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Proclamation Weather Emergency Preparedness Week March 11-17, 2007

WHEREAS, in June 2006, severe flooding once again impacted many Pennsylvania communities, resulting in widespread damage to public and private property;

WHEREAS, of the range of natural disasters that can occur in the Commonwealth, flooding is by far the most common, due in part to our mountainous terrain and our nation-leading 83,000-mile network of rivers, creeks and streams, Pennsylvania being recognized as one of the most flood-prone states in the nation;

WHEREAS, heavy rains and flash flooding may result in extensive damage to roads, streets, bridges, private homes, and businesses, and may cause other adverse impacts upon the general population Pennsylvania;

WHEREAS, it is the responsibility of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Council to assist state, county and municipal governments in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from these disasters;

WHEREAS, each year, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), along with county emergency management officials and the U. S. National Weather Service, administers a week-long weather emergency preparedness program to alert citizens and elected officials to severe weather related dangers;

WHEREAS, in addition to educational and public information programs, the March 15 statewide exercise provides county and local emergency personnel, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and day care centers the opportunity to test the effectiveness of their emergency response plans and procedures;

WHEREAS, the Pennsylvania Emergency Alert System, which provides an essential communications link between government and citizens during an emergency, will be tested statewide through over 400 radio and television stations and;

WHEREAS, in recognition of the need to adequately prepare for emergencies and as support for these educational and training program we, the Susquehanna County Commissioners, do hereby proclaim March 11-17, 2007, as Weather Emergency Preparedness Week.

Given under our hands this 28th day of February in the year of our Lord, two thousand and seven, and of the Commonwealth the two hundred and thirtieth.

Roberta Kelly

Jeffrey I. Loomis

MaryAnn Warren

Susquehanna County Commissioners

It Is Very Dangerous

I read each week about the toxic mold. Mold grows in low Ph conditions, like damp spaces, whether in walls or basements. It grows fast and is very dangerous.

There are different kinds of molds. It almost seems to me that molds are affecting people differently today. Cheese and some meats are sometimes covered with mold, it is bluish and green sometimes. That does not mean that the food is not good. Its cover actually enhances the taste of the food. This mold is usually washed away by decreasing the Ph ,with vinegar, or high acid solution.

However, most molds can be killed by simply increasing the Ph on the surface that they grow. Has anyone heard of whitewash? Lime and water, remember Tom Sawyer? Wood has many open pores and molds can rot wood away quickly. In dairy barns, the farmers whitewash whenever the barns get dirty or discolored, by state and federal law.

Whitewashing does kill most molds and does increase the Ph of the surfaces, also creating ammonia in a simple form, killing germs. Whitewashing will work even on the worst molds, however sometimes it is not practical, like you don't whitewash your bathroom, but you could whitewash your basement!

However, simple products that do kill or reduce mold growth are probably in your cupboards. Like baking soda and chlorine. Chlorine to kill most of the mold, and baking soda to raise the Ph level.

Lime is natural and whitens the surface too, so it protects in many ways. The white color allows sunlight to reflect, in turn molds don't grow in sunlight. It is ground limestone, a rock, and allows moisture to pass in and out. It does not seal the surface. I feel that any wood used today to build anything should be treated with some substance to increase the Ph in the wood’s surface.

Most woods today are kiln dried, and if handled correctly, may not need to be treated. However, in natural disasters like we saw this past spring and summer, where germ-filled water got into every nook and cranny and mold started to grow, you all need to know to be careful. Treat what you can yourself with the simple products that are readily available to you, and always read the label.


Peter A. Seman.

Thompson, PA

Dairy Farmers Must Decide

On Thursday, February 22, Federal Judge Jack Zouhary, representing the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio (Western Division), has thrown another dagger into the hearts of dairy farmers. Judge Zouhary has ruled that the USDA can implement their decision to allow a further deduction from dairy farmers’ announced prices by about 25 cents per cwt. This money will be transferred from dairy farmers’ milk checks to the bank accounts of the milk handlers who process raw milk into manufactured products.

Judge Zouhary said that Section 608(c)18 of the 1937 Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act (AMAA) is ambiguous, having more than one meaning. Therefore, the judge said that while dairy farmers may be hurt financially if the increase in “make allowance” is allowed to be implemented, on the other hand, milk handlers will be hurt worse if they do not obtain the dairy farmers’ 25 cents per cwt!

Dairy farmers, you must decide!

Many people are gearing up for the new farm bill. Many of the suggestions being proposed are not in the best interests of agricultural producers, especially dairy farmers. We have proposed a dairy bill that would determine the dairy farmers’ pay price based on the national average cost of production. The proposed dairy bill contains a national price for manufactured milk, but it also calls for a national price for Class I milk (fluid). Why not?

The dairy bill does not restrict milk production, but it does contain an inventory management program. The proposed bill also eliminates the dairy farmers’ responsibility for having to pay milk hauling charges. Furthermore, the proposed bill eliminates “make allowance” from being deducted from the dairy farmers’ prices!

Dairy farmers must decide if they want their production costs brought into a new pricing formula, or are you going to follow the people who are preaching the philosophy that the answer to the dairy farmers’ pricing problems is the “global market.”

I do not think any of us are against exporting dairy products. However, we have a grave concern if we think the export markets can or should play a major role in establishing stable prices for dairy farmers. Shouldn’t we first stabilize prices to our dairy farmers and then concentrate on “world markets”?

Does anyone remember the early 1970’s? This was when the Nixon Administration encouraged grain farmers to produce grain from “hedgerow to hedgerow” and “fence post to fence post.” Supposedly, the United States had the corn market “cornered.” However, when the grain embargo was implemented against the Soviet Union, our grain producers were left holding the bag.

Also, in the 1970’s, the production of milk in the US was completely in line with the domestic market. However, again, the Nixon Administration showed its true colors when they opened up the flood gates of milk product imports. Those imports caused havoc with dairy farmers’ prices.

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) is encouraging dairy farmers to produce more for the “global market.” US Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns and some of his people are promoting the “global market” as the savior of the dairy farmers.

Again, dairy farmers must decide and decide soon how you want your milk priced. If you do not decide, then other people will decide for you!

The Canadian government has said they plan to reduce the amount of imported milk protein concentrate (MPC) coming into Canada. Last year, the imports of MPC into Canada increased by 82% over the previous year (some came from the US). By the way, has the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ever approved MPC as a legal ingredient to be used in our food industry?

There are other proposals regarding dairy farmers’ prices that we will analyze next week.


Arden Tewksbury

Meshoppen, PA

Reform Is Needed

Governor Rendell has plans for increasing funding to PennDOT by increasing the registration fee and fuel tax. Increasing the registration fee would mean the retired person that only drives 500 miles a year, to church, the doctor, and food store would pay as much as someone who drives 100,000 miles a year. Increasing the fuel tax would mean those that cause the most wear and tear would pay more. We never like to see taxes go up, but the fuel tax is the fairest tax to pay for our roads.

The next question is, do we just want to give PennDOT more of our money? We all know many good, hard working PennDOT employees. Also, from what I saw and heard, PennDOT did an outstanding job in dealing with last June’s flood.

Unfortunately, outstanding is not normally a word associated with PennDOT; dysfunctional is more nearly descriptive of PennDOT. Normally we don’t all see this at once, but the Valentine’s Day storm has brought this to everyone’s attention. Our neighboring states and on up into New England were able to deal with similar weather. Some blame drivers that were unprepared or didn’t need to be on the roads, and surely this is true, however, I’m sure this was equally true in other states. Locally, PennDOT did just fine with this storm.

We’ve all seen road problems that PennDOT workers drive by, day after day, but when PennDOT in Montrose is called, they know nothing about it. A labor or management problem? Probably both. A pothole patched and the next, just as bad skipped, a few feet of ditching, then to the other side of the county for a few feet, then to another spot as far away as possible, rather than doing one whole road or section of the county. The only strategy seeming to be, if you spend a day moving equipment, you don’t have to work that day.

In my opinion, PennDOT needs real reform. There needs to be accountability from both labor and management. If you agree, contact our state officials. If they hear little from the public, the governor will appoint a task force, maybe a scapegoat or two will be fired, there’ll be a new paint scheme or decal on the door and we’ll be back to business as usual.

This incompetence has continued under governors of both parties. Both parties need to get behind real reform. If you were a company looking for a location for a new factory, knowing the condition of the roads, would you pick Pennsylvania?

In my opinion, there should be no increase in funding until there is some real reform at PennDOT.

Contact the governor, your state senator and representative. I have. Then again, maybe you think it’s okay for PennDOT to shut down a bridge lane most everyday on I-81 for patching. If that’s okay, don’t write.


Bill Bayne

Hallstead, PA

A Miracle Occurred

A wise woman told me recently that when a miracle occurs, we must let people know. That same person stood up in her church and told of a miracle and brought tears to parishioners’ eyes.

The miracle happened to a 12-year old girl who discovered a lump on the side of her throat. Her mother had her examined by her pediatrician, who ordered tests that determined that she would have to see a Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist. The ENT doctor diagnosed it as a large nodule attached to the thyroid and, because of her age and the size of the nodule, the doctor felt it was cancerous, and more than likely the whole thyroid would have to be removed along with the nodule. The doctor stated that it was rare that this particular condition should occur in a child this young.

Several tests were done prior to surgery that showed a normal functioning thyroid gland, which confused the ENT doctor. He decided to consult with his protégé's at Sloan Kettering Hospital and see what their opinions and suggestions would be. The doctors there felt that a normal functioning thyroid was next to impossible with this condition, and found the results of the tests hard to believe. Their collective opinion was that the nodule and thyroid had to come out and would prove to be cancerous. The operation was performed. The doctor took the nodule and only one half of the thyroid gland out. Tests on the nodule were negative for cancer, and the remaining half of the thyroid is expected to provide enough hormones so that the child will live a normal life without the addition of chemotherapy.

This little girl went through surgery with grace, poise and confidence. Her only concerns were her mother and her best friend, who was on her way to Philadelphia to have heart surgery.

The child is back to normal activities and just turned 13 a few days ago. She celebrated it with her best friend.

Heaven was bombarded with prayers for this little girl from family, friends, co-workers, prayer groups at churches and in homes. I firmly believe that through this power of prayer, a miracle occurred. This child's name is Devon Marie, and I am proud to tell you she is my granddaughter.


Marie Gulbin

Union Dale, PA

Imagine That

There's a new acronym on the block: EFP, short for Explosively Formed Penetrator. It replaces the outmoded IED, Improvised Explosive Device. EFPs, you see, are no longer "improvised." They are sophisticated Buck Rogers weaponry that are being smuggled into Iraq by the Iranian government. And they're killing our troops in record numbers. Well, there's a few things wrong with that statement – in a word, everything.

Starting in the Mission Accomplished year of 2003, IEDs were just that. A few artillery shells wired together and hidden under a pile of rubble. When a military vehicle passed by, it was detonated. The U.S. countered with thicker armor, and the insurgents trumped this with shaped charges (SC) also called EFPs.

A SC is exactly the same as an EFP – just doesn't sound hi-tech enough. Fact is, EFPs are old-tech. In WW II, it was the SC in a ten-pound German Panzerfaust that gave it the punch to knockout a 26-ton Russian T-34 tank. Except for the hyped-up acronym, EFPs are neither new nor "sophisticated."

Nevertheless, by whatever name – IEDs, or SCs, or EFPs – these devices have made road travel so dangerous that greater use is made of the vastly less efficient and more costly helicopter transport. But the insurgents now have choppers in their cross hairs, too.

Surface-to-air, man-portable missiles are being smuggled across the border from Iran and are available on the black market. The U.S. supplied thousands of these missiles – Stingers – to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Leftover Stingers are making their way to Iran and Iraq. Also, there are stockpiles of Soviet SA-7s that came on the black market after the fall of the Soviet Union.

President Bush: "I can say with certainty that... a part of the Iranian government has provided these sophisticated IEDs that have harmed our troops." He went on to imply that the Iranian government is aiding the smugglers by having an open-border policy and demanded that the border be sealed.

Would that the President were as concerned about our southern border. The 2,300 mile Iran/Iraq is a mountainous no man's land. It is impossible to seal. Smugglers can walk across this border as easily as illegals transverse the two-thousand mile Mexican border.

And despite the President's "certainty," there is no evidence that the Iranian government per se is sponsoring, supporting, or is in any way complicit in the availability of these missiles.

Lastly, are these EFPs and surface-to-air missiles killing our troops in record numbers? The military has conjured up the figure of 170 G.I.s killed by these ordnances. That's about 5% of U.S. combat fatalities, not exactly "record numbers."

However, it is incontrovertible that America is in a precarious position in the Mideast. Only one other scenario presents a comparable danger.

Imagine a warring nation, one with a leader who has dodged combat, yet commands others to do what he has evaded; a leader with a history of drug abuse, an alcoholic, and a compulsive gambler. Picture this man imbued with a martyr's faith in his ability to make inerrant decisions. Now, visualize this leader with his back against the wall and a shaky finger poised on the nuclear red button. Imagine that.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

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