before plaque ruptures and triggers a clot and an MI, people often have symptoms of chest pain with exercise. Although the term “angina” in Latin simply means “pain” (of any sort), it has come to mean chest pain from coronary artery disease. Unfortunately, many people do not have classic angina, which is a heaviness or pressure to the chest that develops during exercise and is relieved with rest. People can have no pain at all, or they can have odd pains in their neck, shoulder or arm. They can simply have nausea, dizziness or shortness of breath. The point is, ANY symptom that is clearly associated with exertion must be checked out, and even people with NO symptoms should be evaluated if they have risk factors for coronary artery disease. These risk factors include cigarette smoking, diabetes, uncontrolled high blood pressure, uncontrolled high cholesterol, family history of heart disease, age over 40, and sedentary (inactive) lifestyle. Hopefully, your doctor has already screened you for heart disease if you have some of these risk factors, and especially if you have had any symptoms related to exercise or activity. If you have been experiencing ANY symptoms with exercise and exertion, make sure you are checked out thoroughly and soon.

When narrowing of coronary arteries is identified early, heart attacks and damage can be prevented. Sometimes medications are all that is needed, other times the artery can be opened up with a tiny balloon, or it can be bypassed to provide an alternative route for blood to flow.

If narrowing is not recognized or treated early, then an acute blockage can develop, usually from plaque rupture and clot, which represents a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment. Fortunately, this is seldom a silent event, and is usually recognized by the patient: sudden and extreme chest pain, with nausea, cold clammy sweats, difficulty breathing, lightheadedness and a sense of impending doom. The best thing you could do if you have these symptoms is call 911 immediately and chew up two aspirin while you wait for the ambulance to arrive. Aspirin is an effective blood thinner and will keep the clot from getting bigger. On arrival in the ER, if an acute MI is identified, medications can be given to dissolve the clot and restore blood flow to the heart muscle. Unfortunately, these “clot-busting” drugs must be given early, and have a lot of risks associated with them. Short of emergency surgery, these medications are all we have to re-open blocked coronaries, and they only work if given early.

Next week: tests done to examine the heart and diagnose or treat heart disease.

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 Hallstead Health Center, please call (570) 879-5249.

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Veterans’ Corner

No Veterans Corner This Week

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