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Issue Home February 20, 2008 Site Home

100 Years Ago
From the Desk of the D.A.
The Healthy Geezer
Straight From Starrucca
Veterans’ Corner
What’s Bugging You?
Food For Thought
Earth Talk

100 Years Ago

BROOKLYN: The G. A. R. campfire at the village hall, Feb. 12, was a most enjoyable affair. Old war songs and stories were interestingly sung and told. Rev. Wilcox gave a humorous talk on the meaning of war terms and army phrases. Rev. Drury gave an address on “Lincoln during the war.”

NEW MILFORD: Great havoc was made on Saturday when the ice broke in the creeks and came down into the town at 11:50 a.m. A heavy snow was on the ground, which was melted by the rain Friday night, causing the ice, which was two feet thick in places, to break up and come down the creek with such violent force as to take away the bridge on upper Church street. Following the course of the creek it crashed into the Main street bridge and blocked up the channel under it. The ice, not being able to go further on account of this, the water was turned down Main street, going down nearly as far as the lower Main street bridge. The house owned by Mrs. E. S. Garrett and another occupied by Mr. & Mrs. T.M. Houlihan, were completely surrounded by water and ice and a good many cellars were filled with water. The larger portion of the fence surrounding Samuel Moss’s residence was broken in pieces. In order to remove the dam of ice which was clogged up under the Main street bridge they were obliged to use dynamite, which added to the damage already done, completely demolishing one half of the bridge. In some instances cakes of ice 16” thick piled up and represented a miniature landscape view of the Klondike region. At Summersville, the D. L. & W. track was under water and the engineer was compelled to lessen his speed as the car wheels swished through the water.

FLYNN, Middletown Twp.: Two well-dressed young men visited several places in Flynn and vicinity on Sunday last. No one seemed to notice them and they left as unceremoniously as they came.

FOREST LAKE: Jefferson Green was a caller to re-new his Democrat, which he has taken many years. Mr. Green tells the Democrat that he has recently started upon his 77th year, though he doesn’t look it. He was one of the men who went to California in 1849, when the gold excitement was on, and so many people went overland to the new field of golden wealth. And he did well there too, but he concluded to return to old Pennsylvania.

GREAT BEND: While returning from the cemetery after the burial of S. E. Sands, the sleigh in which the minister was riding with James Kirby, who was driving the horse, was over-turned, throwing the occupants out in the snow. The horse ran quite a distance down Main street, finally turning into the yard of Professor C. T. Thorpe, where the animal stopped. The only damage was a badly sprained ankle for the horse. AND: A number of families expect to move to Hornell, N.Y., on account of the closing of the Erie shops at Susquehanna.

WATROUS CORNERS, Bridgewater Twp.: Some of the mail routes in the township were closed up from snow but no snow keeps Homer Smith from his regular route. He is right on time always.

GELATT: Many wells were dry on the flat, caused by the recent cold weather, but last Saturday they had abundance of water and some to spare.

HOPBOTTOM: Last Tuesday evening the class of ’08 of H.H.S. and friends were delightfully entertained at the home of Miss Grace Doran. Those present were: Misses Luva Davis, Diamond Rose, Bertha Hortman, Dora VanAlstyne, Grace Doran, Lillian Byram. Messrs: Vernon Payne, Will Mink, Roy Sterling, Lional Lott and Lee Carroll.

LAWTON: The recent good sleighing was taken advantage by all having logs to haul, nearly filling S. Terry’s log yard.

HERRICK CENTRE: The people who have been helping themselves so freely to Erie and D & H coal, had better watch out or they will see trouble.

HARFORD: The old landmark known as Maynard’s mill, together with its contents, about 30 tons of grain, was burned Saturday, also a barn with a quantity of hay, and by the greatest effort the house was saved. If it had not been for the light rain of Saturday morning that whole corner would have burned. Estimated loss about $5000, no insurance. Mr. Maynard saved the books and would like creditors to pay outstanding bills promptly, thus assisting him in straightening out affairs.

FOREST CITY: The bridge, which spanned the Lackawanna river at the old D. & H., southeast of here, was swept away by the high water on Saturday. As bad as it was, this was Forest City’s nearest road to the Ontario & Western in Wayne county. Now, to haul freight from the Ontario station, a distance of a quarter of a mile, it is necessary to go about three miles and cross the river on a private bridge erected some years ago by Frank Hollenback. This bridge is in poor condition and it is only a matter of a short time before it will be unsafe to cross.

SPRINGVILLE: W. E. Stevens moved the building formerly occupied by C. N. Giles as a meat market and will convert it into a blacksmith shop. M. B. Johnson is expecting to tear down the shop occupied by W. E. Stevens on which stands on his newly purchased property, and build a residence in its place. AND: In Lynn, the M. E. church was seriously damaged by the falling of a chandelier in the church Sunday evening. A fierce blaze soon ensued but the doors were closed and the fire was soon extinguished. The carpet, several pews, some of the windows and the chandelier, were so badly damaged as to necessitate new.

MONTROSE: Jeweler F. B. Smith’s window display of cutglass is something that is attracting the attention of the artistic eye. It is a fine collection made by Leo Mahon of this place.

WEST LIBERTY: C. H. and A. G. Southworth are putting in a telephone line from their home to Lawsville Center.

BIRCHARDVILLE: Our stage did not get through from Montrose last Saturday night on account of the ice jam at Tyler’s bridge.

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

I had a recent inquiry as to how indigent defendants received legal representation. An indigent defendant is a person charged with a misdemeanor or felony who cannot afford to hire an attorney. In order to qualify for a court-appointed attorney, a defendant must file an application to the Public Defender’s Office. The application requires a defendant to disclose personal financial information, such as (1) the defendant’s income; (2) the defendant’s assets; (3) the defendant’s obligations and liabilities, such as mortgage, credit card debt, car payments, child support or dependents; (4) other income in the household, i.e., a spouse’s income; and (5) the gravity of the offense in reference to the amount it would cost the defendant to hire a private attorney. After receiving this information, the Public Defender utilizes the federal poverty guidelines to determine whether a particular applicant qualifies for the service of a court-appointed attorney. In particular, the Public Defender adds one-third to the existing poverty guidelines to create a baseline to determine eligibility.

Thus, utilizing the current figures, a single person earning under $13,000 gross income per year would qualify for a court appointed attorney. Obviously, the figure increases as the size of the defendant’s family increases. For a family of four, the baseline amount would be $26,600, or a family of six would be $35,644. These figures are simply guidelines, and the Public Defender has some leeway in determining eligibility. If a single person were charged with a serious felony offense, such as murder or rape, then it is unlikely that the defendant could hire an attorney even if he made $20,000 per year, i.e., even though that amount exceeds the guidelines by $7,000. Thus, the Public Defender must consider the totality of a defendant’s case and the defendant’s financial position in determining eligibility.

Moreover, even if the Public Defender determines that a defendant is not eligible for services, a court could disagree and still appoint the Public Defender to represent an indigent defendant. Ultimately, the decision rests with the court, and the court has a constitutional obligation to assure that a defendant’s right to counsel is not unlawfully violated. When the Public Defender has a conflict, the court will appoint alternate counsel. In Susquehanna County, there is a permanent conflict counsel who represents the indigent defendants that the Public Defender cannot represent as a result of conflicts, i.e., there are multiple defendants in a single criminal episode and the Public Defender obviously cannot represent all of the clients where their interests may be different.

There are also circumstances where a criminal defendant has the financial means to hire an attorney at the inception of a case, but eventually runs out of money. At this point, the private attorney will usually withdraw from the case and the defendant will then apply to the Public Defender for representation. This is a fairly common scenario where a defendant loses at trial and exhausts his financial resources during the appellate process. Because a defendant is incarcerated, there is generally no source of income. While private counsel may occasionally proceed without compensation, such pro bono work is nearly impossible in complicated or serious cases as the private counsel must meet his or her own financial obligations. In such cases, the private counsel may petition the court to be appointed to represent that defendant at the court-appointed rate, which is $50 per hour in Susquehanna County. While the court could force an indigent defendant to utilize the Public Defender as opposed to paying additional sums to the private counsel, the court also has to weigh the defendant’s rights and the ability of the Public Defender to take over the case in the middle of the litigation. Where a private counsel is willing to continue to represent his now indigent counsel at the reduced court-appointed rate, a court will generally agree that such continued representation is not only in the interests of the defendant, but also the interests of the criminal justice system and judicial economy.

If a defendant is indigent, he or she is not only entitled to legal representation, but also public funds for the presentation of a defense to the charges. This could include such things as travel expenses for witnesses, professional fees for experts, funds to create demonstrative exhibits such as charts or graphs, money to hire an investigator, and any other expenses that are reasonably related to defending against the criminal charges. While this may be an expensive process, the failure of a court to provide an indigent defendant with competent legal representation and the funds necessary to present a defense will simply result in a reversal on appeal – and the need to spend all the money over again, and then some.

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. I have a leaky heart valve that may need surgery down the road. Can you tell me about heart-valve surgery?

First, let’s explain briefly how the heart works.

There are four chambers in the heart – two atria on top and two ventricles below. There are four valves that open and shut with every heartbeat to control the circulation of the blood. These valves, which are made of tissue flaps, are called the tricuspid, pulmonary, mitral and aortic.

Blood flows in one direction through the heart to get a new supply of oxygen from the lungs. Here’s how it goes:

Used blood comes back to the heart from the body and goes into the right atrium. The right atrium pumps the blood downward through the tricuspid valve into the right ventricle. The right ventricle pumps the blood through the pulmonary valve to the lungs. The oxygenated blood returns from the lungs to the left atrium. The left atrium moves the blood down through the mitral valve into the left ventricle. The left ventricle pumps the blood out the aortic valve, which supplies the body.

Valves can malfunction and strain the heart. If a valve doesn’t close properly, blood will flow backward. This is called “regurgitation.” If valve flaps don’t open correctly, they prevent blood from flowing through them. This is called “stenosis.”

Advanced valve disease can cause blood clots, stroke or sudden death from cardiac arrest.

For seniors, there is a problem with the flaps of the aortic and mitral valves; they thicken and harden with age, making blood flow more difficult. These changes may lead to complications in people with heart disease.

Other common causes of valve disease are: birth defects that produce irregularly shaped aortic valves or narrowed mitral valves; infective endocarditis, a bacterial infection of the lining of the heart's walls and valves; coronary artery disease, and heart attack.

People with malfunctioning valves who don’t have serious symptoms may not need treatment. Medicines can help with symptoms, but don’t fix a bad valve. Surgery or a less invasive procedure is often needed to correct valve disease.

There is a percutaneous (through-the-skin) procedure that may be used to open narrowed tricuspid, pulmonary and mitral valves. In rare cases, it is used on aortic valves. A balloon-tipped catheter is inserted into the narrowed valve and inflated. The balloon makes the central area of the valve larger. The balloon is then deflated and removed.

During surgery, valves may either be repaired or replaced. Repair may involve opening a narrowed valve or reinforcing a valve that doesn't close properly. Surgeons replace irreparable valves with prosthetic valves.

Prosthetic valves can be mechanical; they are made of plastic, carbon, or metal. Or, these replacement valves can be composed of human or animal tissue. There is an increased risk of blood clots forming with a mechanical valve, so patients who get them have to take blood-thinning medicines as long as they have this kind of valve.

Valve surgery is an open-heart operation that requires a heart-lung bypass machine. During the operation, the heart must stop beating. The machine keeps the blood circulating in the patient’s body.

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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What’s Bugging You?
By Stuart W. Slocum

EDITOR’S NOTE: Following is the first installment of a column new to the County Transcript, written by a lifelong Susquehanna County resident. Its goal is to provide current, relevant information regarding the identification, natural history, benefit/harm and possible control of insects that are currently seen in your home, garden, lawn or place of work. We’re sure you’ll find it as interesting and informative as we do.

The Wooly Bear: nature’s meteorologist?

As I struggled to lift the large maple log onto my wood splitter, a long strip of bark peeled off and out tumbled a small fuzzy ball. Stopping to investigate, I recognized that the black and reddish brown object was a Wooly Bear caterpillar. The worm-like insect had a short band of black on each end, with a rather long section of rusty brown coloration in the middle. I smiled as I recalled how my grandparents would have said that this indicated a mild winter. This fuzzy caterpillar, which develops into the Isabella Tiger moth, Pyrrharctia isabella, was commonly believed to be a predictor of the coming winter’s severity. Stemming from the farmers’ predictions of the 1600’s, folklore believed that each band corresponded to a portion of the 13 weeks of winter, with black being severe weather, brown indicating milder conditions.

2 1/2" pic. #1 (caterpillar)

Unlike most other moths, which overwinter as pupae in a cocoon, the Wooly Bears remain in the larval stage. They are frequently seen in the fall when they began meandering about in search of shelter in which to hibernate until spring. Such places can be under logs, in stone walls, beneath tree bark, in a woodpile or heap of leaves. Their fuzzy coats, in conjunction with naturally produced “antifreeze” compounds, help them to survive extremely cold, sub zero conditions. With the return of spring’s moderate temperatures, the hibernating caterpillar becomes active, feeding for a short time before spinning an oval, cream-colored cocoon from which it emerges several weeks later as a fully developed Isabella Tiger moth. Upon mating, the female moth lays a cluster of eggs on a variety of plants including asters, sunflowers, spinach, cabbage, grass and plantain. Such trees as elm, birch and maple are also suitable hosts for the young, tiny caterpillars. As a native species, Wooly Bears primarily feed on native plants (mostly weeds), seldom attacking most cultivated and ornamental species. Weather permitting, there can be 2 or 3 generations of the moths per year. The last generation is most often noticed because they are the ones that meander far and wide in search of a suitable hibernation site.

2 1/2" pic. #2 (moth)

The Wooly Bear caterpillars have extremely small eyes and limited sight. It is often difficult to distinguish the front end from the tail unless they are actually moving. Unlike many fuzzy caterpillars, the bristles of the Wooly Bear will not cause irritation or allergic reactions if touched. However, to protect themselves, these caterpillars will play dead and roll up into a ball if picked up or disturbed. The caterpillars are all black when first hatched. There are as many as 6 larval stages through which the caterpillar matures before beginning pupation. Scientific research has determined that the Wooly Bear’s coloration is actually an indication of the caterpillar’s age and nutrition. A wetter season creates more plant growth and better food for the Wooly Bear, resulting in quicker maturity. The caterpillars molt up to 6 times before pupation. Their coloration changes with each succeeding molt, with black segments being replaced by reddish-brown ones. Thus those individuals with a majority of red-brown segments are the most mature. Upon emergence from the cocoon, the adult appears as a drab yellow moth with a row of small black dots at the edge of their wings. They are fairly small, with a wingspread of about 2 inches. These adult moths are commonly attracted to outdoor lights and screen doors on warm summer nights. While many nocturnal moths fall prey to bats, the adult tiger moths have a unique defense. The moth responds to bat sonar by producing a series of clicking sounds that “jams” the sonar, thus preventing a deadly attack.

Folklore or not, the prognostication abilities of the Wooly Bear have inspired numerous celebrations around the country, with such events as the annual Woolly Worm Festival which is held in Banner Elk, North Carolina. Vermillion, Ohio and Beattyville, Kentucky are other examples of communities holding festivities honoring the Wooly Bear in the same tradition as Punxsutawney,Pennsylvania honors Phil the groundhog on February 2 of each year. Despite scientific evidence that discredits the meteorological abilities of the Wooly Bear, it still remains as one of the most recognizable and popular members of the insect world.

Questions, comments and suggestions regarding this article or any other insect related matters are welcome. Please email them to

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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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