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Issue Home January 2, 2008 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
Earth Talk

100 Years Ago

EAST KINGSLEY: Friday, Dec. 20th, Mrs. Sarah Rhodes, better known as “Grandma Rhodes,” who lives with her son, C. G. Rhodes, near the former Harford Orphan School, celebrated her ninetieth birthday. For one of her age she is in good health. May she live to enjoy many more birthdays.

THOMPSON: Miss Lura Pickering, student at Cornell and Latham and Wille Weary, of Keuka College, are spending their Christmas vacation with their parents here; and Miss Stella Turrell, the popular Principal of the school at Reiglewide, N.J. is enjoying her vacation with her mother on the south side.

EAST BRIDGEWATER: A mink came to Rev. Safford’s chicken house and took his chickens right in the day time. He followed it in one day, shut the door, killed the mink and received $4 for it.

SPRINGVILLE: Ed Thomas has bought a new cutter, the knobbiest in town, the product of the Sturdevant-Larrabee factory in Binghamton, and so has Lion Messerole. Ed is a married man, and Lion will be if he keeps on going down to see that girl at Harvey’s Lake. AND: Mrs. Matt Lott, she’s been having a lot of painting and paper hanging done lately, and Matt just makes things hum when she gets to moving.

CLIFFORD: The Christmas dinner given by Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Spedding to all their children and their wives and husbands and grandchildren was a grand old fashioned affair. Roast turkey, chicken, cakes, puddings and fifty other things that our grandmothers knew so well how to prepare. AND: Mr. Aldrich, our Clifford and Nicholson stage driver, has been on the sick list and we have had a new driver for the last week or more; a fine fellow and his name is Mr. Stage.

SUSQUEHANNA: The coroner’s inquest in the killing of John J. Sullivan, resulted in the jury’s finding a verdict of “murder in the first degree.” Coroner Merrell empanelled a jury that evening (Thursday) and District Attorney Denney was present, representing the prosecution. It appeared that Joseph Frank, the alleged murderer, was ordered from an engine a few days previously by Sullivan. Frank harbored an ill will, vowing vengeance, and Sullivan’s death at his hands was the result. Frank, it is asserted, when captured, has since seemed almost indifferent to his fate. In his cell he remains much of the time on his cot, his head covered with a blanket. He, however, eats well and smokes his pipe much of the time. Sullivan’s funeral was largely attended on Monday morning. As the procession passed to the cemetery the foreign population of Susquehanna lined the sidewalks in open defiant attitudes. Many of them are constantly armed and their actions are a menace.

BRANDT: The new electric light plant has been completed and we now have the street well-lighted. Much credit is due Dr. S. H. Moon, who has had much to do with the installing of the plant, and overseeing the work.

HARFORD: Prof. J. A. Sophia has installed new pianos in the homes of two music loving families, the last one on Tuesday in the home of Wattie Brainard.

DIMOCK: the librarian of Dimock Free Library wishes all books returned by the 10th inst., as she has then to make out a list of all books, and will have 40 new ones to let out.

MONTROSE:A year ago we would have considered a statement that Dr. Torrey would soon be a resident of Montrose as very improbable. The thought was too stupendous. Yet Torrey came, saw and was conquered not by man’s persuasive power, but through the influence nature had wrought in producing so beautiful a landscape. Tuesday he again came to Montrose, purchased a home and intends making his permanent residence here. The Beach property on Lake avenue, owned by Mrs. Jennie B. Beach, was the one he acquired. It is a beautiful brick mansion located on attractive grounds comprising of some five acres. The structure on the premises is one of the finest in this section. It was originally built by Isaac Post, and successively became the property of the late “Captain” Cooper and H. L. Beach. The consideration was $15,000.

SOUTH GIBSON: As the moon was beginning to appear over the distant Elk range and shed its mellow light on the beautiful valley of South Gibson, on the evening of Dec. 20, it lighted the pathway for nearly a score of sleighloads of happy friends and neighbors enroute to give their friend, James Conrad and his bride, a surprise reception. It was a complete surprise to Mr. Conrad and his wife. The first inkling they had of the affair was when several loads of people drove up and greeted them with congratulations. The evening was ideal, with its unsurpassed sleighing, its keen, invigorating air and the moon, with its few obscuring cloudlets, shedding a mellow light upon everything. Mr. and Mrs. Conrad’s host of friends kept arriving until at 8:30 there were more than 80 of them comfortably enjoying themselves at the “bright little home on the hillside.” The evening passed very pleasantly, with the older people telling stories of younger days and the young people playing games. At about 10:30 we were served with a well prepared oyster supper, after which a few more games were played and we then took leave of our host and drove cheerily home, after having spent an evening that will have a pleasant place in our memories for a long time.

ELK LAKE: Several from this place attended the ball at Wm. McAvoy’s Christmas night.

HALLSTEAD: Remember the entertainment at the Y.M.C.A. hall next Monday evening. Stereopticon views of “Peck’s Bad Boy.” Admission 10 cents.

UNIONDALE: A new bell was placed in the belfry of the M. E. church last week.

NIVEN, Springville Twp.: The annual gathering of the Button family was held at the home of Jason Button, who resides on the old homestead. About 40 were present from Retta, Springville and Lathrop. A good time was reported by all.

HERRICK/ARARAT: On Thursday afternoon, Dec. 26, ’07, at the parsonage of the Centenary Methodist Episcopal church, in Binghamton, Miss Agnes Jones of Herrick Center and Samuel Entrot, of Ararat, were united in marriage by Rev. J. E. Hensey, D.D.

NEWS BRIEFS: Don’t forget to write “1908” now. The figures 8 and 5 are the two hardest to write. AND: Dairymen are now receiving not far from four cents per quart for milk.

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

Andrew Thomas, the Maricopa County (Arizona) District Attorney, has taken an innovative approach to battling drunk drivers. He has created a website that publishes each DUI offender’s photograph, a brief description of the case itself, including the blood alcohol content of the offender, the charges the offender faces, and the ultimate sentence the offender received. This novel approach has been compared to the Puritan stockade – a punishment aimed at exposing the guilty to public shame as a means to maximize deterrence not only on the part of the offender, but the public at large. Thomas admits that this approach is innovative, but argues that we need to find new approaches to battling DUI offenses. In an interview, Thomas contended that there is not intent to cause embarrassment to the offender through the use of the website, but he admitted that he would be embarrassed if his photograph ever appeared on the site. Thomas focused on the educational aspects of the website, which includes information on DUI laws and the consequences for violating those laws, as well as stories and testimonials from victims and their families as to how drunk drivers have devastated their lives.

If you are interested in visiting the site, go to

Predictably, this new tactic has its critics. Many defense attorneys are calling the website “dehumanizing” as it created an atmosphere where the offenders are publicly mocked, scorned and humiliated. The ACLU has expressed concerns that the website postings constitute an impermissible additional punishment to the offender not contemplated by the criminal statutes. The critics doubt that the website will have any deterrent effect whatsoever, as a drunk driver is usually impaired to the point that they are not thinking clearly when they get behind the wheel.

On the other hand, the website allows the public to post comments and concerns. Those posting responses overwhelmingly support the website and its continued work. One person posted a comment suggesting that every county should have a similar website for DUI offenders. Another comment argued that if the website prevented one DUI-related death then it had served its purpose.

In my first four years as District Attorney, the Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office has successfully prosecuted approximately 400 DUI cases. The numbers have increased each year, there were 81 DUI cases in 2004, 91 DUI cases in 2005, 106 DUI cases in 2006, and currently around 115 DUI cases in 2007. Unfortunately, there is a trend in these numbers, i.e., there has been approximately a 10% increase in DUI criminal cases in each of the past four years. In other words, Susquehanna County has seen approximately a 40% increase in DUI offenses from 2004 to 2007.

Part of this increase can be attributed to increased police protection in different areas of Susquehanna County. There are several municipalities that have increased the number of police officers and patrols – which directly results in better public safety and more DUI arrests. Moreover, the Susquehanna County DUI Task Force has patrolled on at least one evening on nearly every weekend in 2007. At this point, the Task Force has made over 20 DUI arrests in 2007, which statistically corresponds to a DUI arrest on every other patrol. To put it simply, we are doing a better job of apprehending offenders through the increase in patrol coverage throughout Susquehanna County.

As I move forward into my second term, I would like to have your input as to the merits of the website program in Maricopa County. The Susquehanna County District Attorney Office website already posts sentencing information on most offenders. Do you believe there is any added value to implementing a specific DUI Offender component to the website that includes pictures of the offenders, the specific facts of the incident that led to their arrest, their blood alcohol content levels, and the ultimate sentences of each offender? Take a look at the Maricopa County website and let me know your thoughts.

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. My grandson asked me to participate in a family tree about our medical conditions. He wants to ask me questions about my health, but I’m a pretty private person. I don’t know about this. What do you think?

I respect your reluctance to discuss personal matters with your grandson. However, the information you have to share with him would benefit your entire family and future generations. Perhaps your grandson could submit questions in writing and you could answer them in the same way. That might help avoid uncomfortable moments.

A medical family tree or family health history (also known as a medical genealogy) is like the ones genealogists prepare, but it also includes all the maladies suffered by members of the family. A medical tree can reveal patterns and help everyone in a family choose medical tests, diagnose diseases, prevent medical problems, and assess health risks.

Many of the causes of our illnesses are inherited from our ancestors. Almost a third of known diseases have genetic links. These include colon cancer, heart disease, alcoholism and high blood pressure.

Family gatherings are an opportunity to get started on a medical genealogy. If you want to prepare one, you should write down your questions in advance. You should ask enough questions and the right questions to make a medical genealogy useful to members of the families and their doctors.

The following is important information about each family member – living and dead – that should be included in a health history. Frame your questions to elicit this data.

1. Birth and death dates.

2. Cause of death.

3. All medical conditions with dates and outcomes. Include anything outside the norm, not just serious diseases. Don’t forget problems such as allergies, vision and hearing difficulties.

4. Birth defects.

5. Mental health problems.

6. Lifestyle description. This would include information about smoking, drinking, diet, obesity and exercise.

7. Racial and ethnic background. Some medical conditions are more common in certain groups of people.

If you want to prepare a medical genealogy, an extremely helpful resource is “My Family Health Portrait,” an online tool provided by the U.S. Surgeon General. You can use it at:

The tool guides you through a series of screens that helps you compile information for each of your family members. Then you get a graphic printout with the information organized in a diagram or a chart. The tool allows users to return and update information.

My Family Health Portrait requires only a computer with a web browser. The health information you provide is stored only on your computer and not on a U.S. government server. You own the information file and can choose what to do with it at any time. It is easy to email the file around to all family members.

Users also have the option to download the original My Family Health Portrait software and install it on their computers if they have the Windows operating system.

I used the online tool to do my own family tree. It was a simple process that produced a valuable report. I also tried the downloadable software. I recommend avoiding this program; it had many flaws and was worthless.

If you want something more basic, you can get a free, five-generation ancestor chart at:

This chart is designed for a standard genealogy, but it’s a good basic document to create your own medical family tree.

The information in a medical tree provides indications, not guarantees that family members will inherit problems from their ancestors. How you take care of yourself is a major influence on your health.

My next column will be about genetic testing.

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 10-In-One Show

It was a world of the strange, the bizarre, and as time has proven, the unforgettable. It cost 50 cents to get there, a not inconsiderable sum to a young boy in the early '50s, but it was worth every one of those 50 pennies.

First, there was the cost of a bus ride to New York City, a quarter. This, in itself, was an adventure. The ride took one through the Lincoln Tunnel, which burrowed under the Hudson River. There was a line of blue tiles that encircled the tunnel marking the crossover point between New Jersey and New York. This I carefully watch for. If the tunnel collapsed, I would know which way to run.

Miraculously, the tunnel held up and I arrived in The City. Then a short walk to 42nd street and journey's end, Hubert's Museum. The entrance fee was the other half of the 50 cents. Down a couple of flights of stairs and before one was a world of endless fascination – the 10-in-1 show.

The stage was shaped like a horseshoe divided into 10 sections. I joined the small crowd to see the first act; the Wild Man From Borneo. Not wild as in crazy, but wild as in untamed. Animals were wild, so why not men? This fellow was captured in the jungles of that country and was not yet tamed. Fortunately, he was caged. Occasionally, he would menace the crowd by shaking the bars, but there was little to fear since his cage seemed secure enough. Good thing, too. The curtain closed and the group moved a few steps clockwise to the next stage.

Here was a real live Eskimo. He, as the barker explained, was a recent arrival from the North Pole and was not yet acclimatized. So they had him sitting on a block of ice wearing a thick fur coat. The incongruity of sitting on ice while wearing a fur coat never crossed one's mind. He was an Eskimo and that's what made him feel at home. Curtain closed.

Next was a "prestidigitator" – a quarter demanded something more than a mere magician – decked out in a tuxedo. At that time, magic was a formal affair. His tricks, if tricks they were, defied comprehension. Maybe it really was magic.

On to the elephant lady. This woman was afflicted with what might be called elephantmorphosis; she was turning into an elephant, a sideshow Ganesha. Horrible! But she managed to keep the disease at bay by chipping off the encroaching elephant skin, which she collected in a cigar box and showed to the audience. Fortunately, only the lower portion of one leg had turned into elephant.

One act stands out; the headless woman. This gal was seated in a chair wearing a bathing suit. Obviously she was real, yet where her head should have been there was only a series of tubes and wires. Look as one might, she simply had no head. Truly, a medical miracle. Somehow this poor, headless creature was kept alive. To dispel any doubt, the barker asked her to move her arm and she promptly responded. How she could hear him with no head was yet another mystery.

All 10 acts viewed, the barker invited the ladies to see something that would appeal to their interest and the men were invited into a side room. This was going to be something special, perhaps risky. When all had entered, the door closed, the lights turned off. Only a stage dimly bathed in purple light emerged out of the darkness. A young dancer appeared and moved rhythmically to a most captivating melody.

After the show, one young boy remained and asked to speak with the performer. He asked the name of the song, chatted a bit, thanked her, and left. It was Mood Indigo (it still haunts) and there wasn't a hint of impropriety with the performance even by the standards of the day.

Another quarter carried me apprehensively through the Lincoln Tunnel and home. And all this for just 75 cents – maybe another quarter for a hot dog and soda.

Sideshows are gone now, dipped below history's horizon, recalled now and then by a diminishing few. We are too smart today to have a 10-in-1 show, we know too much, but that has come at a price. Yesterday's naiveté lent a magic and mystery to the world that has grown tiresomely sophisticated, even effete. Imagination had a freer reign back then, more was possible. And here it was, gathered from the far-flung corners of Terra Incognito, the curiosities from foreign lands, the grotesque, the medical impossibilities, even the enchanting, displayed on stage for all to see, that is – if you had a quarter.

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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

The other day, driving down the road here in Susquehanna County, it suddenly struck me that "Proud to Be an American" has no real meaning to the average person anymore. If it did, we would take care of this land of ours much better than we do.

So listen up all you "proud Americans" who wear red, white, and blue magnets on your vehicles, then throw your garbage out the windows as you speed by, stop and think of the message you are truly sending out.

If you are so "proud," then why do you treat your countryside like a big trash dump? It doesn’t matter if you drive in the town, in the city, or down a country road, everywhere you look you will see garbage. Good old American garbage! From sea to shining sea.


I don’t think that anyone can equate pride with trash (now "junk" is another story). But here is an idea. If you think your garbage is so attractive and you are so proud to display it for the whole world to see, take it home with you and put it on your mantel. Or your curio shelf. Or on your front porch. Hang it from your flag pole if you want people to see it so badly. Just please, stop decorating our countryside with it. Or the parking lot at the shopping center. Or the side of the river or lake. Or any other place that you throw your garbage.

Take a moment to look around, and see how far you can look without seeing someone’s garbage staring back at you. Probably no more than a car length. Something to be proud of!

Remember all the gum wrapper braids you made as a kid? Now there was a "proud" way to use garbage.

So next time you hear that song on the radio, or see one of those car magnets, or an American Flag, stop and think about what being "proud of America" truly means. Then act on it.


From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: My New Year’s Resolution is to reduce my “carbon footprint” to help fight global warming. Do you have suggestions for ways I can make good on my promise?

Carrie, via e-mail

There’s never been a more urgent time to reduce your carbon footprint. With the U.S. government still opting out of mandatory emissions cuts, it’s up to every individual, business owner and city or state government to take steps. So here are 10 ways to get you started in the new year:

(1) Step-up Recycling and Composting. Recycling prevents carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by saving the energy it takes to make products from new materials and by saving the energy it takes to incinerate or landfill what we discard. And composting food scraps turns organic material back into fertile soil, which itself is an efficient carbon “sink.” To get started, see: and

(2) Stay close or stay put: About half the CO2 we generate comes from our car trips, so walk, bike or take mass transit instead. Air travel also produces huge amounts of CO2, so the less you fly, the smaller your carbon footprint. See:

(3) Eat organic and local: Stick to foods produced organically and you prevent harmful pesticides and fertilizers from polluting air, waterways, soils and family members. And if the food is grown nearby, thousands of pounds of CO2 weren’t emitted getting it to your grocery store. See:

(4) Buy green power. Your power company might just source part of its supply from renewable sources like hydro-electric or wind, and will sell it to customers who know to ask for it. See:

(5) Change your light bulbs. A compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) uses less than a third of the energy of an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light – and it lasts 10 times longer. And some CFLs now have 3-way capabilities and can be dimmed. Visit Energy Federation, Inc. at:

(6) Upgrade and unplug: Upgrading any appliances (including computers and TVs)? Be sure to look for the “Energy Star” logo, which only energy efficient models can wear. Also, turn off appliances when not in use to prevent wasting so-called phantom energy coming in off the grid. See:

(7) Adjust your thermostats: If you don’t need a sweater indoors, your heat is too high. Likewise, in hot weather turn down the AC. Also, keeping your hot water at no more than 120 degrees – the minimum temperature to keep the water bacteria-free – is another way to save energy, money and the environment.

(8) Plant a tree…or 300! An average tree stores 13 pounds of carbon per year; a mature tree can absorb upwards of four times that amount. Just 300 trees can counterbalance the amount of greenhouse gas pollution that one person produces in a lifetime. So get to work! See:

(9) Buy offsets: Many organizations sell “carbon offsets,” whereby you pay a voluntary fee to offset your daily CO2 emissions. The money usually goes to develop alternative, renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar. See:, and

(10) Get involved: Donate time or money to groups working to fight global warming. Just about all green groups devote some work to climate change, and they need your help. See:

Dear EarthTalk: I can’t understand why it is not mandatory to recycle in the U.S. In my home we recycle 80 percent and toss 20 percent and I am trying to improve those percentages. What needs to happen to make recycling the law of the land?

Vicki, Geneva, NY

Mandatory recycling is a hard sell in the U.S., where the economy runs largely along free market lines and landfill waste remains inexpensive and efficient. When the research firm Franklin Associates examined the issue a decade ago, it found that the value of the materials recovered from curbside recycling was far less than the extra costs of collection, transportation, sorting and processing incurred by municipalities.

Plain and simple, recycling still costs more than landfilling in most locales. This fact, coupled with the revelation that the so-called “landfill crisis” of the mid-1990s may have been overblown – most of our landfills still have considerable capacity and do not pose health hazards to surrounding communities – means that recycling has not caught on the way some environmentalists were hoping it would.

However, many cities have found ways to recycle economically. They have cut costs by scaling back the frequency of curbside pickups and automating sorting and processing. They’ve also found larger, more lucrative markets for the recyclables, such as in developing countries eager to reuse our cast-off items. Increased efforts by green groups to educate the public about the benefits of recycling have also helped. Today, dozens of U.S. cities are diverting upwards of 30 percent of their solid waste streams to recycling.

While recycling remains an option for most Americans, a few cities, such as Pittsburgh, San Diego and Seattle, have made recycling mandatory. Seattle passed its mandatory recycling law in 2006 as a way to counter declining recycling rates there. Recyclables are now prohibited from both residential and business garbage. Businesses must sort for recycling all paper, cardboard and yard waste. Households must recycle all basic recyclables, such as paper, cardboard, aluminum, glass and plastic. Businesses with garbage containers “contaminated” with more than 10 recyclables are issued warnings and eventually fines if they don’t comply. Household garbage cans with recyclables in them are simply not collected until the recyclables are removed to the recycling bin. Meanwhile, a handful of other cities, including Gainesville, Florida and Honolulu, Hawaii, require businesses to recycle, but not yet residences.

In perhaps the most famous case of a city putting recycling to the economic test, New York, a national leader on recycling, decided to stop its least cost-effective recycling programs (plastic and glass) in 2002. But rising landfill costs ate up the $39 million savings expected. As a result, the city reinstated plastic and glass recycling and committed to a 20-year contract with the country’s largest private recycling firm, Hugo Neu Corporation, which built a state-of-the art facility along South Brooklyn’s waterfront. There, automation has streamlined the sorting process, and its easy access to rail and barges has cut both the environmental and transportation costs previously incurred by using trucks. The new deal and new facility have made recycling much more efficient for the city and its residents, proving once and for all that responsibly run recycling programs can actually save money, landfill space and the environment.

CONTACTS: Franklin Associates,; Recycling in Seattle,; Hugo Neu Corporation,

GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at:, or e-mail: Read past columns at:

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