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Issue Home October 10, 2007 Site Home

100 Years Ago
From the Desk of the D.A.
The Healthy Geezer
Straight From Starrucca
Veterans’ Corner
The Road Less Traveled
A Day In My Shoes

100 Years Ago

MONTROSE: The concrete work around the soldiers’ monument and the removal of the parapet, which for years has surrounded it, greatly improves the appearance of that imposing shaft. The four cannons have been mounted at the corners on concrete bastions, and a view of it from the streets surround, gives it a warlike aspect. What to do with the marble tablets on which are the names of the county’s Civil War veterans, is causing considerable trouble, owing to the difficulty of properly displaying them. They formerly lined the parapetted enclosure. AND: Miss Amelia Pickett has been spending some time in Scranton, studying the methods pursued in that city’s library. Miss Pickett will act as librarian of the new public library to be opened here next month.

LITTLE MEADOWS: The directors of the Little Meadows Telephone Company met the directors of the Tracy Creek Telephone Company this week at the office of Attorney H. C. Perkins, in Binghamton, relative to connecting the Little Meadows line with the New York State people.

FRIENDSVILLE: A direct ancestor here has received the information that at Limerick, Ireland, two weeks ago, the bust of Gerald Griffin was placed on site at the large school erected to the memory of the poet and educator, whose parents were the first Irish settlers in Susquehanna County. [Patrick and Ellen Griffin, parents of Gerald, settled in the year 1820, on a tract of land bordering on Quaker Lake, in Silver Lake township, one of the prettiest and most beautiful spots in this portion of the State, which they christened “Fairy Lawn,” in memory of their forsaken home in the old land.) Stocker History [Both are buried in the churchyard at St. Francis Xavier Church, Friendsville. Gerald Griffin never lived in this country.]

LAUREL LAKE: The many friends of Rev. A. M. Bertels and wife will regret to see them move from this place to a farm in Hawleyton, N.Y., recently purchased. On account of poor health he is going to give up preaching for a time.

SUSQUEHANNA: John Buckle, son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Buckle, was seriously injured Sunday afternoon as the result of falling from a chestnut tree to the ground, a distance of about 30 ft. In falling his head struck the sharp end of a small limb and made a large hole in his forehead. He was rendered unconscious by the fall and lay on the ground for some time. Fortunately at that time a man was walking in the woods nearby and picked the injured lad up and carried him to the nearest house, where a physician was summoned, who dressed the boy’s injury. Although the wound is serious it is not thought that it will result fatally. AND: Hotel Oakland, the new hotel being erected by John J. McGinty, is rapidly nearing completion. The work of wiring the hotel for telephones and electric lights is well under way. The hotel contains 45 rooms and each room will be equipped with a phone. The hotel will be ready for occupancy about Dec. 15.

JESSUP TWP.: The Bolles cemetery, for a number of years, has been noted for the neat and tidy manner in which it has been kept. During the past few weeks it has been more extensively improved and beautified by a driveway extending the whole length of it.

BROOKLYN: The trustees and pastor of the Universalist church have arranged for a harvest fair and old-time farmers’ supper, to be given in the basement of the church, Friday evening, November 8. This promises to be an old-time affair with an entertaining program of the old-time character.

SPRINGVILLE: Butter is so scarce in this town that some have to be content with a little and very poor at that, sometimes. AND: New gasoline lights are to be placed in Stuart Riley’s store and residence.

CLIFFORD: The Northeastern Telephone Co. is putting some new poles, straightening the line and putting it in general good order in the village. The company will put on another wire to Lenoxville so as to relieve the Nicholson line of its excessive load.

DUNDAFF: An old fashioned “apple cut” was enjoyed by the young people of Dundaff, last Tuesday evening, at Mrs. Wallace Millard's.

UPSONVILLE, Franklin Twp.: Rev. L. W. Church preached a historical sermon last Sunday, it being the 94th anniversary since the founding of the church at Upsonville.

HEART LAKE: The milk producers here expect to ship milk to the Producers and Consumers Exchange, at Scranton, have leased grounds of W. A. Brown and will commence to erect their cooling station Monday, Oct. 15, 1907. The Building Committee is A. W. Richardson, L. E. Griffing and F. I. Hillis. The station at Kingsley is now completed and the stations at Foster and Nicholson are nearly completed.

HALLSTEAD: A gang of burglars have been shadowing the business places in Hallstead and Great Bend for some time and the Plaindealer says it will be wisdom on the part of the merchants to double their vigilance in protecting their business places. C. W. Bankes’ store in Hallstead was entered on the night of Sept. 27, and although but little of value was taken on that occasion, it is more than probable that the marauders were frightened away before they had completed their job. The same is true of the recent window breaking in the rear of P. H. Lines & Son’s store, and the jewelry store of F. W. Carl, last Sunday night. Many of the businessmen are contemplating putting in burglar alarms.

UNIONDALE: The Misses May and Janet Tinker will offer at public sale, on Wednesday, October 16th, beginning at 10 o’clock at the Tinker homestead near Uniondale, their horses, stock consisting of ten cows, three two year olds, four calves, a porker, hay grain, apples in orchard, and farming utensils of all kinds. Remember the date!

FOREST CITY: Anyone who has not for some time been on Dundaff, Hudson and Susquehanna streets, would be surprised at the number of stores now to be found on these three thoroughfares, and some of them appear to be doing a thriving business.

NEWS BRIEF: Scranton brewers say that beer is likely to advance one dollar a barrel. This is due, they claim, to the increased cost of ingredients. The advance in price will not affect the retail trade any. It will still be a nickel a glass, but the schooners will be smaller, or else the beer will have a “bigger head.”

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

I received an interesting letter from a reader seeking clarification on two recent high-profile murder prosecutions. The first example dealt with the murder trial of Calvin Harris in Owego, New York, who allegedly killed his wife and her body was never found. A jury recently convicted Harris of first-degree murder. The second example involved the murder trial of a Tennessee woman, Mary Winkler, who killed her husband contending that her actions resulted from years of sexual and physical abuse that her husband had perpetrated upon her. A Tennessee jury recently convicted Mary Winkler of voluntary manslaughter – not first-degree murder. There is a significant difference between the two convictions: a first-degree murder (Calvin Harris) carries a potential life sentence while voluntary manslaughter (Mary Winkler) may result in incarceration of three to six years under Tennessee law.

The reader’s question was simple: How can one defendant (Harris) be convicted of first-degree murder where the state has no body and no proof of the cause or manner of death, while another defendant (Winkler) be convicted of only voluntary manslaughter where the state not only has the body of her husband and knows that he was shot, but also had a confession from the defendant that she shot him?

In the Harris case, the prosecution demonstrated that the victim had disappeared on September 11, 2001, that no one had heard from her since that time, that the defendant allegedly had time to kill his wife, clean up the scene, and dispose of the body. The prosecution also introduced evidence that the defendant had made some damning statements concerning his wife’s disappearance. While the case was entirely circumstantial, a jury concluded that there was sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the victim was actually dead and that the defendant had killed her with premeditation and disposed of her body.

In the Winkler case, the jury heard the testimony of Mary Winkler, who frankly admitted that she shot (allegedly by accident) her husband but contended that she had been sexually and physically abused by her husband for many years. Winkler’s testimony explained to the jury why a young mother would suddenly kill her husband and father of her children. The jury apparently found this testimony credible to the extent that they found that she acted with passion, not premeditation, in the murder of her husband. In other words, after the years of abuse and torment, she finally snapped to the point that she fought back and killed her husband in the heat of passion, not with a cold, calculated and premeditated mind.

There is a subtle distinction between the two cases: If the jury found that Harris killed his wife, the jury almost had to conclude that it was premeditated given that the murderer clearly acted in a calculated manner in disposing of the body and cleaning the scene, while in the Winkler case, there was no dispute that she killed her husband, the only question was her state of mind when she pulled the trigger. In a strange way, the absence of the body in the Harris case actually tended to prove the prosecution’s point, and made the case stronger. Likewise, in the Winkler case, there was no doubt as to the killer, but only a question as to the reason for it – and the only person who could provide the jury with an explanation was the defendant. In the end, you have two cases of spousal murder that resulted in very different results based upon a jury’s perception of the mental state of the murdering spouse at the time of the killings.

These cases also remind us that domestic violence always has the potential to turn lethal. In 2005 (the most recently available statistics), 1,181 women and 329 men were killed by their intimate partners. Nationally, October is designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Locally the Alliance for Faith and Advocacy, a group of religious leaders, school counselors, and community leaders concerned about domestic violence, has scheduled an evening event to spread awareness of the evils of domestic violence. On October 23, there will be a candlelight vigil on the Green in Montrose at 6:30 p.m., to be followed at 7:00 p.m. by a community panel discussion concerning domestic violence at the Montrose Theatre. This forum will provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about the dangers of domestic violence and the mechanisms in place to overcome it. If we educate enough people, there may come a time when we do not have to wonder why a Calvin Harris or a Mary Winkler killed their spouse.

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. What is the best diet for losing weight?

The subtext of this question is, “What’s an easy fix?”

There are no shortcuts that work consistently and healthfully. The answer is simple: The best diet for losing weight gives you fewer calories than you burn. Facing an energy shortage, your body will reach into fat for stored calories and you will drop pounds.

Federal guidelines say that men and active women need about 2,500 calories daily. Other women and inactive men need only about 2,000 calories daily. It is recommended that you consume 300 to 500 fewer calories to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week.

Exercise is important to weight loss, because it burns calories. You should exercise vigorously for a half-hour most days. Walking quickly works. You can do your half-hour all at once, or break it up into shorter sessions.

Any senior will tell you that it’s more difficult to lose weight as you get older. One reason is that metabolism – the process that converts food into energy – is slowed by aging. Another reason is that muscle requires more calories to function than fat; as you get older, muscle decreases and fat constitutes more of your weight.

So, seniors get a double whammy that leads to weight gain. And older women get a triple whammy, because of their gender. Women usually have less muscle than men and tend to be smaller than men. A smaller body requires fewer calories.

If you are considering a diet/exercise program, you should consult your doctor first. Before you begin, it would be helpful to find out how much fat you have to lose. What’s important is not weight, but the amount of fat you are carrying. The body mass index (BMI) is a measure of fat that is based upon height and weight.

If you want to calculate your BMI, you divide your weight in pounds by height in inches squared and then multiply by a conversion factor of 703. Here’s an example:

Weight = 175 lbs, Height = 6’1” (73")

Calculation: [175 ÷ (73)2] x 703 = 23.1

A BMI between 19 and 25 is normal. Overweight is 25 to 29.9. Obese is 30 or higher.

If you don’t like math, you can use a simple BMI calculator at:

Here are a dozen tips for losing weight that I collected from a variety of reputable sources.

1. Keep track of the food you eat; this prevents overeating.

2. Don’t cut back too much because your body will begin conserving energy and make it difficult to reduce.

3. Begin exercises to develop muscle so your body will burn more calories.

4. Avoid fads. Eat a balanced diet or you may deny yourself important nutrients.

5. Losing weight is difficult, so don’t be tempted by reduction plans that make it sound easy.

6. You know what’s fattening without checking a book. If it tastes heavenly, avoid it as much as possible.

7. Drink water. It has no calories and will help you with your hunger.

8. Eat because you’re hungry, not because you’re bored. Take a walk instead.

9. Eat slowly and savor your food so you don’t feel deprived later.

10. Don’t skip meals or you will become ravenous and then overeat.

11. Alcoholic drinks are loaded with non-filling calories. They also dissolve your inhibitions and make you eat more. Be careful.

12. Seconds? Ain’t gonna happen.

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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The Road Less Traveled
By Bob Scroggins

The Criminalization Of Thought

Never assume that the government is beyond absurdity, at times it is quite proficient. Take HR 1592, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007. Awash with sanctimony and exhibitions of hatred against hatred, it sailed through the House and the Senate (SA 2067). Now it's up to the President to sign it into law, or veto it as he promised.

The theory behind hate-crime laws is that a crime against a person identified with a specified group indirectly harms all the members of that group. For example, if someone paints a dead baby on an abortion clinic, or a swastika on a synagogue, all such clinics and all synagogues are thought to be intimidated and harmed. A single crime becomes a crime against an entire class; it's called the extension theory.

But the extension theory is not only unproved, it is unprovable. Determining that hatred is the motivation of a crime is subjective. One may speak disapprovingly against a political party, religion, or practice, yet others would equate this disapproval with hatred. Such was the case in Philadelphia. A group of Christians read bible passages to an outdoor meeting of homosexuals. The Christians were arrested for hate speech.

The bible readers were charged with hate crimes, an offensive which the state assumes to be true but cannot objectively prove it to be so. Thus the Christians had to defend themselves against a law based on a premise which may or may not have a basis in fact.

Hate crimes are not really crimes against hate, but are laws that confer special status to designated groups. For example, a heterosexual who assaults a homosexual may be charged with assault and battery, plus a hate-crime violation. Reverse that: a homosexual who assaults a heterosexual would not face this additional charge. A woman who kills a man because she hates men, or a black who kills a white because he hates whites would also be exempted from hate-crime charges. This may not be true in theory, but in practice it is very much the case. Hate crimes obviate the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equal justice before the law.

An illustrative example of the one-way traffic on hate-crime street occurred when a black man wrestled a camera from a white woman, Kimberly Rae. Her husband came to her rescue, during which he shouted a racial epithet. The authorities refused to press charges against the woman's assailant. Instead, they charged Mr. Rae with a violation of an anti-hate law. Apparently uttering a racial epithet is worse that a 6-foot-3-inch, 230-pound man manhandling a 5-foot-3-inch woman.

Hate laws are superfluous. If a person is mugged because he is white, does he suffer a greater loss? Or if someone is assaulted because he is a homosexual, are his injuries more severe because of his sexual proclivities? However, these statutes are an easy sell to legislators for reasons other than protecting minorities. Can you image a congressman being against anti-hate laws? Why, that's being soft on hate, indifferent to the victimization of favored groups, and all important, it's sure to cost him a voting bloc.

California was the first state to enact a hate-crime statute in 1987. The original law carried penalties for crimes against race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, and sexual orientation. Predictably, over the years this has broadened to include sex, disability, and something called mistaken attacks. If a heterosexual is attacked in the mistaken belief he is a homosexual, it is still a hate crime.

Paradoxically, hate laws accomplish the opposite of what they intend. They tend to polarize, balkanize people into separate groups jockeying for political advantage. Further, they are discriminatory; favoring one group always comes at the expense of another group. Nevertheless, hate laws are extant in 49 states, Pennsylvania being one, and the number of victim groups and offenses under this umbrella are sure to proliferate as they did in California.

Iran has its mullahs overseeing correct Islamic thought, and we have our anti-hate police ever-alert for infractions. Land of the free? Indeed, but mind what you think, guard what you say, and watch what you do.

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A Day In My Shoes

No A Day In My Shoes This Week

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