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Happy 4th Of July From All Of Us At The Suseuahanna County Transcript

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Issue Home June 27, 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

SCRANTON: Next Monday is the date fixed for the opening of the Northern Electric railroad between Scranton and Dalton. It is understood that the company will put its rates at a point whereby they will be able to compete with the Lackawanna trains in carrying passengers to the country suburbs. A feature of the road will be its freight department.

MONTROSE: Two [ball] games here on the Fourth with Great Bend. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. Don’t miss them. They will be warm ones, as the Benders have a great bunch of players this season. AND: M. H. VanScoten, Esq., has an interesting relic in the way of an old express package, which had carried $60.00 from Jacob Deck, Alexandria, Virginia, to Mrs. Jacob Deck, Milford, Pa., during the Civil War. This was sent here just before Mr. Deck’s capture by the Confederates. He was taken to the rebel prison, Andersonville, where he died soon after, Oct. 25, 1864. Mrs. Deck is now Mrs. Wm. Hartig, who lives in Montrose.

LATHROP: The celebrated case of dynamiting the Card fish pond was continued. It is alleged that in June, William Welch, in company with two friends, secured in the neighborhood of 100 bass and sunfish from the pond by exploding dynamite in the water. Two young boys, not in their teens, testified and stated being at the pond on the day in question and stated that while two men were in the boat exploding the charges, a third man remained on shore with a shotgun and would fire simultaneously at a given signal from the boat. The reports of gun and explosive would not always occur at exactly the same moment, an interval taking place between. The hunter, recognized as Welch, states he was after squirrels. The other two young men in the boat have since disappeared and are now in New York state. The boys, upon asking the occupants how many fish they had secured, were told it was “none of their business,” emphasized with an oath. The case drew considerable attention and the evidence offered by the two boys was the most damaging, and they could not be shaken or confused in their story. The suit will continue at the same place on July 1st.

FOREST CITY: A sad fatality was that which caused the death of Mrs. Michael Biblo, who lived in the little Russian colony on the mountain just north of Forest City. Last Saturday she took a cup from a shelf and not noticing that it contained a quantity of paris green, poured a cup of tea and drank it. Realizing her mistake too late, a daughter was sent to Forest City for medicine, but before she could return the poison had permeated Mrs. Biblo’s system, and after lingering until Monday, she died.

FRIENDSVILLE: Camp Choconut, for 1907, will take up their quarters at Friendsville, near Carmalt Lake, for the summer, Tuesday, July 2. The camp, this year, is unusually large and is made up into two divisions.

CLIFFORD: Mrs. Caroline N. Miller died at the home of her daughter, in Dalton, June 20, at the age of nearly 83 years. She was the widow of the late Rev. Wm. Miller, a Baptist minister for many years in the Abington Baptist Association, and who for 23 years was pastor of the Baptist church at Clifford. Rev. Mr. Miller died about 5 years ago.

BROOKLYN: Brooklyn is about to organize a baseball team, which will be the first organized team the town has since two years ago. The prospects are in favor of a good team and one hard to be beaten by any amateur team with which the boys may come in contact. AND: Geo. D. Nash, formerly of Brooklyn, and his son Glen, are publishing a Binghamton paper they call the Binghamton Home Journal. Instead of spelling their name as formerly they have changed it to Narsh, thus, G. D. Narsh & Son.

SOUTH AUBURN: Hiram Carter had the misfortune to lose his cow.

PLEASANT VALLEY, Auburn Twp.: The people of this place attended the dedication of Jersey Hill church, Thursday, but as money could not be raised to pay off the debt, it was not dedicated.

DUNDAFF: Jennie Spring has accepted a position with the Anthracite Telephone Company for the summer. AND: The Dundaff boys have formed a base ball team and are in excellent condition. The “Red Roarers” are ready to be challenged.

NEW MILFORD: While running at a high rate of speed between New Milford and Alford, Saturday afternoon, the discovery was made that D. L. & W. passenger train No. 3 was on fire. The flames were caused by a spark lodging in the leather lining of a day coach. The train was stopped and the trainmen organized a bucket brigade, extinguishing the flames with small loss. An incipient panic among the passengers was quickly quelled.

OAKLAND: Fred Fisher, a night telegraph operator, was returning to his home in Oakland, a suburb of Susquehanna, when he was attacked by two men whom he judged to be hold up men. His cries for help aroused the neighbors who came to his assistance, when it was fond that the supposed hold up men were policemen, who were of the opinion that they had captured a suspicious character. Mr. Fisher was within a few doors of his home when attacked. His injuries are not thought to be of a serious nature. Later the policemen were arrested.

HEART LAKE: Truman Hall killed an owl and a crow at one shot. The owl measured 52 inches from tip to tip.

HARFORD: Rev. Wm. Usher will conclude his ministry in connection with the Congregational Church here on Sunday morning next and will shortly remove into Ontario Province, Canada. A sale of his household effects takes place on Friday morning at 10 o’clock.

NEWS BRIEFS: Immigrants arrive in New York at the rate of one every two and a half minutes. AND: Let the children exercise great care in handling the toy pistol as the Fourth approaches. Then, perhaps, no accidents will occur and lock jaw cases be few. AND: The rural delivery boys look very pretty in their new uniforms – that is, prettier than ever. AND: The admission of Oklahoma to the Union as a state has raised a dispute as to how the additional star should be placed in the flag without disarranging the present pattern.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay


More County Personnel Problems

Susquehanna County and its chief assessor, Ellen O’Malley are on the verge of parting company. If it comes to pass, it will be a terrible injustice not to mention the horrendous loss to the county. Given comparable time as a county employee, the feeling here is that Ellen would rank right alongside such county greats as Barbara Rydzewski, Sylvia Jones, Lillian Theophanis, and Linda Hollenbeck, to name a few.

And, as you might already suspect, if it does happen, the blame can be placed at the doorsteps of our illustrious county commissioners. As usual, the dreadful fear of losing precious votes in this, an election year for all three of them, has come between what little common sense they possess and their typical clumsy approach at resolving employment problems.

Is Ellen O'Malley totally without fault? No she isn't. In a letter of reprimand to one of her employees, Ms. O'Malley took a rather cheap shot at the county commissioners and earned herself a letter of reprimand for it.

What she did not deserve was the 10-day suspension without pay as meted out by Commissioners Jeff Loomis and Mary Ann Warren, neither of whom bothered to discuss the matter with Roberta Kelly, who is only the chair of the Board of Commissioners. And why wasn't Ms. O'Malley given the opportunity to explain her actions before Loomis and Warren suspended her? The feeling here is that she had a perfectly legitimate reason for her behavior.

Consider the following:

As the chief county assessor, her immediate supervisors are the county commissioners. As a conscientious county employee, she also feels obligated to the county taxpayers, who foot the bills for most county spending. So, when changes in the workload surfaced in the assessment office, she found herself with more employees than work and decided to do something about it.

In April, she wrote a letter to the chief clerk, seeking advice on what appeared to be a delicate situation considering that she had an occupation clerk on her payroll but the commissioners eliminated the occupation tax. Initially, she thought her department would still need to maintain the database for the municipalities and school district. However, the Blue Ridge School District eliminated its occupation tax and the Forest City School District cut back on theirs by agreeing not to charge an occupation tax for seniors over age 70 and all handicapped residents of the district.

The moves reduced the number of records to be kept, but Ms O'Malley assigned the occupation clerk the responsibility of maintaining records related to the Homestead/Farmstead work. This kept the clerk busy from late December to March 1, but then Ms. O'Malley realized she did not have sufficient work to keep the occupation clerk busy seven and one-half hours a day.

On April 26, Ms. O'Malley wrote a memo to Chief Clerk Sylvia Beamer seeking her input.

“Can another department use her (the occupation clerk)?” she wrote. “Should I lay her off? Should I eliminate the position? Can I call her back on an 'as needed’ basis? Please advise how I am to handle this?”

In mid-May, she again wrote to the chief clerk seeking input to her obvious dilemma. The chief clerk advised her that the commissioners will have to approve or disapprove her actions since the Assessment Department falls under their jurisdiction.

“They know about the issue but have not gotten back to me on it,” the chief clerk wrote in a response to Ms. O'Malley's inquiry.

On June 14, Commissioner Jeff Loomis sent a memo to Ms. O'Malley advising her that a department head should tell any employee in advance if their position is going to be eliminated. “The affected employee (s),” Loomis wrote, “should not have to read about their job elimination (s) in the paper before becoming aware of it.”

Ms. O'Malley wrote back to Loomis, agreeing with his belief. “But,” she wrote, “since I have been trying to get this accomplished since the end of April and don’t feel any closer to its happening, the question then becomes, when is it appropriate to alert the individual?”

On June 15, Ms. O'Malley, still in search of a definitive answer on how to handle the situation, sent another memo to the commissioners, advising them that she would like to eliminate the position of occupation clerk. “At Jeff’s urging,” she wrote, “I am giving the individual notice today. Two weeks will be June 29, 2007. Could you please put the matter on the Salary Board’s agenda so the position can be eliminated as of that date?”

On June 18, a totally frustrated Ellen O'Malley penned a letter of reprimand to one of her employees. The letter included a snide remark about the commissioners’ inattentive attitude toward daily problems. The letter lead to her 10-day suspension and possible voluntary departure. Was the action taken by Commissioners Loomis and Warren justified? You be the judge!

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

A reader recently sent me a newspaper article from the Washington Post outlining parental conduct that the reader found “disturbing,” and I would like to share the story with you. Elisa Kelly was a mother of a 16-year old boy, Ryan, in Albemarle County, Virginia. In honor of his 16th birthday, Ryan wanted to host a party with his friends, and he wanted alcohol. He asked his mother if she would provide the alcohol, and she agreed so long as she took each child’s car keys so they could not drive. Elisa Kelly explained her conduct by stating that she believed the children were going to drink somewhere, and she believed it would be safer for them if she supplied the alcohol and monitored the situation. In following through with her plan, Elisa Kelly spent $340 for beer and wine for the party, and she made certain every child understood that they could not leave the party. The day of the party came, Elisa Kelly collected all of the keys, and then began serving alcohol to approximately 30 children around the ages of 15 and 16 years old. No one left the party and no one was hurt.

At around 11 p.m., the police arrived after a neighbor complained about the underage drinking party. Predictably, when the warning shout of “cops” was heard, the children began to scatter in every direction and took refuge in the nearby woods to avoid apprehension. The police gathered up as many of the children as they could find and verified that nine of the children had alcohol in their system. Thereafter, Elisa Kelly was charged under Virginia law with nine counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor; she pled guilty to all counts, and the prosecutor recommended a 90-day period of incarceration. But the Judge had something else planned. He was tired of adults providing alcohol to children. He was tired of seeing children ending up dead in crumpled automobiles because they are intoxicated from alcohol provided by adults. The Judge wanted to send a message – and he sentenced Elisa Kelly to eight years of incarceration for her furnishing of alcohol to these minors. She appealed the sentence, and the appellate court reduced the sentence to 27 months of incarceration. With her appeals exhausted, Elisa Kelly is now getting ready to serve her sentence.

In a previous column, I outlined Pennsylvania’s Furnishing Alcohol to Minors statute, which provides a mandatory $1,000 fine (with a maximum fine up to $2,500) and up to one year of incarceration for each offense. In this case, if there had been nine separate counts of furnishing alcohol to minors in Pennsylvania, the potential sentence could be up to nine years incarceration and a mandatory fine of $9,000 (a potential maximum fine of up to $22,500). In the Virginia case, however, the mother was charged with a more serious offense relating to contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Pennsylvania has an equivalent offense, i.e., Corruption of a Minor. This is a more serious offense than the furnishing charge, and carries a period of incarceration of up to five years and a potential fine of up to $10,000 for each count. In order to convict a person of this offense, it must be demonstrated that the defendant was over 18 years of age and engaged in conduct involving a person under 18 years of age that tended to corrupt the morals of the minor. If a jury concluded that furnishing alcohol to a minor tended to corrupt the morals of the minor, the adult who furnished the alcohol would also be guilty of corruption of a minor. Using the Virginia case as an example, if there were nine counts, then the potential period of incarceration would be up to 40 years and a potential maximum fine of $90,000.

How many times does a child ask a parent to host an underage drinking party? How many times do parents agree to host such a party provided it is done “safely?” How many parents would host such a party if they knew they could be incarcerated for such a long period of time and face such a financial hardship? How many children would ask their parents to host such a party if they knew that their parents would be incarcerated if caught? The Virginia judge’s message may not be heard by many, but I bet that it will have an impact upon those who hear it.

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 watched a man fall unconscious on the sidewalk. A woman rushed up and started to do CPR on him and, later, I heard she may have saved his life. It made me sign up for a CPR course. You should tell your readers to take one of these courses.

If you would like to learn CPR, contact the American Heart Association at or by phone at 1-877-AHA-4CPR. Another CPR resource is the American Red Cross at Or, you can try a local hospital.

Here’s a troubling fact that is a motivation to take a course: about 80 percent of cardiac arrests happen at home near family members who often do not know CPR.

CPR, which stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, employs chest compression and mouth-to-mouth breathing to treat cardiac arrest, heart attack, drowning and electrocution. CPR can keep some blood flowing to the brain and heart during an emergency.

Maintaining blood flow can prevent brain injury and save a life. The brain suffers irreparable damage in a few minutes if it doesn’t get oxygenated blood. An unaided victim of cardiac arrest will die in 5 to 10 minutes.

The most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest is an abnormal heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation (VF), which can be treated with a shock from a defibrillator. Defibrillation is not effective for all forms of cardiac arrest.

There are devices called automated external defibrillators (AEDs) that are about the size of a laptop computer. AEDs analyze the victim’s heart rhythm, determine if defibrillation is needed, then deliver a shock. There are training programs available that teach both CPR and operating AEDs. These portable defibrillators are available in many public places such as shopping malls, airports and stadiums.

To learn CPR properly, take an accredited first-aid training course that includes CPR and how to use an AED.

There is no substitute for taking a course from a trained instructor, but it would be helpful to understand the basics of CPR.

The University of Washington School of Medicine offers a free public service that explains CPR. Go to:

There are helpful illustrated guides and online videos on this website. The following is from one of these guides:

1. CALL. Check the victim for unresponsiveness. If there is no response, Call 911 and return to the victim. In most locations, the emergency dispatcher can assist you with CPR instructions.

2. BLOW. Tilt the head back and listen for breathing. If not breathing normally, pinch nose and cover the mouth with yours and blow until you see the chest rise. Give two breaths. Each breath should take one second.

3. PUMP. If the victim is still not breathing normally, coughing or moving, begin chest compressions. Push down on the chest 1 1/2 to 2 inches, 30 times, right between the nipples. Pump at the rate of 100/minute, faster than once per second.

Continue with two breaths and 30 pumps until help arrives.

If you have a question, please write to

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Straight From Starrucca
By Danielle Williams


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Veterans’ Corner

No Veterans Corner This Week

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