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Issue Home August 1, 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

ALFORD: Mrs. H. L. Hubbard, whose eating house at Alford burned some months ago, desires to announce that after September 1, she will open dining parlors in Perry Sweet’s residence in that place for the accommodation of the traveling public.

GREAT BEND: A Binghamton gentleman listened to Dr. [F. Ellis] Bond, of this place, as that gentleman sang a solo at a funeral here recently, and afterwards remarked: “Your Dr. Bond is a very good singer, but he can’t hold a candle to our Dr. Bond, of Binghamton, who sings in the First Presbyterian church.” The gentleman from the Parlor City was not aware that Dr. Bond, of Great Bend, is a salaried singer in the First Presbyterian church in Binghamton and he failed to recognize the doctor when he saw him here.

NEW MILFORD: A rattlesnake measuring 5 feet and 6 inches, and having 18 rattles, was killed at the Highlands recently.

SUSQUEHANNA: The death of Mrs. Nannie Gallagher, aged 97 years, occurred here on Wednesday of last week. The funeral was held Saturday morning at the home of her daughter, Mrs. J. J. Murphy. A requiem Mass was celebrated at St. John’s.

FOREST CITY: Charles A. Poluski, a young man of this place, has been mysteriously missing for a week, and his mother is sadly worried as to his whereabouts or what may have happened to him. She fears that he may be drowned or has met with foul play. Young Poluski left home on July 24, wearing a dark suit, with black striped white shirt, dark shoes and black stockings. His hair and his complexion are light. Anyone knowing where the youth may be will help a distressed mother by sending word to her.

MONTROSE: Henry L. Kraiss, of New York City, who arrived in Montrose a fortnight ago, has launched into the furniture and undertaking business, with headquarters in the Wilson house on the corner of Church and Chestnut streets. Mr. Kraiss, who possesses 10 years experience, is also a practical and up-to-date undertaker, and carries licenses as an embalmer from two States, New York and Pennsylvania. In connection with his business, Mr. Kraiss will do first-class furniture repairing and frame pictures in a most artistic way. He is a brother of Paul Kraiss, Jr., who formerly conducted a furniture store in this place.

SILVER LAKE: Archdeacon J. T. Russell and wife, of Brooklyn, N.Y., have arrived here, where they are sojourners at their beautiful country home, “Sheldon-Croft.”

WEST AUBURN/RUSHVILLE: The West Auburn Telephone Co. and the Consolidation Co., recently got together nicely and made the connection at Rushville, which gives fine accommodations, especially to the North Branch, Flynn and the People’s other lines in Susquehanna Co., in reaching West Auburn, Lawton, Rush, Montrose, and other places. AND: At Bunnell Hill, Auburn Twp., Arthur Bowman has a new rubber tire wagon. Now girls, be ready for a drive.

DIMOCK: A new steam engine and boiler has been placed in the large Chase stone quarry.

JEFFERSON JUNCTION, Harmony Twp.: While Delaware & Hudson fast freight No. 53, West bound, was passing on Friday, two pistol shots were heard from a box car in the train just below this station. Persons, on rushing to the spot, found that a young tramp had shot a man by the name of Chas. Sawyer, who was in charge of a car of horses for Capt. Green, U.S.A., of Oneonta, N.Y. It seems that just before the train reached Brandt, the tramp, who had been offered the hospitality of the car by Sawyer when leaving Scranton, attempted to rob the latter while he (Sawyer) was asleep. Upon awakening, Sawyer found the tramp in the act of jumping from the car with $30 stolen from his own pocket. He followed the tramp and on reaching the ground grappled with the robber and attempted to wrest the money from him. At this juncture the tramp, without a moments warning, turned and poured two bullets into the leg and chest of Sawyer, from a 38 revolver. The latter clung to the tramp however, and succeeded in wresting the gun from him, and was about to shoot the tramp in defense when the Conductor and trainmen arrived and parted the men, surrounded the tramp, bound him and placed him in the caboose until they should reach Lanesboro and turn him over to the police of that town. Sawyer was taken to the Simeon H. Barnes Hospital, where it was first thought that he was seriously injured and would not recover, but it is learned to-day that he is improving and will no doubt convalesce. The tramp, whose name could not be learned, was taken to Montrose for a hearing. [Another account reported that the tramp narrowly escaped lynching at the hands of the people who were attracted to the scene.]

BRANDT: It is stated that an automobile party consisting of H. W. Kessler, of Cleveland, and E. R. Barrows and A. L. Kessler, of this place, will start on Monday from the former city for Brandt in Mr. Kessler’s 40 horsepower Mitchell car. H. W. Kessler formerly resided here and is coming to this place to look over numerous business interests.

DUNDAFF: Last Tuesday evening while Mrs. James Stevens, accompanied by her husband, were returning to their home in Elkdale, their horse became frightened by two dogs that ran toward it. The colt soon became unmanageable and both were compelled to jump. The wagon collided against a tree, the horse breaking loose and running home. Mr. Stevens escaped with only a severe shaking, while Mrs. Stevens received a compound fracture of her leg. She is now under the treatment of Dr. G. A. Fiske.

NEWS BRIEFS: We heard the locust’s song for the first on Sunday. Sure sign of midsummer. AND: A gentleman suggests that people who drink “Stegmaier” in the hours of darkness refrain from throwing the bottles into his garden. He says: “It doesn’t do plants any good to bottle them.” Undoubtedly he is right and probably hereafter the bottles will be deposited on his front porch. AND: The happiest man in the land to-day is the successful farmer. He sits under his own vine and fig tree, undisturbed by the maddening noise of the great city. Banks fair, railroads go into the hands of receivers, booming towns collapse, all business stagnates; but the wise farmer can snap his finger at these things. He is the monarch of all he surveys on his broad acres. And the honesty of his boys and the purity of his girls are guarded against temptations, and in them he is giving the country its best manhood and womanhood. The farmer is to be envied, and, if he is not contented with his lot, he is lacking in wisdom.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay


Jeff wants Roberta’s post at Northern Tier

County Commissioner Jeff Loomis has suddenly emerged as the most versatile, talented and educated individual to ever take the commissioner’s oath in Susquehanna County. If you don’t believe this, ask him. He will be only to glad to tell you how great he is.

At last week’s meeting of the county commissioners, Mr. Loomis said he wants to replace Roberta Kelly on the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission’s Rural Transportation Committee. In fact, he went so far as to white out Mrs. Kelly’s reappointment and write himself in her place. He supported his desire to serve on the committee by pointing out that he has 20 years of experience in bridge and road construction and believes he could do a better job than Roberta.

I don’t know much about the business that the Loomis family ran in Bridgewater Township for years. I know it was successful and, from what I have been told, Jeff Loomis was the company accountant. He sat behind a desk all day and kept track of incoming and outgoing money and, I assume, may have helped to put together bids on projects related to the business.

I do not know much about construction but a number of years ago I was employed as a cost accountant on a Route 80 project in New Jersey. While I could quote prices on material used in conjunction with the road construction, I knew very little about the actual construction itself. Sitting in an office pushing a pencil just doesn't teach a guy much about the actual building of anything.

Anyhow, when Mrs. Kelly learned of the plot by Mr. Loomis and Minority Commissioner Mary Ann Warren to replace her with – who else? – Mr. Loomis, she decided to stand her ground and fight to retain her seat. Tom Swan and Bill Ord, who serve on the Transportation Committee with Mrs. Kelly attended the meeting and spoke well of Mrs. Kelly’s worth on the committee. The end result was a motion to table all appointments to Northern Tier until the end of the year.

My friends, I seem to recall in his first effort at a county commissioner’s seat in the 1990’s, Mr. Loomis boasted of his financial expertise as an accountant in the family business. Having worn out that welcome mat because no matter how hard the commissioners tried, taxes still went up, Mr. Loomis is now focusing his attention in an area where he can take credit for the good and condemn others for the bad.

As members of Northern Tier’s Rural Transportation Committee, Bill Ord and Tom Swan have been in the trenches for years scratching and fighting for financial help to do needed road improvements in the county. Commissioner Kelly joined the Transportation Committee in 2004 and fought alongside them. Finally, county programs that had been making very little progress began to look encouraging.

At the present time, county roadwork on the drawing board in the state includes Routes 11, 706, and 167. Construction should begin in a year or two. Apparently the future is a bit rosier in roads than in finance, so Mr. Loomis now wants to focus his attention on successful projects that resulted from the efforts of Mr. Ord, Mr. Swan and Mrs. Kelly. I am sure Mr. Loomis would just love to stroll around telling those who live or work in the construction areas that it was a hard fought battle but he finally convinced Northern Tier to get behind the projects and secure state funding to finance them.

If you don’t do anything else politically in November, please make certain you vote in the commissioners’ election. It is imperative for the public to stand behind those who help the county without fanfare, rather than those who rifle off emails and press releases bragging about themselves.

Thanks for the memories

My friends, I think I told you many times that I started writing this column for The Transcript in 1996. Today I must tell you that this will be my last column.

I want to thank Chuck and Rita Ficarro, owners of The Transcript for 11 wonderful years and Barb Whitehead, our managing editor, whose proofreading saved me a number of times. Most importantly, I want to thank you for reading this column week after week and for all the wonderful calls and letters I received over the years. And to my critics, I say thank you for your interest and believe me, what you wrote, I read and accepted, including the criticism and the advice. And, of course, I would be remiss if I did not say thanks to the many, many county employees who helped and encouraged me over the years.

God bless all of you and, again, thanks for such wonderful help and support.

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

Legislators in Virginia recently passed a law that substantially increased the fines associated with serious motor vehicle violations, such as DUI and reckless driving offenses. As a result of the new legislation, the potential fines can be as high as $3,000, which is payable over a number of years by the offender. If the offender fails to pay the fines, then the offender will have his or her driver’s license suspended. The legislators intended to use the revenue raised by the fines for highway projects to better the state’s roads.

While the public generally supports tough legislation aimed at criminal activity, this particular abusive-driver legislation has received a negative response. There are several primary concerns raised by critics of the legislation. First, the legislation will encourage more litigation, as motorists will be less willing to accept responsibility for a traffic violation when the potential fine is substantial. In other words, while it may not be economically feasible to hire an attorney to pay a $250 speeding ticket, it may be necessary to do so if the potential fine is $3,000. If there are more contested traffic tickets, the critics argue that the court system will become clogged with traffic hearings. If this occurs, the administrative costs to maintain the judicial system will increase substantially, as will the costs for law enforcement because officers will now be required to attend more contested hearings.

Second, the critics note that the new fine structure will heavily impact upon those of lower economic means, as they lack the ability to pay the increased fines. If an offender must chose between feeding his children or paying his traffic fine, the choice is self-evident. In this circumstance, the offender will then lose his driver’s license, which obviously adversely impacts upon the offender’s ability to maintain employment, and, if the offender is not employed, he cannot pay his fines. A vicious cycle could emerge where lower income offenders simply ignore their fines, continue driving without a license (and thereby without insurance), and eventually face additional tickets and fines for driving without a license. They could not pay the initial fines, which resulted in the loss of their license, and now they have additional fines and an additional license suspension.

Third, the critics contend that there is little or no empirical evidence to suggest that increased financial fines actually result in safer highways for motorists. If there is no strong evidence that the increased fines will make the roads safer, and the new fines may be more difficult to collect, the critics argue that it makes no sense to impose harsher fines.

Of course, the easy answer to the critics is to simply encourage motorists to obey the traffic code – don’t drive drunk and don’t drive recklessly. By comparison, the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code has substantial fines for DUI offenses, with a first offense requiring between a minimum mandatory fine of $300 to $500, and with subsequent convictions the minimum mandatory fine increases to an amount up to $2,500. Moreover, these are simply the minimum fines, and the court has discretion to order a greater monetary fine. For instance, for a third DUI offense, the sentencing court could impose a fine up to $10,000 in certain circumstances.

Under Pennsylvania law, a court generally must consider an offender’s ability to pay in order to determine an appropriate fine. The Pennsylvania legislature has been working on creating a sentencing formula for courts to utilize in determining an appropriate fine in a criminal (or traffic) case. The offender’s income and other relevant information (such as the number of dependents) will be entered into the sentencing formula and provide the sentencing court with a dollar range for a reasonable fine based upon this particular defendant’s financial situation. If the legislature is successful in the creation of such a sentencing formula, it will create statewide uniformity for the imposition of fines, and, hopefully, overcome the objections raised by those critical of harsh financial penalties for criminal conduct. This seems to be a far more sensible solution – make the fines proportionate to the offender’s ability to pay, thereby assuring that fines will be applied equally across the different economic classes.

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. Do your ears hang low? Do they wobble to and fro? Can you tie them in a knot? Can you tie them in a bow? Can you throw them o’er your shoulder like a continental soldier? Do your ears hang low?

The real question I was asked was: Why do old men have big ears? I just couldn’t resist starting out with the well-worn ditty.

Well, it turns out that old men – and women – have bigger ears than they had as young adults. In short, your ears grow larger as you age. I know this sounds like a myth, but it’s been proven by scientific studies. Examples:

Researchers at the VA Medical Center/Texas Tech University found that ear circumference increases an average of 0.51 millimeters per year. “This study,” the Texas scientists reported, “supports the view that as people age, their ears get larger, particularly the ear circumference, which increases on average 0.51 mm per year. This enlargement is likely associated with aging changes of collagen. The knowledge from this study allows us to calculate the age of an individual based on ear size.” (Definition: Collagen is the fibrous protein part of bone, cartilage, tendon, and other connective tissue. It is converted into gelatin by boiling.)

Physicians at the Royal College of General Practitioners in England measured their patients’ ears. They found that, as we get older, our ears grow about 0.22 mm a year. “A chance observation – that older people have bigger ears – was at first controversial, but has been shown to be true,” Dr. James A. Heathcote reported. “For the researchers, the experience of involving patients in business beyond their presenting symptoms proved to be a positive one, and it was rewarding to find a clear result. Why ears should get bigger when the rest of the body stops growing is not answered by this research. Nor did we consider whether this change in a particular part of the anatomy is a marker of something less easily measurable elsewhere or throughout the body.”

Dr. Yashhiro Asai, a physician at the Futanazu Clinic in Misaki, Japan, along with three colleagues, agreed with the British analysis. Their study of 400 consecutive patients aged 20 and older concluded that “ear length correlates significantly with age, as Heathcote showed, in Japanese people.”

A computer analysis at the University of Milan documented how facial structures change as people age. Ears, the researchers found, get larger with age. Dr. V.F. Ferrario and four colleagues from the Functional Anatomy Research Centre at the university presented evidence that not only do ears get longer with age, but this phenomenon applies to both women and men.

Doctors from the Medical Branch of the University of Rostock in Germany measured the ears of 1,271 children and adolescents. They reported that ear length increases “steadily and annually,” but ear width remains the same.

So, there is strong evidence about geezer ear growth. The cause of the enlargement is still a subject of debate in the scientific community. There are many theories. My personal favorite is that skin loses elasticity as we age. This tendency and gravity make ears get longer and wobble to and fro.

Kay-Tee Khaw, a professor of clinical gerontology, said it may be that “big ears predict survival. Men with smaller ears may die selectively at younger ages. Ear size or pattern, or both, may be a marker of some biological process related to health.”

While this may sound far-fetched, many studies have shown that men with a diagonal crease in both ear lobes may have an increased risk of heart attacks.

If you have a question, please write to

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Straight From Starrucca
By Danielle Williams

No Straight From Starrucca This Week

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Veterans’ Corner

No Veterans Corner This Week

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