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Issue Home March 14, 2007 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Wrong Again, P. Jay

In last week’s article, P. Jay Amadio reported in error that I made a motion to change the non-union Voter Registrar position of Laura Watts from a part-time to a full-time position and change the title to Voter Registrar/Director of Elections at a salary of $24,500 per year. This is incorrect. I never made that motion. Roberta Kelly made a motion to table that item which was listed on the agenda, her reason being that she wanted more time to research the motion. Treasurer Cathy Benedict then seconded the motion to table the agenda item, which was then voted upon and passed by the Salary Board. Secondly, the wording for that motion in the tabled agenda item was made up and included in the Salary Board agenda by the Chief Clerk after she checked with Salary Board members MaryAnn Warren, Cathy Benedict and Jeff Loomis.

The Salary Board minutes are officially recorded for the public to view in a book of minutes available for public inspection at the Courthouse. Anyone interested can inspect these minutes in the Chief Clerk’s office. They can also call our Chief Clerk at 278-4600 ext. 100 or Cathy Benedict at Ext. 131 to confirm that this is how the motion was made, voted upon, and recorded.

The Transcript has always been fair about printing a correction or retraction when it can be proved that one of their reporters published information in error. The proof is recorded in the official book of commissioner minutes and I respectfully ask that the Transcript prints a retraction for P. Jay’s mis-information.


Jeff Loomis

County Commissioner

NOTE: Mr. Loomis, in regard to the above, we really have no idea what you are talking about. In an article in the January 31 edition of the County Transcript, Mr. Amadio inadvertently wrote that Commissioner Jeff Loomis made a motion to change the position of the voter registrar from hourly to salaried. While the motion was on the agenda, it was not made because of a successful motion by Commissioner Roberta Kelly that tabled it for further study. The Transcript regrets that error.

Still No Way!

Since P. Jay Amadio was gracious enough to devote his entire weekly column to washing my mouth out with soap for questioning the wisdom of having an attorney as a county commissioner, I think I should at least have the courtesy to respond:

First off Mr. Amadio, you wrote, " All I can conclude is that most attorneys have a sizeable office staff to take care of daily routines while they focus on the cases where the bucks can be earned." My point exactly, P Jay. As you previously pointed out, county commissioner is only a part-time job. Seems as it would be hardly worth an attorney’s valuable time, no big bucks here.

You also enlightened me to the fact (although I kind of suspected it) that most of our legislators in state and federal government are attorneys. You said it was at least that way when you were covering the State House in Trenton, NJ. I took a look at violent crime statistics and found that Trenton, NJ ranks #15 out of 350 in the list of most dangerous cities to live in, due to violent crime. Kind of hard to accept Trenton with all its lawyers as a model isn’t it? It makes me wonder why you would leave there to live here?

You also suggested that I look around and see that besides the big bucks attorneys get for defending a client in a court of law, they also do a lot of what you called "Pro Bono," or free, legal work for their families, etc. I did look around. What I saw was that us ordinary people do the same thing. We don’t have a fancy name for it like “Pro Bono” or anything like that, we simply help each other. Call it giving a helping hand, being neighborly, doing a favor or whatever, and most times that is done without even being asked. Do you think that plumbers, electricians, carpenters, mechanics, etc. do any less free work for their friends and family than an attorney does for his? I’d be willing to bet that hour-for-hour, there is no contest.

After reading and pondering your comments to my original letter, I find my thoughts and concerns have no way changed. As I stated in my original letter, I have been more than satisfied in my dealings with the prompt, courteous and professional manner of the current county commissioners. I do not believe this position requires a law degree, and I honestly believe a lawyer would drastically slow down and complicate the functions of this position.

You also make it sound as if I have a problem with the attorneys you mentioned and their political beliefs as a reason I feel as I do about this subject. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have not had the pleasure of meeting either Ms. Shelly or Mr. Giangrieco, nor do I know (or care) what their political beliefs are. I am sure they are fine individuals. And as you pointed out, they have the same constitutional right to seek an elective office as well as it is the right of a farmer or factory worker. Right you are P. Jay, but in this case, give me the farmer!


Bill Marshall

New Milford, PA

Making Green With Green

I am writing this letter to encourage all farmers and their families to attend a very important one-day conference on March 23 at the Harford, PA Volunteer Fire Hall. This conference is going to address direct marketing of products from your farms. This conference has as its featured speaker Joel Salatin, a small farmer who has turned his struggling farm into a successful family business as well as panelists who will tell you how they and their families are making a good living at farming.

Many farmers say, and understandably so, that there is no future in farming. But they are unaware that we are living in one of the best areas in the state, if not the country, to tap into a vast market that is demanding fresh, local foods. Only two hours away from New York City, a little over one hour from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area and the booming Poconos, these city folks are looking for locally produced milk, cheese, poultry, meats and eggs. I have been approached many times by retirees and second home owners to tell them where they can get these products. The ethnic market for lamb and goats is huge and growing, and there are not enough producers to meet the demand.

These are just some of the opportunities that exist right now, and there are organizations out there to connect us with these markets. Please come to this conference, “Making Green with Green – Direct Marketing Your Pasture Raised Products” and hear what can be and is being done to make small farms profitable. To register, contact Bob Wagner at the Susquehanna NRCS office at (570) 278-1011 ext. 108 or Gwendolyn Crews, NRCS Mayfield at (570) 282-8732 ext. 625. The conference cost includes lunch.


Jo-Ellen Greene

Thompson, PA

I Was Curious

After reading Mr. Amadio's two recent columns concerning the election for the Susquehanna County commissioner, I curiously checked the county website to review the commissioners’ job responsibilities. "The position of commissioner is a county-wide elected office with a term of four years. The three county commissioners constitute the chief governing body of the county. Statutory authority of the commissioners is primarily of an administrative nature with legislative or policy-making powers. The county commissioners are vested with selective policy-making authority to provide certain local services and facilities on a county-wide basis. Administrative powers and duties of the county commissioners encompass registration and elections, assessment of persons and property, human services, veterans’ affairs, appointment of county personnel, and fiscal management."

Certainly doesn't require a law degree, and as Mr. Amadio pointed out, most lawyers are already stressed with their current workloads, as is the system. The office might be better and more efficiently served by others in our community and in the rare case where legal advice is required, a lawyer could be consulted on a pro-bono or paid basis. I assume, on these rare instances, this has been the practice in the past. I have no prejudices against the legal profession, but really think a lawyer in this position would slow down the process. Whoever is elected to this position should be personally responsible to do the majority of the work and not delegate it to others outside of the county staff.


Bill Skoronski

Susquehanna, PA

Stick Together For A Change

On last week’s front page was a picture of the PA Secretary of Agriculture. Good, now he is listening. My hope is he listens to all the dairy farmers. Getting 20-year-ago prices must register to him.

Most dairy farmers are confused about the low milk price and have no one to tell who will listen. The farmers assume he will listen. They depend on his words, at the same time they keep milking more cows to make more money. Nonstop! What I am saying is, the flow of milk should stop.

Then and only then will he do something about it. The four classes of milk are wrong. The way the milk is priced is wrong. The "Capper Volsted act" is their only hope, and that is not enough, and the increase in milk each month validates this! Who collective bargains in the farmers’ best interest?

I read the market report, as should every farmer. Each month it reads an increase of milk production, showing a false indicator, and in turn statistics show the farmers must be doing all right financially or there would be a" minus" in the statistics.

Now, you and I both know that is not correct. Yes, the dairy farmers are making more milk to manage their cash flow, yet the more they make, the less they get.

Like if you printed two million newspapers each week, and only sold half a million, how long would it take you to realize you need to stop printing so many newspapers? You would surely use up your income from the paper, and I am sure the owner would not like that, and immediately stop the loss.

See, it is not hard to understand that the price the farmer gets is wrong; is it his fault, maybe?

There are solutions to the low farm gate price; one of the many solutions is to stop buying back your own milk, in the form of milk replacer. Feed calves raw milk, that would dry up one class of milk so fast the co-ops would be jumping out of windows. Next, fight for yourselves, not among yourselves! Aren’t you tired of paying people who misrepresent you?

Learn to agree and stick to it. And don't think that the large dairy farms are hurting you, they milk more cows, too! If they want to be and say that they are successful, then let them; so what. Greed has a lot to do with it also! If you get a higher price, don't worry if the large farmer does too!

Stick together for a change, understand that the statistics don't lie! Do something about it! Remember our PA Secretary of Agriculture can't change what is federally mandated, but now he wants to help.


Peter A. Seman

Thompson, PA

We Need The Task Force

I am writing in response to D.A. Jason Legg’s column of February 26, 2007. In his column, he mentioned that some people are upset with the DUI task force patrol policies. In particularly, the suspicion that police officers involved in the task force are targeting taverns and clubs in the attempt to apprehend suspected drivers under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. I know that when I was a police officer in Susquehanna Borough, I was accused by a tavern owner of targeting the area surrounding his place of business with a marked patrol car, attempting to arrest suspected drunk drivers. It was a valid suspicion on his part, because I patrolled all the areas of the borough, and it could have been the impression of the tavern owner. It was brought to my attention that in the past few years, some other owners and managers of clubs and taverns felt the police were sitting in the area of their establishments. Again, that may have been true to an extent.

But, think of it from this point of view. If a patron who had too much to drink left an establishment with the intent to drive home, or in most cases, to another tavern, and saw a marked police car parked in the area, he did not drive. He got to were he wanted to go by other means. A large part of law enforcement is prevention. So if a police car is in an area where there are suspected drunk drivers, with the intent to intimidate them from driving or arrest them for driving under the influence, it would stand to reason that it may appear to be the impression of targeting. In my area we have one tavern owner who goes above and beyond stopping her patrons from leaving her tavern and driving drunk. I have seen her take people home in her own vehicle. I have known her for many years. She is not doing this to keep the individual from being arrested; she is doing it to keep them safe. But that is only part of the story. For all of the people who feel it is unfair for police officers to target a certain area, or patrol a specific region for drivers under the influence, I would like to take just a minute to explain to them why they might want to rethink their opinion.

As many of your readers may know, I was a police officer for over 20 years, but that aside, I have been actively involved in Fire/Rescue and EMS for 40 years. If you, the individuals who object to the DUI Task Force operation, could have seen what I have seen over those 40 years, you may want to rethink your position. I am referring to all of the injured and the dead. The looks on the faces of mothers, fathers and other family members when they come through the doors of the emergency room in near hysteria, looking for their family and then finding out the worst, they’re dead. There has been an old adage that a drunk never gets hurt in a crash because he “rolls with it.” In a lot of cases that is true. But the vehicles and the people they hit do not “roll with it.” They pay the ultimate “bar tab.” Anytime you want me to back up my statement in this letter or my opinion that not only do we need a DUI Task Force, but we need it on the road as much as possible, give me a call, I will meet you at the fire station and show you pictures of what we in the Fire/EMS have had to deal with over the years because of drunk drivers. I am willing to bet that the people who are objecting to the DUI Task Force operation have lost a relative or friend in a crash. The problem is, unless you are involved in responding to the crash you forget and of course, “It can never happen to me.”

I know that I can speak for every Fire Chief, EMS Captain and firefighter in this county when it comes to doing whatever it takes to stop the DUI crash. Go to your local Fire Chief, EMS Captain, and firefighters; ask them.

In closing, the next time you hear the fire siren blowing, the ambulance, rescue and engine responding at 2 o’clock in the morning with the temperature in the single digits, that is why we need a very active, and dedicated DUI Task Force. Someone did not “roll with it” and again paid the “bar tab” for someone who was too selfish and ignorant to say, “Hey, I need a ride home.”


Dave Scales

E. M. S. Captain

Susquehanna Fire Department

A Tale Of Two Borders

This is a tale of two borders, one 6,000 miles away, the other right here at home.

The first border is one-quarter of the way around the earth. It is the boundary between Iran and Iraq. This area garners the headlines and is touted by the administration to be of the utmost importance in protecting the lives of servicemen in Iraq and the safety of citizens at home.

President Bush contends that it is through this ill-defined 2,300 mile-long stretch of mountains that men, money, and arms are being supplied to insurgents in Iraq. Iran is "allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq," said the President. He further stated his intention "to seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry... to our enemies." Clearly, this raises the specter of a regional conflict.

The other border is the American/Mexican boundary. This, too, is a corridor for contraband. The problem is best seen through the eyes of two Border Patrol Agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. These men intercepted a van loaded with 743 pounds of marijuana. The smuggler fled and the agents pursued. One agent fired his pistol in self-defense, wounding the smuggler.

Here's the upshot: the drug runner was given immunity in exchange for testifying against the border agents. He is now not only free, but is suing the Border Patrol for $5 million for violating his civil rights. That's five times the street value of the dope he was smuggling. And the border agents? They are in jail, serving an 11-year sentence.

This outrageous outcome was such that 22 congressmen sent a joint letter to the Attorney General of the U.S. Albertao Gonzales, protesting the prosecution (persecution?) of these men. Result: the agents are still in jail. They are an object lesson to all Border Patrol employees: enforcing the law can put you in the pen.

Drug smuggling is only a small part of the problem with our southern border. Family Security Matters estimates that illegals murder 2,158 Americans every year. That's nearly three times the annual number of servicemen who are killed in Iraq. Further, they have been convicted of 1.3 million crimes and account for 25% of the federal prison population.

So does the President's neglect of our own border amount to malfeasance? Yes and no. According to the Constitution, yes. His oversight is grounds for impeachment. But according to the multinational corporations, no. To them he's right on target. Open borders, and this includes Canada, is not negligence; it is the policy of the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC),

The NACC is a consortium of mega corps that are determined to merge the U.S., Canada and South America into a borderless, laissez fair trade zone. But the price for this open-marker free-for-all will be more than we want to pay. National sovereignty can have no place in this brave new world.

The tale of two borders is foremost a tale of irony. One border is an ocean away in a country where we never should have gone. Neither men, money, nor military actions are spared to seal this zone. The other boundary – of inestimable importance to the U.S. in controlling emigration, crime, and even the integrity of our culture – is allowed to fade away to nothing more than just line on a map.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

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Letters To The Editor MUST BE SIGNED. They MUST INCLUDE a phone number for "daytime" contact. Letters MUST BE CONFIRMED VERBALLY with the author, before printing. At that time you may request to withhold your name. Letters should be as concise as possible, to keep both Readers' and Editors' interest alike. Your opinions are important to us, but you must follow these guidelines to help assure their publishing.

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