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MONTROSE: Other than the services held in the Catholic and Episcopal church here on Christmas morning, and the merry festivities at the M.E. church at night, there was no outward demonstration of the fact that Tuesday was Christmas. The day was cold – intensely so, and it seemed like Sunday inasmuch as it was so very quiet. Most persons were content to spend the day at home, occupied in reading, writing and music, while some few went out of town to enter glad homes for the day. Others there whose hearts were saddened by the changes of the year, who in spirit trod the cold Judean hills to offer their gift of myrrh at the Bethlehem crib. We trust every home in this community felt the true spirit of Christmas. AND: S. T. Flummerfelt’s steady old grey horse, with which he has peddled milk so long, indulged in a short runaway last week. Everything is gay at holiday time.
GIBSON: Greely Belcher, who is on his way home from the Klondyke, met with a street car accident while in San Francisco and is now in a hospital and expects to soon be able to resume his journey.
SILVER LAKE: Today was the work day of the season still the usual number attended church at St. Augustine’s and one who attended St. Josephs‚ said he never saw a more crowded church, Christmas being the chief day of the year in that church.. Silver Lake Presbyterians held their Christmas exercises last Sunday. The church was prettily decorated and special new music rendered for the occasion. After the sermon the little ones were presented with candy, oranges, &c. to take to their homes. It was well for the little ones that the services were held Sunday, as all of the children live a mile or more from the church and would have been troubled to get there – those who had to walk could not have attended. The members of the Sabbath School presented the pastor with a gift to show that his efforts were appreciated.
BROOKDALE: Clark Stephens and wife, of Montrose, came over to visit their uncle, G. H. Brownson, December 23. Not finding them at home, they prepared themselves a dinner and getting comfortable and warm, returned home. They resolved to come again, soon.
THOMPSON: They had an old fashioned Christmas tree in the M.E. church Christmas eve.
FOREST CITY: A remonstrance was circulated here against the granting of any new liquor licenses. There are a number of new applications. When Henry O’Neil got a license for a new place last year it set a lot of fellows‚ crazy for licenses.
LYNN: A. B. Sheldon’s store building at Lynn was burned Monday night, being set by an oil stove in the cellar. AND: Earl L. Very, of Fairdale, and Miss Sadie Rogers, of East Lynn, were married at the home of the bride, Wednesday at noon, Dec. 19th. After the ceremony, which was performed by Rev. J. W. Price, of Springville, more than 40 guests were present, mostly the near relatives of bride and groom, and sat down to a bountiful wedding dinner. There were useful presents including glass, linen, silverware, and a nice purse of money.
SPRINGVILLE: R. E. McMicken goes into the store with Stuart Riley as clerk. Mr. Riley is also putting up a building for salt storage.
DUNDAFF: A Dundaff man was fined $10 and costs for having his horse out in the cold on the street without food or water. There are some men in this part of the county who deserve the same treatment at the hands of the authorities.
UNIONDALE: It is early Christmas Eve – just before the stockings are hung, just before the trees are unloaded. The Eve before the anniversary of the Day of Days when the morning Stars sang the Birthday hymn of man’s redeemer – just before the day that every loyal family should herald with gladness, the day when families should meet together when old feuds should be settled, and Peace and good will should predominate. AND: George Esmay bought a horse of Stanley Norton, giving him in payment 246 chickens. Some of the fowl were blooded stock and cost Mr. E. $5 a piece. Mr. Norton sold the fowls to his son, Glen, for $125, and Glen is now coaxing them to lay while eggs are 36 cents per dozen.
M’KINNEY MILLS: Charles Morgan discovered a man in his chicken house one evening who, owing to the darkness, escaped, carrying with him one or two fowls. A night or two later, James Florance, who had a beef and a hog hanging near the house, heard some prowling around about 11 o’clock and when he opened the back door he heard them running away in the darkness. Farmers between here and Tingley have recently lost several fowls by chicken thieves until it has become a common occurrence.
NEW MILFORD: On Sunday, Dec. 16, in Elmwood, Neb., was born to Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Stark, a son. Mrs. Stark was formerly Miss Howell, of New Milford. Her many friends send congratulations.
ELKDALE: Mr. and Mrs. D. L. Stevens celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary, Saturday. A number of their friends joined with them in celebrating the affair.
EAST KINGSLEY: (a poem) Where is East Kingsley? I hear you ask/To tell you that will be no task,/Up east of Kingsley, a mile or two,/A prosperous place for all to go./There’s Jeffers farm very up-to-date,/As fine as any in the state./And E.M. Loomis who has a mill down town/He sells the best meal that was ever known./Then there’s W. Oakley who can doctor a cow/To cure them all he knows just how./There’s Melvin Tingley over-seer of the poor/He will show all paupers to the poor house door./Also Mr. A.M. Tingley director of the school/To pay good wages is his rule/And we have a carpenter, W. Wilmarth, is his name/In building houses he wins great fame./E.D. Tanner does the school children take,/In a covered wagon with a second-hand brake,/To the Harford High School away/Each fall and winters day/Down the street the telephone runs along/And you may call up your neighbor and sing him a song./Or tell him his cows are running loose/Or ask for the pattern of his new blouse./As yet we have no trolley car/But then the time may not be far,/When electric cars and lights well see/Then very popular we will be.
OUR WARMEST WISHES in this Holiday Season. The Staff and Board of Directors of the Susquehanna County Historical Society and Free Library Association.
Some good; some bad; some ugly!
2007 starts the fourth and final year of the Kelly Administration. You can be sure Roberta Kelly will be in there pitching for a second term as will fellow Republican Jeff Loomis and Minority Commissioner Mary Ann Warren.
If all three are successful, you can almost bet the ranch that Roberta will be the chairman again come 2008. Of course Jeff Loomis will not roll over and play dead but he needs an overwhelming vote of approval from his fellow Republicans. I am not all that sure he will get it. More on that when all the candidates for commissioner have declared themselves.
The Kelly Administration can boast of some accomplishments. The new elevator to the large courtroom is certainly a welcome addition. Holding the line on taxes for the past two years is another plus. Sitting as the prison board, the commissioners were most certainly instrumental in securing a qualified jail warden. And in their multiple-hat role as the Retirement Board, they nurtured a sick pension fund back to good health with the help, of course, of the Flanders Group, who did some smart investing.
Some unexpected happenings also dampened the progress made by the Kelly Administration. A heavy two-day rainfall gave the county one of the most damaging floods in its history. And while the county commissioners and many county employees did their best to help the flooded communities, someone is always waiting in the wings to take a shot at the administration. But, overall, the feeling here is the commissioners handled the flood problem as well as could be expected. And, of course, much credit has to go to Mark Wood, emergency management coordinator; Art Donato, 911 coordinator; the volunteer fire companies and ambulance squads; the many unnamed volunteers who just pitched in wherever they were needed; and the guys and gals of the Pennsylvania National Guard in New Milford. If I have forgotten anyone, believe me it is not on purpose.
While the present crop of county commissioners has been more visible than any others I have seen in the 18 years that I have been covering the courthouse, there are some things that are in dire need of attention and the commissioners just can’t see the forest for the trees. Or is it the trees for the forest? Whatever!
For instance, several years ago, plans were developed to add a second floor in the school gymnasium, now the home of Historical Records. The existing gymnasium floor was braced with steel beams for the added weight. Having completed the most difficult part would make one think that in a matter of weeks, perhaps a few months, the job would be finished. Well, after the steel beams were installed under the gymnasium floor, work on the second floor came to a screeching halt.
These files and other paraphernalia brought almost daily to Historical Records are extremely important and must be retained. I simply cannot understand why the commissioners, this term and the previous term, are ignoring such an important project.
One of my pet peeves is security. The commissioners simply will not focus their attention on the need to upgrade the security in the courthouse, its annex and the county office buildings on Public Avenue. To have a guard seated at a spot where anyone can come up behind him is one of the most stupid things I have ever seen. To have only one guard on duty in a building with multiple entrances is asinine. And not to have a guard at all in the office building on Public Avenue is absurd.
What hurts is everything that is mentioned here in the way of fixing, replacing, repairing or whatever, could be done with a half-mill tax increase. A half mill would generate at or near $350,000 and if that half mill was earmarked for a specific purpose, it would more than cover the historical records second floor and the security needs. Ah, but we have an election year coming up and a cardinal rule is do not raise taxes when your term comes up.
There are still some important items that need attention at the county jail. The jail board used to meet at the jail and then take a tour of the place after the meeting and look at the condition of the building and its facilities. For some unknown reason – probably to accommodate the commissioners – the jail board now meets in the courthouse.
And, finally (for now anyway), I am happy to say I quit smoking six years ago. And I wish everyone would quit. But they won’t. While we are quick to chase the smokers out of our buildings, we do very little to accommodate them. Now I don’t know about you, my friends, but I truly believe that smokers deserve better treatment. Want to stop them from smoking inside, fine! But fix a place for them to smoke out of the building. Even the hospitals build shelters for smokers.
In November, I was involved in a three-day trial involving a multiple shooting in New Milford Township. The two victims were from New Jersey. Their family and friends showed up for the entire trial – filling approximately two rows of the courtroom benches. Just prior to the start of the trial, and prior to the jury being ushered into the courtroom, the defense attorney noticed that all of family and friends supporting the two victims were wearing identical ribbons. This was a clear demonstration of solidarity and support for the two victims. At that point, the defense attorney made a motion that the court order the supporters to remove their ribbons, and the court granted the motion. I quietly went back to the supporters, explained the situation, and they all complied without incident. With the ribbons gone, the trial moved forward.
This was an interesting scenario because last summer I did an article about the case of Matthew Musladin –a man who killed one of his estranged wife’s friends. Musladin claimed that he acted in self-defense, but he was ultimately convicted of murder. Throughout the trial, the deceased victim’s family and friends wore buttons with the victim’s picture. The state court denied a motion to remove the buttons, and the state appellate courts refused to reverse the conviction based upon the argument that the buttons resulted in Musladin receiving an unfair trial. Thereafter, the Ninth Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, reversed the conviction, concluding that the buttons resulted in improper prejudice and that the defendant had not received a fair trial. Thereafter, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
For those who do not follow the federal courts, the Ninth Circuit has an embarrassing legacy of being wrong and having to be corrected by the Supreme Court. No other circuit gets reversed as much as the Ninth Circuit. And, as it turns out, Musladin’s case was no exception. On December 11, 2006, in a unanimous decision, the entire United States Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit, and reinstated the murder conviction of Matthew Musladin.
Justice Thomas, writing for the court, simply noted that the United States Supreme Court has condemned state-sponsored actions that deprive a defendant of his right to a fair trial – such as the state forcing a defendant to sit in prison garb in front of jury, or shacking a prison in the presence of the jury. On the other hand, the Supreme Court has never really addressed spectator conduct – and how such conduct weighs into the right to a fair trial. Because there was no clear and established right to be wholly free from supportive spectator conduct during a trial, the Supreme Court concluded that the Ninth Circuit erred in concluding that Musladin’s right to a fair trial had been violated.
Justice Souter, in his concurring opinion, indicated that there is no dispute that a trial judge must assure a fair trial – which includes assuring that the conduct of spectators does not unfairly prejudice a defendant. Justice Souter also concluded that allowing spectators to wear buttons with the victim’s picture raised “a risk of improper considerations.” On the other hand, Justice Souter noted that numerous federal courts have considered similar issues, and the majority of the courts had allowed convictions to stand despite the presence of buttons in the courtroom. Justice Souter was not willing to conclude that all of those federal judges had made an unreasonable application of the law. Finally, Justice Souter also noted that there was a First Amendment interest involved on the part of the victim’s family that would also have to be considered and weighed against the interest of the defendant to a fair trial.
In essence, in reversing the Ninth Circuit, the Supreme Court did so without establishing a bright line rule for such spectator activity in a courtroom. The Court simply made clear that there is no clearly established federal right to have a trial where the victim or their families are prohibited from wearing any items that would suggest solidarity or engender sympathy from the jury. In the end, the decision is best left to the trial judge – and, unless there is clear evidence that the symbol clearly prejudiced the defendant, the mere presence of the unifying symbol, in and of itself, does not equate to an unfair trial.
Please submit any questions, concerns, or comments to Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office, P.O. Box 218, Montrose, Pennsylvania 18801 or at www.SusquehannaCounty-DA.org.
Q. I see lots of seniors in casinos. They come in by the busload. I was wondering whether older people have more problems with gambling than younger people?
About one percent of all adults in the United States have a serious gambling addiction. The statistics on senior gambling indicate that compulsive gambling is a greater problem among older adults than adults in general.
A recent study in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that 10 percent of seniors were “at risk” gamblers. The study said a gambler was at risk when wagering more than $100 in a single bet, or betting beyond what was affordable.
A federal study found that the percentage of over-65 Americans who recently gambled jumped from 20 percent in 1974 to 50 percent in 1998, a surge unmatched by any other age group.
New Jersey's Council on Compulsive Gambling has created a program to educate seniors about gambling addiction. According to the council, about five percent of the seniors who gamble appear to have a problem. The Council should know about this subject; Atlantic City is in New Jersey.
A study by the state of Florida found that retirees make up 34 percent of casino regulars – gamblers who brought their money four or more times a year. The casinos help out by sending buses to senior centers to pick up potential bettors.
The American Psychiatric Association classifies compulsive gambling as an impulse-control disorder. Imbalances in the brain chemicals serotonin, norepinephrine (adrenaline) and dopamine may be factors in compulsive gambling. Many people are able to control their compulsive gambling with medications and psychotherapy, and with the aid of self-help groups.
Gamblers Anonymous provides a 12-step program patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous. GA has more than 1,200 U.S. locations and 20 international chapters. You can find GA on the internet at: http://www.gamblersanonymous.org. The phone number for GA is 213-386-8789.
GA offers the following 20 questions to help people decide if they have a compulsion to gamble and want to stop. Most compulsive gamblers will answer yes to at least seven of these questions.
1. Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling? 2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy? 3. Did gambling affect your reputation? 4. Have you ever felt remorse after gambling? 5. Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties? 6. Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency? 7. After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses? 8. After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more? 9. Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone? 10. Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling? 11. Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling? 12. Were you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures? 13. Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family? 14. Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned? 15. Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble? 16. Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling? 17. Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping? 18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble? 19. Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling? 20. Have you ever considered self destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?
If you have a question, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For this, the final article in the series on coronary artery disease, I want to write about how to survive a heart attack, and explain some of the decisions and treatments that are offered in the Emergency Department.
The most important part of surviving a heart attack is getting treatment early. Almost everybody wants to deny the severity of their chest pain or blame it on indigestion, stress, anxiety, or something (anything!) other than heart disease. If you have ANY risk factors for heart disease, if you have ANY chest pain that has not been previously examined and diagnosed, then you must get yourself to the ER when you develop symptoms. If you have coronary disease that was diagnosed by stress test or echocardiogram, you should go to the ER even if you have no pain, if you have ANY symptoms that make you feel bad. In many cases, the only symptom of a heart attack is difficulty breathing, nausea, extreme weakness, or vague symptoms of “something just doesn’t feel right.” Never deny or minimize your symptoms because the price you pay could be your life.
While waiting for the ambulance, chew up two regular-strength aspirin and take a nitroglycerine tablet if you have one. Do not ask relatives to drive you to the hospital: the ambulance can get you there faster and administer life-saving treatment, if needed, en-route.
Upon arrival, the first things the ER will want to know are what medical conditions you have and what medications you take. It would be a good idea to always keep a list of medications handy so that you can bring the list with you.
It is also extremely useful to keep a copy of your medical problem list and your EKG with you, especially if you are traveling out of town. Your doctor could easily provide you with a copy of your EKG and an updated list of medications.
The first test you get upon arrival in the ER will be an EKG. Often, this is enough to recognize a heart attack and begin treatment. Every minute counts, and the standard of care is to minimize “door to drug” time so that treatment is administered as soon as possible.
One of the more well-known treatments of heart attack are the “clot-busting” drugs like TPA or Reteplase. These medicines work by dissolving blood clots in the coronary arteries, because the clot is what suddenly and totally blocks flow. Cholesterol plaques and “hardening of the arteries” put you at risk for heart attack, but it is the sudden formation of a clot which causes blood to stop flowing to the heart muscle. Dissolving the clot restores the flow. Unfortunately, these medicines are extremely powerful and cannot be given if you have any other potential sites of bleeding such as ulcers, recent surgery, or trauma. Again, knowing your medical history is crucial.
Following administration of “clot busting” drugs, further treatment is usually needed to keep the coronary artery open. This is where “stent” placement or “balloon angioplasty” is indicated. Balloon angioplasty is a procedure where a tiny balloon is threaded into the artery at the site of narrowing, and then inflated to “open up” the artery and restore normal flow. A “stent” is a small metal tube that is placed within the artery to keep it open. The sooner these procedures are done, the more likely they are to prevent heart damage, and so people are often sent by helicopter to centers that can perform these procedures.
In cases where the EKG does not show an obvious heart attack and does not indicate the need for clot-busting, patients are admitted to the hospital for monitoring and blood tests. Several blood tests can indicate the presence of heart damage or heart attack, but they may not turn positive for up to 24 hours, which is why people are admitted for monitoring. During this monitoring period, they are treated with oxygen, nitroglycerine (which opens coronary arteries and eases the load on the heart), oxygen, and morphine (to relieve pain). Their heart rhythm is closely monitored and blood pressure lowering medicines are given as well.
The key take-home message from this column is that you mustn’t ignore chest pain, even if you have no known coronary artery disease. And if you DO have coronary artery disease, don’t ignore ANY symptoms, no matter how trivial they may seem to you. There are some near-miraculous treatments available for heart attack, but they are only effective if they are administered in time.
As always, if you have questions about health issues or medicine, you can write to me at email@example.com, 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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