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Issue Home January 9, 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

SUSQUEHANNA: The relatives of Joseph Frank, the alleged murderer of John J. Sullivan, have engaged as attorneys to defend the prisoner, W. D. B. Ainey, of Montrose, W. A. Skinner, of Susquehanna and Alfred Giallorenzi, of New York City, an Italian lawyer. AND: In the Erie Shop full time was resumed Jan. 3. This means that about 250 workmen, recently laid off, will return to work.

UPSONVILLE: Miss Mabel Seaman and her friend, of Montrose, visited Miss Helen Dearborn Monday afternoon. Before reaching home it became quite dark and in passing a team they locked wheels, overturning Miss Seaman’s carriage and throwing the two occupants out. Fortunately they escaped injury. The horse ran away and was found in Wm. Card’s dooryard by Mr. Seaman, who had started with a lantern to meet the young ladies.

MONTROSE: The Ernest Gamble Concert Party gave an excellent entertainment at the courthouse on Friday evening of last week. It was decidedly classical and delightfully rendered. Mr. Gamble was especially fine in his rendition of the aria from the oratorio “Samson,” his deep, voluminous bass voice and fine physique carrying out the part to perfection. Miss Verna Page, the violinist, won the audience by her charming manner and skillful playing, while Mr. Sam Lamberson entranced his hearers in the manipulation of the ivories. They are three of the best artists that have ever been heard here. AND: Everything in the Tarbell House for sale, from a toothpick to a crowbar. Carpets, bedroom suits and bedding at a bargain. One fine steel engraving of the Battle of Gettysburg, one coffee boiler, good hanging and table lamps, first-class good table crockery and more.

BROOKLYN: Mr. and Mrs. Ernest A. Sterling spent New Year’s at the home of his parents here, returning to Philadelphia that evening, where he is employed as chief forester of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

KINGSLEY: Mrs. Alvah Tiffany is ill with diphtheria, and there is trouble in getting any one to care for her on account of it being so contagious. The Grangers made a wood bee for her husband, so that he could devote his whole time in caring for her. She is gaining at present. Dr. Hoover is the attending physician.

HALLSTEAD: The oil well here has now been drilled about 400 ft. A small amount of gas has been struck, also a small vein of salt water was encountered. The eager interest in the project still continues, and the prophets who have predicted that oil will be found are as insistent and determined as ever.

SPRINGVILLE: Madaline Blakeslee underwent an operation for appendicitis on Monday. They found her case a very bad one and with the fact that she has been suffering from scarlet fever the past three weeks and is just beginning to peel from that disease, and the family not quarantined, is causing a great tumult in our village. People have been allowed to go and come at will, and not until Monday did people have the least suspicion, supposing the case to be tonsillitis.

FOREST CITY: Within thirty feet of the hundreds of people passing along Main street, Friday afternoon, in an open wagon box, William R. Michael, a well-known young man, who has resided here for a year or more, passed from life. When found the vital spark had fled but he was still warm. During the morning he was about town apparently as well as usual, although he had complained of not feeling right for the past week. He was seen to climb into a lumber wagon along side Heller & Company’s store and the attention of street commissioner Bates being called to his resting place, that gentleman went to see what he was doing there fearing that he would be numbed by the cold. He found Mr. Michaels dead. Dr. Knapp, who was called, found death due to apoplexy. Deceased was the son of the late William Michaels of South Gibson. He was born in Pittston on the 19th of December 1875. Two brothers, John, of Scranton and George, of this place, and three sisters, Mrs. D. B. Gibson and Miss Ethel Michaels, of Uniondale, and Mrs. Alice Young, of Texas, survive him.

BRANDT: Wonder if anyone knows why a young lady and gentleman left town on the 10 o’clock train so suddenly about a week ago Tuesday? Don’t all speak at once. AND: It is rumored that three more electric lights will be put into service shortly. One lamp will be at the intersection of Main street and River avenue, near the bridge and two farther down Main street, near the old Schlager property.

SOUTH AUBURN: Mr. Albert Judson, who has been spending his vacation with his parents, returned to his studies at Lafayette College, Thursday.

BISBEE POND, Rush Twp.: Chas. Redding has taken the contract to fill the Rush Creamery ice house. John Curley gets the wood job. AND: The young man of this vicinity, who made the remark recently that it would be more proper for husbands to address their wives by the prefix, Mrs., and the wives likewise, [who] also walk to and from church, etc., side by side, is to be commended for his fine taste.

NEW MILFORD: Wm. Huntley has leased the Chapman foundry and is prepared to furnish repairs for wagons, sleighs, plows, etc.

DIMOCK: C. C. Mills, in renewing his Montrose Democrat, says: “I notice that my subscription is due, which I have taken without a skip since Jan. 1844. I doubt whether there is another on your list that can say as much. Herewith find check for $1.50 and continue me for another year.”

MIDDLETOWN: The Grangers held their annual Banquet, Dec. 28th, and was well attended. The dinner was served shortly before one o’clock, and the crowd enjoyed the good things, which only the ladies of the Middletown Grange can prepare. On returning to the hall an entertainment was given, and was greatly enjoyed by all. Music and dancing ended the program and all went home feeling that they had spent some pleasant hours. AND: In Flynn--If the party that cut the telephone wire will call sometime inside of three months and pay for repairing the line, nothing further will be said of it. If not, it will be reported to the owner.

JACKSON: Hugh Barnes, a student in the University of Pennsylvania, spent his Christmas vacation with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. K. Barnes.

DUNDAFF: Another matrimonial bark was launched last Tuesday, Dec. 31, when Ross Snyder, of Tompkinsville and Mary Rivenburg, of Dundaff, were united in marriage at Binghamton.

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

On March 2, 2006, Diane Curran, a 63-year old woman, purchased seven cases of beer for Jason Dietterick, a person under 21 years of age. Dietterick had worked for Curran, doing chores around her home. Curran knew that Dietterick’s parents were not home and that he was planning a party. Because Curran purchased beer for him, Dietterick did have a party at his home where numerous other persons under 21 consumed the beer that Curran had purchased. One of those persons, Kyle Kehler, consumed alcohol at the party and then drove his automobile. On his way home, he hit a tree and killed two of his passengers, Michael Cummings and Amanda Schultz. Curran was charged and convicted of the offense of furnishing alcohol to minors, a misdemeanor of the third degree, punishable by up to 12 months of incarceration. She cooperated with the authorities from the beginning of the investigation, admitted her culpability, and expressed remorse to the victims’ families. Curran even admitted that this was not the first time she had purchased alcohol for Dietterick – she had done the same thing on two prior occasions.

At 63 years of age, Curran had no prior criminal history. She had lived as a law abiding citizen throughout her entire adult life – until she made the poor decision to provide this alcohol to a minor. While the offense of furnishing alcohol to a minor has a potential period of incarceration of 12 months, the Sentencing Guidelines recommend that a person with no prior record score receive a probationary sentence for a first offense. At her sentencing hearing, Curran likely expected the judge to follow the Sentencing Guidelines and put her on a period of probation. She was wrong.

Judge Moran (Northampton County) considered the Sentencing Guidelines recommendation for probation, and he indicated that he had great respect for the recommendation – but he disagreed with it. Judge Moran noted that Curran purchased a large quantity of beer for Dietterick, that Curran knew it was for a party, and that a reasonable person would have known that underage persons would be attending that party. Judge Moran also stressed that a prudent person would have also understood that those underage persons would be driving to and from the party after consuming the beer that Curran purchased. If Curran had carefully considered these things, Judge Moran also stressed that Curran should have known that she was creating a risk of someone being hurt or killed as a result of driving while intoxicated – which is exactly what happened. Judge Moran also noted that Curran had admitted to providing Dietterick alcohol in the past on two occasions, which demonstrated her clear disrespect for the law.

Finally, Judge Moran concluded with the following words: “The Court is fully cognizant of the effect that this has on the victims and the community, and a Court must take into consideration the deterrent effect of sentencing when it involves a crime that is very often occurring in our community and often is undetected. In fact, it is generally only detected when tragedies occur. But it’s not that this doesn’t happen every weekend in our community where a well-meaning adult recklessly decides, ‘I can buy alcohol for minors.’ Most of the time nothing comes of it other than a degree of disrespect for the law. In this case the ultimate price was paid for this decision. And the message to the community must be that the courts will take into account the seriousness of these offenses in the hope that the sentencing power of the court will help to deter others from similar actions.”

In the end, Judge Moran sentenced the 63-year old woman to the maximum sentence of six to 12 months incarceration in the county correctional facility. Curran appealed her sentence to the Superior Court and argued that it was excessive and improperly ignored the Sentencing Guidelines. The Superior Court reviewed Judge Moran’s reasoning and concluded that there was nothing unreasonable about the sentence. As such, Curran had to report to the county correctional facility to spend at least the next six months in a cell. Judge Moran intended the sentence as a message to his community in Northampton County – but it is a message that adults everywhere should hear.

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

My last column was on medical genealogy. This is a follow-up on genetic testing.

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.

A medical genealogy or medical family tree can reveal patterns. If you have prepared a medical genealogy and found that a disease seems to run in your family, you might want to consider genetic testing. This form of testing can help you plan.

DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is in the genes you get from your parents. DNA guides the cells in your body. If your DNA contains a mutation, you could develop a medical condition.

A test can reveal mutations that raise the risk of developing a disease. Positive results for certain diseases can induce people to take preventive action, such as surgical removal of endangered organs.

About 900 genetic tests are now offered by diagnostic laboratories. The tests cost from less than $100 to a few thousand dollars. Your health insurance may not cover testing.

Testing usually requires a blood sample, but may require hair, skin or other tissue samples, such as cells from the inside of your cheek.

Genetic testing should be viewed as a fallible tool. A positive result for a mutation doesn't mean you’ll get a disease. And a negative result doesn’t mean you are immune.

Multiple mutations can cause a disease. Multiple genes can be responsible for a single disease. There are gene changes that develop without any link to your ancestors; they happen because you smoke or get too much sun or sometimes for no known reason.

If you decide to try genetic testing, remember that what you learn about yourself could be reassuring, but it could also be upsetting.

Genetic testing is a subject to discuss first with your personal physician. You may be referred to a medical-genetics specialist, who is trained to interpret the results of tests.

To find genetics professionals in your area, contact the National Society of Genetic Counselors at; GeneClinics at; or the American Society of Human Genetics at To find more information about the medical conditions present in your family and about support groups, contact the Genetic Alliance at

You may also want to consult a lawyer to protect your interests. Results of genetic tests are usually kept in your medical records. When you apply for insurance, the prospective insurer may want to examine your medical records. In some cases, your employer might also have access to your medical records.

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

Looking For Thomas' Good War

The good war. It seems like an oxymoron, a contradiction is terms, something like a kindly killer. Yet most people believe that some wars are just that, good. Thomas Aquinas, philosopher and noted Catholic* theologian, cited two criteria for a good war. First, the war must be for a just cause. And second, the war must accomplish a greater good. A bit muddy here. Can you think of any war where both sides did not proclaim the righteousness, even holiness, of their cause? Nevertheless, we'll search for that good war.

And what better place to look for that noble struggle than in our own history. The US has had three great wars. We'll start with the first, the war against ourselves.

The Civil War, the war that freed the slaves, is one that most would say was a just and good war. True enough, it did free the slaves, but under the most horrific postwar conditions imaginable. Tragically, the Civil War was an unnecessary war. Slavery was a moribund institution. France outlawed it 1794, followed by England in 1833. Had we but waited, slavery would have weathered away as it did in Europe.

We did not wait. At least 620,000 men were killed in this struggle. Per 100,000, there were nine times the number of fatalities in the Civil War compared with American loses in WW II. It would take the South a hundred years to recover.

The Civil War destroyed something else; it destroyed the United States of America. Article II of the Constitution states, "Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence..." Today, states are sovereign in name only. That which the Founding Fathers had feared, an all-powerful central government, was another legacy of that fratricidal war.

Was the Civil War the good war, or should we look for another?

Fifty-three years later the imperious powers of a centralized government made possible our entry into another war, the First World War.

The European powers had been fighting for three years. The English, French, and Germans were worn to a frazzle. Twenty million lay dead. A stalemate and an eventual armistice were in the offing, that is, until the US crossed sea and land to enter the fray.

The dough boys proved decisive. Germany was soundly beaten in a year. That set the stage for the vindictive Treaty of Versailles, a treaty made possible only by America's intervention. Germany was now forced to pay crushing reparations and to admit guilt for causing the war. Chafing under the Versailles burden, Germany spiraled into ruin and social chaos. Bands of discontented soldiers roamed the streets, one of whom was an extraordinary orator – Adolph Hitler. WW I gave birth to another son – Vladimir Lenin.

Was WW I, "the war to end all wars," the good war, or should we look for another?

The aftermath of WW I left two great leaders and two governmental systems in its wake: Hitler's fascism and Lenin's communism. Hitler beat Stalin to the punch in 1941. After initial victories, the gelid Russian winter stalled the German advance. Both sides fought to exhaustion. Had the US not interfered, fascism and communism might have exterminated each other. But we did.

Roosevelt embargoed Japan's oil supply. Further embroiling the US into foreign wars, FDR's Lend Lease Act "lent" money and war supplies to the wartime enemies of Japan and Germany. Japan retaliated with Pearl Harbor. Germany responded by declaring war on the US. WW II had begun and we had maneuvered ourselves into the thick of it.

The second world war left 70 million dead, more than three times that of WW I. It also left most of Europe and all of Japan in waste. WW II did something else. It insured the survival of communism.

The number of people killed under communistic rule can only be approximated. But adding the numbers butchered – and butchered is the right word – under the red flag totals some 150 million – more than twice the number killed in WW II.

Was WW II the good war for which we have been searching?

Our journey through history's chronicle of carnage is a cautionary tale, teaching three lessons. First, armed conflict should be entered upon only under the most extreme provocation and even here with great trepidation and regret. Second, the consequences of war are always unpredictable. And lastly, the aftermath of war – even in victory – may be worse than the war itself.

As for Thomas' "just and good war," I'm still looking.

* Catholic theologians have no lock on war. Protestant theologians also extol its virtues.

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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

From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

No Earth Talk This Week


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