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Issue Home November 14, 2007 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Speech, Publicity, & Other Freedoms

Someone once said something to the effect, “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” My interpretation of that, is that we all have the right to express an opinion. How wonderful that we live in a country where that is possible. And, I will go further and say that to prevent publication of an opinion because we do not agree with it is not only irresponsible and repressive, but it is what I call “Selective Censorship,” something we vehemently oppose. Isn’t it better that we allow a forum for county residents to state their opinions? With very few exceptions, we publish almost every letter that comes in. We will not publish a “rant” about a personal dispute with your next-door neighbor, especially when you call him/her words that we cannot publish. We will not (knowingly) publish letters from folks who do not exist. We will not (knowingly) publish a letter that has been written by someone other than the signer. And, we will not publish letters endorsing (or its opposite) candidates running for office. We will also not publish political opinions in the issue prior to the election (or that week), as it does not allow time for rebuttal. Publication of an editorial or letter to the editor in no way indicates our support of a particular belief.

We were recently told by an individual that his group would not be advertising in one of our special issues (one of the few occasions that this group purchases advertising with US) because we “weren’t very nice to them,” because we did not censor an opinion in an editorial. How sad, that the right to free speech should determine whether or not you support an outlet that has provided you with so much “free” publicity over the years, including substantial space when you wanted to express your disagreement with that editorial. “Free” is in quotations because that publicity is not free, someone is paying for it, just not you. (And we do notice who sends us requests for “free” publicity, but does not consider us at all when they make up their advertising budgets.)

So, should we only publish opinions that you agree with? And all those other “armchair editors” out there, should we do everything only according to your dictates? What chaos that would be, trying to make everyone happy. Any simpleton knows that just isn’t possible, and anyone who tries is fighting a losing battle.

What I can’t understand is, if you dislike a particular columnist or section, why can’t you just skip over it? No one will expect you to read every word in every edition. I, myself buy other newspapers every day, and I only read the things I’m interested in. How sad that someone would choose to be uninformed about so much and miss out on so many other good things because they dislike a particular item.

If you prefer not to spend any of your advertising dollars with us, you have every right not to. Just like we have every right to decide whether or not to continue giving away all that “free” publicity.


Barbara Whitehead

Susquehanna County Transcript

Now That We’re “Safe”...

As you know I have been following the news of the stone quarry in New Milford Township. I'm sure the folks at New Milford Rescue are gleefully rubbing their hands together at the prospect of the plant shutting down. My question is, at what cost? The men who won't be cutting stone, the men who won't be driving trucks, the taxpayer who will be paying top dollar for stone products to be delivered to maintain roads and driveways? How about the expense of the unemployment line in this county. Oh, forgive me, the unemployment line is in Scranton, can't see them from here. How about the families of these men? The holidays are coming, along with the snow. Will New Milford Rescue set up a soup line, coat give-away, and Secret Santa? Was any thought given by anyone that there is always some form of collateral damage? I'm friends with many quarry operators and workers, and I've asked them to remember all the people who brought pressure to bear in the form of the DEP. By not sponsoring any New Milford Rescue member or activity, and to vote for the candidate who remembers what side the bread is buttered on. As for the fine men at the PA Bluestone Association, I do not see what your function is anymore. Any miner can be certified to train in Parts 46 & 48. I am. And I would not charge that big money for an 8-hour course, nor tell them they need a license to operate equipment that is not registered.

I was astonished no one from the organization realized that all quarry permittees are going to be following a harder script than the already-hard application process in place now. Could New Milford Rescue be what kills the bluestone industry in Susquehanna County?

Knowledgeable permittees know that after you apply for the application, there are many, many hours involved in the map making and filling out the application, not to mention huge engineering costs and bonding requirements. DEP then has 120 days before they respond to tell you that there are "corrections" to do. This can go on for years. I know of one large non-coal permit that took three years and $250,000. DEP allowed the operator the opportunity to work so that money could be made to pay these costs. As for the idea that a permittee has to notify of intent, that is also addressed by publishing for two weeks in local papers, your operation location, and to register your objections, which New Milford Rescue has.

I can appreciate those who would think that what is really more common than you know became the rally call. They are not 100% in compliance, so they must be sneaking around. It should be very interesting to new operators to apply for a permit and license without tons of working capital. God bless them.

That will be the Rescue legacy. So, to all you who rescued New Milford, I'm sure these men and their families will "Thank You" this Thanksgiving while they are waiting the two weeks to get any unemployment benefits, and hope spring will come soon to find any work; or, maybe the benefactors could create work for the many men they helped pink slip.

We should all be able to rest easy now that that bunch of no-good outlaw miners have been put on notice that New Milford Rescue will tolerate no more of these procedural paperwork troubles without protest. Why, just the thought that I'm being protected has me all twittery, and will let me sleep better at night; can you?


Cynthia Allen

Summerville, PA

We Need To Thank Them

I recently listened to a resident share an experience with fire that almost took her life. With each word spoken, you could hear the frantic anxiety in her voice. It was an emotional conversation that leads to the writing of this letter.

Have you ever witnessed a structure fire? I mean, really witnessed the intensity of the destruction that is uncontrollable? The heroism of the firefighters entering the area – the unknown – through the smoke and risking their lives for someone else’s life and possessions. As we know, lives are irreplaceable and those possessions inside are everything to the people that own that blazing inferno. The collections included in photo albums and scrapbooks include generations of memories, and that framed artwork from a four-year old can never be replaced.

I hadn’t really witnessed a structure fire since I was a child, and an old, abandoned school burned one evening. I remember the terror and horror on former students’ faces as they watched and were helpless. Vivid in my mind, is recently watching the Main Street Grille in New Milford burn, someone’s livelihood and home, burning before my eyes. Not just someone, my neighbors, Miles and Koni. Their lives are now forever disrupted and upset. The feeling of helplessness was apparent on the faces of anyone untrained, just watching and shaking their heads.

I watched as the first fire truck pulled up and then another, and another. The response time was certainly quick considering that we only have volunteers as firefighters in Susquehanna County. These volunteers left their jobs to help a neighbor in need. On the sidelines were EMTs and emergency vehicle drivers waiting to help with the health conditions that may occur. Then, there were the fire police detouring traffic and dealing with people who insisted they “had” to go past the fire scene. This well-orchestrated event is all done by volunteers. Volunteers that spend their time and money to go to training, time spent away from their own families, to be prepared to save our lives and possessions when events such as this occur. We need to reach out and thank those volunteers in our local communities, the ones that risk their lives fighting fearlessly to save what they can for us. We need to say “thank you” when we see them. If you can, send your local fire department and/or emergency services a check. You can donate whatever you feel you can afford. A couple of dollars is all that’s needed, if everyone does the same.

Volunteer fire departments and emergency services are looking for people like you every day. Volunteers are needed such as drivers, traffic control persons, etc. Some of you may be able to help fill those voids in local communities; please, volunteer if you can.

If you are a volunteer, you know the feeling of satisfaction inside when you help someone; you don’t expect to be thanked and when you are, it’s just an added bonus. So, please reach out to our local emergency services and say “thank you.”


MaryAnn Warren

New Milford Borough

Prevent Home Fires

On Thanksgiving Day, kitchens all around Susquehanna County will get their biggest workout of the year. But the American Red Cross wants to remind you that with so much extra cooking, a home fire could become your worst, uninvited Thanksgiving guest. As America’s partner in preparedness, the Red Cross believes now is the time to talk turkey about Thanksgiving fire safety.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, unattended cooking is the leading cause of Thanksgiving Day home fires, so the Red Cross recommends that you keep potholders and food wrappers at least three feet away from heat sources while cooking. In addition, stoves, ovens, and ranges should be turned off if the responsible adult leaves the kitchen. Also, set timers to keep track of turkeys and other food items that require extended cooking times.

It is also a good idea whenever you entertain guests that you designate one person to walk around your home, checking that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished once guests leave.

For more information on how to have a happy and fire safe Thanksgiving Day, visit www.redcross.org/homefires or contact us at 278–1427.


Becky Naylor

Executive Director

Susquehanna County Chapter

National Farm-City Week

This Thanksgiving Day, as we gather with family and friends to count our blessings, let’s give thanks for the bounty we enjoy, not just on this holiday, but every day. The safe, plentiful food that is available to us, and the products used to produce the clothing, housing, medicines, fuel and other products we use on a daily basis are the result of a tremendous partnership of Pennsylvania farmers, processors, brokers, truckers, shippers, advertisers, wholesalers and retailers.

Rural and urban residents are “Partners in Progress” who produce the products, consume the products, and make them readily available through an efficient production and marketing chain. Farmers are just the beginning of that chain. Farm workers, researchers, processors, shippers, truck drivers, inspectors, wholesalers, agribusinesses, marketers, advertisers, retailers and consumers all play important roles in the incredible productivity that has made our nation’s food and fiber system the envy of the world.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, the Susquehanna County Farm Bureau would like to invite everyone to also celebrate National Farm-City Week. Rural and urban communities working together have made the most of our rich agricultural resources, and have made significant contributions to our health and well-being and to the strength of our state and local economy. For this, we can give thanks.

The 41st Susquehanna County Farm City Feast will be held on Saturday, November 17 at the Mt. View High School.


Donna Williams

Nicholson, PA

The Power Of “One”

There is a thread that runs so rich and deep throughout the state of Pennsylvania, you simply cannot help but be captivated by its intense beauty and richness. I hear people talk about “outsiders.” I’ve lived my life all over the United States. When people would ask, “Where are you from?” I felt like saying, “I’m not really from anywhere.” As I got older, I felt just the opposite; I’m from everywhere.

I saw Pennsylvania for the first time when I was 19. It was love at first sight, and so it was with the Pennsylvania boy I married, Jim. Now I have lived two thirds of my life in PA. I am a permanent fixture. Jim and I live in a home surrounded by forest in New Milford Township. It is full of treasures provided by Mother Nature. Great inspiration for our life and our art.

Then, what seems like “all of a sudden,” a rumbling began in our neighborhoods and in our magnificent mountains. It was the sound of dynamite explosions, hundreds of huge trucks (per day) on roads that are caving in under the tonnage they are having to bear. There are homes where residents can’t sleep, can’t breathe, can’t open their windows, can’t escape the huge plumes of dirt and dust filling the air, can’t feel any safety in their children waiting for a school bus. Wells are becoming questionable – some no longer fit for drinking or bathing water. There are people having nightmares of a business operating with no permits on most of the acres they are working. No effort made to keep their work clean, compatible, healthy or digestible by anyone living in New Milford Township. No research done regarding impact on people, homes, water, plants, birds or the impact on our existing hazardous waste site (Lyncott Landfill) that’s only a little over one mile away. No research of impact of heavy rainfall, huge accumulations of sludge oozing over the sides of the work site. No research on usage of huge volumes of our local water supplies needed to operate machines. No research in the changes which will surely be affected in our aquifers where our beautifully natural pure water runs.

This reads like a bad movie, and this bad movie has not ended. We have not averted these problems by the withdrawal of the BS Quarries application. They intend to reapply in the near future. I have talked to my neighbors whose family history is steeped in mining and quarrying. I honor that heritage. All you have to do is check your topography maps to see that there has been quarrying all around us. The only way this “bad movie” can have a  happy ending is to have everyone speak, listen, learn, attend meetings, share thoughts and ideas with neighbors. All of these things are wonderful to do even if there isn’t an ongoing catastrophe in our midst.

I recently watched a PBS show called “Hope for Polluted Waters.” It was magnificent. One man founded the beginning of the still ongoing reclamation of our rives and streams. One man who loved Pennsylvania and his fly fishing. He says it’s taking a long time to reclaim what mining and quarrying have destroyed. He noted with this huge effort has come a huge influx of tourism and income to our state. Let’s work hard to keep our natural wonders intact and still have mining as part of our heritage, keeping it as clean as possible and properly done.

I pray every day for all of the New Milford residents, our local and federal representatives, and I pray for all of the quarry people. All of us are suffering.

The power of “one” is huge. It starts and ends with you and me.


Anita Ambrose

New Milford, PA

Put Politics Aside

Attention, Susquehanna County Commissioners Roberta Kelly and MaryAnn Warren. Please read and respond to your mail! Over the past six months, the Susquehanna County Railroad Authority and their attorney, Patrick J. Lavelle have sent you three important letters regarding a county guarantee to acquire land to build a transload facility in the New Milford area. Why won’t you answer? For the record, Commissioner Loomis has read the correspondence and responded in writing twice that he would support a guarantee.

There have been a number of allegations that the leadership of the Railroad Authority has not done everything which has been requested to obtain the funding necessary for this project. This is simply not true. If you read your mail, you would have to agree.

The most recent correspondence sent to you by their attorney, dated October 8, 2007, explains to you for the third time in detail what they have done, including providing all requested documentation to the Central Bradford Progress Authority (the economic development arm of our county) when it was requested many months ago. They haven’t had any meaningful communication with the Railroad Authority since April, 2007.

Despite your claims to the contrary, Mr. Lavelle’s letter also shows they have had no cooperation from you. That’s a pretty shabby way to treat a government agency which has only unpaid members who have volunteered years of their time to lay the groundwork to build some much-needed infrastructure, create some jobs and make Susquehanna County a better place to live. Most of the members have contributed their own funds to pay for the ongoing expenses of the Authority, including, most recently, contributing the cost of the annual premium for insurance. That’s pretty sad, that an agency with unpaid members has to fund their own expenses for a project, which will ultimately benefit Susquehanna County.

Let’s stop playing games, commissioners. You have been made aware that none of the four banks they have met with will work with the Authority to fund this project without a county guarantee. Period. Either you support economic development in the form of this project, as you have repeatedly stated, or it is just more political rhetoric.

Residents of Susquehanna County, if you see Commissioners Kelly and Warren, please ask them: 1. How they can justify not responding to correspondence sent them by a government agency; 2. How they can claim they are supporting economic development through the Susquehanna County Railroad Authority; and 3. What gives them the justification, as elected officials, to act the way they do to this agency?

Commissioners Kelly and Warren, put the politics aside and help Susquehanna County move forward. Commissioner Loomis has pledged his support and needs one more vote to support this worthwhile project so it can move forward.


Rowland Sharp

Joseph White

Kenneth Bondurant

Thomas E. Wooden, Sr.

Do We Need An Authority?

Why do we, the taxpayers, need a “Railroad Authority” in Susquehanna County? Economic development? Sure, if there is a need for it. Authorities have a lot of power, but they must have capitol (money) behind them. Eminent domain is one of the powers authorities may use, and God help anyone that gets in their way. The Susquehanna County Railroad Authority has no money. They need $600,000.00 plus, just to purchase property, and another $800,000.00 to develop the property. This is for phase one. Banks may loan them this money – but – Susquehanna County must guarantee repayment. That’s us – the taxpayers.

Another authority, SOLIDA (Susquehanna, Oakland, Lanesboro Industrial Development Authority) in the name of industrial development, purchased property, approximately 70 acres, with no water, electricity, sewage, and no access. This SOLIDA spent enormous amounts of money, and finally got an access road to their property. It has been approximately 16 years, and they still have no water, no electricity and no sewer. But they do have a lot of debt. Be very thankful, taxpayers, that your county did not guarantee payment. Susquehanna County did take over the access road. That’s another whole story that the taxpayers don’t know about.

Nobody, but nobody knows about the SOLIDA authority. They never have meetings that anyone knows about. They never publish financial statements (as required by law). I seriously believe that no one that has served on the board of SOLIDA knows what went on, or what is going on today.

Is the Susquehanna County Railroad Authority going down the same road? Why does there have to be so much secrecy in a democratic government? I am thankful for the letters and writings of Mr. Jurista, Mr. Baker, Mr. Jennings, Mr. Amadio, Ms. Ann Whynman and others whose names have slipped my mind. And especially to the County Transcript for printing them.


Clyde Boughton

Susquehanna, PA

Some Clarifications

Ted Brewster, in his article about the dispute in Harford regarding the triangular memorial park in the center of town, makes several factual errors. First, Bronson Pinchot did not obtain the park when he bought the former Harford Country Store. Instead, he got the possibility of owning the park. Whether that possibility is now a reality is precisely what the lawsuit seeks to determine.

Similarly, Brewster’s use of the word “indenture” is misleading. The park was sold to the Harford Historical Society in 1941 for the sum of one dollar; the grantor, George Pritchard, had two restrictions on the Historical Society’s ownership: they had to maintain it as a memorial park, and they couldn’t build on it. The precise wording of the second clause is one source of the legal dispute: Is the gazebo now in the park a structure in the sense that George  Pritchard intended in 1941?

Finally, Mr. Brewster implies that the delay benefits the lawyers financially. I cannot speak to the financial rewards Ray Davis, Mr. Pinchot’s counsel, may be enjoying. As counsel for the Historical Society, Charles Wage and I were very disappointed about the delay. Furthermore, I would like to point out that I’ve volunteered my services to the Historical Society pro bono. No matter how long the case takes, free is free.


Magdalen Braden

Harford Township

Letters To The Editor MUST BE SIGNED. They MUST INCLUDE a phone number for "daytime" contact. Letters MUST BE CONFIRMED VERBALLY with the author, before printing. Letters should be as concise as possible, to keep both Readers' and Editors' interest alike. Your opinions are important to us, but you must follow these guidelines to help assure their publishing.

Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript

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