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Issue Home September 24, 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
Barnes-Kasson Corner

100 Years Ago

HALLSTEAD: John Fernan, son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Fernan, while flying a kite from a box car in the Hallstead yards Tuesday, fell a distance of about ten feet from the top of the car. He received a compound fracture of the right leg, a badly sprained arm and was otherwise cut and bruised. Dr. Rosencrance attended the young man, who is getting along nicely.

SUSQUEHANNA: J. H. Doolittle, one of Susquehanna’s oldest and best-known citizens, died early last Friday evening. He was one of that town’s pioneer hardware men and was respected for his sterling qualities. AND: Capt. R. H. Hall, the well known Susquehanna pension attorney, died at his home Sept 16, from a general breakdown of health. The deceased was about 66 years of age and had resided here since 1865. He was a veteran of the war, having seen three years of active service in the 89th New York Infamtry. He had gained considerable practice in prosecuting pension claims and was engaged the Saturday previous to his death preparing a number of claims for an increase.

HOPBOTTOM: Work at the apple evaporator has commenced. This gives employment to a goodly number of people.

MONTROSE: The unfailing source of water supply, which Montrose has, is shown by the height of water in Lake Mont Rose, where the town gets its water. The lake is not lowered to any appreciable extent, the big springs feeding it steadily and consumers have used unstintedly from the spigots for household, garden, lawn and street purposes. The vegetable growth, however, will always give it at times an unpleasant taste, and until the water company installs a filtering plant there will ever be dissatisfaction. With this improvement the town would have one of the purest and best water systems in the country.

FRANKLIN FORKS: Miss Julia Wheaton left last Saturday for New York, where she will attend Pratt Institute.

HIGHLANDS, New Milford Twp.: The feature of the closing night of the summer amusement season at Luna Park, Long Island, was the awarding of 25 building lots to the persons who drew the lucky numbers. Miss Lena Barnard, of this place, who is visiting her sister, Mrs. Will Benson, in Buffalo, N.Y. was one of the lucky ones, and her reward will be a $100 building [lot] located in a tract at Riverhead, L.I.

MIDDLETOWN CENTRE: Married, on Sept. 9, George Phillips, of this place, and Miss Sarah Wood of Spencer, N.Y.

LENOXVILLE: Messrs Wayne Stephens, Willie Knickerbocker, Claude West and Misses Freda Robinson, Faye Hallstead, and Edna Brownell, took an “auto” trip to the Electric City, last Saturday.

BRANDT: The little town of Brandt, on the Jefferson division, received an irreparable injury Friday in the destruction of the plant of the Brandt Chemical Co., by fire. The flames were started by an explosion of acids and as there is no fire department in the place, the inhabitants fought the fire with a bucket brigade, but to little purpose.

SPRINGVILLE: The marriage of L. Anna Lyman to Homer L. Smith, of Montrose, is announced to take place at St. Andrew’s Episcopal church, Thursday, Oct. 1, 1908 at 1 o’clock.

JACKSON: Nothing but smoke and dust can be seen at present. The water is failing in wells and streams. Oh how much we need rain, so much damage being done by fire.

UNIONDALE: There are fires in every direction. A Russian family over the mountain east from here went one day last week with farm produce to Forest City and when they returned found their house, barn and all its contents burned to the ground. All they had left, except their land, was the horse and wagon they had with them. AND: Thieves recently entered the cellar of J. N. Corey and secured several cans of fruit.

APOLACON: What came very near being a very serious runaway was narrowly averted by the good judgment used by the team in question. One day last week Newton Lent, proprietor of Wyalusing Lake Farm, was drawing lumber from Bear Swamp mill. Mr. Lent went behind the wagon to close a gate and the horses took it in their heads to skidoo, which they did and ran at breakneck speed across the flat to the foot of the hill, where they stopped.

FOREST CITY: Perhaps it isn’t generally known that the school board was in the farming business this summer. They raised a crop of oats on the No. 2 school grounds from which they realized a ten dollar bill. Paul Warhola was the successful bidder for the field and the harvested the crop himself. The oats were sown to get a good sod for grass.

SOUTH AUBURN: Miss Ruth Love entered the Norristown Hospital last week where she will receive training as a nurse. AND: At Shannon Hill Mrs. James Keogh and daughter, May, helped Miss Marcella clean out her schoolhouse last Friday.

FIRES: There have been many forest fires along the Montrose branch of the Lackawanna Valley Railroad, recently. The trains were veritable firebugs some days, leaving long stretches of fires behind them, at times. Charlie Post put out four fires on his land Monday and more or less other days, watching it daily for the past week. At Coon’s crossing, Mr. Corfield had to fight fire; and others all along the line. Very serious damage was done on the Cope place at Dimock, and at E. O. Bailey’s. Geo. P. Wells and J. Shannon had fields and woods set fire from engine sparks and it was by heroic fighting that their buildings were saved, as the flames spread rapidly.

REMEDY FOR TYPHOID FEVER: As recommended by one who has seen it repeatedly tried successfully. Take old-fashioned gunpowder, pour boiling water on it, and let it cool, then take one teaspoonful every hour. The gunpowder settles to the bottom and is not to be taken, but simply the water. This is both a sure cure and preventive.

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

Several months ago, I interviewed a college student who was interested in conducting an internship with the District Attorney’s Office. While we cannot offer any compensation for the service, the college allowed the student to receive credits for the internship, and the experience itself provides the student with a small look into the legal profession. In the course of the interview, I asked the student why he was interested in law. The answer was far simpler than I had hoped, but plainly honest – the money. There is no doubt that a career as an attorney offers the potential to make a good living. Still, the idealist in me was hoping for something different.

When I was in college, I remember sitting in an interview with an attorney for a paid intern position in his law practice. During the course of that interview, we discussed why I was interested in law. The attorney shared with me one of his motivations – his father. The attorney stated that his father was a blue collar worker, and, as I recall the story, an amateur boxer. Apparently, the fighting generated a small amount of revenue for the family, but the physical costs were obviously substantial. The attorney told me that he recalled his father sitting him down one day and telling him that he never wanted his son to fight with his fists, but to fight with his mind instead. So, the young boy pursued a career in law and used his mind every day to fight for his clients. There is a nobility of purpose in such motivation – a nobility that served to create a good attorney. I think that is the reason the attorney told me that story – to impart upon me the idea that being an attorney needs to be more than simply a job.

But this begs the question of why did I become an attorney. While it is often difficult to pinpoint the exact point when such a significant decision is made, I can remember when the first seeds were planted. When I was in eighth grade, I read the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” in my English class. To put it simply, it had a profound impact on me. The novel has many different lessons, but the thing that I remember most clearly is Atticus Finch. I was mesmerized by this character – and I immediately connected with him. This was my first real understanding of what it meant to be an attorney – and, to this day, I can think of no better example for a child.

What was there about Atticus that was so appealing to me? To come up with a specific answer more than two decades later would be close to impossible. Integrity, honor, honesty, loyalty, fortitude, courage, compassion, love, dedication, intelligence, strength – these are a few of the character traits that come to mind when thinking of Atticus. But there was something more than simply being a good person that appealed to my younger self. Let’s face it, to a young boy good character standing alone is unlikely to inspire any lasting impressions. Simply, Atticus was heroic in a quiet and unassuming way that perhaps highlighted the heroism more than a special suit or super powers ever could do. Atticus was a real hero – a man who stood up to hatred and injustice at great personal and financial risk to himself (and his family). In the novel, the courtroom drama was intense – and the innocence of the man that Atticus defended was clear. Yet, Atticus did not prevail and the system failed by convicting an innocent man. To the reader, the sense of injustice was powerful – the nobility portrayed by Atticus was overcome by the stench of racial hatred and prejudice. But this failure only served to elevate the work of Atticus to a higher level. To this young reader, Atticus became the seed that later blossomed into a legal career.

In today’s world, it is not surprising that the young intern that I interviewed recently listed money as the motivation for pursuing a career in law. After all, his generation has a media machine that places a different character mold for attorneys – a mold strikingly different from Atticus Finch. All these years later, I still prefer Atticus.

Please submit any questions, concerns, or comments to Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office, P.O. Box 218, Montrose, Pennsylvania 18801 or at our website or discuss this and all articles at

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The Healthy Geezer
By Fred Cicetti

Q. I have to go into the hospital for surgery soon and I’m more afraid of a staph infection than I am about the operation. Should I be concerned?

Unfortunately, you should be very concerned, especially because of an antibiotic-resistant strain of staph that is on the rise. This version is called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Those at the highest risk are older adults and people with weakened immune systems. MRSA can be fatal.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that, in 1974, MRSA infections represented two percent of staph infections. In 1995, the percentage was up to 22. In 2004, 63 percent of staph infections were from MRSA.

A 2007 report from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology estimated that 46 out of every 1,000 people hospitalized get MRSA.

Staph skin infections, including MRSA, usually begin with red bumps that look like pimples or insect bites. These can degenerate into deep, painful abscesses that require surgical draining. Sometimes the bacteria can also penetrate into the bones, surgical wounds, the bloodstream, heart valves and lungs.

Staph is found on the skin or in the nose of about one-third of the population. If you have staph without illness, you are “colonized.” You can spread staph to others if you’re colonized. Staph bacteria are usually harmless unless they enter the body through a wound.

There are two categories of this infection: healthcare-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA), and community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA). Most MRSA infections are healthcare-associated; they occur in facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes and dialysis centers. CA-MRSA skin infections spread where there is skin-to-skin contact and when personal items are shared. CA-MRSA became known in the 1990s.

A bit of history.

The bacterium known as staph was discovered in the 1880s. In the 1940s, antibiotics such as penicillin were treating staph successfully. Misuse of antibiotics then helped staph to resist penicillin, so methicillin was introduced to counter the stronger staph.

In 1961, the first strains of MRSA were identified. MRSA is resistant to an entire class of penicillin-like antibiotics that includes penicillin, amoxicillin, oxacillin, methicillin, and others.

Staph has continued to evolve. In 2002, physicians documented the first staph resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin, which had been one of a handful of antibiotics of last resort for use against staph.

While antibiotics are a major weapon against staph, many infections can be treated by draining an abscess without prescribing medication.

To diagnose staff, a sample is obtained from the infection site and sent to a laboratory for testing. It takes about 48 hours to get results. Newer tests can detect staph DNA in a matter of hours.

So, how can you protect yourself in the hospital? Here are some pointers:

Ask all hospital staff to wash their hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before touching you.

Wash your own hands frequently.

Make sure that intravenous tubes and catheters are inserted under sterile conditions. The healthcare professional inserting tubes or catheters should wear a gown, gloves and mask. And, your skin should be sterilized beforehand.

If you have a question, write to

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Straight From Starrucca
By Danielle Williams

No Straight From Starrucca This Week

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Veterans’ Corner

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What’s Bugging You?
By Stuart W. Slocum

Blister beetles: look but don’t touch

As I was taking my puppies for their routine afternoon walk, I noticed that the ever-exploring Katie had suddenly stopped and immersed her nose deep into a patch of tall grass. Her gyrating tail registered a record number of wags per minute and I knew she must have found a real treasure. Upon parting the blades of grass, I was treated with the sight of two glimmering, metallic blue insects. They were strange looking, and at first I didn’t recognize just what they were. Upon further study, I identified them as blister beetles, family Meloidae. These are soft-bodied, plump insects that have short or disrupted wing covers. They have prominent heads connected to their bodies by distinctive “necks.” Their common name, blister beetle, is derived from the fact that, when disturbed, many species will secrete a chemical called cantharadin. This fluid, released by defensive “reflex bleeding” will cause blisters when contacting the skin. When ingested in a quantity as low as .1 gram, cantharadin can be fatal. This is ironic, considering that the dried extract from the most famous blister beetle, the Spanish Fly (yes it’s actually a beetle) has erroneously, and sometimes fatally, been used as an aphrodisiac for centuries. Only the male blister beetles have the ability to produce cantharadin. It is passed on to the female during mating. The female then applies it over her deposited eggs for their protection.

2 1/2" pic.

Blister/Oil beetles, a female (left) and a male (right).

The female blister beetle deposits her eggs in the ground. These eggs hatch into tiny, elongated larvae with relatively long legs. These active larvae, known as triungulins, climb up plant stems to the flowers, where they lay in ambush for a visiting bee. They attach themselves to a bee that unknowingly carries them back to its nest. Once inside the nest, the triungulin molts into a more sedentary grub that feeds upon the nectar and pollen stored for the larval bees. It will also consume the bee larvae. These beetles have a very complex life cycle, involving a series of complicated molts. Upon completion of pupation, the adults emerge and drop to the ground. The larvae of several blister beetle groups parasitize grasshopper eggs instead of bee larvae.

The blister beetles sniffed out by Katie are members of the Meloe genus, commonly called oil beetles. These are sluggish, metallic blue insects, which have short, non-functional wings. Their “oil beetle” label stems from their ability to ooze a smelly oil-like substance from their joints when they are disturbed. This “oil” is either low in or devoid of the cantharadin, and does not appear to cause blisters (good thing for Katie’s nose)! However, it is effective in protecting them against such natural enemies as birds and predatory beetles. The female beetle is obese and larger than the male. The male has unusual kinks in his antennae. These loops are used to grip the female during mating. The adults live about three months, periodically mating and depositing their eggs.

As pointed out earlier, many blister beetles produce a chemical that can cause blistering of the skin, or even death if ingested. However, general handling of the insects seldom causes blistering of the tougher skin on hands. Blistering on neck and arms has resulted from accidental exposure to adult beetles drawn to outdoor lights. Direct contact with a crushed insect can increase the incidence and severity of the blistering. Cantharides, derived from pulverized, dried beetles, was once used in certain human and veterinary medicines and is still used as an active ingredient in some commercial wart removers. When taken internally, cantharadin is highly toxic to mammals. Cases of fatal poisoning of horses have been recorded from the ingestion of dried blister beetles that were trapped in baled alfalfa hay. Some species of blister beetles can be serious pests to such crops as potatoes and tomatoes. Although not commonly encountered, there are occasionally sudden local population bursts that disappear as suddenly as they appeared. However most of the blister beetles are inconspicuous ground dwellers feeding on pollen and nectar from goldenrod and other weed species. Outbreaks of garden-destroying blister beetles are unlikely to occur in this area. Brushing them into a pan of kerosene can control small numbers. Appropriately licensed contact insecticides can be applied to control larger invasions.

Questions, comments and suggestions regarding this article, identifications 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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Barnes-Kasson Corner
By Cara Sepcoski

Alzheimer’s Week September 21 – 27

Barnes-Kasson Hospital is celebrating National Alzheimer’s Week September 21 – 27. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia. Dementia is a name for progressive degenerative brain syndrome. Dementia affects memory, thinking, behavior and emotion. There is currently no cure for dementia, but researchers have come out with a few different drugs to slow the process of dementia. These few drugs are not a permanent solution though, as they only slow the process for about 6-18 months. Some treatments are available for the symptoms of dementia, such as sleeping pills for sleeplessness. However, it is suggested such drugs as sleeping pills be kept to a minimum, as they can add to the confusion the patient already has.

It is currently estimated that over 25 million people in the world have dementia. That number is predicted to skyrocket to 81 million by the year 2040. Dementia develops in only about one person in 1,000 under the age of 65. This is why it is said that dementia usually only affects older people. As age increases, so does the risk of getting Alzheimer’s/dementia. One person out of 20 over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s. Over the age of 80, this figure increases to one person in five.

The most common symptom associated with Alzheimer’s is short-term memory loss. Do not confuse ordinary forgetfulness with short-term memory loss. It is normal for someone to forget the name of someone, but forgetting their relation to that person is another thing. One sign of Alzheimer’s is forgetting the patient’s relation to someone, such as a son or daughter. Other symptoms include difficulty performing familiar tasks, problems with language, disorientation to time and place, decreased judgment, misplacing things, sudden changes in mood or behavior, and loss of initiative.

If you think that you or someone you know may be affected by Alzheimer’s or dementia, contact your doctor.

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