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NEW MILFORD: A rather peculiar case was heard before Judge Searle, Friday, involving the custody of a child, Elizabeth Walker, adopted daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Walker of New Milford, habeas corpus proceedings being brought against Wm. Lacey of Franklin township, charged with detaining the child. From the judge’s opinion it shows that about five years ago Mrs. Walker took the child at the age of three months from a Binghamton institution and had cared for it as her own up until about two months and a half ago. At that time she left the child at the home of Mr. Lacey, telling him she would return in a couple of weeks, Mr. Walker being employed in Sayre, where their household goods had been shipt and where they intended residing. Mrs. Walker, being taken sick at Sayre and unable to return for the child as she had stated, Mr. Lacey had an order of relief issued to him by the Franklin poor overseers and the child was apprenticed to himself and wife. This was the condition of affairs Mrs. Walker found when she recovered from her sickness and returned for the child, and the Laceys, having evidently formed an attachment for the little girl, desired to keep her. Mrs. Walker then took the matter before her Lawyer, Attorney Selden Munger, and habeas corpus proceedings were instituted, the court after the hearing, ordering the return of the child to her keeping.
RUSH: The Automatic Merchandising Co., of Brooklyn, N.Y., of which T. S. Wheatcroft, a former resident of this county [Rush], is secretary, has just declared its fifteenth quarterly dividend. The dividend is at the rate of 12 per cent per annum. When they’ve got a man like “Tom” at the helm, though, they’ve naturally just got to pay dividends.
ELK LAKE: Mrs. Mary A. Blakeslee, wife of the late Gibson Blakeslee, was born in Delhi county, Pa., in 1833, and died at the home of her sister, Mrs. J. C. Henry, in Binghamton, Sunday morning, Jan. 13, 07, aged 73 years and 11 months. Her home had been near Elk Lake for the past 24 years where she was held in high esteem. She is survived by two sisters, Mrs. Warren Lathrop of Elk Lake, and Mrs. J. C. Henry of Binghamton. Also two brothers, C. E. Griswold of California, and K. E. Griswold of South Montrose, and an adopted daughter, Mrs. Wm. Henry of South Montrose. The funeral was held at her late home Wednesday afternoon, Rev. H. B. Benedict officiating. Burial was made in the cemetery at South Montrose.
HALLSTEAD: Hallstead people are going to make a thorough test as to whether there is oil or gas in paying quantities in that region. A meeting will be held this evening in the office of the Hallstead and Great Bend Water Company for the purpose of organizing a company to do the prospecting.
SOUTH MONTROSE: The young people here will give “The Old Maid’s Convention” Friday evening, Jan. 25, at the church. Admission 20 cents, children 15 cents. Proceeds for minister’s salary. Prof. Pinkerton’s electric machine and the “Old Maids” will furnish lots of fun.
FOREST CITY: George L. Crofoot, of Crystal Lake, has purchased the entire milk product of Valley Farm and will give his patrons in Forest City the purest of milk.
PLEASANT VALLEY, Auburn Twp.: B. B. Lowe was out Saturday driving his spanking young team of blacks which he is very proud of, and he well may be, as they are the finest span of colts in this section.
BIRCHARDVILLE: The Red Men have bought the property on which the blacksmith shop stands, for the purpose of building a new hall.
SUSQUEHANNA: J. W. Dewitt, chief train dispatcher of the Delaware Division, with headquarters here, has resigned and G. H. Ford, of Port Jervis will succeed him [and] M. H. Hanrahan goes to Port Jervis to fill the vacancy by Mr. Ford being promoted. The railroad boys will be sorry to see “Jack” leave them, as he has been with the Erie for over 25 years and has the best wishes of all his associates.
ELKDALE, Clifford Twp.: Many from Dundaff attended the surprise party at the home of T. J. Owens, in honor of his son, Edward Owens, who is home on a furlough from the 110th company of the U. S. A., stationed at Newport, R.I. AND: Gerauld Burdick has opened a wagon repair shop in Harry Taylor’s sawmill.
LATHROP TWP.: R. T. Everson lost a valuable cow one day last week.
HOP BOTTOM: J. J. Quailey has been very faithful and painstaking in looking after the interests of both patrons and the management of the Foster creamery, and in recognition of his services received a very handsome watch and chain for Xmas. Mr. Q. is a resourceful manager and if there are repairs or improvements to be made gets right into the harness himself, thereby saving the company much expense.
ARARAT: “Aunt” Susan Baldwin is very feeble and failing fast from old age, she being 95 years old last October.
FAIRDALE: Dr. Buck and son Walter, entertained friends with some fine music on Saturday evening. The Doctor played the violin and his son managed the phonograph.
GLENWOOD: Installing officers in Capt. Lyons Post [G.A.R.] took place Jan. 12th. D. N. Hanly installed the following comrades: E.E. Smith, Post Com.; W. F. Medler, Adjt.; B. McDonald, O. M.; J. Cline, Officer of the Day; J. B. Swartz, Sergeant Major. The installation passed off in good form. The officers and their wives sat down to a fine collation; oysters were served in the first course, then came the sweetmeats; cakes, pies, doughnuts, coffee and cream. The ladies present were the life of the occasion; wit and humor flowed freely and all enjoyed the repast.
NEWS BRIEF: A heat wave, such as has seldom been experienced in the Middle West during January, prevailed there recently. In the Ozark region a temperature of 70 degrees was recorded and the unusual warmth caused fruit buds to swell. In St. Louis, Kansas City and other cities fires were allowed to die out in the big office buildings and men employed outdoors worked in their shirtsleeves. Burean reports that this January is the warmest in years. At Austin, Tex., a temperature of 86 degrees was recorded. The summer weather caused serious floods in Ohio and Indiana and at Murphysboro, Ill., twenty houses are under water as the result of an overflow from the Mississippi River.
As I have told you in the past, I have been covering Susquehanna County since 1989. During that time I have witnessed a lot of good, but more bad; a lot of talk but little action; a lot of promises but few deliveries; and a lot of checks but few balances.
But suddenly we are in a new century and those who spent years on the county payroll by placating both political parties are gone. Their replacements include a new generation of politicians who want to get things done. At the head of the class is District Attorney Jason Legg, followed closely by Sheriff Lance Benedict.
Now I know some of you out there will disagree with me and cite the fact that Jason Legg is the first fulltime district attorney the county has ever had and has to do something impressive. But my friends even before the Commonwealth finally passed legislation paving the way for part-time District Attorneys to go fulltime, Jason Legg was making moves to upgrade his office and, more importantly, to serve the people of Susquehanna County.
For example, a few weeks ago Legg appeared before the county commissioners with the announcement that he had received permission from the state to launch his own Drug Task Force. He had already acquired a dog that is presently in training for ways to spot concealed drugs and made other moves to support his efforts. He sought input from Sheriff Benedict and, working together, they expect to launch the first patrol by the new crime unit early next month.
Think about this for a moment folks. A county that for years has been a safe hiding place for drug users and peddlers will now have a task force that will focus attention on curbing drug runners. Or, as Barney Fife would say, “Nip it in the bud.”
Don’t expect glaring headlines immediately, but rest assured that this task force will make its presence known before too long. Why? Because Jason Legg is not afraid to surround himself with help that is capable and efficient. Too often I have seen employers in Northeastern Pennsylvania hire or promote individuals who are standing on the bottom rung of the success ladder. Kudos to him for his most recent addition, retired State Trooper Bill Strong who will head up the new task force unit. As a state trooper, Strong served as a criminal investigator in Susquehanna and Lackawanna counties.
There is yet another benefit to be had from this task force. When the guys and gals in the unit are not chasing down druggies, they can be found on a highway patrol looking for drunk drivers.
But there is also...
Not all is peaches and cream at the Susquehanna County Courthouse, and it seems whenever there is a problem, it can usually be traced to the county commissioners.
There exists in this county – and many other counties in the state – a Victim/Witness Assistance Program that provides standards and procedures for Victim/Witness Coordinators. The county program was started some six years ago when District Attorney Charles Aliano recommended Erica Johnson for the position. The Commonwealth appropriates money to counties with such a program and, as near as I can find out, the annual grant includes the salary of the Victim/Witness Coordinator.
District Attorney Jason Legg recently asked the county commissioners to bring Erica Johnson’s salary in line with other coordinators in the state. After all, she did start the program and she has been doing a great job with it for the past six years.
Legg brought to the attention of the commissioners a letter he received from Tina Laudermilch, manager of the Victims’ Services Program. She wrote, “In 1999, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency adopted the State Victim/Witness Assistance Program Standards and Procedures. These standards were developed in an effort to 'raise the bar’ for services provided to victims.” One of the standards developed addresses the salary and benefits for victim/witness coordinators. The base standard states that the “Victim/Witness Coordinator position shall be the same salary grade and have the same benefits package as a county probation officer with similar amounts of experience.”
After working six years for the county, Mrs. Johnson’s salary is $11.26 an hour. The amount is less than that required by the state and less than recently hired county employees with no experience or specialized training. Not only did Mrs. Johnson complete training for the position, but she attends educational seminars on a regular basis in order to keep up with her position and any changes in the Victim/Witness Program.
The county commissioners maintain that even though money to pay Mrs. Johnson comes from a state grant, other county employees also get grants from outside sources and are not paid the grant money they receive. That, my friends is about as chintzy an excuse as I ever heard. If any employees gripe about Mrs. Johnson’s salary but say little or nothing about their own paychecks, you can almost bet these employees are making more money than Mrs. Johnson.
Frankly, if I was Mrs. Johnson I would consider legal action in order to obtain the salary that the state says she should be paid. One has to wonder who the commissioners think they are when they arbitrarily withhold salary increases from an employee. Especially when the state sends the county the money to pay Mrs. Johnson.
One more important issue on the subject. I could not confirm this but I was told by a reliable source. The commissioners are also concerned about how a raise for Mrs. Johnson would impact on the six union contracts in the county. On August 23, 2006, Jack McGrail, business representative of Teamsters Local Union 229, that serves the county employees, said the union would not object to any increases in wages for Erica Johnson.
My friends, I have known Erica Johnson since she started to work for the county. She is dedicated to her job and is entitled to the raises recommended and paid for by the state.
Cheryl Raybuck was unhappy with her marriage – and she decided to do something about it. Raybuck did not tell her husband that she no longer wanted to be married. Raybuck did not seek legal assistance or file a divorce action. Instead, Raybuck decided to kill her husband through inventive means. First, she prepared a sandwich for her husband and used commercial rodent poison as a condiment. Raybuck gave the sandwich to her husband, and he consumed it. Second, Raybuck, acting as an amateur chemist, poured a variety of household chemicals into a bathtub drain with the intent to create a toxic gas that would emerge from the drain as her husband was taking a shower. Fortunately, Raybuck’s attempts to kill her husband were unsuccessful, and she was arrested.
Raybuck pled guilty to two counts of aggravated assault, one count for the mouse poison sandwich, and the other count for the toxic shower incident. In connection with her guilty plea, she admitted that she intended to cause serious bodily injury to her husband through her actions. At the time of her sentencing, the trial court sentenced Raybuck to a period of incarceration of 30 months to 60 months on the first count, and 22 months to 44 months on the second count, for a total period of incarceration of 52 months to 102 months. In its sentencing determination, the trial court refused to apply a deadly weapons enhancement, which increases a sentence when a defendant utilizes a deadly weapon in the commission of the offense. The trial court determined that neither the commercial rodent poison nor the toxic household chemicals were deadly weapons. The Commonwealth appealed, and argued that a deadly weapons enhancement should have been applied, and that Raybuck should have received a longer sentence.
Three days prior to Christmas, Mr. Raybuck received an early Christmas present from the Pennsylvania Superior Court, which reversed the trial court’s refusal to consider the commercial rodent poison a deadly weapon. The Court noted that a deadly weapon is defined as “any device, implement or instrumentality designed as a weapon or capable of producing death or serious bodily injury where the court determines that the defendant intended to use the weapon to threaten or injure another individual.” The court noted that commercial mouse poison is an instrumentality used to kill rodents. When Raybuck took the poison and put it in her husband’s sandwich with the intent to poison him, it became a deadly weapon. The fortuitous failure of the poison to achieve its desired end did not change the nature of its use. The court summarized its conclusion as follows: “By design and normal usage, mouse poison kills rodents, and thus by its very nature it is toxic and dangerous. [Raybuck] attempted to exploit this characteristic in order to poison her husband. It is not necessary for the court to venture into calculations of the amount of mouse poison that the victim would have had to ingest to produce the injurious effect intended by [Raybuck] in order for the deadly weapons enhancement to apply.” Thus, the sentence on the count relating to the commercial mouse poison was reversed and remanded to the trial court with instructions to apply the deadly weapons enhancement at the time of Raybuck’s new sentence.
As to the cocktail of household chemicals that were poured into the bathtub drain, the Pennsylvania Superior Court determined that there was insufficient evidence to determine whether those chemicals, as used, constituted a deadly weapon. There was no evidence of the specific chemicals that Raybuck used in her failed attempt to produce her toxic cloud of shower gas. Even though Raybuck had intended to kill her husband with the use of those particular chemicals, there was insufficient evidence to determine that those particular chemicals were toxic in the manner in which they were utilized. As such, the trial court’s sentence on this count was affirmed.
In the end, the determination of what constitutes a deadly weapon centers not only upon the nature of the instrumentality, but also the manner in which instrumentality is utilized. If the household chemicals had been mixed into Mr. Raybuck’s lemonade, and he had drunk the chemical lemonade to wash down his mouse poison sandwich, then the outcome would have been different. In the end, however, Raybuck intended to kill her husband, and she utilized poison to accomplish her intended action. Poison is one of the oldest deadly weapons, and the Pennsylvania Superior Court got it right.
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. What do the warnings on the bottles under my kitchen sink mean? I find them confusing.
Many of the household products we use contain poisons. These include pesticides, oven cleaners, detergents, polish, paint and drain uncloggers.
Manufacturers use a low-medium-high system on labels to alert you to hazards. The following are brief descriptions
If the label on a container says “caution,” that means the contents could hurt you. For example, the product’s fumes might make you sick.
If there is a “warning” on a label, that means you could be injured seriously if you don’t handle the product properly. A “warning” on a label can mean that the contents are flammable.
“Danger” indicates that you should handle the product with extreme care, because it can be lethal. A possible explosion is among the hazards that require a danger label.
If you have an emergency with a household product, here are some steps you can take. The order of the steps depends upon the severity of the problem. You can call 911, call your poison control center at 800-222-1222, read the label for instructions and an emergency phone number.
The following are some general first-aid instructions.
If you get a poison onto your skin or in your eyes, rinse the affected area in the shower for at least 15 minutes.
If you inhale toxic fumes, get to fresh air immediately.
If poison is swallowed, do not use an emetic medicine such as syrup of ipecac to induce vomiting. Doctors no longer recommend using these medicines because there is no evidence they prevent poisons from entering the bloodstream.
And now for some tips to prevent exposure to dangerous substances:
Don’t keep flammable products inside your home.
Check household products regularly for loose caps.
Keep products in their original containers; this prevents confusion and keeps the labels around for reference.
Don’t store toxic household products near food or medicine.
Never throw these products in trash cans where children can get to them. Call your local government to find out where you can dispose of these products properly.
The following is some information about the dangers in common household products.
Paint can irritate the eyes and skin. Paint fumes can give you headaches, nausea and dizziness.
Clothes detergents, if ingested, can cause nausea, vomiting, shock, convulsions, and coma.
Ammonia fumes can irritate eyes and lungs. Never mix ammonia with chlorine bleach because the combination produces a potentially lethal gas.
Oven cleaners that contain lye can burn you and are potentially fatal if swallowed. Spray cleaners pose a threat to your lungs.
Toilet bowel cleaners rely on acids that can burn.
Mold removers can cause breathing problems.
Drain cleaners contain lye and sulfuric acid that can blind you if they splash in your eyes.
Carpet cleaners that contain perchloroethylene cause dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, loss of appetite and disorientation. Carpet cleaners that use naphthalene can damage your liver.
Furniture polish is an irritant that, if ingested, can cause nausea and vomiting.
Air fresheners contain chemicals that can irritate skin and eyes, cause fatal lung problems and brain damage. They can be highly flammable, too.
Mothballs can cause headaches, dizziness, irritation, cataract formation and liver damage.
Weed killers can irritate the eyes and skin, and cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Insect repellents can depress the central nervous system and cause forms of mental illness.
Rat killers contain warfarin, a blood-thinner. If you swallow a lot of it, it will create internal bleeding.
If you have a question, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
No Familiy Doctor This Week
Sgt. Reed J. Shave
Marine Sgt. Reed J. Shave has just returned from his second tour of duty overseas fighting the Global War on Terrorism in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Sgt. Shave served this tour of duty on the USS Whidbey Island with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit from June – December, 2006. The 24th MEU went to Afghanistan, Cyprus, Djibouti, France, Greece, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates.
This unit demonstrated outstanding versatility when they bolted from the Jordanian Desert to the Mediterranean Sea, evacuating 15,000 countrymen and women from war-torn Lebanon in less than two weeks. This was a feat unparalleled since the Vietnam War. New relationships were forged among Jordanian soldiers and Pakistani marines, bolstering vital bilateral partnerships. This unit flew combat missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. They mentored Iraqi marines and were sent into the deadly Anbar Province to hunt down enemy snipers.
Sgt. Shave has earned the Navy Achievement Medal with Combat Valor, two Combat Action Ribbons, Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, Fourth Award Expert Rifle Badge, Fourth Award Expert Pistol Badge.
Sgt. Shave trained hard and saw the world. He answered our nation’s call and made his country and family proud. Well done, Sgt. Shave, and welcome home!
Sgt. Shave is the son of Mary Ann Waddington, Lawton.
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