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Issue Home January 31, 2007 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

MONTROSE: One of the worst fires which has visited Montrose in over a decade occurred last evening. As a result the buildings occupied by Billings & Co., furniture dealers; L. B. Hollister, pool and billiard parlors; W. L. Carey’s grocery store; J. C. Harrington’s feed store; Geo. H. Lyon’s binders and the offices of Attorneys M. S. Allen and Selden Munger, are a mass of charred ruins, while the loss is estimated at close to $25,000, with a total $13,000 [insurance]. All the buildings which were burned were wooden structures, located on the east side of Public avenue, just above the First National Bank building, and consequently in the very heart of the business section of the town. Had it not been for the fact that the bank building was a brick structure, there is no question but what the entire east side of the avenue would have been burned, as a stiff east wind was blowing. (Uncle Avery Frink, who built the bank building, said it was fire proof.) The T. J. Davies’ building on the upper side was also in imminent danger and had the building gone it would undoubtedly have also swept away the Tarbell house [County Seat Hotel] and the Searle building, occupied by McCollum & Smith, the Montrose library [old library site] and the law offices of J. S. Courtright and Searle McCollum.

BROOKLYN: The subject of Rev. Drury’s sermon at the Universalist church next Sunday morning will be “Eve and the Apple” or “Is the consciousness of sin a benefit to the race.”

SPRINGVILLE: Last Friday morning the house of M. L. Scott was discovered to be on fire, and when help arrived the house and contents were beyond help and nothing was taken out but a chair and washer. The sad part, however, was the burning of the 10-months-old child of Mr. and Mrs. Scott, which was in bed when the alarm was given. Mr. Scott was at his barn when the fire was discovered, and although he made heroic efforts to save the child, the fire burned so rapidly that it was not done. Some of the family were turned out in their night clothes, a brother, Eugene Scott, who was sick being one of the number. As it has left the whole family without shelter or clothing they are being cared for the present by kind neighbors, and about $400 has been raised with which to help the family in their distress. There was no insurance.

CLIFFORD: A goodly number of the Methodist congregation and their friends, took it into their heads to have a frolic. They laid some plans and Friday night called on B. F. Bennett while he was taking his evening chat at one of the stores. After all had assembled Mr. B. was sent for. The lights were turned low to allay any suspicions which might have been lurking around his hat. B. F. came stamping in when all at once the lights were turned on full head and then was revealed a house full of people. As soon as he could get his tongue from the roof of his mouth, he said, well--ask Frank what he said. At the proper time dainty and abundant refreshments were served to which all did justice. Before leaving, Ella M. Stuart presented, in behalf of the friends assembled, a splendid silk umbrella. The presentation speech was apt and well received by all.

SUSQUEHANNA: Sunday morning fire was discovered in the old telegraph office of the Erie company, but of late has been used by the carpenters for their tools and the plumbing department of the Delaware division had their shop there. The fire department responded promptly and fine work was done to save the adjoining buildings, the thermometer registered below zero and work was difficult. Several of the firemen were injured, but not seriously. The loss is $10,000, which is covered by insurance.

ARARAT: “Aunt” Susan Baldwin died last Tuesday at the advanced age of 95 years. The funeral was held at the M.E. church, of which she had been a life long member, having united at the age of 9 years. AND: C. G. Mumford is making extensive preparations for improving the “first run” in the coming sugar season. He has a large evaporator, new pails, and is having a convenient building erected with all the conveniences of improved sugar making; also syrup. Mr. M. is a scientific farmer and believes in doing things on a correct plan; so we shall look for an invitation to sample the “first run.”

FOREST CITY: The “Hand of Man” company [shows called off in Susquehanna and Hallstead] seems to be an enterprise similar to the show Ed Main organized a few years ago, and which lasted only a few days. It was organized at Forest City under the management of C. C. Manzer, of that place, and started on the road Jan. 18. They were billed for Olyphant, Wednesday night; Montrose, Thursday; Hallstead, Friday; and Susquehanna on Saturday, but did not meet with the best of fortune during their first week. At Olyphant, for some reason, the play was not put on and the company, missing connections, failed to get to Montrose until nearly nine o’clock on the day they were billed to appear. At Hallstead the show went to pieces.

FLYNN, Middletown Twp.: If this fine sleighing continues for a month or two there will be less old bachelors on the hill, if I don’t miss my guess.

UNIONDALE: A unique conveyance passed through town Saturday morning. A Russian, living on the side of Moosic mountain, had a yoke of oxen hitched to a short sled on which was fastened a sap kettle and a couple of bags of grain, on which he sat comfortable riding, while a miss, 12 or 14 years of age, was leading the oxen with a rope hitched to their horns, in the fast falling snow, which was then above her shoe tops.

BROOKDALE: Mrs. Harriet Allen celebrated her 87th birthday, Jan 24. It proved a happy birthday, [even] if it was zero weather.

ST. JOSEPH: Joseph O’Connell, engineer of the Good Shepherd Laundry, also his sister, Miss Loretta, of the Scranton Private Training School, are visiting their parents here.

HOP BOTTOM: Funeral services of Martin, the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. M. Beeman, age 14, were held from their home Friday, Rev. Pope officiating. Six of his schoolmates were bearers: John Palmer, Roy Case, Claude Ellsworth, Lee Bertholf, Emmet Wood, Charles Kellum. Interment in Brooklyn Cemetery.

CRYSTAL LAKE: Samuel Dixon, health commissioner of Pennsylvania, was here Monday looking after the sanitary condition of the watershed. It is no wonder the people of the towns and cities down the valley would have an epidemic of typhoid fever and other contagious diseases. The city people will come here in the summer and go in bathing and pollute the pure waters of the lake. The lake and streams are little less than drains or sewerage for horsestables, hog pens, slaughter houses, cesspools, etc. Great water supply this is.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay


Over 500 columns

I think I told you this already but let me boast a bit if you already read it here. Last month I observed the tenth anniversary of Along the Way with P. Jay in The Susquehanna County Transcript. And whether you like or dislike what I write here, I thank you for reading this column and for the many, many phone calls and letters, good and bad.

Wow! Even with time off for some nasty illnesses, I have written over 500 columns for this paper. I think Chuck Ficarro deserves a round of applause for tolerating me all these years.

Anyhow, since I joined The Transcript and met so many nice people, my perception of Susquehanna County has changed considerably. Oh, I am still about as popular in the county as George W. is in the nation but after a while a columnist learns to take the heat or get out of the kitchen. And I have been writing newspaper columns since 1959. Anyhow, let me say this. Some of the nicest people I have ever met during my tenure on this earth, are residents of Susquehanna County.

In one of my columns, I believe I gave you my list of the top 10 area politicians. Remind me before I stop writing Along the Way to give you my list of the 10 worse politicians.

Story time

In the meantime, let me tell you a little story that is as true as I am sitting here.

A few months ago, Ed Tourje resigned from the Susquehanna County Railroad Authority. I served on the Rail Committee with Ed before it became an authority and, if anyone was ever an asset to an organization, Ed Tourje was a godsend to the rail committee. Anyway, I was asked if I would consider taking Mr. Tourje‚s place on the authority. I touched base with Ed before I accepted and he endorsed my acceptance.

So, last June I joined the Susquehanna County Railroad Authority.

Anyhow, about a month ago I came down with Bronchitis and when I say down, I mean DOWN. I just could not shake it. Was treated at the emergency room at Marian Community Hospital and that helped some but it just refused to go away. The doctor at the emergency room – and he was a good one – suggested I stay indoors until the Bronchitis lets up or else I risk getting pneumonia. My own doctor gave me some prescriptions and it also helped some but the Bronchitis lingered.

I missed one rail authority meeting and another one was coming up and I was still confined to my home with the Bronchitis. During the 17 years that I have been covering the county courthouse, I have attended a number of meetings where members of the board of commissioners participated in meetings from their homes, from hospital beds, and from out of area conferences and conventions. And I know most of the calls were reverse charges. So, I called the county and asked for the rail authority chairman. In a few minutes, Rowland Sharp, chairman of the authority, called me back. He said he had no problem with my participating in the meeting from my home.

Some Loomismatics

Commissioner Jeff Loomis was at the meeting and he asked to speak to me. He then said I could participate in the meeting but only if I hung up and called back so that I would end up paying for the phone call. The members of the Railroad Authority are all volunteers. No one gets paid a red cent. On the other hand, your county commissioners, who are classified as part-time employees, are paid over $800 a week, plus expenses that includes reimbursement for toll calls, mileage and meals, a benefit package and a retirement plan. I have been at meetings where county commissioners participated by phone from other parts of the state and it was accepted practice.

My friends, it isn't a matter of a few bucks for a phone call. It’s a county commissioner trying to show how frugal he can be. It’s a county commissioner who rejected a pay raise for a six-year county employee despite the fact that her raise is included in a state grant that pays the cost of the program she runs. And it also is the same county commissioner who last week tried to give a county employee with 7 months on the job an $83 a week pay raise. How fortunate the county is that Commissioner Roberta Kelly flagged Jeff’s motion and succeeded with the help of Treasurer Cathy Benedict in having it tabled.

'Nuf sed!


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

I am always amazed by the social acceptance of DUI offenses by a large part of the population. For instance, I have been at different establishments where persons are drinking and openly comparing notes on their DUI experiences, including different strategies to use to keep a driver’s license or evade detection. There is no embarrassment over being arrested and convicted, and seemingly little remorse or reflection over the experience. During these “informational” discussions, I have never heard anyone acknowledge the science of alcohol impairment and how it impacts upon reaction time, perception, and coordination – all of which are critical functions for safe driving.

The willingness of people to accept, to some degree, impaired driving was driven home again recently when someone called me to say they had heard people complaining that I had created a countywide law enforcement task force for a weekend patrol to target drunk drivers. The complaints had nothing to do with the cost of such a task force – the task force is not using tax dollars but is funded through monies paid into the criminal justice system by defendants. The complaints apparently arose from the fear of being pulled over on a weekend night by a task force officer. Of course, no one has anything to worry about – unless they intend upon driving drunk.

But therein lies the entire problem because the sad reality is that most people believe that they can tell when they are too drunk to drive safely. Most people have never really looked at the research on alcohol impairment and how it affects driving skills. While the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) in Pennsylvania is .08% for an adult driver, scientific studies have demonstrated that impairment of bodily functions from alcohol starts at a level well below .08%. For instance, the ability to divide your attention between what is immediately in front of you and dangers in your peripheral visions begins to diminish at a BAC of .02%. A single alcoholic beverage will generally place the consumer at this level – and the impairment of critical operating skills has begun. At a BAC level of .05%, there is an increased inability to keep a vehicle in its lane of traffic, a marked impairment in vision functions, and reaction time has already been impaired. Even at these “legal” levels, there is impairment of the ability to operate a motor vehicle – but as a society we have agreed to accept these impairments and allow persons to lawfully operate a motor vehicle. It is only after the alcohol consumption has reached levels in excess of .08% that criminal charges result. It is important to understand that these numbers have not been arbitrarily selected or imposed as a means to spoil the party – the BAC levels are based upon years of scientific research clearly demonstrating significant impairments resulting from such alcohol consumption and the inherent dangers of an impaired individual getting behind the wheel of an automobile while under such impairment.

No matter what I say, the doubting Thomas will remain, and brag about his or her super human abilities to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated. It is the “not me” attitude that leads to the braggart at the bar that openly scoffs at the DUI statute and openly criticizes the police officers that work so hard to pull over an impaired driver before they destroy an innocent life. It is the “not me” attitude that runs blindly down the road to tragedy. The “not me” attitude can easily turn into a “why me” attitude as the impaired driver sits on the side of the road wondering how the accident could have happened. If the impaired driver is lucky, the accident did not kill someone. If the impaired driver is unlucky, he may never have the opportunity to ask, “Why me?” as his foolish action may have taken his own life, or he may ask. “Why me?” from the back of a patrol car as he watches the coroner take away the lifeless body of someone who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Over the last 18 months, four drunk drivers killed four people in Susquehanna County – and each of those drivers said, “Not me” before getting into their automobile. Those drunk drivers are now sitting in state prison asking, “Why me?” The goal of the DUI task force is simple – protect the public from drunk drivers and protect drunk drivers from themselves.

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. I was wondering if older people get bad breath more than younger folks.

I could find no direct correlation between aging and halitosis, which is the fancy term for bad breath. However, I’m going to take a couple of educated stabs at the issue raised in this question.

Many older people have dentures. If they don’t fit correctly or are not cleaned often, they can collect food and bacteria; both can lead to bad breath.

Dry mouth (xerostomia) is a condition that allows dead cells to accumulate in your mouth, creating bad breath. Most xerostomia is related to the medications taken by older adults rather than to the effects of aging. More than 400 medicines can affect the salivary glands.

The following are causes of bad breath:

Any food stuck in your teeth. It will decay and give off an odor.

Some foods such as onions, garlic, spices and herbs. They contain substances that create bad breath when digested.

Alcoholic beverages. Alcohol, itself, is odorless, but many alcoholic beverages contain ingredients that leave a telltale odor.

Periodontal (gum) diseases and canker sores

Diseases of the lung, kidney, liver, stomach and pancreas.

Sinus infections, strep throat, tonsillitis and mononucleosis.

Smoking. This dries the mouth and causes an odor of its own.

Severe dieting.

Here are some ways to prevent bad breath:

Brush your teeth after you eat.

If you wear a denture, clean it at least once a day.

Floss daily or use another interdental cleaner such as a high-power electric toothbrush.

Brush your tongue, which can collect bacteria and food particles.

Drink water to moisten your mouth.

Chew sugarless gum. It stimulates saliva production and collects debris.

Buy a new toothbrush several times annually.

Get a dental examination.

Mouthwashes and breath-fresheners of all kinds mask odors for a while; they are not preventives. Many antiseptic mouth rinses, however, have been accepted by the American Dental Association for their therapeutic benefits and also have breath- freshening properties. These rinses kill the germs that cause bad breath instead of simply hiding halitosis.

At times, most of us worry about having bad breath. It’s no surprise that there are so many products out there to combat the problem. But, those of us who worry about it usually are doing something to prevent it. Bad breath is found more often in people who neither know nor care that they have it.

This brings me to a condition worth mentioning. There is a psychiatric condition called “delusional halitosis.” This is linked to depression. One patient with this delusion used up to a tube of toothpaste every four days.

I read another study which demonstrated that the people who try to smell their own breath tend to think their breath smells worse than it does. Best advice I found was to ask a family member or good friend to give you an accurate assessment.

If you have a question, please write to

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ASK The Family Doctor
By Dr. Richard Hacker

No Familiy Doctor This Week

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Veterans’ Corner

No Veterans' Corner This Week

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From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Are the animals used in classroom dissection taken from the wild? If so, wouldn't this be endangering their populations? Are there other environmental issues associated with classroom dissection?

William Conway, via e-mail

According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), most animals used in dissection – including amphibians, birds, snakes, turtles, fish and invertebrates – are taken from the wild, even though many have been declining in population. Smithsonian Institution researchers who surveyed 14 major dissection supply catalogs found only one that offered "farm-raised" amphibians; none of the others verified their sources.

Researchers from the World Conservation Union reported in 2004 that a third of all amphibian species around the globe, including frogs, were threatened with extinction. Although habitat loss, pollution and climate changes are the primary causes, demand for dissection specimens only makes matters worse. Analysts estimate that as many as six million wild frogs are destroyed each year in the U.S. alone for dissection.

Taking frogs from the wild also increases insect populations, including those that carry disease. Frogs eat more than their weight in bugs every day. Farmers the world over have long relied on frogs to keep crops pest-free, but a lack of frogs in recent years has led many farmers to switch to pesticides. Concerns about this prompted India to ban frog sales in 1987. India had been earning $10 million yearly on frog exports, but was spending $100 million importing insecticides, according to the group Mercy for Animals.

The use of formaldehyde in preserving animal specimens is also a concern. Classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a "hazardous air pollutant, water pollutant and waste constituent," formaldehyde can cause nausea, headaches and breathing difficulties in people, and has been linked to cancer in animal studies. Teachers and students involved in frequent dissections are exposed to it regularly. Further, schools discard millions of formaldehyde-laden classroom specimens each year, raising questions about its effects on the larger ecosystem as well.

Animal advocacy groups and some educators also question dissection on both practical and ethical grounds. While it is intended to interest students in science, they say, it may be having an opposite affect while also encouraging cruelty to animals outside class. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a 1997 study of seventh graders found that fetal pig dissections fostered callousness toward animals and dissuaded students from pursuing science careers. PCRM also cites surveys where as many as 90 percent of students said they should be able to opt out of dissection.

A number of computer-based teaching tools now on the market provide alternatives to live animal dissection. Digital Frog International’s award-winning "Digital Frog 2” allows a student to "dissect" a computer-generated frog with a digital scalpel. The non-profit TeachKind provides a comprehensive online listing of such resources. Nine U.S. states – Florida, California, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Illinois, Virginia, Oregon and New Jersey – now have laws that allow students to beg out of cutting animals and to use such alternatives. Other states have implemented policies that serve a similar purpose.


Dear EarthTalk: What are the pros and cons of marine aquaculture, of raising ocean fish instead of catching them in the wild?

Jeanne L., Norwalk, CT

Marine aquaculture, an age-old practice in parts of Asia, has grown in popularity in western countries in recent years in response to dwindling supplies of wild fish in the world’s oceans. According to the Pew Oceans Commission, a blue-ribbon panel of fisheries and marine biology experts, high-tech fishing practices, such as drift netting, have led to a potentially irreversible decline in populations of key seafood species. Some shark, tuna and cod species have declined as much as 90 percent in the past few decades.

Most marine biologists agree that, as human population continues to grow worldwide, there will not be enough wild-captured fish to meet demands for seafood. Aquaculture, "The propagation and rearing of aquatic organisms in controlled or selected environments," as defined by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is seen by many as the best way to fill the gap. Currently aquaculture supplies about 30 percent of the world’s seafood, up from just four percent 30 years ago.

James McVey of NOAA's Sea Grant program says aquaculture can reduce the need for seafood imports and provide jobs for coastal communities. "The U.S. currently brings in $10 billion in seafood from other countries," he says. "With increased production capacity, our higher yields from aquaculture will bring down this trade deficit, and improve food security – where we’re not as reliant on other nations for food."

But aquaculture’s down sides give many scientists pause. Studies indicate that, despite the promise of reducing pressures on wild fish, aquaculture requires two pounds of wild-caught fish to use as feed to make one pound of farmed fish. Further, says SeaWeb, breeding farms – where thousands of fish, and their waste, are concentrated – breed diseases that can then escape and contaminate wild fish populations.

To control such outbreaks, many fish farmers treat their stocks with antibiotics that can also make their way into the oceans and wreak havoc. The farmed fish themselves also escape from their pens and interbreed with and take over habitat traditionally occupied by wild populations. Another major problem with aquaculture, according to SeaWeb, is its destruction of natural habitats. The group blames shrimp farming, for example, for destroying coastal mangrove forests in the Philippines, Thailand and elsewhere.

But many scientists do feel that aquaculture has the potential for helping the world’s marine ecosystems rebound – if it is done conscientiously. Among other things, SeaWeb recommends that fish farmers avoid using drugs to fight disease and that governments do more to regulate and police aquaculture operations to make sure otherwise pristine waters are not fouled and sensitive coastal ecosystems are not damaged.

According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's "Seafood Watch" program, the greatest power to end irresponsible aquaculture rests with consumers. The organization’s website offers tips on which kinds of farmed seafood to buy and which to avoid. While no one person’s choices will improve the environment dramatically, collectively consumers can play a role in how producers treat the ecosystems they utilize.

CONTACTS: NOAA,; SeaWeb’s “Ocean Briefings: Marine Aquaculture,”; Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Regional Seafood Guides,

GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at:, or e-mail: Read past columns at:

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