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Issue Home August 27, 2008 Site Home

4-H Club News North Jackson Ag
Bird Watching And Murder?
50th Anniversary!
Blueberry Festival Is A Huge Success
Education Grants Approved For Environmental Projects
Heritage Region Announces Opening Of Grant Round
PARSE #15 Update
Rural Youth FSA Loans Available
Daniel T. Gall Earns Quartermaster Rank
R.E.S.C.U.E. Secures Conservation Easement

4-H Club News North Jackson Ag

The North Jackson Ag Club held their meeting on August 7. Pledges were led by Kim Klim and Emily Supancik. The secretary’s report was read and approved. Treasurer’s report was read and approved. A big Thank You for the people who helped the food fundraisers, we really appreciate it. The next meeting will be held on September 7. It will be the last meeting and it will also be the club picnic. After demonstrations, the meeting was adjourned.

News Reporter: Troy Carey

Sizzlin’ Steaks

The Sizzlin’ Steaks 4-H club held their last regular meeting of the year on August 5. Members began the meeting by saying the salute to the American Flag and the 4-H pledge. President Christina reminded members to bring their 4-H books and projects to the Harford Fair in the 4-H building on Thursday, August 14. Cooking projects were to come in on Sunday. Project leaders signed members’ 4-H books where needed, and reviewed books where necessary.

Olivia Zick did a demonstration on Rubbings.

Christina read a thank you letter from the trustees of First Congregational-UCC, thanking Sizzlin' Steaks members for having kept the memorial garden looking so good this year.

We will have a club picnic on Saturday, September 6 at Will and Julie Harvatine’s house at 6:00. Please bring a covered dish to share.

News Reporter: Alyssa Clarkson

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Bird Watching And Murder?

Birding, one of the most peaceful and beautiful avocations, is the setting for Frank Dressler’s most recent mystery, “Murder Most Foul: The Trials and Tribulations of the Susquehanna County Birding Group.” The fifth in the series of Kate Flaherty/Ben Pierce murder mysteries involving Susquehanna County leads Kate, Ben and friends, some with more than birds on their minds, to birding trips to Nepal and Panama with fateful consequences.

“For many years my wife was the family birder while I was tolerated by her birding friends as a friendly SOB (spouse of a birder),” Frank says. “In retirement, I joined her on occasional seasonal bird walks while she and her friends were locating and identifying birds by their songs, most of which I couldn’t hear. The long quiet periods, so common in birding, gave my imagination time to cook up situations and plots for murder mysteries. When I told my wife the subject of this mystery, her reaction was less than enthusiastic.”

The story brings together county friends of Kate and Ben and, through them, their professional colleagues who are dedicated birders. The eclectic group of 12 professionals proves to be a volatile mix of motivations and frustrations that explodes in unexpected ways during birding trips to Nepal and Panama.

A retired association executive, Frank and wife Winifred retired to their vacation home in Susquehanna County in 1997 after a two-year stint in Russia as volunteers for the Center for Private International Enterprise. The two months Frank spent in Nepal as a missionary in 2000 inspired the fateful birding tour in the book.

The book is available locally at the Montrose Country Store in Montrose and Pure Pennsylvania in the Hallstead Plaza in Great Bend, and online in eBook form at It may also be ordered by calling 1-800-AUTHORS ( 1-800-288-4677) or Barnes & Noble by giving the author’s name, the title of the book and, if requested, the ISBN Number (0-595-52482-6).

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50th Anniversary!

Darrell and Mary (Foster) DeNino were married in San Diego, California, on July 18, 1958 at the Wedding Bell Chapel. Mary was a longtime resident of Oakland and graduated from Oakland High School, Class of 1954.


Darrell was a resident of Apollo, Pennsylvania, graduating from Elders Ridge High School, Class of 1953.

In October of 1954, they both enlisted in the U.S. Navy, going through basic training at the Naval Training Center in Bainbridge, Maryland. Darrell went on to serve on a ship based in Norfolk, Virginia and Mary remained at Bainbridge. In 1957, they were both transferred to the Naval Training Center in San Diego, where they met and married.

They spent most of 36 years in the San Diego area, which included a one-year tour in Hawaii and a two-year tour in Georgia.

Mary served six years and Darrell retired after 20 years. He went on to co-own and manage a restaurant, retiring from that business. They then moved to Prescott Valley, Arizona in 1994.

Their family includes three daughters, Terri Kennedy of Prescott Valley, Lori (Jim) Stevenson of El Cajon, California, and Lisa (Tim) Martindale of Grand Junction, Colorado; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren.

Joining them at a surprise dinner party on July 18, 2008 were family including daughters, Terri, Lisa and Jim with sons, T.J. and Tommy; Sharon (Foster) and Jim McHale from Beaumont, California; grandson, Jonathon Sardegna from Oak Harbor, Washington; Lee and Pat (Thompson) Foster of Clearbrook, Virginia; Bev (Foster) and Jay Bills and son, Mike Foster of Windsor, New York; David and Karen Foster, daughter, Lindsay and son-in-law, Gary Balders and their daughter, Delany, all of Poway, California; Gale (DeNino) and Tony Tringhese of Surprise, Arizona.

The next day, most of Mary and Darrell’s family drove to Williams, Arizona and stayed at the Grand Canyon Hotel, then on the following day they all took the train into the Grand Canyon, where they took the rim tour of the canyon.

A great time was enjoyed by all.

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Blueberry Festival Is A Huge Success

On Friday and Saturday, August 1 and 2, the 2008 Blueberry Festival was held on the Village Green in Montrose. Friday’s weather was beautiful, and despite Saturday’s rainy start, it turned into a nice day. Large crowds turned out to enjoy the blueberry festivities. "The Festival is held the first Friday and Saturday in August, rain or shine," said Susan Stone, Administrator/ Librarian of the Susquehanna County Historical Society and Free Library Association. "The weather wasn’t bad, but what’s always the greatest is our tremendous community support!"

This year’s Blueberry Festival Committee, pictured (l-r) are: top row – Amy Johnson, Sue Stone, Bill Whittaker; second row – Hilary Caws-Elwitt, Debra Martyn, Shelly Hohn, Cornelia Page, Leon Swackhamer; third row – Ginny Franssen, Betty Marshall, Flo Whittaker, Eleanor Manz, Cookie Capotosto; fourth row – Valerie Smith, Sue Magnotti, Cathy Chiarella, Carol Winkleblech, Jean Dunn; front row – Gladys Bennett, Priscilla Andre, Elaine Henninger; center – Newberry the Blueberry (Evan Smales). Not pictured are: Dawn Augenti, Nan Baker, Suzanne Bennici, Suzanne Brant, Lauretta Button, Rex Catlin, Roxie Connelly, Joe Facinelli, Mary Lee Fitzgerald, Karen Holbrook, Jeff Hollister, Donna Horn, Diane Koloski, Jacqueline Murray, Mary O’Brien, Bob Orner, Cornelia Page, Kathy Parks, Jeff and Louise Sammon, Julanne Skinner, Betty and Bob Smith, Brian Swartz, Mary Jane Syle, Mary Tourney, Anne Vaccaro, Ray and Ruth Wilmarth.

Photo by Joe Facinelli

The festival continues to get bigger and better every year, thanks to the participation of community-minded helpers – organizations and individuals. Hundreds of volunteers not only staff the many booths and provide entertainment, but also put in literally thousands of hours ahead of time sorting books, picking berries, baking, and performing dozens of other tasks. Local businesses donate essentials, from baskets and ice cream funds, to advertising.

Festival visitors admired the quilt (made by the Crazy Country Quilters), in a lovely Dresden Plate variant. Every year a different quilt is made to be raffled off at the Festival. Larry Phelps won this year's quilt and gave it to his mother, Alberta Phelps of West Pittston. More than 40 winners at the Basket Raffle went home with lovely and original baskets. Congratulations to all!

The Silent Auction featured many unique items donated by members of the community, from works by local artists, to goods and services from county businesses. Excitement ran high in the last few minutes before the auction closed, as eager bidders competed to raise the prices.

While parents bought Blueberry Festival pottery and clothing, admired the handcrafts, and browsed for books at the used book sale, children played games on the Green, lined up to bounce in the Price Chopper Bounce Castle, and had their faces painted by the talented Ilona Scroggins. Race-against-time games were popular, including basketball, jump-rope, and cookie stacking. On Saturday, a traditional Cake Walk sent many wide-eyed children home with a homemade cake.

Food and beverages were available all day, from blueberry pizza to blueberry shortcake. An enormous variety of blueberry muffins were made by local volunteers under the direction of the Montrose Women’s Club. Cotton candy and slushees were served up by the Knights of Columbus. Volunteers picked hundreds of pounds of fresh blueberries which were snapped up by berry lovers. Festival mascot Newberry the Blueberry made many appearances, shaking hands, giving blueberry hugs, and posing for pictures. Saturday's White Elephant Sale filled the top section of the green with people finding treasures that others no longer wanted.

On Friday morning, Windwood Hill Dance Academy put on a great performance. Joe Welden and his band played jazz standards mid-day, followed by singer-songwriter-guitarist Corky Staats. The Bluestone Mountain Boys closed the afternoon with an amazing set of acoustic bluegrass. Noelani's Hula School filled the green in front of the Post Office with the colors and sounds of the Pacific on Saturday morning. The afternoon's entertainment peaked with the 13th annual Massed Band Concert, with classic American favorites played by dozens of musicians of all ages, conducted by Bob Orner and Suzanne Bennici. Civil War re-enactor Brian Swartz (Poor Boys/Living History Guild) camped in front of the Monument overnight. He talked to visitors and demonstrated his authentic equipment. All entertainment is volunteer and deeply appreciated!

The Chairpersons for this year's Festival – Cookie Capotosto, Jean Dunn, and Flo Whittaker – were delighted with the Festival. It takes time for all the receipts and bills to come in, but Mrs. Stone estimates that the total should be significant, though not record-breaking. All the funds go to the Susquehanna County Historical Society and Free Library Association and are used to help operate the County library system and the County's local history museum and genealogical center. "We count on the Festival proceeds to reach our annual budget," she said. "It's the effort and time selflessly donated by so many community people and businesses that make the Festival successful. From the service clubs to the banks to the hospital, from the smallest to largest businesses, the Probation officers and inmates who tirelessly set up and took down, Montrose Motors donating space for the book and White Elephant storage, and the hundreds of individuals who helped – it would take pages to list them all! We are enormously grateful."

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Education Grants Approved For Environmental Projects

Reps. Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming) and Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) announced that two Environmental Education grants have been approved for Susquehanna County.

The Susquehanna County Conservation District will receive $3,000 for an Energy Thinking Educator Workshop that will focus on energy use resources and environmental and economic impact of energy use.

The Montrose Area School District will use a $1,111 grant to purchase equipment for students to conduct water sampling and testing.

“We have witnessed recently, with higher energy costs the importance of conserving energy,” Major said. “The Energy Thinking Educator Workshop will be a valuable tool to help educators focus on the importance of conserving and preserving energy resources.”

“With the spotlight on the rising cost and shrinking availability of energy resources in the past few years, we often forget the importance of safe, clean water to our quality of life,” Pickett said. “It is important that students learn of its value firsthand and carry it through the rest of their lives.”

The grant program is administered by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

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Heritage Region Announces Opening Of Grant Round

The Endless Mountains Heritage Region, Inc. announced the opening of its Heritage Areas Program for 2008-09. One of twelve recognized Heritage Areas in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Endless Mountains Heritage Region provides services to the rural area comprising Wyoming, Susquehanna, Sullivan and Bradford Counties through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Each heritage area highlights events, people, sites and traditions special to each region, giving visitors and residents a better appreciation of local heritage. These agencies serve as the conduit for historic preservation, natural and cultural resources conservation, and heritage tourism development.

The agency seeks to partner with local groups on designing and implementing good projects. The Endless Mountains Heritage Region invites all organizations and municipalities interested in conducting a history or heritage project contributing to the agency’s mission to call (570) 265-1528 for information on applying for a grant. To learn more about heritage development in communities, visit their web site at

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PARSE #15 Update
By Cynthia Sims, Secy.

The Pennsylvania Association of Retired State Employees (PARSE), Endless Mountains, Chapter 15, met on August 12 at the Zion Lutheran Church, Dushore. Guest speaker was William F. Pitzer, a long-term care specialist. He gave the group information about long-term care insurance in relation to PARSE members. He indicated why long-term care insurance is needed and also the type of care that is provided under the coverage.

Chapter president Jesse Bacon announced the following members of the nominating committee: Bernice Landmesser, Bradford County; Paul St. Germaine, Sullivan County; and Joe Plonski, Susquehanna County. The slate of officers will be presented at the September meeting. Nominations will also be accepted from the floor. Any PARSE member who wishes to be considered for an office should contact one of the above persons.

President Bacon also announced that the annual state PARSE meeting will be held in September at Camp Hill. John Benio, Joe Plonski and Bacon will be attending the meeting.

The next meeting will be held on September 9 at the Towanda Gun Club. All state retirees are invited to attend and learn more about the organization. To make a reservation, contact John Benio at (570) 278-2380.

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Rural Youth FSA Loans Available

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) makes operating loans of up to $5,000 to eligible individual rural youths, age 10 through 20 to finance income-producing agriculture-related projects. The project must be of modest size, educational, and initiated, developed and carried out by rural youths participating in 4-H Clubs, FFA, or a similar organization.

The project must be an organized and supervised program of work. It must be planned and operated with the assistance of the organization advisor, produce sufficient income to repay the loan, and provide the youth with practical business and educational experience in agriculture-related skills.

To apply or find out more, visit your local USDA Service Center. A listing of centers, and more information about youth and other loan programs are available on the FSA website at The office servicing Susquehanna County is located at RR 5 Box 5030A, Towanda, PA 18848, or can be contacted by phone at (570) 265-6969, Ext. 2.

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Daniel T. Gall Earns Quartermaster Rank
By Ron Hall, Commodore

Boatswain Daniel T. Gall of Sea Scout Ship North Star 90, New Milford, was presented the highest rank in Sea Scouting, the Quartermaster Award, at Ship 90’s 66th Bridge of Honor held August 3 at Valhalla Castle, New Milford. Dan is the son of Tom and Amy Gall of Susquehanna, and a 2008 graduate of Susquehanna High School. In September, Dan will be entering the U.S. Navy’s Nuclear Program and as a Quartermaster Sea Scout he will enter the Navy with the rank of E-3.

Daniel T. Gall was awarded the rank of Quartermaster at Sea Scout Ship 90’s Bridge of Honor on August 3.

To earn the Quartermaster Award in Sea Scouting, Dan has completed special skills in operation of sailboats up to 46 feet on Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, the Atlantic Ocean, night sailing and sailing in heaver weather conditions. Other skills learned are marlinspike seamanship, ground tackle, piloting and navigation, signaling, radio, life saving, rules of the road, boat maintenance, engines, drill, electricity, white water canoeing, and many other nautical skills. He has carried out a service project for the New Milford First Baptist Church, painting and fixing up their storage room.

Only about 27 to 30 Sea Scouts a year earn the Quartermaster rank. This is Ship 90’s twentieth Quartermaster since the ship was organized in 1943. Sea Scouting is the seagoing branch of the Boy Scouts of America for young men and women between the ages of 14 and 20.

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R.E.S.C.U.E. Secures Conservation Easement
By Dr. Ken Mayers

Chapter President

Wayne/Susquehanna R.E.S.C.U.E. has recently completed a five-year process in securing a conservation easement to protect approximately 180 acres in Susquehanna County from future development and subdivision.The project was started in 2003 when R.E.S.C.U.E.received funds for land preservation to be used in either Wayne or Susquehanna County.

Between 2003 and 2008, members of the Board of R.E.S.C.U.E. visited and evaluated nearly a dozen different properties in the region and negotiated with the owners of those properties to secure a conservation easement that would satisfy the conservation goals of the project.It wasn’t until late 2006 that several landowners saw an editorial in a local paper with information about the easement project and contacted R.E.S.C.U.E. One of the properties turned out to be a near perfect match for the criteria originally agreed upon by the board. Following almost two years of negotiations, R.E.S.C.U.E. and the landowner were able to mutually agree upon the terms of a conservation easement that will be held and monitored by The Countryside Conservancy into the future.

In addition to approximately 100 acres of woodland habitat, the conservation easement will also protect several thousand feet of riparian corridor for the East Branch of the Tunkhannock Creek.

The conclusion of this project ensures that this land will be protected into perpetuity, and that one small part of the region’s heritage of family farms will be preserved and essentially unchanged for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.In the interest of protecting privacy, R.E.S.C.U.E. has agreed not to publicize the landowner’s name, but the easement does provide limited public access by permission of the landowner for educational and recreational purposes whose focus is the quiet appreciation of nature.

Anyone with questions related to this project and its benefits to the community can contact Dr. Ken Mayers of R.E.S.C.U.E. at 241-3487, or Rylan Coker of The Countryside Conservancy at 945-6995.

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