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Issue Home May 14, 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

MONTROSE: Old Soldier Passes Away – The death of Hamilton Youngs occurred on May 4, 1908, after a few months’ illness with Bright’s disease. Mr. Youngs was born in Chester county, Maryland, 77 years ago, and when a slave made his escape through the underground railroad and came to Montrose. In 1862 he married Mary Ann Thomas and ten children were born to them, three of whom survive: Alexander of Scranton, Herbert of Brooklyn, NY, and Mary Youngs Gaines of this place. Hamilton served well in the war of the rebellion and belonged to the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. He has been an active member of Four Brothers’ Post. As a citizen he was honorable and was always industrious. For many years he had been a Christian and deeply interested in the welfare of Zion church. The funeral was largely attended from Zion church and there was a representation of the G. A. R. Post present. The officiating clergymen were Rev. Chas. Smith of Auburn, Rev. Arlington Thompson of Binghamton and Rev. M. L. McKissic of Wilkes-Barre. Singers were from the [Ellen Mitchell] Tent of the Daughters of Veterans.

DEATH OF THE LAST SURVIVOR of “The Underground Railway” Days: “ Hamilton Youngs was the last surviving runaway slave who came to Montrose on the underground railroad. He and his party of six arrived here 50 years ago this summer and his twin brother, Andrew, came directly into my father’s family, where he worked a year or so. These slaves lived in Maryland and had planned their escape and learned the location of some stations on the underground railroad. About August 1858, they obtained permission to attend campmeeting on Sunday; hastily perfected their plans and started Saturday night for the first station where they lay concealed all day Sunday and Sunday night the station agent took them on his hay wagon, hid in the hay, driving all night, crossing the Pennsylvania line to the next station among the Quakers. And so they traveled during the nights until they came to Pottsville, either by wagon or on foot, with a guide from station to station. At Wilkes-Barre, Mr. W. C. Gildersleeve directed them toward Montrose and going with them to Scranton, gave them money enough to ride on the cars to Alford. Arriving in Montrose and finding the anti-slavery sentiment here so strong, upon the assurance of old Judge Jessup and others that they were safe, they went to work.” D. T. Brewster

DIMOCK/SOUTH MONTROSE: T. L. Dolan and a gentleman from Scranton were mixed up in a livery runaway Tuesday afternoon. They were returning from the Ballentine farm, driving a team and leading a horse, when a calf alongside the road frightened the animals and they were off. The team collided with Butcher Jay Tingley’s meat wagon, overturning it and doing some damage and scattering the occupants of the runaway vehicle out. The men ‘phoned ahead to South Montrose to stop the three runaway horses who were tearing along like a 40-horsepower White steamer. South Montrose turned out en masse and lined up across the road waving brooms and shouting some. They succeeded in veering them from their course, and one of the horses dashed into a shed and pretty nearly demolished a carriage that was standing there with a badly scared horse hitched to it. It was the liveliest ten minutes that has been put on that stretch of road for some tine, and the escapes of all mixed up in [it] were of the “miraculous” kind.

NEW MILFORD: The graduating exercises were held at the opera house, Wednesday evening. The graduates were: Sylvia Dean, Emma O’Byrne, Verna Darrow, Roy and Lizzie Grenell.

GREAT BEND: On Friday night, about 11 o’clock, burglars gained entrance to the residence of E. Colston on Main St, but were frightened away. Miss Young, a milliner, has rooms in the house and shortly after retiring heard some one try her door. She spoke up, asking who was there and what was wanted and silence followed for a moment, when steps were heard descending the stairs and the burglar made his escape. P. S. Dermody’s horse was stolen from his barn about midnight Friday, it is supposed by the same thief that entered the Colston residence. The thieves are supposed to have led the horse over to riverside, for when William Flynn, of that place, went to his barn he found that a harness and a top buggy were missing.

BROOKLYN: “Having noticed in the papers the importance of wood pulp in the manufacture of white paper [I] think it might be of interest to many persons to know when and where and by whom the first paper from wood pulp was made [in Susq. Co.]. It was in 1836 or 37 that Joshua Miles built a paper mill in Brooklyn, on the HopBottom creek, and soon after began making wrapping paper. In the early part of 1838 he began to experiment by using bass-wood, it being soft and fibrous. He fixed a machine to cut the logs in shavings, then to soften and make them more fibrous, put them into a large vat with lime water and boiled them about two days. Then they were taken out and put in a machine where they were reduced to pulp, and the same time, with the use of bleaching salts, were whitened for use. The Susquehanna Register and Montrose Volunteer, county papers, were printed on it. Mr. Miles continued to operate his mill until early in 1843 when it took fire and was burned. There was no insurance on it and he was unable to rebuild and finally went to Sterling, Ill., where he died. Mr. Miles built two grist mills, two saw mills and one oil plant, just below Brooklyn, but all are now gone and but few know where they stood, only by report. In writing this statement it is from my own knowledge, having worked for Mr. Miles most of the time and nearly up to the time the paper mill was burned. I am now almost 87 years old and lived all my life in Brooklyn nearly, until I came to Scranton some four years ago.” G. B. Rogers

LAWTON: A rumor has been in circulation and printed in a Binghamton paper to the effect that ex-Commissioner Isaiah Haire died suddenly of heart failure. We asked E. B. Light, who drives the stage, and he said the rumor was wholly false, that Mr. Haire was well, we are pleased to hear, and working every minute. This reminded us of the time when it was rumored that Mark Twain was dead, and he seeing an account of it in the papers, in order to reassure his family, telegraphed them that the report was “greatly exaggerated.” As good men are scarce, we are glad to know that Isaiah is all right.

HOPBOTTOM: First day of May brought a snowstorm, followed by another May 3.

SUSQUEHANNA: The heavy rains Friday and Saturday did much damage in this place and vicinity. About a quarter of a mile of the D & H tracks, between Lanesboro and Windsor were washed away and traffic was delayed for several hours. AND: The Matthews marble works on Grand street are to be removed to Binghamton.

FOREST CITY: A reform wave has struck the borough and as a result a probing committee has been appointed who will go over the public records and see where all the money secured through taxation has gone. The property owners have just realized that their taxes are extraordinarily high when the improvements secured are taken into consideration. As a result of the dissatisfaction a mass meeting was held in Mutchiz hall and a Taxpayers’ Protective Assn. was organized.

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

“The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men.” Samuel Adams.

I thought of that quote when I received the following question from a reader: “When a person is elected to an office, how much of their personal life do they owe to the public?” The reader gave two examples: (1) the scandal surrounding former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and his admissions to hiring prostitutes, and (2) President Clinton’s affairs with an intern in the White House. The reader expressed concern about the constant media coverage and the horrible effects such coverage must have on the elected official’s family. So, does a public official have a duty to disclose his or her private life to us?

To this question, you can add the current presidential primary. Candidates often protest that the media is not focusing on the “real issues” when questions of character are raised. Do we have a right to know if John McCain has a temper? Do we have a right to know about the relationship between Barak Obama and Reverend Wright? Do we have a right to know about the nature of Hillary Clinton’s marriage? The simple answer would be that we not only have the right to know – but we need to know this information to make informed decisions in selecting a leader. Leadership is primarily defined by one thing: character.

There is a perception that this is a recent phenomenon and that the media used to simply turn a blind eye to the private indiscretions of public officials. This perception is simply not accurate. Throughout our history, there are numerous examples of the media disclosing personal information about candidates during election campaigns. In one of the earliest presidential elections, there were reports that Thomas Jefferson had fathered children with Sally Hemings, a slave on his plantation. In the 1828 election, Andrew Jackson was accused of being an adulterer and a bigamist for allegedly marrying his wife Rachel prior to the finalization of her divorce from her first husband. In the 1888 election, Grover Cleveland was accused of fathering a child out of wedlock. Since this country’s birth, the media has informed the public about “personal” matters relating to our leaders and candidates.

As Samuel Adams noted, the public should be curious about the character of its officials. Character cannot be defined as only the public record of a candidate or official. Some people act in a markedly different fashion while in public than they do behind closed doors. Deception is an art perfected by politicians. To truly judge character, you need to know the whole person, not simply the public persona.

This is not to say that the media coverage does not exceed the bounds necessary to accomplish its purposes of defining a public official’s character. While having knowledge of a person’s character is important, a fixation upon the more lurid details of a public official’s private life wanders from the character question into the darker field of voyeurism. While it is important to understand that Governor Spitzer was hiring prostitutes, there is really no need to know the amounts he spent, the itinerary for his trips, or other lurid details. There is no dispute that the media coverage will cause additional pain to the family members already suffering from a betrayal. As media consumers, we have to accept some of the responsibility for endless coverage – we could simply turn it off or put down the paper.

In the end, we all intuitively understand the importance of character. We teach our children to conduct themselves with honesty, responsibility, humility, generosity, compassion, forgiveness, dependability, honor, discipline, loyalty, and so many other ways we deem essential to a good character. We select our friends and associates based upon their character. We judge people every day by assessing their character. Why should our public officials be any different? If anything, given their positions of power, character should be the first thing we consider when making a decision on selecting a leader. In fact, Samuel Adams was right, we “cannot be too curious.”

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. When I was a kid, a diagnosis of leukemia was tantamount to a death sentence. It seems that this isn't the case anymore. Is my perception right?

Your perception is accurate. Advances in research and treatment of leukemia are increasing survival rates and improving the quality of life of people with this disease.

In the early 1960’s, a diagnosis of leukemia meant the patient had a 14 percent chance of living five years. In 1996-2003 that five-year survival rate was almost 50 percent.

Leukemia means “white blood” in Greek. If you get leukemia, your bone marrow – the soft material inside bones – makes abnormal white blood cells that block production of normal white blood cells, which you need to battle infections. Leukemia cells also interfere with the red blood cells that distribute oxygen throughout your body, and platelets, which help your blood to clot.

Leukemia symptoms include: fevers or chills, night sweats, frequent infections, weakness or fatigue, shortness of breath, headache, bleeding, bruising easily, bone pain, swelling or discomfort in the abdomen (from an enlarged spleen), swollen lymph nodes, especially in the neck or armpit, weight loss, and tiny red marks on the skin.

These symptoms are not sure signs of leukemia. An infection or another problem also could cause these symptoms. Anyone with these symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible. Only a doctor can diagnose and treat the problem. Leukemia affects all ages and sexes.

The two basic types of leukemia are acute and chronic. Acute leukemia develops quickly. Chronic leukemia develops slowly and usually occurs during or after middle age. Leukemia is also categorized by the type of white blood cell that is affected.

There are four common types of leukemia:

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Most people diagnosed with this form of the disease are over age 55. CLL almost never attacks children.

Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), which primarily affects adults.

Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), which is the most common type of leukemia in young children. It can also affect adults.

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which occurs in both adults and children.

No one knows the exact causes of leukemia. The following are some known risk factors for the disease: very high levels of radiation, exposure to high levels of benzene or formaldehyde, chemotherapy, Down syndrome, and myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood disease.

Most people who have known risk factors do not get leukemia. On the other hand, many who do get the disease have none of these risk factors.

Leukemia is treated with chemotherapy that uses drugs to kill leukemia cells; biological therapy – also known as immunotherapy, that uses substances to build up your immune system; radiation therapy that employs high-energy rays to kill leukemia cells; transplanted stem cells that develop into new blood cells, and bone-marrow transplant to replace diseased bone marrow with leukemia-free marrow.

Many people with acute leukemia can be cured. However, chronic leukemia can seldom be cured; patients may receive maintenance therapy to help keep the cancer in remission.

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

No what's Buggins You 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

Dear EarthTalk: How or where can I recycle clothes that are too old or worn out for Goodwill?

Tim Cheplick, Perrineville, NJ

Just because that old shirt you used to love is too threadbare to wear anymore doesn’t mean it has to end up in a landfill. “Consumers don’t understand that there’s a place for their old clothing, even if something is missing a button or torn,” says Jana Hawley, a professor of textile and apparel management at the University of Missouri-Columbia. “Ninety-nine percent of used textiles are recyclable.”

Non-profits like Goodwill and the Salvation Army play a crucial role in keeping old clothes out of the waste stream. When they get donations of clothes that are too threadbare to re-sell in one of their shops, they send them to “rag sorters” that specialize in recycling pieces of fabric large and small. Says Hawley, these textile recyclers sell about half the clothing they get back overseas in developing countries, while unusable garments, especially cotton t-shirts, are turned into wiping and polishing cloths used by a variety of industries and sold to consumers. She adds that other textiles are shredded into fibers used to make new products, such as sound-deadening materials for the automotive industry, archival-quality paper, blankets and even plastic fencing.

Outdoor clothing and gear maker Patagonia, which plies a strong environmental mandate in key aspects of its operations (from sourcing of raw materials to managing waste to making grants to environmental nonprofits), in 2005 launched its innovative Common Threads Garment Recycling program. The program was originally begun so customers could return their worn out Capilene long undies for recycling, but has expanded to taking back Patagonia fleece and cotton t-shirts as well as Polartec fleece from other manufacturers. Consumers wanting to unload items that meet the program’s criteria can do so at any Patagonia retail store or by mailing them into the company’s Reno, Nevada service center.

Of course, do-it-yourselfers handy with needle-and-thread or sewing machines can turn their old clothes into new creations such as quilts, handbags and smaller items. The website Expert Village, which claims to have the largest online collection of “how-to” videos, offers a free series called “How to Recycle Old Clothes into New Fashions.” Short step-by-step videos in the series cover such topics as transforming old garments into works of art; sewing patches, buttons and beads onto old clothes; deconstructing a wedding dress; ironing graphics onto old garments, and much more. Another good use for threadbare clothes (as well as sheets and towels) is pet bedding, whether in your own home or donated to a local animal shelter.

According to the non-profit Institute for Local Self-Reliance, textiles make up about four percent of the weight and eight percent of the volume of all municipal solid waste in the U.S. The commercial recycling company U’SAgain – which runs private for-profit recycling services in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis, Seattle, St. Louis and elsewhere – finds that some 85 percent of the 70 pounds of textiles the average American purchases each year ends up landfilled. That means the typical U.S. city with 50,000 residents has to pay (with local tax dollars) for the handling and disposal of some 3,000 tons of textiles every year. The shame of such waste is that textiles are so easy to recycle or otherwise find new uses for.

CONTACTS: Goodwill,; Salvation Army,; Patagonia,; Expert Village,; U’SAgain,

Dear EarthTalk: What are the conservation implications of all the wild colonies of escaped pet parrots that have turned up in and around some major U.S. cities?

Mike Gifford, Kirkland, WA

At least three dozen different parrot species are now considered threatened or endangered in their quickly shrinking native tropical and sub-tropical habitats (mostly in South America). As such, the health of wild flocks in the U.S. and other developed countries around the world may well be key to preserving these birds that could otherwise go extinct.

Today wild parrot flocks thrive in urban and suburban areas of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Texas, Washington State and elsewhere. San Francisco and Brooklyn each host particularly large flocks, especially considering their relative lack of green space. Wild parrot flocks are also reportedly thriving in cities across much of Western Europe. Most of these parrots, of course, are not former pets themselves, but the descendents of birds that long ago may have escaped during transport from their jungle homes to pet stores generations ago.

Parrots are among the most intelligent and adaptable birds, so it is no surprise that they’ve done so well in North America and other regions, despite colder temperatures. Indeed it is not uncommon in the Northeast to see large groups of parrots perched in winter on deck railings piled with several inches of snow. The regions they inhabit, despite the cold weather, provide enough food and shelter to meet their relatively modest needs. And once the parrots were able to establish themselves in their new habitats, they got on with the business of breeding. Therefore, their offspring, though born in the city, are wild birds nonetheless, carrying on lifestyles not unlike those of their ancestors back in the jungles of South America (though their predators are different).

Conservationists are optimistic that the parrots’ successful adaptation to more northerly urban environments bodes well for their future, despite the loss of much of their ancestral rainforest habitat. According to Roelant Jonker of the non-profit City Parrots, encouraging the formation of wild flocks of urban parrots promises to be a much more effective conservation tactic than trying to raise more birds in captivity where they would not so readily pass on their genes or learn the survival, adaptation and social skills necessary to survive. To Jonker, the proof is in the pudding: Some 2,500 wild red-crowned Amazon parrots (a quarter of the world’s total) are thriving in and around California’s biggest urban areas at the same time their population numbers are plummeting back in their native rainforest habitat.

The 2006 Judy Irving documentary, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, shadows wild parrot crusader Mark Bittner and his efforts to care for a wild flock of Red-headed Conyers living in San Francisco. Bittner feeds birdseed to the Conyers and gets to know each individual bird and its idiosyncrasies. The film’s shots of parrots interacting with one another and with Bittner really drive the point home how much we have in common with the wild kingdom of animals all around us, whether we live in the city or the country.

CONTACTS: City Parrots,; The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill,

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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