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Letters to the Editor Policy

Babysitting Vs. Early Learning

It isn’t uncommon to hear the term “babysitter” used when referring to a person caring for a child in an early learning facility. While the term may be meant as a way of praise, it isn’t an accurate description.

As the Program Manager of Susquehanna County CARES (Childcare, Agencies, Resources and Educational Services), I enjoy the opportunity to share what is happening in early learning facilities throughout Susquehanna County. The community engagement group’s mission is to enhance the quality of early care and education provided in Susquehanna County and to help fulfill Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children, because every child is Pennsylvania’s future.

The term babysitter implies someone who “sits” with a baby or young child when the parent or guardian is away. This falls short of what is happening in early learning environments throughout the area. There are nearly two-dozen licensed facilities caring for children in Susquehanna County. Many participate in Pennsylvania’s voluntary early learning initiative, Keystone STARS, that requires additional staff education, staff participation in ongoing professional workshops, use of a curriculum and a learning environment that enhances development.

The state has recognized these efforts and is now recommending we refer to those who provide child care as early learning practitioners. The work they do is shaping our future. Research shows children who receive a quality educational start before the age of five have a better chance of success later in life.

April 22-28 we celebrate “Week of the Young Child.” During this week, take a few moments to think about the early learning practitioners who helped shape your life. It is wonderful to know so many are dedicated to the important job of educating our young children in a way that sets their groundwork for success.

Thank you to all early learning practitioners.


Stephnie Thornton

Program Manager

Susquehanna County CARES

More Thoughts On B-K

I quote, “The board and the administration were of the opinion that it would have been counter-productive to say the least, to attempt to answer, correct, explain, disagree with, or otherwise debate those letters appearing in the newspapers about our hospital.” I am undoubtedly in a file near Mr. Baker’s letters of comment.

I have been reminiscing about the almost regally beautiful, yet quaint, town of Susquehanna where I was born 84 years ago, and then had to witness its slow demise due to the invention of the diesel engine, thus the loss of the need for the shops, roundhouse, etc. and then the emigration of professional and business men and women to a more economically successful area.

Barnes-Kasson County Hospital is reportedly the biggest employer in this county and has the potential to put similar life and enthusiasm back into this community.

(Quote Mar. 7) “It is difficult to attract good employees. After training them it is hard to keep them.” Let me make a suggestion: there is much untapped, educated talent in this area, but financial compensation is a discouraging factor! If the “judicially responsible Board of Trustees” would call for a salary investigation and demand a pay scale on a curve with qualifications, education, and performance in any particular field, from administrator down to nurses’ aides, and even maintenance personnel, an incentive to remain long-term would be created.

After the loss of much responsibility and the loss of the Health Center, did the administrator’s salary decrease?

You may recall Lee Iacocca who completed the outstanding task of resuscitating Chrysler Corp. from a state of “endangered species” to a giant company. Similarly, the Board of Trustees of Barnes-Kasson County Hospital could elect such a leader with the proper education and experience to bring about success and reputation that this institution once had enjoyed.

Are there basic and moral ethics at risk in all of the cover-up decisions (actions on decisions made by one or two personnel) without the responsible Board of Trustees cognizant of same? Rather, there should be intelligent and serious discussions to reach satisfactory results and future effects of actions before finalizing decisions.

The formation of a Grievance Committee would be a moral and ethical plus!

This is the Board of Trustees of this institution, and I implore anyone interested in its success to encourage them to “step up to the plate,” play to win, and save their “endangered species”: Charles Aliano, Esq.; Robert Burns, President; Janet Burns; Myron DeWitt, Esq.; Warren DeWitt, MD; Sara C. Iveson, Executive Director; John Kane, Secretary; Roberta Kelly, County Commissioner; Geraldine Lamb; Genevieve Leet, Treasurer; Bhupendra Patel, MD, Med. Staff President; Evan Price; Robert Shelly, MD (emeritus); Eric Upright; Clay Weaver, Vice President.

I pray to my God that the board will muster up courage (guts) to do what is ethically and spiritually proper and good so to live happily with your conscience and we, the public, can gratefully thank you.

I challenge you all to look within!


Audrey Kerr

New Milford, PA

School Shootings & Video Games

It amazes me that people reporting on the news either act clueless as to why this sort of thing is happening in our country or automatically blame it on guns. Would they also insist the sky isn't blue?

It is obvious that if you permit children and young adults (particularly boys) to play violent video games for hours at a time, day after day, and year after year, and to grow up on an endless run of mindless, violent movies in which countless people are murdered, blown up, dismembered and tortured, their minds will be numbed to human emotion and violent death. If the military uses video games now to train its marksmen and snipers, what does that tell you?

In the frontier days and in many other countries, guns were and are commonplace, but people did/do not enter schools and take out entire groups because they're having a bad day/year/life. That is generally a new thing occurring since kids started playing video games, and since Hollywood started producing violent garbage. Kids brought up on this evil rubbish automatically deny that it has caused the real-life violence, but this is because their brains have already been damaged by the stuff and they can't see out of the box they're in.

People of my generation who were not brainwashed by it can still see faintly, but no one is listening. This country and its products are becoming evidence for the theory that maybe humans are too stupid to survive as a species.


Margaret Karmazin

Susquehanna, PA

A Procedural Error

Thompson Borough Council regrets and apologizes for any embarrassment to Linda and Michael Chesnick or Robin Plant for the inadvertent filing and publication of liens against their properties for sewer arrears. This was a procedural error that did now allow for a delay between payment and posting. The procedure of filing of liens has been amended to prevent this from happening in the future.


Thompson Borough Council

Spring Is Coming

With spring coming, it would be nice if we all got busy with our properties. It would be nice to see a major cleanup in our boroughs. Some more than others, need major cleanup. Be proud of what you have, and let’s try and keep it looking nice. The boros have garbage pickup, recycling, and special pickups, like for tires, etc.

We have men and women fighting for our country, some given their lives, and some injured seriously. This is all for us. We should be able to do one small thing, and try and help keep our country clean. Let’s be proud of what we have.

Try and put a litter bag in you car, or whatever vehicle you drive. Don’t litter the highways. It really is disgusting, to see the highways full of trash.

Let’s all take a little time, each week, and surprise yourself and your neighbor. Let’s all see what we can do, and improve our boroughs.

Please try.


Janet Smith

Oakland, PA

Grandma Was A Fish... Really

Grandma was a fish. Sounds silly, but that's the way evolution works. It starts with something simple like, for example, helium, the gas in a child's balloon. Then, after time, it forms complex atoms, then the planet earth, and finally, the beginning of life. (It's time compression here. A zillion years squeezed into two sentences.)

Life continued onward and upward to become seaweed, fish, amphibians, and finally us. So one could say with a degree of accuracy that grandma's long-ago grandparents were fish, or even seaweed.

Now evolution isn't just any change. There are about 240 different breeds of dogs. Some can fit in a teacup, others are too heavy for a man to lift. And there are about 25,000 varieties of orchids. But the dogs are all recognizably dogs and the orchids remain stubbornly orchids. No evolution here.

And there are cave insects and fish that have lost their pigment and eyesight. That's evolution in reverse. It's devolution. The sine quo non of evolution is a particular type of change, a change that incrementally changes the organism from the simple to the organically more complex.

Now granted, saying that helium – the gas in party balloons – eventually developed into a Swiss watchmaker is a bit of a stretch. Reasonably, then, extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof. So, where's the beef? Here's where we run into trouble.

Exhibit A: Lucy. A composite of scattered bone fragments, Lucy is said to be a woman, sort of. But evolution demands billions of missing links. Darwin, himself, wrote, "If my theory be true, numberless intermediate varieties . . . must assuredly have existed." In other words, the earth should have an overabundance of transitional fossils. Tellingly, they are missing. What's not missing is evidence for non-evolution.

In 1938 a fisherman caught a fish that made headlines. It was a coelacanth, a fish believed to be extinct for some 80 million years. And here it was looking exactly like its fossil ancestor. But the commonplace should not have made headlines. There are thousands of living fossils. Many can be found in your backyard: ants, bees, dragonflies, shrews, opossums, turtles, salamanders, Ginkgo trees (like the one opposite the courthouse), and unfortunately, cockroaches, although no longer the 3.5-inch variety. Excepting size, the primordial fossils look exactly like their modern-day progeny. No evolution here, either.

But watch the National Geographic, Science, or the Discovery channels and you'll be fed a banquet of evidence "proving" evolution. What is disturbing is the quality of this "evidence." It consists of imaginative explanations with computer animation. A bit flimsy. The latest rage is the evolutionary makeover from dinosaurs to birds. But, again, fanciful tales and cartoons aren't enough to convict one of a parking meter violation.

On the other hand, solid evidence which argues against evolution is never discussed. That is strictly verboten. And that should make you suspicious.

Pravda was the official news organ for the Soviet Union. In effect, it told people what to think, unwittingly instructing them not to think. Go-along-to-get-along or what psychologists call "groupthink" is indispensable in totalitarian regimes and political parties; it is essential in religious groups, and it certainly exists in science. But truth never needs protection. It thrives in the open air of inquiry, challenge, and no-holds-barred discussion. Sans these elements, beware, you're being hoodwinked – worse yet, Pravdaized.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

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