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Issue Home November 7, 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

SOUTH AUBURN: Rev. G. C. Judson, aged 92 1/2 years, went to Auburn Centre election day. He cannot remember ever being confined to his bed by sickness. His mind is clear and bright as a man of younger years and he thinks prohibition pays to practice as well as vote.

MONTROSE: A very enjoyable masquerade dance was given by a score of young ladies at the Colonial Tuesday night. The stage and balcony were festooned and draped in red and white, while numerous Japanese and jack-‘o-lanterns made the hall present a bright and cheery aspect. The grand march was led by William Flindt and Miss Fanny Nash. In it a Weary Willie would be arm in arm with a princess, or a gypsy maid would keep step with a member of the royal family. The antics of the masked dancers, or the grotesqueness of their costumes, kept the spectators, who crowded the balcony, bubbling with laughter. Many of the costumes were elaborate and all of the disguises were baffling, a majority not being penetrated until masks were removed. A punch bowl (non spirits fermenti) and stands piled high with fruits and eatables furnished refreshment during the evening. Music was by the Mahon orchestra and taking the whole as a social function it was most pleasurable and thoroughly enjoyed by both participant and spectator.

SOUTH GIBSON: The Ladies’ Aid Society was royally entertained last Wednesday at the pleasant home of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Manzer. A roast pig dinner was served to over 100 persons and the society netted $10. Visitors present were Mrs. Mate Davis and Verda Morgan, Welsh Hill; Mrs. Henry Snyder and Mrs. Frank Gow, Lenox; Mrs. David Hardy, Glenwood.

BRIDGEWATER TWP.: A new icehouse is under construction at Jones’ Lake by our local icemen, Keough & Deuel. It is on the same site of the old one, which stood next to the pump-house.

NEW MILFORD: The horse stolen from W. F. Shields was found by a farmer at Corbettsville. The lost animal was standing in the road and headed toward home. The farmer put the horse in his barn and advertised it in a Binghamton paper, and Mr. Shields recovered the animal the next day.

FRANKLIN TWP.: Mrs. Arthur T. Vance and children, of Long Island, spent last week as guests of their aunt, Mrs. J. C. Wheaton, of Salt Springs. Mrs. Vance’s husband has recently relinquished his position as editor of the Woman’s Home Companion to accept a more desirable one as editor of the new magazine, The Circle.

SPRINGVILLE: School is closed this week because of scarlet fever in the home of George Haldeman, one of his children being afflicted. AND: J. W. Tuttle has changed his mind about moving and will remain on the old farm.

FOREST CITY: Two counties are concerned in the death of Stephen Dearish, which occurred at Forest City, Oct 26th. His death was caused by a fractured skull and the coroner of Wayne county must perform the autopsy, while the Susquehanna County authorities must make the arrest of the party responsible for his injury, Martin Muchitz, if any arrest is deemed to be warranted. It is claimed that Dearish, who was employed as a man-of-all work at the hotel in Forest City, was working about the furnace late Friday night. He was, it is alleged, in an intoxicated condition and the proprietor, it is asserted, thrust him out of doors. The next morning Dearish was found a short distance away, with his skull fractured. He was taken to his home and died within a few hours. Whether he was put out of the hotel with undue violence or received his injury from a fall is to be investigated. It happens that Dearish lives in what is known as the “Three Angles,” that is where the counties of Susquehanna, Wayne and Lackawanna come together. The injury occurred in Susquehanna county, while the man died in Wayne county.

CLIFFORD: Alexander Greene died very suddenly Friday evening, Nov. 1, of apoplexy. His funeral was largely attended, from the Methodist church, Monday morning at 11 o’clock. Mr. Greene was a man beloved by all who knew him. Mr. Greene was twice married, his wife, with two sons, Emory and Owen, of this place, and a daughter residing in Rhode Island, survive him. His remains were laid to rest by the side of his first wife, in the family plot in the old cemetery, at this place. AND: A man calling himself a health inspector or sanitary inspector or something else, called on our school one day last week and inspected it. He entered the school room without the formality of knocking, or removing his hat from his head or his cigar from his mouth. During the firing of his questions at the teacher he also kept firing his tobacco smoke into the room. After telling the teacher to fill out his blanks for him in anything but a gentlemanly way, he told her he had the schools in Forest City and Clifford township, but the teacher thought, from the smell of his breath, he had more than that.

SUSQUEHANNA: The heroism of Engineer Young prevented a serious wreck and probable loss of life on the Erie between Susquehanna and Binghamton this week. In the face of grave danger he stuck to his post and prevented the “Southern Tier Express” from leaving the rails while going at a rapid rate of speed. The Southern Tier Express leaves this place at 6:25 a.m. and while running at a rapid rate of speed the tire of one of the drive wheels came off. The driving rod also was torn off and plunged through the cab. With the floor of the cab falling beneath him, Engineer Young stuck to his post and stopped the train.

LITTLE MEADOWS: Wm. Hartigan is a noted potato-raiser. AND: Wm. D. Minkler is building a fine new house.

BROOKLYN: The annual hunt of the “Raccoon Club” took place here on Monday evening, Nov. 4. Members present were H. A. Tewksbury, president; E. F. Ely, secretary; E. W. Newton, Treasurer; Ross Tewksbury, climber and Leonard Shadduck-lantern bearer.

After a few miles journey east of the village the dogs located a raccoon in the midst of a dense forest, where, after a hurried consultation it was decided to capture him alive. The climber proceeded promptly to the top of the lofty tree while the rest of the party completed preparations underneath for the capture. When the dogs were chained and all in readiness, the signal was given for the climber to shake the tree. The next few moments were filled with nervous anxiety as the sound of the descending raccoon through the leaves and branches broke the monotony of the midnight stillness. Finally, with a sudden crash, the raccoon came to mother earth, where the president and his escorts proceed to take him alive, but despite the most skillful, untiring and determined efforts, during which the woods were filled with screams and shouts amid upturned leaves and branches, the raccoon was soon away and located in another even higher tree. A little later another one was captured in a less exciting way, when toward morning the party proceeded homeward, each one declaring this the one great time of his life.

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

Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder was killed serving his country in Iraq in 2006. At his March, 2006 funeral, his family and friends were confronted by a group of “protesters,” who were members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church that apparently believe that the war in Iraq is God’s punishment for America’s tolerance of homosexuality. The signs that greeted the mourners included “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” and “God hates fags.” This hate-mongering religious group, comprising approximately 75 members has been traveling the nation to disrupt military funerals with their vile messages. While the group claims to be Christians, their demonstrations are void of any message of hope, compassion or love; rather, the forum and content of the speech is aimed for the sole purpose of causing humiliation and pain.

Albert Snyder, the father of Lance Cpl. Snyder, decided that he was going to stand up to these evildoers. He filed a federal lawsuit contending that his privacy rights had been violated when his son’s family and friends had to endure the hateful chants and signs when they were attempting to bury an American hero. Predictably, the cult hid behind the First Amendment, contending that the funeral was a public event and they had a right to free speech at any public event.

Last week, a federal jury returned a verdict in favor of the Snyder family and concluded that the protestors had violated the family’s right to privacy at their son’s funeral. In particular, the jury awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages, $2 million for causing emotional distress, and $6 million in punitive damages. Thus, the total award against the Westboro Baptist Church exceeded $11 million. The jury sent the cult a message of their own – the despicable conduct would have severe financial consequences.

It seems that the message was not received. One of the church leaders, Fred Phelps, confidently predicted that the verdict would be reversed on appeal, quipping that it would only take “about five minutes” to obtain the reversal on First Amendment grounds. His daughter, Shirley Phelps-Rogers, called the litigation an “act in futility” and vowed that her group of banshees would continue with their funeral “protests.” It is ironic that a group so hell bent upon delivering their “message” is so ill-equipped at understanding the message sent to them.

Several states have enacted specific statutes aimed at eliminating funeral protests. The legislatures have determined that families have a right to lay their loved ones to rest in a peaceful and solemn atmosphere untainted by a circus of hate-filled idiots. Pennsylvania does not have a specific statute addressing such conduct. There is a general statute that makes it unlawful to intentionally disrupt any lawful meeting, procession or gathering. This statute was enacted in 1973, and, in the intervening three decades, there has been no case law interpreting the scope of conduct that the statute prohibits. On its face, however, it would appear that this statute could be utilized by law enforcement to eliminate a disruption of a family’s funeral service.

A violation of this statute constituted a misdemeanor of the third degree, which is the lowest graded misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, punishable by only up to one year incarceration and up to a $2,500 fine. While the penalty may not be very severe, at a minimum, the statute provides police the ability to arrest the protesters and remove them so that the funeral can continue without further disruption. At least, the statute provides that ability for now. If the Westboro Baptist Church is successful in their campaign to use the First Amendment as a shield, then funerals in this country will no longer be guaranteed a sacred atmosphere. A jury of Americans has spoken loudly – and we know that the Westboro Baptist Church is not listening – but the question remains whether the federal courts will get the message.

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 older people faint more than younger people?

Yes. When you pass 70 years, you double the chances of fainting. And the odds triple after 80. Fainting is common. About one in three people faint at least once in a lifetime.

Syncope (SINK-o-pea) is the medical word for fainting or a temporary – a few seconds – loss of consciousness. Fainting happens when your brain isn’t getting enough oxygen from your blood supply.

Syncope is often foreshadowed by “premonitory symptoms” that include nausea, feeling lightheaded and irregular heartbeats.

Personal note: I have what doctors call “presyncope.” My knees buckle and I get very close to passing out but never quite make it. This happens only when I see my own blood in clear bag or syringe. I’ve been kicked out of blood banks.

Syncope is a symptom, not a medical condition. Syncope can be an indicator of a serious problem, so it should not be taken lightly. If you have a fainting spell, get checked out by a doctor. It’s sometimes difficult to diagnose syncope in seniors because there can be multiple causes.

Here’s a typical fainting scenario:

You stand up. There’s blood in the legs that has to be redistributed so there’s enough going to your brain. Your nervous system starts sending rapid signals to the heart and blood vessels to correct the imbalance. Older people’s bodies simply don’t respond as well as they used to; they tend to faint more often because of their reduced capacity.

In another common syncope scenario, you feel faint after a meal because blood has poured into your digestive system.

There are many causes for fainting. Some are benign; some aren’t. The causes include abnormalities of the blood, brain, arteries and veins, heart, medications and low blood pressure. Passing out can be the only symptom of heart attack in older people.

Low blood pressure is commonly caused by drugs for high blood pressure, surgical medications, anti-anxiety agents, diuretics, heart medicines, antidepressants, narcotic painkillers and alcohol. Other causes of low blood pressure include dehydration, heart failure, heart arrhythmias, shock from infection, stroke, severe allergic reaction, major trauma, heart attack and advanced diabetes.

Even after extensive testing, the cause of syncope is not found in almost half of the cases.

There are names for categories of syncope. These include:

Vasovagal, the common variety, which happens when blood pressure drops suddenly.

Situational, a form of vasovagal syncope that is triggered by events such as anxiety, hunger, pain, coughing, wearing a tight collar or urinating.

Postural, which occurs when the blood pressure drops suddenly because you got up too fast.

Cardiac, which strikes when heart or blood-vessel problems interfere with blood flow.

Neurologic, which is caused by seizure or stroke.

Treatment for syncope depends upon the cause. Treatment may include: diet changes, support garments to improve circulation, changing medications, avoiding situations that cause syncope, rising slowly from a sitting or lying position, and installing devices to control your heart rate.

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 Social Wars: Poverty

The social wars; it's the nanny state at her best, fighting to improve the economic, health, and societal betterment of her taxpaying wards. They are domestic battles fought on our own turf, not with bullets but with tax dollars. There are three: the War on Poverty, the War on Cancer, and the War on Drugs. We'll begin with poverty. In subsequent columns, we'll see how we're faring with the other two wars.

President Lyndon Johnson, in his State of the Union address in 1964, called it the War on Poverty. Johnson's Great Society picked up the socialist baton from President Roosevelt's New Deal. LBJ would not be outdone by FDR.

The assumption was, and still is, that government, if given enough money and power, can create what people want: jobs, security, housing, even health. But government cannot create, it can only take. Government, whether federal or state, can only use its power of taxation to confiscation from one group, deduct the expenses of an intervening battery of bureaucrats, and give to another group. Nothing is created, much is lost.

The key to wealth is not government spending, but private saving. Savings are funds that will eventually be invested by businesses and individuals to create greater productivity, which, in turn, creates wealth. But who can save when the average taxpayer is billed $1,000 a month in federal, state, and local taxes? The demand for taxes to fund welfare programs creates a drag on the economy. The War on Poverty has not eliminated poverty, it has insured it.

Currently, the US spends about $450 billion a year on the poverty war. Over the 40 years since LBJ spent his first tax dollar, trillions of dollars have gone into anti-poverty programs. What have we gotten from this gargantuan expenditure? Let's see.

In 1964, the poverty rate was 19 percent. Today it varies between 12 to 15 percent. Slightly better? Not at all. Since the '60's there has been a considerable increase in national wealth. A rising tide lifts all ships, in this case causing a reduction of a few percentage points in the poverty rate.

Far from reducing poverty, the War on Poverty has created a permanent class of dependents, the underclass. These unfortunates have grandparents and parents, who, like themselves, have become habituated to government handouts. They are the victims of good intentions.

Poverty can never be completely eliminated, but it can be considerably reduced by getting government out of our wallets. Take a critical look at LBJ's two great initiatives: Medicare, it cost $391 billion a year, and Medicaid (federal and state), it cost an annual $350 billion. Progressively eliminating these programs and the taxes required to fund them would return three-quarters of a trillion dollars to taxpayers.

Axing these two programs would also go a long way toward reducing out-of-sight medical costs, which naturally follow when oversight is passed from the individual to the government.

Consider other taxes which perpetuate poverty. Match what the US spends on defense, compared to the Russian Federation, China, and the rest of the world. The defense budget for the US is $623 billion, for Russia it is $50 billion, and for China it is $65 billion. Russia and China combined equals a scant 18 percent of US spending. And how do we compare with the rest of the world? The US spends more than half of the entire world's defense budget, 57 percent to be exact.

Defense spending should be incrementally slashed, then slashed again. That's a further saving of hundreds of billions of dollars returned to businesses and individuals; dollars that would be in invested, increasing productivity, creating wealth, and reducing poverty. Now that would really be a War on Poverty.

So will the liberal left – that's the Democrats – and the other liberal left – that's the Republicans – even consider these solutions? Not a chance. What will they do? Well, one party will choose the highway and the other party will travel the scenic route to a common destination, the failed utopia of socialism.

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A Day In My Shoes

No A Day In My Shoes This Week

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