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Issue Home December 12, 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 Shoe
Food For Thought

100 Years Ago

SUSQUEHANNA: The Erie Railroad has commenced the work of installing a private telephone system in its local shop yards and office. AND: Engineer Frank French has been appointed engine dispatcher at the new Erie roundhouse.

DIMOCK: When you want good coal, go to the coal yard of Moody & Wheeler, near the milk station. AND: After completion of the $20,000 library in Montrose, Mr. Francis Cope has plans under consideration for the establishment of free libraries throughout the county. The first point out of Montrose that Mr. Cope turns to is Dimock Corners, near which is located the Cope Country Seat. However, there is one serious obstacle in the way, and that is nothing more or less than the Dimock bar room--the Dimock hotel bar. An offer has been made to John Dolan, proprietor of the Dimock Hotel, to buy his property outright, that being the best location for the library; but it is not at all certain that the people can raise a fund sufficient to meet the price demanded.

FOREST CITY: Forest City had a $60,000 fire this morning. What was yesterday the Davis Opera house, the W. E. Kirby building, and the J. L. Morgan & Co. building, is today a smoldering mass of ruins. The Opera house is wiped out completely. So, too, is the Kirby building. The flames ate their way into the rear and top part of the Morgan store. The goods saved from the wreck are practically ruined by water and smoke. The cause of the fire is not known. It broke out in the upper part of the Opera house building. The Enterprise and Hillside Hose companies were promptly on the scene, assisted by the Vandling Hose company. AND: The Gem Theatre, which opened on Thanksgiving day in the new Bloxham building, lasted only two weeks and went out of business on Wednesday last. Mr. McKane, the proprietor went to Liberty, N.Y., and his two performers are looking for an engagement elsewhere

MONTROSE: It has been suggested that the name “Jones Lake” be changed to “Lake Montrose.” It would sound very well, and better still, to give it a classic touch in spelling—for instance, “Lake Mont Rose.” AND: R. H. Caruso, this week, opened his new barber shop on Public avenue, next door to the new postoffice. The fixtures for the shop are brand new, handsome and durable, and were purchased from the Koken Barber Supply Co. The two chairs are the latest pattern, and “lay easy” to the comfort of the patrons. Kenneth Weaver is assisting in the shop.

BROOKLYN: A. G. Sterling has moved into his new and elegant house, one of the finest in town. AND: Joseph Yeomans has shot 49 woodchucks this year. Mr. Yeomans is 70 years old, and must possess a very steady nerve. He uses a Winchester rifle.

JERSEY HILL, Auburn Twp.: The death of Mrs. David Angle, who was so terribly burned on December 2nd at her home at Angle’s Corners, occurred on Saturday the 7th inst. and the end came very peacefully. Mrs. Angle will be deeply missed in the neighborhood where her kind ministrations have made her name cherished and highly respected for so many years.

BRANDT: James Fitzgerald, of Ararat Summit, was struck by an Erie pusher and fatally injured at this place Friday morning.

HARFORD: Mrs. Urbane Tingley’s daughter, Blanche, has gone abroad to continue her study in portrait painting, and along other lines.

ELK LAKE: The lake was frozen over Dec. 6.

RHINEY CREEK, Liberty Twp.: Julius Wilbur has moved into his granary. He is going to tear down his house and build a new one.

FLYNN, Middletown Twp.: We are having a model school this winter under the able management of Miss Katie Degnan and Mrs. Vanetta Curley.

ARARAT: William Leach, known as the “Ararat burglar exterminator,” is now employed as detective by the Erie company, with headquarters in Port Jervis.

CLIFFORD: A good many of our young people attended the turkey supper and Thanksgiving party at Hotel Royal and all report a fine time and the music furnished by James Brownell’s orchestra was the finest they have heard in years. They say there will be a crowd at the Royal spring floor New Year’s night. There you can get your toothsome supper.

KINGSLEY: H. E. Carpenter is barber and harness man and plays the fiddle whenever he can.

SPRINGVILLE: A reward of $200 has been offered for information as to the whereabouts of Henry Amey, dead or alive, who suddenly disappeared from Tunkhannock one evening about a month ago. Amey was well known in this locality, having lived for years in Springville township. It is thought that sooner or later the river will solve the mystery.

EAST RUSH: Last Monday, Dec. 9th, about 40 relatives, children, grand children and great grand children, and friends, assembled at the East Rush homestead to celebrate the 76th birthday of H. W. Wheaton. All took dinner and a pleasant time was had. Mr. Wheaton has lived on the old homestead for 51 years.

NEWS BRIEFS: Notices have been posted at the offices of the Lackawanna railroad to the effect that clerks must not sneeze on the books, as tuberculosis may be thus transmitted. They are also forbidden to wet their fingers with their lips to turn the pages, or place their pencils in their mouths, for the same reason. AND: The editor of the Corning Leader is in trouble. One Stokes, a farmer living near that town, has brought suit against the editor, alleging that the weather report as printed in that paper, fooled him, and that instead of being pleasant as reported it rained, and that the clothes of himself and wife were damaged to the extent of $65. AND: Three thousand children of the miners employed at the Coxe collieries will have their hearts gladdened at Christmas by the gifts, which they will receive from Mrs. Eckley B. Coxe of Drifton. It is estimated that she spends over $15,000 every year in presenting gifts to the little ones of the mining region.

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

I had a reader ask whether any criminal charges could be filed in connection with the death of Megan Meier? If you have not heard, Megan Meier was a 13-year-old girl from Missouri who committed suicide after receiving hateful emails. But this story is a little more twisted than a typical teen drama. Megan had a fight with her friend and next door neighbor, and the friend’s parents, Curt and Lori Drew, cooked up a scheme to humiliate Megan in reparation for her behavior towards their daughter.

The Drews created a fictional boy-stud on MySpace with the name Josh Evans, and then contacted Megan to initiate a friendship and a potential romantic relationship. Josh was apparently every teenage girl’s dream – handsome, muscular, talented, smart, sensitive and funny. After the Drews used their cyber-boy to woo and court Megan, they turned the fictional Romeo on the unsuspecting Megan. The compliments and friendship turned to insults and hatred. The Drews were probably laughing hysterically as they ripped the heart out of Megan’s chest with a few typed words and a click of a mouse. After engaging in emotional torture for a period of time, the Drews sent a final message to Megan – you are a bad person, everyone hates you and the world would be better off without you. Megan was devastated – and Megan killed herself by using a belt to hang herself.

Initially, Megan’s parents tried to contact Josh Evans in order to teach him a lesson about the consequences of hurtful behavior. To their surprise, they discovered that Josh Evans did not exist; rather, he was the creation of the perverse minds of Curt and Lori Drew. Imagine the difficulty of dealing with the knowledge that your child had taken her own life because she could not handle the cruel words from another teenage child. Megan’s parents now know that their daughter killed herself as a result of the conduct of two adults who targeted her with high-tech abuse.

So, this brings us back to the reader’s question: Would the Drews be charged if the conduct occurred in Pennsylvania? Apparently, the prosecutor in Missouri has indicated that he cannot find any criminal statute that applies to this particular situation. Likewise in Pennsylvania, there is no specific statute that deals with this type of behavior. The homicide statutes are inapplicable, as it is impossible to demonstrate that the Drews were attempting to kill Megan – or even that the Drews were aware that their conduct was likely to cause her death. The Drews were not trying to force Megan into committing suicide; instead, their conduct was aimed at humiliation, embarrassment, depression, misery, pain, and emotional turmoil.

Still, there are broadly worded statutes that could be utilized to criminally charge the Drews for their conduct. First, the Harassment statute prohibits any person from engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts which serve no legitimate purpose if the person is acting with the intent to annoy, harass or alarm the victim. There can be little doubt that the Drews engaged in repeated acts that had no legitimate purpose and that their intent was to annoy and harass Megan. Thus, the Drews could be charged with Harassment. Under this particular statute, the conduct is graded as a summary offense, with a potential period of incarceration up to 90 days and a fine up to $300.

Under the Stalking statute, it is unlawful for any person to engage in a course of conduct or repeatedly communicate with the victim with the intent to cause substantial emotional distress. The statute defines emotional distress as “a temporary or permanent state of mental anguish.” There is little doubt that the Drews were communicating repeatedly with Megan with the intent to cause her emotional distress. But did the Drews intend to cause “substantial” emotional distress? There is a plausible argument that the Drews violated the Stalking statute, and such a violation would be a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to five years incarceration and a fine up to $10,000.

In answer to the reader’s question, Pennsylvania does have criminal statutes that could be utilized to punish people like the Drews for engaging in secret, cyber-harassment. There is no realistic way to charge the Drews for homicide, as they did not have an intent to kill this child. On the other hand, they definitely possessed the intent to harass and annoy Megan through a sophisticated scheme. Hopefully, the Drews will be charged for their egregious, harassing behavior and face some punishment for their deadly actions.

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 exactly does “environmental health” mean?

It’s a catch-all term that encompasses how your environment impacts your health. It includes how you are affected by social issues such as water pollution, and personal habits, such as smoking. The subject of environmental health covers just about everything but the influence of genes on your health.

I’m dedicating this column to interesting and useful facts about environmental health:

POISON CONTROL – Write this number down: 1-800-222-1222. It’s a help number sponsored by the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Call immediately if someone may have been poisoned or if you have questions about poisons. Trained nurses, pharmacists, and doctors provide emergency treatment advice 24/7. All services are free and confidential.

CANCER – Contrary to popular belief, cancer-causing chemicals in the environment cause fewer than five percent of cancer deaths in the United States. Most cancers are caused by family history and lifestyle choices, such as smoking.

IODINE – If you don’t get enough iodine from your diet, the thyroid gland in your neck can grow to the size of a baseball. When this happens, you get what is called a “goiter.” These became rare after iodine was put into table salt. I recall seeing these often when I was much younger. Haven’t seen one in many years.

WORKER SAFETY – About 137 workers die daily from job-related diseases. This is more than eight times the number of people who die from accidents on the job. Many of these illnesses are caused by chemicals.

LEAD – Paint chips, dust, fumes and water containing lead can get into your body. Even small amounts of lead in your system can impede learning and generate behavior changes. Large quantities of lead can be fatal. A simple blood test can alert you before lead poisoning causes significant problems.

MERCURY – Mercury is a poisonous metal that can get into your body from eating contaminated fish. This silvery metal can build up in the body and cause health problems. Years ago, mercury was used to shape hats. Factory workers breathed fumes from the mercury, which can damage the brain, liver and kidneys. This phenomenon may be what is behind the saying, “mad as a hatter.”

THE SUN – Deaths caused by melanoma – a lethal form of skin cancer – are increasing by four percent a year. You can shield yourself from the sun’s dangerous rays by applying sunscreen, wearing protective clothing and avoiding the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

FLUORIDE – Almost half of all Americans drink water that is either naturally fluoridated or treated with fluorides. This has lowered the incidence of cavities as much as 65 percent. Use fluoride toothpaste.

CARBON MONOXIDE – A fire alarm is not enough to protect you in your home. You need a carbon monoxide (CO) detector that you can get at the hardware store. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of combustion that is produced by a home heating source. If a chimney from your furnace is blocked, carbon monoxide can collect in your home and kill you in your sleep. If you don’t have one in your house, get one.

RADON – Radon is an invisible, odorless radioactive gas that could be in your home. A naturally occurring gas that seeps out of rocks and soil, it comes from uranium buried in the earth and is itself radioactive. Radon poses a risk of lung cancer. Get your house tested.

WARNING LABELS – Read the labels on all house and garden chemicals – even the ones you have been using regularly. The directions change often.

If you have a question, go to

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Straight From Starrucca
By Danielle Williams

No Straight From Starrucca This Week

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Veterans’ Corner

PFC Thomas C. Albertson

Thomas Charles Albertson, 18, the son of Thomas and Mary Albertson, New Milford, PA, graduated PFC from Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot, a thirteen-week boot camp, at Parris Island, SC, September 7, 2007.

Tom graduated from Blue Ridge High School on June 9, 2007 with honors throughout his high school years. He also graduated from the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center at Elk Lake on June 7, 2007, with High Honors. Tom was inducted into the National Technological Honor Society at SCCTC. He received recognition with a savings bond from Tom Kerr Chevrolet, due to his automotive course work at Elk Lake.

Others that recognized Tom were the VFW, Great Bend, and the American Legion, Hallstead, with scholarships toward higher education. He also received a special scholarship award from the Albany Marine Corps Recruiting District, Vestal, NY, through which he had been a “delayed entry” poolee since June, 2006.

Tom is hoping to be in Scout/Sniper, Special Ops, or Force Recon, in his “MOS” choice of infantry. He achieved “sharpshooter” and was appointed a squad leader for the Crucible, a 54-hour field exercise, by his senior drill instructor while at boot camp. He also had the privilege of celebrating the Marine Corps birthday ball in 2006. After a ten-day leave, he returned to Camp Geiger, NC, to attend School of Infantry, then on to Camp LeJeune, NC for further Marine Corps training.

Tom followed in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps by entering into the armed service of the USA. He is the fifth service member in the family of Charles Joseph Pfamatter, his maternal grandfather.

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The Road Less Traveled
By Bob Scroggins

The Christmas Story; Part I

Our narrative takes us to the capitals of the ancient world: Babylon, Rome, Jerusalem. The characters are emperors and kings, scholars and peasants, prophets and villains. Completing the eclectic cast is an angel, a forlorn teenage girl, and her firstborn child. The unseen hand of divine destiny directs the participants, some knowingly, others unknowingly. Yet, all are woven together to tell the greatest story ever told, about the birth of the greatest man who ever lived. It is the Christmas story.

Go back two thousand years to the nation of Babylon, today's Iraq. A group of the king's advisors are discussing a most unusual conjunction of planets. It is a portentous alignment of Jupiter and Venus near Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation of Leo. The year is 3 B.C.

The celestial observers are descendants of the 4,600 Jewish nobles exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon in 586 B.C. They alone know the significance of this heavenly configuration. Here was Jupiter, the king of the planets, joining with Venus, which represents a Babylonian goddess. And this conjunction was taking place in the constellation of Leo, the astrological sign for the tribe of Judah. The wise men are acquainted with prophecies which indicate that the coming of a savior king to Israel is imminent. This singular astronomical pattern confirms their expectation. Did not the Book of Numbers foretell, "There shall come a Star out of Jacob?"

Preparations are immediately undertaken to visit the capital of that nation, the sacred city of Jerusalem. It would be an arduous trek, stretching across 700 miles of desert wasteland infested with bandits. A caravan of hundreds of men and scores of camels to carry the learned men, their servants, provisions, together with a formidable armed escort would be necessary. The preparations and trip, with stops along the way at caravansaries, would take a year or more.

While the caravan was being assembled, in a nondescript town in Israel, Nazareth, the angel Gabriel, a prince among the heavenly host, appears to a young Jewish girl, Mary. He announces that she is to become pregnant. "Then said Mary unto the angel, 'How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?' And the angel answered... the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee... " The year is 4 B.C.

One cannot imagine with what consternation this message was received. Her reputation, honor, even her life are at stake. The punishment for adultery was stoning to death. Who would believe her fantastic story? Apparently no one, not even her espoused, Joseph. He decides to marry, then divorce her to save her from stoning.

But the same angel now appears to him: "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."

Later this same year, Augustus Caesar (the adopted son of Julius Caesar) decrees that a census is to be conducted throughout the whole of his empire. Every man is to appear in the city where his lineage began, for Joseph this is the city of David, Bethlehem. There information as to his estate, employment, wife, children, servants is to be recorded for tax assessment.

Mary is now "great with child." Yet, her shame is so great that not even her own family will help her in this time of greatest need. There is no legal requirement for her to accompany Joseph, but she must. She and Joseph will travel together, together to Bethlehem.

Finally, after a taxing eight-day trip, they arrive at their destination. But the inn is fully occupied with travelers and Joseph's family, like Mary's, will offer no assistance. Mary's hour approaches. The couple searches frantically for a place of refuge and find it in a cave used to shelter animals. There she will give birth. The baby will be born in a stable. The child, a boy, will be wrapped in rags. His bed will be a feed trough. Angels will herald His birth to the lowest of the low, shepherds. Thus is the King of Kings born.

The Scriptures ignore the date of Jesus' birth as being of no importance. However, it is recorded that "shepherds [were] abiding in the field... by night" indicating that it was in a season other than winter. Some, noting astronomic signs and symbolism in the Jewish holy days, speculate that he was born on the Feast of Trumpets, trumpets heralding the coming of a king. It is September 11, 3 B.C.

The conclusion to The Christmas Story will appear in the next issue.

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A Day In My Shoes

No A Day In My Shoes This Week

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Food For Thought
By Lauretta L. Clowes DC

No Food For Thought This Week

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