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Issue Home May 2, 2007 Site Home

100 Years Ago
Along the Way...With P. Jay

From the Desk of the D.A.
The Healthy Geezer
Straight From Starrucca
Veterans’ Corner

100 Years Ago

FRIENDSVILLE: While Merchant Hugh Matthews was returning home from a business trip to Binghamton last Saturday, his horse dropped. Bad luck for Hugh.

FRANKLIN TWP.: There will be phones added to the Peoples Mutual Independent Telephone Co. line as follows: James Webb, Fred Webb, Jacob Warner, Wm. Webb (2), Chas. Welch, Edson Rhinevault, Chas. Palmer, W. L. Bailey, G. H. Smith and Harry Vance.

DUNDAFF: Howard Phinney has purchased 200 pigeons. He intends to supply the market with squabs.

DIMOCK: A. H. Button drives his fine pair of colts on the milk wagon from Parkville to the Dimock milk station. AND: The librarian of the Dimock Free Library wishes to say that in addition to our 7 or 800 volumes of fiction history, science, etc., we have the Delineator; McClures, Cosmopolitan, Success Magazine, Bird Lore, Forest Leaves, Everybody’s Magazine, American Boy, St. Nicholas, Woman’s Home Companion, Country Life in America and Harper’s Bazaar.

FLYNN: Fred Dimon has finished digging holes for the telephone line to Friendsville.

HARFORD: It seems that our friend [Wallace] Thatcher can never be easy unless he is historically busy. It was passion that afflicted him in his youth. Little did he think when he attended the first fair of the Harford Agricultural Society, 1858, that he would be called on a half century later to write its whole history. But the instinct that led him to be putting down facts, writing diaries, saving fair badges, and preserving files of newspapers, has served him well. The book is nearing completion. Had the Harford fair reaped its old time harvests, the managers would have published this book unaided. Bad weather made a low treasury, and they ask the public to generously help and attend the approaching July 4th celebration on the fair grounds, the proceeds of which will be appropriated to its printing.

SCRANTON: A Black Hand outrage was perpetrated in Scranton last week, when the rectory of St. Joseph’s church was dynamited. It wrecked the building and threw the pastor out of bed. There are two factions in the church, and the one opposed to Fr. Yankola is supposed to know something about the daring deed.

FOREST CITY: There was an extremely pathetic feature in connection with the death of John Vovack who was crushed by a fall of rock in the Leggett’s Creek mine Friday. His wife and three children reached there, from the old country, just about the time he was killed. Vovack had been here several months and had earned sufficient money to pay for their passage. He sent it to them and Friday went into the mine intending to work half a day, so that he could be on hand to meet them. While at work in his chamber, he was so filled with happiness that he failed to notice the roof was bad, and it crushed him to earth. It was three hours before the body could be recovered, but from the first there was no hope that the man was alive.

SUSQUEHANNA: With the revelation of the state of the labor conditions in the Erie shops here, the truth of the statements made by President Underwood, of that road, published recently, is made apparent. According to inside reports, direct from Susquehanna, that town is on the verge of a volcano and a strike involving nearly 1,000 men is likely to be called at any time. The superintendent of the Erie shops at that place states that Susquehanna is considered the hotbed of all the labor troubles of the road and that, rather than give in one point, the shops will be closed there. In that case it is easy to see that the time is probably not far distant when Binghamton will be their location. The businessmen of the town and the whole population of the village are alarmed over the prospective removal of the shops and all efforts are being made towards reconciliation.

GREAT BEND: Claire Rickard, aged 13, son of Miles Rickard, who resides about 1½ miles out of town on the Windsor road, was accidentally shot in one of his feet Monday afternoon. He was out gunning for hawks and while stopping a moment rested the cocked gun, muzzle downward, on one of his shoes. The next instant there was an explosion and one of his toes was instantly missing. The front end of the shoe had been torn away and not a fragment of the lost toe could be found. It is fortunate that the gun was pointing down instead of up, as a person can better afford to lose a toe than his head.

BROOKLYN: I. S. Tewksbury, who has been on the sick list for a long while, is around again and has resumed his duties as sexton of the M. E. church, being the oldest sexton in the county; his age is 88 years.

LAWSVILLE: The team of Timothy Shea ran away last Sunday, depositing milk cans and milk along the road in great profusion. The team was caught by Harry Vance near Franklin Forks.

HOP BOTTOM: They have decided to tear down the old creamery and build all new. Several men are engaged for the work. Mr. McGraw, who expects to superintend the building of the new creamery, occupies rooms in the Barney house.

NEW MILFORD: That New Milford will have a bank is now a certainty, and that, too, as soon as the forces at work can effect the final steps. The work of organization was accomplished at the Grange hall on Thursday. The bank will be known as the Grange National Bank of Susquehanna County.

MONTROSE: Photographer E. D. Bronson has something entirely new in the post card line. It is the reproduction in natural tints by a photographic process, the scene as presented to the eye, without the over coloring common among the majority of hand-colored or imported cards. It is the subtle richness of the tints and shades, which makes them so effective, specimens of the work in the case in front of the Bronson studio having attracted considerable attention during the week. Although highly superior and more expensive to produce, former prices prevail and already they are in big demand by post card collectors.

NEWS BRIEF: Don’t sit cross-legged. Doctors say it is one of the causes of appendicitis.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay


Is it time for new leader?

I have been a member of the Susquehanna County Railroad Authority for the past 11 months. However, I am not new to most of the members because I served with them on the county’s Railroad Committee when it was organized for the purpose of pursuing the idea of forming an authority.

I have not written much about the authority because most of the business it conducts is in executive sessions behind closed doors. However, while I agree with some of the topics discussed in executive sessions, I think a part of the authority’s responsibility should include keeping the county taxpayers aware of what is going on. I cannot do it because I am not even privy to some of the goings on until the top dog is ready to tell all of us.

I can understand subjects like discussing or negotiating land purchases being kept under lock and key unless or until a purchase agreement is signed. And, if there is a need to dress down any authority member/s, I believe that should also be done in executive session. However, from the first meeting I attended through this very day, I opposed the authority’s refusal to allow county commissioners to attend executive sessions.

Since its inception, it has been the practice of the authority to remain aloof from the county commissioners. True, the authority is supposed to be autonomous and, as such, should have the freedom to do its business on a vote of its own, free from any interference. However, there are times when the county commissioners, who must answer to their constituents, deserve to be told what is going on. It can be pretty frustrating not to mention embarrassing for the commissioners when they are asked what if any progress is being made by the authority and they have to say they don’t know.

It is also true that the Commissioners Roberta Kelly and MaryAnn Warren have been regular attendees at the authority’s meetings but it wasn't until very recently that they have been allowed to stay for executive sessions. And, this was done because the authority members finally realized they need some help from the commissioners to proceed with their projects.

My friends, let me digress for a moment and tell you that something happens to certain individuals as soon as they become affiliated with municipal, county, state or national governments. Don’t get me wrong, there are those who are dedicated to the purpose for which they pursue successful elections or accept appointments. But, trust me, they are in the minority.

Ever notice the looks of school directors when they are seated at a board of education meeting? Stern faces and seldom a smile. They look like a parole board deciding the fate of a prisoner. They act like throwbacks to the old days when teachers paraded through the aisles with a frown on the face and a ruler in hand. But meet some of these same directors at a party or on the street and they are completely different. Friendly and all smiles.

Where was I before I got off the track. Track, that’s it, the Railroad Authority.

As I said earlier, for the longest time, the authority wanted no part of the county commissioners. It was a perfect example of biting the only hand that could feed you. It all changed when the authority needed to borrow money for land acquisition and operating expenses. Apparently the feeling was that the authority’s executive committee (the three officers) could walk into a bank and the vaults would just automatically open up and spew dollars at them.

Now you and I know it just doesn't work that way but when a person’s head gets too big for his hat, he thinks differently. The bank asked for collateral and the authority members froze in their tracks (no pun intended). Suddenly they realized they needed the county’s borrowing strength. Sort of like that uncle you never visited until you heard that you were in his will.

The authority asked the commissioners to cosign the loan and the commissioners hesitated. Not because they were against the authority but because they wondered, as did many others, where the authority intended to get the money to meet the loan payments. And that’s about where things stood after the last meeting.

But don’t kid yourselves folks. The railroad authority was an excellent idea. Given the proper leadership, it could play a very important role in the future growth of Susquehanna County.

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

In September 2004, there was a shooting in Philadelphia, and, during the course of the investigation, a defendant admitted to a police officer that the gun used in the shooting was inside his apartment. The defendant then gave consent to the police officer to enter his apartment to search for the firearm. As the officer was searching for the weapon, he saw a handwritten letter lying upon a dresser. The officer read the front of the letter and noted that it contained an admission as to the defendant’s involvement in the shooting. The letter was then seized by the police officer as evidence. The police officer never found the handgun.

The defendant sought to suppress the use of the letter at the time of his trial. The defendant contended that he had granted the police consent to search his apartment for a handgun, not consent to read through his personal writings. The Commonwealth argued that the letter was lawfully seized under the plain view doctrine. The plain view doctrine provides that a police officer may seize readily apparent contraband that he observes in plain view without a search warrant, provided that the police officer was lawfully at his vantage point when the object came into plain view. In other words, if a police officer unlawfully entered a home, and then observed the contraband, the plain view doctrine would not apply. If the police officer was lawfully in the home, such as where there is a search warrant or consent to search, then the police officer may seize readily apparent contraband provided even where such contraband may not be exactly what he was looking for.

In the Philadelphia case, the police officer was lawfully in the defendant’s apartment, i.e., the defendant gave the police officer consent to enter the apartment to search for the firearm. There was no dispute that the letter was found in plain view sitting on the defendant’s dresser. The defendant, however, argued that the police officer exceeded his authority when he read the letter. The letter itself had no highlighting, arrows, underlines, or any other indicia that would have immediately drawn the police officer’s attention to the damning portion. Rather, the police officer had to actually read the letter to find the confessional language. The defendant argued that there was nothing about the letter that suggested it was contraband, and that the police officer immediately knew that the letter was not a gun, and, as such, there was no reason for him to read the entire contents of the letter.

The trial court agreed with the defendant, and concluded that there was nothing about the letter that made it “immediately apparent” that the letter had evidentiary value, and the police officer should not have read it. Therefore, the trial court suppressed the use of the letter at time of trial. The Commonwealth appealed, contending that it was permissible for the police officer to read the letter lying in plain view, even though it was clearly not the firearm that the police officer was looking for.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently determined that the trial court was wrong, and that there was nothing impermissible about the police officer reading the contents of a letter left in plain view to determine whether it had evidentiary value. The Superior Court opined that letters often hold incriminating information, and such incriminating information would never be immediately apparent. The court also declined to set a limit to the number of words that a police officer could read before making a determination on the contents of a letter, but noted that the police officer would not be allowed to read a multi-page letter as that would require manipulation of the evidence to expose portions of the letter that were not in plain view. In short, the Superior Court concluded that it is permissible for a police officer to read the first page that was exposed to plain view on the dresser. If it was readily apparent that there was incriminating evidence on the first page, then the letter could be seized. If there were no incriminating evidence on the first page, then the officer would have to stop reading. In this case, the defendant should have put his letter in an envelope or written a longer letter.

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

This is the second in a three-part series on smoking.

If you smoke, you owe it to yourself to quit. And, I believe you have an obligation to try to help others to quit. I’m doing my part by offering this unusual series of columns. No scolding or exaggerated scare tactics. I’m giving you just the facts in a chain of bulletins.

You can stick these columns on bulletin boards and refrigerators. I recommend giving them to a smoker you love.

Here are more facts:

Cigarette smoke contains 4,000 chemicals, including more than 60 known to cause cancer. Some of the chemicals cause heart and lung diseases. Included in the list of chemicals are cyanide, benzene, formaldehyde, methanol, acetylene, ammonia, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide.

Any amount of smoke is dangerous. Even smoking as few as one to four cigarettes a day can increase the risk of dying sooner.

Smoking cigarettes with lower tar and nicotine provides no clear health benefit. Smokers who buy these cigarettes often inhale more deeply, inhale more often and smoke them down to their fingers to compensate for the lower tar and nicotine.

Menthol cigarettes are more dangerous than other types because they diminish the cough reflex and mask a dry throat. This enables smokers to inhale these cigarettes deeper and more often, too. People who smoke menthol cigarettes are less successful quitting.

Hand-rolled cigarettes are not safer than commercial brands.

Cigarettes billed as “all natural” have not been proven to be safer than any other cigarettes.

Herbal cigarettes produce tar and carbon monoxide and are dangerous to your health.

Clove cigarettes, also called “kreteks,” contain about 65 percent tobacco and about 35 percent ground cloves, clove oil, and other additives. They are a tobacco product with the same health risks as regular cigarettes.

“Bidis” are hand-rolled, flavored cigarettes imported mainly from India. Bidis appear to have all of the same health risks of conventional cigarettes.

Nicotine, the addictive ingredient in tobacco, constricts arteries and plays an important role in increasing smokers’ risk of heart disease and stroke. However, other ingredients in tobacco cause cancers.

Anyone who starts smoking is at risk of becoming addicted to nicotine.

With regular use of tobacco – smoked or chewed – nicotine accumulates in the body. Daily consumers are exposed to nicotine effects 24/7.

Nicotine, like cocaine, increases the level of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which affects the brain pathways that control reward and pleasure.

Smoking cigars and pipes causes cancers of the lung, oral cavity (lip, tongue, mouth, throat), larynx (voice box) and esophagus. Pipe and cigar smokers, who often don’t inhale, are still breathing the second-hand smoke that surrounds them

Smokeless tobacco can cause cancer of the gums, mouth, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus. People who dip or chew smokeless tobacco get about the same amount of nicotine as regular smokers.

Hookah smoking involves burning flavored tobacco in a water pipe and inhaling the smoke through a long hose. Hookah smoke contains varying amounts of nicotine, carbon monoxide, and other hazardous substances. Several types of cancer have been linked to hookah smoking.

When smoke contacts live cells, it hurts them. There is no safe way to use tobacco.

In the last part of this series, I’ll give you some statistics and information about quitting.

If you have a question, write to

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Straight From Starrucca
By Danielle Williams

This weekend, Perri Weldy and I are taking a trip with our friends to East Rutherford, New Jersey for a two-day concert called Bamboozle. We are all really excited for the concert, especially Perri. Many of our favorite bands are attending the concert, such as My Chemical Romance, Taking Back Sunday, and The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.

I noticed that the Martin’s have purchased Helen Dickey’s house on the Shadigee Creek Road. I noticed that they had cut down all the pine trees that used to stand tall across her yard. I have to say that without the pine trees the yard looks a lot more open.

Congratulations to a number of Starrucca students that achieved honors at Susquehanna Community High School. These extraordinary students include Bill McHale, Tara Flor, Aaron Soden, Kaitlin Flor, Meghan Gilleran, Perri Weldy, Courtney Slocum, Cindy Williams, and Vincent Matta. Way to go!

A few weeks ago, I mentioned hosting a clean-up around town. I am able to set up the clean-up, but unfortunately I am unable to attend. I am looking for volunteers to help me run the clean-up, or to volunteer for it. It would be on a Saturday before the end of May. If anyone is interested please contact me at 727-2301 or 442-1203.


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Veterans’ Corner

No Veterans' Corner This Week

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